Assignment 2 – Tutor Suggested Research

1  – John Stezaker blog/2014/mar/27/john-stezaker-sydney-biennale

Stezaker collects old photographs in order to deface them in order to create something new and arresting – so says the Guardian in the review of the Sydney Biennial in which he exhibited in 2014.  My tutor suggested looking at this work as it had relevance to what I was trying to achieve with my images in Assignment 2.  I had started looking at montage and collage as a way of exploring the person inside the person that I was photographing, in this instance my older son.  I had gone to the Hockney exhibition in London in 2017 and been really interested in his use of polaroid collages to make a whole image  Also interesting were the montages of landscapes scenes and I had had this in mind when approaching A2.  I still need to rework A2 as it was suggested that there was a distance between sitter and photographer, and I would like to go back to the original idea of the collage/montage to see if I can create what I was looking for at the time.  Stezaker was suggested as a point of reference to look further at collage and the use of different techniques to make images more arresting.

I looked at this article and then at the images that are held online by the Tate Gallery.  Stezaker made us of old movie stills and hand coloured postcards to merge them together to make a new image.  The use of postcards and photographs over the top of portraits obscures the original and often the eyes are hidden behind the front image meaning that the eye of the viewer searches around for other things to focus on.  The front image has some connection with the underlying photograph, through edges lining up or waves suggesting a confrontation.   There is a symmetry and a tension to what he does and it is unnerving to see faces partly replaced by something solid such as a picture of a mountain slope.  Our reaction is to connect with the eyes and when that doesn’t happen then there is a sense of something unresolved.  “What I do is destructive, but also an act of deliberate passivity.”  He does not shoot the images himself but uses them to create something else.

This image is of a woman whose face is obscured by an upside down postcard of a stone house with arches at the front.  It was only when I read the notes attached that I realised that the edge of the house replaced the edge of her face and the arches made it look like a skull.  It shows that I am not examining images closely enough so I looked at the others more closely.

I had picked up on the confrontational nature of this image with the man in a position of strength from the clenched hand on the desk.  His face is obscured and the eye roams the frame looking at the whole.  The breaking wave suggests a rising confrontation between the man and the woman – she has her back to the camera and appears to be clutching something in front of her, possibly as a defensive gesture.  The huge wave crashing over the seafront of the postcard Eastbourne suggests that this is monumental.

This is interesting because as I completed a collage for Assignment 3 in which I used several photos of one place at different times of the day to suggest the passing of time and that this particular activity was an ongoing one at all times of day and night.  I had not seen this particular image before I did the assignment and it was interesting to see how he had used the collage of Big Ben.  From the Tate website:

“Stezaker has commented that The End was:

a response to the current conventions of conceptual art in England which was obsessed with photo sequences and chronology … for several years (between 1973 and 1976 approx) I collected all of the images I could find of the subject both in postcard form and also in films. This was the beginning of my collection of film stills. I discovered that Big Ben was a key image in British Cinema and became a favourite way of ending films – usually with the chimes of midnight. I incorporated one of this collection of cinematic images of Big Ben with the words ‘THE END’ superimposed over it into a later re-presentation of the postcard fragment as a kind of pictorial title label. (Letter to the author, 26 October 2007.)”

I was interested by the fact he was looking at the colour of the sky as well as the parts of Big Ben and not all the views are from the same place so the clock appears in various parts of the frame and different sizes.  It makes it more interesting rather than the same viewpoint throughout, something to bear in mind for future works.

He clarified the difference between montage and collage: “Montage is about producing something seamless and legible, whereas collage is about interrupting the seam and making something illegible.”

2  – Annegret Soltau

The other artist suggested is Annegret Soltau who takes self-portraits then creates montages of her own body and face.  These can remake faces in grotesque representation of a face in a similar way to how Picasso would have drawn faces with huge eyes or all features on one side of the face.  In other work, she uses black thread sewn over to create sometimes delicate patterns on her face and body that change the way the viewer looks at it.  The thread images from early works are much more accessible and delicate, and it is as though they have been drawn on rather than stitched but closer inspection reveals an enclosing of her within a frame of thread.  It’s interesting to see a different style of altering photographs.  Her later works when she still uses stiches to make a collage but I personally found them more inaccessible and my eyes/brain constantly tried to ‘correct’ them, to make eyes the right size and the in the right place.  The stitching continues as a way of attaching the new parts to the original image.

This article explains more about her work, but I like the image that heads it. There is a pathos in this image of a woman resting her head on her arm on a table in a way that a weary mother might, or someone who is having trouble, with the arm outstretched and hand loosely clenched.  One way of looking at it is that the threads encircle her like a protective shield; another is that they are chains binding her to the table and her life.

Another interesting approach to the fragmentation of the self.  There are no wild eyes in this one and so I can relate to it better – the big eyes are problematic personally and looking at them make me uneasy.

Soltau is an interesting artist using different techniques to disrupt the normality of a photograph, and explores her identity through her self-portraits that are then amended in some way that can change the meaning and the viewing.



Exercise 3.3 Representation of Marginalised Groups

The situation with refugees is something that appears to swing up and down all the time, and often it depends on things that have happened as to how they are seen.  For example, Syria.  Syrian refugees are still trying to flee their country as the fighting goes on all the time but it only appears in the news when a major explosion or several children are killed or something exceptional happens.  Here are my notes while I considered this issue.


Exercise 3.1 Mirrors and Windows

Select around ten pictures from your archive and put them into either “Mirror” or “Window”. Explain why you chose the category.

  1.  Window

1.  Window

Fire Crews from Dartmoor Area lining up with the service vehicles.  I did these photos as a favour for my friend who wanted to use this as a morale boosting exercise, to get the crews all together and take pride in their station and vehicles. There was also a photographer from the local newspaper there who marshalled the men into a good position.  Most of them are retained fire fighters in that they are not full time and respond to emergencies when on call on rotation.  The local fire-stations are not manned full time, something I learned while touring round with the Lead Fire Officer.  It seemed quite strange to go into an empty station but there were all the uniforms and helmets hung up ready and waiting for the next shout. Interesting to see behind the scenes.

2. Mirror and Window

2. Mirror

Steve Cradock recording acoustic guitar parts for PP Arnold’s album. I know him so it’s a mirror but also a window on the world of music and recording that I am not directly involved in.  Recording has changed a lot in the last ten years or so, from requiring a big studio and lots of equipment to a MacBook and ProTools plus some microphones.  I have followed Steve over the past six years while he records and plays his music, going on tour with the band and following his career.  This is something I would love to do full time.

3.  Mirror

3. Mirror

Looking to the dam from the bridge on the Okehampton walkway. I am an outdoors person and prefer being out in the country than the city.  I am happiest out in the fresh air and walking, taking in the scenery and the huge vista.

4.  Mirror

4. Mirror

My home town of Paignton. The pier changes depending on the lighting conditions and I have so many different images of it in different weather and light.  This is a late afternoon one, looking towards Torquay and is the pink/blue perfection on a late spring sky, and the golden reflections on the white structure light the darker areas.  It is so much part of Torbay as it is the only one that we have, and is part of the heritage of the seaside culture.  This is the opposite of Number 5 below where I am away from what I know.

5.  Window

6. Window

The amusement park in Vienna, Austria.  They have kept the 1930s carousel and the 1960s big wheel with the wooden cars along with other old fashioned rides.  This is not a modern park with high tech rides.  It seems reminiscent of a previous time when life was perhaps simpler and we were engaged with less speed and flash.  It also seemed to be very European rather than a British place.  Visiting another city in another country always is a window on other cultures and customs, and I think that each time I go away I bring back a little something from that place.  I am lucky to travel quite a bit and it shapes my attitudes and outlook by getting out of my comfort zone and having to connect with a different way of life.

6.  Window

11. Window

London, Millennium Bridge.  I am from Devon and visiting London tends to come as a bit of a culture shock these days as it is so much bigger and busier.  Wearing a kimono as a fashion item struck me as brave and I was a little envious that I have never had the style to pull that off.

7. Mirror

5. Mirror

This is very definitely a mirror as this is an image that I made as part of the trials for my final assignment for Context and Narrative.  My theme was on family and the ties that bind us together, and I was trying several different ways of symbolising this using long material ties like those on a maypole.  It could also be seen as a window on my life at the time as I was dealing with an ailing father plus supporting my boys who were changing jobs and life choices.  It is much more the mirror though in this case.

8. Window

14. Mirror

This is Lourdes in France where people come from all over the world to visit the spring where Bernadette apparently saw the Virgin Mary in the 1850s and the basilica where they hold regular ceremonies to bless the sick.  I am not religious at all so to visit this place was an eyeopener.  It gave a glimpse of a whole world that I know exists but am not part of and find it difficult to understand.  I was surprised by the old fashioned carriages and the uniforms of the nuns/nurses as well as by how busy it was even in September.  As a window, this place introduces faith with all the traditional things associated with Catholicism – nuns, priests in long black clothing, gilded crowns on the huge building that stands above everything else and the hundreds of people hoping to find a cure or be blessed.

9. Window and Mirror

8.  Window

This is another one where it could be both mirror and window.  I know Steve and this is his band.  They wanted some promo photos so asked me if I would help them out.  It was a window for me to see them as a band and how they interacted with each other in a casual situation rather than recording or on stage.  They were very keen to wear the right clothes and not smile and be quite static.  The life of a band always seems quite glamorous, full of adventure and travel but in fact they are just four guys who get together every so often to play music.

10. Window (I think)

10. Window

Mushrooms on sale in a street market in Vienna.  It offers a lot of delicious possibilities, although it’s a window because I am a rubbish cook and haven’t seen half of these varieties before, they could be poisonous for all I know!  I like street markets as there are things that you don’t normally see in supermarkets, and all displayed in a way that you want to buy them.  There was also a fishmonger nearby with a beautiful display of fresh fish and shellfish.  Window, yes but possibly mirror because I love food and all the things that this suggests, if only I could find someone to cook it for me.

Going through all my photos trying to pick some out was an interesting exercise as I don’t often trawl through all of them together.  I loved looking at all the images I have taken and the story it told me of what I have been doing over the past twelve months or so, and thinking about what it says about the things that I like to photograph.  Travel has been a big part of my year whether it is fairly local in the UK, from frequent visits to London to a day trip to Bristol, or more far flung as I made my first trip to the other side of the world to visit my sister in Australia.  Everything you see and do informs your outlook on life and each time I go somewhere different I snap things that catch my eye, that can remind me where I have been and open a door on a different place, time, culture.  This exercise has been better than I anticipated and I am glad that I finally got around to doing it as I had lost faith in the course and myself.  I now feel more positive about going forward with the rest of it and cracking on with the assignment.



Exercise 3.2 Uniqueness

Exercise 3.2 What Makes Me Unique and How to Photograph It

Written Notes
Excerpt from Other Learning Log

This was my starting point with this exercise, as I jotted some initial thoughts.  It’s another slightly uncomfortable exercise, one of looking at myself and making observations that maybe other people do without even thinking too much about it.  Uniqueness, something that sets you apart from everyone else.  The more I do this course and consider identity, the more I realise that the concept of uniqueness or difference is one of something that does not exist or is very hard to obtain.  However much we try to be different, we all end up looking the same or decorating our houses the same, or hold the same values and ideas. Hans Eijkelboom illustrates this perfectly in his series People of the Twenty-First Century by picking a ‘look’ and deciding to photograph everyone he sees with that particular look, whether it is the jeans and lumberjack shirt look or something more sartorial.  we all think we are wearing the latest but we can all pick out those common themes in age groups or gender.

Where to start? For me, I suppose that it begins with what I can do that is not usual among my age group.  I go regularly to the gym and do weight training, that is using weights to build muscle although not to the point of being a body builder. How does this make me unique? My perception is that there are more young people doing this than those my age (mid 50s), my age group prefer gentler exercise like yoga, pilates or just walking the dog.  I do weight training because I enjoy the challenge it presents – can I lift more weight? Can I get stronger, fitter, faster? To photograph this would involve more ‘selfies’ which abound on Instagram and social media.  This is a starting point but there are plenty more ways to explore this.  Maybe I will look at this as part of Assignment 3.


