Activity 11: Exhibition Critique (Visual Communication)

The objective of this activity is to gain experience in critiquing photography.

I have decided to visit an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Australia). The exhibition I visited is called: Volume One: MCA Collection and it is dedicated to exhibiting, collecting and intepreting the work of today’s artists. There is a work from Australian contemporary artists. There are paintings, photographs, sculptures, objects, video’s, text pictures and other interesting work. The purpose of this assignment is to critique a work of photography exhibition. There were four photographers having their work on display – Tim Johnson, Tracey Moffatt, Tom Nicholson and Rafaat Ishak but the two last photographers are displaying their photographs together as a Proposition for a banner.

Description (what is here and what is it about?): each of these three layouts of different authors have completely different style and are placed at different rooms around the exhibition among other artwork. First photographs by Tim Johnson are very small colored prints placed in batches in three frames (one frame includes about 16 photographs – 4×6 inches) and are representing a series of photographs of Papunya which is a small Indigenous Australian community about 240km northwest from Alice Springs in the Northern Territory taken 1982. It shows the life of the community but also includes photographs of the author with the local people. Second series are larger photographs (8x12inches) photographed by Tracey Moffatt in 1977. They are mix of colored and black and white photographs of people in the streets or landscape itself. Some photos are very powerful like the one where people are standing on the street in their nightclothes looking very scared. Since there is no more description to the photographs it is hard to tell where is it from. Each photo is powerful in its composition and objects shown. One of the last photos shows a small crowd of boys where one is approaching the photographer looking very angry, this one really . The third part is represented by work of two artists and was placed in a separate room all around as a banner – and it is called Proposition of a banner march and a black cube hot air baloon and it is a mix of different black and white photographs that’s been developed by both photographers during 2003 – 2012. They refer to hot air ballooning and street protests. They are printed on regular paper and the print is not the best quality. It is referring to a work that may or may not be finally produced so it is not just about the photographs but about the whole project.

My opinion: I really enjoyed the work of Tracey Moffatt as I do like bigger prints where you can see more. This is a bit that for me brings down the work of Tim Johnson. These were just old photographs in small prints of not the best quality nor color, but on the other hand interesting captures. They were very descriptive, they could be also described as ethically evaluative as they show some social aspects of the community life. Work of Tracey Moffatt is also descriptive but definitely interpretative as involves personal point of view to think of the story that might be behind the photographs. It could also be described as ethically evaluative as lots of the photos raise a question about the situation – soldiers standing on a car, girl standing alone in front of a big gate etc. Work of Tom Nicholson and Rafaat is very interesting project but I personally do not enjoy work printed on regular paper even though I understand the approach. They are descriptive but also interpretative in a way of telling a story about the balloon. Because of the protests they are documenting they could be also taken under category ethically evaluative.

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© Gina D Photo 2014

 

Activity 10: Interview questions for a photographer (VC)

The objective of this activity is to gain experience in ways to understand other photographer’s work and post a minimum of 6 question on the blog (the questions should invoke extensive answers, not one word yes or no in order to gain a real understanding of another photographer’s work and the for reason for creating it).

1. Where do you get your inspiration from?

2. What is your main suggestion for setting up a composition and lighting?

3. What do you think is the most important element to attract new clients?

4. What was your most difficult shoot and how did you overcome the obstructions?

5. What was the most influential moment of your career that has affected your business growth?

6. What is your approach to social media and how do you engage your audience?

Activity 9: Moral Rights and Copyright in Photography (VC)

The objective of this activity is to develop an understanding of moral rights and copyright in regards to the photographic industry.

copyright-petra

 Scenario 1:

Use of a photo on someone’s blog without giving me a credit for being the original photographer

To use someone’s photograph it is still publishing the photo online. And the photographer is entitled to moral rights, therefore he should be credited by the photo. Blog is followed by different people and therefore this is a published work. I would suggest to contact the author immediately with the reference to the Australian Copyright Council which states that when the work is published its author has the right to be attributed unless subject to any consent or reasonableness defence. Blog does not have to be set up for commercial purposes but the user should still respect moral rights of authors of photographs he is using.

