The End of the Road! I’ve Passed!

It’s officially the end. My education comes to a remarkable close as I have finished my final year at Croydon College.

Who would have thought that this time three years ago I would be starting my first day at Croydon College, only for the time to fly so much quicker than school? Even I am shocked myself by how far I’ve come since I started at Croydon College.

This time, three years ago, I had just marked the end of secondary school for good as I finished Year 11, and I can even remember starting my first day at Croydon College. I introduced myself to everyone and within the first day, I had made a lot of friends, as we instantly clicked with one another. Three years later, I have so many friends who I keep in contact with and even now, the support I’ve received from my family and my friends has made me realise that I can talk to anyone if I ever feel down about anything.

Croydon College, despite the ups and downs I went through over the course of the three years I studied, gave me the chance to realise my potential and now as I am at the stage of applying for a full-time job, I have officially decided to take a gap year to apply for jobs as I am considering possibly doing a degree in photography next year, which, for me, will really help me in many years to come.

I have enjoyed this year better than the last, but it’s safe to say I will miss Croydon College and everyone in that respect. On the plus side, I have left with my head held high knowing that I have done so well and I cannot wait to take on the best opportunities that become available to me.

Although my work is sufficient enough for a Pass instead of a Merit, I will settle for a Pass instead as I have managed to pass my final year of the UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma Film & Photography Course. That’s good because I have passed my final year. Result!

I am so chuffed to have worked so hard because despite spending a countless amount of hours getting work done, even whilst having to pull all-nighters that would last up until 8:35 AM or 9:00 AM in the morning, I am glad to have passed because now I can officially bring my time at Croydon College to a remarkable close.

Thank you, Croydon College, for all that you have done to get me to where I need to be and I shall continue to go the extra mile to really get the best out of the work I produce in the foreseeable, and thanks for giving me the chance to realise my potential to become a photographer. None of this would have been possible without your help and guidance, so thank you, Croydon College, I’ll miss being at Croydon College but my time at Croydon College has now officially come to an end. Thanks for everything.

Alex Smithson

Headshot #10 / Facial Expressionism / Final Major Project / Kasra Soltani

Bringing my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project to a remarkable close, Headshot #10 marks the end of my Final Major Project Practical Work as I have photographed my close friend, Kasra Soltani.

For this final collection of headshot photographs, I have made sure to get Kasra to do some facial expressions like before, but for these headshot photographs, I have adjusted the lighting to accommodate for better focus on Kasra so that each expression he has made connects to the photography work I have already produced. Taking a new direction on the photographs, Kasra has done some new facial expressions that I initially didn’t have in mind at first and this has given me a better outlook as to how I can assign each expression with its own name, as well as to how that specific emotion connects to the facial expression I have not only asked him to make, but the facial expressions he has made naturally in most of these photographs.

This final headshot collection has informed my critical thinking, as well as the research I have done on the five photographers, which are Fazal Sheikh, Irving Penn, Thomas Ruff, August Sander & David Bailey.

Below are the final headshot photographs for my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project, complete with the WordFoto Edits and Black & White Versions of the Original Photographs.

Canon EOS 1200D

WordFoto Edits

Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

I am so pleased to have achieved such fantastic results from the photography work I have produced throughout the course of the Facial Expressionism Final Major Project, and I have noticed that every headshot collection I have produced I’ve seen improvements every time. Now that I have got together all the photographs I have produced for my Final Major Project, I will be making sure to pick a selected number of photographs from all of the headshot articles to present them as my chosen final pieces. Contact sheets are being produced at this stage which will be going in my sketchbook and my aim is to get the Final Major Project Proposal done and finalised and then get the last of my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project work done and ready before Monday 5th June.

All of the research and headshot photographs I have produced as part of my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project coursework can be found in my E-Folio.

Headshot #10 brings the practical work for my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project to a remarkable close. I am so pleased to have worked my socks off over the last few weeks. All this hard work will eventually pay off and considering it’s my final year at Croydon College and my final year of the two-year film and photography course, I want to make sure I can aim for a higher grade with all of this coursework. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I can get the best final result possible by the end of this year.

I am open to your responses and critique, so please feel free to suggest any improvements you feel I could make when it comes to producing any future photography work.

Your responses and critique are greatly appreciated.

Alex Smithson

If you want to follow my close friend, Kasra Soltani, on Instagram, I have provided his Instagram username here: @Kass.ll7

Headshot #9 / Facial Expressionism / Final Major Project / Kasra Soltani

Continuing on from Headshot #8, I have photographed my close friend, Kasra Soltani, for Headshot #9 of my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project.

For these headshot photographs, just like I did with Jonathan McCartney, Steven Geer, Oli Regan & Leonardo Mouza, I have used a black backdrop to bring out the emphasis of the facial expressions I have asked him to make.

As my research has influenced, informed and helped me to develop my critical thinking and photography skills further, I have made sure that these photographs stand out and give the facial expressions I have asked Kasra to make a better insight, so that each facial expression brings to the surface the emotion that goes with that specific facial expression.