The other unique point has been my relationship with music.  Like many people, I love music and have spent many hours listening to it and going to see it played live, whether classical (not so much these days) or pop/rock music.  What is unique to me is that I also take my camera with me and have been fortunate enough to capture some bands playing live from the front of the stage as well as having spent time backstage and in the studio with them. How do you photograph this? As a starting point, I thought about merging of photos and I tried out a couple of ideas using an in-camera method.


It’s quite basic but there is a symmetry to it with the spine of the music book bisecting the frame and a guitar either side.  The colours of the guitars show through and gives it a bit of depth.  It is not immediately apparent which layers sits on top.  This marries together the idea of written music with the instruments that create it and I think that the colours against the black of the musical notation work well.


I put myself in the frame in this image in order to see whether this ads or detracts from the meaning of the whole thing.  To be honest, I am not sure that it works with a person in it.  There is too much going on in the frame and while it’s not bad, it doesn’t really say anything to me.  However, it was a snap trying out some ideas and it helps as I start to think about Assignment 3 as I was thinking of exploring this type of image. I am not so sure that it works well enough now.  I think I will stick to more straightforward images.

Woody Guthrie
Studio Oddities

As I use my phone a lot for capturing things that I see and like, the two images above were taken using my phone and an app with filters on to recreate old style looks of photos.  There are so many colours and interesting things to see in this studio, I could spend hours just looking.  Woody Guthrie reminds me that I always wanted to play the piano but never got the chance.  I love  music but can’t play an instrument and I am envious of those who can, and do it brilliantly.  The next best thing is to be around people who can play and sing, and do what I love which is photograph them and their instruments.

Having looked at my uniqueness, I am sure that I am not unique at all but to be a female who photographs musicians is fairly unusual.  This has given me food for thought for my Assignment and I may pursue this further.



Assignment 2 Contact Sheets

Barney sat for me, initially as an experiment to try out taking lots of shots to mock up a montage. Natural Light, outside, shade then direct sunlight. The aim was to get a lot of images of parts of him so that I could bring them into one image.

Barney - Contact Sheet 1
Initial Shoot, August 2017, Outside, Natural Light


Contact Sheet 2-1

Contact Sheet 2-2
Shoot 2 September 2017, Inside, Natural Light


Contact Sheet 3-1

Contact Sheet 3-2
Shoot 3, September 2017, Inside, Continuous Lighting
Contact Sheet 4
Shoots 4 & 5, October 2017, Outside, Natural Light

These contact sheets show a selection of the images taken for the make up of the Assignment.


Assignment 2

Ok, round 2.  Having been away for two weeks, I came back full of thoughts about the way forward with what I have got.  The ones of the Fire Officer are good and work as a narrative but I am not sure that they communicate fully what he is about.  I also feel that they are better individually or would be better to develop the fireman side of it rather than trying to communicate the two sides of his life.  He is very active as he grew up a farmer’s son and is happiest when working out in the open. His overriding aim is helping people whether it is the neighbour to lay a hedge, have a student photographer trail round after him taking photos or be in charge of a major incident involving fire or a three car pile-up.  There is more to be done here but I am running out of time and this could be something that I come back to later in the course for an alternative assignment – maybe the mirror/window one.  It is interesting but not enough.

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My other approach has been using Barney as a model and the idea of dark and light sides to us.  My interest is in what we show and what we hide.  The other part of this is the feeling that I don’t particularly like doing portraits or seeing very posed portraits.  It’s a personal preference, probably because I am not good at posing people and I prefer moments that capture people unawares so that I get to see the dark side that is normally hidden, or apparently unaware so they display a different part of their bodies and faces. This could be the way forward.  While studying Context and Narrative, I came across an article about Nadav Kander and his photographs of David Beckham that he had taken over the course of several years.  The ones that caught my eye and imagination were of Beckham’s tattoos, and there were examples of diptychs and a panel like a contact sheet with sixteen individual shots of all parts of his upper body and head.

