Headshot #2 / Facial Expressionism / Final Major Project / Jonathan McCartney

Following on from the first set of headshot photographs I took of my good friend, Jonathan McCartney, I present to you the second headshot photographs I took of my friend, Jonathan, but this time, with a black backdrop, which I must say actually works much better compared to a white backdrop, and the black backdrop was an idea a close friend of mine suggested to me after he critiqued the Headshot #1 photographs I took of Jonathan.

These headshot photographs have not only improved my photography skills, but it does make a lot of sense to use a black backdrop in these photographs, including any other photographs that I will produce.

I have made sure to experiment carefully with these photographs by editing them in WordFoto and GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) so that they can retain the facial expressions I asked Jonathan to make, as these headshot photographs tie in with my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project, including the research I have done so far on the Facial Expressionism photographers, Fazal Sheikh and Irving Penn.

Below are the Headshot #2 photographs of my friend, Jonathan.

Just like before, I have edited these photographs with WordFoto and used more than one word on one of the edited photographs shown below.

I have made sure to develop the photographs further by also changing the selected photographs to black and white whilst raising and lowering some of the curves on the photographs so that the lighting on Jonathan brings out his facial expressions better with a sense of depth and detail.

Overall, I am absolutely pleased with the end result that has come out of these photographs, and being critiqued on my work has actually helped me to develop my photography skills better, not just from receiving peer critique whilst in my Film & Photography lesson, but also from receiving critique from a close friend of mine.

The Headshot #2 photographs I have taken of my friend, Jonathan McCartney, including the edited versions of these photographs that I produced in WordFoto and GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) can be found in my E-Folio.

I would love to get your feedback on these photographs and please let me know what improvements I can make for when I produce more Facial Expressionism headshot photographs for next time. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Alex Smithson

Irving Penn / Research

Continuing on from the first photographer I have researched for my Final Major Project, the second photographer I have chosen to research is Irving Penn.

Irving Penn was an American photographer who was best known for his portrait, still life and fashion photography collections, and his photography career consisted of work he produced with the top fashion magazine company, VOGUE, including Clinique and Issey Miyake.

Below are the slides in the exact order, and the work I have done Harvard Referencing for which references Irving Penn’s photography work I take absolutely no credit for. I also take absolutely no credit for the self-portrait photograph produced by Irving Penn himself. I’ve merely referenced Irving Penn’s work in my research as inspiration to inform and develop my own photography work further inspired on Irving Penn’s photography work.

The pages that are referenced can be found below, complete with Harvard Referencing, the award that Irving Penn received for his work, as well as the various exhibitions he did in his life, including the posthumous exhibitions after he passed away that showcased his work, not to mention Irving Penn’s bibliography, which consists of publications and ISBN numbers, and also his major collections, with external links to further research. All credit goes to Irving Penn & The Irving Penn Foundation.

This research will give me the chance to develop my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project better. As I’ve mentioned before, I will be photographing some subjects for my Facial Expressionism Project, so you’ll be seeing some photography work soon. This research presentation can also be found in my E-Folio and any of the subjects I photograph will also be in the E-Folio once the subjects I have photographed are published. There’s a lot of great opportunities in store so I am sure that I will be able to present to you a lot more of my creative photography work.

If you found this research presentation on Irving Penn useful, please let me know. I would love to hear your response.

Alex Smithson

Fazal Sheikh / Research

As part of my Final Major Project, I have been doing research on the photographers that influence me in the photography work I want to produce, which will be based on Facial Expressionism. The first photographer I have researched for my Final Major Project is Fazal Sheikh.

Fazal Sheikh’s photography work aims to document and personalise the power of portraiture whilst bring the displaced parts of the world, including its own people, into focus.

Below are the slides in the exact order, and the work I have done Harvard Referencing for which references Fazal Sheikh’s photography work I take absolutely no credit for. I also take absolutely no credit for the photograph of Fazal Sheikh produced by the MacArthur Foundation. I’m just merely referencing Fazal Sheikh’s work and the photograph of Fazal Sheikh produced by the MacArthur Foundation in my research as inspiration to inform and develop my own photography work inspired by him.

