Tag Archives: Vancouver

Sequence of Composition

Oh this is so frustrating! I have attempted this exercise three times now, never mind trying to do it for the last month. The weather has been terrible – I live in Raincouver (as Vancouver is known by the locals). It is also said by some that we get so much rain here that we develop webbed feet! I was always so amazed by the amount of rain that falls here when I emigrated to Canada from South Africa. In South Africa we used to measure annual rainfall in millimetres. Here in Vancouver annual rainfall can be measured in metres! South Africa’s annual rainfall can be the equivalent of one day’s rain here.

So I was quite happy the other day when the sun came out and the day looked promising. It was graduation day at the university where I work and I always take the camera along to this function as I usually take the photos of the students as they are coming off the stage. (We have a professional photographer to do the “real” photos). The students were planning on doing a flashmob after the ceremony and I thought that might have some sequence of composition possibilities. I started taking photos in the auditorium, with the platform party’s procession and hoped that I could use something there too. Alas! The stage lighting was so bright that my photos of the platform party were totally washed out. Maybe I should have switched my flash off for these sequences. [Note to myself to try that out next year].

There was definitely better opportunities after the ceremony, once everyone was outside, but I had students running up to me asking for photos to be taken with their friends and lecturers, so all were posed. Once the flashmob got underway I found I could barely move, as it took place in an enclosed space. So no opportunity to move among the crowd as I had hoped. I managed to get a few interesting shots, but nowhere near the 20-30 images required.

So two days later I went down to Lonsdale Quay, an indoor market on the harbour front. Usually there is lots of activity there and it is a location that has good street photography potential. Alas! It was cold and raining and the hordes of people had stayed at home. Again a few interesting photos, but mainly of images that could fit in with Assignment 1.

So today I went to Chinatown, which has never disappointed, and which is a ripe location for street photography. Probably not the best idea to do this on mother’s day … but the crowds were better than the day before at Lonsdale Quay. Some interesting photos again, a few more for Assignment 1, but not enough for this exercise.

This has been my sequence for Sequence of Composition thus far … guess what I’m doing every lunch break this week …

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Two Views: Ansel Adams & Leonard Frank

On the way in to work this week, I just happened to notice an exhibition on display at the Pendulum Gallery in Vancouver and upon finding out that the exhibition closes on May 3, 2014, I decided to stop and take it in on the way home. Both photographers’ collections are in the public domain and I have included a few of their images in my review.

The Two Views Exhibition is a selection of photographs by Ansel Adams (no introduction needed) and Leonard Frank, a Canadian photographer and is a traveling exhibition from the Nikkei National Museum, Burnaby, British Columbia. It showcases thought provoking images of the Japanese who were placed in internment camps in the United States and Canada during World War II.

After Japan attacked Pearl Harbour in 1941 the United States and Canadian governments relocated Japanese citizens from the coastal regions of western North America, moving them to the interior. Approximately 22,000 Japanese Canadians and 120,000 Japanese Americans were displaced. The Nikkei Museum’s presentation of this exhibition coincides with the twenty fifth anniversary of the 1988 official apologies by the United States and Canada for the treatment of Japanese people during and after the war.

There were only about 17 photographs from Ansel Adams collection on the Manzanar Relocation Center, but I went online when I returned home and checked out his full collection on the Library of Congress’s website.

I had never heard of Leonard Frank, so also went online to do a bit of research about him and found out that he was a local Vancouver photographer who did a lot of work similar to that done by Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange during the Farm Security Administration. Frank, however, tended to document logging camps, industries and it would also seem that he has documented almost every street in early Vancouver as well.

It is clear that the two photographers approached their projects in very different ways. Frank has taken a very clinical approach to his presentation. His photos are stark and impersonal. Not many people actually feature in his photos and those that do all seem to display deadpan expressions: his collection seems more to be about the living arrangements or places than the actual people and this is reflected in the title of each of his photos as can be seen below (Building A…, Building B…, Tashme, BC …, etc). The Japanese Canadians were only given between 24 – 48 hours to evacuate their homes and then they were taken to one of the clearing sites (Hastings Park in this instance) where they were detained until internment camps were made for them. A very stressful situation indeed!