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 18.36.10
By Nadav Kander

This one David Beckham, 16 pictures, 2015 illustrated that it is possible to get a portrait of someone without focusing solely on their face or have them looking at the camera.  I revisited Kander’s website to check it out again and found that my reaction to it had not changed.  In some ways, it breaks the codes of portraits and photographs that we all try to follow: don’t crop too tightly, have them looking at the camera, no closed eyes.  But it works as it is a combination of parts of him that make up the external appearance of the person he is.  It is difficult not to look at this without the fact that Beckham is extremely well known and there is the context of him being a footballer, a business man and husband/father.

With this in mind, I am going back to Barney and pursuing the original idea and expanding on the photographs that I took as a first shot to get a feel for it.  First round was outside in daylight, second round was inside using natural light with a bit of flash and round three is inside using a basic studio set up and continuous lighting.  I am interested to see if I can translate what I see in my mind onto a screen.


Assignment 2

Vice versa

The objective of this assignment is to provide you with an opportunity to explore the themes covered in Part Two with regard to the use of both studio and location for the creation of portraits.

This assignment is about taking what has worked from the above exercises and then trying to develop this further in terms of interchanging the use of portraits taken on location (street) with portraits taken inside (studio). You need to develop a series of five final images to present to the viewer as a themed body of work. Pay close attention to the look and feel of each image and think how they will work together as a series. The theme is up to you to choose; you could take a series of images of a single subject or a series of subjects in a themed environment. There is no right answer, so experiment.

I have been finding it difficult to find any decent inspiration for a subject to photograph for this assignment.  I have had a few ideas and crossed the off for not being creative enough, adventurous enough, or simply interesting enough.  I have started questioning what constitutes a portrait and whether it means that it has to be of someone’s face, or could it be of parts of them.  I questioned this while trying out one idea which was to do a kind of montage after David Hockney.  I went to his exhibition in London a couple of months ago and was taken with both the vibrancy of his colour in paintings while also being fascinated by his photographic work.  It seems to simple yet to pull it off takes skill.  I also found them interesting and amusing, and the fact that he could do something so simplistic while being a more than proficient artist.

Son (1 of 2)

Carrying on from this, I asked my older son to sit for me while I photographed him in sections in order to try to pull together a montage that would be him.  I was casual about it as it was more a fact-finding mission than a first shoot. He was a bit reluctant but agreed to give me some time and sat for me.  He has tattoos on both arms, one more heavily decorated than the other, and I wanted to capture those as well as they are important to him, part of who he is as a person.  Using an 85mm fixed lens, I sat him in the shade on a bright sunny day against a blue backdrop of our shed.  Unconsciously, I managed to get him in blue and black sitting on a black chair against a blue backdrop.  He was patient while I did the shots that I wanted, and only occasionally slipped the mask.  In most of the images, he has the same expression – a resigned, neutral and slightly closed look.  It is the look of someone allowing themselves to be photographed rather than giving themselves to it.

My interest was increased by the other strand to what I was thinking about.  I was thinking about masks, about how we only present what we want others to see, and there is a dark side to us.  I was exploring the dark vs light aspect of our personalities, what we show and what we hide.  I was playing with trying to capture that at the same time.  He sat and I photographed him.  Then we used more of the sunlight and I was deliberately posing him so that some of his face was shaded.  I aimed for tight crops so that it was mainly head and shoulders rather than full body.

Post shoot, I went through them and looked at them more closely.  I did my montage which kind of worked but the interesting compilation came about through an expression that I caught of his when he had his eyes closed briefly.  It changed the feel of the overall image, and got me thinking more about the dark vs light.  It was a little as though a barrier had been let down briefly and that was more him.  The more I looked at the photos and the same expression throughout, the more I began thinking seriously about pursuing this as the assignment.  I am thinking about redoing it with some focus on different parts of him – the arms with their tattoos, maybe his legs as they both have tattoos, his eyes.  I was very drawn to the more unusual crops that I had made as part of the montage: the head showing just eyes and nose at the bottom of the frame; the bicep in one corner and one eye in the opposite corner; the hands resting in his lap showing the tattoos on his fingers; and the whole of him sitting static in the chair.  I keep coming back to this idea but wonder if it is too vague for the brief.  Harry Callahan did some of his wife in a similar manner – her arm on the beach, a blurred outline against a window, or the one illustrating the course materials of her in water showing just her head.  Robert Mapplethorpe also did some self-portraits of parts of his body – one shows just his head and half of his torso with an outstretched hand.  Are these still considered to be portraits?

