Aldeburgh is only 1-2 hours by car from Cambridge and a favourite place for short holidays and day trips in winter. In many ways it sums up quintessential ‘Englishness’ with a mix of the ‘genteel’ with more raucous beer drinking and day-tripping from nearby towns and London escapees.
Assignment 2.2 Shutterscapes
- Aldeburgh Great Escape
- Aldeburgh Morning Light
Assignment 5.1: Carnival Revisited
- Black and white Photobook
Assignment 5.2: Reflections in Grey Photobook
Future Plans and Possibilities
Aldeburgh revisited: Assignment 2.2 Shutterscapes
The first set of photographs I chose were from Aldeburgh.
Aldeburgh had been the subject of a number of earlier projects for Illustration courses:
- Illustration 2 Project 2.1 and 2.2 Sketching on Location
- Illustration 2 Project 4.3 Paper Circus
- Illustration 2 Assignment 4 ‘On the Edge’
I was not happy with most of my sketches or work for these first two projects. ‘On the Edge’ had focused on experimentation with the iPad and produced some imaginative work that I may take forward in Assignment 5 or later. But it lacked any narrative coherence.
For Assignment 2.2 Shutterscapes I chose the photo series, not only for a more light-hearted approach to ‘Englishness’, but also a way of starting to explore approaches to narrative. Working with colour and lightness was an uplifting change from my normal preference for the ‘black and edgy’ from Assignment 2.1 Bridge.
The photographs themselves offered different technical challenges :
- Photo series 1 Carnival Procession were the only images taken with my Canon DSLR and therefore the easiest to edit for colourful effect.
- Photo series 2 ‘Aldeburgh Great Escape’ were taken with my iPad Pro and were reasonably good quality, but needed a lot of adjustment for jpg artifacting and colour correction.
- Photo series 3 ‘Aldeburgh Morning Light’ were even more challenging because they were taken on an old iPhone and therefore needed a lot of work in Photoshop.
I also used these series as a way of experimenting (somewhat unsuccessfully) with the Lightroom slideshow module as well as the book module I had used before.
I am aiming to photograph more events of this type, but with a clearer focus on ‘English quirkiness’ inspired by Martin Parr. I would also like to do a more documentary work on Aldeburgh around issues of diversity – Aldeburgh is a disability-friendly place and the numbers of older people and people with disabilities is noticeable. There are also an increasing number of people from ethnic minorities. But I would need some time to do this sensitively as I feel uncomfortable/unethical being too intrusive as a photographer.
- I revisit the photographs in the light of my work on photographic creativity and colour photography approaches developed in Assignment 4.
- I revisit the slideshows using Adobe Premiere
1: The carnival procession
The carnival series were the only images taken with my Canon DSLR as RAW images and therefore the easiest to edit for colourful effect. The photos were taken from among a crowd of people lining the street as the basis for illustration rather than as photographs in themselves. They were taken with a telephoto zoom lens and at some distance and when cropped in became too small/soft for Shutterstock requirements.
With these very colourful images I was aiming at a Martin Parr saturated style. I processed them in Lightroom only, experimenting with tonal and colour settings and sharpening and noise reduction.
The images on the right were selected and sent to Shutterstock as the most interesting for content and – my first images submitted – they were all accepted.
The first three images on the right were sold on Shutterstock, and the last was judged by my tutor to be the best.
2: The Great Aldeburgh Escape
This series was taken with my iPad Pro as back up reference to pencil and ink sketches in my sketchbook. Nevertheless, some of the photos were large enough file size and of sufficiently good quality to edit in Lightroom for Shutterstock.
I started by selecting single image narratives that could stand in their own right as photos to submit to Shutterstock. I then ordered them to make a narrative sequence, trying to do simple captions (not the long descriptive ones required by Shutterstock).
I then experimented with Lightroom slideshow module. Looking at different narrative considerations in different formats in terms of length and sequencing. This is still too long. There is not enough control in Lightroom itself. But useful for very quick slideshows instead of inbuilt Jetpack carousel. It is possible to add the captions, but very limited layout and looked really cheesy. No control over audio. The issue is sequencing, particularly vusally. But limited memory on content. Should the viewer control or not?
And with the Lightroom book module. Here there is much more time. Issue is juxtaposition.
3: Aldeburgh Morning Light
The third series were photos from a morning walk in July 2015. This is the nearest to a ‘flaneur’ treatment. I had just got my first iPhone with something approaching a reasonable camera – I thought. So I set off full of enthusiasm and the new freedom of being able to take photographs without looking too much like a photographer. I also enjoyed experimenting with the square format that was not possible with my normal cameras. Unfortunately when I got back and viewed the pictures on my pc, the quality was not as good as promised in the iPhone adverts.
Slideshow of my iPhone images as shot showing what interested me and different framings.
Nevertheless, with a little processing in Lightroom they do produce a sort of narrative of Aldeburgh early morning light and life.
The square format could also be interesting as a new digital format book printed at a small size – roughly the size below as a mini-book if I could find a printer.
I then experimented with using Photoshop and/or Nik ColorFX filters to produce images that used the grainy and altered colours for artistic effects. The images below were accepted for Shutterstock.
5.1: Carnival Revisited
Version 1: Martin Parr colour style
My strongest work in Assignment 2.2 were the Carnival photos with the focus on ‘English quirkiness’ and colour style inspired by Martin Parr. I revisited these photographs with the initial intention of developing the colour series into a book. I started with a selection of 20 core photographs that I thought as a series represented different aspects of the carnival.
I also submitted the first two images to Cambridge Camera Club to see it they were suitable for the exhibition. But people thought that although they were good for documentary, they were too busy for Exhibition photographs. The first image was too confusing – the chaos of being pulled in different directions by dogs and shouting being the point of the photo as documentary. The second image they thought was problematic because the streamers were in front of the woman’s face.
Version 2: Shirley Baker and Bruce Gilden Black and White style
As I was going through editing the colour images I thought I would see how they might look in black and white. I was quite surprised how different things looked. Very busy images were often simplified, and the focus was very much on peoples’ expressions and emotions rather than being drowned in colour.
I am also interested in black and white because it makes people look more anonymous. The images are not like the portraits they take on their phones. So potentially less ethically sensitive?
I decided that these would make a more interesting Photobook.
Present and discuss with Aldeburgh Carnival??
5.2 Reflections in Grey
5.2 Taking Things Forward: Future Plans
I would also like to do a more documentary work on Aldeburgh around issues of diversity – Aldeburgh is a disability-friendly place and the numbers of older people and people with disabilities is noticeable. There are also an increasing number of people from ethnic minorities. But I would need some time to do this sensitively as I feel uncomfortable/unethical being too intrusive as a photographer.