ASSIGNMENT 1:TWO SIDES OF THE STORY

FINAL (REWORKED) IMAGES

Niki South   Student number: 514516

SERIES 1: COASTAL TOWN IN REVIVAL

a-lr-0755-ps-crop-1500The bustling high street”

Image 56: Exposure 1/160, Aperture f/8, ISO 100, Focal length 39mm.

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“Castle reopens after £11 million restoration”

Image 51: Exposure 1/160, Aperture f/7.1, ISO 100, Focal length 20mm.

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“State of the art theatre and 3 screen cinema complex”

Image 20: Exposure 1/250, Aperture f/10, ISO 100, Focal length 35mm.

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“One of many centres offering exciting outdoor activities

Image 39: Exposure 1/60, Aperture f/11, ISO 200, Focal length 46mm.

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e-lr-1001-crop-1500“Brand new sustainable, solar, social housing”

Image 76: Exposure 1/80, Aperture f/11, ISO 100, Focal length 16mm.

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“Booming local yacht building business expands again”

Image 25: Exposure 1/100, Aperture f/4.5, ISO 100, Focal length 16mm

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SERIES 2: COASTAL TOWN IN DEEP DECLINE

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“The supermarket that was never built”

Image 6: Exposure 1/100, Aperture f/5.6, ISO 100, Focal length 17mm.

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Even Penny Pinchers could not survive the downturn in retail sales”

Image 72: Exposure 1/60, Aperture f/4.5, ISO 100, Focal length 16mm.

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Traders complain that charity shop’s exemption from business rates make them unfair competition”

Image 20: Exposure 1/100, Aperture f/6.3, ISO 100, Focal length 22mm.

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f-lr-0517-crop-1-1500“The site of the once booming cattle market is now rusting”

Image 13: Exposure 1/60, Aperture f/5, ISO 100, Focal length 20mm.

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“The housing market here is stagnant”

Image 35: Exposure 1/80, Aperture f18, ISO 125, Focal length 57mm

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e-lr-0836-no-crop-1500“The once busy boat builders, no longer have work”

Image 56: Exposure 1/250, Aperture f/8, ISO 100, Focal length 70mm.

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ASSIGNMENT 1: TWO SIDES TO THE STORY

Niki South   Student number: 514516

INTRODUCTION

Create at least two sets of photographs telling different versions of the same story. The aim of the assignment is to help you explore the convincing nature of documentary, even though what the viewer thinks they see may not in fact be true. Try to make both sets equally convincing so that it’s impossible to tell which version of the images is ‘true’.

Choose a theme and aim for 5–7 images for each set, depending on your idea. Discuss this with your tutor.

However you choose to interpret the brief, ensure the images are candid and ‘taken from real life’. Be experimental and take some risks. Perhaps you could make a list of ideas and choose the most challenging or absurd option to stretch yourself.

Include an introduction of 300 words outlining what you set out to do and how you went about it. Also send to your tutor the relevant pages of your learning log or your blog url.

Two sides to the story – “How can I see what I see, until I know what I know?” (Martins, 2009)

The Process

My story is of a coastal market town both in revival and in decline. Historically it was a Norman stronghold, an important Port and market town, its main industry now is tourism. Both sides of the story can be seen around the town. Though the town in revival is the most visible story to the uninformed, in truth the town is in a deep decline and in welfare terms “deprived”. Following my research I expected to find more visible signs of poverty (Poor housing, homeless or the unemployed) however the visiting tourist without knowledge of the facts and statistics could miss the signs of deprivation.

For the town in decline series, I concentrated on shots of decaying and neglected buildings and businesses to show the local deprivation; the one exception being a busy charity shop, another sign of local poverty. I researched Urban decay photographers and street photographers (see research: https://nkssite2.wordpress.com/category/a1-research/) and ultimately took some direction from Stephen Shore and Walker Evans on shooting the commonplace and documentary respectively. I felt I could only see what I saw, because I knew the local context, so was conscious of framing to convey the correct narrative for the viewer and added captions (usually present in documentary photography) to accentuate the truth I wanted to present; I hope the alterations I have made to the framing of a few of my images post tutor feedback have improved this. I would have liked to shoot in a more stylised way, such as art documentary, but wanted the images to have a clear narrative, whilst the reviving town shots would not have suited this style.

When editing I sought to give a coherent visual style to each series and chose images which had either good lines or angles, heightened attention on one object, a straight or interesting perspective and that framed the narrative correctly.  I have struggled to find artistic satisfaction in the images but I believe that they do document two stories that could be true.

