Headshot Photographs / #1 to #10 / Facial Expressionism / Final Major Project / Contact Sheets

As I prepare to end my Final Major Project, which comes to a close on Monday 5th June, I have created Contact Sheets for my Final Major Project, which will be in my sketchbook once printed.

All of the Headshot Photographs which consist of my close friends, which are Jonathan McCartney, Steven Geer, Oli Regan, Leonardo Mouza, Terrence Mathew, Mhamad Rauf & Kasra Soltani, are almost ready for the End of Year Show, and all I need to do now is get the photos put on to a large number of slides, timed around 10 to 20 seconds each, and then all that’s left is to finalise my proposal and then the sketchbook annotations, along with the Final Evaluation.

I hadn’t anticipated my last year of college would fly so quick! Time flies when you’re having fun, also when you’re working your socks off to make sure you can achieve the best from the work you produce.

Below are all of the contact sheets from #1 to #10, including the photo edits and black and white versions of the original photographs.

Headshot #1 – Jonathan McCartney

Headshot #1 – Jonathan McCartney / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #2 – Jonathan McCartney

Headshot #2 – Jonathan McCartney / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #2 – Jonathan McCartney / Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

Headshot #3 – Steven Geer

Headshot #3 – Steven Geer / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #3 – Steven Geer / Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

Headshot #4 – Oli Regan / Black Backdrop & Red Backdrop

Headshot #4 – Oli Regan / WordFoto Edits / Black Backdrop & Red Backdrop

Headshot #4 – Oli Regan / Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

Headshot #5 – Leonardo Mouza

Headshot #5 – Leonardo Mouza / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #5 – Leonardo Mouza / Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

Headshot #6 – Terrence Mathew & Leonardo Mouza

Headshot #6 – Terrence Mathew & Leonardo Mouza / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #6 – Terrence Mathew & Leonardo Mouza / Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

Headshot #7 – Mhamad Rauf

Headshot #7 – Mhamad Rauf / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #7 – Mhamad Rauf / Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

Headshot #8 – Kasra Soltani

Headshot #8 – Kasra Soltani / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #8 – Kasra Soltani / Monochrome (Black & White) / Facial Expressionism Photographs + A Continuation of the First Set of Facial Expressionism Photographs

Headshot #9 – Kasra Soltani

Headshot #9 – Kasra Soltani / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #9 – Kasra Soltani / Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

Headshot #10 – Kasra Soltani

Headshot #10 – Kasra Soltani / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #10 – Kasra Soltani / Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

These contact sheets are essential for the project work I have produced, as they cover all of the work I have produced for the Final Major Project and given the fact I have named the photographs, this is beneficial for me as I can prepare for the end of the Final Major Project whilst I prepare a photographic presentation for the End of Year Show.

It’s hard to believe that on Monday 5th June at 11:30 AM, all of the work I have produced will be handed in for what will be the last time. I still cannot get my head around the fact I have only a few weeks left at Croydon College. The time sure flew! School went quick, there’s no denying that, but college, on the other hand, went like a blip!

These contact sheets, which go in conjunction with all of the coursework I have produced, will be viewable in the E-Folio.

Please submit below your response on whether there are any improvements I can make for when I produce photography work similar to the headshot photography work I have produced in the future. I would love to hear your response.

Alex Smithson

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 #8 / Facial Expressionism / Final Major Project / Kasra Soltani

As part of my Final Major Project, Headshot #8 follows on Headshot #7, which focused on the subject, Mhamad Rauf, and Headshot #8 focuses on my next subject, which is my close friend, Kasra Soltani.

For these photographs, I wanted to create a different approach to the facial expressions I wanted Kasra to make by getting him to do those facial expressions as to the way he makes those facial expressions naturally.

I experimented, just like with Headshot #6 of Terrence & Leonardo and with Headshot #7 of Mhamad, with the graffiti as a backdrop, as I wanted to photograph Kasra down in the walkway that is just on the right-hand-side outside the rotunda of Croydon College.

All of these headshot photographs build further on all of the research I have done over the course of the Facial Expressionism Final Major Project, and the five photographers I have done research on are Fazal Sheikh, Irving Penn, Thomas Ruff, August Sander & David Bailey.

Below are the headshot photographs I have produced of Kasra, including some Monochrome photographs that I produced after I finished photographing Kasra making the facial expressions I asked him to do for these photographs.

Canon EOS 1200D

WordFoto Edits

Monochrome (Black & White) / Facial Expressionism Photographs + A Continuation of the First Set of Facial Expressionism Photographs

I feel that the research I have done over the course of the Facial Expressionism Final Major Project has really informed and developed my photography skills further. I have noticed with these photographs I have taken of Kasra that my photography skills have rapidly improved. Up until I photographed Terrence, Leo, Mhamad & Kasra, I was initially against the idea of photographing outside the college, but I was glad to have experimented further with my photography skills by photographing outside the college. as I have noticed in just the short space of a few weeks that my photography skills are now a lot better.

