Lesson 2: Assignment

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    I don’t know anything about famous photographers, so have decided to write about images that appeal to me.

    I have always liked Franz Marc’s paintings. I enjoy the animal content, and particularly the colours. The blues and yellows really stand out. The paintings always inspire a sense of joy in me. I think this is mostly due to the colours and shading. The lines are flowing and smooth and rhythmic. I find the jagged angled ones a bit of a sensory overload. My favourite is the blue horses with their huge hind quarters, the shape of them is ‘cute’ and they look so relaxed, they all flow together to make a whole.

    I really love looking at photos of flowers, their jagged petal lines do not have the same uneasy effect as the paintings, so I think subject matter dictates what shapes can be used. A flower is a beautiful thing on its own, but can be shown from so many angles in so many different ways that I never really tire of looking at them. I have some orange daisies in my garden and have a lot of pictures of them. Their petals have a much darker inner colour which blends gradually into the orange.

    I love landscape photographs. Sun sets are very appealing, I think the saturated colours and contrast against the darker clouds really holds my attention. A calm relaxed feeling is invoked, which is always a good thing. Waterfalls create the same feeling, the contrast between dark foliage and rocks and the rushing reflective water keeps me looking.
    There is a vegetable farm close to my house and the fields have uniform rows of multi coloured veggies, it always catches my eye as I drive down the hill. I think the contrast between the dark straight lines and the bright variety of colours is the appeal there.

    Something I have been trying (not very successfully) to photograph is the electricity pylons.(!) I always look at them as I drive by. I think the shape and form of them against the pale sky is quite awe inspiring. The road passes by really close, and these huge structures look lonely but powerful. (perhaps the electric waves are getting to my brain, but I really like them!)

    A work collegue has a photo he took of a horse, it’s a chestnut (orange one) and must have been walking in the shade, but towards the sun with the wind lifting its mane. Most
    of the animal is just a dark shape, but where the light has caught its mane it looks like he is on fire. It’s a really awesome shot.

    I realize this essay is way off the mark, but having to put it down in words has made me think of the things that I want most to capture with my pictures. Colour is a huge factor, I wear a navy and green uniform every day, and actually like it! I like the colour in flowers and the sky and in reflected water, green trees, blue mountains, and brown winter grass.
    Contrast in texture also stands out for me, a spiky silhouette of tree branches against a smooth sky. Sharp, strong buildings against the flowing sea. The sun catching the edges the clouds.
    I have just gone outside, (I’m finding this waffling quite difficult…) the light is catching the underside of the rain drops on the washing line (I took a pic) the rest is in darkness, it reminded me of the pylons a bit.

    Duncan Rawlinson

    Thanks for sending in your second submission.

    You can check out this list of amazing photographers that I put together for new students who want to learn from masters.

    Ansel Adams
    Edward Weston
    Henri Cartier-Bresson
    Eugene Atget
    Richard Avedon
    Robert Frank
    Walker Evans
    William Eggleston
    Garry Winogrand
    Alfred Stieglitz
    Lee Friedlander
    Andre Kertesz
    Paul Strand
    Edward Steichen
    Stephen Shore
    Dorothea Lange
    Lewis W. Hine
    Andreas Feininger
    Robert Capa
    Man Ray
    Helmut Newton
    Robert Doisneau
    Alexander Rodchenko
    Julia Margaret Cameron
    Gordon Parks
    Ara Guler
    August Sander
    Alvin Baltrop
    Michael K. Brown
    Andreas Gursky
    Sebastiao Salgado
    David Bailey
    Ryan Mcginley
    Jan Saudek
    Hiroshi Sugimoto
    Willy Ronis
    Albert Renger-Patzsch
    Eadweard James Muybridge
    Mathew Brady
    Dan Winters
    Duncan Rawlinson 😮

    You have written a short piece that is very personal and I quite like it.

    I’m not here to make people write essays about things they don’t want to write about so I’m happy that you took the assignment and ran with it despite the fact that you haven’t had the opportunity to study the masters of photography just yet.

    I notice a few things in your essay immediately.

    You have a remarkably clear understanding of what you like to photograph and what you like to see in a photograph.

    You enjoy:
    electricity pylons too!

    This is great.

    Just the process of writing this down will make your photography better by thinking about what you like to photograph.

    Next time you see a flower, animal, or a good landscape you will shoot it because you’ll think to yourself. I like shooting landscapes!

    you will learn about how you can use lines, colors, and various subject matter to improve your photos in this course as well.

    Another interesting thing to note about your piece is how in tune you are with how photographs impact you and others on an emotional level.

    You might want to use that to your advantage in your photography by shooting emotional things. Like people crying, or laughing, or fighting.

    On the electricity pylons specifically here are a few things you can try.

    Try shooting a dutch angle. (very crooked horizon line on purpose)

    Maybe try shooting in black and white.

    You can try getting close (but not too close)

    Try getting very low and shooting up.

    Alternatively try to get far draw leading lines and make patterns with the pylons.

    In other words move around.

    Also don’t be afraid to wait for the right time of day to shoot the photo. Preferably magic hour. Or mid day if you’re looking for harsh light.

    I’m glad this “waffling” was difficult for you. 😉 We only grow when someone pushes us or we push ourselves out of our comfort zone.

    Good job on this.

    I’ll see you on the next assignment!

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