Scenario 2:
Wedding photos shown on a display of a printing shop without my consent (photographer) and the owner of the shop is claiming that the couple shown on the photograph agreed for this photo to be on display.

When a photographer is commissioned to take any domestic photos (wedding, engagement, other events, portrait, etc.) then the customer owes the copyright unless it is stated otherwise in the Service Agreement signed between the photographer and his client. If the agreement gives any specific rules how displaying and publishing a photograph should be treated, then the customer might have breached the conditions agreed. If the agreement does not allow publishing without crediting the photographer, then I would ask the owner of the shop to add my name (name of my studio) on the photograph. There should always be a signed agreement with the client to avoid situations like this and have some documentation stating the rights of each party clearly.

Scenario 3:
Advertising photo being used for more than agreed purposes (on a tram, in international magazines)

In this third scenario the photographs made for a client are used for other purposes then agreed in a signed Service Agreement. This is definitely a breach of the law and I would immediately get in touch with my lawyer to initiate an investigation. Especially for commercial purposes there are strict rules clearly stated in a contract and governed by the law. After the investigation I would request that the layer contacts the company and start a mediation. If the company would not settle for some financial compensation and agreement to take the photographs off or pay for their future usage, this matter should be taken to the court.

For more information about COPYRIGHTS of not only photographs please visit the following website: http://www.copyright.org.au/find-an-answer/browse-by-what-you-do/photographers/
 

Activity 8: Authenticity (VC)

The objective of this activity is to gain an understanding of the importance of authenticity in photography and what the ramifications are when it is challenged. Give an example of two photographs that have been challenged.

With the development of software the question “can photos still be trusted” arises more often and authenticity of a photograph is now a well known problem. There are even some companies, like the Fourandsix, who concentrate of developing software that will help to examine the authenticity of a photograph. But what is actually meant by the authenticity? There has been many cases of published photographs that were manipulated. Manipulating the truth might have a large impact on a social, political and other public views or cause misunderstanding or civil litigations. Manipulation can be achieved by adding or increasing contrast of elements in a photo, placing two images together while leaving only some features of each in a final image or leaving some elements of the photo out (great example was a cigarette taken off of one of the photos of the Beatles).

Example 1:

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New Tork Newsday. 1994. Fire on Ice.
Available: http://www.fourandsix.com/photo-tampering-history/?currentPage=3

 

This photograph was taken/created in 1994 before Olympics figure skating competition and represents two rival skaters showing them as they practiced together on a cover of New York Newsday in . This photo has been manipulated and it has been published right after an attack to one of them by associate of the other’s husband. So of course this raised a big interested of a public and helped the magazine to get the attention of their buyers as no one would expect them to practice together. This photo has raised a massive discussion about ethics in photography. But the magazine was not claiming this photograph is true, it was actually released day before these two skaters were suppose to meet and the magazine was just ‘joking’ about how their joint practice might look like as they as rivals would never be caught together like that. But even though it has been questioned for ethics especially because it is not clear to the viewer immediately that this is not a true image. But if the reader would read the small writing on the right side that it is clear it is a manipulation, so the magazine was not hiding it. I do agree that the first impression of the viewer is that they skate together and it creates the attention to their cover, so the ethics of this photo is very questionable. 

