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

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

NIGHTLIFE IN BECKENHAM

Following my close friend’s birthday party last Friday, which I loved every second of considering we were all singing and dancing and all sorts, I produced a collection of photographs that would surround Nightlife in Beckenham.

Nightlife in Beckenham is absolutely tranquil and so peaceful, and because of the quietness of Beckenham, it gives you goosebumps knowing that it goes pin-drop silent at night, when it’s usually busy during daylight hours.

Of course, I did keep in mind there are some blind spots in and around Beckenham so I had made sure to keep myself aware of everything around me so that I could make sure that I was safe, and I was pleased to have photographed Beckenham at night because I am interested in night photography, not just standard nature, close-up and landmark photography, but also night photography.

I was glad to have photographed Beckenham at night because it has given me the chance to explore the photographical nightlife of Beckenham, not just as a place, but as a location of interest. Usually, you would expect places like this to be booming at night, but it’s so quiet and is also the best place for photographing stores and also any areas of Beckenham that peak your interest.

If you enjoyed this photographic collection of the Beckenham nightlife, then please let me know. I would love to hear your feedback.

Alex Smithson

Recommended Camera App: Camera+

CROYDON / REVISITED

Kicking off 2017 with a bang, I decided to revisit the photographic collection I took on the 15th December 2016 by publishing this more up-to-date collection that will revisit Croydon with more of a positive approach and given the lovely weather in my first few weeks back at Croydon College, I couldn’t have picked a better time to take these photographs. Some of these photographs consist of the Pret a Manger & Caffé Nero, including other parts of Croydon I may have not visited in a while.

I also used the opportunity to snap a few photos of Reeves Corner, considering it is more or less quiet now considering it will be six years in August since the riots took place in Croydon, which saw the bigger half of the Reeves Furniture Store being burned down as a result.

I must admit, I was taken aback by just how quiet it was around Reeves Corner, because I last went down to Reeves Corner two years ago when I was studying Art & Design, and even then it did feel uncomfortable, much like it does now.

I want this photographic collection to help you explore what Croydon is like as a place, including how Croydon is in general. For instance, there are so many stores in Croydon that you cannot exactly miss, including banks, landmarks, restaurants etc. and many more.

As I was lucky to snap these photographs when the lovely weather arrived before the slight snow storm, I was pleased to have achieved much better results this time compared to the previous collection and I wanted to make sure that you saw Croydon from a much better perspective than before.

If you enjoyed this photographic collection of Croydon, please feel free to let me know. I would love to hear your feedback.

Alex Smithson

Recommended App: Camera+

Want to Know How I Create My Photos? Read This.

I love photography as much as lot of you do, considering how fascinating the subject of photography really is, but how have I been able to produce my most recent collection of photographs? Well, I can tell you.

For the photos I’ve taken and published on here, I have taken my photographs most recently below ISO-400 and on ISO-400, and I have found my photographs have improved over the course of time, because I’ve been making sure to take my photos at different exposures, as well as adjusting the light balance before I take my photos.

To get photographs similar to mine, these are the settings that I recommend.

ISO-400 or below.

Exposure Bias: 0, -0.7 or -1

Focal Length: 55 mm or more depending on the camera make and camera lens, for example, Nikon or Canon.

Make sure your metering mode is either of Centre Weighted Average, or of a metering mode that will allow you to take your photos with clarity, as you will want to make sure this helps you when you need to focus your camera’s lens on a particular subject, object or item.

Also, one strong recommendation I will make that will most definitely benefit those of you wanting to take the best quality photos is to set your photo size to the NEF/RAW format, because your photos will be much bigger and will also be full of detail.

If this has helped you out, then please let me know, and if I have missed any important details out that should be here regarding photography, please let me know by submitting your feedback below. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

Weekly Log 6 (Tuesday 17th May 2016 – Thursday 19th May 2016) – Final Major Project

Bringing the Final Major Project Weekly Log collection to a remarkable end, here is the final Weekly Log from the Final Major Project, which reflects on what I did in the final week of the Final Major Project, as well as to what I did over the entirety of the Final Major Project.

