Classic Fashion Evaluation

It only took me 3 years…but I’ve finally gotten round to updating here with some of my HND coursework – which should hopefully explain in more detail the reasonings behind my final imagery for each unit. Classic Fashion was the second unit on my 2nd year  – and you can view my final outcomes here: Classic Fashion Final Images

Classic Fashion – Evaluation

Introduction

The subject for these units is Classic Fashion. My work for this brief I needed to produce a set of fashion photography images. My starting point began with researching into the work of fashion designers like Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto and fashion photographers such as Sølve Sundsbø, Nick Knight, Tim Walker, Paolo Roversi, Irving Penn, Emily Soto, Lara Jade and Rankin.

I researched and took references from high end fashion magazines and luxury magazines such as Rankin’s Hunger magazine and 125 magazine. I also collected various images from Internet research and books which I used as primary research.

The fashion concepts I decided on needed to be ones for which I could develop a meaningful narrative for, and ideas where I could demonstrate and showcase my studio skills at the same time as challenging me to try something new.

From my initial and detailed research I generated a detailed proposal where I developed my ideas. I completed and shot test images which helped me develop my ideas and techniques for the final images for my proposal, and then I chose my final images.

Detailed Research, Essay and Artist Research

My Initial research into the work of fashion designers like Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto and fashion photographers such as Sølve Sundsbø, Nick Knight, Tim Walker, Paolo Roversi, Irving Penn, Emily Soto, Lara Jade and Rankin, and along with my research and references from high end fashion magazines and luxury magazines such as Rankin’s Hunger magazine and 125 magazine, together with the various images collected from Internet research and books, all provided me with a solid base for starting my essay.

The subject for my essay and concept for my set of fashion images was ‘East meets West’ – to discuss the relationship between culture, fashion and photography, and the concept of ‘East meets West’ from both a fashion and photography interpretation, and also culturally in the context of demographic trends – to reflect the demographic shift that is impacting the fashion markets both in countries in the West and in the East, where older women are now massively outnumbering the young.

From developing my essay I then collated additional information from fashion magazines catering to an older demographic, such as Violet magazine which primarily targets the 30+ age market and utilises mature models, and I identified Paolo Roversi and Nick Knight as key protagonists who make use of older models in their work. I also discovered works by lesser known fashion photographers such as Japanese avant-garde photographer and film director Sayaka Maruyama who used Western models, but attired in Eastern-inspired clothes, as well as other photographers such as Alexi Lubomirski who have produced shoots for leading fashion magazines such as Vogue Germany and Nicoline Patricia Malina, who produced a similar body of ‘East meets West’ work.

Idea Generation & Proposal

I intended to produce images using an older model, a white middle aged adult female model, but wearing Eastern inspired fashion to convey the correlation between ‘East meets West’ and the demographic shift that is facing the fashion industries in both cultures, whilst incorporating the main tenet of the brief, high-end fashion imagery.

For both ideas I intended to include relevant props to reinforce the Eastern influences in the clothing, and utilise lighting techniques such as gels to add Eastern inspired moods to my images.

The detail of my two ideas:

Idea 1 – ‘East Meets West, Minimalism’ – I want to depict an image that is clearly Western influenced, with contemporary Eastern fashion in the form of kimono tops, as well as swathes of fabric with oriental print and potentially props such as fans and parasols deployed as accessories, set against a minimalist backdrop of pure white, so the viewer’s focus is purely on the garment I am showcasing. I intend to use a mature model to depict the overall demographic change in society and to appeal to a wider audience.

Connotation: By using a clearly Caucasian model dressed in Asian influenced attire, it juxtaposes the two cultures as clearly black and white at first glance, yet in reality unveils the similarities betwixt British culture and culture in Asia, with both influenced by the other. The usage of an Middle Aged model showcases the demographic shift in audience, as both East and West’s population gets older.

Denotation: Female model dressed in pseudo traditional Asian attire with either Butterfly lighting or Split lighting/Broad lighting against a white backdrop.

Idea 2 – ‘East Meets West, Gels’ – I want to depict an image that is Western influenced, with contemporary Eastern style fashion by utilising different swathes of fabric in various oriental floral prints as kimono tops and belts. I will combine oriental printed fabric with atypical western style dress, for example evening dress or suits to create a strong juxtaposition between the two cultures. I intend to use a mature model to depict the overall demographic change in society and to appeal to a wider audience. I will use gel lighting either as a means for changing my backdrop colour (primarily to red) or I will use gel lighting as hair/rim lighting and potentially even split lighting on my model (probably in blue and red).

Connotation: By using a clearly Caucasian model dressed in Asian influenced attire, it juxtaposes the two cultures as clearly black and white at first glance, yet in reality unveils the similarities betwixt British culture and culture in Asia, with both influenced by the other. The usage of an middle aged model showcases the demographic shift in audience, as both East and West’s population gets older.

Denotation: Female model dressed in pseudo traditional Asian attire with either Butterfly lighting against a red gelled backdrop or Split lighting/Broad lighting, with either hair lighting as blue and red gels or as completely split lighting.

 

Props, Materials & Model

I researched and sourced various suitable props and materials that I would need to shoot my concept ideas, including:

  • A selection of ladies printed kimono jackets
  • Ladies vintage 1920s ‘flapper’ dress
  • Other ladies clothing and accessories, e.g. blouse, culottes, belt, scarf, hat
  • Ladies wigs
  • Make up – lipstick, face powder
  • Assorted ladies Jet jewellery
  • Props – Chinese/Japanese fans in a variety of sizes and parasol
  • Female adult model

Risk Assessment

I included a review and risk assessment of the Health and Safety risks in the studio, in particular the risks surrounding having props and a model in the studio, as well as a general risk assessment, including use of studio flash equipment that could multiply heat issues, e.g. gels and beauty dish.

Shoots

 

Idea 1 – ‘East Meets West, Minimalism’

 

Equipment:

Mature female model in East meets West fusion attire with props, Olympus OM-D E-M5, Olympus 45mm 1.8, Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm 1.4, tripod, IKEA roller-blind in white, White fabric backdrop + stands

Light modifiers for studio lights: Beauty Dish, Softboxes.

Studio Flash @ 1/125 ISO200 F/8- F/16

PB280106.jpg lighting-diagram-1417380606.jpg

For ‘East meets West, Minimalism’, I primarily used a white 2mx3m backdrop (with the white IKEA roller-blind being used for close ups), which was lit evenly by using two soft-boxes with equal power, distance and angles between (on the left and the right) pointing at the backdrop, measured at f/45 to produce a pure white uniform backdrop. My model was lit by a beauty dish in either split lighting mode or butterfly lighting mode, which gave a uniform soft almost flat lighting to the model’s face and body, with no harsh shadows. I utilised a selection of props for either the model to hold or be placed against the backdrop- primarily oriental fans of various sizes and parasols. I shot the model is several poses and several variations of ‘East meets West’ fashion, by styling various strips of fabric as different parts of garments such as belts or skirts. Editing ‘East meets West, Minimalism’ consisted of minor adjustments to levels, spot healing/cloning tool and blur tool to smoothen out blemishes such as excess wrinkles.

 

Idea 2 – ‘East Meets West, Gels’

 

Equipment:

Mature female model in East meets West fusion attire with props, Olympus OM-D E-M5, Olympus 45mm 1.8, Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm 1.4, tripod, IKEA roller-blind in white, White fabric backdrop + stands

Light modifiers for studio lights: Beauty Dish, Shoot through Umbrella, Barndoors with gels in red and blue.

Studio Flash @ 1/125 ISO200 F/5.6-F/11

lighting-diagram-1417379701.jpg lighting-diagram-1417379011.jpg

For ‘East meets West, Gels’, I primarily used a white 2mx3m backdrop (with the white IKEA roller-blind being used for close ups), which was either lit evenly by using two red-gelled barn doors with equal power, distance and angles between (on the left and the right) pointing at the backdrop, measured at f/8 to produce a rustic red uniform backdrop or lit only by minor bounce back of the rim/hair-lights of the split lit blue and red gelled barndoors. My model was either lit by a beauty dish in or butterfly lighting mode, which gave a uniform soft almost flat lighting to the model’s face and body, with no harsh shadows or was lit by an umbrella shoot through to lighten elements of the model’s face and body that was lit by the blue and red gels. I utilised a selection of props for either the model to hold or be placed against the backdrop – primarily oriental fans of various sizes and parasols. I shot the model is several poses and several variations of ‘East meets West’ fashion, by styling various strips of fabric as different parts of garments such as belts or skirts. Editing ‘East meets West, Gels’ meant minor adjustments to levels, spot healing/cloning tool and blur tool to smoothen out blemishes such as excess wrinkles.

Model Release

For these Units I researched for and found a suitable formal Model Release form, which I used to provide a formal contract and terms between the photographer and the model I deployed in my shoots.

 

Presentation and Critique

I exhibited my work displayed in framed, mounted prints. I also presented my sketchbook work and displayed my set of four final fashion images. Following my presentation I received 5 critique responses to the following questions which are collated together (original copies of the responses attached):

Q1. Did they use their time effectively in your opinion? How so?

  • “Good extensive research, to artists and magazines”
  • “Everything completed. Lots of lovely research in sketchbook and nice mood boards”
  • “Good research/clear links, good usage of outside resources”
  • “At the start everything is linked from artists to her first shoot”
  • “As usual sketchbook doesn’t disappoint. Very, very detailed”

 

Q2. Do you think the final work is successful in terms of hitting the targets they set in the planning stages? What improvements would you suggest and why?

  • “Yes clearly linked to culture, some beautiful colours+lighting – Gels! Possibly could have done a full length”
  • “Clear development and links well to sketchbook”
  • “Maybe use a multicultural model or use some location”
  • “Yes, very good final images, well lit, would like to see more diversity in models”

Q3. Did they plan and prepare their presentation? What more do you think they could have done?

  • “Clear + concise opinions brought forward”
  • “Smooth, clear and informative”
  • “Good showcase of work”
  • “From the beginning of the sketchbook everything is heavily linked. At the final images you don’t get just an understanding what she is talking about”

 

Q4. Did they use available resources well? What did they do well?

  • “Yes very good use of studies + resources such as books, Internet, mags”
  • “External model and external studio”
  • “Good usage of resources outside of college”
  • “From working at home you have managed to create final images and sketchbook that is full to the brim”
  • “Your images show good control of lighting + gels, so yes”

Q5. Did they communicate their ideas and project well? What improvements could you suggest for next time?

  • “Yes – nice ref to different fashion imagery”
  • “Clear intentions. Maybe experiment with composition – try out ‘flowing’ things you have previously researched”
  • “Yes very good”
  • “Looking at the final images you interpreted the references she is trying to connect”
  • “Very well communicated. A lot of in-depth”

 

Q6. Do you think they hit the brief well? What else could they have done?

  • “Definitely, culture is clearly shown – sketchbook, coherent”
  • “Strong cultural element”
  • “Not much else even background on red ”
  • “More so, very extensive work”

Q7. (Subject Specific) Do you think their work was completed technically well? What improvements would you suggest?

  • “Yes, good use of Gel. Nice lighting”
  • “Nice lighting techniques”
  • “Good use of gel lighting”
  • “Good control of gels, this is a hard thing to do”

Q8. What is the strongest element of their project? What did you like the most?

  • “Sketchbook. But images especially Gel image was very good – really liked it”
  • “Really good final images, impressive sketchbook”
  • “Sketchbook + good final set”
  • “Consistency in final images, well framed”

General Comments:

  • “Lighting on red + gel – could have picked out details on lower body”
  • “Set considerations – parasol not as dominant”
  • “Pose/composition – distance, different, maybe full length? More models?”

 

 

Conclusion

I felt that these units were successful in terms of my proposal concepts and their outcomes. My essay and in-depth research into the challenges facing the fashion industry as a whole, of how to respond to the demographic shift that is affecting the developed fashion markets in both the West and East where older women are outnumbering the young, provided valuable insights into both cultural aspects and also how professional photographers are, or aren’t, addressing this issue.

My essay and research helped me generate the ideas and concepts for my proposal, which then allowed me to successfully plan, prepare and complete my shoots. This then helped me to achieve, accomplish and select my set of four final images, which I feel fully actualise the brief of ‘Classic Fashion’, and the images also accomplish my personal objective to utilise a mature adult female model as an alternative to the overused and hackneyed young models, as this is a demographic with limited and frequently low incomes.

My choice of a mature UK size 10 model was primarily driven by my target demographic, but I also wanted to use a model that represented the body image valued by the mature fashion market in countries such as China and Japan, and one that was closer to the real size of the modern average woman in the UK (where the average is size 16, 5’ 13” in height and weighing 11 stones [1], versus a typical Western model size 6/8, 5’ 11” in height and weighing around 8.5 stones[2]). The influence of the stereotypical ‘anorexic’ fashion model in countries such as China and Japan has only begun in the last 30 years, meaning that they still have older, more traditional value and belief systems and beauty standards, where curvaceousness equates to health, wealth and fertility, so marketing fashion to their older, more affluent adults needs to reflect this.

I also researched what represents current fashion trends for the older demographic in Eastern countries such as Japan or Korea. Unlike Western countries, Eastern fashion trends to trail behind the West, with strong historical precedents to 1920s to 1950s American and European fashions, featuring for example S-Line (curvy figure) dresses, where the ‘S’ is  used to visually describe a curvy woman. Additionally in Eastern countries such as Korea a pale complexion signifies wealth, health and luxury, whereas only the poor and peasants have tanned complexions – while in Western countries the reverse is true and a tan represents perceived wealth and health.

I feel my four final images visually express the concept of ‘East meets West’, both in terms of conceptual fashion design and as high end fashion photography, with each image capturing the spirit and ethos of “East meets West”, all channelled through the symbolism of a mature model reflecting the shifting demographic customer base of the fashion industry.

Overall I found these units to be questioning, inducing me to seek out a niche alternative approach to the predictable solution to “East meets West”, which motivated me to challenge my skills and work with a more problematic model which required me to develop my studio lighting techniques, while also being successful and rewarding in achieving my final images. I am very satisfied with my set of final images, and particularly the lighting techniques I used to create them, which I can deploy for clients as a professional photographer.