Example 2:

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Capa, R. 1936. Falling Soldier.
Available: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/robert-capa/in-love-and-war/47/

The very famous and also controversial photography due to its authenticity is a photo of The Falling Soldier photographer by Robert Capa who was a Hungarian war photographer and photojournalist who documented many wars during his life. He has taken a photograph of a falling soldier during the Spanish Civil War and this photograph has been questioned for many years by many people – you can find many articles about this photograph. Until 1970’s people believed this is a true image but then they started to question if it was staged and also the authenticity of the individual in the picture. There has been a massive research on examining the place and individual through other photographs taken. People have also examined the expression, position of the hand, any proofs of current location, etc. Wikipedia is confirming this photograph has been manipulated but article written by Richard Whelan is finding proofs for the photo to be genuine. This photo is actually a masterpiece of a challenge for its authenticity as up to today they are people believing in both stories. That’s quite interesting – good example is the discussing below the article from Richard Whelan.

References:
http://academics.smcvt.edu/dmindich/photoshop.html 
http://blog.photoshelter.com/2012/07/how-to-determine-the-authenticity-of-a-photograph/ 
http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/photo_database/image/fire_on_ice 
http://www.fourandsix.com/photo-tampering-history/?currentPage=3 
http://www.cnet.com/pictures/pictures-that-lie-photos/9/ 
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/robert-capa/in-love-and-war/47/ 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Capa 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Falling_Soldier

 

Activity 7: Self Portrait & Easter (Visual Communication)

The objective of this activity is to enhance our understanding of body image and identity through the exploration of design elements and objects used as symbolic reference to portray a message and evoke emotion.

I have decided to create an environmental portrait of my real life. Since it is a Easter time, I would like to show you how I decorate Easter eggs every year. I have always been very creative and love to maintain traditions , therefore Easter is one of my favorite holidays.

The scene captures me decorating the Easter eggs but when you start exploring the photo in more detail, you can see some of the results in the front already. The background emphasizes another important elements of my life – wedding photo as I got married last year and a piano which I play occasionally now, but have spent about 8 years of my childhood taking lessons at the music school. So the purpose of the photo with its background is to show I am a family oriented person who is passionate about traditions, art and music. To emphasize the environment I have added some dark vignetting to the photo and increased saturation and clarity. It would not be appropriate to decrease saturation or use sepia nor black and white filters as Easter is about colors. No artificial light has been used, only a day light coming through the window.

Easter 2014

Here is a quick tutorial how to make these Easter eggs:

What you need: eggs with the paper box, plastic cups, egg coloring (food coloring), wax crayons, pencil with pin, wine bottle cap/top

Use plain eggs with the most brightest tone and keep the paper box. For dying the eggs prepare few plastic cups and eggs coloring (or food colors) – add one bag of the color powder (or small food coloring bottle) into the cup, approx 100ml of hot water and one spoon of vinegar. I leave eggs in a cup for approximately 10 minutes or more for better color effect. Let the eggs dry out in the box. After drying out, make a small hole on top and then on the bottom of the egg with the tip of the knife. The bottom hole should be a bit bigger. Blow out the egg through the top hole. Make sure you dry out the eggs afterwards so you don’t loose any color. Now you are ready to paint your eggs. I use electric cooker which I cover with alu foil. Make sure you remove all the plastic inside the bottle cap. Add parts of crayons into caps but work with one each time. Do not boil the colors – I use very low temperatures just to keep the color warm. When it is melted you can start painting the egg with your pencil with a pin on its end (the pin cannot have a plastic head as it would get melted). Make small quick lines –  it takes a bit of practice. If you are too slow, the effect won’t be that good. Also, be careful with the colors as they are hot (use pliers to move them aside). The wax dries out quickly, so you can place the eggs for display immediately. Hope it works, let me know if you have any questions, I will be delighted to help and see your results. Happy Easter!

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Activity 6: Terry Barrett (VC)

The objective of this activity is to enhance understanding of the classification system devised by Terry Barrett.

I will briefly describe all categories but will provide more details for two of them (Interpretive + Ethically Evaluative).

Terry Barrett devised a classificatory system for photographic images and divided then into six categories:

1) Descriptive 2) Explanatory 3) Interpretive 4) Ethically evaluative 5) Aesthetically evaluative 6) Theoretical

1) Descriptive – All photographs are describing something but some of them are made to be descriptive only and have no other meaning or story. These would be photos made for ID, xrays, space photos, etc.