Research / Context

During the course of the sixth week, I started to get together my research, which were the Chosen Photographers presentation, including the Photo Research presentation, including my experimentation photographs that I have taken over the course of the past six weeks since the beginning of the Final Major Project. Based on the previous set of photographs I took of my first subject for Shoot 5, I took my sixth and final set of photographs, but this time of my fourth and final chosen subject. The location that I chose to take the sixth shoot of photographs was the car park, opposite Croydon College, as I had previously developed my experiments there when I took my fourth set of photographs but of my third chosen subject. The car park opposite Croydon College was the location I strongly believe was best suited for taking my sixth and final set of photographs, as I was able to use the settings I adjusted on the Canon EOS 1200D correctly to take my photographs of my fourth and final chosen subject and I also felt that there was a dramatic improvement in the way I took my photographs, based on my reflection of Shoot 5. In terms of the research and photographic experiments I have done, I have made sure to pick the best photos that I have taken, as I will be presenting the photographs that I feel are my best for the show, which I will also want to count as my final pieces for the first year of this two-year Film & Photography course.

Practical Tasks Done

As I wanted to make sure that my sixth and final set of photographs were of the correct standard that my previous experimentation photographs were at, I did make sure to set the exposure for my photos correctly, including changing the light setting to Cloudy, given the damp and dismal weather conditions during the course of this last week of photo experiments. I also made sure to keep the ISO below no more than 400, to ensure that my photographs are of the best resolution and lighting where possible and I also made sure to set the aperture and white balance correctly so that my photographs would come out the way I wanted them to look.

I did initially find taking these photographs of my fourth and final subject difficult at first, as I was worried that because of the damp and dismal weather conditions, this would affect the photographs I would take. These photos were difficult to take initially given the areas of lighting in and around the car park, so I did make sure to think very carefully about the variety of locations around the car park that I could use.

What worked well for me was I was able to produce most of these photos to a much better standard than to how I did my previous photographic experiments, as some of the photographs I took of my fourth and final chosen subject didn’t need to have the curves adjusted in Adobe Photoshop, including not needing to have the levels changed. I did feel that Shoots 4 and 6 had that standard of photographic exposure that I wanted and I feel pleased with the overall result that I have managed to achieve.

To improve on this in the future, I will be making sure to choose a better location next time for taking my photographs, that’s including setting the exposure, the aperture, the white balance and the light setting correctly, so that I stand a better chance of producing a set of photographs that will be of the best quality where possible.

Critical Analysis

For my critical analysis, I did make sure to refer to all of the research I have gathered over the course of the Final Major Project, including referring to the photographic experiments I have developed over the duration of the Final Major Project. As the photographic experiments I’ve done on my first, second, third and fourth subjects have developed over the course of the entire Final Major Project, I have noticed that I have been able to produce my photographs better each time, and when there has been the odd occasion where certain photographs I take may end up possibly fuzzy due to camera shake or being underexposed or overexposed, I have made sure to rectify any mistakes I’ve made in taking certain photos by improving on them better for the next time. August Sander, Fazal Sheikh and Thomas Ruff’s photographical works have influenced me and inspired me to create my own concept throughout the whole of the Final Major Project and I also feel that the level of research and experiments I’ve done, including doing extended research by taking notes from the Barbican Gallery have helped me to produce the concept I wanted from the very start to the very end of the Final Major Project.

I feel that I have developed and bettered my understanding over the entirety of the Final Major Project, as I have been able to reflect on the experiments I’ve done, including the research I’ve gathered to produce my own concept for my Final Major Project, which has been based around Facial Expressionism. I also feel I have developed a better understanding of my own concept, which was influenced and inspired by the three chosen photographers, August Sander, Thomas Ruff and Fazal Sheikh, and I now have a clear intention of the final pieces I will be producing for the show, given that I have the best photographs available to use now for digital printing. My concept has, from the very start, been genuine and I strongly believe that I have developed my confidence better with camera work, including getting a better understanding of the settings I can use to produce a better photograph or a set of photographs for experimentation, and I strongly feel that the photos I have chosen to use as my final pieces are ready for printing and are also ready for hanging for the show in June.

