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On Tuesday I went down to Dorset to photograph my first collection of my Novel PhotoBook potential series. I visited Corfe Castle, Poole Harbour and Swansea steam train station to photograph the settings in the book.

Now that I’ve photographed the settings I’m happy with the outcome, some of the images I took I’m really proud of. However, I have learnt a few things that If I carry it on I would change.

–          Find exact settings and spend all the time I need finding the perfect setting around the area

–          Try to make the photographs more like a document of what is there instead of interesting angles.

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Now that I’ve finished the photographs I have created a PhotoBook online which is being printed and sent back to me. Once I have the finished product and have gotten feedback, I’ll know whether its something I want to continue or not.

Otherwise, really happy with the first try.

For a while now I have wanted to create a body of work which has meaning behind it. Finally, I have thought up something which has relevance to me as an individual.

A project idea I have is to visit the inspirations for places i have read about it books. I would then like to photograph these places and see how they compare in the real work to the imagery created for the reason in the novels. This to me is a perfect idea, it gives me opportunity to travel (which is my main aspiration as a photographer) and also gives me something to channel my personal work into.

My first collection will be based on Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books. As a child I loved the books and was read them as a toddler and began reading them myself when I could. I have very fond memories of the collection and had no idea the inspiration came from somewhere so close to me in Dorset. Over the next few days I plan to visit some of the places associated with various books and start this project.

The first set of photographs I make will be the most important collection I create; this will be because if I like the outcome and think the project works as an idea I will continue it on with other books and authors.

I have had this idea for quite a while now and so have decided that if I did go forward with the idea, I would present the collections as photo books entitled the same as the original novels.

I am very excited to get started.

My first source:

During my A levels I did a module on the Punk era. During this time I created some images which I was, and still am, really happy with.

Though Punk was the module for which I did this photo shoot, it was more something I did in response to the artist Richard Avedon. Avedon’s models were real working people (opposed to models acting the part). Therefore, in order to put these people at ease while photographing them he would take his set to their natural environment. However, this was not a part of his photographs directly. The photographs only show the person and the white backdrop in the frame, the way in which the images were achieved make for a much more relaxed and natural portrait to be taken.

Because of this I felt almost cheated. The viewer is being lured into a sense of the image being in a studio, when really this is just an assumption on the viewers part due to what is the norm.

As a response, I wanted to be honest with the viewer, let them know it was a set with a model, lights and a backdrop while also exposing the surrounding area.

After several attempts at placement of lighting I found the perfect composition. I am very proud of the light in these images; I think it creates a sense of warmth which keeps the anger in the frame. A cold setting would diffuse tension and lose the atmosphere. I also think the background with the bricks with the white backdrop makes for an interesting photograph. It makes the viewer consider the image as well as the realism being an image.

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The images below are my photographs. After all the research into working with light I decided I would try to do something interesting with light that I hadn’t seen before. However, although the images are basic, the concept is the interesting part.

After looking at some of the light graffiti artists below I realised how hard it is to create something amazing using slow shutter speeds. However, I then looked into the work of Jeff Ascough and his natural light documentary wedding photographs I thought it would be interesting to combine the two ideas.

The images below are taken with lights within nature. I wanted to capture movement in the photographs and so asked someone to drive me though town while I took photos of the surrounding lights during the night. Most of the images are of traffic lights as we passed, some are of street lamps and there are a few of the moon.

Most of the images show a real sense of movement and I am happy with the outcome. However, the thing I’m most happy about is the way I’m thinking. Like I’ve said in previous posts, I want to take throughout and interesting/clever photographs. I think this series is the start of this thought process.

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A beautiful Mind is a brilliant psychological film (and book) which follows the life of a young mathematical genius named John Nash (Russell Crowe). At the start of the film Nash arrives at Princeton University as one of two winners of the prestigious Carnegie Prize for mathematics. Although Nash is promised a single room, his roommate Charles Herman arrives and soon becomes his best friend. Later in the film, Nash becomes a highly esteemed mathematist and code breaker and finds himself working as a spy. However, as the film develops, it becomes clear that Nash is schizophrenic and a number of things (including his life as a spy and his best friend Charles) are not real.