These photographs I have taken of my close friend, Kasra Soltani, including the edits I have produced can be found in my E-Folio, but stay tuned, as I will be publishing Headshot #9 very soon, in which I have photographed Kasra again, but this time in the photography studio. I can guarantee that the next batch of photographs I have produced for Headshot #9 featuring Kasra will be the best photographs I have produced yet.

I would most certainly love to get your response on these photographs and please let me know if there are any improvements I can make for next time. Your response is 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 #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

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

Artistic Interpretation #7 / Beyoncé Giselle Knowles

Following hot on the heels of my previous Artistic Interpretation which was based on the iconic music legend, Prince Rogers Nelson, I started working on Artistic Interpretation #7 which focuses on the Destiny’s Child musician and solo hit-maker, Beyoncé Giselle Knowles.

I wanted to draw Beyoncé as a way of celebrating the heartwarming news that broke on the 1st February that she was expecting twins.

I decided to take my time to draw her because I wanted to make sure I could shade certain areas of the drawing so that her facial features stand out the same as I would want for her hair to stand out.

For me, drawing Beyoncé was quite a challenge, because I referred to the photograph that was taken of her that announced she would headline the Super Bowl on the 3rd February 2013, which was fantastic, given that Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams performed alongside her for the hit record, Bootylicious, with her most recent Super Bowl appearance being at the Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show that took place last year, when she performed alongside Bruno Mars and Coldplay.

Below is my artistic interpretation of Beyoncé Giselle Knowles.

Artistic Interpretation #7 / Beyoncé Giselle Knowles
Artistic Interpretation #7 / Beyoncé Giselle Knowles

I am pleased with the overall result, as I had made sure to spend time on drawing Beyoncé, given that I wanted to make sure this drawing would not just celebrate Beyoncé as a musician, but that this drawing would celebrate her music career, given that she has been on the music scene for a long time now.

Again, congratulations to both Beyoncé & Jay Z on the pregnancy and may both your twins be blessed with perfect health, love, compassion, care, respect and support. I love you both.

Please feel free to comment below what you thought of my artistic interpretation of Beyoncé. I would love to hear your feedback.

Alex Smithson

Hello…It’s Me, Adele. (Artistic Interpretation #5) [Article #400]

I wanted to celebrate this 400th article in style by drawing Adele for my fifth artistic interpretation.

I thought it would be a lovely idea to draw Adele considering the massive global success she has and is thanks to her third studio album, 25, going to Number 1 in almost every single country, including her Hello video receiving well over 1.5 billion views in just under a year.

I can admit, there will be some confusion regarding this drawing, because when I was drawing Adele completely freehand with a photo reference of her looking up, I did notice that I could somewhat see Ruby Wax, and a hint of the musician, P!nk, including a slight hint of Elizabeth Taylor, given the eyelashes.

I wanted to draw just the features of Adele’s face like I did previously with Amy Winehouse, as I wanted to make Adele’s facial features stand out.

Below is my fifth artistic interpretation drawing of Adele in its full glory.

Adele Drawing by Alex Smithson

Overall, I feel I have improved quite a lot since I’ve been developing my drawing skills more, and I feel absolutely pleased with the end result I have achieved from this drawing I have done of Adele.

If you enjoyed this article and loved the drawing, please feel free to submit feedback below. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

Weekly Log 4 (Tuesday 3rd May 2016 – Thursday 5th May 2016) – Final Major Project

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

Research / Context

During the course of the fourth week, I worked on my Progression Options 1 Report, which was based around apprenticeships and university choices and the kind of benefits that both of them have if you applied for an apprenticeship or applied for a place at a top university in the United Kingdom.

I also used the research I did from the first few weeks of the Final Major Project to do some more shoot photographs for my own form of Facial Expressionism, given that my Final Major Project is based around facial expressionism. I did make sure to choose different locations for shooting the photographs, as I didn’t want to focus on one location alone, but on a variety of different locations that were outside or away from Croydon College.

Based on the research I’ve gathered so far, I used the photo research and my chosen photographers presentation, including the shoot photographs I’ve already taken to go to different places around Croydon.

As I took photographs of my third chosen subject, this was useful as I was able to use the graffiti spot on the left hand side outside the end of the college to take some photos of her expressing different emotions, while the other spots I used to take photos of her was the car park, but on the first and second floor, including the outside of the front of Croydon College, where she would stand outside but in front of the wall. The other spot I did use as well to take some photos of my third chosen subject was the staircase that’s next to the graffiti art, which leads down to the car park.

