P. 57 John Chiara and Shannon Dillon

Task 1- Taking Stock

Step 1: Synopsis.

Step 2: Artist portrait.

John Chiara focuses his work on landscapes, mainly in America. I decided to create his Artist portrait using his silhouette to alter the image, much like he does when he physically dodges and burns his images using his hands. I took a photo of London which is mainly where I photograph to create a connection.

Step 3: Photograph in the style of the Artist.

Step 4: Complete task.

“Only photography has been able to divide human life into a series of moments, each of them has the value of complete existence” This quote by Eadweard Muybridge was one of my first thoughts when being tasked with this assignment, to create a series of your photographic collection over the past five years. I found this experience much more pleasurable than I had anticipated, especially looking through all of the photographs that I had taken over the past years. Each image brought back a memory, regardless of how large or small the memory was. I think that’s what I love most about photography, that one can capture a moment irrespective of its significance and permanently archive that moment for later perusal. After revisiting this task over a few days, I decided to adapt its brief to suit the collection that I wanted to make. The series of images depicted identifies my photographic progress over the past 4 years; the point at which I began to study photography. I have chosen a wide variety of images to display how my style has evolved, but I have kept it in chronological order to express the photographic journey that I have been through.

The first four photos were taken during my first year of Sixth Form. I had always enjoyed taking photographs; however, I had never picked up a DSLR let alone knew how to use one. There is only a handful of schools in my area teaching Photography as a subject, as a result, I had to change schools and leave everyone I knew behind to go to a new sixth form. The school I chose offered photography at GCSE level, so most of the students choosing to study A-Level photography were already moderately experienced. This meant that basic knowledge about using a DSLR, editing etc. were assumed to be general knowledge. In order to match my peers I turned to the Internet, I learned a lot from watching YouTube tutorials. I remember feeling out of my depth and lacked confidence when it came to editing, using either Instgram or PicMonkey to add filters to the images or printing them out to physically manipulate them, looking back on them now amuses me.

The second row of images are from my second year at Sixth Form. At this point, I am still very much a novice in the subject but I thrived on experimenting with different techniques such as using glow sticks to paint shapes, which can be seen on the far right. It bewilders me that although social networks are such an immense role in society, and that thousands of photos are taken and shared everyday, the art and history of photography is not a popular subject to teach. To extend this point, I feel it necessary to mention that both of my teachers were primarily Art teachers, who have a vast experience in photography, but were more passionate about art. Subconsciously this is why my work, throughout my two years at sixth form, involved making something or creating a performance and using photography to document that.

I learned a lot from my peers, through their own experimentation, and from their knowledge prior to studying at A-level. Our class became smaller over time, a class of six, which meant that the teachers had more time to see us individually and thus were able to answer more of our questions and expand their teaching time.

Row three shows my progression through the first year of university. For me, this involved a massive photographic leap from the first two years of study, in terms of intensity and knowledge. Again I turned to Adobe and Photoshop tutorials to keep up with and compete with my peers. Between the second and third photo, I had a realisation. That I was stuck in the pattern of finding a photographer, replicating their image then moving onto another photographer. There was no connection or flow between the shoots; my style of photography was lost. After this, I worked on improving the flow of my work and how to express my development clearly. Pictures three and four in this row show my final piece for a project and a redo of the final piece after receiving feedback on how it could be improved. I can already see from the beginning of this row to the end just how much I have learned whilst being at university.

The last four photographs identify a few of my images from this past academic year. In my opinion, these images showcase the development of my individual style of work. I have gained confidence in my ability, which has lead me to acquire work experience opportunities such as photographing a restaurants food, which can be seen in the second photo. The last two photos have been for my portfolio, this is something that I feel truly shows my style of photography, which is emphasised by the fact that I have used these for portfolio submission.

Overall I can see a drastic improvement in my photographic work, technique, and confidence. I have learned not to replicate other photographer’s images but rather use them as inspiration for my own imagery, to experiment and to have confidence in my own ideas. In the next 4-5 years, I want to strive to improve further in my editing and to have gained a fair amount of work experience in the field that I aspire to pursue as a career.


Step 5: Critical Rationale.

Although this task needed to be completed over several days, which I found daunting, I really enjoyed the challenge of this task. The collection I have chosen represents my photographic journey over the past 4 years. As I have been studying photography for less than 5 years I decided to adapt the brief slightly so my work could fit the brief appropriately. The essay defines why I have chosen these images, and talks about new insights that I have found whilst completing this task. The essay concludes with what I hope to do in the future with the anticipation that I will revisit this task in five years time.

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