2) Explanatory – This type of photo is also giving some type of description but also provides some answers for scientific questions. This type of photography is often used by social and physical scientists or in the corporate business (instructions, product catalogues, etc.).

3) Interpretive – Interpretive photographs involve personal and non scientific point of view. It is not about describing anything but about giving an opinion of the situation/object/etc. This could also involve creating spiritual and unreal scenes which are usually set up. Also it involves the viewer to think about the situation/object and decide how they want to interpret the photo themselves. These types of images are often used in advertisement, art, etc. The following image is a good example of such a photo – it is a set up photo but it creates a story – story that we can decide ourselves how we want to see it. It creates a curiosity of the condition of the person (dead, drugged, passed out, …). The author is already interpreting the situation by showing us there is something wrong with this person but it is up to viewer to take a final decision of how bad it actually is.

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Source

4) Ethically evaluative – War photos would be a perfect example for this category. The purpose is to make a moral or ethical judgement. It is often used for social, political or moral issues. It’s purpose is either to create negative or positive judgement – negative in a way to raise an issue about some aspects (children labour, influence of war on children, etc.) or positive way like an advertising (make us believe that a certain product is improving the quality of life). A good example of such a photograph is a one of two child soldiers sharing a cigarette. It is not only bad showing young boys who are forced to kill and fight, just like adults but also smoke a cigarette as they act as adults in every way.

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Source

5) Aesthetically evaluative – Photographs fitting in this category are showing things in life in a pleasing way to show beautiful, elegant and nice things to the viewer. Landscapes photos, nude and still lives are usually presented as aesthetically evaluative.

6) Theoretical – The last category is about art and represents photographs that promote reflection, comment on art or are photographs about photography.

Some of the categories might be overlapping for some types of photograph. Also it can happen that a photograph is taken for one reason (representing one of the categories) but later is used for a different purpose/meaning etc. All these categories help the viewer to examine and interpret a photograph.

Photographs are considerably more than the automatic recordings of portable picturing machines and deserve detailed attention.

Source

Other sources:

http://www.terrybarrettosu.com/index.html

http://www.terrybarrettosu.com/pdfs/Barrett%20(1986)%20Types%20of%20Photographs.pdf

http://www.vinimages.com.au/2014/03/6-enhance-understanding-of-the-classification-system-devised-by-terry-barrett/

http://en.cyclopaedia.net/wiki/Terry-Barrett

 

Activity 5: Memorable images (VC)

The purpose of this activity is to list and discuss the visual aspects of images that come to mind when we think about the following:

1. Art Work                      2. Musical Performer                    3. Advertisement

1. Art work

turquoise-marilyn-62

 

Marilyndiptych

I really like this art work created by an American Pop Artist known as Andy Warhol (Andrew Warhola). Andy was using a process called screen-printing:

In August 62 I started doing silkscreens. I wanted something stronger that gave more of an assembly line effect. With silkscreening you pick a photograph, blow it up, transfer it in glue onto silk, and then roll ink across it so the ink goes through the silk but not through the glue. That way you get the same image, slightly different each time.” AW

It was a very original idea and very interesting choice of colours used together. This was made from a picture originally shot in 1953 by Gene Korman for the movie Niagara. The series has fifty photos while 25 are coloured and 25 black and white. This work has been created shortly after Marylin’s death and interpreted as the contrast between her life and deaths (life is coloured and death is black and white). This painting has been named as the third most influential art work of modern art in the Guardian survey published in December 2004.

2. Musical Performer

First thing that comes to my mind is a cover photo of the magazine Rolling Stones when I think about a powerful image of a musical performer. The one that I remember the most is the one of Janet Jackson published in 1993 when Janet was 24 years old.