The starkness of Frank’s photos are emphasized by the overwhelming brightness of the lights in the dormitory and baggage room as can be seen in Fig 01 and Fig 03 and to a certain extent in Fig 04.

Fig 01: Frank, Leonard: Building K, Men's Dormitory - (Formerly Forum); Hastings Park, Vancouver, BC

Fig 01: Frank, Leonard: Building K, Men’s Dormitory – (Formerly Forum); Hastings Park, Vancouver, BC

Fig 02: Frank, Leonard: Filling Palliasses - Hastings Park; Hastings Park, Vancouver, BC

Fig 02: Frank, Leonard: Filling Palliasses – Hastings Park; Hastings Park, Vancouver, BC

Fig 03: Frank, Leonard: Building B", Baggage Room - (Formerly Horse Show Building)"; Hastings Park, Vancouver, BC

Fig 03: Frank, Leonard: Building B”, Baggage Room – (Formerly Horse Show Building)”; Hastings Park, Vancouver, BC

Fig 04: Frank, Leonard: Building D - Shoe Repair Shop - (Formerly Church Dining Hall); Hastings Park, Vancouver, BC

Fig 04: Frank, Leonard: Building D – Shoe Repair Shop – (Formerly Church Dining Hall); Hastings Park, Vancouver, BC

Fig 05: Frank, Leonard: Building E", Men's Dining Room - (Formerly Industrial Building); Hastings Park, Vancouver, BC

Fig 05: Frank, Leonard: Building E”, Men’s Dining Room – (Formerly Industrial Building); Hastings Park, Vancouver, BC

Fig 06: Frank, Leonard: Tashme, BC

Fig 06: Frank, Leonard: Tashme, BC

Figures 1 through 5 are of the clearing site, Hastings Park in Vancouver, while figure 6 is taken of one of the internment camps in the interior of British Columbia.

In contrast to this, Ansel Adams has treated many of his photographs as he would his renowned landscapes. There is a softness and beauty present in his images even though the subject matter of the collection is about war internment. In viewing this exhibition and looking at more of his collection online, it is clear that he took the time to get to know his subjects. He did individual portraits of his subjects and they are for the most part relaxed and smiling. The people are all engaged in various activities. He also portraits family life in the internment camps.

Fig 07: Adams, Ansel: : Entrance to Manzanar, Manzanar Relocation Center

Fig 07: Adams, Ansel, 1943: Entrance to Manzanar, Manzanar Relocation Center

Adams gives us the perfect examples of balance in images. In figure 07 he makes use of dynamic balance. The sign to the camp is front and foremost and almost to the edge of the frame while the (guard?) hut in the distance provides the balance to this image. The two forms providing the balance are dark in tone, while the mountains and clouds in the distance provide a softening and calming effect to the image. Where it not for the words on the sign, one could almost think that this was the entrance to a farm or holiday camp.

 

Fig 08: Adams, Ansel, 1943: Burning leaves, autumn dawn, Manzanar Relocation Center, California

Fig 08: Adams, Ansel, 1943: Burning leaves, autumn dawn, Manzanar Relocation Center, California

In figure 08 Adams again uses dark foreground tones, this time in the people standing around the fire. The people are standing in a circle around the fire and the balance is centre-weighted.

Fig 09: Adams, Ansel 1943: Line crew at work in Manzanar, Manzanar Relocation Center, Manzanar, California

Fig 09: Adams, Ansel 1943: Line crew at work in Manzanar, Manzanar Relocation Center, Manzanar, California

There is almost a sense of humour in the balance in figure 09. Although the pole is slightly off centre, it is compensated by the two men working on the pole. Their body angles are almost mirror images, while down below on the ground, the image is anchored by the two individuals looking up at the pole workers. The diagonal cables just above the pole workers’ heads also lend balance to the image.

Fig 10: Adams, Ansel, 1943: Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Shimizu

Fig 10: Adams, Ansel, 1943: Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Shimizu

Figure 10 is a good example of bilateral symmetry. The little table between Mr and Mrs Shimizu acts as the fulcrum point balancing the two individuals in the image.

Fig 11: Adams, Ansel 1943: Poultry farm, Mori Nakashima, Manzanar Relocation Center

Fig 11: Adams, Ansel 1943: Poultry farm, Mori Nakashima, Manzanar Relocation Center

The diagonal shadows and diagonal door strut all quickly draw one’s attention to Mori Nakashima in figure 11. The white chickens in the foreground provide a visual weight to the image.

Fig 12: Adams, Ansel 1943: Relocation: Packing up, Manzanar Relocation Center

Fig 12: Adams, Ansel 1943: Relocation: Packing up, Manzanar Relocation Center

Once again another example of bilateral symmetry in figure 12. The car is placed centre of frame with both its doors open, providing another level of balance. This theme is continued by the people congregated on either side of the vehicle. The man on top of the car’s roof serves to draw the immediate attention to the car.

Fig 13: Adams, Ansel 1943: Roy Takeno, editor, and group reading paper in front of office, Manzanar Relocation Center, California

Fig 13: Adams, Ansel 1943: Roy Takeno, editor, and group reading paper in front of office, Manzanar Relocation Center, California
Summary: Roy Takeno (far left), with Yuichi Hirata and Nabou Samamura, standing in front of the Office of Reports Free Press. Two men are reading the Los Angeles Times newspaper.

In figure 13 Adams makes use of convergent lines to achieve his balance. On the right side of the frame are the building structures, on the left the telephone poles and wires which seem to converge in the far distance. The photo is further balanced by the group of men on frame right (this grouping is in itself a sub grouping as one could group the two men reading the newspaper together against the one who is just standing watching them and is a good example of the Gestalt Law of Similiarity). The Free Press sign overhead provides a further balancing point to the image, emphasizing the dynamic balance.

Fig 14: Adams, Ansel 1943: Roy Takeno's desk, Manzanar Relocation Center

Fig 14: Adams, Ansel 1943: Roy Takeno’s desk, Manzanar Relocation Center

The final image is a photograph of Roy Takeno’s desk. I find this image touching and extremely personal. The contents of the desk tell us a lot about the man. That he had a copy of “A Handbook for Newspaper Workers” is evident that he was a reporter. He was interested in his country’s history (“Origins of the American Revolution”) however, we don’t know if he was a Japanese immigrant or born in the USA. He was also interested in politics (“US Foreign Policy”), but above all, I get the impression he was a peaceful, calm and introspective person (“Oxford Book of English Verses”, “Prefaces to Peace”, “An Anthology of Word Prose”). He also smoked (matches) and was maybe a little superstitious (horseshoe), but a tad sentimental too (the skittle).

It is also interesting to note that Adams regarded his Manzanar Collection as “…from a social point of view that’s the most important thing I’ve done or can do, as far as I know.” (National Park Service, Manzanar National Historic Site, Ansel Adams Gallery. [online] Available from: http://www.nps.gov/manz/photosmultimedia/ansel-adams-gallery.htm [Accessed 6 May, 2014]

This exhibition certainly lived up to its title, “Two Views”. Even though Ansel Adams photographs are of a superior quality to those of Leonard Frank, I find that Frank’s images resonate more with me. This is probably attributable to the fact that I have actually been in those buildings which have all reverted to their initial purposes again, namely for agricultural, industrial and entertainment shows, with an amusement park on the side. I don’t think I shall ever set foot in any of those buildings again without thinking of the people who were interned there and endured such hardship and whose civil liberties were stripped away from them overnight.

