Revisit one of the exercises on daylight, artificial light or controlled light from Part Four (Ex 4.1, Ex 4.2 or Ex 4.3) and develop it into a formal assignment submission. The submission requirement for this assignment is a set of between six and ten high-quality photographic prints.
There are many ways to edit and the most valuable one is probably to show your work to friends, family and your OCA peers for feedback – you are guaranteed to discover something
new in your work. Another tip is to pin the work up on the wall and live with a for a few days. ‘A Quick Guide to Editing Your Photo Series using Stickies’ on the IPO (Invisible Photographer Asia) website, but bear in mind that this is not a narrative assignment – you’re not required to produce a story.
Assessment of photography in any context is an assessment of images and accompanying words so please Include a written analysis of your work outlining:
- how you have developed the assignment from the original exercise in Part 4
- which practitioners you’ve looked at for inspiration and how their work has influenced you
- your technical approach and any particular techniques you incorporated
- the strengths and weaknesses of particular photographs and your project as a whole (selfassessment)
Conclude your notes with a personal reflection on how you’ve developed the exercise in order to meet the descriptors of the Creativity criteria. Write 500–1,000 words.
The directional thoughts had to be made from the previous exercises. working back to forth on this assignment, I build up the exercises in the knowledge one of them would lead to this point. Opposite previous assignments, it felt almost liberating. Broaden my scope, search for a purpose perhaps? No narrative is required, but what else is there and can I avoid it? During the execution of the exercises, either of them would be different than anything I had done before, at least I try to believe or better, it originated from a completely different perspective and mental approach. In search for the intimate, almost romantic emotion from Brassaï’s Paris to the silent overwhelming endless interlude of war not being peace in Waffenruhe. The light as atmospheric emphasiser. Werther’s feeling is his only guideline. He puts his ratio aside, no wonder Brassaï was emotionally inspired by Goethe in his romantic period (von Goethe, 2018). The German literary style period so beautifully formulated in the title: “Strum und Drang”. Emotion over reason and beauty in nature.
It made me decide, strangely enough, to develop exercise 4.1 into this assignment. The depiction of the “soul” of an entirety, a milieu, an environment opposite the individual emotion of a moment, seems a fresh challenge worth exploring.
Execution and inspiration (Brief 1&2)
Hence the Assignment should be build up from one of the exercises, I decided to intensify the research there and refer back to them from the Assignment. Additional reading on my research in exercise 4.1 and exercise 4.2, as an integral part of this Assignment. Of course, they are both overlapping as complementary. To develop them into this Assignment, it seems logical to include only my summarizing research here and use it to form an interflow into Languages of Light, visually based upon Exercise 4.1: Natural Light
Outside the suggested research in the photographic world, the subject light in visual arts is, in my opinion, definitely painting territory. The emotion of Van Gogh’s travel in life from the Northen earthliness to the Southern brightness (Vangoghmuseum.nl, 2019), despite his difficult personality, temper and emotions. The masters of the chiaroscuro, inspired by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, play with light in an unparalleled way, no wonder Brassai refers to them(amer4127, 2011b). The influence of the Claire-Obscure light personated in the work of the Spanish Velázquez and the Dutch Rembrandt (Rijksmuseum.nl, 2019), masters of the light, so comparable yet so different in everything they were, lived, thought and made. North against South (amer4127, 2013), visualized in their use of light, Sally Man was so right (amer4127, 2013).
Of course, Martin Parr (Parr and Badger, 2018) with his attractive, hard realistic but still light, bright and humourous images of the English coast. The light indeed makes it light. Imagine Martin Parr’s photographs without flash or sun but under a grey overcast sky in dark tones. The light makes the emotions. As Brassaï admits he was romantically inspired by Von Goethe (amer4127, 2011b), a major exponent of the German literary movement: Sturm und Drang, where emotion should prevail over reason, even if it kills “die Jungen Werther” (Von Goethe, 2019).
Finally, Waffenruhe (Schmidt et al., 2018) changed my mind and gave direction in project 4 and this Assignment specifically. The atmosphere in this work is so stunningly striking and recognisable. Of course, the monochrome images support the historical placement. Still, even the text in the centre of the book and the closing statement at the end are beautifully complementary to the images and this laden subject in German history.
