Friday, 20 September 2013

Assignment 1 - Your own neighbourhood - Plan

The course notes are always not far away and I have looked through these again. I am familiar with the general requirement having perused them at OCA head office so they hold no surprises. Its temping to rush in and start but in the background I am trying to decide where I want to be with photography and for a while at least be comfortable with my own "style". My preference for monochrome has been discussed before and I am not going justify myself again . This comes at a time when there is a resurgence of monochrome and for some it will be a passing fad and I know I am already well past that.

So, the notes ask for 12-15 photographs of where I live, show a strong sense of place, show my new tutor what I can do with the preparation of a small portfolio, showing good practice, etc etc. In fact its your best effort with a portfolio that hangs together well to deliver a message about the place and the people, whether in a covert or overt way.

Extracts from my notebook as I brainstormed some of the likely ideas.

King's Lynn - Historic market town in North West Norfolk.
Population - 41,000
Monochrome / Reduced Gamut colour
Old Town / New Town, I dont want to mix the two. No cohesion in a 12th century building and anew Tesco.
Topographic features - River Great Ouse - The Wash - A47 - Docks - Historic buildings - Industrial estates, shops.
Choose the old town , all other areas could be anywhere.
Is there enough material in old town for 15 ?
List - Foot ferry both sides, Inshore fishing fleet, Guildhall (did Shakespeare really act there ?), Town Hall and the King John saga, Trues Yard, Cobbled side streets, Railway station, Savages foundry, Red Mount Chapel, South Gate, Corn exchange, Hanseatic warehouse. This is going to be architectural. Use doorways, worn doorsteps, handrails, fixtures, fittings, letter boxes, name plates to deliver human context.

There are enough locations plus when on foot around the town others will be found that are not so obvious.

Previous portfolio errors have included, Too many focal lengths used. Aspect ratio issues, plan to use 5x4, 3x2, 6x6, and shoot as such with minimal cropping in post. Consider the need for left hand and right hand content with some neutral. 

Camera / Format.
Not yet set up to turn around 120 film and scan with solid workflow, leave till later.
Digital Rangefinder. Leica M9 or
DSLR, D3 or D800
Both will shoot Raw.
Not much space in streets so no tripod use unless I want interiors. Tripod would be needed though if bracketing to widen tonal range.

Lens choice. Need to keep to 1 or 2 that are close together so for simplicity this would be 35 summicron or 50 summilux , or 50 Elmar. Elmar is softer. No telephoto required. Extra wide in close spaces has too many issues and can look too contemporary for the overall style.

Or, opt for a more technical style and use 24mm tilt/shift and mimic view camera. 24mm requires careful use in ensuring the foreground is adequate, but would be useful in the smaller side streets. Use shift more than tilt.

Dont try to shoot both. Try one, if dont work, use alternative. May end up with 2 sets.

Time of year will play a part and the softer diffuse light of an overcast day will suite.

Style after processing.

100% monochrome or a split tone/duo tone to reflect the nature of the buildings. Maybe something like Atget in Paris for architectural.

1st shoot. Recce with M9 and 35mm and decide after proofs if suitable or need 24mm T/S.

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