Coursework P&P

Week 5

In the Dance world, self promotion is a major part of a dancer’s life.  To be seen on social media, selected by a photographer for the ‘image of the day’ for example is a major thing.  It’s also important to note, most of my subjects are under 18, in fact many competitive dancers ‘retire’ before then. It is important that my work is seen as strictly professional and I work closely with the dance association, dance schools and promoters to abide within their rules and be fully registered with the authorities. My clients are the schools and parents, a great photo of their dancer can  be used to promote them perhaps get sponsorship or become an Ambassador or Instagram ‘Influencer’.

I also only promote my images to the dance world and do not join photographic forums or groups unless they are dance related. It’s important to create a safe environment when shooting and to be open and honest with the clients.  

A  great watch is the American reality TV series Dance Moms (Links to an external site.) where controlling teacher Abbey Lee Miller (Links to an external site.) conflicts nearly everyday with her dance mums. Tears tantrums and arguments a plenty it’s very popular viewing in the dance world.

In essence, this question is a continuation of the last two, when does an image become an exercise in voyeurism rather than an effort to offer an  explanation of what has happened? In the last module references, the images of war created by the photographer John McCullin were so powerful, so close to the horrors unfolding in conflicts like the Vietnam war, he was forbidden to go to the Falklands in 1982 to cover the British/Argentinian war by the authorities,( unofficially of course).  He says in the documentary McCullin ( by Alan Yentob; Jacqui Morris; David Morris 2013) that the freedom he was given to work independently would never be repeated in future conflicts because of the power the images from Vietnam had on public opinion.

Can it be that a still image can be so powerful? Could the image above have helped sway parts of the population to vote with UKIP, did it help reinforce their argument? 

As photographers , we have a unique power, a power to see the things that others miss, call it instinct. Do we then have the right to then say how that image is used? It’s noticeable, with the use of music, that Tom Petty’s family served a cease and desist notice when the late singer’s song was used at a recent political rally. Is that not the same for us? Do we relinquish all our ethical responsibility once the shutter is released? Do we as photographers have the same ethical right to say how our images are used? I would like to say yes but as Jeff Mitchell said in the article he was there to record what happened not how it would be used.  

  • Collapse Sub discussionPaul ClementsPaul ClementsMonday29 Jun at 8Hi, Douglas,did you see McCullins recent retrospective at Tate Britain?  There is an interesting take here on McCullins work  by Lewis Bush, that you may find of interest.http://www.disphotic.com/nihilistic-photojournalism-don-mccullin-at-tate/ (Links to an external site.) Kind wishes, Paul. Reply Reply to comment(1 likes)
    • Collapse Sub discussionNeil GoodwinNeil GoodwinMonday29 Jun at 16:03Manage discussion entryThe Bush review is interesting Paul but it raises the question, should we not have exhibitions of this sort? And if we don’t, then how are we to be reminded about ‘man’s inhumanity to man’? I too saw the exhibition and it was powerful and uncomfortable stuff but essentially so in my view: war is disturbing and uncomfortable – it’s not like the movies!I certainly didn’t interpret it as art, it was merely an exhibition of one man’s work – is the implication by Bush that if things are presented in an exhibition ergo it’s art? It’s interesting that McCullin himself says of some of his wartime experiences, ‘I didn’t think it right to be there. People assumed I was OK-ing it, which I wasn’t’. So, I think McCullin saw himself as something of a participant-observer on these assignments. In other words, you can’t completely divorce yourself from what’s going on. On Bush’s comment about the entrance fee – I dismissed this as a cheap shot. Whether the fee is the right level or not, choosing an expensive venue for an exhibition involves cost!
    • f the things he describes would affect me very deeply. It’s strange to think  we assume the last 3 or 4 decades have been a peaceful era in this country yet he has seen some of the bloodiest conflicts and the most terrible atrocities in the recent history of mankind. 

week 4

‘Nothing is more real than the masks we make to show each other who we are.’ – Christopher Barzak

Across the world, countries and the people within are coming to terms with lockdown and social distancing because of the Covid-19 Virus. During discussions it became apparent that the countries we lived in all have different attitudes when dealing with the virus.

Our theme is both geographical and biographical of how human nature and politics converge to defend against the virus. We set out to show the differences (and perhaps similarities) in social mentality and human behaviour within our communities.

Images were taken in Singapore, Manchester UK and Melbourne Australia. We highlighted how information and signage is used to set out the boundaries recommended and how the local community behaved within the constraints.