The feedback responses I received to my presentation were all very positive and constructive, endorsing that my detailed research, sketchbook work, ideas, experimentation using an older model and final images were all very successful. Generally the comments provided me with a few minor pointers as to where I could improve.

I feel that the four images that I selected as my set of final images meet the brief and match the ideas and concepts I generated from the analysis of the relationships between culture, fashion and photography in my essay and subsequently transcribed into my proposal, which were supported by my detailed research and annotation. I am also pleased with my studio lighting techniques and subsequent post-processing in Photoshop, particularly the my use of gel based lighting. The images I produced I believe could easily be used in high-end fashion magazines and successfully communicate the connotation of ‘East meets West’ and demographic change, evoking the works of fashion photographers such as Paolo Roversi.

Working in my temporary home studio was challenging and did pose me with a number of challenges and restrictions that I had to work within. For example, I encountered issues with restricted width and length, meaning that I could just about shoot a full head to toe full body shot of my model. I also had issues with the new backdrop which I purchased for this shoot. Despite being 2m wide and 3m in length, the length was not sufficient to allow me to bring my model forward enough from the backdrop, and as a result I encountered lighting pollution/spillage from competing lights. Additionally the backdrop was badly creased due to being packaged for delivery, and despite following the instructions I was unable to satisfactorily remove the creases so I did not use the backdrop and I reverted to using my standby white IKEA roller blind instead. To avoid this in the future I will purchase a roll of backdrop paper which I then can extend further than 3m to allow separation between my models and the background.

Working through these issues and restrictions has positively benefited my learning. I have gained very valuable experience of working in restricted spaces and overcoming the issues they can present. This has helped to develop my skills further and provides me with an additional skillset to apply if I encounter a similarly restricted situation in my professional career.

These Units have reaffirmed my previous learning in terms of shooting in the studio, whilst also allowing me to refine my skills with gel lighting and with more challenging and problematic model subjects, allowing me to gain very valuable experience which I can use when dealing with clients who are either older themselves or those that wish to communicate and engage with the most ubiquitous demographic that has the highest disposable income to buy all forms of fashion. Researching for my essay provided me with valuable insights into fashion as an industry and the array of potential opportunities and niche markets that are open for me to exploit in my future career. The objective of creating ‘Classic Fashion’ images presented me with valuable new prospects to enhance my expertise when working with models in the studio, along with developing and consolidating my lighting skills and other image making techniques.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Some of the Final Outcomes- I culled the first two left – as they were more middle eastern inspired rather inspired by the Orient.

Classic Fashion

It only took me 3 years…but I’ve finally gotten round to updating here with some of my HND coursework – which should hopefully explain in more detail the reasonings behind my final imagery for each unit. Classic Fashion was the second unit on my 2nd year  – and you can view my final outcomes here: Classic Fashion Final Images

‘East meets West’

Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,

Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat;

But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,

When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!

This may be read as saying that ‘it is indisputable that geographic points of the compass will never meet in this life, but that when two strong men [or equals] meet, the accidents of birth, whether of nationality, race, or family, do not matter at all—the Asian and the European are equals.”

Extract from ‘The Ballad of East and West

 

The purpose of this essay is to discuss the relationship between cultural, fashion and photography, and the concept of ‘East meets West’ – where contemporary and classical fashions merge elaborate fantasy, escapism, fragility and fairytale elements together, to create visual metaphorical statements of that you are unlikely to see on the high street.

 

Haute Couture (which is bluntly just the French translation of ‘high fashion’ in English despite it’s common usage) and high-end fashion is driven by the designers desires to produce new fashions and lifestyle statements. The fashions they produce are conceptual rather than practical, a physical showcase of their works as an ultimate moment, an instant showcasing beautiful and elegant female models that presents their wares as the acts of a provocateur and boundary pushers.

 

Photography is the observed culmination of cultural performances, a metaphorical lens where we gain a literal visual insight into the world, into new cultures and their unique lifestyles. Photography opens a window into the fashion drivers within a culture, and the cultural drivers of its fashion.

 

Different cultures breed different cultural focuses, values and paradigms. This means that forces in the fashions and photographic styles are all inherently culture-bound by the culture’s backgrounds, perspectives and history. So to understand different cultures, it is critical to understand what drives those cultural aspects.

 

We can acquire cultural knowledge through casual, informal, and direct observations and experiences. Understanding other cultures begins with recognising the difference and diversity in the way people think, talk, act, eat, play, live and die. Along with these perspectives, to fully understand a culture you also need to recognise forces behind the values and the beliefs they engender in the culture of that community, in order to understand the importance of these ritualistic constructs.

 

Within the concept of ‘East meets West’, Western fashion designers have mined and dissected iconic Asian cultures for sartorial inspiration, creating hybrid concepts that reference centuries-old fashions that embrace ‘oriental chic’ racial diversity. In that sense, high-end fashion narrates a story about the effects of global cultural interactions over the latter half of the twentieth century and references them as the contents printed on the glossy pages of high-end fashion magazines and the visual triggers of the catwalk.

 

In Western cultures the usually propagated visual stereotypes in fashion are very young models which are used to commodify high-end fashion as a youth cult. The implications between the “West” and the “East,” is presupposed by the cultural contrasts between strong youth-biased consumerism in “Western” cultures and the converse healthy respect for older generations in Asian cultures. However the fashion industry as a whole is faced with a challenge, how to reflect the tectonic demographic shift that is afflicting the developed fashion markets both in countries in the West and in the East, especially in countries like Japan, Korea and now even China, where older women are now massively outnumbering the young. So how do they sell their product, the ultimate image of youth, to the older demographic?

 

‘After decades of successfully catering to baby-boomer women, many clothing retailers are struggling to find the right look for them – classic enough to be age-appropriate but not too granny-ish. Some have turned their back on older women altogether, chasing web-savvy teens and twenty-somethings instead.“Older shoppers have the disposable income but they are not necessarily spending it on clothes, because many retailers are not targeting them successfully,” says Maureen Hinton, director of research and analysis at Verdict, the retail consultancy. “Most store groups are chasing younger shoppers, who are more driven by fashion and so are much easier to understand.”

Fashion: A mature market

 

The answer is so simple it is staring the fashion industry in the face – to use older models. Despite the fashion industry’s reluctance, some major model agencies such as Models 1 have recognised the need to have a roster of older models and they have a niche ‘Classic’ division providing niche models aged 28 or older. And there are good reasons to do this.

 

‘Japan is the most advanced market when it comes to retailers gearing products to older customers. More than one in four Japanese are aged 65 or older, making it the first country to hit the 25 per cent mark.Aeon, Japan’s largest supermarket group and mall operator, has identified the “senior shift” as a key strategic opportunity and is now targeting what it calls the “Grand Generation”.’

Fashion: A mature market

 

While the fashion industry as a whole chases youth-based consumerism, a demographic with limited and often low incomes, they are chasing the wrong target. In a world where older people, often even so-called pensioners, not only have higher disposable incomes than the young but they also have more money readily available to spend, they are also more selective how they spend it and more discerning what they spend their money on.

 

‘Photographer Nick Knight believes the success of older models is part of a broader cultural change. “We don’t live in such a youth-based culture as we did 50 years ago,” he says. “The internet is where most people get their fashion information from now, and we’re seeing all manner of different cultures and values.”’

Older models: the women in their 60s, 70s and 80s who are shaking up fashion

 

So how do photographers communicate that age is not a barrier to fashion? Photographers like Paolo Roversi have been using older models for some time, indeed Roversi has featured older models since at least 2005, and usually these models are not the aesthetic template of a typical fashion model, but often other worldly or ethereal, qualities that are not usually apparent in young models.

 

Additionally, Western high-end fashion, ‘luxury’ and ‘lifestyle’ magazines do not often feature models that are Eastern, either Asian or of an Asian appearance. Ironically this is against a background of an ‘Orientalist’ fascination the West has with Asianness, and the Western stereotype that Asian women are decadent, demure, exotic, seductive and sensual, with their ‘foreign mystique’, a view that perpetuates the exoticism that surrounds women of the East.

 

“in 2008 Nick Knight explained that many people in the industry deem black models as non-aspirational, which appears to be the same attitude adopted in Asian markets. “I guess these companies are being told what sells and what doesn’t sell,” he explained.”

Asian Fashion Advertising’s Unfamiliar Face

 

It is these elements in photography that disseminates the different cultural influences that are evident in fashion from both the East and fashion from the West – from the commodity materialistic fashions worn by Western ‘Hipsters’, to traditional Eastern Geishas and the kitsch of Japan’s Harajuku – ironically a popular subculture with the youth of Chinese controlled Hong Kong.

 

By contrast designers of Haute Couture parade their fashions like a religious ceremony, using skilled professional photographers to infuse high fashions with abstract random themes. The imagery the photographers produce, contextualised by the situation, props, accessories and customisation is perfected by the work of professional stylists to define how the clothing communicates its values and defines its meaning to the viewer and the designer’s target market.

 

Time-honored elegance of the Far East alwayshas been a glamorous lure for fashionistas forits perfect blending of cuts and colors, sumptuousprints and fabrics as well as the enhanced senseof dignity Oriental clothing provides.

mikapoka: eastward-oriented lure

 

Japanese avant-garde photographer and film director Sayaka Maruyama has brought the East to the West. Maruyama, a graduate of the Tohoku University of Art, is now working in London with hair and head prop artist Tomihiro Kono, where Maruyama produces preternatural images which coalesces the works of high end fashion designers and aspirational brands from the West, with the zest and an accent of the East.

 

Maruyama used Western models, but attired in Eastern-inspired vestments in ‘The stunning editorial called ”The Empress’ New Clothes”’ for ”How to Spend It”, the lifestyle magazine of the Financial Times. The editorial showcased a collection of Eastern inspired high end fashion by leading designers, including ‘flowing silk kimonos, brocades, embroidered satin dresses … and even vintage robes … fully conveying the exotic sense of elegance and intrigue that makes more and more Western people going for Eastern wear.

 

Similarly other photographers such as Alexi Lubomirski have produced shoots for leading fashion magazines such as Vogue Germany. Lubomirski interpretation of ‘East meets West’ used Eastern-influenced props to amplify the oriental overtones of the garments, and ‘portray a glamorous tourist in early 20th century China. The saturated colours add to effect that everything oriental seems alluring to Western eyes’.

 

Nicoline Patricia Malina has produced a similar body of ‘East meets West’ work, with a collection of Harajuku inspired images that is more abstract or surreal than Lubomirski’s, mashing Western materialistic values with both traditional Japanese and modern fashions, which produces vibrant concepts that visually assault the eyes with bright and brash colour mixes that have more in common with toxic waste than fashion.

Conclusion

To discuss the relationship between culture, fashion and photography, and the concept of ‘East meets West’ we need to examine what drives designers of Haute Couture and high-end fashion to produce new fashions and lifestyle statements as a conceptual but physical showcase of their works, against photography which gives us a literal window into the world, cultures and lifestyles that drive fashion. The concept of ‘East meets West’ is dominated by the cultural contrasts between strong youth-biased consumerism in “Western” cultures and the healthy respect for older generations in “Eastern” cultures in Asia.

 

Understanding different cultures means you need to understand the breadth of different cultural focuses, values and paradigms in those cultures. The forces that drive fashions and photographic styles are all inherently culture-bound by the culture’s backgrounds, perspectives and history. So to understand the relationships between fashion, photography and cultures, it is critical to understand what drives them. Cultural knowledge can be acquire through casual, informal, and direct observations and experiences. Understanding other cultures begins with recognising the difference and diversity in the way people think, talk, act, eat, play, live and die.

 

The fashion industry as a whole is faced with a challenge of how to respond to the demographic shift that is affecting the developed fashion markets both in the West and East, where older women outnumbering the young. While the fashion industry as a whole chases youth, this is a demographic with limited and often low incomes. The world is now where older people, even so-called pensioners, have higher disposable incomes than the young but they are also more selective how they spend it and more discerning what they spend their money on.

 

Photographers can use their imagery to communicate that age is not a barrier to fashion. Photographers like Paolo Roversi and Nick Knight make use of older models for good reasons. These models are not the aesthetic template of a typical fashion model, but bring with them other worldly or ethereal qualities that are not usually apparent in young models. And worldly experience.

 

Portraying ‘East meets West’ is both simple and complex at the same time. Photographers like Sayaka Maruyama, Alexi Lubomirski and Nicoline Patricia Malina have all produced oriental inspired images which appear simplistic on the surface, but they hide the difficulty of melding the equity of different cultures together without making the resulting imagery cliché.

 


Bibliography

‘The Ballad of East and West’:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ballad_of_East_and_West

 

Respect for the Aged Day (Japan):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Respect_for_the_Aged_Day

 

Older models: the women in their 60s, 70s and 80s who are shaking up fashion – The Guardian, Saturday 22 February 2014:

http://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2014/feb/22/older-models-in-fashion

 

Models 1:

http://www.models1.co.uk/results.aspx?nav=2&sexid=2&subid=7773

 

Asian Fashion Advertising’s Unfamiliar Face – Huffington Post 17/09/2011:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/naomi-mdudu/asian-fashion-advertising_b_957301.html

 

mikapoka: eastward-oriented lure:

http://www.mikapoka.com/2011/07/eastward-oriented-lure.html

 

Elite London: Vogue Germany / Constance Jablonski:

http://elitelondon.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/vogue-germany-constance-jablonski.html

 

Harajukuers – Nicoline Patricia Malina:

http://www.nicolinepatricia.com/Harajukuers

 

‘Older models on the runway’ – The Independent, Sunday 04 May 2014:

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/features/older-models-on-the-runway–are-we-in-the-midst-of-a-fashion-revolution-or-a-flash-in-the-pan-9322700.html

Locating Society Evaluation

You can view some of my final outcomes here

Introduction

The subject for these units is Locating Society. For my work for this brief I needed to produce images on location, using lens based recording with natural daylight, mixed lighting (natural, artificial and manually controllable portable flash), artificial lighting and manually controllable portable flash lighting. My starting point began with researching the work of photographers such as Hiroshi Sugimoto, Nan Goldin, Rut Blees Luxemburg, Minor White, Sally Mann, Stephen Gill, Jeffrey Shaw, Jeff Wall, Bill Henson, Edward Steichen, and Todd Hido.

