The purpose of this visual design is to support the subject matter. An interesting book on this subject is that by Freeman Patterson - "Photography and the art of seeing". This was a little gem found by searching through the catalogue of books available in Essex libraries. Quoting from the book, "If we look at something that might seem mundane, such as a gravel pit, we are first aware of what it expresses in only the most general sense: destruction, desolation, loneliness, timelessness. The message or theme is expressed in the sum of the features of our subject matter. It is only later that we observe the details - their shapes, textures and colours that form their inherent design." The challenge, however is not to codify the subject matter into specific design elements, but to use these elements intuitively in order to express the qualities inherent in the subject.
The brief for this assignment called for me to incorporate the insights learned so far on this course into a set of photographs directed towards one type of subject. I am to produce at least 10 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;
- distinct, even if irregular, shapes;
- at least two kinds of implied triangle;
I chose for my subject, the buildings and gardens comprising the "Cressing Temple", This is a historic monument established by the Knight's Templar in the 13th Century. A truly fascinating place which I visit regularly. A link to a leaflet which gives a bit more detail is here.
A single point dominating the composition
|Window: ISO200 93mm f11 1/160|
The single point here is the window in the side of the granary house. Its size and white colour causes it to dominate the image, even though the old brickwork is in itself interesting. I used ISO 200 to give me flexibility as in my camera there is little loss of quality but it gives me greater flexibility. An aperture of f11 was selected to provide good sharpness throughout without any loss of quality due to lens design.
|Eyes: ISO200 105mm f11 1/50|
Decorative heads around a water feature provided the two points for me. The mouth contained a water spout, but the eyes are so "piercing", they just had to be done. To enhance the image, I cropped tightly, giving a symmetrical image either side of the nose. My concern here was to make sure that I had sufficient depth of field throughout, as I was shooting quite closely at the maximum focal length for the lens. I also chose a "head" which was in shade so that I had even lighting throughout. I felt that harsh shadows would detract from this image.
Several points in a deliberate shape
|Lily pond: ISO200 80mm f16 1/40|
I found that the lily leaves in the pond formed the number four, giving me this shape, which based around a triangle. As I was shooting at an angle to the surface of the pond, I wanted to maximise my depth of field so I selected f16 as the most suitable aperture. To me, the brickwork reflecting in the pond added texture and further interest, so I did not attempt to remove these reflections using a polarising filter.
A combination of vertical and horizontal lines
|Wheat Barn detail: ISO200 105mm f14 1/125|
For this, I was seduced by the plethora of actual horizontal and vertical lines formed by the brickwork and the wooden structure of the barn. I felt that a "head on" shot of this wall was too static, so I moved slightly to the side giving gentle diagonals leading the eye through the photograph. By using the modest telephoto of 105mm, I managed some compression as well which has made the wall less static. I selected f14 as the aperture which would provide me with sufficient depth of field, from side to side and this also gave me a comfortable shutter speed for the focal length.
|Walled garden: ISO200 24mm f16 1/80|
The path alongside the wall in the Medieval garden has provided strong diagonals which lead the eye to the tree positioned at the end and then the small figure underneath the tree. I enhanced the effect using a wide angle of 24mm and then used a small aperture of f16 to provide me with good sharpness throughout.
|Temple grounds: ISO200 32mm f14 1/80|
One of the paths in the grounds, leading to the walled garden in the distance, provided me with an elegant curve for this photograph. I enhanced this by using a medium wide angle of 32mm and an aperture of f14 has provided me with good sharpness throughout.
Distinct, even if irregular, shapes
This fire escape caught my eye as soon as I walked in into the Cressing Temple grounds. This led from the top floor at one end of the Granary building. I shot this as a semi-silhouette as I wanted to retain some detail in the metal work. To me this had a large number of shapes, ranging from curves, through vertical lines, diagonals and triangles. What appealed to me was just the graphic nature of this structure. I took quite a number of different shots from different angles, but this, I feel, came closest to what I wanted. I wanted the structure to be sharp, so used an aperture of f14 and exaggerated some of the lines by using a mid-wide angle.
Two kinds of implied triangle
|Stairway to heaven: ISO200 32mm f14 1/250|
Two kinds of implied triangle
|Corner of wheat barn: ISO200 16mm f16 1/30|
|Planters: ISO200 73mm f18 1/30|
|Waves 1: ISO200 f4 1/1250|
|Waves 2: ISO200 105mm f13|
|Waves 3: ISO200 98mm f18 1/80|
|Barn roof: ISO200 105mm f14 1/200|
|Barn roof 2|
|Path: ISO200 24mm f16 1/80|