This Final Major Project Weekly Log set has officially come to a remarkable end. I hope you found all of these Weekly Logs interesting, and if so, please feel free to submit feedback. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

Weekly Log 5 (Tuesday 10th May 2016 – Thursday 12th May 2016) – Final Major Project

Continuing on from the fourth Weekly Log, here is the fifth Weekly Log from the Final Major Project.

Research / Context

During the course of the fifth week, I continued with developing my photography skills, based on the research I have gathered so far and I also worked on my evaluative notes, which were based around the best photos I took over the course of the past few weeks since the first week of the Final Major Project.

Based on my previous set of photographs which I took of my third subject, I started my fifth shoot of photographs, which focused again on my first chosen subject, but this time in a different location that didn’t involve graffiti. I did experiment more with facial expressionism in these photographs, as I had made sure to capture my first chosen subject simulating some of the similar emotions I asked him to do for the first shoot of photographs, but this time with some new emotions that I hadn’t tried before in my photo experiments.

Based on the research and shoot photographs I have so far, I used the car park below the outside of Croydon College to take my fifth set of photographs of my first subject. The research from the Barbican Gallery also gave me more ideas for my own concepts, given that the exhibition I went to see at the Barbican Gallery was called Strange and Familiar, which contains a collection of works that were curated by Martin Parr.

In terms of the fifth set of photographs I took of my first subject (previously used for Shoot 1), I wanted to make sure that I didn’t use the graffiti spot this time, but instead where he would be centred in the middle of a brick-wall. This was useful for me, as I was able to create a similar amount of emotions in the photos I took, including some new emotions as well.

Practical Tasks Done

As I wanted to make sure that my fifth set of photographs were of the same standard of the photographs I took of my first, second and third subjects, I did make sure to set the exposure correctly, including the aperture correctly, not to forget to mention the white balance correctly and also the light setting correctly. I had made sure to change the light setting to Sunlight, as this would help me to take my photos with perfect exposure, rather than the photos be too underexposed or too overexposed.

I did find taking these photographs of my first chosen subject again difficult at first, given that I did have a small amount of trouble in trying to keep the camera still, which did notice in a few of the photographs I took, though the slight camera shake appeared only in some photos, but not all of them. I did also worry that the changes I made to the settings on the Canon EOS 1200D would affect the photos I would take.

What did work well for me, however, was I was able to produce these photographs with the settings I used, which helped me to produce the photos I wanted and I feel pleased with how some, if not most of the photos turned out.

To improve, I will be making sure that the exposure, the aperture, the white balance and the light setting are set correctly for my photographs, as this will help me when it comes to producing my final set of experiment photographs before I proceed onto my final piece, including hanging my work for the show.

Critical Analysis

For my critical analysis, I did make sure to refer to the research I gathered, the shoot photographs I took, including the notes I gathered whilst I was at the Barbican Gallery on Tuesday 10th May 2016 to produce my fifth set of photographs. As I had previously taken photographs of my first, second and third chosen subjects, I thought it would be a good idea to use my first chosen subject again for the fifth set of photographs. The photo research presentation I did consisted of certain photographs I chose that were by August Sander, Fazal Sheikh and Thomas Ruff. This photo research presentation, including the Chosen Photographers presentation I did had helped me to produce a better set of experimentation photographs for the Final Major Project. This will help me considering the concept I have in mind is developing a lot better than I thought and is the concept I will want to produce in my work, but most importantly, in my final piece as well.

I feel that I have developed a better understanding now, considering that I recently took the fifth set of photographs, but of my third subject, which has developed a lot better than I thought. I also feel that I have developed a better understanding based on the research that I have gathered over the course of the Final Major Project. I feel I have developed a better understanding of the concept I have produced and I hope that the concept I have developed is at the standard I want it to be at for when I produce my final piece, including the last set of photographs I want to produce. This concept I have is genuine and I will be making sure that I can produce it for my final piece, including my photographic prints as well, which I will aim to produce and hang for the show in June.