 

I researched, took references and also collected various images from Internet research and books, such as ‘How to Read a Photograph – Understanding, Interpreting & enjoying the Great  Photographers’ by Ian Jeffrey, which I used as primary research.

 

The Locating Society concepts I decided on needed to be ones which I could develop a meaningful narrative for, and ideas where I could visually communicate a social commentary on the societal issues and reasons behind loneliness. My ideas needed to both showcase and develop my skills when working with the challenge of combining natural, artificial and flash lighting on location and at the same time give me the challenge of trying new techniques and approaches to my work.

 

From my initial and detailed research I generated a detailed proposal where I developed my ideas. I completed and shot test images which helped me develop my ideas and techniques for the final images for my proposal, and then I chose my final images.

 

Detailed Research, Essay and Artist Research

My Initial research into the work of photographers such as Hiroshi Sugimoto, Nan Goldin, Rut Blees Luxemburg, Minor White, Sally Mann, Stephen Gill, Jeffrey Shaw, Jeff Wall, Bill Henson, Edward Steichen, and Todd Hido, along with my research and references from the various images collected from Internet research and books, all provided me with a solid base for my sketchbook work.

 

I collated information about loneliness, for example from newspaper articles and I identified Rut Blees Luxemburg and Nan Goldin as key exponents who have created works exploring social isolation.

 

Idea Generation & Proposal

I intended to produce imagery that explored loneliness in Urban and Rural locations, using either a male or female model to contextualise loneliness by framing a solitary figure in my selected urban and rural locations to contrast the brutality of the city and the isolation provided by the countryside against the vulnerability of the human condition, to convey the the solitude of loneliness.

For both ideas whilst incorporating the main tenet of the brief, ‘Locating Society’, I intended to challenge viewers to reevaluate their view of loneliness by capturing isolated and detached figures in a variety of urban and non-urban locations to disseminate that loneliness is a ubiquitous condition that afflicts people whether they reside in a city or the countryside.

 

The detail of my two ideas:

 

  • 1. ‘Urban Loneliness’ – a) Shoreditch (Graffiti – in particular around Old Street Tube Station)
    I want to depict an image that contextualises loneliness in the City and correlates to my research that London is the ‘loneliness capital of Europe’. I intend shooting in and around the Shoreditch area with the intent of capturing solitary figures/models near grungy graffiti covered urban walls or buildings utilising a combination of natural ambient lighting and tungsten/LED/flash lighting aimed directly at the figures to isolate them from the surroundings. I intend to attempt to capture the figures on the edges of the frames possibly placed on the edge of a third.

Connotation: By framing solitary figures/models near grungy graffiti covered urban walls or buildings it contrasts the brutality of the city against the isolation and vulnerability of the human condition.

Denotation: Solitary figures/models lit by natural ambient lighting and tungsten/LED/flash lighting by grungy graffiti covered urban walls or buildings.

Lighting Notes:

I will utilise a combination of natural ambient lighting and tungsten/LED/portable flash lighting aimed directly at the solitary figures to isolate them from the surroundings.

 

  • 1. ‘Urban Loneliness’ – b) City of London/Central London (Nightscapes & solo walkers)
    I want to depict an image that contextualises loneliness in the City and correlates to my research that London is the ‘loneliness capital of Europe’. I intend shooting images where the lit Skyline nightscape highlights the presence of other people, yet the flash lighting on the model isolates them from the rest of the surroundings and the distance between the rest of society and the model is exaggerated by this. Harsh lighting, high contrast and shadows.

Connotation: By framing solitary figures/models against the background of the cityscape, it contrasts the brutality of the city against the isolation and vulnerability of the human condition.

Denotation: Solitary figures/models highlighted by natural ambient lighting and flash lighting set against a background of city buildings or the city skyline.

Lighting Notes:

Using the skyline nightscape to highlight the presence of other people, with the portable flash lighting aimed at the model to provide a harsh light to isolate them from the rest of the scene and exaggerate the distance between the rest of society and my model.

 

  • 2. ‘Rural Loneliness’ – Rural Bedfordshire, Shocott Spring (Forest of Marston Vale)
    I want to depict loneliness in rural life – how communities these days don’t communicate or socialise with one another. I intend on using the location of Shocott Sprint (situated in Cotton End) which hosts open wide vistas with small scale forestry trees and paths which feature leading lines into the image. I want to place the model of the right third on the lower segments to lead the viewer into the image and the empty path and horizon. Bleak limited colour palette, preferably stormy cloudy weather. Flash illuminates model want a high contrast fill-in with bold shadows.

Connotation: By framing a solitary figure/model in a rural setting, it contrasts the isolation provided by the countryside against the vulnerability of the human condition.

Denotation: Solitary figures/models highlighted by portable flash lighting in the open countryside.

Lighting Notes:

A bleak limited colour palette with stormy/cloudy weather, using the portable flash lighting to provide high contrast fill-in lighting to create bold shadows.

 

Locations

I researched various possible locations where I could shoot my concept ideas, including:

 

Locations – Urban:

Kings Cross St Pancras Underground station

Chinatown (area around Gerrard Street)

Tower of London, near A100 opposite Tower Hill underground station, looking towards The Shard

Three Quays Walk, looking towards The Shard and South Bank

City of London –  Great Tower Street, Mincing Lane, Fenchurch Street, Fenchurch Ave, Lime Street, Leadenhall Street, St Mary’s Axe etc.

Shoreditch

London Underground, ‘tube’ stations and trains

Locations – Rural:

Shocott Spring

Wrest Park

Models

I planned to use either/or:

  • Female adult model
  • Male adult model

 

Risk Assessment

I included a review and risk assessment of the Health and Safety risks on location, in particular the risks surrounding using models and assistants on location, as well as a general risk assessment, including the use of portable flash equipment.

 

Shoots

 

Idea 1 – ‘Urban Loneliness’

 

Equipment:

  • Male or Female female model in dark casual clothing
  • Olympus OM-D E-M5
  • Olympus 45mm 1.8
  • Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm 1.4
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3
  • tripod
  • Vivitar 283 flash strobe, with Vivitar VP-1 manual adapter
  • Vivitar 285 flash strobe, with vari-power manual adapter
  • remote flash trigger+receiver+flash sync cable
  • flash hot foot adapter with flash sync cable (to connect flash to remote receiver)
  • Various Cokin filters, e.g. Star and similar special effects
  • Cokin filter holders and adapter ring
  • Spare batteries for portable flash strobes, wireless flash triggers
  • related H&S equipment and PPE, e.g. gloves for cold weather

 

  1. ‘Urban Loneliness’ – a) Shoreditch (Graffiti)

LOCATINGSOC1

  1. ‘Urban Loneliness’ – b) City of London/Central London (Nightscapes & solo walkers)

locatingsociety2

For ‘Urban Loneliness – a) Shoreditch (Graffiti)’, I used a wirelessly triggered portable strobe flash unit either positioned on the ground on a flash gun stand, or held and positioned by an assistant, aimed at my model to provide a focal highlight to dissociate the models from the available ambient background lighting to suggest isolation and loneliness, but whilst retaining the ambient lighting to provide a background context and social commentary. I shot my models in several poses and several variations of ‘Urban Loneliness – a) Shoreditch (Graffiti)’. Editing ‘Urban Loneliness – a) Shoreditch (Graffiti)’ only consisted of minor adjustments to levels etc.

 

For ‘Urban Loneliness – b) City of London/Central London (Nightscapes & solo walkers)’ I again used a wirelessly triggered portable strobe flash unit either positioned on the ground on a flash gun stand, or held and positioned by an assistant, aimed at my model to provide a focal highlight to dissociate the models from the available ambient background lighting to suggest isolation and loneliness, but whilst retaining the ambient lighting to provide a background context and social commentary. For ‘Nightscapes & solo walkers’ I shot my models in several poses and several variations of ‘Urban Loneliness’ – b) City of London/Central London (Nightscapes & solo walkers)’.

I also shot some candid images of random passersby using only the available ambient lighting, selecting viewpoints that utilized the available ambient lighting to highlight the passersby in my images and provide a background context and social commentary. I shot my models in several poses and several variations of ‘Urban Loneliness’ – b) City of London/Central London (Nightscapes & solo walkers)’.

Editing ‘Urban Loneliness’ – b) City of London/Central London (Nightscapes & solo walkers)’ only consisted of minor adjustments to levels etc.

 

While these images were technically successful I felt that due to a lack of movement in the rest of the image, the isolation they portrayed to the viewer depicts individuals who are not only isolated, but are vulnerable, perhaps suggesting that the figures in the images could be considering self harm such as committing suicide, which was not the message I wanted to communicate.

 

As a result I reconsidered what I wanted to communicate to my viewers and researched for locations where I could incorporate movement in my images. My research suggested that I would need to shoot in a busy retail area, so I reconnoitered Oxford Street and Regent Street. I discounted Oxford Street after completing a risk assessment as while it does have a central island paved area between the two lanes of traffic, the island is very narrow and not big enough to safely place a tripod or to have a model or assistant working, plus the vehicle and pedestrian traffic is too busy and I felt the risks in Oxford Street made the location was unsafe for both myself as photographer and my models or assistant.

 

The lower section of Regent Street leading from Piccadilly Circus to Oxford Circus provided a better location, and my completed risk assessment showed that there was more than sufficient space on the central island paved area between the two lanes of traffic for a tripod to be set up, and for myself and an assistant to stand side-by-side. The location I selected was also close to a set of traffic lights which also helped by slowing and regulating the vehicle traffic passing by on both sides.

 

Choosing Regent Street as a location also gave me the opportunity to showcase how I am able to successfully combine background ambient lighting from nearby retail shops streetlights and traffic lights, with lights from moving vehicles (cycles, motorbikes, cars, vans, buses, trucks) and fill-in flash to highlight model. It also allowed me to add the movement that I felt was missing from the original images I shot. Shooting in Regent Street allowed me to utilise slow shutter speeds to artistically capture the movement of the traffic which communicates the dissonance between the isolation of my model, the city buzzing around them and any other people.

 

Idea 2 – ‘Rural Loneliness’

 

Equipment:

  • Male or Female female model in dark casual clothing
  • Olympus OM-D E-M5
  • Olympus 45mm 1.8
  • Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm 1.4
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3
  • tripod
  • Vivitar 283 flash strobe, with Vivitar VP-1 manual adapter
  • remote flash trigger+receiver+flash sync cable
  • flash hot foot adapter with flash sync cable (to connect flash to remote receiver)
  • Spare batteries for portable flash strobes, wireless flash triggers
  • related H&S equipment and PPE, e.g. gloves for cold weather

 

  1. ‘Rural Loneliness’ – Rural Bedfordshire, Shocott Spring (Forest of Marston Vale)

locatingsociety3

For ‘Rural Loneliness – Rural Bedfordshire, Shocott Spring (Forest of Marston Vale)’, I used a wirelessly triggered portable strobe flash unit held and positioned by an assistant, aimed at my model to provide a focal highlight to dissociate my model from the available natural lighting to suggest isolation and loneliness, with the ambient lighting providing a background context and social commentary. I shot my model in effectively a single pose and editing ‘Rural Loneliness – Rural Bedfordshire, Shocott Spring (Forest of Marston Vale)’ only consisted of minor adjustments to levels etc.

 

While my ‘Rural Loneliness’ images were technically successful I felt that they were not successful outcomes in terms of communicating my intent. As countryside is open and isolated anyway, I felt that the narrative my images conveyed did not clearly illustrate the dissociation with society.

 

Model Release

For these Units I used a suitable formal Model Release form, which I used to provide a formal contract and terms between the photographer and the models I used in my shoots.

Conclusion

I felt that these units were technically successful in terms of my proposal concepts and I produced strong images, however their outcomes did not articulate or convey the impact I wanted. As my initial ideas did not work as I had intended, I decided I needed to reshoot and capture movement in my image. To achieve this I had to research alternative locations where I could safely set up my tripod, where my assistant could safely aim the portable flash gun without causing distractions to moving traffic and where I could safely pose my model.

 

My in-depth research into the use of photography to explore the relationship between the myth of society and the reality of loneliness, to gain an insight into the edges of our culture, assisted me in formulating my ideas and concepts. I wanted to challenge the viewer to examine the darkness of our world and the relationship between the omnipresent lingering of loneliness, so the viewer questions how life extends beyond its own subjective limits and act as an epitaph for the effects of loneliness.

 

My research helped me generate the ideas and concepts for my proposal, which then allowed me to successfully plan, prepare and complete my shoots. While I did not feel that my original images did not not articulate or convey the impact I wanted, my detailed planning technique assisted me to quickly research and identify alternative urban locations. This then helped me to successfully reshoot my urban concept incorporating movement, so I was able to achieve, accomplish and select my final image, which I feel fully actualises the brief of ‘locating Society’, and the image also accomplishes my personal objective to explore the relationship between the myth of society and the reality of loneliness and challenge the viewer to examine the darkness of our world and the relationship between the omnipresent lingering of loneliness.

 

I feel my final image visually expresses the reality of loneliness, and how we can be lonely or isolated even when enveloped by a busy, bustling and hectic city. I feel my image catapults the viewer’s senses into the isolation and depression that loneliness brings in an urban cityscape, how loneliness pervades society and how solitude has no boundaries.

 

Overall I found these units to be provocative. Shooting on location introduces random elements that the photographer cannot control, but has to work with, from natural and ambient light, through to the vagaries of weather conditions. Having to research and identify an alternative urban locations meant I had to quickly react to unforeseen circumstances, which motivated me to work with more challenging lighting and requiring me to develop my exposure techniques. I found this was very rewarding and by successfully creating my final image I was very satisfied with how I combined my portable flash lighting with the available ambient lighting on location. The skills I gained and the techniques I used to create my images can be utilised in the future for creating personal portfolio work or for clients as a professional photographer.

 

The feedback responses I received to my presentation were all very positive and constructive, endorsing that my detailed research, sketchbook work, ideas, experimentation using an older model and final images were all very successful. Generally the comments provided me with a few minor pointers as to where I could improve.

 

I feel that the image that I selected as my final image meets the brief and aligns with the ideas and concepts I generated in my proposal, which were supported by my detailed research and annotation. I am also pleased with my portable flash lighting techniques on location, and particularly the way I was able to incorporate it with background ambient lighting of many different colour temperatures. The image I produced I believe could easily be used as a fine art piece and successfully communicates the connotation of ‘loneliness in society’, in a thought provoking way.

 

These Units have reaffirmed my previous learning in terms of shooting on location, whilst also allowing me to refine my skills with exposure and with dealing with more challenging and problematic lighting situations, allowing me to gain very valuable experience which I can use when dealing with clients who require location-based shoots. Research provided me with a valuable insight into isolation and loneliness and it’s pervasiveness within society, which opens up various potential opportunities and niche markets for me to exploit in my forthcoming career. The objective of creating ‘Locating Society’ images presented me with valuable new prospects to enhance my expertise when working with models and assistants on location, along with developing and consolidating my lighting skills.

Locating Society Proposal

“Loneliness is not a fault but a condition of existence”¹

Introduction
My proposal for Units 112 & 104 – ‘Locating Society’ will produce 1-3 images created and inspired around the concept of ‘Loneliness’ – to use photography on location to explore the relationship between the myth of society and the reality of loneliness, to leave the viewer with an insight into the edges of our culture. Using lens based recording I want to use challenge the viewer to examine the darkness of our world and the relationship between the omnipresent lingering of loneliness, so the viewer questions how life extends beyond its own subjective limits and act as an epitaph for the effects of loneliness.
The photographer undertaking the work will be Jasmine Murray.
Work will commence on the 10/12/2014 and finish on the 30/01/2014.

‘Loneliness’
Modern life is seen and popularly portrayed as a hectic fusion of real life interactions like work, family and shopping, but mixed up with new technology based interactions like ‘social networking’ (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), professional networking such as LinkedIn and other technology based interactions such as a online gaming. With all these factors stimulating us how can we possibly be lonely or isolated when surrounded by such an array of ways of keeping in contact with other people?

It is now being recognised that despite it being so much easier than any other time in history to interact with other people, people who can be in other continents, time zones and even on the opposite side of the world, the world has never been such a lonely place.²³⁴

Within my concept of ‘Loneliness’ I want to use lens based recording to explore and render to the viewer the isolation and depression that loneliness brings both in urban cityscapes and in its opposite, in open countryside. I plan to depict how loneliness pervades society and how solitude has no boundaries.

I plan to creatively combine use of natural daylight, artificial lighting, and manually controllable portable flash, along with mixed lighting of natural, artificial and manually controllable portable flash, into my images to highlight the solitude of loneliness and provide focal detailing.

I want to challenge viewers to reevaluate their view of loneliness by capturing isolated and detached figures in a variety of urban and non-urban locations to disseminate that loneliness is a ubiquitous condition that afflicts people whether they reside in a city or the countryside.


1.“Loneliness is not a fault but a condition of existence.” – Ivan Albright by Rudyard Kipling, first published in 1889
2. “The Price of Modern Life Is Depression And Loneliness?” – https://medium.com/festival-of-dangerous-ideas/the-price-of-modern-life-is-depression-and-loneliness-96a2367f3460
3.“Loneliness is a modern epidemic that shames our society” – http://www.mirror.co.uk/opinion/tom-watson-mp-loneliness-being-3451370
4.“Is modern life making us lonely?” – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22012957


Detail
I will shoot all my photographs on location in London and rural areas within Bedfordshire.
I will utilise various shutter speeds, focal lengths, and apertures to provide selective depth of field and contrast to my images. Shots taken on location in London will use natural daylight, mixed lighting (natural, artificial and manually controllable portable flash), artificial lighting and manually controllable portable flash lighting triggered by remote wireless triggers.
I will take inspiration from the work of photographers such as Hiroshi Sugimoto, Nan Goldin, Rut Blees Luxemburg, Minor White, Sally Mann, Stephen Gill, Jeffrey Shaw, Jeff Wall, Bill Henson, Edward Steichen, and Todd Hido.

I will take references from art books and I will also collect various images from Internet research and other books and newspapers which I will use as primary research.

I am hoping to produce around 50 to 150 images in total, using various apertures and lighting on location. From those images I will cut them down to around 3-6 proof images, from which I will select 1 final image which I will print as 20”x30” print.

I plan to shoot two concepts and I am considering:

‘Urban Loneliness’
‘Rural Loneliness’

these concepts are detailed further overleaf:

I will research the artistic and photographic references of all these ideas.

1. ‘Urban Loneliness’ – a) Shoreditch (Graffiti – in particular around Old Street Tube Station)
I want to depict an image that contextualises loneliness in the City and correlates to my research that London is the ‘loneliness capital of Europe’. I intend shooting in and around the Shoreditch area with the intent of capturing solitary figures/models near grungy graffiti covered urban walls or buildings utilising a combination of natural ambient lighting and tungsten/LED/flash lighting aimed directly at the figures to isolate them from the surroundings. I intend to attempt to capture the figures on the edges of the frames possibly placed on the edge of a third.
Connotation: By framing solitary figures/models near grungy graffiti covered urban walls or buildings it contrasts the brutality of the city against the isolation and vulnerability of the human condition.
Denotation: Solitary figures/models lit by natural ambient lighting and tungsten/LED/flash lighting by grungy graffiti covered urban walls or buildings.
Lighting Notes:
I will utilise a combination of natural ambient lighting and tungsten/LED/portable flash lighting aimed directly at the solitary figures to isolate them from the surroundings.

LOCATINGSOC1

1. ‘Urban Loneliness’ – b) City of London/Central London (Nightscapes & solo walkers)
I want to depict an image that contextualises loneliness in the City and correlates to my research that London is the ‘loneliness capital of Europe’. I intend shooting images where the lit Skyline nightscape highlights the presence of other people, yet the flash lighting on the model isolates them from the rest of the surroundings and the distance between the rest of society and the model is exaggerated by this. Harsh lighting, high contrast and shadows.
Connotation: By framing solitary figures/models against the background of the cityscape, it contrasts the brutality of the city against the isolation and vulnerability of the human condition.
Denotation: Solitary figures/models highlighted by natural ambient lighting and flash lighting set against a background of city buildings or the city skyline.
Lighting Notes:
Using the skyline nightscape to highlight the presence of other people, with the portable flash lighting aimed at the model to provide a harsh light to isolate them from the rest of the scene and exaggerate the distance between the rest of society and my model.

locatingsociety2

2. ‘Rural Loneliness’ – Rural Bedfordshire, Shocott Spring (Forest of Marston Vale)
I want to depict loneliness in rural life – how communities these days don’t communicate or socialise with one another. I intend on using the location of Shocott Sprint (situated in Cotton End) which hosts open wide vistas with small scale forestry trees and paths which feature leading lines into the image. I want to place the model of the right third on the lower segments to lead the viewer into the image and the empty path and horizon. Bleak limited colour palette, preferably stormy cloudy weather. Flash illuminates model want a high contrast fill-in with bold shadows.
Connotation: By framing a solitary figure/model in a rural setting, it contrasts the isolation provided by the countryside against the vulnerability of the human condition.
Denotation: Solitary figures/models highlighted by portable flash lighting in the open countryside.
Lighting Notes:
A bleak limited colour palette with stormy/cloudy weather, using the portable flash lighting to provide high contrast fill-in lighting to create bold shadows.

locatingsociety3

Equipment:
The camera equipment required for this project will be:

Olympus OM-D EM-5 DSLR camera
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f1.8 lens
Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f1.4 lens
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 lens
Tripod

The portable flash equipment required for this project will be:

Vivitar 283 flash strobe, with Vivitar VP-1 manual adapter and
Vivitar 285 flash strobe, with vari-power manual adapter
Remote flash trigger+receiver+flash sync cable
Flash hot foot adapter with flash sync cable (to connect flash to remote receiver)

Additional equipment:

Various Cokin filters, e.g. Star and similar special effects
Cokin filter holders and adapter ring
Spare batteries for portable flash strobes, wireless flash triggers
related H&S equipment and PPE, e.g. gloves for cold weather

Locations – Urban:
Kings Cross St Pancras Underground station
Chinatown (area around Gerrard Street)
Tower of London, near A100 opposite Tower Hill underground station, looking towards The Shard
Three Quays Walk, looking towards The Shard and South Bank
City of London – Great Tower Street, Mincing Lane, Fenchurch Street, Fenchurch Ave, Lime Street, Leadenhall Street, St Mary’s Axe etc.
Shoreditch
London Underground, ‘tube’ stations and trains

Locations – Rural:
Shocott Spring
Wrest Park

Props List:
I will request my model brings their own dark casual clothing suitable for the weather on the day of the shoot

Model
I will source an adult female and/or adult male model from my family to model for me.

Target Audience
As my proposed images will represent loneliness within the context of locating society, the target audience for my work will be anyone interested societal issues and the reasons behind loneliness, and those interested in imagery that portrays a social commentary.

Costs
The cost to shoot this image = price of photographer’s time + post processing costs + printing costs + presentation costs + cost of travel.

Output
The project will produce 1 final image, which I will present as 20×30 print for final display. Original images will be captured in RAW+JPEG digital file image at 4608 x 3456 pixels in the 4:3 aspect ratio, in total around 3 x 20MB = 60MB in size, which will take me 1 hour to post-process/resizing in Photoshop.
When creating my images I will experiment by:
Using fill in flash
Using flash to pick out and highlight my model
Using Cokin filters to create special visual effects in camera at time of shooting
Production of the images, including post processing will take 1-2 weeks.

Health & Safety

Introduction
The UK health and safety system is built on ‘the concept of “reasonably practicable”; this involves weighing a risk against the trouble, time and money needed to control it.’
As a professional photographer, Section 3 of the HASAWA applies and specifically “places general duties on employers and the self-employed to conduct their undertakings in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons other than themselves or their employees are not exposed to risks to their health or safety.”

“reasonably practicable” in the HASAWA means that as a professional photographer ‘you do not have to take measures to avoid or reduce risk if they are technically impossible, or if the time, trouble or cost of the measures would be grossly disproportionate to the risk.’
Or to put this simply, the HASAWA requires the use of common sense and good risk management – to look at any risks and take sensible precautions to avoid them.

Risk Assesments
I will carry out risk assessments to identify potential hazards during this assignment, including:
electrical safety – e.g. portable flash strobes, computers, printers
fire safety – e.g. fire escape routes on location
location safety – e.g. hazard assessment on location, hazards affecting my model/assistants and potential for creation of hazards with my equipment affecting the public
using display screen equipment (DSE) – e.g. using computers
manual handling – e.g. lifting, carrying and moving equipment on location

Electrical Safety
I will carry out risk assessment by visual examination of any portable flash equipment before use to identify any safety defects each time a piece of portable flash equipment is used.

Display Screen Equipment (DSE)
To avoid DSE related injuries I will utilise a separate wireless adjustable keyboard and wired mouse. I will take regular breaks from the computer during the post-processing stage, approximately every hour for about 15 minutes to avoid eyestrain and headaches.

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH)
The primary COSHH consideration for this assignment will be less obvious items like camera and portable flash batteries, plus printer ink cartridges which are potentially hazardous items that will be considered as part of the COSHH risk assessment.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Manual Handling
PPE items for use in this assignment are required to allow the photographer, any assistants and models to cope with cold/inclement weather while on location, e.g. gloves to keep hands warm.
When lifting or moving heavy equipment like bags containing camera equipment or portable flash equipment, I will carry out a risk assessment to highlight risks which could cause potential musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and to avoid these issues use bags that are suitable, e.g. use rucksacks rather than shoulder bags and that bags are lifted correctly.

Shooting on Location
There are various H&S considerations when shooting on location that need to be thought about before, during and after the shoot. To mitigate these potential risks, these H&S issues will be assessed before shooting:
check the location for fire precautions, e.g. clear escape routes and fire exits
take precautions to minimise any identified safety risks relating to both the assignment and any risks to other people not involved in the assignment
ensure that my models and any assistants are fully aware of any risks and the risk assessment for the location
any equipment, etc. not required for the particular shots should be stored away to prevent damage, loss, injury or risk
any equipment being used will be kept to the minimum equipment required and portable flash equipment should be checked to ensure they are safe
equipment/leads on the ground can all cause potential tripping/collision hazards
portable flash lighting equipment should be checked to ensure they are safe each time they are used
portable flash lighting equipment should be located in a safe place where they are clearly visible
posing risks could cause potential slip hazards/bumps and other injuries to models and breakages to equipment
check all equipment is undamaged, well maintained and safe to use. Portable flash lighting equipment especially will be carefully checked for damage to the flash/strobe units and flash tubes due to the high voltages involved which can cause an electrical shock risk even when the units are not in use
only the correct accessories will be used for any portable flash lighting equipment
portable flash lighting equipment will be set to their highest setting and discharged (‘dumped’) before being switched off

Contingencies/Modifications
There are a few risks to the project:

  1. The project may be unsuccessful due to camera or equipment issues, e.g. portable flash lighting failure, composition or portable flash lighting setup errors. If portable flash lighting failure occurs, a spare portable flash strobe unit will be employed.
  2. Equipment Failure – This will be guarded against firstly by the use of spare batteries. In the unlikely event that the camera fails, a backup camera will be substituted.
  3. Poor quality images – While digital images will be reviewed on the camera at the time of shooting, they may be found to be of poor or low quality on the computer. As post processing will be used to produce the final images, it will be used to enhance the quality.
  4. Health & Safety – There are various H&S risks to the project while shooting on location particularly in low light, including equipment on the floor causing potential tripping/collision hazards or model posing risks that could cause potential slip hazards/bumps and other injuries to models. To mitigate these potential risks, H&S issues will be assessed before shooting and any equipment, etc. not required for the particular shots will stored away to a safe place to prevent injury or risk, and equipment being used, e.g. portable flash strobe units will be checked to ensure it is safe.

