30 May 2011


Click here to download the PDF.

So, here I am at the end of my journey through TAOP. Journey is such a cliché word to use but it really has been just that: I have learned a lot and taken all of the points away from the course. I really do believe I have made a massive progression from the humble beginnings of Assignment 1 to this final write up for submission. There has been a transition from merely fulfilling the brief and becoming James the Photographer. I owe a massive amount of thanks to my tutor Joe Fox for his advice and encouragement throughout the journey as it was he that helped me realise that the course should be about my vision and pushing to confines of the assignment briefs. Once I realised this and started to truly analysis the potential of each chapter and draw inspiration from photographic artists I liked, TAOP became so much more than just a first venture into my creative studies. In many ways I am a little sad to see it end and looking back over my work I can see to many avenues that I could have taken. It truly is a document that can be readdressed and assignments can be redone on long weekends for personal projects seeing how much can be squeezed from the content.

I am very content with my submitted work for chapters 3, 4 and 5 and am particularly proud of pushing the limits of the brief for Assignment 4: Light. It called for a single object to be subjected to various lighting conditions in order to draw out certain qualities but it said nothing about the object being inanimate! A friend modelled for me and provided interesting, unique compositions for each frame as well as satisfying my enjoyment of extensive planning and elaborate staging. It also gave me the chance to experiment with home-made budget lighting equipment and planning for the position of the sun during particular times of the day. When you compare this to my earlier work, in particular ‘Pointed’ for Assignment 1, you can clearly see my ignorance and complete inability to recognise just how harsh and unpleasant highlights and shadows can be without an understanding of how light behaves. When you compare such an image with my work with small light sources for Assignment 4 you can clearly see a vast improvement.

Personally, given the importance of mastering the control of light, I would have preferred to have seen the chapter on Light come first in TAOP. My logical behind this is that, given the literal interpretation of the assignment, lessons from composition, focal length, frame elements and colour could be easily set aside to allow the student to gain an understanding of the behaviour of light and subsequently enhance their work in the proceeding chapters. Photography is essentially painting with light so it is my opinion that this fundamental aspect should be given first consideration. Indeed, the exercises on the temperature of light could be amalgamated into the colour chapter to form a rationalised focus on white-balance.

Assignment 2, take 2

11 Photographs

Click here to view flickr set.

Click here to download the PDF.

I thought it might be fun just to pick an assignment and redo it just to give myself a project. I recently took a long weekend in Rome and I was, naturally, trigger-happy with the Nikon. Most places wouldn’t let me take my tripod inside so I was constantly changing the settings and varying the ISO level to counter areas with low lighting. Here’s a fresh take on Assignment 2: When in Rome.

28 May 2011

Assignment 5 - Narrative and Illustration

14 Photographs

Click here to view flickr set.

Click here to view the Magazine Article in PDF format.

Thinking up an interesting and creative topic for this assignment has been an arduous task: I wanted to pour everything I have learned over TAOP into it to see off the course. If you read some of my log entries, I juggled some ideas around and ultimately rejected them. I spent a long time browsing other students’ work on the forums and I wanted to avoid choosing a subject that limited me to one event. For example, I’ve seen others’ work where they had visited a fair or travelled to a venue for a day of photography; I wanted to spend a couple of days shooting and go back to the subject after the event in order to evaluate the photographs and take further exposures.

I was driving around doing my general admin jobs while off shift and I happened to be driving past the village of West Wycombe when I spied a banner for a Ghost Tour and Paranormal Investigation of the Hellfire Caves over the Bank Holiday weekend. One thing I wanted to do was something similar to the work of Joshua Hoffine, much like when I imitated Gregory Crewdson for Assignment 3, but I did not want the whole series to be so contrived. This choice of subject allowed me to experiment with various techniques, plan and execute still-life and also think fast to capture those opportune photographs in addition to lots of planning to mimic Hoffine. Therefore, this assignment has a variety of methods and styles that demanded full control of my camera settings and appreciation of all I learn through out TAOP.

I have also decided that it would be fun to write up the assignment as a magazine article as this is what I were suppose to be imagining I were doing....

To my surprise I received another email from the OCA saying that they were going to feature me for a second time for this assignment! Very exciting news - you can see the entry on the WeAreOCA by clicking here.