This brings the fifth Weekly Log for the Final Major Project to a close. Please make sure to check back soon for the final Weekly Log from the Final Major Project.

Alex Smithson

Weekly Log 2 (Tuesday 19th April 2016 – Thursday 21st April 2016) – Final Major Project

Continuing on from the first Weekly Log, here is the second Weekly Log from the Final Major Project.

Research / Context

During the course of the second week, I had made sure to use the extensive research that I did in the first week to produce my first shoot of photographs. The photographers I did research on in the first week back were August Sander, Fazal Sheikh and Thomas Ruff.

The research presentation I did in the first week helped me to produce my first set of photographs, and I used one of the students for the concept I wanted to produce. Before I took 6-7 photographs of the chosen student, I did some test shots of the student first as I wanted to make sure to set the exposure correctly, that’s including the white balance and setting the aperture correctly, not to forget the mode I wanted to take the photos on, which was manual.

After I did the test shots, I produced my first set of photographs with influences to the three photographers I did extensive research on, and although a very small amount of photographs were slightly overexposed, I was able to resolve the problems with the overexposed photographs by using Adobe Photoshop CC.

Practical Tasks Done

As I wanted to make sure that my first shoot of photographs were of the correct standard, I did make sure to refer to my research presentation that I did on the chosen photographers during the first week, that’s including the photographs that the chosen photographers took.

I did initially find taking the photographs a bit difficult to start with, because considering the fact we had lovely sunny weather during the course of the second week, this did cause a slight teething problem, as taking the first set of photographs were a lot more complicated, given that the settings that were chosen were compromised by the camera’s ability to keep itself focused at the levels that the camera was already set at, due to the camera becoming exposed to too much light.

What did work well for me, however, was I was still able to produce a great set of photographs with the Canon EOS 1200D, and I did find that the student I chose for the first shoot was a good choice for taking photos, as he was able to map out the emotions for each photograph that I asked him to make and I was absolutely pleased with the overall result that I was able to get from my first shoot of photographs.

To improve, I want to make sure I can choose a better location to take some more photos, as this will help me to get the lighting just right, including setting the exposure and white balance, not to forget setting the aperture correctly before proceeding on to taking experimentation photographs.

Critical Analysis

For my critical analysis, I wanted to make sure that the research I gathered for my research presentation based on the three photographers I chose would relate to the first photographic experiment I did of 6-7 different emotions. The research presentation benefitted me as this helped me to produce my first shoot of photographs, and this, including my research presentation, will help me to develop a better range of ideas for what I can produce for the third week.

I do feel that I’ve applied my own understanding of the research I’ve gathered, including the photographs I have taken, as this will help me to expand my knowledge further, including developing my photographic experiments better as well. I am keen to improve and expand further with my photography skills and I am also keen on expanding my knowledge further now that I have a genuine concept in mind that I want to produce for my final piece in June.

This brings the second Weekly Log for the Final Major Project to a close. Please make sure to check back soon for the third Weekly Log from the Final Major Project.

Alex Smithson

A Splash of Vividness

On the 1st July, I took the opportunity to get some photos of the raindrops after a downpour of rain, as the calm before the storm came and went, and then the calm after the storm came after the storm passed.

I ceased the opportunity to take these photos, as I wanted to create an updated set of photographs, with inspiration from the photos I took last year for the article: “Raindrops on Crystal Clear Glass“.

Below are the photographs in their natural glory, including a photo of the rainbow as the storm from the 1st July passed.

I feel pleased with the overall result I achieved from these photographs, as I was able to change the exposure to make these photos receive the results that I wanted. I am continuously making improvements to my photography skills so I can promise you that there is more to come. I feel quite pleased with the way these photos turned out, though I will make sure to retain an improved set of photographs for my photography collection next time.

If you enjoyed this photography article, please feel free to submit feedback. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson