Welcome to September!

Welcome to September on Mother Nature! As this month is set to be just as busy at the last, it is safe to say I may be publishing not as often as I used to, considering I am making sure to prioritise my time as effectively as possible, given that I have been looking around for jobs, with some good news in mind.

I sent off my CV & Covering Letter late yesterday morning for a photography job, and received a phone call within 24 hours of applying as I’ve been invited to go along for an interview on Wednesday 6th September. It’s a big step for me considering it is my first ever proper job interview and I am nervous to tell you the truth, but hopefully it will go well. This came at such a good time, to be frank, as my dream job is to become a photographer, and hopefully, fingers crossed, if the interview goes well, then I might get the job. At this stage, as I’m preparing myself for the interview next week, I will be making sure to plan the route in advance so that I can get to and from Camden before, during and after my interview. It’s a big step for me so fingers crossed! This does mean I will be inactive a bit more often than usual as I am making sure to be as flexible as possible considering I really want this job.

Meanwhile, over the course of this month, I will try and get some more of the photos I produced last month for the photography series: “The Concept of Expression” published on here, as I have been noticing some of the photography work I have published for this self-produced photography series has gained quite a lot of good traction and feedback on Instagram, and while we’re on the subject of photography work, expect some photos to be edited to black and white to add effect to the original photographs, as I will be experimenting further with some of the photos I choose to edit.

What are your plans for September, everyone? I am keen to find out what you plan to do over the next few weeks. Please feel free to submit your responses below in the comments.

Until then, Welcome to September!

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup: August 2017

This month sure flew like clockwork, didn’t it? I’ve been so busy and so productive lately with job-hunting and other things, whilst going out and enjoying myself with friends that it’s officially the end of the month.

I would love to hear how your month went, I am keen to find out whether you enjoyed August, and if not, please feel free to submit your response below in the comments. I would love to hear what you got up to over the course of August.

Without further ado, I will take a look back on the articles I published over the course of August.

1.8.2017 – Welcoming all of you to August, I mentioned that the next few weeks were set to be peaceful, but also a little busy, as I had my next batch of photographs on the way very soon, which would feature a certain someone who is a very close friend of mine.

2.8.2017 – “Should We Change at the Expense of Others?” was my way of getting all of you to see the way I see things from a personal perspective, considering that changing ourselves at the expense of others would mean we would put ourselves in a position where we’re made to change ourselves in order to be socially acceptable to everyone else.

9.8.2017 – A few weeks prior to writing the article: “Croydon Murals Defaced Beyond Recognition”, I spoke about the beautifully exquisite Amy Winehouse: “Tears Dry On Their Own” mural, which was produced by the artist, Bareface, in conjunction with and as commissioned by the RISE Gallery.

I published this article, because on Saturday 5th August 2017, me and two close friends of mine paid a visit to Katharine Street because we wanted to find out if the mural of Amy Winehouse was still in the same finished state it was when I photographed it just a few weeks before.

Sadly, on closer inspection, I was devastated to discover that not only had the mural been defaced, but a grey block and teardrop were drawn just below her eye, with some graffiti etched onto the back of Bareface’s clothing, which ultimately destroyed Bareface’s true work of art.

15.8.2017 – It was a long time coming! Sonic Mania finally arrived and officially marked a nostalgic return to form with the help of Christian Whitehead, Tee Lopes, PagodaWest Games, Lola Shiraishi & Headcannon!

Reliving 26 years of some of the most iconic levels from Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Sonic CD and Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic Mania revisited Green Hill Zone with an easter egg of an old landscape that was ditched from the final release of Sonic the Hedgehog, with the zip-line being re-introduced, and a lost level which was meant to appear in the original Sonic games but never got used finally came to Sonic Mania, and that was Mirage Saloon Zone. Studiopolis Zone, which is an all-new level, officially débuted in Sonic Mania with a city-like landscape that made it feel a little like Stardust Speedway, Casino Nights and Carnival Night Zone mixed in.

22.8.2017 – Following on from when I photographed my close friends, Saviyon Thomas & Shaquille Roachford, I was honoured to have been given the opportunity to photograph my close friend, the actor and mental health awareness campaigner, Oli Regan, again, but this time for my photography series: “The Concept of Expression”.

As I look to explore the concept of expression in the subjects I photograph, photographing Oli gave me the chance to explore his personality, regardless of the angle, but more importantly, as body language is a consistent boundary for the subject’s facial expression, photographing Oli again gave me the chance to explore his personality through these photo headshots, as well as his persona, so in this case, because he’s an actor, he puts on a serious face, which makes the photos interesting, considering that being serious really makes him stand out.

Thanks for such a great month everyone. Although it has been quite the busy month, I wanted to take a moment to remember the TV legend and Strictly Come Dancing presenter, Sir Bruce Forsyth, who sadly passed away on the 18th August 2017, but I also wanted to take this opportunity to also pay my full respects to all the victims and all the families who have lost their loved ones as a result of Hurricane Harvey. My thoughts are with all of you at this time.

Again, thanks for a great and busy month everyone and I will see you all in September. To everyone going through Hurricane Harvey, stay strong, but always know I’ll keep you all in my prayers and hope this hurricane ends soon.

Alex Smithson

The Concept of Expression / Oli Regan

Following on from when I photographed my close friends, Saviyon Thomas & Shaquille Roachford, I am honoured to have been given the opportunity to photograph my close friend, the actor and mental health awareness campaigner, Oli Regan, again, but this time for my photography series: “The Concept of Expression”.