Image Rights
The image copyright will remain the property of the photographer, Jasmine Murray. Images will be available for purchase by clients via the Store on my online portfolio. The photographer reserves the right to license the image to other clients, or to use it for her own purposes.

Model Release
A formal Model Release form will be used to provide a contract and terms between the photographer and the model.

Locating Society Bibliography

Bibliography
Books:
How to Read A Photograph – Understanding, Interpreting and Enjoying the Great Photographers by Ian Jeffrey (770.1 JEF)

Internet Research:
http://www.ravishlondon.com/londonstreetart/index.html#locations
http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/incredibly-elaborate-n…
http://marypearson1.wordpress.com/2014/05/05/biosigna/

Click to access KURLAND.pdf


http://www.diaart.org/sites/main/spiraljetty/
http://www.biography.com/people/christo-9247607#synopsis
http://www.roagallery.com/Christo/christo-hm.html
http://www.ahornmagazine.com/issue_6/interview_hido/interview_h…
http://harrytisley.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/bill-henson-darkness.html
http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/media-office/bill-henson-cloud-lan…
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/wellbeing/10909524/Britain-the-l…
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/11026520/Lonely-Britain-f…
http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/jul/20/loneliness-brita…
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7754861.stm
http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/jeff-wall/
Remaking history
http://www.medienkunstnetz.de/works/the-narrative-landscape/
http://www.icp.org/museum/exhibitions/biographical-landscape-phot…
http://www.brandeis.edu/now/2012/december/bunnies.html
http://www.brandeis.edu/now/2013/november/bierman.html
http://people.lib.ucdavis.edu/~davidm/xcpUrbanFeel/cooledge.html/
http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/…
http://500photographers.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/photographer-408-stephen-gill
https://www.a-n.co.uk/news/pictured-27-stephen-gill-talking-to-ants/
http://sallymann.com/selected-works/southern-landscapes/
http://www.gagosian.com/artists/sally-mann/selected-works/
http://sallymann.com/selected-works/battlefields/
http://www.dptips-central.com/minor-white.html
http://www.atgetphotography.com/The-Photographers/Minor-white.html
http://www.photoforger.com/archives/rut-blees-luxemburg/
http://www.boylefamily.co.uk/boyle/about.html
http://www.boylefamily.co.uk/boyle/works/gallery.html
http://dailyserving.com/2011/02/boyle-family/
http://dirt-asla.org/2014/01/27/david-lachapelles-toxic-landscapes/
http://www.artspace.com/nan_goldin.apocalyptic_sky_over_manhattan/
http://www.huhmagazine.co.uk/2389/nan-goldin-fireleap/
http://whitecube.com/artists/gregory-crewdson/
http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/gregory-crewson
http://www.anseladams.com
http://www.zanderolsen.com/Tree_Line.html
http://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/sugimoto/
http://www.sugimotohiroshi.com/theater.html
http://www.sugimotohiroshi.com/seascape.html

A Free Domain? Domain Forwarding? What is it?

Edit: 29/05/2016 – Freenom/.tk update- Because I have a brain like a sieve I forgot to renew my domains with freenom (I’m of course assuming that I could anyway)- but my domains have expired, and with the exception of my .gq domain none of the other domains are free to acquire now. So if you intend on using such domains long time, be aware you could get charged £8.17 to continue using the domain/s in question.

Whilst my co.vu domain expired back in October? last year it does seem to still be pointing to my tumblr, but for how long that is I have no idea.

And lastly co.nr- a few weeks back the company who run this service’s main site went down, according to their facebook page on the 12th May they declared “Update: .co.nr zone is still down. Yes, that is .NR registry (Nauru government) that decided to block the zone till their further decision. So that they are now deciding if that is for benefit of .NR registry or not to let the CO.NR service go. Unfortunately, we can not do too much to “speed up” their decision, although we do our best to communicate with them to come to some positive decision ASAP. We apologize for the troubles, however, as you can see the issue is out of our control”- judging by this statement I think this means the end of co.nr domains for the foreseeable future.

All this development means my revamp is going to occur earlier than I have planned…;_;”

Anyone familiar with my previous post Hard Up Student? Keen amateur? Portfolios and why you don’t always have to pay… will recognise the internationalised domain names (country code domain) I used last time will be featured in this post. Like my previous post one could say the statement of gaining a ‘100% free domain’ is too good to be true and it is in some aspects, as the businesses that provide these free domains do give limitations on the user. Primarily these services merely provide a domain forwarding or masking service that hides the real domain. As part of my HND course I have to provide myself with an online presence in particular a portfolio website which means I’ve been exploring the realms of not only free portfolios but also free domain services and whether any are ‘just too good to be true’.

Dot.tk

I started out by looking into the domain provider I used during my BTEC Level 3 course (dot.tk) which provides not only a domain masking service but also a mailias service- at the point in time during my BTEC course I was more interested by the mailias service as a site I used to use ‘cjb.net’ had discontinued it’s free services. The mailias e-mail service is basically a e-mail forwarding service, which re-directs to your personal account. Upon writing this I’ve had jasmineameliamurrayphotography.tk for just over 2 years and whilst I have heard horror stories of hijacked domains I’ve not had an issue myself yet. In addition to the usage of a custom url domain, .TK allows it’s user to forward (domain mask) their web traffic via the use of HTML frames. However, their are content restrictions with sites that contain copyright infringement, spam or scam, hate speech, drug use, sexual content or firearms being bannable offences as it violates the terms and conditions. Dot TK domains have to be renewed yearly, so to continue using the service you have to re-register your domain a maximum of 15 days before the expiry date, and the domain’s redirect target needs to work for the domain to even be activated, this means you need to have a fairly regular traffic of visitors to your domain.

How long is the initial registration term for .TK domains? For FREE domain names you can register domains for 1 to 12 months. You can renew FREE domain names in the last 15 days of each registration period – 15 days before the expiration date. When you want to pay for a domain name, you can register from a 2-year period up to a 9-year period. The option for a longer period than the standard 2-year period (starting from a 3-year period up to a nine-year period) is offered in the registration process. ~Source: Dot.tk

Freenom.com

Freenom.com are actually the providers behind Dot.tk, however on their own site they offer a wider variety of free domain choices. Since Freenom is in effect Dot.tk and vice-versa free domain usage adheres to the same rules and regulations and functions in the same manner.  So what exactly does Freenom offer? They offer not only the .tk domain, but also .ml, .ga, .cf and .gq domains respectively. According to their website, they offer (although slightly out of date, as .gq is not mentioned as a domain option):

Free and Paid and Special Domains Freenom is the world’s first and only free domain provider. Our mission is to bring people online and help countries develop their digital economy. Free domains work exactly like any other domain name. You can use it for your website, your blog, email account and more! You can choose to run your free domain with URL Forwarding, free Freenom DNS Service or your own DNS (Name servers). Domain extensions currently available for free registration:

Not all domains can be registered for free. A limited number of domains are considered “Special” and can only be purchased. Their price varies and pricing is displayed during the availability check. For example, all 1, 2 and 3 character domains, as well as common dictionary keywords, are considered Special. All other domains (those that are not Special) can be either purchased (Paid domain) or registered for free (Free domain). Compare and choose between the two options using the table below:

Free Domains Paid Domains
TLD available .TK / .ML / .GA / .CF .TK / .ML / .GA / .CF (including Special Domains)
Usage Works like any other domain name, use URL Forwarding, free Freenom DNS Service or your own DNS (Name Servers). Works like any other domain name, use URL Forwarding, free Freenom DNS Service or your own DNS (Name Servers).
Registration and renewal 1 to 12 months Free to renew (unlimited renewals) 1 to 10 years (unlimited renewals)
Pricing FREE! Pricing starts at USD 6.95 per domain name per year. Freenom applies multi-year discounts on all .TK domains. Special Domains are priced higher, depending on the name.
Payments No payment needed Freenom accepts credit card, PayPal and bank wire payments.
Legal rights Registrant acts as user of domain name, not as licensee Registrant acts as licensee of domain name
Transfer rights None. Full
WHOIS Freenom or one of its subsidiaries appears as the licensee in the WHOIS Domain registrant appears in the WHOIS and registrant can update it freely
Policies Must comply with Freenom free domain name policies< Must comply with Freenom free domain name policies<

~source: Freenom FAQ

www.codotvu.com

Primarily co.vu domains are aimed at consumers who use tumblr as their website platform and primarily function as a customised domain option. According to the co.vu website their free domains are a ‘…dead simple way to connect your popular online services like Tumblr, Blogger, Facebook and many more…’, however as a user you are limited to 3 free domains which last a year before needing to renew (as of October 2015, domains only last one year for free with no renewal option unless you pay) and short domains that are 2/3 characters long are pro domains meaning for your domain to be free it has to be at least 4 characters long. The custom domain setup is easily achieved and from my experience activate instantly. Like dot.tk, co.vu provide both a url forwarding service (complete with analytics) and a e-mail forwarding service, though I have yet to try either of these. According to the websites FAQ .co.vu is not related to the registry of .vu domains.

About Service

What is co.vu?
It’s a domain name provider. i.e. You can have your own custom domain names for free. Example: myname.co.vu , mycompany.co.vu
What is the use of having your own domain name?
– You can publish your contents in his own name. yourname.co.vu. – A small scale Industry can start its own custom domain name based website. eg.. mycompany.co.vu – Everyone can select their own custom domain names for their websites.(Whether it’s Personal, Social Networking, Business, e-commerce, and everything). You can keep your favorite name as the domain name of your website, that too for free.
Are you affiliated with vuNIC(Registery for .vu domain)?
No we are not affiliated with vuNIC(Registery for .vu domain).

Domains

How many domains can i register it for free?
You can register up to 3 domains for free. If you want more domains you can upgrade to pro and register up to 200 domains
How does domain expiry and domain renewal works?
When you register a free domains it will expire in 1 year from the date you register. You can renew the domain in mydomains for free. But renewal option will be open 2 weeks before the expiry date. When you upgrade to pro domains does’t expire and no renewal needed.
Can I hold/block the domain name without using it?
We want to have fare use policy. If you are effectively using your domain you can always use it for free by renewing every year. You don’t have to worry about it. But if you are just holding/blocking the domain name without using it, you need to upgrade to pro plan for holding it longer. If you are in a free plan and not using the domain for 90 days from the date of registeration, it will available for others to register.
What if I don’t need the domain name?
You can delete your domains in mydomains page.
I am not familiar with setting up the dns. What can I do?
No worries. We have provided one click option to configure the domain to popular services like Tumblr, Blogger, Weebly etc. We will be adding other services pretty soon. If you want to configure your own dns we have provided options for that too. You also have the option to configure the nameserver setting for your domain. ~Source: Co.vu FAQ (to view updated policies as of October 2015)
Last but not least is co.nr. Much like the freenom domains, co.nr addresses primarily function as a domain masking and url redirection service under the .co.nr domain range and is ‘ad’ free. According to their website they offer:

FREE Domain Name, NO ADS! Free URL Redirection with Free Short Url

Basic Free Domain Name Package: Let’s list the most important FEATURES of this package here:

Free Domain Namehttp://www.yourname.co.nr that is a free subdomain name of .co.nr domain

Free Short URL – we provide one of the shortest free web address on the net.. What can be shorter than a domain name? – Only a free domain name 🙂

Free URL Redirection also known as free URL forwarding or domain forwarding service to redirect your free domain name to your real website address
Free URL Cloaking also known as Free URL Masking – is used to mask a real website address with the Free Domain Name. So, your free domain name will always be in the location bar of your website visitors’ web browser.

Free Path Forwarding for both subdirectories and files. Path forwarding can be used if you want to access e.g. a subdirectory or some files using your free domain name forwarding address – e.g. http://www.domain.co.nr/forums/

META TAGS support – the most important meta tags such as Title, Description, Keywords, Robots, and many other meta tags are supported – they are very important for your website to be indexed by search engines.

Favicon support – add your very own Favicon / shortcut icon to your free shorter URL address in order to arrange personalized bookmarks for your web site.

Google Webmaster Tools support, that means you can now add your free .co.nr domain to Webmaster Tools using “google-site-verification” meta tag.

Bing Webmaster Tools support, i.e. now you can add your free .co.nr site to Bing Webmaster Tools using “msvalidate.01” site verification metatag.

No banners & No Popups, actually, NO ADS at all – and we are not going to add them in future. Enjoy our free and banner free service!

For further free domain options, it’s worthwhile checking the following url: http://www.getfreedomain.name/ or http://www.subdomain.net/#check

Political Digital Truth

September 25th-26th

For my first unit of my second year HND course I have been set the brief of “Political, Digital, Truth.”

This means my work for this brief needs to be Political, play with Digital manipulation and needs to challenge the notion of Truth in photography.

My starting point begins with researching into broadsheet newspapers looking at social and political press stories as a catalyst to create a theme, a piece that ties into the news current affairs which is controversial and plays on the truth via digital manipulation. This means the article I decide on needs to be a topic I can look at in-depth, potentially with a wide network of causal links.

My Initial newspaper collated research spans from looking at Ebola, the Alice Gross disappearance-now murder case, Sexual Predator cases including the current celebrity sex scandals that have come out since the Saville case the other year and the terrorist movement in Syria and Iraq, known as ISIS.

I intend on expanding this information into various different news sources before narrowing down my findings into one particular topic.

October 1st-3rd

Over the previous week I have collated various news stories from various news sources, and narrowed my findings down firstly to a particular topic, that had a wide variety of news stories from different perspectives and political standings (utilising www.newsworks.org.uk to research demographics), this being the new war in Iraq against the terrorist movement that is referred to by the Western media as “ISIS”. A lot of the articles ran an underlying theme, primarily references to the lack of Syrian war relief action last year and also the crux of the previous Iraq wars, with the Western World changing sides as often as they change underwear (including an interesting notion ISIS itself was initially created by the CIA). The second underlying theme revolves around Saudi Arabia and the Western World supporting them even though they fund terrorist organisations with money made from sales of their oil.

