Birmingham New Library – Reference Works Photographer Analysis

On monday the 21st of October, the photography class and I went on a day-trip to the Birmingham New Library to look at the reference works exhibition. The Library commissioned 2 seasoned and 2 upcoming photographers to document the 3 year build of the Library.

Michael Collins: Michael  Collins preferred to shoot in large format 8 x 10 negative slides so that he could produce large scale prints in the exhibition. He preferred to shoot in the middle of the day and liked producing images with neutral and even light tones that didn’t have too many highlights and low-tones. Of the 7 images he produced, 4 were shot of the external building and 3 were shot of the internal building. DWX0010H_01.tif This is my favorite image that Michael has taken for the exhibition. I like the sense of symmetry and reflection in an otherwise hectic and busy image. There is a juxtaposition in the balance of order and chaos. The colour of the pipes and scaffolding are very neutral which gives a sense of stasis in the building process, neither here nor there in the stage of creating the Library. When shooting the external shots, Michael Collins preferred to shoot from a high vantage point; looking up from a low vantage point will create dramatic perspective that takes away from the neutral tones of his work. Collins (with help from the staff at the New Library) went to hotel rooms, towers and flats to shoot from high vantage points so that he could be at eye level with the building.

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Brian Griffin:

Brian Griffin is quite a well renowned photographer, he has commissioned work in Marseilles, Bologna, Portugal and many other locations; brian griffin jesussome of his famous work is of album art for people such as Billy Idol and Iggy Pop. Born and raised in Birmingham, Griffin was an obvious choice for the project. Brian’s job was to photograph the employees and overseers of the project.

He focuses a lot on surrealism and renaissance and in one image he composes image to look like a Rembrandt painting by adjusting light and shadow and by adding the small. This image to the right is very “Renaissance”, Griffin said that as soon as he saw the man in the middle he decided to depict him as a ‘Jesus-like’ figure with his ‘disciples’. the lighting is very integral in this image: the two people either side are lit from the middle and the face and hand of the man is evenly lit; this suggests that the light is coming from him. Brian said that the trickiest part of this image was getting the position and lighting of the hand right.

brian griffin booksThis second image can be used to show the thought process involved in Brian’s work. He would let his subjects come into his studio and observe them while pretending to work on his camera setup. He noticed a tattoo on one of the men’s necks and asked the men about themselves and their tattoos, through talking to them he managed to create this personal and surreal photograph.

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Andrew Lacon grew up in Dudley and recently graduated from the Royal College of Art London with an MA in Fine Art – Photography. Andrew has made work alongside Artists Olivier Richon and Sarah Jones in response to the Household Cavalry, Knightsbridge and has started to exhibit nationally and in Europe including recent group shows in Germany and Denmark and solo show A Magnitude In Albion at Outpost, Norwich

First Idea – Light Painting (Shoot 1)

Last week (the 15 of October) I took a camera home to shoot some images, I shot 3 types:

  1. A long exposure (20 second) light painting of my Old-fashioned looking portable player.
  2. Slow shutter speed  photographs of 33 and 45 records spinning inside the portable player.
  3. Slow shutter speed over-head photographs of the records spinning on a second player with the lid off.

player capture1: This is one of the light painted images that I took on Tuesday, the image on the left is the final edit and the image to the right is the original. Instead of using a torch light and a quicker shutter speed, I opted for a colour light which called for a longer speed. I used a redish-orange light to really work with the original colour of the player. To bring out the colour post-production, I added a little vibrancy and edited the levels.       I retouched the image by removing the blemished background with a clone stamp tool. The visible background drew attention away from the player and made it less professional. I took multiple images this way but this was the one that I was most happy with.  I like light painting because it allows me to create vibrant objects with deep and dark backgrounds. I have total control on where the light hits.

player and motion shot contact sheet

2. The most fascinating thing with Vinyl for me, is watching the needle move along the grooves and produce this warm sound that can’t be achieved by digital format. I like to watch the needle arm rise and fall as it spins around the warped surface of older records. I wanted to capture the motion that captivates me so I put my records on the player and set the speed to 78 rotations per minute to capture the most motion blur. I used my more visually interesting and colourful records (Beatles, Elvis, Biffy Clyro and A Day to Remember) because the colours would really draw the eye in when they were captured in this way. I set my camera to f18. ISO 100. Shutter Speed 6-10 seconds and shot.

The first image was of my Beatles Blue Album Vinyl. The center was blue with a green apple and when spun, the apple blurred into a perfect circle with a blue ring around it. The final image was actually a black record that I’d spray painted white with a silhouette of Elvis Presley on the front. The still image of that is posted here for reference. From the speed of the spin, the silhouette formed a tree trunk ring effect.

The composition is a little off and the cropping is too extreme, but these images were only taken as trials to see the effects, I like the outcomes and I think that I will shoot these again with the whole of the turntable visible like in the light painting image.

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overhead view conact sheet

3. I wanted to try some overhead shots of my records so that I could group them together to make some simplistic Warhol like images. setup picture

The first problem that I encountered was that the lid of my new player didn’t open at 180 degrees or come off, so I had to fetch my old Turntable and stack from the loft and set it up.  I took the lid off and placed it on the floor with the camera tripod stood directly over it. You can see some of the images that I shot above.

The image on the left of the contact sheet shows an attempt at isolating the records and compiling them together, it was tricky and I has trouble achieving the effect without cutting parts of the record off. I gave up with this idea but I’m including it in my process and progression of ideas.

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If you click here, you will be able to see the contact sheet from my first shoot. There is a mix of slow shutter speed motion images of records both inside the box player and overhead images from the Hitachi player. There are also light painted shots of the box player.

I do not have any photographers to cite as contextual references, but I think that this short video found on a forum dedicated to Vinyl gave me an idea to incorporate motion into my photography. Although a simple video, the time lapse motion changed the appearance of the record which really interested me:

 

Final Impressions on the shoot:

I think that as an initial shoot, the images have potential; the purpose of this shoot was to be experimental with the way I was taking photographs.

The light painted shots of the record player have given me inspiration to shoot more like them as I progress with my Art 3 piece.

I think that the slow shutter speed captured images capture motion very well, but I feel that there is no real need or reason for this style of image to be included within the rest of the project; I am glad that I tried it, as it is the only way for me to decide whether or not the experimentation is working or not.

For my next shoot, I need to focus on composition as I felt that I was lax or careless with the way I composed the images.

Shooting With 35mm Film

My project is called “The Vinyl Revival’ and the whole point of it is to show the reanimation of old formats such as Vinyl, vintage clothing and film photography. Therefore, I feel that it will be good to shoot a part of my investigation with one of my 35mm cameras. Even if the results aren’t what I expected and I don’t end up using the pictures as final outcomes, I can still document them in my ideas process.

I will use either my Praktica PLC 2 with my Pentacon  1.8/50 lens or my Mamiya ZE with Sekor lens as SLR cameras will produce better quality images and allow more manual control than point and shoot cameras.  I will shoot some portraits in the studio because I can manipulate the lighting however I want which leaves less to chance when it comes to shooting. I will most likely set the lights to stay on rather than flash when I’m shooting. I will use a light meter to find the right settings and take a test shot with the Canon Digital camera to make sure that everything is perfect before I shoot with the film camera.

I think that the film photographs will fit well with the subject matter that I’m shooting and really add a touch of personality and uniqueness to my images.

Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 09.49.35Marine Road East, Morecambe - Aug 2012I talk about Niall McDiarmid a lot in my work but it’s because his working “Crossing Paths” really influenced me as a photographer and changed the way I shoot.  The first thing that I gained from his work was the importance of a strong colour palette, and you can really see how the colours of the environment really compliment the subjects. I will make a more conscious effort to take colour palette into consideration. The other thing that Niall did, was expose me to the concept of film photography, which I have fallen in love with.

In this image to the left, the  horizontal yellow bars in the background draw your eyes upwards to the woman’s face and contrast with the vertical stripes on the woman’s clothing.

Artist Research – Robert Moran and John Myers

Photography Art 3 – Artist Research 

Artist 1: “Robert Moran – Relics”

Conceptual Practice

Relics is the body of work by Robert Moran, he photographed a collection of portraits of everyday objects that are obsolete and outdated.

Moran says his aim is to “honor our inventive past and save some of its icons from the trash.”

I believe that technology evolves so quickly that sometimes our materialistic need to invest in the newest gadget leaves older technologies behind and we need to look back at the defunct technologies in order to appreciate the progress we have made to get where we are now. The newer technologies we have are so revolutionary and efficient that we take for granted the functionality of old formats. Just because things are old, it does not mean they are useless; Record players produce warmer sounds than digital formats, old suitcases are built to last, and old cameras are becoming cheap alternatives for amateur photographers. 

 

Photographic Technique

 relics typewriterThis image has been shot in a straight forward still life portrait style with the typewriter in the centre of the frame; this is a tried and tested method that does its job and adds a lot of emphasis on the object because the eye is drawn to it straight away. Moran must have used well thought out placement of his light sources to create a bright image with little shadow on the typewriter itself, although there is a large shadow on the wall to the right side of it. If you look at the keys, the white parts are very bright which would lead me to assume there is a light source very close to them. I am assuming that the light source has been placed at eye level to the typewriter, as there is no shadow underneath the keys and at the left hand side due to the shadow on the wall. The choice of backdrop really works well with the black and white colours of the typewriter and it is obvious that Robert has taken time to find ways to compliment the still life he has documented. I think that the placement of the shadows is deliberate, with studio lighitng Robert could have easily eradicated them, and there are many interpretations as to why the shadow is there:

One interpretation may be that the shadow is representative of typewriter being plunged into darkness after years of redundancy. In contrast to this, you could argue that the typewriter can only cast a shadow is it is bathed in light; these old technologies are still in the spotlight today.

I really like the colour palette used in this image, Moran really made sure that the colours were complimentary of each other. The typewriter and paper are made up of black and white tints while the background features a black and white gradient that originates in black around the edges of the frame and travels inwards towards the centre of the image. The white colour in the centre of the wall effectively draws the eye inwards and towards the object. The gradient suggests damage over time to the wall but there is little discolouration on the typewriter itself which enforces the argument that old technologies are robust – “They just don’t make them like they do any more.”

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relics suitcaseThis image of a battered suitcase is another example of great photographic technique produced by Robert; the thing I love most about this particular image, is the contrast between light and dark. The back wall, sides of the case and underneath the shelf are all in harsh shadow, whilst the case itself is light brightly and evenly. There is a small outline of light around the case, which not only draws all attention to it, but it could also be seen as a visual representation of happiness and the emotional state that is conjured by the memories of holidays and trips stored in this little trunk. The brighter tones on the top-right of the case and the darker shadows on the bottom-left of it suggest that the light source has been positioned somewhere to the right to the case and above eye level. The diagram below shows how I think the image has been set-up:

light setup

The light source is placed to the right of the case which casts more light on that side.

Like the typewriter, the case has been set up in the center of the frame in order to pull attention to itself and unify the other 32 still life objects in this body of work that have been shot in the same manner. The image is very warm, I think the image levels have been adjusted and I believe that the soft-box used had a high power level to accentuate the colour of the leather.

In the artist statement, Robert expresses his love for old objects. He expresses that he likes the “essence” of the items, the “cracks and scuffs from hard use” and the “mended hinges.” This suitcase shows the cracks that Robert is so fond of because each hairline crack tells the story of a long forgotten journey that the owner embarked on.

Extracting Concept

The idea of the work is to highlight how technology is always going through a process of replacement with newer, more efficient and sleeker designs.

