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Friday, 12 October 2012

Diamond Jubilee Weekend



The latest version. Punchy, shorter and closer to my aims.

I have expereienced problems uploading to vimeo.  The format seems to change.  I'll try and resolve this with vimeo.


Saturday, 29 September 2012

Another Edit of Diamond Jubilee Weekend.



My tutor suggested I allow more time on each image for better viewing, suggesting 3 seconds on each image.

I think this has made the piece too long.  It is now losing the fun of the weekend I am trying to portray.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Assignment Five


The Assignment:
Decide on a notional client with the proviso that the subject is people and/or the places they inhabit.
Choose the kind of client and how the images will be used.  Write yourself a brief. Accompany the brief with the images and a short written assessment that includes:
the 'client briefing' you have given yourself
a statement of how you set about planning the photography
how well you succeeded, including the difficulties and opportunities you encountered that you had not anticipated at the outset.
The Client:
My notional client is an on-line life-style magazine.  The magazine presents articles on travel, fashion, food, entertainment and culture.  The magazine readership is mostly women between 35 and 60.
  The Brief:
The editor of an on-line women's magazine has requested images suitable for the web that show how the public celebrated the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebration.
They want:
The Photographer captures the spirit of the Diamond Jubilee Weekend events. Steer away from traditional images and concentrate on the crowds and capture how people are reacting to the event.
The requirements are: *
·        to produce a piece suitable for a web based magazine. 
·        to be presented as a photoslide/photofilm no longer than 3 minutes (images will be discussed jointly with the client making the final choice in the images to be used). 
·        the work will be provided in video format on a CD/DVD at 1080p and in compressed format no larger than 100MB for a web page. 
·        all images will be retouched if necessary in order to achieve the maximum quality desired. 
·        all images are the copyright of Mo Greig and will be released to the client for the agreed use. Any re-use requires the permission of Mo Greig. The project is undertaken as an independent contractor and not as "work for hire".
*NB: in the real world this brief would also include a clause detailing the payment details. As this is a study exercise I have omitted such a clause.
Preparation:
The Jubilee celebrations I intended to shoot took place over a weekend, there were three events I planned to shoot. 
  1. The flotilla on the Thames.       
  2. The concert in the Mall in the evening      
  3. The carriage ride from the palace to Westminster. 

