The Experience ( Part Three)

On Day two of traveling I arrived at Nagpur City at 2.20 am – the airline staff neglected to give me an immigration form so that was the first thing I had to do. The airport was small but it didn’t take to long to get through or wouldn’t have done if there were not some curious things about my passport which I won’t cover here. But this is unusual and I would envisage no issues normally. Customs were very friendly but as I mentioned in part one, wanted to know about and examined ALL my kit.

When I got through to the other side there was a driver from the hotel with my name on a card plus the city guide and driver. They explained that as I might have been worried at just meeting a driver from the hotel, for added security they were there with official identities / paperwork. Wow – that was the first inkling that the attention to detail already displayed by Audley Travel stretched right down to their subcontractors.

I was quickly driven to the Tuli Hotel – described as a boutique hotel and it was. Furnished with hardwood furniture and sumptuous fabrics it was as you would imagine a palace to be furnished. The bathroom was big with a drench shower and roll top bath. Plus the hotel had a rooftop swimming pool. Once checked in the City Guide suggested a collection time for part one of the city  tour (11am) and I eventually crashed out  with the alarm on for 9am. Breakfast was a mix of European and Indian food with plenty of fruit – but best of all was  the newspaper – the Nagpur Times  waiting in a holder outside my room. A great way to start getting to grips with India.

The City Guide and Driver arrived on time and we set off through the traffic to the first stop – the Deeksha Bhoomi. This commemorates Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s return to Buddhism, his horror of the Caste Systems and his resulting construction of the Indian Constitution in 1956. The temple is also a Monks Seminary. The Temple was clean and calm but incongruously had CCTV over the alter with a laptop behind showing people at prayer.

Here, I was asked to remove my shoes and leave them at a small kiosk, but I could leave my socks on. Cameras are not to be used inside the temple. This was were I was introduced to the selfie craze – everyone wanted a selfie with me – it was no hassle to take part but I did wonder about how it would be explained on social media. And this was just the start of the very OTT selfie regime that I exerienced all through my trip ( I reciprocated with family pictures / portraits which seemed to fullfill my part of the process.

Next on the tour was the Zero Mile Stone which marks the geographical centre of colonial India.  The stone has distances to other towns marked on it and has four carved horses to the side. This is on a small patch of land in the middle of a busy traffic system – a short lense is best  -not the long one I had unpacked in error.

The final stops for the morning were two Hindu temples where I removed shoes and then washed my hands and feet. Again – the shoes were left with an attendant in a kiosk – take a small flannel to dry your feet when you reverse the process to leave! These two temples were overflowing with friendliness – I was given so much food from people who had very little. (I redistributed it outside the temple gates to people the guide advised were genuinely in need). I wasn’t able to photograph the interior but it was beautiful with plenty of flowers and colour for each God and everyone was smiling. I also saw new vehicles coming to be blessed (all decorated with marigold garlands). In a previous existence I watched the Indian Ambassador decorate the nose of a Harrier Jump Jet with a similar garland when India took delivery at the BAE factory

After this I was given the option of lunch at a hotel or back to my own – the vision of the roof top pool and very large circular loungers guided this decision – easy. It was a wrench to go and get changed for the afternoon tour but it was worth it with a visit to two Mosques where the culture was entirely different.

Shoes off and left with an attendant or just outside for the second poorer Mosque.  The first Mosque  ( Bohra Masjid Mosque) was surrounded by a large market selling food and some household stuff – again very colourful and atmospheric.  The food smells were entrancing but with a 6 hours drive ahead of me the next day I took no chances with hygiene. It was very busy and is used as a community centre – there were goats and people seling things as well as praying. There were also seperate queues for men and women – here my large scarf was usefull as a cover up to respect local culture .

The second was mosque was just over 100 years old and being rebuilt so it was a bit chaotic. Similar queues for men and women but it did seem a bit more personal. On the way back to the hotel we saw a Buddhist Wedding procession – identified by the guide – everyone in white and with a white horse. An interesting day and a great introduction to the different facets of India – I was back as it got dark , in time for dinner and an early night

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Tiger Safari – Planning / Trip Specification Part Two

