Tag Archives: assignment 2

Assignment 2 – Tutor Feedback

I was rather anxious while waiting for my tutor’s feedback on my assignment 2. I had gone outside my comfort zone and chosen to do raw materials of food. (In retrospect, I should have stayed with my initial idea of doing landscape). While I enjoyed doing the assignment I couldn’t help but feel rather restricted in interpreting raw food in an arty way. I had looked at various food photographers and cooking books and tried to base my interpretations on that type of photography.

My tutor was rather critical and said that although my photographs do fulfill the design considerations of the brief they were very tame and reminded him of supermarket photography. He had, during assignment 1 feedback, told me to look at Laura Letinsky’s work and especially the way she makes use of planes. I did so, but obviously I did not have the correct understanding of “planes” and got it wrong in this assignment. I have now clarified this with my tutor and have a better understanding of this technique.

As far as the mood and the lighting of my photographs went, he said I made a fairly accomplished assignment.

Single Point

He liked the idea of placing the aubergine in a frame and creating a frame within a frame. The design was emphasized well with the light and dark areas.

Two Points

The second point is quite peripheral. He suggested placing the objects together like two people talking to each other. The light and dark areas work well in the composition, but the bright white background is competing with the star shape of the squash. He suggests that if the background is toned down a bit, the form of the squash would be more emphasized.

My response: I subsequently did a quick test on a copy of the image and found that the star is brought out more if the background is a tad grayer. So I will come back to this image at a later date.

A deliberate shape

There were too many points to make out the two intersecting triangles.

Verticals and Horizontals

The tutor said the composition of lines here was not perfect, the knife was half in and half out of the shot. He went on to say that “generally such rigorously straight verticals and horizontals would not be used in product photography as it reflects too readily the line of the frame and feels somewhat arbitrary and forced considering the subject.”

My response: my objective was to make photographs that did not look too contrived. The idea behind this photograph was that I wanted it to look as if I was busy in the kitchen chopping onions and had been interrupted and had to step away from the chopping board. In practice I do usually line beans, carrots, onions, etc up like this when dicing and slicing.

Diagonals

This was one of my more successful images.

Curve

My tutor commented on the fact that the curve was fading into background too much and thereby more emphasis was on the pattern of the watermelon than the curve.

Irregular Shapes

“You’ve combined way too many shapes here that are competing with each other.”  It seems that the colander and the cutting board were competing with the peppers and overwhelming their shapes. I should probably have used less props with this image and singled out one pepper.

Distinct shape

My tutor liked this image, but drew my attention to the fact that the light behind the fennel at top left was a bit too bright. I should have positioned the fennel so that the backlighting was more behind the fennel. The yellow cloth was also too bright and the knife was picking up a bright highlight.

My response: Point taken about the yellow cloth. In hindsight I do agree with that. I also take the point about the knife being a bit bright. However, it wasn’t clipping any highlights on my histogram and I had burned the blade quite a bit, but obviously not enough.

Implied Triangles

My tutor said that my beetroot image is more of a triangle than an implied triangle and that an implied triangle is three more or less equidistant points. (Yet the course material states on page 90 that “Basically, any three prominent points imply a triangle”.) My second photo is not an implied triangle at all as he says it doesn’t have three distinct points but many more that move in a circle.

My response: I tend to disagree with the last statement. I had taken the trouble to poll a few people when compiling my images and asked them to comment on what geometric shape they saw in the image and all saw a triangle. I will probably revisit these two images later.

Rhythm

The eggs were a good example of rhythm.

Pattern

My tutor thought the image looked underexposed

I was advised not to research commercial photographers and take their work as a standard. I do have to admit there were hardly any journals on food photography in Jstor, so any suggestions where to find fine art food photographers would be very welcome.

My tutor remarked that my research looked good. He noticed that I had put up a couple of reviews of William Eggleston and Stephen Shore, but was concerned that I had not responded personally to Eggleston’s work. In my defence, my research on Eggleston is actually for assignment 3 and I had only commented on two documentaries that I had watched shortly after submitting assignment 2. I have yet to respond on his work, which I am planning on doing in more detail before assignment 3.


 

Advertisements

Assignment 2 Revisited

As the time is drawing closer to assessment, I have been looking back on my blog and realised that I had commented in my feedback to my tutor’s report that I would address a few images.