There is a gorgeous portrait of an Underwood typewriter that is double the width and triple the height of the A4 paper that’s stuffed in the top of it. Nowadays, the typewriter would be replaced by a sleek and thin laptop that would allow quicker typing and would be capable of making multiple copies of written pages. The colour and texture of the paper almost makes it blend in with the wall which shows the gradual decrease in use of paper over digital formats. The paper is dirty and I think that shows that the use of paper is harmful to the environment and that paper-free documentation is ‘greener’.

The dis-coloured and badly damaged state of the leather shows that it has been well used and is quote old but it adds to the charm of the item. I think that Moran is trying to show the decadent state of culture today in that it is fashionable to keep buying the new product (that will most likely break or become obsolete in a year) rather than buy one good quality item (like the sturdy case) and use it for years.

Inspiration

My art 3 project is based around the rise in popularity of vintage clothing, vinyl and film photography; Robert Moran documents the beauty of old format technology, and I plan to document the gradual trend of post-modernism in old format technology.

The way he photographs his images is something that I want to take away and use in my project. He looks at old technologies as antiques and as things that need to be preserved and remembered; from the way Robert speaks, I believe that he holds old format technology formats on a metaphorical pedestal by the way he talked about an old typewriter or a battered old suitcase and I realise that I feel the same way about my 35mm cameras and my vinyl collection; I often remark that film prints display much more vibrant colours and how vinyl produces a warmer sound than MP3.

On the other hand, Robert mentions that photographing old technologies with a 21st century camera has made him “consider the qualities and limitations” of said old technologies. Film cameras take time and money to develop whereas Digital SLR cameras produce amazing images that are displayed on LCD screens almost instantaneously. Vinyl and shellac records are brittle, easily scratched and expensive, you cannot carry them in your pocket and you certainly cannot put them on your iPod. These amazing images by Robert Moran show that nostalgia and a deep-seated desire to hang on to the things from our past seem to overlook the shiny plastic allure of newer technologies.

Artist 2: “John Myers – Middle England”

Photography Art 3 – Artist Research (Second Artist Draft)

Conceptual Practice:

Middle England is a body of work that John Myers shot from 1972 to 1979 that was shot with black and white film. This project was made on a personal level to document the streets that John grew up in and around. “This is the kind of England that most of us live in,” he also said that this is “the world of Suburbia, the world of substations.” I think that John is trying to explain that our lives are dominated by where we live and not by how we view ourselves. By shooting where he grew up, this could also be a body of work focused around intimate and mundane objects that to us are boring but to him, are steeped in nostalgia.

On a purely aesthetic level, this body of work is based around images of a town in the West Midlands, but if you scratch beneath the surface you will find a very distinct message; “People that are not famous that are not picturesque.

The world that they live in is the world that we all recognize and most of the time we just blank it out. We want things that are spectacular; we want photographs that are exiting.”

What Myers is saying here, is that everything is beautiful and worthy of at least a second glance and the time it takes to take a picture.

Middle England was published as a book and installed in the Ikon gallery in 2011, a whopping 39 years after the photographs were initially taken.

myers-television_no-_4_1973-tiff-scaled5001 (2)This image is simply a photograph of an old Television set with a plant pot on top; this is a very generic photograph that shouldn’t really be visually interesting, but there’s something about it that makes it look extra-ordinary:

The image has been set up in a very specific way, the subject has been placed centrally and the point at which the wall and door meets is the center of the photograph. This (purposely placed) set-up makes the image look like a shoebox diorama of Middle England life, a snapshot in time of “the world that we live in”

I think that the picture has an eerie side to it, the black and white style print and the closed in walls gives you the impression that the Television is the only thing in the world preserved like this in a post-apocalyptic world. The fact that these images are from 41 years ago reinforce the notion that the house was left like this, untouched for years without human interaction. The wilted flowers really show the passage of time.