Damien Victor  and Douglas

Photos by Damien Williams in Singapore, Victor Joubert in Melbourne Australia and Douglas Stenhouse in Manchester UK

Week 3

Photography has an unique selling point, if I take a photograph or an image of you, it’s your photograph. Well actually it’s not, it’s your image yes, but it belongs to me.

The advent of digital and the digital web has blurred the lines somewhat. Every iPhone is full of selfies and images, many of which will never be seen by anyone but the owner. An image creator has now got millions of competitors, and some of them are really good. The first article is interesting in that the author spends most of it defending how he shot his images rather than how good he shot his images. Do we question documentary film makers who use little hand held camcorders? The use of the camera is secondary to the use of the light. In the film 1917, Roger Deakins used lights and filters to create a burning church and won an Oscar. The argument of using filters well what is Photoshop, what is an ND graduated filter, a Polariser bending the light to achieve fluffy clouds and blue skies? It’s the natural progression of things. Use the light to create the image, use your mind to imagine the shot you want to create, use your the light, your timing and awareness create the shot you imagined. The last thing I look at when I see an image is what equipment did they use, the first thing I look for is where is the light coming from. Understanding light is understanding photography.

Week 1

The photograph of Earth from the Apollo 8 reminded me we live in a bubble of air suspended in an even bigger bubble of darkness. The light we use to create images is not even ours, it belongs to the sun. My work is in a bubble, the world of dance, where teachers and trainers work with their pupils together to help them become better, stronger, fitter, athletic, graceful and more beautiful dancers.

Cameron Buckley wins Diva 2018

The aim at dance competitions is to win, to celebrate to create memories within the bubble of their particular genre. Photography plays a huge part, catching moments in time never to be repeated. And within the bigger bubble of image creation, the photograph competes with the moving image. Which is stronger is the choice of the viewer. However, to capture a moment in time, a memory, a celebration of that first win is to share the emotion, joy and victory with their peers, family and the wider world, that is the power of a still image.

Today, William Anders’s image of the Earth would spread digitally around the globe in seconds, our biggest bubble of all. The power of the global image has never been stronger.

Week 2

I’ve selected two paintings to show how I interpret the dance world my images represent. The first by the Impressionist and some would say pioneer Edgar Degas doesn’t so much show the dancers form or style as in some of his other work but more a expression of joy as the dancer performs on stage. Almost 100 years later, Keith Haring used pop art again to show the sheer joy of dance in his untitled work of 1987.

Edgar Degas
Keith Haring

Feeling a little bit overwhelmed by the amount of influences and huge projects you guys are exposing me too. It’s going to take a while to gather all this in. I’m working as an image creator, my first thought when I create is will it sell? Harsh but true. I am taking the time to watch the clips, the art and read some of the authors listed and talked about. The webinar will be interesting, a bit like the first time you jump out a plane hoping the parachute is still attached.

I will talk about what I do know, the creative world of dance and how photography has an unique place within it that no moving images can recreate, that moment in time, the apex of the jump, the momentary expression of love, sadness or even anger that would be lost in the movement of a filmed sequence. Look forward to meeting you all then.

WEEK 2 Reflections

Challenges

Have come thick and fast. Names, books and influences are quoted extensively, most I have never heard of but I nod along in agreement. My two main influences are Kevin Richardson danceasart.com for his dance work on the Streets of New York and Rachel Neville for her studio work rachelneville.com The quality in their lighting is where i aim to be .

Surprises

How little I know about the history of photography, it’s influences and legacy. I remember the first image that stood out for me as a young boy was in the Scottish newspaper the Sunday Post. On the sports pages, a photographer had shot through the net as Celtic goalkeeper Ronnie Simpson dived to save a certain goal by stopping the ball on the line one handed. No gloves, sleeves rolled up, the faint outline of the net, the crowd lost in the haze of the floodlights and mist. it had stuck with me all these years. Photography for me is I like what I see, in it’s simplest form, if the composition is good, if my eyes are are drawn to certain subjects or if it’s extremely busy.

Another image stuck in my head is a photograph by a japanese photographer of a very crowded swimming pool. So much going on with people outside and inside the pool, the water and the surrounding areas submerged with bodies and limbs. I looked at it for days finding something new each time i returned. is that the essence of a great photograph? One that draws you back again and again? Is that what I inspire to achieve?

What have I learned

That I have a lot TO learn. An academic thinking process is needed for sure rather than my sometimes too technical analysis. Paul said at one point, is it the technical issues that make you like Kevin Richardson’s work or something more? I think that’s what i need to find out