Camera Care –.  I had both cameras serviced before leaving and took a cleaning kit with soft lens cloths, soft brush and a tooth brush plus a towel for cover ups whilst on the move in the jeep. I also used a harness so that one camera was always too hand but safely attached to my body. This is absolutely ESSENTIAL when there is a tiger scramble (fast driving over rough terrain when a sighting has been broadcast by text). Additional personal kit choices included – spare body and appropriate chargers, spare batteries.(Take them to the  airport fully charged – same with your laptop)  an old but spare 300mm, combined travel monopod/ tripod (both carried in suitcase) 100mm macro , 75- 200mm, 100 – 400mm, 24 – 105mm, spare memory cards, mac air and two backup drives  and a card reader  All carried in a top opening messenger bag as this is easier to work with in a vehicle but also fits in with cattle class hand luggage weight (8kg) and size restrictions. From a security view it is also less obtrusive. Again, budget allowing I would travel biz class next time but just for the weight. The Air Qatar seats are very comfy and spacious    

Clothes – I took too many. Some with the intention of leaving behind anyway (a form of recycling) but ended up leaving quite a lot behind as I overdosed on local carvings – high quality for a fair price by European standards. The clothes I found most useful were from Rohan as they washed easily, (after two drives in the dry season dust was a big issues) dried in a few hours and still looked good. Plus, my cherished and battered bush hat. Evenings were informal – so a few pretty T’s and capri leggings also fulfilled local / sightseeing cultural requirements. A big soft scarf was used for everything from making a handbag (knot the ends and make a sling) to a sarong for pool visits.  I started the safaris wearing desert boots and socks in case I needed to walk anywhere but changed to flip flops for coolness and convenience. I was often stood on one of the seats to get a better view / angle and bare feet kept the seats clean.

Personal Care – I have a standard travel meds kit – cold remedy, rehydration salts, upset stomach remedies and sealed surgery /dental kits plus ibuprofen / paracetamol and TCP cream /plasters. For this trip I also added sun cream and insect repellent but I didn’t need the latter. In fact, this was one of the healthiest trips overseas I have ever had. I mentioned temperatures earlier, it was HOT, and I am not always diligent about drinking. This time I bought a blue bead bracelet (I guess male readers could always wear a rubber band) and wore it constantly as a reminder to drink and drink and drink some more.

I took copies of A Naturalist’s Guide to the Mammals of India (Naturalist’s Guides) Paperback & Collins Birds of India (Collins Pocket Guide) Paperback so that I wasn’t completely clueless about the indigenous wildlife, both picked up second hand. Whilst on trips like this I make my own field notes – it helps with Bird ID and the subsequent scribblings are a nice reminder of the trip.

Charging batteries etc was simple, I did take adaptors but the lodge and all the hotels took UK plugs.

Air conditioning – on or off? I revel in the heat unlike my husband who melts, so we have a lot of discussions over this one. Personally, I acclimatise very quickly and believe this is helped by not using the Aircon (and it helps save the planet). As I was on my own this trip, I left the Aircon off – no worries about sleeping as the safari schedule means you will be in bed early and up early (4am morning wake- up call and India is 4.5 hours ahead at the time of writing). Take a small alarm clock to use as well!   

So, with suitcase and camera bag packed I travelled south to stay with relations and from there to overnight at the Premier Inn at Heathrow (check in at 5am on Day 1). I wore my waistcoat of many pockets as my camera bag was overweight (what a surprise) but unlike chartered flights – on a scheduled flight there is a degree of forgiveness and generosity.  I went and lurked in the Biz Class lounge (a privilege that comes with a specific credit card). Check in was trouble free as was boarding – next stop Doha with a break and then Nagpur. Doha Duty Free is very inviting but if you have purchases in mind – research the UK price before you get there – you may be surprised

Pause for Thought and the Tiger Safari (Part One)

The MA is complete (Distinction awarded – yes I know its bragging but I am so pleased and proud) and at the end of term I took my long-awaited reward – a tiger safari in India.

Whilst I was there, I had the chance to think about what happens next – I have enjoyed writing in my CRJ and it would be a shame to let that go. My time in India also highlighted that although I have come a long way there is even further to go in keeping with Kaizen. I also wondered about how to share what I have learnt. This blog is now going to morph into an informal source of information for other photographers and anyone else who is interested.

India then, I think it will take several posts to cover everything so I will divide it up into three bites:  – planning / trip specification, the experience and reflection

India – Planning / Trip Specification

My objective with this trip was to maximise opportunities to photograph tigers and any other wildlife that would pass in front of the camera.

October to December is the lush time for India when everything is green. February to April is the dry season – less greenery (less obtrusive leaves in front of noses and eyes). In May it is HOT- average temperature of 42 – 44 and even less greenery.

