Use your camera as a measuring device.
This doesn’t refer to the distance scale on the focus ring(!).
Rather, find a subject that you have an empathy with and take a
sequence of shots to ‘explore the distance between you’.
Add the sequence to your learning log, indicating which is your ‘select’ – your best shot.
When you review the set to decide upon a ‘select’, don’t evaluate the shots just according to the idea you had when you took the photographs; instead evaluate it by what you discover within the frame (you’ve already done this in Exercise 1.4).
In other words, be open to the unexpected. In conversation with the author, the photographer Alexia Clorinda expressed this idea in the following way:
Look critically at the work you did by including what you didn’t
mean to do. Include the mistake, or your unconscious, or whatever
you want to call it, and analyse it not from the point of view of your
intention, but because it is there.
For this exercise I wanted to explore the idea that I was an outsider looking in.
I also wanted to vary the distances and focal lengths to show how far or close I relate to the subject.
I went out over two nights to get shots of reflections in windows aswell as anything else that could reflect the idea of an outsider looking in.
On the first night I took my 70 – 200 f 2.8 and on the second my 200 – 500 f 5.6 and a monopod.
I often put my camera into continuous high so that I could image stack to remove noise in post processing.
Don’t go there…
Outside looking in.
I selected this shot because it portrays part of the journey from homelessness through the grimy window to reconstructing your life.
I selected image 16 because it shows the emptiness of time passing by and image 39 because it shows my intended path of getting a photographic degree.
Image 11 shows what I avoided unlike many homeless.
Image 16 gave me a feeling of the lonely and anonymous journey I took.
Image 8 was selected because it shows re-training for a different stage of life.
No selection from this sheet.
This one really isn’t the selection, I used median image stacking using all similar shots to portray the jostling crowd and reduce the noise of the image ; this one is my select.
I selected this image because I thought it was someone looking out of their window, turned out to be a bust wearing a beanie hat.
I selected this because it shows a feeling of loneliness.
For this exercise I didn’t research a photographer or any other artist.
I got inspiration from my old journal.
Below is a copy of my thoughts from my learning log.
Part of the brief for exercise 5.1 is the following:
“Use your camera as a measuring device. This doesn’t refer to the distance scale on the focus ring(!).
Rather, find a subject that you have an empathy with and take a
sequence of shots to ‘explore the distance between you’.”
Sometime after reading this I happened across my old journal I wrote for the three months I was homeless.
This homelessness went on for nearly three months during the most deplorable weather Oxford has ever experienced, from November 2013 through to February 2014.
The notes in this journal took me back to the bleakest time in my life.
In it were my feelings toward fellow campers, the hunger, the desperation and the loneliness.
Colorado, an American student who saved his money by living in a family sized tent that blew down and leaked often and Cat Weasel an older homeless gentleman who wasn’t all there if you know what I mean.
These and more helped me retain my sanity.
I have to mention here an experience I had at 7 am. Christmas morning.
Two young Scandinavian students stopped across the street from me, not another soul to be seen; took off their hats and started singing a Christmas carol.
Their voices were angelic and echoed from the surrounding buildings.
It was very moving, once finished they donned their hats, smiled at me and carried on their journey.
It was an incredible experience to say the least and I was the only person there to appreciate their fine singing.
This journal then gave me the idea of measuring how far I have come since then but it didn’t seem to fit the narrative very well.
Maybe I can explore something more specific that I noted down.
I’ll give it some more thought over the weekend.
Well I gave it more thought and decided upon the subject of an outsider looking in.
Looking on the WWW I came across this article in Psychology today which deals with Highly Sensitive People .
“As one highly sensitive person put it recently, it’s like being an outsider looking in.
Life as a HSP feels very much like pushing your nose against the glass that separates you from society and all you can do is watch and wonder how they do it and how you can ever get in”.
Deborah ward, On The Outside Looking In, Finding the balance between community and sensitivity.
Psychology today October 16 2011.
It doesn’t entirely relate to homelessness but the overall feeling of the article felt strangely familiar.
I like my first image very much, it shows a contrast between the dark and cold outside to the warm glow of the interior.
There’s also a contrast between the circles on the window and the straight lines and squareness of the interior.
The grimy window also adds a certain atmosphere that adds depth of feeling to the shot.
The second image of the chair and clock has a feeling of time passing to it.
From the empty chair to the Earthy tones.
It’s a photograph taken through the window of an interior decorating business and this I think explains the balance within the image.
The image of the Police and their van isn’t as strong an image as the others but did fit into the story I was trying to tell, I did like their faces being framed by the window.
The image of the man using his phone at a table to me is a powerful scene.
Many a time I was connected to distant friends via the cafes WiFi.
The space around him gives the feeling of loneliness and his expression suggests that all is not right in his world.
The shot of the bust in the window was included because I thought it was someone looking out, as it was on the 6th. floor of a block of flats I didn’t know until I processed the image that it was a bust wearing a beanie hat.
The man on the bus image has many reflections, coloured lights and isn’t what I’d consider a perfect technical image.
But it does have feeling and begs the question “where are you going and where have you been ?” .
The bartenders shot was taken because of the interaction between the three people, that and the fact I was outside looking in.
The last two images really portray my journey to date.
From outside and not belonging to having and working a plan.
The pub was again a median stacked image, I knew the crowd would move and I wanted this to express the chaos of their interaction.
What I didn’t expect was that some of them would remain still despite the jostling that was going on.
This to me makes the image and is therefore my choice or select.
The final image portrays my photographic journey, I’m outside taking photo’s and aiming for my degree.
This is my state of the art at the moment.
It almost made it as my choice for this exercise because of the content but also because I hadn’t noticed the reflection of the traffic lights upon the poster which look like they were part of the original photographers image.
I found this exercise more liberating than some of the past.
Mainly because it was up to me to come up with the subject and how it was treated.
If I had not found my old journal and the idea it gave me it may have been more difficult to conceptualize.
As it is I feel I have completed this exercise with more confidence than some of the previous ones.
I have also started to let go of the technical aspects of photography and let the inner me shine through more.
I’m no longer going to fixate on noise and levelling etc. to the extent I have been doing and concentrate more on the subject and what I intend for a given image.