The known challenges I faced were:
·        Reshooting - not possible 
·        Weather - heavy rain was forecast  
·        Security - very tight  limited access to many areas 
·        Crowds -  expected to be huge and therefore likely to make it difficult to move around. 
·        Equipment - I intended to take extra lens and equipment to cater for the weather so I would therefore need assistance with transporting and security.
In order to meet these challenges:
·        Shooting - I would take a lot of photos with both a wide angled lens and a zoom lens to enable close up portraits, detail shots and shots that would give a sense of place. I would take as many images as I could focusing on people who were dressed up and generally having fun.
·        Weather - I had plastic bags for lenses, a cover for my camera, two umbrellas and friends to assist me.
·        Security - The day before I checked where the barriers were being placed so I could ascertain where I would have limited ability to move around.
·        Crowds - plotted a spot along the Thames and arrived very early
·        Equipment - Organised friends to assist me
The flotilla:
I had a map of the route, a timetable and I gathered as much information as possible from the Internet, newspapers and radio broadcasts about the security restrictions that was available to the public.  From this I knew that the bridges crossing the Thames in London had bag checks and were also limiting the size you could carry.  In addition most were only allowing moving foot traffic. Meaning you would not be able to stop and take photos.   My friends and I had secured a spot inside a bus shelter close to the Thames.  This gave us additional shelter from the rain and made it more secure for me to leave my gear with my friends to look after while I went off to take photos.
The day's proceedings were slow and drawn out and as people arrived dressed and ready to party they were happy to be photographed and I was able to move freely among the crowds.
 The concert:
For the concert in the Mall my aim was to get photos of the crowds down the mall and I hoped to get close enough to one of the stages to get crowds and performers. 
I had picked a couple of high spots where I would be able to get a couple of shots with a long lens, however when I got there security had closed those areas off.  I tried to make my way down the mall but the density of the crowds and the way the crowds were controlled prevented me from getting as close as I would have liked.  A news photographer who was trapped in the same place as I was had a ladder which enabled him to get above the crowds and an even longer lens.  I did try and negotiate a couple of minutes up his ladder but was unsuccessful. 
However there were giant screens all the way down the Mall showing the performers and those in the Royal box. I timed one of my crowd shots to capture Prince Harry on screen as my shot to give a sense of place and event.  My window for taking shots was limited by the amount of ambient light.  A flash was not going to be useful for the long shots I was after.  It was a different crowd with not much variation in reaction so only a couple of shots were required.
The Carriage Ride
I planned to get as close as possible to the front of the crowd to get shots of thousands waving flags and close ups of "enthusiastic individuals". 
Security was tighter for this event than the previous two.  I hadn't anticipated that the police would use kettling for crowd control and I found myself trapped in a small area that I couldn't get out of.  After several attempts to get out of the situation I gave up and looked for photo opportunities within the "kettle".  Disappointed "fans" were only too willing to pose for portraits.  This enabled me to get portraits of children which in many circumstances can be difficult.  
One of the best images I got here was the girl in her royal outfit sitting on her father's shoulders.  Both were very upset at being locked out of any vantage point to catch a glimpse of the Queen.  Asking them to pose helped reduce their disappointment and gave me a portrait I might otherwise not have been able to take.
Presentation:
Working in a different media for the first time was challenging.  My approach was to use the same principles of a photo essay of beginning with an establishing shot, having mid shots and detail shots and a suitable finishing shot.  I created a sense of movement by zooming in and out as well as fading into the next image.  I found it is even more important that there is a sense of continuity between the images for this type of presentation. 
I also realised I was going to need more than the 10-12 images we had been asked for.  I kept it as short as possible, but felt it really needed the 22 I have settled on.
Having got the images I was happy with I then set about adding the audio file.  To begin with I wanted to have various crowd noises over the top of music.  This didn't work.  It just sounded noisy and messy. For the music  I decided it should be something that was associated with the Jubilee. My first choice was the "Sing" by Gary Barlow and the Commonwealth Band.  This was just too cheesy.  I finally settled on one of the new versions Handel's New Water music that was written for the Jubilee.
Summary/Evaluation:
My brief was to produce a short photofilm that captures the spirit of the Diamond Jubilee Weekend events. To steer away from traditional images and concentrate on the crowds and capture how people are reacting to the event.
I had created a brief that would allow me to explore a new way of presenting work, something I had never done before and taking me outside my comfort zone. I knew this would be a risky option and that it might not come together. 
I am satisfied that I have captures the spirit of the weekend and that I met the "client brief".  It is the first time I have created work in this format so I still have much to learn.  I think the style fits the subject and putting this together has given me confidence to tackle something more ambitious next time.

The images in the photofilm can be viewed here:
http://www.mogreig.com/DiamondJubilee/
The contact sheet can be viewed here:
 http://mogreig.com/DiamondJubileeContact/index.html

A higher quality file of the photofilm can be downloaded here:
 http://mogreig.com/Diamond_Jubilee.avi

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Learning the Software.



The big challenge was learning new software.  I had never put together a photofilm and didn't have any software to do it.  The first step was to research what was available, then download trial versions and test them to see if they would do what I had in mind.

The first package I tried was soundslides plus.  The frustration with this package was that the photos and audio are imported separately.




  I used audacity for the audio and found it very good.  I learnt how to cut an audio track so it doesn't end abruptly. I learnt how to take sections from different tracks and make a mixed track.




Putting then together separately is difficult and not ideal as you have to keep changing one or both until the sounds match the right image.  My idea was to have music and bits of the crowd cheering woven together.