“For the last half century, Britain’s strategy in the Middle East has been dominated by our friendship with Saudi Arabia and its neighbouring states. For the last few decades, this alliance has grown steadily more perilous as Saudi Arabia, in order to ensure its domestic stability, exports its extremist Wahhabi teaching abroad.

Hence bin Laden and 9/11. hence Baghdadi and his Islamic state. Militant jihadist terrorism is a Saudi creation. Successive governments have refused to recognise this. Instead adhering to a system of alliances that has ended up posing the terrible threat to our security that we are experiencing.”

Extract from ‘Bombing plays into the hands of Saudi-inspired militant jihadists’

Writer: Peter Oborne

Daily Telegraph, 25th September, 2014

Headlines of articles I looked into regarding ISIS/ Terrorist Organisations, the Middle East and Oil:

  • Daily Mail, September 22nd – Shell Steps Up Oil Theft Battle – Unattributed
  • Daily Mail, September 24th – Mum sends her children to school with ‘halal only’ badges – Chris Brooke
  • Daily Mail, September 24th – Israelis Kill Hamas Kidnap Suspects – Unattributed
  • Daily Mail, September 24th – MPs must learn from past mistakes on Iraq – Unattributed- Daily Mail Comment
  • Daily Mail September 24th – US strikes to avert another 9/11 – Vanessa Allen
  • Daily Mail September 24th – Agony of Hostage’s Wife As He Begs For His Life – Vanessa Allen
  • Daily Mail September 24th – No Return to UK for freed Abu Qatada, vows May – Josh Halliday; Alan Travis; Alice Su
  • Daily Mail September 24th – This could be Obama’s Vietnam, warns hostage – David Williams
  • Daily Mail September 24th – Five Arab States join in aerial offensive – David Williams
  • Daily Mail September 24th – RAF jets could be bombing jihadis by the weekend – Jason Groves
  • Daily Mail September 24th – Why the old enemy Iran is suddenly a crucial ally – Michael Burleigh
  • Daily Telegraph September 25th – One in four Britons fears terrorist attack – Unattributed
  • Daily Telegraph September 25th – Boko Haram will swap girls for prisoners – Colin Freeman
  • Daily Telegraph September 25th – Shia rebels force way into Yemen government – David Blair
  • Daily Telegraph September 25th – Obama asks world to unite behind his mission to blitz Isil – Phillip Sherwell
  • Daily Telegraph September 25th – Bombing plays into the hands of Saudi-inspired militant jihadists – Peter Oborne
  • Daily Telegraph September 25th – Qatada cleared by Jordan court but will not be allowed back to UK – David Barrett, Ruth Sherlock and Linda al-Maayeh
  • Daily Telegraph September 25th – Shia rebels force way into Yemen government – David Blair
  • The Independent September 25th – Briton ‘used carbon trading to fund terror’ – Michael Day and Tom Bawden
  • The Independent September 25th – ‘We  must deal with these psychopathic murderers’ – Peter Dominiczak
  • The Independent September 25th – Public mood shifts towards military action – Nigel Morris
  • The Independent September 25th – View from Jordan, A temporary strategy of divide and rule – Peter Beaumont
  • The Independent September 25th – We must play our part, The US is taking the fight to Isis, and so – if key conditions are met – should the UK – Editorials
  • The Independent September 25th – Bombs alone will not defeat an enemy that knows how to melt away – Patrick Cockburn
  • The Independent September 25th -Brighton jihadi killed in Syria drone strike – Ian Johnston
  • The Independent September 25th – As a matter of law, we do not need the UN’s permission to attack these criminals – Geofrey Robertson
  • The Independent September 25th – Abu Qatada cleared but cannot return to UK – Jamie Grierson
  • The Independent September 25th – Radicalised Muslims in UK more likely to be well-heeled – Emily Dugan
  • The Independent September 25th – US air strikes are failing to slow ISIS, say desperate Kurds – Isabel Hunter
  • The Guardian September 25th – Alan Henning, Hostage’s family changes tack after brutal exposure – Helen Pidd
  • The Guardian September 25th – Algerian Kidnapping, Hollande confirms beheading of French citizen – Chris Johnston; Kim Willsher
  • The Guardian September 25th – Isis hijacks Twitter hashtags to spread extremist message – Shiv Malik; Sandra Laville; Elena Cresci; Aisha Gani
  • The Guardian September 25th – Obama tells Islamic State: get out of the way while you can – Julian Borger; Patrick Wintour
  • The Guardian September 25th – Jihadi from Brighton ‘died in air strikes’ – Shiv Malik; Karen McVeigh; Elena Cresci; Aisha Gani
  • The Guardian September 25th – Journal; Secularism A violent history – Karen Armstrong
  • The i newspaper September 26th – Hamas and Fatah reach Gaza unity agreement – Reuters
  • The i newspaper September 26th – Ukraine gas supplies suspended after threat – AFP
  • The i newspaper September 26th – Eradicate Isis, urges UK victim’s daughter – Ian Johnston
  • The i newspaper September 26th – Azerbaijan in oil production pledge – Unattributed
  • The Independent September 26th – PM urged to intervene after British man is shot on death row in Pakistan – Andrew Buncombe and Jonathan Brown
  • The Independent September 26th – Qatar’s women’s basketball team quits in hijab row – Peter Popham
  • The Independent September 26th – Civilians ‘afraid to leave house’ amid bomb fears – Isabel Hunter
  • The Independent September 26th – Abba’s unity government to rule in Strip – Shadi Bushra
  • The Independent September 26th – Silence the fanatics – Unattributed
  • The Independent September 26th – Segregation demands delay transatlantic flight – AFP
  • The Independent September 26th – Hostage’s daughter calls for military action – Ian Johnston and Cahal Milmo
  • The Independent September 26th – Third Iraq war to start within days – Unattributed
  • The Independent September 26th – This looks more like Cameron’s Libya disaster than Blair’s Iraq – Patrick Cockburn
  • The Independent September 26th – France and US on alert as Iraq warns of Isis threat to metros – John Lichfield
  • The Independent September 26th – Choudary arrest part of attempt to disrupt Britain’s radical Muslims- Paul Peachey
  • The Independent September 26th – US military chief warns of long road ahead – Missy Ryan
  • The Independent September 26th – Separatist war is winding down, says President – Richard Balmsforth
  • The Independent September 26th – Turkey we need you – Unattributed
  • The Independent September 26th – UK poised to begin bombing Isis in conflict that will last for years- Andrew Grice
  • The Independent September 26th – Timeline ‘United Against ISIS’ – Unattributed
  • The Independent September 26th – FBI identifies masked British killer – David Osborne
  • The Independent September 26th – Our special forces may be vital in this new Iraq War – Kim Sengupta
  • The Independent September 26th – MPs will back air strikes, but Fallon warns that war could last for years – Andrew Grice
  • The Independent September 26th – Anjem Choudary among nine held for supporting banned terrorist group – Paul Peachey
  • The Independent September 26th – As the US missiles rain down, the only constant is the flood of refugees – Isabel Hunter
  • The Independent September 26th – On the eve of yet another war in Iraq, is the UK’s strategy any more coherent than in 2003? – Patrick Cockburn
  • The Independent September 26th – Letters to the Editor – Various
  • Daily Mail September 26th – Our RAF pilots must dread falling into ISIS hands…it would be far more terrifying than my own capture – John Nichol
  • Daily Mail September 26th – Six RAF Tornados will lead the blitz – David Williams and Ian Drury
  • Daily Mail September 26th – Three-Year War to Crush Jihadis – James Chapman, David Williams and Tamara Cohen
  • Daily Mail September 26th – Train bomb plot to hit U.S. and France – David Williams
  • Daily Mail September 26th – You’ve just been bombed…by a woman – David Williams
  • Daily Mail September 26th – Fanatics killed my dad…we must hit back – Laura Cotton
  • Daily Mail September 26th – We’ve got an ID for Jihadi John, claims the FBI – Unattributed
  • Daily Mail September 26th – Muslim firebrand is arrested as police hold nine rabble-rousers – Chris Greenwood, Neil Sears and Slan Boyle
  • Daily Mail September 26th – Cheeky pupil who turned jihadi and died in blitz – Eleanor Harding and Sam Greenhill
  • Daily Mail September 26th – Hate-filled words of self-styled sheikh – Vanessa Allen
  • Daily Mail September 26th – Father of three who praised 7/7 bombers – Daily Mail Reporter
  • Daily Mail September 27th – Bewildered fury of the Brighton mum whose teenage son ran off to become a jihadi – David Jones
  • Daily Mail September 27th – Britain buys 20 Tomahawk missiles ready to strike IS – David Williams and Ian Drury
  • Daily Mail September 27th – Why, with heavy heart, I believe we have no choice but to go to war again – Max Hastings
  • Daily Mail September 27th – RAF jets to pound IS forces today – James Chapman, Jason Groves and Tamara Cohen
  • Daily Mail September 27th – Miliband risks ‘playing into Putin’s hands’ – Jason Groves
  • Daily Mail September 27th – Talk was of Dark Ages, barbarity…a Satanic enemy – Quentin Letts
  • Daily Mail September 27th – Air Strikes are right thing to do, says Welby – Unattributed
  • The Guardian September 27th – Bombing to start in hours as MPs back new Iraq war – Patrick Wintour
  • The Guardian September 27th – We must beware-Isis wants the west to wage a crusade – Oliver Miles
  • The Guardian September 27th – ‘Children’s intifada’ under way as tensions rise in Jerusalem – Peter Beaumont
  • The Guardian September 27th – Education can inoculate young Muslims against radicalism – Giles Fraser
  • The Guardian September 27th – Family’s plea over man shot in Pakistan jail – Libby Brooks
  • The Guardian September 27th – Afghanistan’s new leader puts theories to test – Emma Graham-Harrison
  • The Guardian September 27th – Kurds on the front line are living in fear of Turkish stab in the back – Constanze Letsch
  • The Guardian September 27th – Price of beating Isis could be high – Simon Tisdall
  • The Financial Times September 29th – US poised to become world’s leading liquid petroleum producer – Ed Crooks and Anjli Raval

 

P.S. Although not part of my original collated news stories, The International Business Times on Oct 16th have written a piece which speculates the drop in current oil prices will in the long term hinder ISIS and the amount of control they’ll have in the Middle East: http://www.ibtimes.com/how-saudi-arabian-oil-could-hurt-isis-finances-iraq-syria-1706423

I also looked into an August 2014 interview of  Antonia Juhasz author of “The Tyranny of Oil”, which implies that all action taken in the Middle East in recent years is purely due to oil  http://consortiumnews.com/2014/08/17/iraq-and-the-oil-wars/

And as of November 1st it has been declared that ISIS itself, is advertising for an oil plant manager: ‘Daily Mail 1st November- ISIS advertise’ and ‘Metro November 1st – ISIS are advertising’ both report that ISIS are likely in trouble as they can no longer threaten the existing workers and are looking for new ones.

October 8th-10th

Banksy in Westwood, Los Angeles, CA Feb 18 2011 by Karri Allrich

Over the course of this week I’ve continued with research- primarily artist research, starting off by looking at guerilla graffiti artists, such as Banksy (in particular his piece, The Crayon Shooter, 2011.) In this piece Banksy juxtaposes guns and warfare with children involved in modern wars, by depicting a child dressed like a soldier holding an assault rifle- the only elements of colour in the piece are the replaced elements of ammunition, depicted instead as children’s crayons, with childlike doodles etched around the boy, and comments politically on the fact children are getting dragged into war and having to put away their childhood before they have really grown up.

I researched into staged and re-staged war photography from contemporary fine art photographers such as An-My Lê,  Mitchell Wilston and Jennifer Karady whose work utilises symbolism and re-enactment to narrate their images- in the case of Karady working with the veteran soldiers to recreate a chosen moment from their memories of war. And on the other hand when is a photo no longer the truth- looking into the controversy around Stepan Rudik’s entry for the World Press Photo contest, as well as Ruben Salvadori’s documentary video which showcases how photojournalist’s themselves in war-zones manipulate and influence events around them to gain the shots they are after. I also looked into historical political photos which have been doctored, edited, with the earliest known case being circa 1860 of Abraham Lincoln where his head has been superimposed on a Southern politician, John Calhoun’s body, you can view a historical list (although US biased it is interesting read) here.

I also revisited my previous photography course note’s on Appropriation Art (such as controversial appropriation artists such as Richard Prince, Sherrie Levine and Thomas Ruff) and Cinemagraphs (looking at artists such as Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg, one of the pioneers behind the process).

Idea Generation

Final Idea Generation (Scanned from Sketchbook)

I’m beginning to finalise my ideas for my test shoot and final shoot.

October 16th-18th

Image right, is a scan from my sketchbook, which showcases my thought process for my final idea generation- I intend on producing images using 1/32 miniatures in a diorama scene to convey the correlation between ISIS and the oil industry, and creating a generic jihadi portrait. For both ideas I will be attempting to include Appropriated backgrounds or backdrops as well as utilising video footage and various similar stills to create cinemagraph imagery.

Idea 1)‘ISIS Insurgents get money from oil’ – Using 1/32 scale toy Afghan/Iraq insurgents posed in landscape scenes for example with a mosque or surrounded by oil drums and military hardware, e.g. a tank, against an appropriated background showing a distant explosion and/or oil wells on fire to mislead the viewer to believe that the scene is a real event.

Connotation: With the ISIS Insurgents against an archetypal Middle East conflict setting in the background it mimics a typical news editorial composition, implying that the ISIS Insurgents are driven by a desire to control the oil supply to the West

Denotation: The Insurgents composed with oil drums with a Middle East conflict setting in the background.

Idea 2)‘Jihadi with gun’ – A human male model dressed like an ISIS fighter in black with a covered head e.g. using a balaclava, posing with a gun or assault rifle/machine gun set against an appropriated background showing a distant explosion and/or oil wells on fire to mislead the viewer to believe that the scene is a real event.

