Make a Google Images search for ‘landscape’, ‘portrait’, or any ordinary subject such as ‘apple’ or ‘sunset’. Add a screengrab of a representative page to your learning log and note down the similarities you find between the images.
Now take a number of your own photographs of the same subject, paying special attention to the ‘Creativity’ criteria at the end of Part One. You might like to make the subject appear ‘incidental’, for instance by using juxtaposition, focus or framing. Or you might begin with the observation of Ernst Haas, or the ‘camera vision’ of Bill Brandt.
Add a final image to your learning log, together with a selection of preparatory shots. In your notes describe how your photograph differs from your Google Images source images of the same subject.
I chose to use a kitchen cheese grater as it’s used daily by my carer and caught my eye on the kitchen draining board. It’s bright green plastic handle contrast against the bright chrome. When I googled images of a cheese grater I found a repeat of the same type of product photography with clean backgrounds or with food in the frame.
There were a few images that emulated glass buildings in particular The Shard, London. It was interesting that there was very little deviation from an upright position or even close up detailed photography. They were also predominantly colour photographs. During my research I looked at the work of Ernst Hass. My research can be found here.
Ernst Hass said, “Color does not mean black and white plus color. Nor is black and white just a picture without color. Each needs a different awareness in seeing and, because of this, a different discipline. The decisive moments in black and white and color are not identical.” (‘Portraits & Stills | Ernst Haas’, no date).
I agree with Hass that both black and white and colour needs an awareness in seeing. If I were to recreate a product photograph my approach would be totally different to black and white. The grater when it was drying in natural light had little interest other than a shiny object discarded until it was either to be put away or reused. However, once I placed the grater onto my desk and illuminated it with a desk lamp it took on a life of its own. The various patterns not only shone through the various hole sizes; but became a three-dimensional building almost like looking through office windows with the view obscured. The various objects on my desk reflected on the chrome took on distorted reflections rather like the mirrors you would find at the funfair or pier making you look tall, fat, thin or short.
I decided to photograph the grater in black and white rather than colour and would use a 50mm lens with a wide aperture to give a shallow depth of field and place it onto a piece of black mount board with a single light source (an angle poise desk lamp). I also wanted to use a piece of black Perspex to reflect the grater giving the illusion of it being on water.
Throughout the unit we are asked to experiment with ideas and creativity. I accept that this exercise does not necessarily need to be creative or to experiment with ideas but merely to compare how my final image differs from that of a google image. However, I try to be creative with every exercise and perhaps this is my downfall and why it seems to take me three times longer to complete each exercise. I did think about approaching this in the style of Bill Brandt but realised that I am limited with my accessibility to a willing model and this would delay my progression through the unit. I have decided that this idea will keep for now.
‘Portraits & Stills | Ernst Haas’ (no date). Available at: http://ernst-haas.com/portraits-and-stills/(Accessed: 12 April 2018).