Bibliography

Harding, Jon. Hastings Park Internment Centre. Vancouvertraces [online]. Available from: http://vancouvertraces.weebly.com/hastings-park-internment-centre.html [Accessed 6 May, 2014]

Japanese Canadian Internment. Wikipaedia [online]. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_Canadian_internment [Accessed 3 May, 2014]

National Park Service, Manzanar National Historic Site, Ansel Adams Gallery. [online] Available from: http://www.nps.gov/manz/photosmultimedia/ansel-adams-gallery.htm [Accessed 6 May, 2014]

Nikkei National Museum. Alex Eastwood Collection. [online]. Available from: http://nikkeimuseum.org/www/collections_detail.php?col_id=F5 [Accessed 2 May, 2014]

Figure 01

Frank, Leonard. (circa 1942). Building K, Men’s Dormitory – (Formerly Forum); Hastings Park, Vancouver, BC. [online image]. Part of the Alex Eastwood Collection, Nikkei National Museum, . [Number 1994.69.3.18]. Available from http://nikkeimuseum.org/www/item_detail.php?art_id=A2221 [Accessed 2 May, 2014]

Figure 02

Frank, Leonard. (circa 1942). Filling Palliasses – Hastings Park; Hastings Park, Vancouver, BC. [online image]. Part of the Alex Eastwood Collection, Nikkei National Museum. [Number 1994.69.3.29]. Available from http://nikkeimuseum.org/www/item_detail.php?art_id=A2245 [Accessed 2 May, 2014]

Figure 03

Frank, Leonard. (circa 1942). Building B”, Baggage Room – (Formerly Horse Show Building)”; Hastings Park, Vancouver, BC. [online image]. Part of the Alex Eastwood Collection, Nikkei National Museum. [Number 1994.69.3.26]. Available from http://nikkeimuseum.org/www/item_detail.php?art_id=A2243 [Accessed 2 May, 2014]

Figure 04

Frank, Leonard. (circa 1942). Building D – Shoe Repair Shop – (Formerly Church Dining Hall); Hastings Park, Vancouver, BC. [online image]. Part of the Alex Eastwood Collection, Nikkei National Museum. [Number 1994.69.3.30]. Available from http://nikkeimuseum.org/www/item_detail.php?art_id=A2246 [Accessed 2 May, 2014]

Figure 05

Frank, Leonard. (circa 1942). Building E”, Men’s Dining Room – (Formerly Industrial Building); Hastings Park, Vancouver, BC. [online image]. Part of the Alex Eastwood Collection, Nikkei National Museum. [Number 1994.69.3.14]. Available from http://nikkeimuseum.org/www/item_detail.php?art_id=A2236 [Accessed 2 May, 2014]

Figure 06

Frank, Leonard. (circa 1942). Tashme, BC. [online image]. Part of the Alex Eastwood Collection, Nikkei National Museum. [Number 1994.69.4.27]. Available from http://nikkeimuseum.org/www/item_detail.php?art_id=A2218 [Accessed 2 May, 2014]

Figure 07

Adams, Ansel (1943). Entrance to Manzanar, Manzanar Relocation Center. [online image].  Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-ppprs-00286 (b&w digital file from original print). Available from: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2002695960/ [Accessed 2 May, 2014]

Figure 08

Adams, Ansel (1943). Burning leaves, autumn dawn, Manzanar Relocation Center, California. [online image]. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-ppprs-00308 (b&w digital file from original print). Available from: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2002695133/ [Access 2 May, 2014]

Figure 09

Adams, Ansel (1943).Line crew at work in Manzanar, Manzanar Relocation Center, Manzanar, California. [online image]. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA.Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-ppprs-00296 (b&w digital file from original print). Available from: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2002695134/ [Accessed 2 May 2014]

Figure 10

Adams, Ansel (1943). Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Shimizu. [online image.] Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-ppprs-00401 (b&w digital file from original print). Available from: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2002695327/ [Accessed 2 May, 2014]