I think more realistically and more to the point that John Myers is hinting to, is that this image, this shoebox snapshot IS Middle England. So what is Middle England? To a child, Middle England is a time spent growing up in the typical suburban house parked in front of the television. A child has no responsibility or stress about deadlines, and this television is representative of his childhood innocence.

I enjoy how the intersecting line between the wall and door also intersects the Television and I think that it really ties the image together as a whole rather than having a separate foreground and background.

The lighting is very even except for the light reflection on the television screen, which draws the eye in to the subject, and the set of double shadow on the wall that almost reinforces the impression of a radiation shadow found in a post-apocalyptic world. Radiation is usually a large factor in post-apocalyptic scenarios and in Hiroshima, the radiation left shadows and silhouettes of people and objects on the walls that tied them eternally to the location. Myers focused his light source so that the shadow looked staggered and similar to the aforementioned radiation marks. This could be interpreted psychoanalytically – John left his childhood home many years ago (represented by statis in the image) but the radiation shadows show how a part of him is still there (his childhood innocence) today.

Taken in 1973, this is an image taken from the ‘Substation’ part of Myers’ work on Middle Earth. The concept behind this focuses on myers-3items and objects deemed ugly in suburban life. In the interview on Vimeo, (I have left a link at the bottom of the page) he gives his reasons for documenting these structures:

They – more so than any other aspect of the urban environment in terms of importance – are the most invisible parts of the urban environment.”

Without them, there would be no domestic electrical supply.

The image has been shot with a lot of care and consideration, he talks about planning each shot before he takes it due to the limited exposures on film cameras.

The trees are included in the frame, I think that they show how the substation is overshadowed. To reinforce this, the photograph hasn’t been taken from head on but instead from an angle to represent the way that we ignore the structures.

Looking technically, I can only assume that a medium ISO film has been loaded into the camera (around 400) due to the image being sharp overall but slightly fuzzy when looking at smaller and higher detail parts of the image. Due to the nature of shooting trees outdoors I would say that the shutter speed is high as there is little motion blur on the foliage. I know that when I am shooting with film outdoors, I address the shutter speed as the most important factor and adjust the aperture around it. There is very little range of depth in this image (which means I can’t really estimate an accurate aperture level) , as most things are happening in the background; this could be symbolic of the ideals instilled into this body of work. By placing the power station at the background, John is stating that it is often overlooked. In other images the house are in the foreground which could suggest they pull focus.

Inspiration:

I think that John Myers’ work is very relevant to the body of work that I want to create; he photographs things that people think are unimportant but still have a lot of relevance today. The substation segment of his work is especially inspirational as he takes something visually uninteresting and “invisible’ and makes it look important and visually stimulating. I have been trying to take images of old record players in such ways that make them look visually stimulating in similar ways to John.

I like the fact that after nearly 40 years, the images John took were still considered relevant by the Ikon gallery as my project is based around old formats, old technologies and whether or not they are still useful or now considered obsolete.

I mentioned that these objects seem mundane to us but show on some level a quality of nostalgia and that is something that I want to show in the form of a photo-shoot based around people’s vinyl collections; the records may not have much monetary worth but they are significant and important to the owners.

http://www.birminghamlovesphotographers.com/archives/603

http://vimeo.com/32964444

http://francishodgson.com/2012/03/09/john-myers-middle-england/

Alternative Way of Shooting Still Life Objects

I was looking at Robert Moran’s body of work entitled “Relics” and a thought occurred to me on how I could create visually interesting still life images that tell a story.

I wrote about how I thought he held old format technology formats on a metaphorical pedestal by the way he talked about an old typewriter or a battered old suitcase and I realised that I feel the same way about my 35mm cameras and my vinyl collection; I often remark that film prints display much more vibrant colours and how vinyl produces a warmer sound than MP3.

I realised that the best way to to show this idea of a metaphorical in a single snapshot, is to stand the objects on actual pedestals to show how highly the vintage fashion is regarded today by some people.