Despite the theme of Waffenruhe, the overwhelming pressure of the past and absence of a future, it somehow relates to Goethe again with a touch of “Schmerzen” shining through, emotion over reason (von Goethe, 2018). Emotion, indeed as the German/Romanian artist and art-historic Janos Frecot writes at the final paragraph on the closing page of Waffenruhe: “..Der ja auch keine Geschichte erzählt, sondern einen Befund, eine Verwundung benennt, einen dumpf bohrenden Schmerz im Bewußtsein scheinbarer Ruhe”.(Schmidt et al., 2018)
Goethe must have foreseen the pain Germany, and Berlin specifically, ceaselessly inflicts on herself over the burden of history when he let Wilhelm say: “könnten Sie doch aufhören, selbst den Dolch zu schärfen, mit dem Sie sich unablässig verwunden! Bleibt Ihnen denn nichts? Ist denn Ihre Jugend, Ihre Gestalt, Ihre Gesundheit, sind Ihre Talente nichts…” (von Goethe, 2018)
Strange how my thoughts and development over this Assignment are almost circular. Entering with the warm, indeed romantic but never withholding or shy Brasssaï (Brassaï, Aubenas and Bajac, 2013) and his reference to the “romantic, right?”(amer4127, 2011b) Von Goethe and ending with the laden Waffenruhe and the reference again to Von Goethe; hence emotion is also pain, an unbearable pain sometimes as described in Die Leiden Des Jungen Werther (Goethe, 2019).
In my selection of photographs, I tried to include some of the silent emotion of a place. How its history, its atmosphere reflects in these images and how the light spectacularly defines that atmosphere. To refer to Freco: it is not a story but a “Befund”.(Schmidt et al., 2018)
The desolated Dutch coast during those grey, watery cold winters. All the soldiers have left; all the tourists are gone(van den Berg, 2020). What’s left is the sea, the sand, grey light, almost just an un-dark followed by the absence of warmth in all possible capacities. Decay and neglect, afflicted surfaces, misplaced cheerfulness and that cold, saline wind, never-ending, always scourging over the flat land.
Together with the previous suggested work by my tutor: American Power by Mitch Epstein (Epstein and Epstein, 2011), it feels as if a seed is planted in search fo more meaningfulness in my work. Beyond meaningfulness is the inspiring work of Sebastião Salgado (Salgado and Lélia Wanick Salgado, 2013) by adding purpose and distinctive goals to his photography. Of course, American Power is almost an activist work, and Waffenruhe summarises in a brilliantly laden way the ongoing, practically static aftermath and consequences of one of histories most dramatic events. Feeling small among giants, it nevertheless slowly shifts my thoughts and conceptual entry point.
Technical Approach (Brief 3)
Although I knew exercise 4.1 would be the base to continue this assignment, I executed and researched it at the very end. Granting myself time to investigate possible concepts and really execute according to plan.
There are no specific technicalities. The difficult low light situations forced me into “manual” mode but with limited to maximum AUTO-ISO. Postprocessing to be limited to an absolute minimum, some minor cropping/horizon and only minimal equalising adjustments in Lightroom Mobile, as previously commented Andrew Conroy: Whatever you decide to run with, go easy on the postproduction!
Self-reflection (Brief 4)
As points of attention suggested by my tutor Andrew; structure, patience and less wobbly. Striving for more meaningfulness in a planned concept feels like a solid companion in my efforts to achieve this. The results in this Assignment differs from my previous work, hopefully indeed less “wobbly” and more contrived. The approach and conceptualisation were what mattered, more than the images in this case. Although, subjects like the Berlin Wall or the American energy consumption and its consequences seem slightly above my conceptual ambitions at this moment anyway.
The assignment images are a deductive result from exercise 4.1. The light and place in all images are roughly the same, it doesn’t seem very easy to combine them into an engaging, representative and meaningful series though. Some images I find individual too good to exclude. I always balance between “good for variation” and “not suitable in this series”, a thin line apparently. In the end, the ones I shared my thoughts and images with, concluded mostly the same content to be in this series. I wish I had taken more photographs with people, perhaps, representing the human factor and emotion in this atmosphere slightly better. Doubt remains my biggest enemy.