Connotation: With the ISIS fighter in a threatening pose brandishing a gun/rifle, it communicates a sinister propaganda message to the viewer. The viewer will feel that they are under fire themselves

Denotation: A model dressed as an ISIS fighter with a conflict explosion or oil wells on fire in the background

Props List:

  • an appropriated image, copyright free or under Creative Commons
  • baking tray to hold sand for my miniature diorama
  • a baking tray to hold sand for my miniature diorama
  • a portable tablet computer screen to use as a appropriated backdrop
  • building sand or mortar to use as a landscape
  • 1/32 scale Islamic insurgent figurines and oil drums, model paints
  • clothing e.g. a balaclava, and semi-realistic military weapons e.g. guns, scale model toy tank etc.

Miniature Insurgents [ISIS] Diorama [Olympus 60mm Macro 2.8] Flash@ 1/125 ISO200 F/22 [STILLS] Continuous@ 1/80 ISO1600 F/16 [Tablet Screen Backdrop]

Miniature Insurgents [ISIS] Diorama Lighting Diagram [Olympus 60mm Macro 2.8]
Flash@ 1/125 ISO200 F/22 [Stills]
Continuous@ 1/80 ISO1600 F/16 [Tablet Screen Backdrop]
(Lighting diagrams made using: http://www.lightingdiagrams.com/Creator)

For my Miniature Insurgents Imagery,  I utilised a lighting table (in white)- which I lit from behind and below to gain a pure white backdrop for my miniature pieces. The actual diorama pieces are lit by soft-boxes at equal power, equal distance left and right of the objects to gain uniform soft lighting, with no harsh shadows. I initially shot each 1/32 scale piece by itself, before building my diorama scene using Building Sand/Mortar/Sand spread out in mounds on a baking tray with each 1/32 pieces’ bases being slightly submerged in the sand for a realistic desert scene. Like the initial pieces I shot the diorama from various different angles at 1/125, F/22, ISO 200. After I shot from various angles I changed from using Flash lighting to shooting with a Continuous Bulb (as the Continuous Bulb is Tungsten the images came out with a warmer hue), so I could also include a Tablet Screen with Appropriated Desert Scene as the backdrop, without having weird reflections from the flash.

 

 

Flash@ 1/125 ISO200 F/22 [Stills] Continuous@ 1/80 ISO1600 F/16 [Video Footage]

Jihadist Bomber Portrait Lighting Diagram [Olympus 45mm 1.8]
Flash@ 1/125 ISO200 F/22 [Stills]
Continuous@ 1/80 ISO1600 F/16 [Video Footage]

 

 

 

For my generic Jihadist Bomber Portrait I used an IKEA roller-blind in white, I had two soft-boxes with equal power, distance and angles between (on the left and the right) pointing at the blind measured at f/45 to produce a pure white uniform backdrop. My model was lit with a harsh spotlight on the left at the model’s head level to create split lighting, half of the face in the light and the other half in the shadow. I utilised the following props: a motorcycle balaclava and a  large child’s toy ‘assault rifle’ gun. I shot the model in various poses with the gun including lifting the balaclava to turn it into a makeshift turban. After my initial still shots I switched to continuous lighting only for my video footage which had my model holding as still as possible with the toy gun feeding ammunition in and a shooting action, all this was shot at 1/80, F/16, ISO 1600.

 

Editing Processes:

© Jasmine Amelia Murray

© Jasmine Amelia Murray 2014-screengrab5 PA110692.MOV Screengrab

PA110692.MOV ‘Jihadist Bomber’
1) File> Import> Video Frames to Layers -> select area of video. Tick make Frame Animation
2) In this instance= 200 layers for gif series for clean smooth animation
3) Hue/Saturation slight desaturation of yellow hues (sourced from the tungsten continuous lights)
4) Convert to Black and White- red channel
5) Layer Mask> remove logo on end of gun
6) Save for web> gif and optimise for web by reducing size/colour restriction
7) Also saved as a still on the blurred animation shot in .jpg format

Depicts jihadist dressed in a Balaclava, wearing all black, holding an toy assault rifle – blurred in motion to look as though he is firing the gun. I wanted to depict an archetypal stereotypical jihad, to mimic The Independent’s article (Thursday 16th October) “ISIS ‘behead their own fighters’ for spying and embezzlement in Syria” which uses images that seem to be stock-like in nature and don’t particularly narrate the story being written other than the fact the people depicted are flying the ISIS’ black flag. This implies that journalists often warp the truth by using imagery that has nothing to do with the story at hand, sensationalism, or is a completely staged story, for example Daily Mirror’s 2004 Iraq Beheadings (The ‘torture’ photos that hoaxed the Mirror – The Guardian, 21 May 2004: http://www.theguardian.com/gall/0,,1208623,00.html)- which utilises completely staged imagery as well as a fake story. However I feel the human jihadist with gun series doesn’t have the correct impact I am looking for, as the gun looks fake, more like a SAS gun than one used by insurgents, and as such I feel these images will not fool the viewer into thinking the scene in front of them is a ‘very real’ shot of a jihadist rebel with a gun. This is furthered in this image by the lack of desert background. I chose to also depict my jihad as a cinemagraph, a homage to the future of journalism- as cinemagraphs are more than a picture, but not quite a video. The main goal of cinemagraphs are to illustrate a short story and a prime example of this is the “magical newspapers” in Harry Potter. In this instance to depict the fact that jihads as reported in western media are rather trigger happy, willing to kill anybody who stands in their path.

 

 

 

PA110693.ORF

© Jasmine Amelia Murray 2014-

screengrab7 PA110693.ORF and Screengrab ‘Jihadist Bomber’

1) Rotate canvas to landscape, but keep subject portrait- move to far right so subject sits on 1/3
2) Layer mask extract model from backdrop
3) Paste in explosion layer underneath and apply a slight gaussian blur/tilt shift to the image.
4) New Layer inverse elliptical selection, and apply a 15% opacity vignette gradient
5) Area Lighten 10% opacity upper left (below vignette layer)
-Curve Lighten and Tone Adjust> Colour Balance> Desaturate
slightly and Contrast-> Adjust red tones
6) Convert to Black and White> Red filter high contrast
7) Add Noise “Mock Film Grain” at 10% opacity for textured finish

Depicts jihadist dressed in a Balaclava, wearing all black, holding an toy assault rifle – blurred in motion to look as though he is firing the gun. I wanted to depict an archetypal stereotypical jihad, to mimic The Independent’s article (Thursday 16th October) “ISIS ‘behead their own fighters’ for spying and embezzlement in Syria” which uses images that seem to be stock-like in nature and don’t particularly narrate the story being written other than the fact the people depicted are flying the ISIS’ black flag. This implies that journalists often warp the truth by using imagery that has nothing to do with the story at hand, sensationalism, or is a completely staged story, for example Daily Mirror’s 2004 Iraq Beheadings (The ‘torture’ photos that hoaxed the Mirror – The Guardian, 21 May 2004: http://www.theguardian.com/gall/0,,1208623,00.html)- which utilises completely staged imagery as well as a fake story. However I feel the human jihadist with gun series doesn’t have the correct impact I am looking for, as the gun looks fake, more like a SAS gun than one used by insurgents, and as such I feel these images will not fool the viewer into thinking the scene in front of them is a ‘very real’ shot of a jihadist rebel with a gun, even with an additional photoshopped backdrop, it still feels as though he is not on scene/ staged.

The actual backdrop in this instance is “Burning oilfield during Operation Desert Storm, Kuwait”  purportedly by Jonas Jordan, United States Army Corps of Engineers (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kuwait_burn_oilfield.png, Public Domain Licensing) and actually showcases the 1991 oil fires in Kuwait and not current war events (although the US are using air strikes to bomb oil fields in Iraq).

© Jasmine Amelia Murray 2014-

© Jasmine Amelia Murray © Jasmine Amelia Murray 2014- screengrab4 screengrab9screengrab6 PA110714.ORF [As Still, Newspaper mock-up and Cinemagraph] and Screengrabs

PA110714.ORF [1/2 Selected Final Images]
1) Duplicate layer > layer mask and erase white backdrop
2) Paste in exploding oil rig layer underneath layer mask layer
3) Exploding Rig layer Filter> Blur> Tilt Shift to image so the land closest to the figures are more in focus than the distance.
4) Edge> Vignette 15% opacity on edges from a reverse gradient elliptical selection
5) Adjust colour curve, more contrasting
6) Black and White conversion layer

7) Mock Film Grain> Noise at opacity of 34% for textured grainy effect
8) Layer 5 Smoke Brush on left and Right Smoke Clouds, save at 0% opacity, 13%, 34%, 47%, 68%, 84% and 100% opacity
9) File> Scripts> Load Files into Stack-> Browse- select images -> press ‘ok’- stills as individual layers 0.01 sec each and reverse set to create a loopless/forever loop (First frame of    video should be the bottom layer)
10) To vibrate move layers left, right, up and down then crop in to create a vibrating effect
11) Save for web> gif optimised for web by reducing size/colour restriction.
Cinemagraph Resources:
www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/how-to-make-an-animated-gif/
www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oWX-4t3ap8/

Depicts a group of jihadists, in a desert in Iraq armed with rifles guarding oil in barrels whilst explosions are going on behind them. Using a tilt-shift blur to the appropriated backdrop helps create the illusion that the scene going on behind them is on location and not added in post-processing. The usage of black and white, as an ongoing theme in these photographs is to pay homage to the saying that when things are ‘black and white’ it’s a clear choice between good vs evil, as well as black and white photography often considered as ‘pure’ unphotoshopped photography, people trust it more as it implicates the usage of film photography, or spy photography or footage captured by robotic drones. The composited backdrop helps bring the piece together adding an extra sense of depth to the insurgents in the sand. I chose to also depict my group of jihadists as a cinemagraph, a homage to the future of journalism- as cinemagraphs are more than a picture, but not quite a video. The main goal of cinemagraphs are to illustrate a short story and a prime example of this is the “magical newspapers” in Harry Potter. In this case I wanted to convey the sense of motion one feels when on scene at a site of an explosion, the ground would shake like an earthquake, and plumes of smoke would arise at the blast zone of the explosion. I have also included a front page newspaper mock-up (The Independent) with the still image and accompanying text in a mock article, under my nom-de-plume journalist name ‘Amelia Sandford’. The image provides a visual authenticity to reinforce the written word.

To attribute the original photographer for the background image, I had a lot of difficulty in finding this image correctly attributed, even via reverse image searching, however eventually through using google image search, I found the following URL: http://poleshift.ning.com/profiles/blogs/gas-explosion-kills-1-injures, which then gave a link to this URL: http://www.iraqoilreport.com/oil/production-exports/dead-missing-in-south-rumaila-station-blast-6201/which attributes the image as “Excess gas is flared at the Rumaila oil field in Basra, as workers look on. (ATEF HASSAN/Reuters)” and is apparently a shot from September 2011’s Iraq Rumaila oil field’s accidental explosion, yet could easily be a current photo of the US air strikes on oil fields in Iraq. However, a further search provided me with this URL: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2011/jul/31/bp-stranglehold-iraq-oilfield-contract which states the photograph as “Iraq’s Rumaila oilfield in 2009, the year BP and Chinese partner CNPC originally clinched a deal to develop the field. Photograph: Atef Hassan/Reuters” with no mention of the image depicting an oil explosion, so it is unclear whether or not the image just depicts the average day of working on an oil field.

© Jasmine Amelia Murray 2014-

screengrab8 PA160747.ORF and Screengrab

PA160747.ORF
1) Duplicate Layer> Layer Mask extracting from backdrop
2) Paste in exploding oil field layer underneath the layer mask layer-> Blur> Tilt-Shift
3) Area Light placed on lower right
4) Curve-> Lighten and Tone
5) Vignette reverse elliptical selection 15% opacity
6) Adjust colour ranges/hue/saturation/contrast
7) Black and White conversion
8) Tint selective colour- lighten red
9) Add Noise “Mock Film Grain” at 38% opacity

Depicts the group of jihadists from a different angle with a different explosion or oil field to imply that they are in a different location different members but with the same intent as the previous shot. Using a tilt-shift blur to the appropriated backdrop helps create the illusion that the scene going on behind them is on location and not added in post-processing, as well as seamlessly blending into the foreground sand. The usage of black and white, as an ongoing theme in these photographs is to pay homage to the saying that when things are ‘black and white’ it’s a clear choice between good vs evil, as well as black and white photography often considered as ‘pure’ unphotoshopped photography, people trust it more as it implicates the usage of film photography, or spy photography or footage captured by robotic drones. The composited backdrop helps bring the piece together adding an extra sense of depth to the insurgents in the sand. However I feel that the tank’s composition in this piece almost seems to narrate that the tank belongs to the anti-jihadist mission, and as such changes the meaning behind the piece.

Again like Hassan’s image I struggled to find a correctly attributed photograph, as my initial results brought up various blogging platforms, which entries did not state or credit who had taken the photograph. Several pages into my reverse image search I found the following URL of a New York Times article from 2008: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/19/world/middleeast/19iraq.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 which lists the photograph as “Oil fields in the Iraqi province of Basra. Iraq produces about 2.5 million barrels of oil per day. – Moises Saman for The New York Times.” Whilst the scene at hand does not feature an explosion in an oil field it does reinforce the context of what the jihadists are doing with oil barrels.

