T7 – Photography Evaluation The photographs I have submitted as my final pieces were all taken at Nunnington Hall on the date
of the class trip. I chose the theme of architecture and based my images around showing the buildings in both natural and artificial conditions, in order to put forward a certain artistic image in the house and grounds. Visual Language With my photographs I have used a wide variety of angles, shapes and architectural viewpoints to showcase the building in its natural form but also bring out certain cues in the structure, such as windows, doors, archways and decorative motifs. In addition to this, I have experimented with several vintage style effects that have taken advantage of the building’s timeless exterior and lack of modern clutter, which would render such filters anachronistic. Such effects include a sepia toning and use of an old paper texture to give the effect of an old, worn photograph. These images also used a slight vignette to give the illusion of being taken with an older camera. I was inspired by Albert Levy’s work with the vintage effects, whose Victorian era photographs greatly resembled the techniques I have used above. The other images were presented in both colour and in black and white. I used black and white to highlight some of my exterior shots because removing the colour in some images can make the subject appear very dominating and harsh, making structural aspect stand much more than they did in colour. It is also able to artificially manipulate the image’s weather, creating quite a gloomy, overcast mood. On the other hand, using intensified and saturated colour has made the images appear much more warm and friendly, which was particularly useful in some of my shots that appeared slightly drab and grey thanks to the cloudy day on which they were taken. I have used cropping in several of my images to remove unwanted subjects and to bring in main aspects into the center, using the rule of thirds. One example of this is my long-range shot of the exterior house, which was cropped and adjusted to bring the building directly into the center. One criticism I can think of with my chosen effects is the lack of a universal style employed in my final submission. I can imagine that my set of photographs would have felt much more uniform and stylish had they all employed the black & white or vintage filters. I also think that I could have used a bigger variation of subjects, perhaps using some of the stonework in the gardens or more interior shots.
Audience The audience of my photographs is, in my opinion, quite specific. Usually architectural photographs are used on a professional basis, in draft work and surveying, but it is not uncommon to see such photographs featuring in magazines and galleries as buildings have always been quite a popular subject for photography thanks to their portrayal of human achievement. I’ve found that most people in architectural fields are male, in their 30s to 60s and this is where I have aimed, using a mature and sensible style of photography to appeal to this audience. The intended context of my images was to be appearing a magazine, book or publication, aimed at documenting the house and grounds using different effects to show it in alternate moods. These photographs could also be used to document the location for historical, educational and tourist significance, and as such the respective audiences of each would be included, such as students, historians, individuals with an interest in history, and tourists, both local and foreign. Historical and cultural context I believe that my work, having been taken using a modern camera and edited with current programs is able to fit into modern-day publications as contemporary or ‘retro’ art thanks to the usage of retro and black/white filters. These effects were inspiration from Victorian photographer Albert Levy and present day New York photographer Ty Cole, who is a user of HDR and black/white filters. I used these filters to show the house and grounds in a different light, as well as showing them in their respective time period, which would be in a time where sepia photographs would be used, as colour photography had not been invented. Thanks to the lack of modern aspects in several of my images, they could easily be seen as timeless and would be very similar if not identical to a photography that was taken using the same spot I shot from. Also inspired was the camera angles I have used in my shots. Albert Levy was fond of using full shots of the buildings he photographed, not focusing on a stylish or artistic aspect but was intending to document the entirety of the building. Modern photographers of architecture like Hélène Binet choose to go for angles and edges, giving their shots a very stylistic approach.