I then looked for software that enable both photos and audio to be edited within the same package.  I settled on proshow gold.

For the music I looked for something that had relevance to the event. My first choice was "Sing" by Gary Barlow and the Commonwealth Band. 

I had recorded some of the crowd sounds on my mobile phone.  I tried blending these together. It didn't work.

Sing is just too cheesy and after you've heard it half a dozen times you find yourself screaming "no i can't listen to this one more time".  My sound recording was too noisy.  I learnt from a professional sound recorder how to read the sound waves very much like a histogram on a photo.  My sounds were outside the acceptable range and so the sound was distorted and also unpleasant on the ear.

My attempt of a multi recording here:



I decided I was being too ambitious and I would be better just picking one track of music that was relevant but easier to listen to.
"On July 17th 1717 George Frederic Handel premiered his composition Water Music after King George I requested a concert to be performed on the River Thames"
Various artists were commissioned to produce their version of Handel's water music for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.  I chose one of these tracks to go with the photos.
I played around with the order of the photos and changed a couple of photos as well as the order. I put the man raising his hat at the end as it this is similar to a gesture of saying goodbye and seemed a more appropriate position for this photo.

Getting there.


Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Frustrations

Trying to do the photoslide in one software and make a soundtrack in another and then put them together has driven me crazy.  I think I have been too ambitious in putting too many components together.  I have started again with Proshow Gold which lets me put the images and sound track in the one program.

I've played around with a variety of sounds and overlaid them but I think it is all just too much.  I had recorded sounds of the crowd cheering on my phone but when I put them into the project they just sound like dreadful noise.

I have also now learnt how to read a sound track.  Like a histogram on a photo you can go outside of a a good sound and get distortion that is not pleasant to listen to.

I also put too many different music tracks in and it just sounded like I was trying to put everything I had into the project.

Also important is deciding how long the photofilm should be.  I have spent hours looking at slide shows and youtube clips to help me decide on the optimum length.  For me 2-3 minutes seems to be long enough.  Any longer and your audience loses interest.  I have opted for approx 21/2 minutes. 

Several variations later I'm now happy with my selection.

Monday, 13 August 2012

The Tools

Having now decided on the content of my assignment I now needed to find the tools and learn how to use them.

I emailed contacts from the workshops I had done to ask what software might be suitable for this project.  My list included:
  • windows soundslides
  • soundslides plus
  • audacity
  • proshow gold
  • adobe premiere
My learning notes below:


Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Preparing for Assignment Five

I had planned for sometime to do an exercise with Global Generation for assignment five.  GG is an organisation that uses alternative methods of teaching.  I have taken photos for this group several times over the past 18 months, many are on their website.
I contacted Jane with to see if there was a session coming up that I could photograph.  There was one group meeting that week, which she said I could photograph.  It wasn't hugely successful for a number of reasons.  First it was pouring with rain which was incredibly limiting as outdoor pictures make up a big part of the environment.  Secondly there was an official film being made so I had to take second place.

Jane and I discussed the problems and she suggested a new group meeting for the summer school might be a better option and I would be able to have more time and better access.

Following the recent workshops I had done on documentary and photofilm I had decided that I wanted to explore this genre for my final assignment.  The assignment requirements are open enough that I feel this media will be acceptable.

I spent a couple of  days photographing the kids and recording them reading their work.

I felt confident this work was going to work well.  Jane was also keen to use the work.

I discussed the outline of the project with my tutor when he rang me to discuss assignment four.

He told me I would be required to have release forms from each of the kids for him to accept this work.  I discussed this with Jane who told me this was wrong and also totally impossible.

At this stage of this course I'm not prepared to take on a battle so I decided to change the subject matter.

My main focus is the method.  What the content of this assignment is is not very important.  Having decided I want to do a photofilm I really want to focus on acquiring the skills and knowledge to do this.