As well as the facial expressions I have asked Kasra to make, I have also photographed him doing different facial expressions naturally, so in this case, when I say natural, I mean he has been able to do facial expressions I wouldn’t usually expect him or anyone else to do. I’ve even got him to do some of the expressions again, but this time, in his own way, so at least then his natural facial expressions compared to the facial expressions I have asked him to make put more emphasis on the photography work I have produced.

Below are the headshot photographs, including the WordFoto Edits and the Black & White Versions of these photographs I have produced featuring my cl0se friend, Kasra Soltani.

Canon EOS 1200D

WordFoto Edits

Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

I feel that these photographs I have produced of my close friend, Kasra, for Headshot #9, show dramatic improvements in my photography skills, as I have made sure to adjust the position of the light to set the tone of these photographs correctly to the emotions I have asked Kasra to make, and I have noticed that my photographs have more of a shallow depth of field. I have also noticed and improved over the course of time with the clarity of the photographs I have taken, and I strongly feel that Headshot #9 has helped to inform and note the improvements and changes I have made to make these photographs stand out. To improve for next time, I will be making sure to explore the emotions effectively as opposed to Kasra’s body language, so that his body language can reflect the facial expressions I have asked him to make, as well as the facial expressions he has made himself.

These photos of my close friend, Kasra Soltani, that I have produced for Headshot #9 can be found in my E-Folio.

I am open to your responses, so please let me know if there are any improvements I can make for next time and if so, please highlight the areas you feel I could improve on for next time when I publish Headshot #10. which will be the final headshot article to close much of the practical side of my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project.

Your responses and critique are greatly appreciated.

Alex Smithson

If you want to follow my close friend, Kasra, on Instagram, I have provided his Instagram username here: @Kass.ll7

Headshot #7 / Facial Expressionism / Final Major Project / Mhamad Rauf

Continuing on from Headshot #6, in which I photographed Terrence Mathew & Leonardo Mouza, Headshot #7 focuses on my next photographed subject, which is Mhamad Rauf.

For this photographic set, just like I did with Terrence Mathew & Leonardo Mouza, I photographed Mhamad outside and got him to do the facial expressions I asked him to make, but also photographed him in different positions, including some modelling headshots.

The graffiti on the walls of the walkway really help as they put an emphasis on the facial expressions I have got Mhamad to make, as the colour of the walkway, including the graffiti, can help to compensate for the facial expressions I have asked Mhamad to make.

At this stage, these photographs have informed the research I have done on Fazal Sheikh, Irving Penn, Thomas Ruff & August Sander.

Below are the headshot photographs of Mhamad Rauf, including the WordFoto Edits and Black & White Versions of the Original Photographs.

Canon EOS 700D

WordFoto Edits

Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

Overall, I am so pleased with the end result that has come out of these photographs I have produced and by experimenting again with the walls of graffiti found in the walkway outside Croydon College, this has actually allowed me to let my creativity run wild, ultimately giving me the chance to produce these photographs with more vibrancy so that they connect to my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project.

These photographs I have produced will help me to build on, develop and inform my photography skills further and will most certainly inform the creative work, research and headshot photographs I have already produced.

The Headshot #7 photographs I have taken of my close friend, Mhamad Rauf, 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 most certainly love to get your response on these photographs and please let me know if I can make future improvements for next time. Your response is greatly appreciated.

Alex Smithson

Headshot #6 / Facial Expressionism / Final Major Project / Terrence Mathew & Leonardo Mouza

Continuing on from Headshot #5, which consisted of the subject, Leonardo Mouza, who I photographed for my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project, I have, again, decided to photograph Leonardo for Headshot #6, but this time, with his close friend, Terrence Mathew.

For this photographic set, I have decided to photograph Leo & Terrence doing the facial expressions that I’ve asked them to do, as well as the natural facial expressions they have made themselves. For some, if not, a lot of the photos I took of Terrence & Leo, I wanted to photograph their own expressions, as well as what interests them, so in this case, they’re using technology, but I want to create the concept where their facial expression describes what they are looking at.

These photographs build upon the research I have done so far on the photographers, which are Fazal Sheikh, Irving Penn, Thomas Ruff & August Sander.

Below are the photographs I have produced of Terrence Mathew & Leonardo Mouza, including the WordFoto Edits and the Black & White Versions of these photographs.

WordFoto Edits

Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

Overall, I am so pleased with the end result that has come out of these photographs I have produced and by experimenting with the walls of graffiti found in the walkway outside Croydon College has actually helped me to produce better photographs in a more vibrant format that connects to my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project.

These photographs I have produced will help me to build on, develop and inform my photography skills further and will most certainly inform the creative work, research and headshot photographs I have already produced.

The Headshot #6 photographs I have taken of my close friends, Terrence Mathew & Leonardo Mouza, 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 most certainly love to get your response on these photographs and please let me know if I can make future improvements for next time. Your response is greatly appreciated.

Alex Smithson

August Sander / Research

Continuing on from the first, second and third photographer I have researched for my Final Major Project, the fourth photographer I have chosen to research is August Sander.

August Sander was a German portrait and documentary photographer, and his first book, titled: “Face of Our Time (German for Antlitz der Zeit)”, was published in 1929. He was also described as being “the most important German portrait photographer of the early twentieth century.”

