Following on from basic downloading of the images to my machine, I did some selecting. None of the images I took were especially successful, but were satisfactory for the practical exercise of adjustment sliders. I picked the images based on composition primarily as I normally aim to get this aspect correct in-camera. It doesn’t always happen that way, if ever, but its probably best to make it clear that that is generally the aim.
I then followed our exercise text to adapt the images. On the external shots I worked essentially to bring some life to shadows and some contrast to the sky. It was a dark grey day, in a grey environment so I didn’t want to lose that. The images below are a before and after set-up. There was a little cropping on the left which brought the footpath sweeping right to the corner. Looking at it on this scale the contrast in the sky seems excessive, which it doesn’t in the RAW larger format.
I have included here another external shot which works on pretty much the same level. It was chosen again with dividing, leading lines, though in this case more centrally. Really the mundane ordinariness of the objects in the shots have reduced them down to essentially lines and shapes. Its a wall, a fence, a concrete path, patches of green, nothing you haven’t seen a hundred times – walked by them, ignored them.
I have also chosen and edited some internal shots. These were done rather surreptitiously as my mate didn’t feel like being photographed – he hasn’t been well. So I shot them from the hip, poorly aimed and with no changing of focus or aperture. Some turned out ok, not exactly Walker Evans subway portraits, but they do give some impression of a guy hit suddenly by an illness, drawn and tired, and wrapped up at home.
I think it would be hugely unfair on anyone’s domestic-life to suggest that they remind you of Billingham’s Ray’s A Laugh, but it did, and I was aware of this as I took some of the shots. That awareness was really based around the un-posed figure, roughly dressed to keep well, a cluttered knick-knack environment, un-directed lighting and immediate capture. Hopefully the bad focus adds to the authenticity and frankness. Elements of the narrative come in to play with medicine bottles and chemist bags within the frame.
The exposures within the internal shots were very hit and miss, and were dragged together in the post-production element of the exercise. White Balance was on auto and I did very little to adjust the temp/ colour, instead aiming to leave a neutral environment.
For the internal shots I left them un-cropped and askew as I felt this maintained the hidden/ documentary feel. What we get is what we can see, a sick guy recovering in what is to him a safe environment, full of ornaments that someone has built around themselves.
Do I think they were successful? What would I do differently? I think they were averagely successful – they generally covered the brief. I don’t think they will be included in my future major retrospective, but they satisfied the outline – it wanted quantity over quality, so it got it. If doing it again then I would probably utilise my full 30 minutes and give a little more time to composition. But if I am going to get hung up over an assignment or project, then I don’t think this is the one to worry about, so I won’t.