Figure 11

Adams, Ansel (1943). Poultry farm, Mori Nakashima, Manzanar Relocation Center. [online image]. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-ppprs-00331 (b&w digital file from original print). Available from: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2002696009/ [Accessed 2 May, 2014]

Figure 12

Adams, Ansel (1943). Relocation: Packing up, Manzanar Relocation Center. [online image]. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-ppprs-00294 (b&w digital file from original print). Available from: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2002695977/ [Accessed 2 May, 2014]

Figure 13

Adams, Ansel (1943). Roy Takeno, editor, and group reading paper in front of office, Manzanar Relocation Center, California. [online image]. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-ppprs-00363 (b&w digital file from original print). Available from: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2002696017/ [Accessed 2 May, 2014]

Figure 14

Adams, Ansel 1943). Roy Takeno’s desk, Manzanar Relocation Center. [online image]. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA.Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-ppprs-00277 (b&w digital file from original print). Available from: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2002695979/ [Accessed 2 May, 2014]

Gordon Smith Gallery of Canadian Art —Capture: Figure and Frame Exhibition

Another dreary, rainy day in North Vancouver heralded the start of the weekend, so I decided to be productive and go to my first exhibition. So I took myself off to the Gordon Smith Gallery of Canadian Art to view the Capture: Figure and Frame exhibition.

Sadly there were only about six photographic exhibits to see, the rest of the exhibition comprising acrylics, water colours, etchings, mixed media and carvings. The photographers on exhibit were Irene Whittome, Michael Snow, Douglas Coupland, Karin Bubas, Rodney Graham and Edward Burtynsky. I am only going to comment on two photographers, namely, Edward Burtynsky and Rodney Graham.

Edward Burtynsky’s (1955) photograph is entitled: Manufacturing #15 Bird Mobile, Ningbo, Zheijian Province, 2005. It is a photograph of young Chinese workers sitting at their stations all looking at the camera with expressionless faces. The workers are clad in blue overalls and caps, with a sprinkling of a few workers wearing pink caps. The overall image of the photo is very similar to the repetitive mirrored reflections one gets when sitting in front of the mirror at the hairdresser and seeing one’s image reflected back at from the mirrors on the wall behind. This gives the photograph the feeling of an indoor landscape scene with great depth of field taken with a wide angle lens. The workstation structures form vertical patterns, reminiscent of trees in a forest and this pattern is repeated in the wall paneling when one’s eye eventually makes it to the back of the photograph. There is a repetitive theme of three as well – three white pillars hold the ceiling up in the background; three workers and their workstations form the foreground, together with the three side tables next to their workstations. The strong horizontal lines of the fluorescent light fixtures are mirrored by the green conveyor belts between the rows of workers.

As stated by Cotton in The Photograph as Contemporary Art, chapter 3, Burtynsky employs the deadpan aesthetic to his works. He subtly uses his own social and political standpoints to convey a seemingly impartial point of view in his work. This carried through to his naming convention of his works.

Burtynsky purposefully avoids adding a narrative captions to his works as he want people to put their own interpretation on the images. Yet the title of this work is quite telling in its simplicity: Manufacturing #15 Bird Mobile. It is ironic and extremely sad that so many people are needed to create one tiny bird mobile, possibly for a baby’s crib. The fact that “Manufacturing” has a number attached to it implies that there are at least fourteen other photos with a similar numbered title, possibly even more, and upon inspection of Burtynsky’s website this does prove to be the case.

This is borne out in his artist’s statement:

… In my view, China is the most recent participant to fall prey to the seduction of western ideals, the promise of fulfillment and happiness. From my experience of living in a developed nation, the troubling downside of progress is something that I am sensitive to. The mass consumerism these ideals ignite and the resulting degradation of our environment intrinsic to the process of making things to keep people happy and fulfilled frightens me. I no longer see my world as delineated by countries, with borders, or language, but as 6.5 billion humans living off a single, finite planet.

