This week I had some friends that were performing at a charity concert and thought that stepping into the spotlight would be a good interpretation of the Into the Light part of my assignment.
They already had an official photographer at the event but I was given permission to take some photographs as well. I wanted to take some close ups of the performers faces and as I knew I wasn’t going to be able to move around during the concert I found a seat close to the front and set up there.
The gig was held a small room, lit only by candle light and the lights from the stage which changed colour from time to time. I had to use a high ISO, to prevent the need for long shutter speeds and blur, that has given the images a bit of grain which I quite like.
Edward Burtynsky is a renowned Canadian fine art / documentary photographer whose work documents man’s devastating effect on our world. His very large photographs of sweeping landscapes are stunningly beautiful but also somewhat uncomfortable to look at.
In his photos I can see a clear influence from people like Ansel Adams whose landscapes, particularly of Yosemite National Park are breathtaking.
His latest work, simply entitled Water, launched in 2013 explores our relationship with water, our attempts to harness its power and the scale of our effect on the landscape. Most of Burtynsky’s photographs are taken from high vantage points, giving a ‘not usually seen view of the landscape.
I found several aspects particularly striking. This image of houses that have been built into a lake disturbs me somewhat. The sky reflecting in the water looks like oil and says something to me about the way humans are rapidly multiplying but water is a finite resource that we take for granted and don’t respect and pour so much of our waste into it.
There is a market for waterfront properties that we are exploiting in this building project. I don’t doubt that there is tremendous skill that goes into a building project like this but to what effect. Burtynsky could be criticised for being overly political with his photography or lecturing viewers about things they already know, after all who hasn’t heard of global warming? But I think it is the scale of damage that we fail to comprehend and that Burtynsky highlights so well in these images.
Other pictures in this series include photographs of the Gulf of Mexico taken while BP’s Deepwater Horizon well was pouring oil into the sea, the affects of drought on the landscape and how agriculture and water are so closely linked.
In Burtynsky’s Quarries collection, this image of a stone quarry in Rajasthan, India, not only highlights how we are changing our physical landscape but is more worrying when you find out the lack of safety precautions at the site and the number of people who die in places like this on a monthly basis.
Other projects look at the effect of our need for oil, mining, ship breaking and mass consumerism and manufacturing. More of his work can be seen at www.edwardburtynsky.com
I’m really interested to see how Burtynsky views his work and whether his images actually make a difference and change the way we use our environment. In these films Burtynsky talks about his work, his methods and his thoughts behind his projects.
A histogram is astatisticalgraphthatrepresentsthefrequencyofvaluesofa quantitybyverticalrectanglesofvaryingheightsandwidths.The widthoftherectanglesisinproportiontotheclassintervalunder consideration,andtheirareasrepresenttherelativefrequencyofthe phenomenoninquestion (Dictionary.com).
My camera’s light meter measures how many light and dark pixels (luminosity) there are in a scene and displays them as a histogram. The blackest pixels, or the shadows, are displayed on the left, the whitest pixels, or the highlights, are displayed on the right and the other shades in between in a 256 step scale. The midtones, displayed at 18% grey are in the centre. The taller the graph is, the more pixels of that tone are in the image.
If a pixel is totally black it will be shown against the left axis and it cannot be corrected in Photoshop or Lightroom. If a pixel is totally white it will be shown against the right axis and again it cannot be corrected. This is called clipping and is best avoided.
If the photo being taken is under-exposed the histogram will be mostly to the left, if it is over-exposed it will be mostly to the right. A correct exposure displays a histogram with a good range of shades throughout.
It is always worth checking the histogram on the camera to see if all of the tones are where they are expected to be. Low key images should display a histogram with most of the tones to the left and a high key image should display a histogram with most of the tones to the right. Cameras try to automatically produce photographs with a good range of midtones so particularly when taking low key and high key images exposure settings may need to be adjusted manually.
Histograms also give an indication of the amount of contrast there is in a photograph. A narrow histogram generally reflects an image with less contrast while a broad histogram has more contrast. Contrast has darker shadows and brighter highlights to ‘pull out’ texture in an image.
For the Things in a Pile element of the Interpretations assignment I chose to take a photo of my ironing in a pile.
In the picture, there are several piles of ironing and I have added other piles of different things hidden around the room too. There are some biscuits in the bottom left, slippers on the floor, blankets on the window seat, videos on the television cabinet, conkers on the corner of the rug (to keep any spiders away) and on the edge of the mantle you can just see a pile of coasters with my Slinkachu figures sitting around.
On the television you can just see Iron Man playing. Not being keen on this chore I’d rather see a superhero called Ironing Man but I’ll take what I can get!
I took this photograph using the natural light from the window, converted it to black and white and tweaked up the contrast ever so slightly.
Under the heading of Red Ball, I wanted to photograph something that was red and round but not necessarily a ball.
I’ve been meaning to take some photographs that I could use on my Christmas cards so I’ve started with a red bauble. Of all the photographs I have taken today these are my favourites.
The photos are ok to be used on my Christmas cards but I’m not sure that they are creative enough for my assignment. I’ll post one of them to the assignment page for now, but I hope to do something a little more creative before the assignment is due to be complete.