Assignment Three

Introduction

Following the creation of my 2 week diary I used it as a springboard to explore and say something about my own mind, nature and landscape. I found in my diary I spent a lot of time reflecting inwards and spending time in the woods. I like to think of it as a journey through my mind both physically and psychologically. There are some metaphors and symbols. There are 12 shots, like 12 steps, with a final concluding shot. The captions lend to the journey. I think of a journey on a trail a bit like walking through your own mind. I have found in life if I’m feeling lost, my mind is cluttered or I’m really anxious I head out on the trail, into the woods and I rediscover myself. I am centred again.

Influence

I had viewed a number of images by Vivian Maier in the book Self Portraits. I liked the way she explored her mind in the images. She had a unique way of putting herself in the frame in different ways. There is something uneasy and unsettling. In some of her images she used reflection or her shadow and sometimes a sort of double exposure effect which really interested me, exploring the multi layered aspect of the mind. This led to me creating that final shot which is a layered composition of 2 shots; a portrait shot layered over the top of a shot looking into the woods.

I have also touched on a really great self help book, which has helped me over the years by Susan Jeffers called ‘Feel the Fear and Do it anyway. When I feel uncertain I often refer back to the book for hints and tips but the overarching title just sums up that it’s OK to feel fear, you embrace it and you do it anyway. There are hints and nods towards this ethos in the series of shots, particularly the first shot and the shot where I’m looking at the tower.

Reflecting back on the images I think there is an unconscious philosophical element to the series of shots too. I find the links between the mind and nature, mother earth really powerful. We are so disconnected from nature in our busy life it’s really important to reconnect with the earth.

Reflection

I thought a lot about composition within the frame, what to include and exclude were really important within this assignment for me. Its about me but the landscape and environment are the other subjects of the photos.

I read the book Understanding Composition’ by Bryan Peterson which gave me some tips on composition and technique.

I have experimented with a number of different viewpoints within the assignment and really looked to explore who I am and what I want to say as an individual. I wanted to say something about myself but not make it blunt and direct. I want the viewer to think a little and work for it but still try to deliver a message using the visual language of photography.

I did question the boot shot a number of times – all the other shots are landscape orientation and the boot shot is portrait. I’m still a little unsure to be honest if it works or not, hopefully my tutor will give me some feedback on this. I have heard some people say for a coherent story all of the shots should be of the same orientation but I’m not sure I really agree with that myself.

I’m aware there are quite a lot of shots in the series, 13 in total. I am curious what my tutor thinks about this, are there too many shots? I will be interested to hear what he thinks.

One of my favourite shots is the vertigo shot looking up the tower. This took a number of attempts but it was created by looking up the tower from the inside and by twisting the focal ring either forwards or backwards. I like the way it turned out.

I did drop a number of shots which I had taken in Black and White and a different layered photograph. I like the shots but I didn’t really want to mix B & W with colour shots.

I do like my final prints but if I’m totally honest I’m still not 100% sure I know what I’m doing with prints. Maybe my tutor can give me some pointers? I used a company on line where I could upload my images and view them before sending them off. I have found my local printers are just far too expensive. This experience may come with time along with trial and error.

I feel I have again stepped out of my comfort zone with this assignment and explored new possibilities for me.

My favourite image is the last photograph, I feel this worked really well and I like the way the two images blend together to summarise the whole set.

I really enjoyed this assignment, it was a lot of hard work and took longer than I had planned but it was fun to experiment with ideas that I would never have normally photographed.

Reference:

  • Bright, S, 2010. Auto Focus: The Self-Portrait in Contemporary Photography. 0. Thames & Hudson Ltd.
  • Jeffers, S. 2007. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. Revised edition. Vermilion.
  • Maier, V. 2013. Self Portrait.
  • Peterson, B. 2012 Understanding Composition Field Guide: How to See and Photograph Images with Impact. Amphoto Books.

Individual images:

1

1. I feel trapped like I’m in a self constructed prison. I need to get out of here today. I’m scared if I step outside I’ll get sucked off the earth. What was it Susan Jeffers said “Feel the fear and do it anyway”

2 Time for the well worn trusty boots DSC_6934

2. Time for some courage and the well worn trusty boots

3

3. Getting on the trail. Am I alone here or is there someone else?

4 There's been a murder here, they killed the trees DSC_7026

4. There’s been a murder here, they killed the trees. Like stolen memories.

5 I wish you were here today my love DSC_7039

5. I wish you were here today my love, to keep me company

6 But I don't think you're real

6. But I know you’re not real. I’ll see you tonight.

7

7. The tortured and the slain like old memories cast aside.

8 Onwards DSC_7041

8. Sometimes the only way out of your mind is straight through.

9 I need to climb up this bastard but I'm shit scared of heights DSC_7199

9. I need to climb up this bastard but I’m shit scared of heights, I’m shit scared of so many things. Fear is just a thought process. Every day is a challenge but you have to keep moving forward, looking up and never giving up.

10 Inside the tower I look up and I'm overcome by vertigo but I need to do this DSC_7177

10. Inside the tower I look up and I’m overcome by vertigo and fear but I need to do this. Transformation is a multi layered transition through time and space.

11 Triumph, from up here I can see everything clearly DSC_7161

11. Triumph; from up here I can see everything clearly. I can see everything behind me and everything in front of me. I can see where I have been and where I’m going.

12

12. In reflection it wasn’t that bad after all, the fear of something is often worse than the thing itself.

Conclusion

Conclusion Self Portrait: The woods are like a construct of my mind where I go to find myself again.

Click for larger images:

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