Feedback has now been received from my tutor on Assignment 2 – Elements of Design. I am very pleased with the comments and the favourable response to the selection of images and my decision to go with black and white. To cut a long story short, his Overall Comments were:
Comparing your work to the requirements in the assignment brief demonstrates how well monochrome concentrates on the physical characteristics of the image. You made a good decision to work in this medium. My first impression of your selection is very good because all the images appear to be of good quality and by that I mean in good depth of focus and exposed to create good images for this assignment. Your images address the tasks in the brief very well and your work appears to be well up to the standard expected at this stage of the course.
In the Summary section the comments were :
…… your work for this assignment is, in my opinion, excellent at this stage of the course. The photographic quality and the composition of your images have not attracted any criticism. I cannot envisage that you cannot achieve your ultimate goals in this course if you maintain your momentum and the standard of your work as it is displayed in your first two assignments.
Needless to say that I am extremely pleased with this as a response to the first ‘proper’ assignment images and also to the structure and nature of the blog, which was described as … well arranged, concise, includes interesting detail and is up to date.
As far as the individual images are concerned, there were some valuable pointers as to which I should be considering for submission for final assessment where I had offered a couple of alternatives at this stage.
Single point, the person on the steps, was commented on as … The ascending steps lead the viewer’s eye up to the lone figure sitting on the steps near to the top of the frame. This is a good device to ensure that the composition concentrates the viewer’s attention on the objective of the brief. I took this image a number of times as the location allowed positioning the figure vertically and horizontally and also on all the ‘thirds’ in the frame. I preferred the portrait format I chose and selected an image with the figure at the top and left as she was looking downwards, and also the lines in the steps lead the eye down and to the right as well.
Two points was an image that I had concerns about, and had blogged on this before, in that I wondered whether the two stone balls in the sculpture were dominant enough in the composition to be considered as points when there was so much else going on to attract they eye. However, the view was that … there is some humour in the antics of the group in the centre which does not distract the viewer from the main subjects but retains the concentration in the central area of the frame.
Points in a deliberate shape was one I had formerly considered as having potential as a single point, but on reflection I felt that the three pigeons in the foreground were sufficiently dominant to be considered points, supplemented by the man and his bag on the bench. The tutor comment was that the birds “command the composition in the empty space in the foreground” which was a far better way of putting it than I have done!
Vertical and horizontal lines was described as ….. a brilliantly confusing image. I had to study it for a minute or two before had worked out all the reflections. It must suffice to say that this subject depicts the essence of this task very well. It was one of my favourite images from the London trips and I was lucky to be there on a day when the light and cloud cover allowed the reflections from the building across the road from the prime subject to emerge as prominently as they did.
Diagonals (the Gherkin) and Curves (the London Eye and Natural History Museum entrance arch) were considered to fit the terms of the brief. I need to decide which Curves image to include for final assessment, although I am currently strongly in favour of the Eye shot as it was something I had spotted, planned and executed rather than the museum shot which was just ‘there’..
I submitted two images for distinct if irregular shapes with the first being the ‘Girl in the Bubble’ and the second the Airstream caravan. The tutor view was that the first image was… an innovative idea for this task and it has been well composed by incorporating the young lady and is well photographed and the view of the second was that it was … also a good image and correct for this task but I don’t find it is as original and creative as the first. I agree totally with this – the girl in the bubble was different, was a moment in time, and never to be quite repeated and therefore has far greater appeal than a subject that could be photographed at any time. Certainly the one for final assessment.
Implied triangles and Rhythm were considered to fit the brief well although when London is free of the Olympics I will be going back to look for more implied triangles as I feel the approach I took was rather on the safe side and I would like to achieve this element with more imaginative subjects. However, I suppose a medal ceremony with each podium on a different level would be a topical implied triangle – now all I need is a ticket for something !!
Pattern, which was exemplified by the strange architectural design which could have been anything from a power station to a toaster, was described by my tutor thus .. You have certainly got me completely confused by this image. My first impression was that it was a building in some state of construction and then that it could have been some framework to house some electrical circuitry and components …. I have to give up except to say that I believe that it is quite correct for this task. I’ll revisit the site at some point in the future and explore what further potential there is there.
I learnt a lot of things during Elements of Design and enjoyed it more than the first assessment. I was pleased with my decision to base the photography on a location and to shoot it as a ‘proper’ assignment. This focused my photography on a narrow geographical area from the outset and lead down the path to photography of people and buildings which most London imagery is about .. and saved me the angst of trying too many thinks on a more diverse range of subjects.
The most pleasing thing was deciding to work in monochrome, not something I have done since I used film. It very obviously takes out the confusion of colour and focuses attention on the actual design elements that hopefully get portrayed in the images I took. It also gave me that chance to more fully explore doing my RAW conversion in LR4.1 using the black and white options and also introduced me to the potential of Silver EfexPro 2. I thought SEP2 made an outstanding job of finally polishing the images for submission, especially once I had developed a feeling for the use of the selective tools and for the subtleties of the highlights and shadows adjustments in the ‘structure’ tool. These were superb if not overused, but so very easy to overcook, and I found the best approach was to make changes that looked right and then back them off a little.
So, that’s the end of Elements of Design, so now it’s on to Colour. I’m going to miss monochrome after Elements, but at least there is a black and white exercise in Colour to head for .. !