During the Queen's Diamond Jubilee I went out to take photos with a specific outcome in mind.  I realised that the security surrounding the event was going to make it extremely difficult to get close enough for photographs that included any of the "official party".  I have on previous occasions photographed boating events on the Thames and know that the pictures you can take from the banks of the Thames are not going to be very interesting.  Add to that the huge crowds and the awful weather, I realised that a different approach was required.  I decided that I would try and capture the "emotion" of the day.  My focus would be the crowds.  My idea was to think of an on-line publication that would show the "British spirit during the Queen's Diamond Jubilee".

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Exhibition

I have work in this exhibition.There are also banners showing the work currently hanging at Deptford Station & on Creekside outside Art Hub.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Assignment Four - A Sense of Place

The Brief

Imagine you are on an assignment for an intelligent, thoughtful travel publication (not tourism promotion) that is demanding a considered, in-depth treatment.

Aim to show the character of the place and of the people who live there with as much visual variety as possible.  Pick a place that you know well and have sufficient access to in order to complete a strong selection of images.

Summary / Evaluation:

My aim was to make a set of images that would be suitable for an in-depth article in a publication such as a weekend magazine. My intention was to show Regents Canal as a place that is both a tranquil haven within the city and a fun place for leisure that is used by locals and visitors alike. In addition I wanted to show the varied styles of living along the banks of the canal.

Overall, I think I have achieved my aims. I planned images with no people or a single person, green trees, reflections of clouds in the water all emphasise tranquillity. Canal boats, apartments and a mansion, it doesn't come more varied than that for living styles.  I would have liked to have had access to a canal boat and taken pictures from that perspective, but I didn't have that opportunity and I couldn't trespass onto someones boat.  Despite this, by using various lens and focal lengths I feel I managed to create a sense of life on and off the water.  The image of the kayakers is an example of how I have successfully achieved a sense of being part of the activity on the canal.
    
Having a brief to refer back to and knowing what I was trying to achieve made it easier to stop taking the same picture over and over and focus on the overall outcome.  There were days that I was guilty of that but, I would come back and assess what I had taken ask myself if I had achieved my goals.  If not, I would go back with the specific intention of  looking for a picture that would fulfil those aims.  The brief gave a theme that enabled me to think about the type of photos I needed to take to meet my aim of conveying the overall picture of Regents Canal in all its facets.


Options/Ideas:    
  •     Sunday market in rue Manuel, Paris
  •     Life along Regents Canal
Preparation:

My first choice was a nostalgic one - to photograph rue Manuel in Paris.  Having lived there for four years I know the street very well and planned in advance what photos I would take, I am very familiar with the market and know lots of locals. Every Sunday until 1pm the street is closed to traffic and becomes a real French market. It is a local event not something on the tourist trail.

I was going to be in Paris and would have the opportunity to photograph the street, although I would only be able to have one day to get all the images I needed.

 I knew this was a risky option, as there were tight time constraints with little or no contingency.  So I had a backup option that I knew would have lots of flexibility and contingency.  I live close to the Regents Canal, and again, I am very familiar with the area, and it is easy for me to visit it often.

The Paris project didn't happen.  The weather was awful. I'd organised to take photos from the balcony of a friend's apartment to support my on the ground photos, but she was ill on that weekend.  It was always going to be difficult to pull off and the weather really just made it impossible as the casual bonhomie I was looking to capture seems only to occur when it's hot weather and this was not ideal for a "thoughtful travel publication". 

Back in London I now focused on the Regents Canal project.

I imagined a travel pull-out like those in the Sunday newspapers, as they are the types of publications that would show an in-depth view of Regents Canal. The article would appeal to visitors to London who might like some respite from the bustle of the city and to those who like canal boat holidays.  It would also appeal to locals who don't know or have forgotten about the treasure so close to them.

My aim was to emphasise the tranquillity of the canal. In the centre of a frenetic city you can also experience a peace normally associated with the countryside.  It is also a place where all age groups find fun in leisure activities.