The pages that are referenced can be found below, complete with Harvard Referencing, the awards that Fazal Sheikh has received for his work, as well as the various exhibitions he has done that showcases his work, not to mention the publications and ISBN numbers, and also his collections, with external links to further research. All credit goes to Fazal Sheikh and the MacArthur Foundation.

This research will help me to develop my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project better, as I will be photographing some subjects for my project, so you should see some photography work very soon. This research presentation can also be found in my E-Folio and any of the subjects I photograph will also be in the E-Folio once the subject photographs are published. There’s a lot of good photography opportunities in store so I can be sure that I will be able to present to you a lot more of my creative film and photography work.

If you enjoyed or found this research presentation useful, please let me know. I would love to hear your response.

Alex Smithson

INSPIRE TO BE POSITIVE

There’s no denying that inspiring someone can spread positivity; inspiration holds the key to positivity.

To inspire everyone around you not only allows you to spread positivity, but gives you the ability to give everyone around you the best outlook on life, and that life is special, even if at times it can be dull.

Inspire someone today. Your positivity is what this world needs, and is also the key to giving you the best possible start in life, and also the best possible career you want in life.

I believe with my hand on my heart that we should inspire others and spread positivity because this world needs to drown out inequality and negativity and bring out the best in everyone with inspiration and positivity.

Start today by drowning out all negativity and inequality and filling the empty spaces where the negativity and inequality were with equality, diversity, love, care, compassion, respect and diversity.

If this inspired you, please let me know. I’m here to inspire and want to make this world a better place and I want for all of you to be in a world where equality and diversity stomps on hatred, inequality and a lack of diversity.

This world needs equality and diversity, and with love, compassion, care, acceptance and respect, this world can be a better place.

Alex Smithson

Nature is Beautiful.

Nature is absolutely beautiful. The Spring weather continues to amaze us and with a small breeze in the air with the lovely sunny weather, it’s safe to say that this weather is beautiful and that nature is also beautiful.

I used the Camera+ app to photograph the Rose Bush again, and then I made some small edits to this photograph to give the rose-bush more of a friendly approach so that it rings true to the lovely and traditional Spring weather.

Do you love the Spring weather? I’d love to know. Please feel free to comment below. I would love to hear what you think of this wonderful weather :-).

Alex Smithson

The Blossoming Feels of Spring

Yesterday was such a wonderful day. It was nice and sunny and the temperature was just right, and I ceased the opportunity to photograph some parts of my garden. Mind you, it’s long overdue but I’ll be making sure to completely cut down my garden soon as it really needs to be cut. It’s like a forest. In terms of my garden, I did make sure to capture the beauty and essence of my garden with a forest-like approach and I had also made sure to experiment with the ISO frequently to see what ISO suited the lighting conditions best.

I am pleased with the end result I have received from these photographs, though I do feel that I need to improve better on taking photographs from a perspective where the scenery can be a mockup of a forest, but in a conceptual style that makes it more forest-like and not just as a plain garden that’s overgrown.

If you feel there are improvements I can make to my photography skills, please let me know. I would love to hear your feedback. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup: March 2017

This month flew like the wind, and it only felt like yesterday we just kicked off 2017! Time has flown so fast lately that it’s impossible to keep up with the speed of time.

I will make sure to take a look back at the articles published over the course of this month, and of course, I will be making sure to remember the victims and the police officer that died on Wednesday 22nd March 2017 down Westminster Bridge, London, as a result of the horrific terrorist attack.

1.3.2017 – Welcoming all of you to March on Mother Nature, I mentioned that I decided to go retro with the article image and did it up in the inspired style of Sonic Mania, considering that Sonic Mania and Project Sonic 2017 (now officially titled ‘Sonic Forces’) would be released over the next few months. I also mentioned that the next few weeks would be much busier considering my Summative Assessment deadline for the Self-Directed Curiosity Project was just around the corner.

3.3.2017 –  After a three-year break from music, and after his hotly anticipated second studio album became the most streamed album on Spotify and other music services, Ed Sheeran is back with his third studio album, ÷. Shape of You really sets the tone of his latest album, because it has a unique vibe that really sets the mood you want to experience when listening to this album. I mentioned that ÷ is the first ever vinyl record I have owned and that I felt so honoured to go retro for the first time and it was an absolute honour to review Ed Sheeran’s ÷ (Deluxe) album.