I will update this post when I have tried some test shots with a pedestal.

Plan For Second Shoot – Vinyls

I am planning to complete a shoot every week for 6 weeks, and this week I will focus on studio portraits of students and teachers holding Vinyl Records.

I will try to shoot a couple of photos of:

Kieran Dawson – Johnny Cash and Black Flag vinyl with Black Leather Jacket

Alice Hone – Bruce Willis vinyl whilst wearing a “yippee-ki-yay” t-shirt

Matthew Sanders – Queen Best of vinyl and guitar

Lucy Fitzsimmons – Muse albums and Biffy Clyro single with corresponding t-shirts

The reason that I have decided to dress the subjects in clothes that are stylistic of people who listen to that music  (the notion that Punks wear leather jackets and Doc Martens) is because I wanted to show that music can mean more to some people than just simply listening to the songs. To some people, music means community and a sense of belonging so that is why I want to dress the subjects in this way. I am not fabricating anything, Kieran does wear a leather jacket, Alice is obsessed with Bruce Lee and has the t-shirt and vinyl, Matthew is a highly skilled guitarist who loves Queen; and Lucy is -sometimes too- fanatical about Muse and Biffy Clyro.

Lighting:

I will use a strong soft box as a main light and fill in the highlights with the umbrella. I may add a warming filter to give the photos a ‘vintage’ instagrameffect and I may even crop the images into squares to make them look like Polaroids. I think that not only will the warming filters add a vintage effect, but they will make the images look more inviting. The Polaroid style frames will make the images look older and will make the person looking at the photographs express feelings of nostalgia and fondness.

I think that the website/app “Instagram” is a very good example of this; the selling point of the website is that you can apply filters and frames to your photographs that enhance them and make them appear better. As you can see from the image taken from here, that a warming filter has been added which automatically makes the image warm and inviting and that is the kind of thing that I want to do with my project.

Art 3 – Initial Brainstorm Plan (October 10th)

Journey:

  •  Self project, my journey to a certain destination.
  • Lay out the helmet, jacket, and gloves and take a picture of them.
  • Self Portrait of me wearing them.
  • Drive to different locations and shoot landscapes with the bike in the frame.
  • Shoot pictures through the side mirror of the bike.
  • I could shoot portraits of friends in their leathers instead of doing self-portraits, this would allow me to get shots of them driving as well.
  • I could experiment with slow and fast shutter speeds.
  • Subjects – Ryan Whitmore, Steve McCabe.
  • Shoot in the studio with the people in their outfits and use light painting to photograph the helmets, keys and gloves.

Music Obsession:

  • Sifting through records in a shop
  • Light painted image of someone in a dark room clutching a vinyl sleeve whilst wearing large headphones
  • Vinyl sleeves laid on the floor with someone lying on them
  • Different people’s collections/favourite Albums
  • Clothes they wear compared to the records they listen to etc. Leather Jacket whilst holding a Metallica Vinyl or even something contrasting like a Diana Ross Album.
  • Subjects – Kieran Dawson (Johnny Cash), Steve McCabe (Pink Floyd, Metallica)
  • Use techniques from “Light Painting Still life” to photograph record players and Albums.

Visual Mood Board Ideas

mood boardThis is the visual mood board for my Art 3 Project, the 3 sections are Vinyl, old format cameras and vintage fashion.

Vinyl:

I like the use of records to obscure faces, especially when the vinyls have faces of the artists on the front sleeves like in the middle left image.  I will also demonstrate with different coloured vinyl, capturing the movement of the players and symmetrical images of larger collections on shelves.

Cameras:

For the camera section, I want to show the relationship between old and new by shooting still life portraits of old (35mm, bellow) and new Digital SLR cameras together like in the image of the two cameras on tripods.

Clothing:

I will try 3 different approaches to this section, people wearing the clothes, shot in the studio, mannequins displaying the clothes and clothes laid out on the bed or in suitcases.