I planned to take photos showing people interacting with the space, drawing on the skills and techniques used in the exercises leading into this assignment.

The photos I wanted were:
  • an aerial shot from a tall building to get a sense of place
  • shots taken from along the towpath showing people using the space for leisure, both along the towpath and on the water.
  • how people live along the canal, both in the long boats and the housing along the banks of the canal
  • another view of how the space is used for leisure and living taken from on the water
  • photos that would use the techniques in the exercises; a single small figure, a figure as an accent, busy traffic, people unrecognisable, figures anonymous, a matter of balance, and at least one image that used special post processing.

Problems encountered:

  1. The biggest problem was also the weather.  Day after day of rain. If it wasn't raining it was overcast with flat light.  Although rain doesn't prevent me taking photos, they none the less would not be ideal for a travel publication. 
  2.  Another problem I had to work around was that parts of the canal are not exactly charming and pretty.  Litter and graffiti that were difficult to keep out of many scenes.  There is a lot of work taking place along the banks of the canal, which means buildings with scaffolding or bright orange cones detracted from the pictures.  Initially I intended to photograph the section of the canal from York Way to the St Pancras Lock.  After a couple of weeks of shooting I realised I was going to have to find prettier parts of the canal, with or without ideal weather conditions.
  3. I was unable to get access to take photos from on the water.  I was unsuccessful in gaining access to private boats.  I tried taking a public canal bus but the passenger restrictions on where and how you sit aboard made it too difficult to get suitable photos.  I could have chartered my own boat but this would have cost me £200 which I couldn't afford. 
  4. I was unable to get access to any of the few tall buildings that would give me my aerial shot. 

Resolving the problems:
  1. I couldn't do anything about the weather but I could take photos in a way that I would be able to use processing techniques.  For example the photo of the mansion I have merged three images together to have some detail in the sky and the dark shadows on the edges of the water.
  2. I walked miles and miles of the canal finding sections that I could make look attractive for my imaginary publication.
  3. I couldn't get on the water, but I could vary the lens I used to give a sense of being closer or further away.
  4. I couldn't get an aerial view to give a sense of place so I looked for an alternative.  I photographed a sign in one of the gates and cropped it tightly.

The Photos:


 A closely cropped image of a gate leading to the canal.  The aim was to let the viewer know exactly where they were being shown.

 A working canal boat just about to go under a bridge.  I have used one of the techniques from the exercises, making a figure anonymous.  I have also stitched two photos together and cropped it into a long narrow image to give a sense of both being on the water and the sense of narrowness.  I have learnt from my research that because of the width of the canals in the UK the canal boats are narrower than in Europe and hence called narrow boats.

 A few of a lock. This image and image 7 were taken to show the same place taken at the same general view point varying the composition, balance and attention to the setting.

The mansion. To suggest the opulent living along some sections of the canal.  This image was achieved by merging three images together, to get a lovely sky and detail in the shadows.  This was difficult to achieve as I had taken the three pictures with my camera hand held.  When merging I had problems with ghosting.  I tried various software until I got an image that was successful.  I did try reshooting the image but I didn't get another day with any hint of blue sky, even this day it only lasted an hour.  I didn't have a tripod with me but wanted to capture elusive blue sky anyway.

An anonymous figure.  Leisure and living.  A woman enjoying a glass of wine from a restaurant, looking out to apartments and house boats.

  Another view showing how people live in houses and house boats side by side.

   St Pancras lock. See comments under image 3.

I didn't manage to take attractive portraits of people living on house boats so I took this one of a kitten on a house boat that implies people live here.

A figure as accent. I planned an image that would have the figure as a silhouette.  In the images that I considered I didn't have the figure exactly where I wanted it, either they blended too much into the background or I had clicked the shutter a few seconds too late.  I selected this image as the man is not dominate in the scene.  The man with his blue shirt creates a point of interest in the bottom left of the frame that links to the blue boat and reflection in the water.  If he wasn't there the left hand side of the picture would be uninspiring as an empty path and dark green foliage.