Intentions and fitness for purpose My intentions for my set of photographs were to document the house and grounds in both natural and artificial light, featuring close ups of detail and interesting features. I would say that I accomplished this within a good margin as the majority of my final images show off the house in black and white to create a gloomy yet dominating atmosphere, with factors like shutter speed and aperture helping to illuminate the darker areas and using a tripod to acquire more stable photos with a longer shutter speed. The close-up photos I took, such as the lion rug, have in my opinion turned out to be quite effective in showcasing some interesting features of the house although a couple of people have said that this photograph was very out of place in my set. I will agree with this as the remaining photos are all focused on the interior and exterior, but I will keep this photo as it displays one of the main features of the hall’s stone guest room. As architectural photos my photographs are successful because the theme is comprised of the house and its surrounding, showing intricate and detailed aspects of the construction as well as the overall structure. If my images were to be used professionally, it is likely that they could be seen in official publications, like a website, guide or leaflet and I believe they are suitable for this. Many of my images are clear and give good overall views of the house, making them ideal for tourist publications. However, I think that black and white effects may be a little unsuitable for leaflets, as the lack of colour could give tourists the wrong idea about the feel of the house and grounds. Overall I am very satisfied with my intended purpose but believe that I could have tailored my choice of colour more to make these images visually appealing. Final Images The collection of images I have chosen from my camera roll have been selected because their clarity, positioning, angle and relevance. I have particularly gone for images that features angles for objects that one would not expect, such as the garden’s main gate opposite the house. Other images have included different facades of the house, a couple of interior shots and architectural aspects of the building itself. I have found that most of my images were of the correct exposure and focus, but a lot were simply too dark or shaky to have been of any use, likely because of the extremely fast shutter speed and the room’s lighting. Use of a tripod however allowed me to capture a good set of interior shots without the risk of shake or blur. There was also the aesthetic side, and I omitted a lot of images that were of awkward angles or of subjects that were not relevant to my chosen purpose, such as a peacock.
With the images I chose, they have all been of an acceptable exposure. For example, my shot of one of the bigger bedrooms seen here is one of my best photographs as there is no blur, shake and the colour is very warm and inviting. The only problem I can think of with this image is that the column on the left has been slightly distorted, thanks to the shape of the lens. The shot itself was also slightly tilted, but this was easily rectified in Photoshop. This kind of exposure was what I wanted for all of my interior shots, but thanks to many factors including windows (some were not able to be opened for the sake of conservation) space and room, I was not able to produce optimal shots. Concerning the aesthetic qualities with an image such as the one above, I believe it is one of my higher quality images with a great use of colour. The lamps give off a warm, welcoming glow and the saturation is kept to a normal level, so the furniture or decorations don’t appear overly colour but at the same time, not monotone or gloomy. Technical Competence During this unit I have been able to control a variety of settings on a camera that I wasn’t able to do before, having little prior knowledge of photography beforehand. I learned how to change the ISO and how it affects pictures, how to change the aperture and how to set timers and different effects. Because of this I was able to shoot some very nice interior photographs with a tripod, which eliminated shake and blur when set to a timer. I also learned how to choose the right settings for a dark environment, to ensure that photographs came out visible and without noise. White balance was also used to set an image’s tone when I intended to cast a photograph under a different mood. With some of the photos I wanted quite a welcoming feeling, so I was able to use white balance to improve the colours. Creative Ability With this project I feel as if I have become somewhat more creative from selecting and editing my images. This is because I feel as if a certain sense of creativity was vital to choose the best looking and most useful photographs, and also some inspiration to begin editing them to my intended purpose. Learning new things during this project allowed me to better express my intentions using different settings on the camera, such as toning, white balance and exposures. Also learning how to do some new things on Photoshop allowed me to bring out the best in my images, using some more advanced techniques.
While my initial research into existing architectural photographers was limited to just two individuals I found that I took a great deal of inspiration from them. Albert Levy for example inspired me to experiment with Photoshop’s filter to create several vintage looking photographs, creating the illusion that they might have been taken many years ago. This worked particularly well as it was just the house and grounds; there was nothing from our time that detracted from the scene. If I were to improve the creative aspect of my work, next time I would like to use several different effects instead of just relying on a set number. Also, I would like to make my colours more varied, and perhaps sharpen up and improve the quality of my images. Time Management I believe that I kept to good time during this project. I managed to get all of the separate tasks completed on time to a good standard and was able to complete everything I set out to do. I managed this by planning my time carefully and pacing myself, such as when a lot of writing is required I took my time and did not rush it through. Using this method I completed my work to a good standard and found that I had some time left over.