Volunteers Needed for Vintage Fashion Shoot

As part of my Photography Art 3 module, I am photographing Vinyl, Film Cameras and Vintage Clothing.

If you have vintage style clothing of any description (boutique, 60’s/80’s/90’s etc revival, alternative fashion) it would be great if you could volunteer to have some studio portraits taken in the photography.

Males and Females welcome

My email is: 12arogers17@kinged6nun.ac.uk

Thanks!

Vinyl Portraits (Shoot 2)

I did a shoot on Wednesday the 6th of November on the subject of people showing off their Vinyl collections. I wanted to experiment with different vantage points, visual representations and mirroring the concept of the vinyls; to do this, I kept the lighting basic (soft-box at 90 degrees right and filler umbrella 90 degrees left) and even.

I took 3 photographs of Michael with the Rod Stewart Vinyl below. As soon as I saw the sleeve art, I knew that I would position the record in front of Michael’s face. Rod Stewart’s face was a perfect fit and the dark jumper matched perfectly with Michael’s neck and shoulders.  I shot from two different vantage points:

Close up and at eye level – This showed off the face on the record sleeve quite well.

Full body shot from a higher vantage point (stood on a chair) – This made the face on the sleeve match more seamlessly with Michael’s body. The angle is also quite interesting.

I really liked how these images turned out, the lighting is nice and both Michael and the vinyl are exposed really well and in focus. The image serves its purpose in that it shows off someone’s interest in the vinyl medium in a very fun and not so formal way; there are funny poses coupled with dramatic angles and the facial expressions (in the other images) are over the top to provide visual hyperbole. I really like the effects of the shadow on the middle picture which was caused by the two light sources placed at 90 angles either side of Michael. There is an almost apple shaped ball of shadow around michael’s body, with two sets of converging lines that start at the top left and top right corners of the frame and travel inwards.

Screen Shot 2013-11-07 at 10.54.17

I experimented a little with one image and thought about turning my images into Polaroid pictures via Photoshop, as both Vinyls and Polaroids were both very popular in the 1980’s and both are making a revival today.

As you can see, I took a Polaroid template and placed my image over it after cropping it into a square. I experimented with colour isolation on the sleeve as I thought that it would direct attention but I’m currently unsure on which version to include as the vinyl sleeve is already vibrant enough to stand out without adding black and white filters and colour isolation.

Screen Shot 2013-11-07 at 10.54.30

fashionphotographytipsforsuccess-302397I do not have any photographer names to talk about in terms of visual influence, but I was looking at images posted online with studio tags, and this image shows a similar setup and photographer/subject stance that I wanted to emulate for these photographs of Michael. The photographer is close to the subject to achieve a close crop image, and there is even lighting to create a high-key image.

 

 

 

 

 

The second subject (Kieran) brought along two records – Jonny Cash and Black Flag; one album is a Country Album from 1968 and the other is a Hardcore Punk album from 1981.

I think that the images below show the varied music genres that can be brought to your attention from vinyl, I wanted to show how collecting vinyls opens up a world of older and lesser known music.

Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 13.14.01

The Johnny Cash album is of the Country genre, so I picked up the acoustic guitar as a prop for Kieran to hold and I think that it really tied the image together.  The lighting I used is the same as the lighting used in every other shot in this shoot and this is something that I need to address in future.

The Clash album is Punk, and I wanted Kieran to dress up in something that represents the stereotypical ‘Punk’ style, hence the Leather Jacket, the middle finger and the angsty facial expression in image number 3. I then tried the opposite of this in image number 4 by taking a picture of Kieran grinning whilst holding the vinyl above his head. I think that this shows the joy that comes from listening to your favourite band on vinyl.

To link the 2 albums together, I made Kieran wear his leather jacket and move the guitar over his head in an arc to emulate smashing it on the floor in the punk style. The jacket and smashing action represents punk and the acoustic guitar represents country.  I took a burst shot of this and ended up choosing this one due to the lack of motion blur, and the look on Kieran’s face.