8.3.2017 – As this day marked International Women’s Day, I wanted to make sure all women across the world get to celebrate being the women they are and to always be themselves. I also mentioned that all women deserve equality, diversity, respect, compassion, care and love regardless of skin colour, sexuality, gender, culture, religion and place of origin and that it’s right for all of us, including myself to celebrate all women as part of International Women’s Day.

15.3.2017 –  Let’s face it. We’ve all seen for ourselves the negative stigma that has become attached to Mental Health. The negative stigma has all too often put a strain on all governments and organisations, with Mental Health sufferers having to experience the harsh reality that they may end up not being allowed to access the help, support and treatment they need. Writing this article gave me the chance to be open about my anxiety, and although I am not officially diagnosed, I do suffer from Anxiety, and writing this article gave me the chance to be open about my Anxiety, as well as to how I have been able to manage and keep my Anxiety under control.

20.3.2017 – It was an absolute honour for me to share with you, my review of Oli Regan’s recently released début album, My Diary of Pain. I talked about how the rawness of Oli’s voice on this album really stands out, as he spoke from the heart, the mind and the soul about how he really feels. If you get a chance, please do listen to his album, My Diary of Pain, it is so good!

22.3.2017 – 24.3.2017 – No articles were published as I released an open statement on Wednesday 22nd March 2017 in light of the horrific terrorist attack that took place down Westminster Bridge, London, in which 3 victims died, including the police officer, PC Keith Palmer.

25.3.2017 –  After months of rumours and speculation that she was pregnant, Cheryl & Liam officially announced a few weeks before that they were expecting their first child together. It became official that Cheryl & Liam officially welcomed their first ever child together!

Also, on this day, I asked you all if you were ready for the clocks to go forward, considering that the time went quicker than expected and that it had only felt like it was yesterday we had just put the clocks back one hour, which proves and rings true even to this day that time sure does fly.

26.3.2017 – As this day marked Mother’s Day, I wished all mothers around the world a Happy Mother’s Day and hoped that all mothers had their Mother’s Day filled with love, happiness, joy, respect, compassion and care.

28.3.2017 – As part of my Final Major Project for the last year of my UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma Film & Photography Course at Croydon College, I was asked to produce a 6 minute and 40 second presentation on a time-keeping tool called Pecha Kucha, which is the Japanese term for Chit-Chat.

Pecha Kucha, which is Japanese for Chit-Chat, is where you produce 20 slides that have to be exactly 20 seconds each. For every slide, you would need to explain in 20 seconds for each slide a brief run-down of the kind of work you are going to produce, regardless of whether it is project-based or not. The 20 slides would have to consist of one or more short sentences you can talk about within 20 seconds, including any work you have currently produced to date.

As my Pecha Kucha presentation focused solely on Facial Expressionism, I mentioned that I would research certain photographers, such as Cecil Beaton, Walker Evans, August Sander, Thomas Ruff and any other photographer that specialises in Facial Expressionism; the field of work I want to produce.

29.3.2017 –  In the last few years, the police numbers have gone down due to cuts that have been made to save our government money, our money of which is supposed to be used to keep our police officers on the streets. On Wednesday 22nd March 2017, exactly one year to the day of the devastating attacks that took place in Brussels, which saw 35 people killed (32 victims, 3 perpetrators), with more than 300 people injured, a terrorist attack took place down Westminster Bridge, where 5 people were killed as a result, one of which was the terrorist, while the other was a police officer who was stabbed and sadly died as a result of his injuries.

31.3.2017 – I published two photographic articles that focused on Croydon, considering that I ceased the opportunity to photograph Croydon while the lovely weather lasts. The weather has been absolutely peaceful lately and it was good to see that the weather was finally looking up and that it was most certainly shaping up to make the two-week holiday as relaxing and as peaceful as ever!