References:

 M, J. (2009) Edgar Martins: How can I see what I see, until I know what I know? Available at: http://jmcolberg.com/weblog/2009/07/edgar_martins_how_can_i_see_what_i_see_until_i_know_what_i_know/ (Accessed: 24 October 2016).

Bibliography:

Cosgrove, B. (2012) “American photographs” by Walker Evans. Available at: http://time.com/50857/walker-evans-american-photographs/ (Accessed: 30 October 2016).

Golden, R. (2013) Masters of photography. 3rd edn. London: Sterling Pub Co.

 Information and maps of walks in the cardigan area and beyond (no date) Available at: http://www.visitcardigan.com/cardigan-tourist-information/walking-in-the-cardigan-area (Accessed: 25 October 2016).

 Mathew Merrett (no date) Available at: http://thephotomat.smallfolio.com/#galleries/decay/urban-decay (Accessed: 26 October 2016).

 O’Hagan, S. (2015b) Shady character: How Stephen Shore taught America to see in living colour. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/jul/09/stephen-shore-america-colour-photography-1970s (Accessed: 31 October 2016).

 Robinson, H. (2015) “Concern” as tenth charity shop opens in cardigan. Available at: http://www.tivysideadvertiser.co.uk/news/13624531._Concern__as_tenth_charity_shop_opens_in_Cardigan/?ref=mr&lp=3 (Accessed: 25 October 2016).

 Rossington, B. and Miller, C. (2016)The most deprived places have been revealed – how does your area compare? Available at: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/10-worst-deprived-places-england-6548105 (Accessed: 25 October 2016).

 Shore, S. (1984) Uncommon places. New York: Aperture,N.Y.

 Shore, S. (2010)The nature of photographs: A primer. 2nd edn. New York: Phaidon Press.

 Walker Evans (1903–1975) | essay | Heilbrunn Timeline of art history | the metropolitan museum of art (2000) Available at: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/evan/hd_evan.htm (Accessed: 30 October 2016).

ASSIGNMENT 1: TWO SIDES TO THE STORY

Niki South         Student number: 514516

REFLECTIONS ON FORMATIVE FEEDBACK

STRENGTHS HIGHLIGHTED

  • The research that I’d undertaken; I was especially pleased with this as my Expressing Your Vision feedback from assessors was that they’d like to see more research practice.
  • A strong collection of images providing a good answer to the brief.
  • A very good academic approach.
  • My own assessment of my work and images.
  • The layout and content of my learning log. 

AREAS FOR DEVELOPMENT

  • Ensure that I really select what is in the frame. This would probably have made the images more interesting which I struggled with.
  • Making sure that if my images are only slightly off centre or at an angle that it doesn’t look lazy; it wasn’t lazy it was deliberate but I understand that it may look like a “grabbed aesthetic”.
  • Using the ISO to my advantage e.g. to increase the shutter speed to avoid any camera shake.
  • Considering whether the horizon should be upright as in some shots I have lined the subject up by verticals instead.
  • Include more visual material in my research to support my text. I have deliberately reduced this as copyright issues have been raised by colleagues, however I will return to using more images to support my research but add this disclaimer I have attached to my homepage to every post that includes an image by another photographer or artist.

MY LEARNING POINTS

  • The most important message that I will take away from this assignment is to really consider what is in the frame, excluding what is less important and crop post shooting if necessary. I prefer to compose as I shoot, but I should consider cropping post shooting if necessary to ensure that the viewer is presented with the most powerful elements. I have now recropped several images to straighten them on the horizontal rather than the vertical (Boat builders Image 25, Unbuilt supermarket image 6, Penny Pinchers image 72, and Oxfam image 20) as well as to reduce extraneous material and focus the viewer on the important information (Castle image 51, Penny Pinchers image 72, Cinema Image 22 and Oxfam image 20). I have in fact substituted image 22 for image 20 of the cinemas as this allowed me to straighten and crop it more effectively. I thank my tutor for these suggestions which I can see have improved the images submitted.
  • I did consider substituting the post office image as I agree it does give a message of deprivation, however I don’t feel that there an image the declining series where the message contained in both the image and the accompanying text is not as strong; I also feel that each image in this series brings a slightly different message about deprivation.

Link to work submitted to tutor: https://nkssite2.wordpress.com/category/a1-work-submitted-to-tutor/

Link to learning log: https://nkssite2.wordpress.com/category/a1-learning-log/

These mind maps summarise the narrative of my planning, post shooting thoughts and editing notes contained in the learning log: 

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