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

The pages that are referenced can be found below, complete with Harvard Referencing, which includes August Sander’s legacy, the posthumous exhibitions done after August Sander passed away on the 20th April 1964, including the publication he released in 1929, titled: “Face of Our Time”, also noting the unreleased book that was left incomplete that detailed his travels, with references and external links to further research. All credit goes to August Sander Stiftung and Widewalls.

The research I’ve done on August Sander will help me to develop my headshot photographs better for my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project. As I’ve mentioned before, I will be photographing some subjects for my Facial Expressionism Project, so you’ll be seeing some new headshot photographs very soon. This research presentation can also be found in my E-Folio and any of the subjects I photograph will also be featured in the E-Folio once the headshot photographs I produce of the subjects I photograph for my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project are published. I can promise there are more headshot photographs on the way, so keep your eyes peeled!

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

Alex Smithson

Headshot #4 / Facial Expressionism / Final Major Project / Oli Regan

Following on from the research I have done so far on the photographers, Fazal Sheikh, Irving Penn and Thomas Ruff, the third subject I am honoured to have photographed for my Final Major Project is the famous actor and Mental Health Awareness Campaigner, Oli Regan.

For these headshot photographs, I experimented with a black backdrop so that the facial expressions I asked Oli to make would give the emotion from the facial expressions he made more emphasis and more depth.

After I photographed Oli with the black backdrop, I then opted to try out a red backdrop, so that I could capture some of the facial expressions again, but this time, I wanted to try and photograph Oli like as if I photographed him for a magazine cover photoshoot.

Canon EOS 1200D / Black Backdrop

Canon EOS 1200D / Red Backdrop

WordFoto Edits (Black Backdrop)

WordFoto Edits (Red Backdrop)

Black & White Edits (Black & Red Backdrops)

Overall, I am so pleased with the end result that has come out of these photographs I have produced and experimenting with a red backdrop has actually helped me to produce better photographs alongside the black backdrop, but it is an absolute pleasure to have worked with Oli Regan and I am absolutely honoured to have photographed him. Oli Regan is such a lovely and down-to-earth guy and you would be absolutely honoured to work with him.

These photographs I have produced will help me to develop my photography skills further and will most certainly inform the creative work, research and headshot photographs I have already produced.

The Headshot #4 photographs I have taken of my close friend, Oli Regan, 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 most certainly 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

Headshot #3 / Facial Expressionism / Final Major Project / Steven Geer

Following on from the research I have done so far on the photographers, Fazal Sheikh, Irving Penn and Thomas Ruff, the second subject I have chosen to photograph for my Final Major Project is Steven Geer.

For these headshot photographs, just like I did with the Headshot #2 photographs I took of my friend, Jonathan McCartney, I did make sure to use the black backdrop again, so that the facial expressions I would get Steven to do would have not just a real sense of depth, but that the expressions that Steven would make would capture a real sense of emotion.

I experimented very carefully with these photographs as these photographs build on the research I have done so far on 3 facial expressionist photographers; Fazal Sheikh, Irving Penn & Thomas Ruff.

Below are the Headshot #3 photographs of my friend, Steven.

Canon EOS 700D

To develop the photographs further, I used WordFoto to alter the appearance of the photographs I took of Steven and assigned each emotion to the facial expressions I asked Steven to make.

WordFoto Edits

Below are the Black & White Edited Versions of these photographs, to give the facial expressions that Steven’s pulling more of an effect.

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

The Headshot #3 photographs I have taken of my friend, Steven Geer, 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

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

Headshot #1 / Facial Expressionism / Final Major Project / Jonathan McCartney

Following on from the research I have done so far for the Final Major Project, I have started to develop my photography skills further, and the first subject I have photographed for my Final Major Project is my good friend, Jonathan McCartney.

As Fazal Sheikh and Irving Penn’s photography work has inspired me in the development of my Facial Expression Final Major Project, I have experimented with a white backdrop on the first set of photographs I have taken of my friend, Jonathan. Below are the headshot photographs I produced showing Jonathan doing different facial expressions. I acknowledge that some of the emotions might not connect to some of the photographs depending on the way these photographs are viewed, but I will be improving on this over the next few weeks.

Below are the headshot photographs I have produced so far.

I also experimented further by using the same photographs again, but this time, using the WordFoto app and I was able to use the WordFoto app to convert these photographs into words. The edited versions of these photographs can be found below.

I am pleased with the end result that has come out of the headshot photographs I produced. I have taken into account the peer critique I received on Friday 21st March 2017, especially the peer critique a close friend of mine gave to me on how to improve, and for the next set of photographs I produce which will consist of a different subject I photograph, I will be making sure to use a black backdrop as this will give me the chance to get the subject I will photograph to stand out better. A black backdrop is what I will use next time as the subject’s facial expressions can stand out more with some depth behind it to back up the facial expressions that are made.

The Headshot #1 photographs I have taken of my friend, Jonathan McCartney, including the edited versions of these photographs that I produced in WordFoto 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 photographs next time. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Alex Smithson