Son (2 of 2)
Lots of portraits making up an image of my son

My alternative is to do still one person but along the lines of ‘Same person, different backgrounds’.  I have done an initial shoot that went well but could do with fleshing out a bit.  I spent some time with a Fire Officer who kindly allowed me to shoot him at home as well at one of the Fire Stations.  He suggested going back there at night to do one of the engine with blue lights flashing.  That would be so cool!  My tutor’s advice to me was “Shoot. Review, Shoot again.”  Whatever I decide, I think some more shooting is in order.


Exercise 2.3: Same Model, Different Background

The brief was to make five images of the same person with different backgrounds.  My thinking was to try to get five different portraits within a small confined area in one session in order to get the consistency of the same person wearing the same clothes but against different backgrounds to see if it made a difference.   It was a case of trying to capture a snapshot in time.  My son agreed to come along with me to be the model, and we took the dogs with us.  The conditions were good as it was relatively early in the morning and it was bright with sunshine and clouds, therefore there was no interior shooting or artificial light used. The location was a seaside walk that then went up onto a grassed green with woods and trees bordering it.  In this way, it was possible to vary the background within a small area and get seaside as well as more rural looks.  I used my compact Sony CyberShot camera and while it was small and easy to use, it had limitations in that it didn’t give me the control over the focussing and aperture that I really wanted.  I did both landscape and portrait orientation to see which worked better.

Landscape orientation:

Ex2.3 Same-diff Cameron landscape-1
Ex2.3 Same-diff Cameron landscape-2
Ex2.3 Same-diff Cameron landscape-3
Ex2.3 Same-diff Cameron landscape-4
Ex2.3 Same-diff Cameron landscape-5

The landscape versions work quite well with (3) and (5) being more intereesting than the other two.  (3) I had in  mind trying to make him very small in the landscape so that the attention is not solely on the model but on the surrounding area as well.  It is always tempting to get very close to the subject when photographing people, but sometimes it is good to stand back and see the bigger picture. (5) has lines for the eye to follow down to the beach and he is engaging with the camera, looking at the lens with a neutral expression.  Looking at them as a set, there is something that misses, there is something lacking in them.  I think that I concentrate more on the landscape than on the foreground.

For the portrait orientation:

Ex2.3 Same-diff Cameron-1
Ex2.3 Same-diff Cameron-2
Ex2.3 Same-diff Cameron-3
Ex2.3 Same-diff Cameron-4
Ex2.3 Same-diff Cameron-5

The full body shots work better over the set of images and that gives it a coherence and a flow that was missing in the previous set because they varied.  I mixed them in Assignment 1 and now understand that that is part of what was missing in that work.  This has a continuity.  What also springs to mind here is that the vertical space allows a different approach to include different information.  In the landscape orientation it is more about the place than the person.  In this set, while there is more of the background in them, they are about the person as a whole.  I also think that a shallower depth of filed in a couple of them would have added interest and put more attention on the person and make him stand out. Number (7) has a little of this and it makes the sea less prominent and more of a blue background.  I like the difference in light between (9) and (10).  It makes it look as though it is autumn in one and summer in the other.  Technical issues aside, these two work nicely as there are different textures in them too – one is soft, the other is hard.  Interestingly, 7,8 and 9 has him looking away from the camera and this takes away the confrontational feeling that there was in the first set, softens them in some way.

The point of the exercise is to see if the background can make a difference to the portrait in telling the viewer something about the person.  It would appear that having different backgrounds can give clues but doesn’t make up the whole story.  It would be interesting to compare a set of images in the same places as these, but taken with him wearing different clothes and at different times of day.  I’m reminded of holiday photos when you take a lot of photos within a short space of time, and often the people in them are wearing the same clothes but are in different situations.  The thread that binds them is the location, the place that is the holiday destination so it isn’t specific to a certain part of the destination. There is a story to be told through images and this story is one where there is little happening.  I know the locations and I know the model, but I don’t think that it says anything else.  Location is important, light is important and the model is important.  But ultimately you need a point of interest and maybe that is the point here – to make a decent set of images that tell the viewer something, all three have to come together with a flow and space to breathe.  There has to be some sort of connection between the model and the camera to make a spark that can be built upon. That is something to bear in mind as I grapple with ideas for Assignment 2.




