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

Thomas Ruff / Research

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

Thomas Ruff is a German photographer who lives and also works in Düsseldorf in Germany. As he currently shares a photography studio with other German photographers, such as Andreas Gursky, Axel Hütte and Laurenz Berges on Düsseldorf’s Hansaalee, the photography studio itself formerly comprised of a municipal electricity station, which was converted between the course of 1998 and 2000 by architects, Herzog & de Meuron, who are part of Tate Modern fame, with an updated basement gallery that was completed in 2011.

Below are the slides in the exact order, and the work I have done Harvard Referencing for which references Thomas Ruff’s photography work I take absolutely no credit for. I also take absolutely no credit for the self-portrait photograph produced by Hans Peter Schaefer and Thomas Ruff. I’ve merely referenced Thomas Ruff’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, the awards that recognised Thomas Ruff’s work, as well as the various exhibitions he has done, including his publications and ISBN numbers, and also his major collections, with external links to further research. All credit goes to Thomas Ruff, Tate Modern, Hans Peter Schaefer, Haus Der Kunst & Rubell.

This research I’ve done on Thomas Ruff will help me to develop my headshot photographs better for my Facial Expressionism. 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 some updated headshots on the way, and one of the subjects I will be photographing soon will be someone who I’ve been working with most recently, so I am absolutely certain that you won’t want to miss the creative photography work I will be publishing very soon.

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

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

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

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

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 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

Weekly Log 3 (Tuesday 26th April 2016 – Thursday 28th April 2016) – Final Major Project

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

Research / Context

During the course of the third week, I made sure to use the extensive research I gathered, including the photographs I took to do some further photographical research on the three chosen photographers, which were August Sander, Fazal Sheikh and Thomas Ruff.

In the photo research presentation that I did, I looked up the same photographs that the three photographers took, but instead I wanted to make sure to detail the photographs based on what they were called, what year they were produced, the year they went to print, as well as the website location I found those photographs from, including when I last visited that specific website where that photo or photos were located.

After doing the photo research presentation, I went outside and also into the photography studio to get some more photos, but this time of a different student from my class, considering that two weeks before, I did my first shoot of photographs using my previously chosen subject. I did make sure that there were some ideas available from the collection of photographs that I’ve taken so far, so that this would help me when I produce more photographs for the following week, based on the concept I want to produce myself.

Practical Tasks Done

As I wanted to make sure that my second shoot of photographs were of a similar standard to the first set of photographs that I produced, I wanted to make sure that I could expand my ideas further with taking my photographs of the second chosen student, but also showing improvements in setting the exposure, the aperture, including setting the camera on the correct light setting, based on the research I’ve currently gathered so far.

I did initially find taking these photographs somewhat difficult considering I was in the photography studio, though I initially was going to take these photographs outside. I did take into consideration that the lighting may not be as good in the photography studio than it would be outside, but the second shoot of photographs were a little bit more complicated than first thought, given that the exposure and aperture, although set correctly, did sometimes go off a little bit after the photos were taken.

What did work well, however, was I was able to produce these photographs with the exposure and aperture staying the same. The camera I used to take the second set of photographs was the Canon EOS 1200D. Overall, I feel pleased with the results I’ve been given from these photographs, though I will be making sure to improve on this in the future.

To improve, I will be making sure to choose a better location where there is enough light, but where it isn’t inside the college, but outside somewhere either outside the college, or somewhere away from the college. This will be better for me as I will be able to set the exposure correctly, including the aperture and white balance.

Critical Analysis

For my critical analysis, I wanted to make sure that I could use all of the research I’ve gathered so far, including the first set of photographs that I took to produce a photo research presentation, including taking some more photographs for the second shoot, based around the same amount of emotions (6 or 7) that I used previously for the first set of photographs that I did on the first chosen subject, but this time with the second shoot of photographs being taken of the second chosen subject. The photo research presentation, including the current amount of research I’ve gathered so far, including the growing collection of photographs have benefitted me as this helped me to expand my ideas further into something that I will be able to produce for the fourth week.

I do feel that I have applied my own understanding based on the research I’ve gathered, including the photographs I’ve taken, as this will help me to expand further on the concept I have in mind, including being able to develop my photography skills and experiments better as well. I am absolutely keen on expanding my knowledge of the ideas I have further, considering that the concept I have in mind is genuine and is the concept I will want to produce for my final piece in June.

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

Alex Smithson