Practical Tasks Done

As I wanted to make sure that my fourth shoot of photographs were of the standard of the photographs I produced of my first and second chosen subjects, I wanted to make sure that I could improve on setting the exposure of my photos correctly, including using the correct setting to take my photos. For example, the Canon EOS 1200D would usually be set to work with photographs on Tungsten Light, but instead, I had made sure to change that to the Sunlight setting, as I would be shooting my photographs outside, but away from the college.

At first, I did find taking these photographs of my third chosen subject were difficult considering I was outside and because of the lovely weather, I was worried that the photos I took would become compromised due to the direct sunlight, but I did make sure to take into full consideration that I would have to choose different locations that were better suited to the photographs I would take.

What did work well, however, was I was able to produce these photographs with the correct exposure, the correct light setting and also the correct aperture. Some of the photographs were of a wide aperture, which meant the camera would focus more on my third subject and not on what’s behind her, while the rest of the photographs were of a small aperture, where my third subject would be in focus, including what was behind her.

To improve, I will be making sure that I can set the exposure of my shoot photographs, including setting the F number and aperture correctly, not to forget setting the light setting to Sunlight and not Tungsten Light. This will be useful for me as I will be able to produce the next shoot of photographs better before I proceed onto creating my final piece.

Critical Analysis

For my critical analysis, I did make sure that I could use all of the research and photographs I’ve gathered so far to produce my fourth set of photographs, given that I previously took photos of my first and second subjects over the first few weeks of the Final Major Project. As I took my fourth set of photographs, this time of my third subject, I felt that my understanding of exposure, aperture, including the change in the light setting and white balance had helped me to dramatically improve my photographs better than before. The photo research presentation I did which focused on the three chosen photographers I chose to research, which were August Sander, Fazal Sheikh and Thomas Ruff, helped me as I was able to refer to their works and create my photographic shoots in a similar format, but where they would focus on my own form of facial expressionism, given the concept I want to produce in my work.

I feel that I have applied my own understanding better to the current shoot of photographs I did of my third chosen subject, as I noticed an improvement in the photographs I took of her compared to the previous set of photographs I took before and I also feel that the research I’ve gathered based on the chosen photographer’s works, including the research presentation I did based on the chosen photographers have helped me to produce my photographs a lot better than before. The concept I have in mind is developing well and is the genuine concept I will want to produce for my final piece in June.

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

Alex Smithson

My Artistic Interpretation of Madonna

From Friday 11th March 2016 to Monday 14th March 2016, I worked on my drawing of the Queen of Pop songstress, Madonna, and this drawing that I worked on was inspired on one of the photos that was taken of Madonna during the Ray of Light era. I can be honest with you all, this was my first proper attempt at drawing someone including their face, considering that a few years ago, I couldn’t draw a face properly unless I used a photo to trace over the original.

In this drawing, however, I did use a photo of Madonna from the Ray of Light era, but I didn’t trace her at all. Instead, I did the drawing freehand by looking at my computer screen, and then I drew freehand as I went along. I studied the photo while I was drawing, so that I could create my own interpretation of Madonna during the Ray of Light era.

Because it took some time to complete, I wanted to make sure that I could show my creative side to life in the artistic sense, and because my drawing skills had rapidly improved over the course of last year and the year before, I thought it would be nice to pay homage to Madonna as she has left a positively remarkable impact not just on my life, but on the lives of all of us, and there is no doubt that she is actually one of the most revolutionary musicians around.

I don’t care about the controversy at the end of the day that centres around her, all I care about is that she is putting herself out there for all of us and making sure to stand up and fight for what we all believe in, and it’s about time. I look up to Madonna as she is always there to inspire and make us all believe in ourselves and that we can be the best we can be.

But one thing I can say about her is she is brave at being dangerous at certain things, because I certainly couldn’t take the kind of risks she can take, and I admire Madonna entirely, because she might feel afraid to do something like any of us would, but she is brave because she goes for those risks head-on and it’s been a lot of strength, determination, courage, passion and love that has made Madonna the independent woman she is today.

As yesterday drew Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour to a remarkable close, I thought it would be a good idea to showcase the drawing I’ve done. Please keep in mind that it will of course look different to the original drawing, but I wanted to make sure my artistic interpretation of Madonna was original.

Without further ado, here is my artistic interpretation of the Queen of Pop Songstress, Madonna, in drawing form.

My Artistic Interpretation of Madonna

It’s the first time in almost a year since I last did anything drawing-based, and this is the first time I’ve ever attempted drawing someone famous including their facial features and hair, so as you can imagine it was difficult for me to draw this, but all that hard work and free time drawing Madonna was absolutely worth it. I love how it’s turned out to be honest, and it’s a way of me saying with inspiration from Madonna that we should all be ‘Living for Love’ no matter what, because after all, love really does lift us up even at the most difficult of times. I hope my drawing inspires all of you :-).

If you liked my first ever artistic interpretation of Madonna, please feel free to feedback your thoughts on my first ever artistic drawing. Your feedback is absolutely appreciated.

Alex Smithson