Outtakes for Covert

While I have written about the five photos that I took to make a set for the exercise, there are others that I did that I liked as well.

I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to take some photographs of a friend’s band at an outdoor gig recently.  My camera is a bit of a being a beast Nikon DSLR, but as people expected me to take photos of the band they paid no attention to me wandering around the site and snapping what I saw.

Ex2.2 Covert-1
At Soundcheck

A couple of the crew avoiding the rain and waiting for time to pass until it was all over and they had to load up again.

Ex2.2 Covert-4
Rainy Flower Girl

It was overcast although quite warm, spitting with rain.  Little Mix had played there the night before and they were selling floral headbands and glow sticks.  Her headband makes her look like she’s at Woodstock.

Ex2.2 Covert-3
Selfie With The Band

Lots of people take photos of themselves in front of the band playing so that they remember being there and part of it all.  More floral headbands, but her expression caught my eye as well as the tiny man in front of them.  Is he part of their group? I don’t know!

Ex2.2 Covert-2

Another band waiting for soundcheck to finish and then they can get off to eat.

Ex2.2 Covert-5
Preston Beach

I was walking along the promenade at Preston Beach and saw these two having a snooze in the sun.  The are blissfully unaware of anything around them, and it was very hot so I can imagine them waking up with sunburn.

Ex2.2 Covert-6
Beach Huts

Carrying my camera at waist height, I snapped these people outside their beach huts just along from the other couple.  Beach huts are prized items here and the waiting list is endless.  It’s not my idea of fun as I like to move around from beach to beach depending on my mood, the time of day, whether I want to swim or not, whether I fancy an ice cream.  It’s a slice of British life seeing people outside their huts on a summer’s day.

These don’t make a coherent essay on street life, but they are observations at various times to show that it is possible to take photos while people are not aware of you.  Interesting to try it out and see the results.



Exercise 2.2 Covert

Brief: Closely consider the work of the practitioners discussed above, then try to shoot a series of five portraits of subjects who are unaware of the fact they are being photographed.

I had a couple of attempts at this using my phone camera as it was the most unobtrusive of cameras – everyone carries one and there isn’t any suspicion of it facing people.  I was out walking along the seafront and snapped a few people as I passed.  Some I caught, others were completely missed as the phone reacted slower than I did, and it was very hit and miss in terms of focus and framing.  That isn’t surprising as trying to line up the phone and allow it to focus then pressing a shutter button of sorts isn’t an exact science.  I also tried a couple using my DSLR when out doing images for the previous exercise.

I think that this is almost as unnerving as asking people to pose for a photograph in Assignment 1.  It does feel a little as though you are invading their space even if they appear to be unaware that their photograph is being taken. The ones below are the result of walking through Torquay on a blustery but sunny evening, snapping people on my phone.  There is a variety of ages and people from young families to older couples.  I use an app on the phone called Retrica that adds filters to the photos and this gives them more of a polaroid look, like the instant photos of the 1970s.  It isn’t to everyone’s taste but for an exercise like this it works ok giving the images some warmth.



This one is made interesting by the long shadows made by me and my husband as we walked in the opposite direction.  There is a feel to this that it could have been taken many years ago, not the other night.


This one came out really well as they are really close to me, blinded by the lowering sun, and there is my shadow across them as I snap the phone.


We then sat in a bar by the harbour and I snapped people passing me, that looked interesting.


There is the feeling that none of them are seeing me as they pass on their way to meet friends, loved ones or family or on a walk in the sunshine before it goes down.


A young family with the sun behind the little girl being carried – not something we are encouraged to do but it works in this instance as they are hurrying away from me.  I truly am invisible to them.  That is the beauty of a phone as it doesn’t draw attention to me while i snap away.

All of these were taken within a short time frame of about half an hour and the light makes them a coherent set with the warmth of the setting sun.  It was a challenge but on this occasion, not as bad as doing the assignment and I believe that I caught something.