So if you can cope with the heat – that’s the time to go. The wildlife congregates around the waterholes and predator prey relationships, in the vicinity, are suspended in favour of satisfying thirst.

I went to a specialist travel agent (Audley Travel) to organise the trip. I could have gone with an expert photographer as part of group (this would have included some tuition) but it would have meant a shorter trip for the budget allowed. A customised trip cost the same but gave me greater flexibility in terms of time and more drives across two National Parks. This was my final itinerary.

Day 1 / 2:  Heathrow – Doha- Delhi – Nagpur.

Day 2: City Tour Nagpur

Day 3: Travel by road to Kanha National Park

Day 4-8: AM / PM Safari Drives plus trip to local market and a nature walk

Day 9: Travel by road to Bandhavgarh National Park

Day 10 -13: AM / PM Safari Drives 

Day 14: Travel by road to Jabalpur Airport for flight to Delhi

Day 15: Delhi – Doha – Heathrow

 The city tour in Nagpur was amazing, an experienced guide and a driver who constantly demonstrated his skills with local traffic and the inevitable cows made for a stress-free tour.

I was gently and politely guided around cultural minefields – covered hair in mosques, shoe removal in the Buddhist Temple and hand / feet washing in the Hindu Temples plus the polite way to manage the many gifts of food. It was amazing that people who obviously had so little gave me so much. I was also helped to decipher the difference between the genuine needy and those whose business it was to look needy    

The drives between parks allowed me to see great swathes of Rural India and experience rural communities. I think I might have been an unwilling Facebook star as the requests for selfies throughout the trip was mind boggling – especially if you are shy. 

The people I met certainly were not and this was my first surprise – how friendly people were. My personal security plans seemed OTT (door alarm, money belt, copies of essential documents and an obsessive desire to be in constant touch with my camera bag) but as they say, prevention is better than cure.  On the road (the same Driver from Nagpur) was concerned for my comfort with opportunities for frequent rest breaks.  I was a touch worried about hygiene, but hand disinfectant in my camera bag and a decision to drink black tea (boiled water!) at the roadside cafes dealt with that one. At this point I will add that I did not suffer with any health issues – due to the standard of accommodation and the usual personal diligence re ice/ food etc

During the planning I opted for shared drives and with my first park I got lucky – I was the only guest at the Lodge. So we tracked tigers and saw three individuals several times (T29, DJ4 and MB3) and several other beasties. I didn’t realise that the existence and infection of tiger fever meant that some folk didn’t want to look at anything else interesting whilst tracking the stripey felines. I met with this phenomenon at the second park.  This was my second lesson – if I did it again, I would go for solo drives.

When I planned the trip, I made a conscious decision to maximise wildlife / tiger time and minimise cultural time, on balance this was the right decision. I would have liked to see more culturally but the only way would have been to have a longer trip / bigger budget. The balance between culture / wildlife is a very personal one but no regrets for me.

I was originally booked to fly with Jet Airways – who ran into financial difficulties. Full marks to Audley Travel who monitored the situation (whilst discussing my preferences on a just in case basis) and promptly rebooked my first choice – Qatar Airways and Air India. This was all going on at the same time as Brexit – but the details of their emergency Brexit line enabled another worry to disappear.

The on-line DIY visa process seemed simple but effective to start with – till it came time to pay. The system was overloaded and wouldn’t accept funds. Simple answer – complete the process at an anti-social time.  And take a paper copy – not only do the airline want to see it but the rural airports did not appear to have access to the visa system. Customs at Nagpur wanted to know about my camera equipment – be prepared for questions on value and use (especially if you have any obviously unused kit) as if they suspect that you are going to sell it, they will charge you import duty (fortunately mine is all well-worn).  

The Rupee is a closed currency so you cannot buy any untill you get to India and you are not allowed to take them out of India. I took sterling and some small change that a friend had not been able to exchange – this kept me going till my guide took me to a bank with a good exchange rate. Relying on plastic is not a safe option even if you tell your bank – as I found out whilst in Delhi at the Holiday Inn Express. But my cash reserves meant it was not a calamity. And when you change money ask for small denominations – tipping is a way of life -as a well-educated resident of Bombay told me in advance – to fail to tip is impolite (unless of course the service has been unacceptable)

More to follow in part two.