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This image was very provocative and that is what this magazine likes (if you think of other covers like the Pope or Yoko Ono with John Lenon who is naked and was shot few hours later, etc.). It is black and white which takes away any distraction by colours of the photo and only focuses on the theme. It creates curiosity about whose are these hands. It provokes by its part nudity and sexappeal. This is also controversial as it was not shot as picture for the album cover but its one pf the photos taken by Patrick Demarchelier for new Janet’s album that was to be very sexually charged. This image has been so famous that it got recreated by other as a photo or picture or caricature.


images (1) jsc1hTeyanna-Taylor-Recreates-Janet-Jackson-Rolling-Stone-Cover5-500x389

 

3. Advertisement

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This photo of a Czech born top model Eva Herzigova became very famous when it got placed on a billboard and started to stop traffic in the streets of London – it was said that this photo has caused crashes of cars. It was then named as the most iconic outdoor advertisement of all times and won a tenth place in a competition “Poster of the Century. Also in this photo the colours are subtle and it was cropped in an interesting way to place the bra in the middle of the photo. It is very clean photo. It creates a bit of curiosity about its background – it looks like Eva is standing in front of a glass or window (maybe a store).


 

Links to resources for information and photos:

http://www.artquotes.net/masters/warhol_andy/turquoise-marilyn-1962.htm

http://www.webexhibits.org/colorart/marilyns.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Warhol

http://www.musedmagonline.com/2012/07/teyana-taylor-mimics-janet-jacksons-iconic-rolling-stone-cover-dope-or-joke/

http://countergeek.blogspot.com.au/2010/09/janet-jackson-rolling-stone-cover-1993.html

http://theentertainmentnut.wordpress.com/2012/04/13/gimmicks-of-yesteryear-the-13-variant-covers-of-gen-13-1/

http://www.oohlalablog.com/celebrity-style/2012/07/teyanna-taylor/

http://metro.co.uk/2011/03/30/wonderbra-poster-featuring-eva-herzigova-named-most-iconic-ad-647530/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wonderbra

Activity 4: Gestalt Portrait (VC – Visual Communication)

Gestalt psychology was established by three German psychologists in 1910 (Max Wertheimer, Kurt Koffka and Wolfgang Köhler). It is also called a theory of mind and brain. In 1910 Max Wertheimer (a Czech born psychologist) was the first who started to examine the phenomenon of the matter of perception while going on a train watching flashing lights. He has hired two younger psychologists Koffka and Köhler and they began to work together (only suspended their cooperation during the Wolrd Was I.). Gestalt psychology is examining human perception of the picture as a whole instead of breaking it down into partial components. So when we see a picture, firstly we see it as a whole and after that we will start breaking it down into pieces. It is crucial for a good designer to understand this phenomenon and it is important to bear in mind the complex totality of elements. This is important in arts, design (for example when creating a logo, etc.) and also in photography as for all of these it is important to understand what will be the first impression of an object (photo, picture) to the viewer.

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http://www.instantshift.com/2011/09/19/the-close-relationship-between-gestalt-principles-and-design/

This is an amazing example of Gestalt Portrait. We all can see a profile of an old man face at first. But when you look at this picture more closely, it is a man and woman with a small infant standing in front of large gateway.

And here is my example of Gestalt Portrait made of small elements that are of similar nature (fruit & vegetables). The first thing you see is a face, not particular types of fruit and vegetables. After the first look our mind starts breaking down the details of the photo, but it is the first impression that matters.

Gestalt-2

Photo copyrighted @ Gina D Photo Pty Ltd 2014

Activity 3: Space, time key and colour – Angles/Point of view in Photography (VC)

The objective of this activity is to enhance the awareness of how the “point of view” changes the narrative and overall impact of the resulting image. This will be presented by taking a different series of photographs of an object in all axes: up, down, left, right, forward and back, plus applying pitch and yaw.

