Category Archives: Part 2

Exercise 2.7 The Distorting Lens

By using small apertures a greater depth of field can be achieved. A foreground subject enhances this and gives balance and purpose within the frame. These pictures were shot on a very sunny midday and I didn’t need a slow shutter speed. the first image has an interesting pattern in the sand which becomes foreground detail.


Fay Godwin (1931-2005)- Lens Work.

Born in Berlin in 1931 to a diplomat Father and artist Mother, as a child Fay was educated in various countries and enjoyed a multi-cultural upbringing before settling in London.

Fays interest in photography developed whilst taking snaps of her children and progressed into portraiture for mostly authors on book jackets thanks to her husband Anthony Godwin, part of the Penguin publishing house.  Totally self-taught, Fay is often quoted as saying she would have loved to have led an adventurous life in photojournalism had she not have had children.

When her marriage ended abruptly , and as her children became older, Fay found a new freedom to explore photography and combined it with her love of walking (Fay became president of the Ramblers Association in 1987). Godwin headed into the British countryside, learning about the history of the topography, documenting  medieval roads and field systems and the spacious, rugged landscape in black and white.

Turning her back completely on her portrait work, critics commented on her landscapes as a reflection of desolation and deep loneliness.

From the 1970s Fay became increasingly aware of mans impact on the environment and began documenting rusty cars in beauty spots, sheep overlooking a military canal and an increasing number of signs restricting movement on the land. As a pioneer of organic food production and upset by modern farming practise Godwin produced ‘Our forbidden Land’ (1991) ‘an impassioned attack, on the destruction of the countryside’.(Margaret Drabble-Guardian)

Although never described as pretty, Godwins images have been cited as poetic and are an important political message about our ‘right to roam’. Many of her images use a great depth of field, to emphasize the expanse of the great landscape and to bring attention to these social issues.

References: Daily Telegraph/Obits May 2005. / ‘Land-revisited’ National Media Museum.

Guy Bourdin (1928-1991) – Lens Work

Born in Paris in 1928, Guy Bourdin was abandoned by his mother whilst still an infant and brought up by his Grandparents. As an only child for much of his childhood, Guy absorbed himself in painting and sketching.

In his twenties, during his time serving in military service, Guy was able to use a camera for the first time and spent his time in the Senegal taking aerial photographs.

After returning to Paris, Guy was to work as a salesman selling lenses until he came across an image of a pepper by Edward Weston which inspired him to view photography as art. Later, Guy was to befriend Man Ray and become greatly influenced by the photographers’ surrealism. In the 1950s Bourdin launched his career by working for Vogue magazine. Maintaining complete control of the way the images were used, Bourdin tailored his compositions to the pages the on which they would appear.

Bourdin always used a great depth of field creating a slightly uncomfortable and provocative view of the models he chose and poses that were not always flattering. His use of vivid colours and untraditional placement of horizons helped to give Bourdin a unique and dark style of imagery inspired by Hitchcock films, creating an almost cinematic narrative of suspense in a pre-digital age.

In his advertising photography Guy is quoted as saying ‘The product is secondary to the image’ meaning the product can be within the story of the photograph instead of being at the forefront and standing out alone and is credited for changing the style of commercial imagery.

He shows that within the context of fashion, it is not the product that interests us, but the carefully staged narrative of fantasy, desire and our quest for the unattainable.


Campaigns shot by Guy Bourdin for Charles Jourdan in 1979 show his use of depth of field to maximise the narrative rather than the product.

References: ’Dreamgirls’-The Photographs of Guy Bourdin (1991)/






Exercise 2.1 The Distorting Lens

I have taken a series of shots from the same viewpoint but with different focal lengths. I have used the actual focal lengths as they appear on the lens barrel. This exercise shows the movement that can be achieved through the lens rather than the movement of the photographer. To my mind the first image seems the ‘normal’ eyes view of the scene.