Summer Task: Task 3 – Reworking a Previous Task (Initial Thoughts)

As one of our summer tasks, we had to rework a previous task from year 1. I chose the Brand New Topographics task, which was one of the first tasks we were given in the first year. This task was based on the 1975 exhibition by William Jenkins, where a group of photographers including Stephen Shore, Robert Adams and Frank Gohlke, created work that attempted to find ‘the beauty in the banal’ quote this extract from The Guardian website: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2010/feb/08/new-topographics-photographs-american-landscapes.

It’s the quote “Find beauty in the banal” that interests me the most about this work, because recently I have been working with HDR photography, and attempting my hand at creating interesting pieces of work using this technique. If you are unfamiliar with the HDR technique, I’ll provide a short explanation:

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. The process of taking a High Dynamic Range photograph involves taking multiple images of the same subject (from the exact same location using a tripod) at different exposures. These images are then combined together into a final image using image processing software. The resulting image has perfect exposure over all areas, and has enhanced detail. Images can be made to look realistic or surreal, with varying results in-between. Below is an example of one of my initial HDR images:

An original image before editing. As you can see the sky visible through the window is bright white with no detail, and some of the objects in the foreground are too dark.

An original image before editing. As you can see the sky visible through the window is bright white with no detail, and some of the objects in the foreground are too dark.

The final HDR image. As you can see the sky is now visible and has much more detail, making it more dramatic. The objects in the foreground and more visible too.

The final HDR image. As you can see the sky is now visible and has much more detail, making it more dramatic. The objects in the foreground and more visible too.

I continued practicing using this technique, and decided to apply it to the Brand New Topographics task, because I believe it to be the best way I can “Find beauty in the banal”, without directly copying the New Topographic’s work. Stephen Shore is one of my favourite photographers, and I love the work he did for the exhibition, which has been a big inspiration in my work so far. I like how he makes you notice things in the images he takes, be it a photo of a crossroads or a bible on a table. He picks up the detail in things and forces the viewer to notice them too. This is something I wish to emulate in my own work on this task.

I have begun work on this topic already, and produced this image shown below:

My HDR image of a run-down garage for sale.

My HDR image of a run-down garage for sale.

I really like how there is a lot of detail in this image. There are a lot of quirky items and interesting features in the image, which I believe would be enhanced if the image was displayed large for people to see. This is something I may work on with this project in the future. I intend to continue taking images from the original brief (which involved following a man to certain locations around the city) and taking these HDR images at each location.

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