Comments on Assignments 1 and 2

Assignment One: Photograph two people at work;

Working with unfamiliar camera and often over/underexposed photos resulted. I met Richard, a car mechanic, who told me all about the welding he was doing whilst the radio in his garage fuzzed in and out of tune. I also photographed Derek, a cobbler, who used to visit the café where I worked. He would arrive at about 3.30pm, after the lunch rush was well over, order a latte and talk to my boss. I think he was the only person who could make my boss feel relaxed. He even had some fashion knowledge and would inform of which designer was coming to which store next, which cheered her up. Anyway, I was very dissatisfied with the photos. Need to improve attention to framing.

Assignment Two: Street Photography;

Tried to work with my film camera which was not such a good idea as I suffered from a lack of choice in the final edit and made some really simple mistakes with alignments and framing. I guess I was just feeling anxious about the whole thing. When you start to take yourself seriously at something you start to realise how bad you are at it and how much you have to learn. Which is a good thing in the end.
So anyway, I went to London Bridge and looked at the tourists. I saw a Russian Orthodox priest walking along the riverfront, his black cape massive in the wind. He had two toughs with him. Every now and then he would stop and take a photo of The Thames with his phone. He would’ve made a great photo and I chased them for a while but he was moving pretty fast for a large old man in a sail and I just couldn’t get it.
For a while I watched businessmen smoke and talk on their phones. Looking at their black coats, black shoes, black suits, black suitcases, I started to think about the importance of black in London. The corporate power black has. The first few times I came to London I was shocked to see so much black, it seemed like everyone wore black. I started to try and take photos along this theme, and I started to think about how black means so many things to Londoners – black is like sexy lingerie and high heels, black is style and design, black is conformist and toned down and sometimes black is the opposite of toned down – like when you see punks in their leathers in Camden or Goths with the black lipstick, black hair, black clothes. Black is smoke and coal and pollution – when I ride the bus home I pass through a Victorian built tunnel and the brick is black with the fumes from the traffic. Black reminds me of London’s industrial history, and the new money-making organ is coloured black too – the shining black fronts of the banks, the black suits and black shoes of the bankers. I guess it’s something I’m going to keep working on.
Then some man in ridiculous shorts came up to me and asked if I wanted to join a free laughter therapy session that was being filmed for Channel 4. This seemed like a good street photo opportunity so I did join in. The session involved a lot of waving your hands around and practicing different kinds of laugh, sometimes in strangers’ faces. The theory seemed to be that none of us laugh enough in our lives and we’re all stressed but laughing is good for us so we’ve got to just loosen up and cackle at each other. Personally, I think I laugh quite a lot. Maybe I laugh too easily. I really find a lot of things really funny. Anyway, unchanged by the therapy, I got some nearly good photos but felt that I didn’t get that perfect shot.

What I learnt: GET A DIGITAL SLR. Think more carefully about framing. Although, I don’t think I made such dumb mistakes before, but maybe I just wasn’t noticing them.

Above is one photo that I liked. It was along that idea of ‘black’ in London and what the colour means to people. Also, I had been looking at a lot of Tichy’s photos and thinking about the voyeuristic figuring of the female body and the sometimes fine line between exposure and revelation.


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