However, this is not a film review as such,  although it is by far one of the most moving and through provoking films i have ever seen. This post is to document some inspiration so to speak. While John Nash is attending Princeton University he says to some of his peers

‘”Classes will dull your mind, destroy the potential for authentic creativity.”’.

Because of this, Nash refuses to attend any classes until he has found, what he calls, his ‘Original Idea’.

 ‘” Find a truly original idea. It is the only way I will ever distinguish myself. It is the only way I will ever matter.”’

This original idea is exactly what I have been working on. Of course I do not expect to find this original idea right at the beginning of my photographic career – no matter what I am doing on a day to day basis. I believe that an original idea can only occur to an individual by being in the right place at the right time in order to see the inspiration for it – Much like in A Beautiful Mind -. If this moment passes and it is missed, the person will then have to wait for a new one to arise…

All quotes are from the film 

Mayumi Lake was borin is Osaka, Japan in 1966. She studied at the studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine and the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. She is also the recipient of a 2001 Art council artist fellowship grant.  

Mayumi Lake’s photographs depict phobias, myths and stereotypes of Asian women. Most of these women’s faces are darkened or are completely concealed from view; however the women often wear beautiful costumes which make the photographs so stunningly mysterious. This mystery is added to by Lakes use of a completely black backdrop with only a small amount of concentrated light on the models.

Lake’s work is particularly interesting to me because this type of photography is something I plan to pursue for a project of my own. I have been planning for a while to do a photographic shoot on tattoos. I have always planned to do this shoot with a limited amount of light so that only the tattoo and the body part it is on is showing. I also planned to entitle (or give a caption) the pieces which explains the individuals reasons for getting the tattoo and why it is where it is on the body.

This work would (in theory) be a lot like Lake’s ‘Aether’ not only in the ways described above but also in that the model’s faces wouldn’t be shown. This would be because i feel that showing too much would take away from the main feature.

I have not yet started this project, but once I have the knowledge where I feel I can do my idea justice I will start.

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I have always thought that when you take a photograph some of the colour and vibrance to the photograph is lost. Because of this, i tend to manipulate a photograph in Photoshop on a very basic level in order to bring the colours back to life. For example,

This is a photograph I am proud of, its well framed, is a beautiful day and really blends the foreground with the background. However, the image is dark and lacks the vibrance that I saw on the day.

Once I’ve found an image like this that I like I open Photoshop and double click on the background layer so that its ready for edit and then duplicate the image so that I can take note of my changes as I go along.

Then I would go into Enhance – Adjust Lighting – Shadows and Highlights. This brings up 3 options – Lighten Shadows, Darken Highlights and Midtone Contrast – the only one of these that I would change at this point is the Lighten Shadows. Moving the slide bar up just slightly allows for more light to be manipulated with later and creates a more vibrant colour over all.

Next I would go into Enhance – Adjust Lighting – Brightness/Contrast. This is the main part of the manipulation that I do on a regular basis. Both the slide bars that come up are equally important and the combination of the two is vital to get right.

Usually, I would turn the Brightness down in order to make a better contrast overall. However, this image is very dark and needs to be made brighter. I then move it up until I think that the image is bright enough to allow for the most detail to be seen and not too bright to eliminate shadows and create to much white light.

Then, I move the contrast up but keep it to a realistic level. This very much depends on the taste of the editor.  The colours are now separated into bright and dark which adds more depth to the photo.

That is literally all I do to my images, it brings the life back into them and is really easy to do. Looking at the final image now, it doesn’t look much different because you’ve watched the transformation but look in the post above and flick from image to image. The difference is pretty dramatic.


While I was in the Whitechapel Gallery looking at some of John Stezaker’s work, I saw some images and at first glance completely wrote them off in my mind. I didn’t understand them and I was stood confused staring at it wondering what it was.

It wasn’t until I stepped back a few steps and looked at the images from a distance that my brain could recognise what they were… The images were two pictures layered over one another with the foremost one in the outline of a woman. Once I had seen this I thought they were very clever and reminded me of all sorts of optical illusions.

However, mainly It reminded me of some work by Angie Buckley who has some similar art. Some of which involves figures over the original image and others that give almost the same layering effect as Stezaker but is created by cutting out a section of the image.  These images are shown below:

Flickr Photos