—Edward Burtynsky, June 2007

Rodney Graham’s (1949) photograph, The Gifted Amateur, 2007 is a triptych. It show the interior of a lounge decorated in 1960’s style furniture and accessories, with wood paneling on the walls, and sloping wood paneled ceiling, with an artist standing barefoot in his dark blue pyjamas in the centre of the frame, smoking while pouring paints onto a large slanted canvas. The parquet floor is strewn with newspapers to catch spillages. A dining room table is on camera left, piled high with books, ornaments and cans of paint. Various containers of brightly coloured paint are grouped together on the floor. A sliding door opens to a garden in the background.

The photograph has lovely warm monochromatic brown tones throughout. Any colour in the image is centred around the artist. The dark blue pyjamas contrasting against the monochromatic tones, and the accents of colour on the canvas and the pots of paint around him keep drawing the eye to the centre frame.

One of the gallery volunteers approached me and told me the back story to the photograph. Graham, who is a local Vancouver artist, actually staged the whole photograph in a local school gymnasium close by. His entire set was created from objects dating back to the 1960’s. The newspapers strewn on the floor are copies of newspapers from the same time period. As well as photographer, Graham is also a painter and sculptor and he used one of his own paintings in the photograph, which can be seen in the right frame to the left of the reading lamp. The artist in the photograph is Rodney Graham himself. In his humourist way he is mimicking American artist, Morris Louis whose work fascinated him. The artwork that he is creating is one of his series in Inverted Drip Painting #1 – 8.

Graham’s work is an example of tableau photography, where entire scenes are authentically created and staged true to the period for the sole purpose of making a photograph. He features as the subject in much of his work and his tableaux have a humouristic edge to them.

I suppose by the time I reach level three, I will look back fondly on my first exhibition review and smile …

As an aside to those reading my review, I will be very grateful if you could let me know if you are not able to access Canadian content video broadcasts, so that I can make mention of it and provide a workaround to it during my submissions.

Reference List

Edward Burtynsky http://www.edwardburtynsky.com/ (accessed 5 April, 2014)

Edward Burtynsky, The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos, [webcast, online] CBC, Canada, 23/10/2008, 11 minutes 1 second. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4mTGP49n4Y (accessed 5 April, 2014)

Burtynsky, Edward. (2005) Manufacturing #15 Bird Mobile. Ningbo, Zheijian Province. [online image]. Open Society Foundations. Available from: http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/moving-walls/13/china (Photograph 9 of 10) [Accessed 5 April, 2014]

Lisson Gallery, Rodney Graham: Wet on Wet – My Late Early Styles, 2007 [online]. Available from: http://www.lissongallery.com/exhibitions/rodney-graham-wet-on-wet-my-late-early-styles [Accessed 5 April, 2014]

Graham, Rodney. (2007) The Gifted Amateur. [online image]. 303 Gallery. Available from: http://www.303gallery.com/artists/rodney_graham/index.php?iid=11196&exhid=56&p=img [Accessed 5 April, 2014]

Exercise: Fitting the frame to the subject

In this exercise I was asked to take a series of photographs of a subject while adjusting the frame to fit the subject in a variety of ways. The first photo was to be taken without too much thought as to composition and this would be serve as a baseline comparison. I headed down to the shoreline in North Vancouver to make some images of the Vancouver Harbour with the city skyline as backdrop on an extremely grey day between rain showers. There were a few barges very close to the shoreline and I decided to use one of those as my subject.

Figure 1: Ex 06 - Baseline photo - quick composition

Figure 1: Ex 06 – Quick Composition
f4.2, 1/160, 55mm, ISO 100

My next image was to try and make the subject fit the frame as tightly as possible. There is not much difference visually between figure 1 and figure, although I could probably have cropped in a little more to get rid of the water in front of the barge.

Figure 2: Ex 06 - Subject fitting frame as tightly as possible

Figure 2: Ex 06 – Subject fitting frame as tightly as possible
f4.2, 1/160, 70mm, ISO 100

The third image is taken so that no edges of the subject can be seen. By cropping in so close on this image, the photo is divided into three horizontal sections: the water and the barge,  and the city with its vertical buildings as a backdrop. The tyre hanging off the side of the barge serves as a visual anchor point. This image creates the illusion that the city is extremely close to the barge, when in actual fact it is quite a distance away (about 15 minutes with the ferry).