A single figure small.  A woman is standing on the balcony second from the top. This was difficult to find for the exercise and equally difficult to repeat for the assignment.  Although very small shows that people live there which you don't get when there is no-one in the picture.

 The imaginary publication is about travel and although it is not to promote tourism you still want to feel you'd like to go there.  This image is about having fun.  A group of people enjoying a meal on the canal boat come across a quirky art sculpture along the route.

Planning an image to show busy traffic was the most difficult. This image wasn't planned. My intention was to take something from Camden Lock looking toward the market. On my way I came across this kayak school.  Not only did it give me busy traffic but there was sun catching the brightly coloured kayaks. The only day of sun in the whole exercise and it only lasted just half an hour.  This is my favourite image.  I had good light, I was in the right place at the right time and managed to capture the essence of the moment.  This would be my signature picture for the publication.

Notes:
Contact sheet can be viewed here


Friday, 6 July 2012

Frustration with Blogger Format

I have finished my assignment and written it up in a word document. I have tried several ways to copy the document into blogger.  None terribly successful. All the formatting is lost. The last method I tried was to convert the word document to a google document then copy that to blogger.  An improvement in some areas but worse in others.  Bullet points a disaster.  Having spent too much time trying to make something work I am now back reformatting manually.  This is going to take me quite some time.
I have a workshop tomorrow, a wee taste of what DuckRabbit has to offer.  I'm really looking forward to it.  Another delay for the reformatting.  Monday it will be finished.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

The Positive and The Negative

I've struggled with enthusiasm in this course.  It has not been through lack of trying, I have pprobably spent more hours on this course than any other.  Therein lies the problem. All these hours and my work is not great.  I've had to stand back and ask myself why?
I've tried to anaylise the why.
At the beginning of this course I told my tutor I wanted to continue with my street people project.  He rightly told me it did not fit into the brief and so if that is what I wanted to do, do so in another forum.

As I struggle to make good work in a commercial sense as this course requires, I have had to take a step back and try and anaylise why my work is just not that good.  I know I can take good pictures. Yet on this course my images are struggling to make average.  Why?

Today was the ephiphany I was looking for.  Three different places came to me looking to do collaborative work. I now realise my passion and skill is as a documentary photographer. 

One of the hostels, that offers the first step for those who have been sleeping rough for many years, told me that they wanted to work with me because my images weren't patronising. That I had an ability to capture the essence of the person. They are embarking on a new program that overseas has been successful in changing attitudes of the wider public and more importantly being successful in changing the lives of the vunerable.

I have been invited to do a collaborative work with them.

This is what I want to do.  This is not a one off. Three of my ideas have had similar responses.

I still must learn the skills of the other genres.  However I feel I can stop beating myself up about not making great images in every genre.  I will continue to do the best I can.  There are some fields of this profession that will not work for me.  Understanding that is very liberating.


Thursday, 31 May 2012

Progress on Assignment 4

All the best plans of mice and men I think that's how the quote begins. Regent's Canal has presented more problems than I had anticipated.  The weather being number one. It is not easy to make a picture that would look good in a glossy travel magazine while pouring with rain.

I have continued to take pictures on days that aren't ideal to see if my ideas will come together.

Weather aside the pictures are looking more like a documentary than something for a travel magazine.

An example of the problems are in the image below. The scaffolding on the building on the left is distracting and not what one would see in a glossy magazine.




I am going to try and find a prettier pat of the canal.  I'm also thinking this wasn't the most ideal place for this assignment.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Exhibition - Burtynsky - Oil

Photographers Gallery 19 May - 1 July 2012

"Nature transformed through industry is a predominant theme in my work" is how Edward Burtynsky describes his work. The current exhibition at the Photographer's Gallery is a selection of his project on oil.