Term 6 FMP: End of Project- End of Course Review

So it’s finally here – my assignments are complete and submitted and its time to do an end of project review. There are two to think about – the course itself and the Final Major Project Trophies.

The two are obviously inextricably linked – so what would I have done differently for Trophies and the course?

I would have like to have had the final FMP idea earlier in the course. At the end of the second module, in my assignment feedback there were suggestions that I look at different genres / mediums

Overall, the proposal while genuine in that it wishes to address a specific genre of photography, you need to experiment with different mediums within fine art to add rigour both to your study and practice.

And

However, more reflective research into the work of fine art nature and fine art wildlife photography within your CRJ would be advantageous as you move forwards.

Initially I found the advice odd as I was studying with the intent to improve my chosen genre competence.  The course buzz at this time was about contemporary causes usually involving people / landscapes – neither of which excited me. There were suggestions on where I could find inspiration but the sources did not inspire. Partially I think , because at the time I was constrained by  the parameters of seasonal wildlife behaviour and the  Natural History image editing ethos (shttps://alexandra421.wordpress.com/2018/01/30/royal-photographic-society-event-to-inspire-and-explain-the-fellowship-standard-for-the-rps/  (every interesting behaviour shot seemed to have an errant leaf or  inconvenient branch)  

I struggled with confidence issues about my course practical work – the financial returns from my practise were on target but I could not see a clear direction- a concept for coursework to grasp. I understood the theory, I could apply it to other images but I could not make my module portfolios reflect it to a high degree.  My attempts to document a Natural History cause (Connections and Consequences failed dismally when the connections were too subtle for non-natural history viewers to identify) 

My breakthrough was in the middle of term 4, when a tutor, recognising that I was struggling, invested personal time to help. Some gentle encouragement took me down the road of Renaissance art and that was the trigger for the studio-based work, which eventually constituted   Trophies.

I am happy with my contributions to the on line debates and I am content with the effort level and my overall work ethic but not with my personal management of practical / theoretical work balance. For the first three terms, I struggled with time to take course photographs, as the theory / analysis / writing took up most of my spare time. Practise work, whilst successful financially, was not course successful. With hindsight, a better personal balance of experimental practical / theoretical might also have helped me to arrive at my FMP idea sooner.

There was, not surprisingly an enormous amount of reading, in term one I struggled with the dryness / vernacular of some of the set pieces – frequently referring to my trusty dictionary to ensure I had the correct context.

I found it easier to read the specified set pieces, then research similar writings on the module concepts by writers not necessarily on the recommended reading list but whose style was more personally appealing. Bate (Art Photography and Photography Key Concepts) were the start swiftly followed by anything by Obrist.

  • Barrett, T. (2006). Criticizing photographs

made me more confident in my feedback to others on the forums

  • Crow,D. Visible Signs, An Introduction to Semiotics in the Visual Arts  
  • Eco, U. 1962. The Open Work

Both helped with image meaning and reading

  • De Jongh. Questions of meaning, theme and motif in the Dutch seventeenth Century Painting,
  •  Grootenboer, H. The Rhetoric of Perspective – Realism and Illusionism in Seventeenth Century Dutch Still – Life Painting
  • Pope-Hennessy,J. The Portrait in the Renaissance

These were essential to understanding how to make the Trophies Images speak and were well written and easily digestible

  • SLEIGH, Charlotte.  ‘The Paper Zoo: 500 Years of Animals in Art’

More Art theory / history that was a joy to read.

These are just a few of the books I picked from my very extensive Bibliography spreadsheet. Every book I read, every meaningful quote went into the spreadsheet, which made referencing / quoting for assignments a bit easier.

My Programme / Project Management skills kept my work on track, with time built in for emergencies there were no last minute panics and I was able to manage essential time away in my usual haunts for stock images. However, as I said earlier, I could have / should have made time for more practical work, there was a basic flaw in my desire to get to grips with the written theory.

The online CRJ has been a useful tool and I am glad I was thorough / timely with the contents – it helped for each assignment as well as overall learning / reference. I also used it as a diary but never forgetting the security / privacy elements of social media – post when you return from a trip etc. Conversely, I found the work connected with SM difficult, as I do not respect the SM space and its impact / truthfulness. Understanding that for some it has value, I absorbed the theory and read further: 

GLADWELL, M. The Tipping Point.2001. Little Brown. London.

Fuchs, C. Social Media – A Critical Introduction. Sage.London

were both helpful and readable. Despite my increased knowledge, for the moment, I choose to take a conservative and considered view in my use of the same.