As I look to explore the concept of expression in the subjects I photograph, photographing Oli gave me the chance to explore his personality, regardless of the angle, but more importantly, as body language is a consistent boundary for the subject’s facial expression, photographing Oli again gave me the chance to explore his personality through these photo headshots, as well as his persona, so in this case, because he’s an actor, he puts on a serious face, which makes the photos interesting, considering that being serious really makes him stand out.

The serious impression and the modelling approach that Oli has taken to make sure the photographs I have produced look visually eye-catching are out of this world. Whilst I remember, keep an eye out for Oli on the latest EE advert that’s been on TV recently. You don’t want to miss it. To spot him, wait for Stormzy‘s song: “Big for Your Boots“, taken from his album, Gang Signs & Prayer, to come on after Kevin Bacon finishes with the word: “INCOMING!” and you should see Oli on the left-hand-side of the screen skanking to Stormzy’s record. It’s a bloody good advert and you will not be disappointed.

Below are the photos I’ve produced of my close friend, Oli Regan.

I am pleased with the way these photographs turned out, but I won’t lie to you, naming each photograph based on the expression and emotion is quite hard, and the photography work I produced when I was at Croydon College is living proof that naming each photo based on the expression and emotion is harder than it looks.

What I will need to improve on is angling the camera when I photograph any subject, so that rather than photograph the subject the way I would usually photograph them, I would need to put the camera up higher, but with the camera angled down a little so that there is little to no head-space on the portrait photographs. These photographs I have produced are really good as they capture the expressions and emotions I wanted Oli to make, but I will be making sure to improve on certain photography-based areas I may or may not be so good

These photographs I have produced are really good as they capture the expressions and emotions I wanted Oli to make, but I will be making sure to improve on certain photography-based areas I may or may not be so good at so that this gives me a better chance next time.

Other than that, I am actually pleased with the overall outcome from these photographs.

These photos will be in my E-Folio so please make sure to check my E-Folio as I will be updating the E-Folio as often as I can.

If you like these photographs I have produced of my close friend, the mental health awareness campaigner and actor, Oli Regan, please leave your comments below. I would love to hear your response and if there are any further improvements I can make for next time, please let me know. I am open to criticism as this will help me to improve the photographs I take for next time.

Alex Smithson

DSLR Used: Nikon D3300

Welcome to August!

Welcome to August on Mother Nature everyone! As the next few weeks are set to be peaceful, but also a little busy, it is safe to say that time sure will fly this month, as I’ve got my next batch of photographs on the way very soon for my own photography series which will be of a certain someone who is a very close friend of mine.

I have photographed this person before, but I will reveal the person I will have photographed very soon once another article goes up for: “The Concept of Expression” Photography Series.

What are your plans for August? I would love to hear what you are planning to do over the course of this month. Please feel free to submit your response below, I would love to hear what plans you have got in store for this month.

Until then:

Welcome to August!

Alex Smithson

 

The Concept of Expression: Saviyon Thomas & Shaquille Roachford

To kick off my own photography series, titled: “The Concept of Expression”, I have photographed two close friends of mine as I am intending to explore the concept of expression, and how a facial expression can alter or change the mood of a photograph. In this case, the two close friends I have photographed for my own photography series are Saviyon Thomas & Shaquille Roachford.

Just like when I did my Final Major Project when I was at Croydon College, when my Final Major Project was based solely on Facial Expressionism, the photography series: “The Concept of Expression” completely focuses on my own photography work post-college and post-education, and this photography series intends to explore facial expressionism in more detail, as I want to make sure I can cut to what really matters in any facial expression, whether it’s natural or not, and that’s the emotion of that specific facial expression.

After I photographed the beautifully exquisite Amy Winehouse mural which was produced by Bareface in accordance with the RISE Gallery, I decided to photograph both Saviyon Thomas & Shaquille Roachford, and by getting them to do some facial expressions, this helped me to lay the foundations of the photography work I wanted to produce. Some of the expressions that Saviyon & Shaquille made were completely natural and off-guard, though they weren’t aware that I photographed them completely off-guard until I showed them the photographs I took of both of them near the mural, and away from the mural.

Below are the facial expressions that I photographed of Saviyon Thomas.

Below are the black and white versions of some of the photographs I took of Saviyon, with different captions that I felt worked really well with the selected photos.

Below are the facial expressions that I photographed of Shaquille Roachford.

Below is a black and white version of one of the photographs I took of Shaquille, with a caption that I felt had a powerful connection with Mental Health.

Overall, with the photographs I have produced that feature my close friends, Saviyon Thomas & Shaquille Roachford, I am absolutely glad to have finally got the chance to use my own Nikon D3300 DSLR after some time of not being able to use it due to using the Canon DSLR’s at Croydon College.

The photos I changed to black and white, which are present on this website’s Instagram account, received quite a lot of good responses, which stunned me as I have now noticed my photography work is slowly but surely getting noticed, which is what I worked so hard for.

These photographs will be in my E-Folio, so please make sure to visit my E-Folio as I will be updating it more and more over the next few weeks. Stay tuned for more, as I will be photographing a certain someone again very soon who I photographed for my Final Major Project when I was at Croydon College, so I can guarantee you won’t want to miss the next person I am photographing very soon.

Please feel free to submit your response on the photographs I have produced featuring Saviyon Thomas & Shaquille Roachford. I am open to criticism as this will most certainly help me to outline the necessary areas for improvement.

Alex Smithson

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 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 #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 #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