Assignment 2 – Faith – Final Submission

Faith

About 6 years ago I stopped going to church. I had grown up in a Christian family, been an active church member and had always been able to find strength and comfort in what I believed. However, struggling with certain ‘truths’ and convictions, I realized more and more that most of what I lived for was based on the context in which I had grown up and the people I surrounded myself with. I decided to let go of my faith. Ever since, I have felt relieved and free and so much better about not having to be right about everything all the time.

In this series of photographs I want to focus on elements of faith that I used to embrace but still encounter and recognize in where I live and travel; the tension between truth and belief, the importance of context, ambition to improve, trust in the divine or own power, abuse of environment and others for the sake of one’s own spiritual growth or power and finally the meaning of life in light of our mortality.

Although each photograph touches on one specific element of faith, they all trigger questions about what is real, our dependence on higher powers, the value and place of self, responsibility towards the other and meaning of the the here and now.

Faith-369-1
Ambition
Faith-3-1
Consecration
Faith-2288-1
Trust
Faith - artefacts--1
Artefacts
Faith--1
Followers
Faith - context--1
Context
Faith--2-1
Growth
Faith - remains--2-1
Remains

 

Reflection Based on Assessment Criteria

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

The images, selection and editing process show that I have been improving my skills and discernment in knowing which photos work and which don’t. I think there is always room for improvement and even though I think the images in my final submission are on the right level, I do want to improve through learning other photographic techniques, use other types of lighting instead of only ambient light, work on slow shutter speed, different angles, etc. The prints have turned out beautiful, bringing an added layer of meaning and enhancing the viewing experience.

Quality of Outcome

Looking at the overall result, I am happy with the coherency of the images, even though I have taken them at different places and over a stretch of time. I realize that with the exception of ‘Followers’ they are all quite similarly balanced, which may add to the coherency, but might also take away some of the independency of the narrative character of the images themselves.

After having read and researched through part 2 of the reader I find myself influenced in my work and thinking most by Robert Frank’s ‘The Americans’, mainly because the assignment was to show an overarching idea in individual narratives, which we see in his book as well. I have learnt to be more aware of signs and symbols in my images and which has influenced my decision making in taking and selecting the photos.

Even though the concept ‘Faith’ is quite abstract, it helps that there are many visual outlets in which it is shown. I find that I have found a nice balance in showing different aspects of faith, without focusing too much on one particular religion.

Demonstration of Creativity

Some photographs show more signs of creativity than others. I am especially content with ‘Consecration’, which took a bit of post processing to get to what the image looks like now. I think that in my preparation, I have made an effort to work more conceptually, especially with creating a staged photograph, but I do think there is still room for improvement there. In my next assignment, I will try to get off the beaten path of finding a concept I’m looking for and photograph it. I would like to experiment with different photographic techniques, in camera, lighting, as well as with post processing and printing. I think there will be still ample room for impromptu beautiful surprises, but I realize, especially after having done the street photography exercise,  that restricting myself, for example to a certain technique or idea opens up a new world of photographic opportunities I would not encounter otherwise.

Context

I believe I’m getting better at reflecting on my work. I’m starting to grasp concepts that are taught through the reader and am able to find similarities in other people’s photography or even in my own practice. However, I do feel I need to work on expanding my vocabulary and take the time to formulate my ideas better. There is always much more I have thought about and looked at than that I actually write on my blog.

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Assignment 2 – Rework – Preparations

In his report my tutor suggested to make a few changes in the selection of photographs, in this post I’ll focus on the suggestions in the tutor report and show the changes I have made:

Your series of black and white images have been received well; they exhibit a strong compositional approach and a visual awareness, which coupled with your detailed commentary on composition and framing supports your applied technical knowledge. Out of your final selection there are a couple that may benefit from replacing with other images from your edit. Compositionally, the image titled ‘Followers’ is unbalanced and is perhaps a little too constructed when compared to your other, more sporadic looking images. However, it is still a good portrait with some funny little quirks contained; for example, the gentlemen with the body-warmer on the right side of the frame, I love that his mug is chipped and he appears to be holding it with a little pride. In terms of its compositional standing and its strength in being a single narrative, it may be better if it were replaced with the image titled ‘followers-15’. As you pointed out this image does have the strongest narrative; the command that the Imam has with his words and hand gesture is very strong.

Compositionally, the image titled ‘Followers’ is unbalanced and is perhaps a little too constructed when compared to your other, more sporadic looking images. However, it is still a good portrait with some funny little quirks contained; for example, the gentlemen with the body-warmer on the right side of the frame, I love that his mug is chipped and he appears to be holding it with a little pride. In terms of its compositional standing and its strength in being a single narrative, it may be better if it were replaced with the image titled ‘followers-15’. As you pointed out this image does have the strongest narrative; the command that the Imam has with his words and hand gesture is very strong.

So I have changed the Followers – 15 for this image, which does have very strong facial expressions and body language:

Faith--1

My tutor suggested to lighten the shadows in the ‘Consecration’ image, this is what it looks like now. The details of the frames in the back are clearer, and also the face of the reflection of the man is lighter.

Faith-3-1

There was another change Russell suggested:

Your initial shoot for the image titled ‘Artefacts’ has yielded some good results; which through your assessment and decision to reshoot has evidenced an informed judgement. So, following on from my previous comment about replacing a few images; another one, which I’ll admit I am torn in suggesting, is your submitted one for this heading. You have communicated your reasoning for choosing the submitted image very well, but looking at your edits I find image ‘#3’ to be far more powerful. I like the visual connection it has with some Japanese Shinto Torii’s that can be found in water; I can imagine a spiritual conduit forming that bridges the religions.

I have made the changes and added this image:

Faith - artefacts--1

Below is the final set of images:

 

Faith-2288-1
Trust
Faith - artefacts--1
Artefacts
Faith - context--1
Context
Faith - remains--2-1
Remains
Faith--2-1
Growth
Faith--1
Followers
Faith-3-1
Consecration
Faith-369-1
Ambition