People and the Environment – Living on Water in an Urban Landscape – Short list

My research has led me to explore contrast, colour, but above all, narrative through the final submission for project 1 ‘People and the Environment’.  Choosing a subject which gave me the most photographic opportunities was key, in being able to provide a narrative to the shots.  Following my ‘Don’t give up’ moment, I settled on shooting ‘Living on Water in an Urban Landscape’.  While not a particularly provocative subject, I felt my research and development in photography was best supported through choosing a more simple subject which could allow me to develop the ideas that have hit home the most over the last few months.

Most of the photographers I have researched have used medium format cameras to allow various facets of their respective work to be best demonstrated to the viewer.  Shooting with a digital SLR, I decided to use a medium focal length prime lens as this would have far fewer elements, providing greater colour saturation and tonal range.

Armed with a 135mm lens (only 4 elements) from the 1970s and a modern day wide angle (so I could revert to my photographic comfort blanket), I headed for Little Venice, close to Paddington station in London.  My aim was to provide a narrative to the back drop of life on water (Adams, Koudelka, Freeman) but explore contrast and colour (Eggleston, McCurry, Lachapelle).  I was minded of Cartier-Bresson’s comments of a splice of time and the rather melancholy moralistic view ‘On Photography’ of Sontag as I travelled closer to the waterways.  Below are the shortlist shots from that day:

In exploring the themes of contrast, colour and narrative the latter has posed the biggest challenge, but something which can’t be ignored, and ultimately pleased to have grappled with.  This particular element of a cohesive work is embodied and second nature to all those artists I have explored and feel those shots in the submission shortlist are cohesive, with the exception of the sunset landscape shot (my preferred area stylistically and in this case not a great image anyway).  As I started reviewing the shots for submission, I became acutely aware of how my photography is changing.  The narrative through the shortlist has been a success for me personally as I came to terms with this crucial concept.  In the final submission post for the first project, I will reference my research on narrative, colour and contrast and evaluate the shots for submission in this context.

Criteria 2,3,4,5

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