Now, at the end of two years’ work and the completion of Trophies I have benefited from several outcomes:  I have realised that my practise can be more than the vanity service (specific images for my own use and for commissions where a pet owner wants a specific outcome) I offered at the start of the MA. I have developed a wholly original piece of work with a recognisable style DNA. Just as importantly, I am confident that now I have broken down my own barriers, I can create work that is original. Next steps for me are to nurture that originality and to use the expanding skill set to further my conservation causes.

The feedback I have received to date tells me that I have achieved both Crow and Barker’s success criteria:

‘As readers, we receive a work of art as the end product of an intended message. This message has been assembled and organised by the author in a way that makes it possible for the reader to reassemble it for themselves as the author intended.’ (Crow 2010. p165)

‘Arguably, one of the most important functions of contemporary art is that it may promote critical or even moral discussions among its viewers.’ Barker (1999. p113):

My thanks:

To all the Tutors – especialy those who went several extra miles.

To my peers for both giving and accepting contributions

To everyone who leant me ‘stuff’

To DS Colour Labs for thier expertise and support

To WWT for hosting the Installation Trophies

And lastly to my husband who has cooked, brought me wine / coffee, driven me round, attended to my IT issues, acted as an audiance and kept me going when the going got tough.

Bibliography

Barker, E. (1999). Contemporary cultures of display. New Haven: Yale University Press in association with the Open University.  

Crow,D. Visible Signs, An Introduction to Semiotics in the Visual Arts. 3rd ed. Bloomsbury Publishing. London

Term 6 FMP: Feedback

During the early and final years of my first career, I was involved with the motor industry. The Japanese Motor Industry is renowned for its success based on the use of Kaizen

‘Kaizen’ means improvement. Moreover, it means continuing improvement in personal life, home life, social life, and working life.

This is a creed that I have followed as a life philosophy, and was the underlining factor for my enrolling on the MA

However to carry out continuous improvement, you need feedback and there has been plenty of that through the course, I absorbed it all, adopted some suggestions and discarded others. Why? Some of the discarded was well intentioned but made with an incomplete grasp of the facts, some it I just did not like and some of it  despite careful consideration was not for me. https://alexandra421.wordpress.com/2019/05/02/term-6-fmp-end-of-project-end-of-course-review/

 A recent visit to the Highlands gave me an opportunity to consider it all – the feedback from Trophies has been gratifyingly positive and based on the advice I did adopt, so I chose to consider the abandoned stuff – three facets in particular.

A peer suggested I should make Trophies more graphic and look at Abattoirs. Supporting advice has also been to give priority to concept and context rather than aesthetics. My choice in what I look at and create is a result of the influence of nightmares I experienced as a child (and still do )  after visiting the 10 Courts of Hell exhibit at the Haw Par Villa ( formerly the Tiger Balm Gardens) in Singapore. The graphic statues depicting the 10 Court of Hell are an Asiatic version of morality art.

Ten Courts of Hell. Hiufu Wong

Visually, I wanted to present the components of ‘Trophies’ in the same way I would have presented their source when they were sentient beings. Salgado is reputed to have said

If you take a picture of a human that does not make him noble, there is no reason to take this picture. That is my way of seeing things

To portray horror badly, e.g.  Dismemberment and fear, is disrespectful; originality and aesthetics are evidence of forethought and skill / artisanship and I have endeavoured to demonstrate these traits in ‘Trophies’.

 I wrote here

https://alexandra421.wordpress.com/2018/12/11/term-5week-11-tutorial/

about Eli Lotar  –  Aux abattoirs de la Villette – the macabre illustration of hooves – many hooves – probably destined for a glue factory.  It is a gritty, profound and poignant image. These are the traits, I wanted to depict in Trophies

At Photo North, Gabrielle Fonseca Johnson the Senior Editor – The Wider Image at Reuters. (her back ground also includes  work at the Tate)  reviewed my  practise and course Portfolios. She made two suggestions

Including more of the landscape in which the animals worked would give the images more context and incorporate my knowledge of Renaissance style to give the images a grander presence.