Thanks so much for a great month everyone, and although it was a great month, it was also quite devastating as a result of the terrorist attack that took place down Westminster Bridge, London and I shall take this opportunity to pay my full respects and condolences to the families of the victims who lost their loved ones on Wednesday 22nd March 2017, including paying my full respects and condolences to the family of the police officer, PC Keith Palmer.

Again, thanks so much for a good month everyone, and I will see you all in April!

Alex Smithson

CROYDON / FRIDAY 31ST MARCH 2017

Today, as part of the photographic collection of Croydon I produced last week and published yesterday, I continued to develop my photography skills further with the pre-installed Camera app, and as today was such a wonderful, lovely, peaceful and happy day, I couldn’t resist producing an up-to-date collection of photographs of Croydon. For this photographic collection of Croydon, I wanted to make sure that the beauty and essence of Croydon were captured in these photographs, considering that on a sunny and beautiful day like today, Croydon is vibrant, colourful, bold and bursting with life.

Shown below are the most current photographs of Croydon that I produced today.

What a better way to end March! For once, the weather has been lovely for a change and right at the end of the month too. It’s safe to say I was not at all disappointed with the way this photographic collection turned out and I am so happy with the final end result I have managed to achieve from this photographic collection.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this photographic collection I have produced of Croydon. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

CROYDON / FRIDAY 24TH MARCH 2017

Last Friday, considering we have had such lovely sunny weather lately, I ceased the opportunity to photograph Croydon from different perspectives that I felt stood out the most, and I used the traditional Camera app that comes pre-installed with all versions of iOS.

The weather has been absolutely peaceful lately, and it’s good to see that the weather is finally looking up and it is most certainly shaping up to make the two-week holiday as relaxing and as peaceful as ever!

Below are the photographs I have produced, including two of the same photos that have notable edits.

Which photography hotspots interest you the most? Please let me know. I would love to hear which photography hotspots interest you the most.

Alex Smithson

Pecha Kucha / Japanese for Chit-Chat

As part of my Final Major Project for the last year of my UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma Film & Photography Course at Croydon College, I was asked to produce a 6 minute and 40 second presentation on a time-keeping tool called Pecha Kucha, which is the Japanese term for Chit-Chat.

Pecha Kucha, which is Japanese for Chit-Chat, is where you produce 20 slides that have to be exactly 20 seconds each. For every slide, you would need to explain in 20 seconds for each slide a brief run-down of the kind of work you are going to produce, regardless of whether it is project-based or not. The 20 slides would have to consist of one or more short sentences you can talk about within 20 seconds, including any work you have currently produced to date.

For me, because I am fascinated by Facial Expressionism, which was a concept I worked on last year, I am interested in a photograph that captures the subject’s facial expression and emotion, and for me, I will make sure I can research certain photographers, such as Cecil Beaton, Walker Evans, August Sander, Thomas Ruff and any other photographer that specialises in Facial Expressionism; the field of work I want to produce.

These are all the notes I gathered together as part of my Pecha Kucha presentation yesterday, which went brilliantly for me yesterday considering I was nervous but showed confidence the moment I presented the work I am looking to produce for my Final Major Project. Please keep in mind just a few of the noted photographs that aren’t mine will have the name of the photographed subject, including the year the photograph was produced, also the name of the website I found the photograph from, including the website address and the recorded date that specific website was last visited. The photographs that aren’t mine at all that I referenced in this presentation as part of my Film & Photography coursework can be found on Page 4 & 9. I take absolutely no credit from the photographers who produced the work I have referenced. Those photographers whose work I have referenced in this presentation are Thomas Ruff & Bert Stern.

Over the coming weeks, I will be making sure to work my absolute hardest to really push for the best final grade possible as I want to succeed in my final year of the UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma Film & Photography Course. I will also be making sure to work as hard as I can to really push for the highest possible grades in both GCSE English & GCSE Maths.

If you enjoyed reading the notes and research I gathered together for this Pecha Kucha presentation, please feel free to comment below. All feedback is much appreciated and the all of the notes and research from the Pecha Kucha presentation, including the photographs I produced from my visits to Kelsey Park, Dulwich Park and Beddington Park can be found in my E-FOLIO.

Alex Smithson