I shot a lot of images of Kieran, all pictures can be seen here.

The next set of images were taken of Matthew with his “Queen – Greatest Hits” album.

Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 16.08.41

I only took 3 images because at this point in the shoot, I had a better understanding of what and how I was shooting.

The first image was I shot was just a standard well lit shot with only the sleeve as a prop. Matthew’s face was angled slightly to his right which added a little shadow; I liked this so in the next 2 shots I made sure that his face was angled that way. Freddie Mercury is iconic and classed as a virtuoso vocalist, so I tried to represent that in my photos. I borrowed an SE220A condenser microphone from the studio and used it as a prop for Matthew to hold. To add drama in image number 3, I stood on a chair and shot from a higher vantage point. The picture is silly and the facial expressions are really exaggerated which I like.

Lucy was my final subject and I knew beforehand that she loves Muse and Biffy Clyro, so I asked her to wear t-shirts of the band and I brought in the two Muse albums and the Biffy Clyro Single.

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For the first 3 images, I asked her “show how much you like Muse” and she pulled facial expressions that she called Fan girl faces. A lot of modern bands have been releasing new albums in vinyl form, the CD’s will cost around £8 and the vinyl will cost around £20. People who are fanatic about music and about these particular bands will pay more money for the vinyl versions for different reasons:

  • The novelty of buying an album on vinyl
  • The preference of vinyl over digital
  • The ability to invest money in a band you are passionate about

Lucy is passionate about the bands when I speak to her outside of photography and I wanted to show this in my shoot. I like how the grey background of the ‘Absolution’ album fits well with the colour of the backdrop and Lucy’s Muse t-shirt while the figures on the sleeve fit well with her dark jeans. The same can be said for the black sleeve cover of the ‘2nd Law’ album.

on image number 4, you will notice the unique image on the ‘Biffy Clyro – Opposites’ single, I tried replicating this with Lucy. I asked her to face the camera head on and brush her hair behind her right ear and let it flow over just her left shoulder like the girl on the sleeve did. after taking the photograph, I selected Lucy’s face and used the background-removal tool to delete it. I took a sample of the floral pattern and pasted it multiple times as separate layers behind the layer of Lucy’s face to fill in the gap. You can see the effect by clicking on the image above. In hindsight it would have been easier to use the clone pattern tool. I don’t think that I will use this image in my final body of work but I thought that it was worth mentioning in the progress section of my work.

studio1For the images of Kieran, Matthew, and Lucy, I found this image (left). I think chose to mention this one, as it has a similar lighting setup to the one I used for these photographs. There is a strong light directly in front of the subject that has been elevated to a high position, as well as some contrasting light courtesy of an umbrella to the side.

According to The Times newspaper, “The romantic allure of vinyl puts its digital descendants to shame” as  sales of vinyl records have more than doubled in the past year and increased sevenfold since 2007.

People who collect Vinyl are passionate about music, they look past the price, the delicate format, and focus on the unique sound that vinyl produces; this is what I wanted to show in this shoot, the passion, the joy and the simple pleasure that comes from collecting vinyl.

Here is the full Contact sheet from the shoot. You can see the progression of the shoot from start to finish.

 

Final thoughts on the shoot:

I like this shoot, it was fun to shoot and it produced some good images, but I feel that there was a lot of potential that I missed out on.

The images are all very exuberant – the colors are bright and the room has a strong filler light setup but all the images have the same basic lighting setup. There is a large soft-box positioned directly above the camera set quite bright in order to illuminate the whole studio, as well as an umbrella to the right side of the subjects which adds a little contrast to their faces. I positioned myself either at head height in-front of the subjects, or stood on a chair directly in front of them to achieve the more drastic higher vantage point shots.

I like the images that I have created, but I know that if I were to shoot now, I would experiment with more lighting setups; I would attempt more low key lighting situations, as it would add contrast to the images I have already shot.