Different angles have a very large impact on the perception of the subject. It has a effect on the story the photo is telling. Also we (humans) can see the world as three dimensional, but in a photography we are capturing the subject in two dimensional and this is when using different angles might be helpful to refine the perception of the image. There are six different angles of the tape dispenser below from different angles.

1. Back and right

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This photo has been taking by placing the shoe (tape dispenser) in the back to get the whole reflection and seeing the right side of the shoe. It gives a great angle to see the shape of the subject but it is not obvious immediately it is a tape dispenser. Direct (eye level in portrait photography) is a standard way of shooting a photo.

2. Forward and up

shoes-VC3-(504-of-49)

This photo has been taking from below and forward (very close to the subject). This emphasizes the whole subject by shortening the focal length. The subject now cover major part of the image and the shoe seems much larger then it is as the photo is taken from below. You would hardly guess now this is a tape dispenser unless paying attention to the details of the shoes for some time.

3. Down

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When taking a photo of the subject from above, we now clearly have displayed it is a tape dispenser and also it does not look like a large shoe now as the subject appears much smaller.

4. Left

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This image shows the shoe from its left side and back side so it emphasizes the heel which now looks a bit longer. It is taking straight at the shoe from a bit above, so the shoe does not appear as big.

5. Pitch

shoes-VC3-(497-of-49)

The fifth image has been taken by tilting the camera a bit down at the subject. It is not as significant as looking down at the subject but it again gives a better perspective of what is this subject and its real size. We can easily tell it is a tape dispenser which is not very large, definitely not a shoe size, just the emphasize is not as strong. Opposite effect would be created by tilting the camera from below the subject. So when shooting a portrait of a person, if we want to accent the power of the person, we would shoot a bit from below. By taking a photo from above a person we are putting them in a bit of diminished.

6. Yaw

shoes-VC3-(483-of-49)

Adding a yaw to the photo helps us to create a dramatic photo. It can get the attention and create a curiosity of the viewer.

© All photos are copyrighted by Gina D Photo Pty Ltd

www.ginadphoto.com

Activity 2: Framing and Rule of Thirds in Photography (VC)

Image

Rule of thirds is one of the main rules used in arts and photography. This rule has been introduced in the 18th century by John Thomas Smith in his book called Remarks on Rural Scenery. He is describing the balance of the picture and how light and dark parts of the picture should be harmonized. From his point of view, in a landscape picture, 1/3 of the picture would be represented by the ground or water and remaining 2/3 would be filled with sky. The bottom part (ground and water) is then also divided by the Rule of Thirds where 1/3 is represented by ground (land) and remaining 2/3 by the water.

Basically, with the Rule of Thirds, the picture / photograph is divided by 4 lines – two horizontally and two vertically which split the picture into 9 grids. The points of interest should be placed on one of the intersections or combination of intersections.

For example in seascape / landscape photography you have to decide if your main focus is the sky or the land / water. If the focus is on the sky, then the horizon should be placed close to the upper third and on the contrary, if the main focus is the water then you should be placing the horizon closer to the lower third of the photograph.

IMG_9283rules-of-thirdsIn portrait photography, the same rules apply. When you take a portrait, you should be following the guidelines also, your subject should be placed on the intersections (2 or 4) where the top two could be where the eyes of the subject are. You can place your subject on two intersections on the left third of the picture, if you are taking a landscape photo having the person placed on the left/right on the points of interest.

© Gina D PhotoYou should always prevent to divide the picture in two half right in the center and placing your point of interest in the middle on no intersections. It creates a very static picture without tension and interest. The theory is that our eye is naturally inclined to those points of interest created by diving picture by the rule of thirds.

Below is an example of a picture (product photography) with a composition that is a typical example of breaking the rule of thirds by placing the subject in the center avoiding any interaction with the points of interests. Second photo has been taken with the respect to rule of thirds by placing the product on the intersection.

© Gina D photo© Gina D Photo© All photos are copyrighted by Gina D Photo Pty Ltd