Assignment 1 – Contrasts

In addition to finding four existing pairs of photos illustrating them, the exercise required you to produce eight pairs of photos illustrating a selection from the following contrasts:-

Large/small Long/short Thick/thin Black/white Many/few Pointed/blunt Smooth/rough Still/moving Transparent/opaque Liquid/solid Strong/weak High/low Broad/narrow Light/dark Much/little Straight/curved Diagonal/rounded Hard/soft Light/heavy Sweet/sour Continuous/intermittent.

I have assumed that the four pairs were to come from those shot for the preceding exercises/posts (if this is not the case then I can always come back to this with photos from my broader portfolio) and as a result have selected these:-


Two shots from the Mapplethorpe exhibition I attended in Paris.




The Battery at Grain


Train on the Hastings line.



Chagall window and altar at All Saints, Tudeley


Carving at St Thomas a Becket



Foxglove in churchyard and gravestone in same churchyard.



I originally wrote down a variety of proposed shots that I thought would do the trick for the second part of the assignment and indeed starting taking a few but these were, to me, too much of a haphazard nature.

However I had the further thought that it would be good to have a common thread or theme, as it were, to the series of eight pairs and decided to use my Dad’s old shed as the source of all the photos for this part of the assignment.  This had basically been left untouched for some 25 years until very recently and in the process of tidying it up I felt that there was scope to cover the assignment using just the objects in it, and the shed itself.  It also served as a bit of a record keeping exercise in terms of my memories, and a visual essay on the building.


When the shed was built, some 46 years ago, the garden was a building site, literally.  It now looks out on a fully matured and planted garden.


It was made of interlocking concrete panels all of which seem to be in good shape.




Due to the length of time things have been left some decay/disintegration has taken place, for instance in this watering can the rubber nozzle on the  spout has disintegrated:-


Whereas this hacksaw still seems to be in good condition and the cast iron handle is still smooth and unblemished (I also liked the visual pun in this shot.)



There is a lot of death in the shed – the cobwebs have many corpses, as does the window.


There is also a lot of life, particularly in the form of spiders, who can be seen around the window area.




There are various objects and tools, some of which I have no idea of their function.  In addition there are random objects such as these weights.



Broad/Narrow  (also pointed/blunt)

Two item that seem to still be unaffected by time are the stainless steel fork and spade.




A box of drills and a spiders web.  It could be argued that, relatively speaking, a spiders web is strong, but in these two shots I wanted to show something solid and difficult to move compared to the fragility of the web.





There were many jars full of tacks, screws, nails and odds and sods, but also individual items lying about.







The exercise also required a shot showing multiple examples of contrasts and I took this photo of a wood plane used by my Dad, which has a strong resonance with me,  for that purpose:-


It has a straight/curved contrast in the cast of the metal; a diagonal/rounded contrast in the slope of the blade holder and the front round wooden handle; a light/dark contrast the sheen on the metal and name and the shadows and a transparent/opaque contrast with the perspex window and the solid metal of the plane.

With regard to assessment criteria I would make the following points.  I would add that at this point I decided not to make any further changes as I felt the self assessment would be more relevant on what I considered the finished assignment to be.

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills

Out of the four criteria I think this is my strongest one (or least weak).  My technical skills are, I believe, fairly good and while this assignment was limited in the range and application of those skills (partly as a result of my own choosing) I think there is an element of visual awareness shown (choice of angles for instance) as well as compositional elements (the only staged photo was the wood plane everything else in the shed was in situ).   Earlier exercises may have demonstrated this as well.

Quality of Outcome

I am pleased with the idea behind the assignment and I think the presentation of it has been reasonably clear.  I maybe need to elaborate on my thinking a bit  more and be more disciplined in recording ideas, whether used or unused.

Demonstration of Creativity

This is probably the area I am least happy with as I don’t think the imagination is free flowing enough and certainly have not yet developed a personal voice (and hopefully I’ll know when I do!)


If I am honest I did not do any specific research for this assignment and the preceding exercises, other than look at other students blogs.  I have however done a fair amount of reading and a few study visits but I would not class this as research for this particular course more like general background reading.  One book I did find useful was the Nature of Photographs by Stephen Shore as it made me think  a lot more about photo’s I am viewing.  I think my reflection on where I am at (see earlier entry) is fairly honest, particularly as to my deficiencies with recording activities, thoughts etc and that is something I intend to work on.













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