IxD and Assistive Technology at UNSW Art & Design

Digital Composite – Week 06

Digital Composite – Week 06

Work

6am is far too early to be getting out of bed and taking photos. Well, for a lazy student that is. There are a bunch of people out and about at that time of the morning – some are taking their ridiculous looking dogs for a walk, and others are dressed up in a business suit and probably just about to begin their 14hr day. Sounds like a laugh a minute. But I digress…

I was out of my bed at this ungodly hour to snap a few potential locations for my photo shoot. After spotting some excellent Flickr photos from the Greek riots in 2008 (see the ‘Inspiration’ section below), I decided that long shadows + Dutch tilt + black and white = awesome. So that narrowed my times of shooting down to either early morning or late afternoon. Lighting would be great, but is likely to become and issue as power will be difficult to find (something that definitely needs some more thought put into it).

Deciding that morning would be a quieter time to be wandering the streets and taking photos, I did just that: snapping off some of King St and other locations, off the main drag…

The second location, on Knight St looking back at the city was initially the shot I found most interesting, so I attempted a (very) quick composite by layering the same shot over itself, but taken at different shutter speeds. Then using masks in Photoshop, I chose which area of each image to use for the composite…

knight_0648composite
Knight St, Newtown

Even though it’s clearly a rushed mock-up, I do like the surreal look of the image. The unnatural way that light sits together in the image reminds me of Gregory Crewsdon‘s photography (minus the budget).

On reflection however, I think the King St images were more successful. There is more movement, and excitement in the framing. And being closer to my house, there’s potential for getting power on the shoot (still a somewhat difficult prospect though)…

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King St, Newtown

Inspiration

Teacher Dude’s BBQ has some really great stuff posted up on Flickr. Not just photos, but some excellent activist posters as well. Definitely worth a look. The following pictures all come from Teacher Dude’s photostream and were the style inspiration I mentioned earlier in this post (all photos are credited through their link)…

greekriots01
Image: Teacher Dude's BBQ
greekriots02
Image: Teacher Dude's BBQ
greekriots03
Image: Teacher Dude's BBQ
greekriots04
Image: Teacher Dude's BBQ

The staging of photos is a strange concept of its own. Gregory Crewdson, whom I mentioned earlier, is one of the best known photographers for doing just this. I’m in two minds about his images. On the one hand they are starkly beautiful and surreal, with clear inspiration borrowed from David Lynch, which can never be a bad thing. But on the other hand, they are so overly manufactured, that it’s difficult to feel much for them, other than be stunned by the budget behind the shot…

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Gregory Crewdson, Untitled, 2001
crewdson02
Gregory Crewdson, Untitled (North by Northwest), 2004
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Gregory Crewdson, Untitled from the series Beneath the Roses, 2005

There are definitely elements of these photos that I really do love: the lighting and the smoke are used to wonderful effect. I think my goal here is to combine the precision of Crewdson’s work with the immediacy of a moment snapped in the middle of a riot.

Hmm, maybe I’m setting my standards a little bit high?



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