Evaluating my introductory skills pictures

These notes on my pictures for the introductory skills module were too expansive for my submitted evaluation. I need to write more technically when reflecting. Include aperture, f/ stops and light conditions. More of the problems and how I solved them.

1.      The image ‘J’ echoes the art of calligraphy and streams with light in a form evocative of the flowing ink from a pen. Whereas an ink image on paper would be necessarily two dimensional and flat, the light and shade here suggests a vibrant depth and intensity. The curl and flourish of the hand is still active in the resulting image. Life and movement is enhanced through a perception of red  shadowing the purple against the blackest background, as if a luminous and fleeting object in space. The integral fine lines within the letter further enrich the three-dimensional effect of this figure suspended in thin air, especially effective at the top right decorative curlicue. The composition is satisfyingly balanced.Christabel Nebula

2.      ‘The Christabel Nebula’ further evokes an astronomical object. The use of light and indication of dust and gas particles suggests an interstellar cloud. The lack of density and the transparent quality of the image is redolent of a star-forming region of extraordinary lightweight mass. From such nebulae planets can be formed. This is a truly awesome concept of transformation to attempt to emulate on the page. The composition is organic and suggests a natural eruption of colour and shape. There is a central focus of yellow light and a deliberate use of the complimentary colours of red and green. Movement is even more apparent here than in ‘J’. This is a spinning, life and light-filled image from which a future world could develop. 

3.      ‘Crossing’ is an image of clear symbolic meaning. The safety of the establishment-provided zebra crossing is literally shadowed by other lines, this time from a metal fence keeping us in our place. The fence itself is only slightly visible, but its presence is felt across the entire picture. These diagonal shadows lead the eye to the top right corner and the figure’s shadow echoes that same direction. This person is safely crossing to the other side, though there is an obstacle directly in the way, accentuated by the changing shape of the diagonal shadows into vertical. The monochrome of the image is only alleviated by the daubs of yellow paint on the road which is echoed in the soles of the shoes and the low wall ahead. In order to transform ourselves we have to make journeys. We may find a safe route, but that safety is never guaranteed or without conflict. Yellow can symbolise optimism and happiness. However, it can also mean cowardice and, in conjunction with black, potential danger.

4.      ‘Autopiano’ is the direct transformation of an object with hidden or lost potential, to make music in this case, into that of mere practicality as an item of storage. However, the piano becomes a thing of fascinating beauty in itself through being decorated with its cargo. The framing of it with the photos above, the loading with rolled up wool pyjamas in all colours and the boots displayed on the floor, creates a perfect composition. The piano is ‘stage-lit’ by the hanging lamp and the natural outside light. The brass lampshade echoes the inner brass of the piano’s workings and one of the picture frames as well as the yellow bootlaces. The textures of leather and old, varnished wood on the paler shop flooring are extremely satisfying. We see inside the piano to the supposedly redundant hammers and mechanism. But this change in purpose does not mean the piano has lost its value. In fact, one could argue that a pianola was of limited artistic worth. There was no individual creativity involved in its original use, whereas this image shows a unique flair. The angle of the shoes and boots creates a symmetry and the entire display evokes a sense of history, the personal touch enhanced by the portrait photos above. 

5. ‘Condemned’ is reminiscent of a place of danger and entrapment. Concrete, metal, rust and cobwebs create an atmosphere of desolation, the land outside unloved and sparsely vegetated in spite of the hazy sunshine. The wire link fencing reinforces the sense of imprisonment, as does the padlock. Not for nothing are the numbers a row of sixes! The cold lines and angles suggest no hope of escape to the anonymous, relative safety of the building opposite.

6. ‘Monster’ is reminiscent of images of dinosaurs or mythical creatures, but very much alive, with its angry eye looking straight at us. Geese are known to be aggressive, but symbolise fidelity and courage in world history and literature. They protect with fury, and are known to be extraordinarily determined. The oval shape made by the sunlight and bump on the beak is echoed in the oval of that gleaming eye. The absolute absence of fear in this so-called domesticated creature is notable. It is interesting to note the way we interpret aggression in different ways. We view it as assertion in the male, and it only becomes really socially acceptable in the female when protecting offspring.

7. ‘Glyph Enigma’. Glyphs are unique marks representing words or meanings such as ‘sacred glyphs’ or Egyptian hieroglyphs. Of course they can be symbols meaning anything we want – or nothing. Thus the enigma here. There may or may not be a meaning. Does this make any difference to the validity of the glyph? The image is haunting in itself. It could be said to be writhing and twisting, with a balancing golden shadow or reflection. The spiralling lines strengthen the sense of dance-like movement. Again, the light-filled object set against a black background suggests an astrological body. But it is left for the viewer to decide what the enigma means to them. 

8. ‘Starship’ is an interior with the effect of a high tech spaceship, although it consists only of panes of glass and the intricate patterns made by their frames. Again there is the sensation of being confined with no visible way out in spite of the abundance of light. The patterns also remind one of a spider’s web in their complexity, and one can imagine becoming lost in this maze. Monochrome adds to the cool quality of this shot. There is no warmth or comfort here.

9. ‘Furnace’. In complete contrast to cold concrete and glass, here is a vision of overwhelming Hell Fire. The ladder could be seen as an invitation to enter into it and self-destruct. The fire appears all-consuming in its ferocity. The ladder leads the eye upwards, but the branch silhouettes are mostly drooping down in their death those. The flames are roaring upwards in triumphant immolation, filling the shot completely against brief glimpses of the night sky. Black and yellow are a dangerous combination here.

10. ‘Barrels of Fun’. There is obvious irony in this title, although the event is, indeed, regarded as public entertainment of long-standing tradition. However, the intent expressions, weight of the barrel and obvious danger involved in handling fire brings a very different feel to this image. This is serious stuff. The fire itself takes centre stage, and the children seem like its mere servants, wearing singed gauntlets to handle it.

11. ‘Convex’ is an image of distortion. There is the misshapen shadow of the person with the camera, the unrealistically thin figure of a woman and the distorted curvature of the building and road. This relates to how we see ourselves and how the world sees us. Is our mirror image ever a reality? Can we change and transform that reality? Are the flecks on the mirror part of the image? How many mirrors are truly representative of the way we look or do we all share body dysmorphia to some extent?

12. ‘Haunted’ is another example of how our image can deceive. This man is anything but evil. Yet the expression, with eyes looking intently up to the camera above, creates a powerful portrait. Hands are held up with blackened nails in a gesture of satisfied, yet indifferent admission, as if they have just committed a violent crime. We see the intent to harm through camera angles, black make-up and an intense gaze. We, the viewers, are tricked. It is, indeed, haunting, with the only use of muted colour in the lips and eye. We know objectively that it is unlikely, but it seems to our subjective eyes that the subject has called all the shots and come menacingly close to the camera.

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