‘Brand-New Topographic’s’

The New Topographics was an exhibition held in 1975 known as ‘Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape’ which was created by William Jenkins which was  held at the International Museum of Photography. The exhibition was based on showing a new approach towards landscapes which then became a key movement in the landscape industry. The New Topographics consisted of eight young American photographers in which where represented by 10 prints  each. The exhibition has been open for thirty-seven years and continues to inspire not just the western but even Japanese landscape photography.

My first project that has been given is based around 15 photographer’s quotes. Once reading the quotes, I did further research regarding the style of photography each photographer produced. This then allowed me to see how their work related to the quote that was given. I chose to not just create photographs relating to their quote, but allow myself to see what technique is used throughout their photograph’s in which I can incorporate into my own set of images.

‘ I go straight in very close to people and I do that because it’s the only way you can get the picture. You go right up to them. Even now, I don’t find it easy. I don’t announce it. I pretend to be focusing elsewhere. If you take someone’s photograph it is very difficult not to look at them just after. But it’s the only thing that gives the game away. I don’t try and hide what I’m doing- that would be folly. – Martin Parr – British Journal of Photography Interview 1989.

I found this particular image related to Martin Parr’s quote and his work. I found it captivating that I was so close to the people yet both seem oblivious to my presence. You can see the bond between father and daughter in which the daughter caresses her father’s neck for security and comfort, in which would be hard to capture if you were not as close to them. 

 

 

The complete disregard for the camera’s presence indicates its complete saturation in their lives. The subject neither notices nor seems to care that someone has been invited into their private moment.’ – Nan Goldin

Whilst seeing this with my eyes and even before picking up my camera, I thought about Nan Goldin’s quote. I could see this was a private moment in which he did not mind sharing with the world. He is willing to be himself and does not care what others may think of his presence. However I do feel this would be more intimate if I were closer to him, as this would allow me to capture emotion which is hard to capture in long distance photograph’s.

‘I am not very interested in extraordinary angles. They can be effective on certain occasions, but I do not feel the necessity for them in my own work. Indeed, I feel the simplest approach can often be most effective. A subject placed squarely in the centre of the frame, if attention in not distracted from it by fussy surroundings, has a simple dignity which makes it all the more impressive. – Bill Brandt – ‘Camera in London’, The focus Press, London 1948 P.13

Normally whilst photographing, I always try to get a unique and interesting angle in which people can see something in a different way and become more open-minded. However with this image I chose to take a part of Bill Brandt’s advice in which a simple, straight forward, and centred image can make an intriguing photograph. Even though I do have surroundings around my subject matter, I find myself drawn to her rather than the objects around her.

‘Photography is, to me, more than a means of expression, more than my particular profession – it is a way of life. And if I were asked to choose one word which holds the key to my work I would select ‘ light ‘ – for light is my language, and it is international, readily understood by any person of any race. It has been my good fortune to welcome before my camera many great men and women who have made their mark on our generation and will find a place in history. I feel that my life’s work is to interpret to the best of my ability, the inner strength, the true character, of these personalities, through the medium of photographic portraiture. I can think of no elation equal to that when something close to my ideal is achieved, through necessarily there must always be a spark of what I call ‘ divine discontent’ – the constant striving for near perfection. In this self-appointed task, which also carries, I believe, a great sense of responsibility, the medium of light is all important. It is the portraitist’s chief tool,  and he can never learn enough about it. – Yousef Karsh, The Best of Popular Photography by Harvey V. Fondiller, ISBN: 0871650371, Page: 101

How can light be light without darkness? This is why I produced an image that holds an oxymoron. It is putting darkness with the light as one would not exist, without the other. The harsh ‘boxed’ lighting creates an intense atmosphere in which almost makes you want to look deeper to see if anything could be revealed about the girl. Even though she has stepped into the light she is still surrounded by darkness. Making you wonder If she stepped into the darkness, would she find the light?

 

Continuation of New Topographic’s update 6th November 2012:

After having a critique from last time, I chose to attempt this again and look at the brief with a clearer head. I feel I got slightly confused as whether I should create an image that relates to the quote, or whether to create images related to the photographer the quote has come from. So this time I concentrated on the quote. This made it much easier to produce photographs.

 

‘If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.’ – Robert Capa 

I found this quote simple but rather effective. Last time I got critiqued that I was not getting close enough to my subject. This is when I felt I could experiment with this specific quote, and get used to getting closer to objects. There were two version’s of this image in which I could really see the quote worked, the other image was further away in which made it lose valuable detail which is a lot more visible when closer. I also find this photograph makes people ask questions such as, What is this object? and What is inside it? This I will leave unanswered as it makes the viewers look harder into the photograph.

‘It’s one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are’ – Paul Caponigro – Jensen, Brooks. “Talk at the Wilson Centre for the Arts, Sept 2007”. LensWork Podcast LW0420

Originally this was going to be for a quote related to people not realising the camera’s presence. However when I went back and looked at my photographs I noticed he did realise my presence but did not seem phased. When I look at this photograph and his expression I almost feel like you can see a pain in his eyes, as if he has been through a lot in his life.

 

‘Trust that little voice in your head that says ‘Wouldn’t it be interesting if….’ And then do it.’ – Duane Michals, More Joy of Photography by Eastman Kodak (Editor)

I have noticed that everyday we go by the simplest of objects in which we pass by as ‘uninteresting’. This was when I thought ‘ Wouldn’t it be interesting if..’ The simplest of objects can be the most beautiful when captured right. Using a narrow depth of field allowed me to concentrate on the object at hand and drew attention away from the background (The Cathedral) in which everyone finds captivating.

 

‘Photography is, to me, more than a means of expression, more than my particular profession – it is a way of life. And if I were asked to choose one word which holds the key to my work I would select ‘ light ‘ – for light is my language, and it is international, readily understood by any person of any race. It has been my good fortune to welcome before my camera many great men and women who have made their mark on our generation and will find a place in history. I feel that my life’s work is to interpret to the best of my ability, the inner strength, the true character, of these personalities, through the medium of photographic portraiture. I can think of no elation equal to that when something close to my ideal is achieved, through necessarily there must always be a spark of what I call ‘ divine discontent’ – the constant striving for near perfection. In this self-appointed task, which also carries, I believe, a great sense of responsibility, the medium of light is all important. It is the portraitist’s chief tool,  and he can never learn enough about it. – Yousef Karsh, The Best of Popular Photography by Harvey V. Fondiller, ISBN: 0871650371, Page: 101

I took a second photograph related to this quote, because I found his quote extremely accurate. I knew straight away where I wanted to photograph as I had been exploring Coventry a little more lately. I would not class this as a ‘perfect photograph’ however this is all about the light that is available in which allows the church’s stained glass windows to come alive. These small pieces of Art are only able to be seen to the world when a strong source of light is available.

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