Category Archives: Introduction

Exercise 2.1 Individual Spaces

The brief:

In this exercise, you’ll build on your ‘Background as context’ exercise (ex 1.2) by taking the relationship between your subject and their surroundings a step further. The objective here is to try to create a link between the two components of your image, i.e. the subject and their surroundings.

Make three different portraits using three different subjects. Prior to shooting your portraits, engage with your subjects and agree three different specific locations which have some relevance or significance to them individually … go one step further and negotiate a specific physical location where you’ll photograph your subject. This can either be inside or on location, but the key to this portrait is the interaction you’ve had with your subject in identifying a place that has specific meaning to them.

Each portrait should be accompanied by a very short piece of text explaining the choice of location or venue … Present all three images together as a series and reflect upon how successful this exercise was in your learning log or blog. Write around 500 words.

For this exercise I relied on my family members.

Fig 1 - Nick Kuit Jr
Fig 1 – Nick Kuit Jr

My youngest son, Nick, is a very keen vegetable gardener and plants tomatoes and beans every year. He chose to be photographed relaxing in front of his crops.

Fig 2 - Robert Kuit
Fig 2 – Robert Kuit

My eldest son, Robert is a keen mountain biker, so decided to have his portrait taken in the garden on his bike. Dinner was almost ready otherwise he may have decided to do the photoshoot in the forest.

Fig 3 - Nick Kuit Sr
Fig 3 – Nick Kuit Sr

My husband Nick is so used to being at the other end of my lens but on this day he agreed to being photographed while barbequing. This is something that he does throughout the summer in our back yard, and is quite representative of him.

I think as a whole the series works well together. All the photographs were made outside in natural light. I used a 18mm – 140mm zoom lens, but might have had better results if I had used my 50mm lens. Fig 3 may appear a little darker than the other two images, but I did try and photograph from the house towards the garden, but the background was just too messy, what with vegetable installations, umbrellas and building material. In hindsight I should have remember to use my reflector to bounce a little more light into my husband’s face and I could have stepped back a little more to include a bit more of the barbeque itself.

I was quite pleased with the light in Fig 2. There is enough light coming into the shaded area to allow for muscle definition on my son’s arms. If I had to do this over again, I would have him lose the helmet which is obscuring his leg.

I rather like the slight dappled light on the left arm and body and the Rembrandt lighting on the face in Fig 1. I had to bring the exposure down a bit on the leg that is stretched out in front and also had to clone out a distracting red sprinkler that was among the beans.

I have to admit that doing full length, three-quarter or even half length portraits is rather new to me as I do so much head shot work where I work that it almost feels like a different genre. I do prefer working up close as I feel I’m closer to the personality of that person, even if I am using a zoom lens.

While shooting this exercise I also included close ups of my family which are below.

Fig 4 - Nick Kuit Jr
Fig 4 – Nick Kuit Jr
Fig 5 - Robert Kuit Close Up
Fig 5 – Robert Kuit Close Up
Fig 6 - Nick Kuit Sr Close Up
Fig 6 – Nick Kuit Sr Close Up

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Quentin Bajac, Chief Curator of Photography at MOMA

Our course material refers us to an interview between Conor Risch and Quentin Bajac, Chief Curator of Photography at MOMA. I am just going to make brief bullet points on the points that Bajac mentioned which interested me the most.

“Depending on the time period, context, and the individual motivations (commercial, artistic, scientific) and sensibilities of the photographer, the studio may be a stage, a laboratory, or a playground.”

Quentin Bajac

  • Currently there is a huge interest in experimental photography: materiality of the image; a resurgence of darkroom techniques; fashion and advertising
  • Exhibition explains this current interest by looking at the history of photography done in the studio: neo-pictorialist.
  • History of photography tends to repeat itself, just using new technology and techniques. Pretty much everything was invented in the first 30 years.
  • In the 60’s and 70’s curators did not have as much access to images. Now in the age of the internet, there is a plethora of images but curators need to find ways to connect to the online photographic world, e.g. digital museums.
  • In 80’s and 90’s photographers were more orientated to exhibiting their work. Today’s generation is more geared to online expression.
  • Should be more open to popular culture. The delineation between artistic and vernacular work is often fuzzy.
  • Photographers need to give themselves time to develop, learn to edit their work, stand back and evaluate.
  • Photographers start with the camera and edit; artists conceives an idea and tries to convey this through the medium of photography.
  • Need to remember that the studio is a “world”. It can be used as a set or stage.
Reference List

Risch, Conor (2014) MoMA’s New Chief Photo Curator Turns to Studio Photography for First Show [online] PDN. Available at http://www.pdnonline.com/features/MoMAs-New-Chief-Pho-10291.shtml [Accessed 14 July, 2016]