Make a Google Images search for ‘landscape’, ‘portrait’, or any ordinary subject such as ‘apple’ or ‘sunset’. Add a screen-grab of a representative page to your learning log and note down the similarities you find between the images.
Now take a number of your own photographs of the same subject, paying special attention to the ‘Creativity’ criteria at the end of Part One.
You might like to make the subject appear ‘incidental’, for instance by using juxtaposition, focus or framing.
Or you might begin with the observation of Ernst Haas, or the ‘camera vision’ of Bill Brandt.
Add a final image to your learning log, together with a selection of preparatory shots.
In your notes describe how your photograph differs from your Google Images source images of the same subject.
For this exercise I decided to make my subject Bicycles, the most common form of transport on Earth.
When I searched for images they all appeared to come from catalogues and web sites selling them.
To differentiate my photo’s I had to search for the unusual or different in order to stand out.
I went out at different times of day using various focal lengths to achieve my goals.
As you can see from the majority of these shots most are taken side on and under good lighting conditions.
They are product photo’s, informative but very bland.
Only three show people with their bicycles.
Awaiting an owner
My top pick……
Contact sheet 1
Contact sheet 2
For this exercise I looked at photographers such as Rut Bleeses night shots of London, Tony Ray Jones, Brassei and Sato Shintaro.
None of which fit my particular subject very well.
The problem if it can be called that, is an ordinary subject is Ordinary.
Subjects such as Apples and sunsets have been done so often that it’s hard to come up with something different.
This statement from the OCA course sums the issue up nicely.
“While we’re not expecting you to go to Japan to photograph Mount Fuji, the difficulty of seeing something in an original way confronts every artist and photographer.
The problem isn’t so much the iconographic subject – after all, it’s often said that the whole world has been photographed.
It’s rather an expectation of how a photograph of a particular subject should look”.
Rob Bloomfield, Expressing your vision, page 94, OCA 2014.
I’m still not satisfied that I have produced images that show my chosen subject in a way that is more interesting and different from those of my screen grab.
I tried by changing the angle of view as well as varying the time of day and showed the bicycle in its more natural state, not the pristine environment of a catalogue.
Do they succeed at the Creative criteria for the course, maybe; the shadow image does.
This was a very interesting exercise that posed the problem of making the normal seem interesting or by making images that are different to the norm.
The problem with my chosen subject is that they don’t stand of their own accord, they must be held in place by something else.
This limited the opportunity for variation on the theme, unless they were being ridden they were locked to a post or bike stand.
The slightly zoomed in shots of the handlebars, the broken wheel and chain still are recognisable as bicycles but are different from the Googled images.