Category Archives: Part 4

Exercise 4.5 Ex-nihilo

Make an image search and take screenshot of a ´landscape, portrait or object´. Note down similarities you find between the images.


There is usually a foreground, midground (subject, but not always) and the sky usually features. The typical landscape therefore, can be said is divided into three strips of information or composition. The foreground and sky are at the edges, leading your eye to the main part, mountains/trees etc. This is the section with the most depth. Variations include foreground subjects, clouds and the horizon line depicted as irregular or curved. Landscapes are often seen as aesthetically pleasing as something to view that is easy-on-the-eye, sweeping, majestic, a wide expanse of terrain with enhanced colours.


In the Prix Pictet photography category ‘Earth’ , Chris Steele-Perkins has depicted mount Fuji as being incidental. Although the mountain features in all the images, the scenes of everyday life that go on around Mount Fuji are included into the scene and become equally as important as the mountain.

I wanted to shoot a landscape that differed from the screenshot in terms of being less aesthetic and more gritty and interesting.  This chosen terrain comes with questions and can be analysed from a social and environmental viewpoint. The images are views of the landscape, yet they feature foreground subjects that unlike trees, mountains or ‘natural’ environmental sights, need to be thought about. As these wind turbines are close to where I live there continues to be debate about their function and how they impact on our landscape. My chosen image from this exercise shows the landscape as being incidental as there are other considerations within the picture. I have chosen to frame the final image with the fence and barbed wire, both are also man-made structures on the natural landscape but are noticed less due to size, their function and age.  By using black and white each form is given equal importance in the frame especially significant with the foreground weed appearing as tall as the turbine.landscapeContactSheet-001


‘The Golden Hour’

The ‘Golden Hour’ refers to the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset. The sun is low  creating long shadows and diffused lighting making these hours of the day flattering for portraits and good for landscape work.

These golden hours will be different depending where you live, and on the seasons.

I took the above images as light from the ‘Golden Hour’ after sunrise and before sunset flooded into windows in the house.

‘Top Light’- Lighting the subject from above, signifies other worldly prescence or angelic innocence. (Key Concepts, D.Bate/photographic Theory p.23 )

Sally Mann (1951)


Born in Lexington, Virginia USA, Mann was Introduced to the medium of photography by her father, a physician.

Sally then took up photography whilst at the Putney school in Vermont and then  later, studying at Bennington College  with photographer Norman Sieff.  After a year spent in Europe, Sally graduated from Hollins University in 1974. A year later she earned a masters degree in writing.

Mann talks romantically about the mysterious light in the South in comparison to the North where everything is revealed. ‘In the Summer, the quality of air and the light are so layered, complex and mysterious’. – American SuburbX Jan 5th/2013.

Late afternoon is when Sally talks about capturing the light that makes her photographs so dreamy and atmospheric.

Having experimented with colour, Mann is always drawn back to her love of black and white, creating ‘vintage’ style images that she achieves with a 100yr old 8×10 large format bellows camera, using her own hand as a shutter mechanism and favouring defective lens that are scratched or marked to further authenticate the style of which she is known.  A technique that Mann has embraced is that of the‘collodion process’ used in the development of photographic practise in the 19th century.

In an interview with, Mann explains how the collodion and ether are applied to the glass plate followed by silver nitrate, then inserted into the camera back whilst still wet, leaving only around 3 minutes to expose the image before the chemicals evaporate. This is the process that creates the ‘swirling’ effect to her pictures, sharp in the centre and a soft vignette around the outside. Any added imperfections such as scratches, dust or light-leaks are welcomed, adding to the sense of history and time that Mann is fascinated by.

Mann is well known for her intimate documentary style shots of her family and has published books ‘At Twelve’ (1998) and ‘Immediate Family’ (1992) capturing everyday moments of her children playing and growing up. Beautiful, serene and evocative, Manns images are never obvious and leave viewers wondering about the narrative and inviting them to question (maybe not intentionally) the  image, sometimes leading to misinterpretation and controversy.

‘Time, memory, loss and love are my main artistic concerns’ –Sally Mann/Guardian Sean O’Hagan, June 20th 2010.


In the late 1990s Mann turned to Landscape photography, never  wanting or needing to leave the South for her art, Sally found an easy transition from photographing her family with the Southern landscape as the backdrop to documenting the landscape as the main focus.  Interested in the history of the Southern country, Mann created images with a strong sense of emotion and nostalgia in her series ‘Deep South’ (2005) a series of ethereal landscapes. Mann speaks of not being a spiritual person but feeling the lands presence whilst spending long periods of time alone creating the series.



Guardian/Sean O’Hagan interview June 20th,2010

Americansuburbx Jan 5th/2013

The Art of Photography- Ted Forbes

Exercise 4.2 Exposure

In Manual mode I took a selection of pictures throughout the day from roughly the same point. I was doubtful that they would be very different from each other as it was a cloudy day that I though didn’t change much. On studying the images together there is a marked difference in lighting.

Project 1-Exposure Exercise 4.1

Photography-A compound of the Greek words for light (phos)and writing (graphie) implying that a photograph is writing with light.

For this exercise, I have photographed a dark object (black curtains), a white object (white radiator) and a grey/midtoned object (grey handbag).

I filled the frame with each item. Using the fully-auto ‘Program ‘mode I photographed each tone and without using photoshop to enhance them, noticed how similar the tones were to each other. There is not a distinctive difference between the colours. All images have come out as grey. To the eye, the black image was darker and the white, lighter.

I checked the histograms for each. They are different shapes but all spiking in the central divisions of the graph. I would say the grey image is softer therefore having more tonal range.

The exercise was repeated again, this time using manual mode and adjusting the exposure meter for each picture. The black is blacker and the white whiter than before. The white isn’t as bright as it should have been on the histogram reading. This could be because of the shadows on the radiator giving a different tone to the raised metal of the radiator. The greys are very similar.

The cameras metering system averages each exposure around the mid-tones. This is because the light metered is ‘reflected’ light from he subject and not ‘incident’ light, the light falling onto a subject. A light meter can measure incident light.

The exposure exercise has been on my mind as the white histogram was not as far to the right in the highlights as expected. I decided to find a truer white and take another picture. With the truer white the histogram now reads where first expected. Problem solved.