Two Points

My tutor remarked that the second point is quite peripheral. He suggested placing the objects together like two people talking to each other. The light and dark areas work well in the composition, but the bright white background is competing with the star shape of the squash. He suggests that if the background is toned down a bit, the form of the squash would be more emphasized. Winter squash is now out of season, so I have not redone this shot, but have done the post processing that was suggested.

Two points reworked

Fig 02 – Two points reworked
f6.3, 1/8, 135mm, ISO 100

Curve

My tutor commented on the fact that the curve was fading into background too much and thereby more emphasis was on the pattern of the watermelon than the curve. To fix this I added a local adjustment to the background to bring the exposure and highlights down. I also added a couple of local exposure adjustments to the edge of the watermelon to emphasis the curve better.

Fig 06 - Curves reworked

Fig 06 – Curves reworked
f8, 1/10, 160mm, ISO 100

Distinct, even if irregular shapes

Fig 07 – Distinct, even if irregular, shapes - revised

Fig 07 – Distinct, even if irregular, shapes – revised
f2.8, 1/40, 50mm, ISO 100

My tutor had commented that I had too many competing shapes in the original submission so I have replaced the original image with this one (Fig 07), which was taken at the same time. It highlights the shape of the individual pepper which is separated out from the peppers in the background. The curve of the pepper is accentuated by the light catching the edge of the pepper. In post processing I brought down the exposure and highlights of this highlighted section by applying a local adjustment to the highlight. Hopefully this is an improvement on the previous image.

Distinct Shape

My tutor liked this image but remarked that the light behind the fennel was too bright. The yellow cloth and knife were also too bright. I have done local exposure adjustments to rectify this.

Fig 08 – Distinct shape, even if irregular, shape Reworked

Fig 08 – Distinct shape, even if irregular, shape Reworked

Implied Triangles

My tutor said that my beetroot image is more of a triangle than an implied triangle and that an implied triangle is three more or less equidistant points. Furthermore, my second photo is not an implied triangle at all as he says it doesn’t have three distinct points but many more that move in a circle.

Fig 09 - implied triangle - revision

Fig 09 – implied triangle – revision
f7.1, 1/50, 200mm, ISO 200

I have retaken the implied triangle photos. Fig 09 featured many implied triangles within a circle. Post processing involved increasing exposure by half a stop, decreasing highlights, boosting the shadows a bit, adding contrast, clarity and a bit of vibrance.

Fig 10 - implied triangle - revision

Fig 10 – implied triangle – revision
f5, 1/60, 65mm, ISO 400

Fig 10 features three apples arranged in an implied triangle.  There is separation between all the apples so the implication is there. In post processing shadows were opened up, highlights decreased, exposure increased by a third of a stop and a bit of contrast, clarity and vibrance was added.

Pattern

My tutor thought this image looked underexposed. I have increased the exposure and contrast, opened up the shadows and added a bit of saturation to improve the image (fig 12).

Pattern reworked

Fig 12 – Pattern reworked
f8, 1/10, 190mm, ISO 100

Even after these revisions, I am still of the opinion that I really don’t like still-life photography, but I suppose this is something I should try and work on.

Assignment 2 – Planning

For this assignment I am to incorporate what I have learned thus far into a set of photographs directed towards one subject. I need to produce 10 – 15 photographs, all of a similar subject, which between them will show the following effects:

  • single point dominating the composition
  • two points
  • several points in a deliberate shape
  • a combination of vertical and horizontal lines
  • diagonals
  • curves
  • distinct, even if irregular, shapes
  • at least two kinds of implied triangle
  • rhythm
  • pattern

Choose from these groups of subjects:

  • flowers and plants
  • landscapes
  • street details
  • the raw materials of food
  • if you prefer, choose your own subject.

I initially thought that I would choose landscape as my subject as we have many forests close to where I live. However when I went out to try some scenarios I quickly realised that it would be rather difficult to tick all the required boxes. The forests here are dense and dark with very little clearings. They are not easy to walk through – they’re fine if you are a small animal where you can get through the nooks and crannies left by fallen trees and low branches. A small selection of the images can be seen in the gallery.