At the time, I was reluctant to adopt either, The former because owners were asking for portraits not pets in context, the later, because I was frightened of becoming a third rate Tim Flach (whom I greatly admire) but I did feel that there was some room for Renaissance nuances.  This advice contributed to my choice of visual strategy for Trophies

Whilst in Scotland, on a visit to Squirrel Glen the condition were right to experiment with Renaissance styles. This Chiaroscuro lit Red Squirrel uses a technique perfected by renaissance Artists such as Vermeer and Caravaggio, a strong contrast between light and dark which illuminates the pose, reflecting the character of the sitter. The light contrast also give a 3D effect – a technique I used successfully in Trophies.

Sciurus vulgaris). A Prescott.2019

As an exercise, I searched  Google Images to see if there was anything similar. There was nothing, but I am not sure if I liked the final image.  I looked at Tim Flach’s (a master in my eyes) work to see if I could identify any technique differences (the skill difference is obvious). He doesn’t use Chiaroscuro lighting, something that I had not previously identified and which now makes me feel that I have a style that has a degree of origionality. The only work I could find using this technique with wildlife was by the Italian Photographer Marco Roncini- a Sigma Ambassador

Karhu. Marco Ronconi .

Karhu has isolated what I don’t like about my own image – the contrast is too harsh. However it is something I am going to work on, as judging by the comments about the light in Trophies, I can improve this technique on site now I know  what needs to be improved. ( When I started Trophies I had not experience of Studio work and lighting)

Feedback I was given but didn’t opt to use, concerned the trophies Zine. I sent the final proof copy to a Wildlife and Conservation writer and her comments were as follows   

I’d prefer a caption underneath as standard and not as a list at the end. I just find this irritating to have to go to another page for information on the picture. I would standardise the presentation. 

My final layout with the placing of the text – captions near the images with titles at the back stands because I would prefer the viewer to make an informed decision on what they are seeing so the images have immediate factual captions rather than descriptive / suggestive titles.

I think you could expand the text quite a bit more to more clearly articulate the ‘issues’ and expand on these. More hard hitting facts. 

Mink reference / text – I think you should explain the circumstances that led to mink colonising the UK to put it into context. i.e. released from fur farms by animal rights activists – in the belief that they were releasing the animals with good intentions. Again mink is slightly different to other examples used – unless they have been hunted for trophies?? – I’m not sure on this. This is more animal exploitation than trophy hunting in regard to fur farms for the fashion industry.

This advice is very valid – for a Trophies book. An extensive issue articulation is not appropriate for a Zine   It is not a photo book, it is an informative non personal factual taster

Overall I very much like the concept and the images but feel it needs tying together with more of a consistent theme / message running through the entire piece. I find it a little disjointed at present. I think you could be bolder with the text and perhaps make it more personal.

I am gratified that the concept has potential with further development and will be considering this feedback as I potentially develop Trophies into a book

In summary, the feedback I have received has all been useful, even if I didn’t act on it , it encouraged me to think through what I was doing and why. To all who gave it –thank you.    

Bibliography

Court of Hell Image Available at   http://travel.cnn.com/haw-par-villa-058341/ [accessed 02032019]

[accessed 02032019]

Kaizne Defintion available at https://www.kaizen.com/what-is-kaizen.html

Ronconi,M .Karhu . Available at  http://www.marcoronconi.com/karhu/

[accessed 02032019]

Term 6 FMP: Matters of Presentation (Part Four – The Website)

Earlier in the course, I set up a new website www.naturalhistoryfineart.com  – to separate my wildlife / pet practise work from my course work as discussed here:

https://alexandra421.wordpress.com/2017/11/04/sustainable-prospects-ethics/.

I did this to distinguish between work that has very little digital adjustment and the art side, which has composite images, objects removed, etc.

Earlier in term 6 during an elective tutorial (Term 6 FMP-Elective Tutorial) – we discussed the merits of dedicated web site for Trophies – a digital Wunderkammer.  The website per se was not an issue but I wanted the domain name to match and subsequently discovered that it was not available. I did look at other sites and most of them host several collections by the same artist / photographer so I could not see any down sides to staying with the neutral name www.naturalhistoryfineart.com and setting up several galleries within.  I opted to configure the site to accommodate Trophies and the follow on project that is now a work in progress.

Configuring the site, (A Zenfolio hosted site), to satisfy my vision, was facilitated by the depth of the configuration parameters. This was the first time I had used these options to their fullest (my practise site is now also undergoing a refurbishment using the knowledge gained)

The web site has hosted my assignments throughout the course, but this is the first time I have felt that my image message / brand could be reflected / complimented by the Website.