Figure 3: Ex 06 - Subject extending past edges

Figure 3: Ex 06 – Extending past edges
f5.3, 1/100, 175mm, ISO 100

I changed my position slightly and decided to take another image where the barge extends past the edge of the frame on one side, but the skyline is more prominent on the left side as well as the anchoring buoy next to the barge. This angle reveals the expanse of water on the other side of the barge and also clarifies the fact that one is viewing a boat. I prefer the asymmetrical balance of this image.

Figure 4: Ex 06 - Subject past edge

Figure 4: Ex 06 – Subject past edge
f5.6, 1/100, 180mm, ISO 100

My final image is taken as a wide angle shot, putting the barge in context of the whole harbour and its surroundings. This image puts into perspective the distance of the city from the barge. I like the way that the barges and the sea dominate the city, emphasizing that this is a working harbour, on which the economy of the city relies.

Figure 5: Ex 06 - Wide angle

Figure 5: Ex 06 – Wide angle
f4.0, 1/160, 18mm, ISO 100

I was then asked to look at alternative crops to the final image. I first did a vertical crop with the barge as subject. The barge loses its importance in this crop and the focus is shifted to the grey sky.

Figure 6: Ex 06 - Vertical crop

Figure 6: Ex 06 – Vertical crop

I also made a square crop of the barge (figure 7). I prefer this image to Figure 6 (vertical crop) as there is less bright sky visible and the rolling grey clouds seem to lend a strength to the image that is echoed in the stability of the barge. But I had to lose most of the city and surrounding barges, as I wanted to leave some space in front of the subject.

Figure 7: Ex 06 - Square crop

Figure 7: Ex 06 – Square crop

I then did a tight crop of the barge (figure 8) which got rid of the shoreline foreground and some other barges in harbour. This image concentrates attention on the barges as the bright red colour bands serve as anchor points and keep drawing the eye back to the barges.

 

Figure 8: Ex 06 - Tight crop

Figure 8: Ex 06 – Tight crop

My final crop was a panorama crop. I think this is my favourite crop as the bright grey sky has been reduced considerably and only the dark rolling clouds with detail are kept. The expansive grey sea has also been reduced, leaving the red barges and cranes to pop out of the image.

Figure 9: Ex 06 - Panorama crop

Figure 9: Ex 06 – Panorama crop

 

Vendula Ralkova – Street Photography: The Imaginary, the Tangible and the Obvious

When I attended one of the local photography colleges here in Vancouver, I was privileged to have Vendula Ralkova as my instructor (and mentor) for street photography. Vendula hails from Prague, got her Bachelor’s degree in Photography at Emily Carr University, a Master’s degree from Milan’s Fine Arts Academy in Italy and she did an internship at Magnum Photos Agency in Paris, France, working closely with Josef Koudelka on his catalogue raisonné. Vendula is so passionate about street photography and made street photography come alive in class. This is one of her lectures given to a non-photographic (technical) audience about street photography which I attended. Each time I hear this lecture I learn something new about the history and genre.

In the lecture she takes one on a journey through the history of street photography, criss-crossing countries and continents explaining what street photography is, the origins, introducing the fore-fathers of the genre, discussing cross cultural similarities and differences, and finally ending with a small sample of her work. After having read the first chapter of Wells’ Photography: A Critical Introduction, I find that I understand her lecture much better and I’m sure I will be coming back to it again with fresh eyes later on.

Lecture, Vendula Ralkova – Street Photography: The Imaginary, the Tangible and the Obvious [webcast, online] Simon Fraser University Continuing Studies, Canada, 21 January, 2012. 1 hour 5 minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZfQInz-nSk (accessed March 18, 2014)