© Jasmine Amelia Muray 2014-

PA160013.ORF Screengrab PA160013.ORF and Screengrab

PA160013.ORF
1) Duplicate Layer > Layer Mask extracting from the backdrop
2) Adjust levels of gun, before paste- resize, then layer mask to remove the backdrop
3) Adjust levels of figure shot from above, before paste – resize, then layer mask to remove the backdrop and base of figure
4) Adjust Channel/Gradient Map> Curves, Hue, Saturation and Highpass low to adjust colour profile and exposure
5) Black and White conversion
6) Vignette reverse elliptical selection at 15% opacity
7) Hue, Desaturate and adjust Curves, Gradients to brighten and lighten
8) Area lighten in bottom right
9) Noise> Film grain at 20% opacity

Depicts a group of jihadists from above protecting their oil from all angles- to mimic what would be seen if footage was taken via a robotic drone from above, however I feel this composition highlights the fakery, in terms of quality and scale of the figures and oil drums vs the sand, without the use of appropriating a backdrop it takes away the context of air strikes and the location no longer being clear, even though the message that ISIS is attempting to ‘control’ the oil remains. The usage of black and white, as an ongoing theme in these photographs is to pay homage to the saying that when things are ‘black and white’ it’s a clear choice between good vs evil, as well as black and white photography often considered as ‘pure’ unphotoshopped photography, people trust it more as it implicates the usage of film photography, or spy photography or footage captured by robotic drones.

© Jasmine Amelia Murray 2014-

PA160742.ORF and Screengrab

PA160742.ORF
1) Duplicate layer > layer mask extracting from backdrop
2) Paste in exploding oil field layer underneath the layer mask layer – > Blur > Tilt-Shift
3) Paste, resize and layer mask plane and ISIS flag
4) Area Light placed in the Upper left
5) Curve -> Lighten tone
6) Vignette at 15% opacity using a reverse gradient elliptical selection
7) Adjust colour ranges and contrast
8) Black and White conversion
9) Tint light grey and soften the colour
10) Add Noise “Mock Film Grain” at 38% opacity
11) Smoke brushes on right cloud to lighten

The image below depicts the group of jihadists with a clearly labelled ISIS flag placed in the center of the group – with a blurred backdrop appropriated from the internet of an oil explosion. The flag is appropriated from the Independent article “ISIS ‘behead own fighters’ front headline image. The image also references to the 25th September “US Air Strikes are failing to slow ISIS says desperate Kurds”. The tilt-shift blur to the appropriated backdrop, helps create the illusion that the scene going on behind them is on location and not added in post-processing, as well as seamlessly blending into the foreground sand. The usage of black and white, as an ongoing theme in these photographs is to pay homage to the saying that when things are ‘black and white’ it’s a clear choice between good vs evil, as well as black and white photography often considered as ‘pure’ unphotoshopped photography, people trust it more as it implicates the usage of film photography, or spy photography or footage captured by robotic drones. The composited backdrop helps bring the piece together adding an extra sense of depth to the insurgents in the sand. However I feel the placement of the plane let’s down the composition in comparitive to the outcome of  ‘PA160008’.

To attribute the original photographer for the background image, I had a lot of difficulty in finding this image correctly attributed, even via reverse image searching, however eventually through using google image search, I found the following URL: http://poleshift.ning.com/profiles/blogs/gas-explosion-kills-1-injures, which then gave a link to this URL: http://www.iraqoilreport.com/oil/production-exports/dead-missing-in-south-rumaila-station-blast-6201/which attributes the image as “Excess gas is flared at the Rumaila oil field in Basra, as workers look on. (ATEF HASSAN/Reuters)” and is apparently a shot from September 2011’s Iraq Rumaila oil field’s accidental explosion, yet could easily be a current photo of the US air strikes on oil fields in Iraq. However, a further search provided me with this URL: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2011/jul/31/bp-stranglehold-iraq-oilfield-contract which states the photograph as “Iraq’s Rumaila oilfield in 2009, the year BP and Chinese partner CNPC originally clinched a deal to develop the field. Photograph: Atef Hassan/Reuters” with no mention of the image depicting an oil explosion, so it is unclear whether or not the image just depicts the average day of working on an oil field. Unlike ‘PA110714’ the backdrop this time is slightly cropped into so the explosion borders the edges to mimic a different location to the initial shot, however I feel this actually hinders the image as this and the plane composition lack the effectiveness required.

(c) Jasmine Amelia Murray 2014- All Rights Reserved

screengrab2 PA160008.ORF and Screengrab

PA160008.ORF [2/2 Selected Final Images]
1) Duplicate layer > layer mask extracting from the backdrop
2) Paste in exploding oil field layer underneath the layer mask layer – > Blur > Tilt-Shift
3) Paste in ISIS flag (resize and extract with layer mask) and place on left 1/3 region and place under initial layer
4) Vignette at 20% opacity rectangular inverse rounded edges
5) Adjust curves-> Add contrast and lighten
6) Convert to Black and White conversion-> red levels
7) Add Noise “Mock Film Grain” at 38% opacity
8) Paste in plane below vignette layers but above initial layer-> layer mask to isolate- then rotate and shrink to scale

Depicts jihadists from a backwards angle with them surveying the devastation caused by the US air strikes on an oil field with the fighter plane flying off into the distance, whilst they are on guard the fact they aren’t facing the camera seems to change the emotive mood, from a bunch of angry militants to perhaps a group of people who no longer know what they are really fighting for- the appropriated flag hangs fairly limply, implying a slight breeze. References to “Bombs alone will not defeat an enemy that knows how to melt away” Independent 25th September, as well as the Daily Mail’s (24th September) “US air strikes to avert another 9/11”, The Guardian’s (September 27th) “We Must Beware- ISIS wants the west to wage a crusade” and the Daily Telegraph’s (25th September) “Bombing plays into the hands of Saudi-inspired militant jihadists” and “Obama asks world to unite behind his misson to blitz ISIL”. The tilt-shift blur to the appropriated backdrop, helps create the illusion that the scene going on behind them is on location and not added in post-processing, as well as seamlessly blending into the foreground sand. The usage of black and white, as an ongoing theme in these photographs is to pay homage to the saying that when things are ‘black and white’ it’s a clear choice between good vs evil, as well as black and white photography often considered as ‘pure’ unphotoshopped photography, people trust it more as it implicates the usage of film photography, or spy photography or footage captured by robotic drones. The composited backdrop helps bring the piece together adding an extra sense of depth to the insurgents in the sand. The composition is strong with the majority of the insurgents watching the fighter plane flying off from the explosion scene.

Like the Hassan image I struggled to find a correctly attributed photograph, as my initial results brought up various blogging platforms, which entries did not state or credit who had taken the photograph. Several pages into my reverse image search I found the following URL of a New York Times article from 2008: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/19/world/middleeast/19iraq.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 which lists the photograph as “Oil fields in the Iraqi province of Basra. Iraq produces about 2.5 million barrels of oil per day. – Moises Saman for The New York Times.” Whilst the scene at hand does not feature an explosion in an oil field it does reinforce the context of what the jihadists are doing with oil barrels, the ‘intention’ or implication that they wish to control the oil supply in the Middle East.

UPDATE: RAW Photography Exhibition

In my former post I published my mock press release that I sent out to local journalists, which stated that our exhibition is from the 21st-28th June: https://jasmineameliamurrayphotography.wordpress.com/2014/05/25/photography-students-exhibit-raw-talent/

Well, I’m excited to say that due to popular demand our exhibition has been extended for viewing until the 21st of July, which means if you haven’t already or you want to visit again you have another 3 weeks to come and explore. (And also means that our exhibit is now a month long!)

Although I’ve thanked all who have visited on the opening evening and since, via our group Twitter and Facebook. I want to thank you all for taking the time to visit personally, we have really appreciated all the interest we have received so far. A huge thanks also to all the support we’ve received from Bedford’s local businesses, our college (a special thanks to our lecturers) and lastly but not least Mick Hutson, who made the exhibition possible location wise for allowing us to use his shop, Rock City Art of 26 Castle Lane, Bedford.

Some exclusive sneak peeks of what you’ll find in our gallery exhibition (c)Jasmine Amelia Murray:

Sneak Peeks of our Exhibition taken by (c) Jasmine Amelia Murray  More Sneak Peeks  More Sneak Peeks

Sneak Peek Window 2  Sneak Peek Window View  Sneak Peek 3

More Sneak Peeks (c) Jasmine Amelia Murray   More Sneak Peeks (Our Business Cards

 

 

 

 

 

Hard up student? Keen amateur? Portfolios and why you don’t always have to pay…

Your probably thinking the above statement is too good to be true, and to a degree it is. That said if you don’t mind size limits on the amount of photos or a tiny banner than supports the site or lastly a limited design choice then look no further, you honestly don’t need to pay.

As part of my HND course I have to provide myself with an online presence in particular a portfolio lately I’ve been exploring the realms of free portfolios and whether any are ‘just too good to be true‘.

One of the first sites I trialed as an option was: http://foliodrop.com/

The free option contains the following features:

  • Custom Domain
  • 80 Images
  • Personal Favicon
  • 1 template Included: Classic
  • Branding On The Bottom Of The Page

Here’s the outcome using FolioDrop, which you can visit at: http://jamgloom.foliodrop.com/ http://www.jasmineameliamurrayphotography.tk/

Overall the outcome is pretty impressive for a free option, the site functions via HTML5 which allows for speedy loading, and enough customizing options to add your own logo, custom menu with the option of outgoing links allowing you to link your customer to social media and sites that manage selling your prints etc.

The next site I trialed was: http://www.portfoliobox.net

In comparison to FolioDrop, PortfolioBox are more limited in terms of capacity, with the free specs listed as:

  • Customizable Design
  • Manage via browser
  • Clean and Commercial-free
  • Hosting of 40 images
  • For the first 30 days, all PRO- templates unlocked

You can view my PortfolioBox version at: http://jamgloom.portfoliobox.me/ http://jasmineameliamurrayphotography.portfoliobox.me/  http://jasmineameliamurrayphotography.cf/ http://jasmineameliamurrayphotography.gq

example2

PortfolioBox is inevitably not as fluid as FolioDrop as a free version anyway, but the clean cut design works well on all devices I have trialled on so far (including my invariably slow mobile phone). So if you’re looking for the simple option that you know will work whatever your device, then PortfolioBox is worth a look-in. (As of writing this my quota has been raised +15, by the portfoliobox student program, so it’s not as bad on quantity as it initially seems).

The next option I trialled was https://www.allyou.net/en/

In comparison to the above two options on the surface AllYou seems fairly impressive in terms of customisation, and the amount you can store. The only major negative to consider is the lack of custom domain on their free ‘aluminum’ plan, which can be a con if you’re after a free site that you can place your domain on.

AllYou’s free ‘aluminum’ plan states that you “get”:

  • Unlimited Pages
  • Full Template Selection
  • Full Customizations (coding free)
  • Full Font Collection (Typekit)
  • 24/7 Email Support
  • 50 MB Disk Space (You can try the custom domain, landing page, mobile view and CSS customization for free during the first 30 days.)

You can view my AllYou portfolio via this link: http://jamgloom.allyou.net/2674394 http://jasmineameliamurrayphotography.ml/

As I’ve yet to fully explore the options AllYou include for free, my opinion may change, however at this moment in time I find this option to be clean, minimalistic, yet somewhat clunky to navigate with folders in the gallery option being the go to point to any of my pieces (It seems to work a lot like flickr and it’s sets). Still, have to say that, the perks of having 50MB to utilise with no number limit on the amount of files is certainly a more appealing option than the other two options. It’s definitely one to watch if you don’t mind the lack of custom domain (or like me you use domain forwarding/masking options).
The very last portfolio service I’ve briefly looked at is: https://www.cargocollective.com
CargoCollective, as far as I can tell don’t have a paid plan at all, the whole service is based on invites where you apply for an account. At the point of writing this I have only just begun working on this version but so far I can safely say I’m impressed by the variety of options that are available for free, there.
This is my portfolio thus far (as you can see a lot of work still to do!)- http://cargocollective.com/jasmineameliamurrayphotography
However from what little I have tinkered with the site thus far, I can say it is clean, minimalistic and seemingly fluid service. Time will tell if it is the “one” for me.
For now this post is a wrap, but I may re-visit this topic some point in the future to review portfolios.
Next post is likely to be on domain forwarding or selling your work/promoting yourself, so keep your peepers peeled.
Thanks for reading 🙂

Why Image Size and Resolution on the Internet is Important

It’s weird how there is still mythological element associated with the Internet, and in particular how we display images – peculiarly some so-called professionals opinions on the matter. I’m still not sure how they think a higher resolution on the internet will do when no screen on this planet displays a resolution higher than 72 DPI…

Part of the issue I suppose is via marketing of Apple’s iMac’s retina display laptops which claim:

“The Retina display reduces glare while maintaining incredible colour and quality. Its high contrast ratio results in blacker blacks and whiter whites. And everything in between is rich and vibrant. IPS technology gives you a wide, 178‑degree view of everything on the screen, so you’ll see the difference at practically any angle.” Source Apple UK http://www.apple.com/uk/macbook-pro/features-retina/

The truth is it has more to do with pixels per inch than dots, and to the majority of human eyes a retina displays is about on par with HD screens (so hardly a revolutionary step http://www.cultofmac.com/173702/why-retina-isnt-enough-feature/). My college peers with such devices stupidly thought it did affect the image quality but when I made them resample an image to 72 DPI and compare it to the image at 300 DPI they thought their was no significant difference if any at all.

So what does DPI mean really? DPI literally translates as ‘Dots Per Inch’ and at the minute the only time you need to worry about your DPI is when you are printing said image. The higher the DPI you have the clearer and crisper the image will be when printed, although this does depend on the print heads the printer in question uses.

So does it matter if I post large files on the web? Yes, it definitely does, unless you are posting up imagery that is getting sold and printed by a third-party company (e.g Saatchi, Getty), then honestly you ought to consider the pros in smaller images even if it’s just resolution alone. Large resolution files are far more likely to be stolen and utilized for printed use without your permission or notice. Also to cater to everyone who visits sites that hold your images you need to carefully consider your markets access to the internet – some people will have non-fibre optic internet, 3G connectivity and slow devices (be they low-end low power computers to tablets and mobile devices), and by utilizing a smaller size you speed up the loading process, widening your target audience dramatically.

So next time someone mentions Image Resolution and it’s pros and cons be sure to think of your audience and the likelihood that they are unlikely to spot any difference between a 72 DPI image and 300 one, your site will load quicker and most importantly your work is far less likely to be distributed outside of the world-wide web without your permission, it’s safe to say for now lower resolution has far more pros than cons.

Thanks for reading 🙂