Brand-New Topographic

Who were the “New Topographics”…

In 1975 William Jenkins, had an exhibition “New Topographics”, this consisted of man altered landscapes. Using photographers quotes as inspiration I have responded to their work, and created my own Topographic project of work.

Edward Weston

The research I did on Edward Weston’s work, sparked off ideas of taking all sorts of different textures; abstract objects and of natural forms.

I would say to any artist: “Don’t be repressed in your work, dare to experiment, consider any urge, if in a new direction all the better.” Edward Weston – to Ansel Adam

I like the restricted depth of field that I created in the first image, using a large aperture, it blurs the background out of focus and lets the viewer concentrate on the subject. I found the differing textures in my second image interesting, the ruff ground has effected the feather and left it weathered and worn on its surface. The tones of the feather, from light to dark show up well against the grey concrete.

Nan Goldin

by Nan Goldin

I wanted to show someone just getting on with their everyday life, the woman I was photographing didn’t seem to notice or care I was photographing her.

“The complete disregard for the camera’s presence indicates its complete saturation in their lives. The subject neither notices nor seems to care that someone has been invited into their private moment”

I like the fact that in my image she is completely oblivious to me taking the image, she is getting on with her everyday routine. If I was to do this again I would try and photograph other people, captured in an intimate style.

Eliot Erwitt

by Eliot Erwitt

Figures and Reflections create an interesting combination, I wanted to experiment with reflections and the different surfaces I could capture them in. I didn’t want to influence the people in my photographs, so I kept my distance.

“I wasn’t imposing my presence on anyone,..which is very important for a would be journalist. I stayed back. Always let people be themselves.”

Reflections were interesting to experiment with, I particularly like the bright colours I captured in the pond, as the reflections were vibrant along with the real world, it made me think about the real world and fantasy, the reflections creating a new fantasy world.

Martin Parr

by Martin Parr

Most of his images have been taken in tourist summer holidays areas, the saturation of the images make the subject matter appear particularly tacky and touristy.

“ I go straight in very close to people and I do that because its the only way you can get the picture. You go right up to them. Even now, I don’t find it easy. I don’t announce it. I pretend to be focusing elsewhere. If you take someones photograph it is very difficult not to look at them just after. But its the one thing that gives the game away. I don’t try and hide what I’m doing-that would be folly.”

The colours in my images are vibrant and reflect the saturated images of Martin Parr, I think this is what makes the images successful.

Duane Michals

by Duane Michals

The work is experimental and exciting, I am drawn to the effects used in his work. The eerie feel to it’s imagery is extremely effective.

“Trust that little voice in your head that says ‘wouldn’t it be interesting if…’ And then do it.”

Using a slightly longer shutter speed I managed to capture the moment of motion as the pigeon flew out of the frame, however I caught its head without so much motion blur, this is successful as it show motion and still at the same time.  I like the composition of this images as the viewer doesn’t know where the pigeon is flying to, the viewer is left wondering.

Robert Frank

by Robert Frank

The buildings built into layers make an interesting composition, drawing the viewer in.

“ I have been frequently accused of deliberately twisting subject matter to my point of view. Above all, I know that life for a photographer cannot be a matter of indifference. Opinion often consists of a kind of criticism. But criticism can come out of love. It is important to see what is invisible to others. Perhaps the look of hope or the look of sadness. Also, it is always the instantaneous reaction to oneself that produces a photograph.”

Minor White

by Minor White

The work inspired me to look at patterns in life. Although the work is about nature, I decided to do urban pattern for contrast.

“Let the subject generate its own photographs. Become a camera.”

Bill Brandt

by Bill Brandt

I also wanted to experiment with pebbles and hands, as Brandt has done here; creating a pattern.

“I am not ver interested in extraordinary angles. They can be effective on certain occasions, but I do not feel the necessity for them in my own work. Indeed, I feel the simplest approach can often be most effective. A subject placed squarely in the centre of the frame, if attention is not distracted from it by fussy surroundings, has a simple dignity which makes it all the more impressive.”

If I was to re-take similar images to this again, I would like to try a more elegant hand position, as I feel this could be a different direction to take it in.

Robert Capa

by Robert Capa

I wanted to recreate an action photograph, like Capa’s war imagery, however using a sport as the subject for action.

“If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.”

I like the action I have managed to capture in these images, however I feel they would have been more successful if the sun was out, as it would have created more depth to the photographs, creating shadow and highlights, bringing the image to life.

Paul Caponigro

by Paul Caponigro

Here Caponigro uses smoke as the subject, I wanted to experiment using other elements, such as water. although the quote here is about portraiture, I feel the elements demonstrate innate qualities that humans possess such as the free flowing nature of smoke.

“It’s one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are.”

Using a long shutter speed I was able to capture the flowing water, I also decided to experiment with using the zoom whilst the shutter was released, creating a feathered feel as well.

Yoosef Karsh

by Yoosef Karsh

I was inspired by Karsh to use the light around the city, I found that the best portraits I took were the ones of the brightest day, they gave the images depth.

“Photography is, to me, more than a means of expression, more than my particular prefession – it is a way of life. And if I were asked to choose one word which holds the key to my work I would select ‘light’ – for light is my language, and it is international, readily understood by any person of any race. It has been my good fortune to welcome before my camera many great men and woman who have made their mark on our generation and will find a place in history. I feel that my life’s work is to interpret th the best of my ability, the inner strength, the true character, of these personalities, through the medium of photographic portraiture. I can think of no elation equal to that when something close to my ideal is achieved, through necessarily there must always be a spark of what I call ‘divine discontent’ – the constant striving for near-perfection. In this self-appointed task, which also carries, I believe, a great sense of responsibility, the medium of light is all important. It is the portraitist’s chief tool, and he can never learn enough about it.”

It was a nerve racking experience for me to approach strangers and ask their permission to take their photographs, however I feel that in doing so I have taken eye-catching portraits, perhaps people that I wouldn’t normally have taken photographs of.

August Sander

by August Sander

I took photographs of the skateboarders in the city, as I wanted to show a representation of the youth of today.

“ I hate nothing more than sugary photographs with tricks, poses and effects. So allow me to be honest? and tell the truth about our age and its people.

 

 

Conclusion:

I think this task could help me practice my organisational skills, as the task used lots of influences that I needed to sort through in my head before starting the brief.

Looking back at my images, I think they connote my mind set at the time. Having researched for the task I wanted to get started quickly. I felt the length of the project was short, and with the deadline looming I hurried out to take my images. The wide range of photographs demonstrates my cluttered mind, flashing from one idea to the other really quickly.

I got together with a few of my peers, and organised our way round coventry, photographing the different areas for our task. This worked well as different people brought different things to the group, we all had strength in varying areas of photography. I enjoyed approaching people to take their photograph and I think this is a skill that would be helpful in the professional world.

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