The next biggest decision for the site was whether to include Titles and or Captions. Earlier in the course, here,

https://alexandra421.wordpress.com/2017/12/04/sustainable-prospects-week-10-independent-reflection-photographic-sins-and-intentions/  

I disucssed Kippen’s original intent when he took the photographs for Old War Pastoral: Greenham Common  –   was the design of the book  art or a documentary production, in which case is the disconnect between image and caption, a sin or an artistic tool?

Further research

https://alexandra421.wordpress.com/2018/10/16/term-5-week-4-emblem-books-back-ground-and-a-contemporary-version-for-my-fmp/

influenced my decision to present the Zine images with captions – and list the titles on the back page. In a Vanitas image there is allegorical meaning but when you combine this with text – the resulting  product has its origins in the Emblem – a representation ( the  captions  intercede on behalf of the images ) rather than a presentation which is  the function of the Trophies Installation  / Gallery .  

For the Website I decided to take the opposite approach – the images have titles and no captions.

Zakia cited Arnhheim (Zakia & Page. p 219) when he suggested that

 A caption is part of the photograph, part of the gestalt.

However, he also cited Hale – (Zakia & Page. p 223)

Pieces of text (captions /titles)…..can simplify, complicate, elaborate, amplify, confirm, contradict, deny, restate or help define types of meanings when the interact with images and objects.

In the Gallery for Trophies the titles are there as simple identifiers.

In Jeanette May’s Vanitas Tech Vision series – each image was given a title identifying the subject e.g. Dot Matric Printer and Electric Fan – as below

Tech Visions: Electric Fan. Jeanette May

When you look at the image you may ‘see’ a lot more than the electric fan but it is your choice – additional text would only intercede and focus your thoughts

 A pre-publication version of the ‘Trophies’ web site was presented to my peers resulting in some additional helpful comments. The final and public version of ‘Trophies’ available at :

https://www.naturalhistoryfineart.com/ 

has improved navigation features and expanded content including installation images.

Bibliography

May, J Tech Visions: Electric Fan. Available at http://www.jeanettemay.com/portfolios  [Accessed 01/04/2019]

ZAKIA, RD. PAGE, D. Photographic Composition: A Visual Guide. Waltham. Focal Press

Term 6 FMP: Installation Shots

The installation is in place – but I now have to practise another Genre:  Interior Photography. To complete my Critical review of Practise I needed some Installation Shots. I took my camera and a tripod  plus a 24-105 (which I find quite) versatile with me on the 18th March for use after set up  No lights, as I hoped I could work with the windows  plus as I would be there during opening hours there were some health and safety issues with lights and stands. This is the weather / sunshine chart for the day.

Screenshot_2019-04-06 Weather in March 2019 in Sunderland, England, United Kingdom

Weather  / Sunshine Chart – 18 March 2019.

In the image below of WWT Washington – the Instalation is housed in the 2nd building from the left that has two windows

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WWT Washington – Buildings.

At 11.00 am , when all was ready,  the sun was shining into the café from the left hand side  eg onto the right hand glass wall. (From the outside looking in  the sun shines directly onto the veranda at midday – the  exterior of the left hand wall) The back wall was picking up bright light  through the first left hand window. The Photographs on the inside left hand ( outside right hand ) wall were in complete shadow except  for those nearest the window.

 

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Figure 1  Back Wall – I turned the lights off – very bright at the window end – dark at the other end. I put the blind down – which diffused the light on the back wall  but the images are still reflecting. With some editing  – passable.

 

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Figure 2.  Inside Left Hand Wall  – But even darker at the other end – ISO at 5000 made it a bit soft and post production didn’t improve it much

 

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Figure 3. Back Wall. My next trip back was on the 25th for the Chairmans Lunch  and it was cloudier so the back wall had little /  diffused light and so needed the overhead on – the left hand wall was still awfull

 

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Figure 4 – Left Hand Wall. I tried again a week later – this time with the nifty fifty for max aperture at 1.4 / and the  tripod –  a bit of post production  work and it is  passable but only just. This remains a work in progress to try and make the best of the prevailing conditions – what have I learnt from this exercise:

Interior shots look best in natural light – but avoid direct light through windows.

Don’t forget the clutter – it took me some time to edit out the blind cord on one of the final versions for the back wall:

 

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Figure 5. Back wall – edited

 

 

Bibliography

Weather Details  available at https://www.accuweather.com/en/gb/sunderland/sr1-3/march-weather/708899 [accessed 2019/04/07]