 Following what he calls his "oil epiphany" while filling his car with petrol, it struck him that the vast human altered landscapes of the previous 20 years was only possible because of the use of oil and the invention of the combustion engine. For the next 15 years he photographed everything to do with oil. This work is presented in four categories: the extraction and refinement of oil, Detroit motor city, transportation and motor culture and what he calls the end of oil. He presents large beautiful photos to confront us with the contradiction of good living and the cost that we are consciously or unconsciously aware of the environmental impact.

He says - "These images are meant as metaphors to the dilemma of our modern existence; they search for a dialogue between attraction and repulsion, seduction and fear."

The exhibition is arranged over two floors of the gallery and shows three sections from his oil series (Detroit motor city is not included). Beginning on the top floor with images of oil fields and refineries first impressions are of the size, radiance and clarity of the prints. Most are taken in the muted soft light of evening twilight that lulled me into seeing artistic landscapes.

It is only on closer inspection that the real nature of the scenes become apparent. This is even more striking when looking at the final section, the end of oil, where the beautiful very quickly turns to disturbing. We are presented with what happens when oil fields are abandoned and leave a scarred earth behind, or where oil tankers are decommissioned on once beautiful beaches of Bangladesh. Here the ships are turned into scrap metal by low paid workers in conditions that are unacceptable to those in the affluent west.

Shipbreaking #11 Chittagong, Bangladesh - http://www.edwardburtynsky.com/WORKS/Oil/Oil_Book/THE_END_OF_OIL/083-SHB_11_00_Oil.html 

The picture above, is one of the images where the ships are turned into scrap metal taken on Chittagong Beach in Bangladesh. This image is typical of Burtynsky's work in its use of colour in light , golden hues of the fading sun shining onto the rusty hulls of the ships making them positively glow. The other common feature in his work is the wide view as in this image or an elevated view, taken from a crane or helicopter making one aware of the vastness of the space given to oil and its production.

Everything within his images appears as if perfectly planned. The arrangement of the workers and the ship form a triangle. The soft hue of the ambient light and the bright lights of the welding equipment also draw you eye into the centre of the image. The darker oil stained pieces of metal on the edges form a natural vignette. The edges of the frame have nothing distracting, something I find I am frequently guilty of. As with all his images the clarity and sharpness is perfect in every pixel.

The story in the image raises lots of questions for me. What is the man in the blue and white check sarong with a basket doing there. How many ships are lined up behind the two we can see. What has this industry done to the water and sea life. It does make one aware of the negative aspect of our dependency on oil. When will we find a real alternative.

Burtnysky's intention of searching for dialogue between attraction and repulsion, seduction and fear is successful on one hand as I was seduced into the beauty of the images. I feel more anger toward the oil barons for their abuse of poorer countries and workers rather than being repulsed. I'm not certain what I should fear. The end of oil? Perhaps this would be a good thing.

I can't quite decide whether the beauty of the images slightly over rides the message Burtynsky is trying to deliver. They are all still fine art images and I feel would sit comfortably on the wall of a C.E.O.'s office.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Planning Assignment 4

I was going to Paris for a weekend to support friends cycling from London to Paris. I had the idea of combining my assignment four on this weekend.

I lived just off rue Des Martyrs for four years and consequently know the area very well and have several friends there. Sunday is market day in the street and I thought would be perfect for assignment four.

I planned my pictures and checked with my friends that they would be around. All good. The reality was very different. One friend was sick, another had a sudden change of plans. The weather wasn't great. My cycling friends wanted me to be on the other side of town. It just didn't happen.

 I knew that it would be a bit risky to try and do this assignment on such a tight schedule so had a backup alternative in London. The exercise was still worthwhile. This could very well be reality for a paid assignment. It did help me focus on thinking about what I was going to photograph. I could only do this because I know the area so well.

 Now onto plan B. Regent's Canal.