Then after reading an article on the LensCulture site about Brenda Biondo who did a series of the vintage playground equipment in America, I thought that would make an interesting subject. So off I went to do some test shots. Plenty of shapes and angles, but the equipment is so much smaller than in my childhood, plus I thought about the problem of children in a photo. The way the world is nowadays, I didn’t want to go through that hassle.

Shortly after this I happened upon CreativeLive’s site and noticed a tutorial about food photography (write up is under my Learning tab). In the tutorial, Todd and Diane Porter explained how simple it was to use natural lighting for food photography and they demonstrated their workflow in this regards. This got me thinking and I started to do some research into various food photographers. I looked at the following photographers’ work, focusing mainly on their photographs with raw food and have noted what I liked/disliked about their work:

  • David Loftus – loved the clean, rustic look
  • Beatrice Peltre – her photos are very light and airy, highlights blown out, also uses contrasting materials around the food
  • Carl Warner – landscapes with food. There was no way I was going to try anything like that. The man is a genius!
  • Keiko Oikawa – I also liked the way that she blows the highlights out in the background in some of her photos
  • Mittongtare Studio – the dark, moodiness and bright, airiness of his photos. Makes strong statements.
  • Jean Cazals – I liked a few of his images, but found some of them a bit too contrived. A slice of bacon wrapped around a branch is not going to send me out to buy bacon, nor will a fresh fish lying on caked mud. Still they are different and have a bit of a shock/surprise value to them.
  • Anders Schonnemann – most of his photos have a rustic, moody feel to them.
  • Clara Gonzalez – again the bright, airy look and the dark, moodiness
  • Alexandra Grablewski – her photos were mainly of cooked food and table settings with an airy feel
  • Mythja – I really liked her photos. Very rustic, used old props and many of the photos were taken outdoors, but they all have a very distinctive moodiness to them.
  • Clare Barbosa – her fantastic props and once again the airiness of her photos.

I also looked through numerous Fine Cooking magazines and cookbooks that I have on my bookshelf. I searched Jstor for any journals, but only came up with a few articles which I will include in the Assignment’s bibliography.

Now that I had some ideas floating around in my head, I persuaded my husband to make me a couple of rustic tabletop backdrops, one dark and the other light. I then went to the local Salvation Army store and bought some few vintage style cutlery (and also borrowed some from a friend). I went shopping for some non shiny props, as most of my kitchen utensils are stainless steel.

I then sketched out (very badly) some ideas – please forgive my drawing skills – they are non existent.

Let’s see how it all works out.

Bibliography

Barboza, Clare. (2014) Clare Barboza Photography [online]. Available from http://clarebarboza.com/ [Accessed 27 July, 2014]

Biondo, Brenda. (2014) Once Upon a Playground [online]. LensCulture. Available from: https://www.lensculture.com/articles/brenda-biondo-once-upon-a-playground [Accessed 25 July, 2014]

Grablewski, Alexandra. (2014) Alexandra Grablewski Photography [online]. Available from http://www.agrablewski.com/ [Accessed 29 July, 2014]

Loftus, David. (2014) David Loftus [online]. Available from http://www.davidloftus.com/food [Accessed 28 July, 2014]

Mittongtare, Pornchai. (2014) Mittongtare Studio [online]. Available from http://www.mittongtarestudio.com/ [Accessed 28 July, 2014]

Mythja (2014). Mythja Photography [online]. Available from http://mythja.com/ [Accessed 29 July, 2014]

Oikawa, Keiko. (2014) Keiko Oikawa Photography [online]. Available from http://www.keikooikawa.com/ [Accessed 28 July, 2014]

Peltre, Beatrice. (2014) Beatrice Peltre Food Styling & Photography [online]. Available from http://www.beatricepeltre.com/ [Accessed 28 July, 2014]

Schonnemann, Anders. (2014) Anders Schonnemann Photography [online]. Available from http://www.schonnemann.dk/ [Accessed 29, July, 2014]

Warner, Carl. (2014). Carl Warner [online]. Available from http://www.carlwarner.com/foodscapes/ [Accessed 28 July, 2014]

Workshop, Todd Porter and Diane Cu-Porter – Story on a Plate: Food Photography & Styling [webcast, online] Creative Live, Seattle, USA, June 2014. 32 minutes: 48 seconds. https://www.creativelive.com/courses/story-plate-food-photography-styling-todd-porter-and-diane-cu (accessed 27 July, 2014)