Category Archives: Part 5

Exercise 5.3 Behind the gare Saint-Lazare

The iconic image ‘Derriere la gare Saint-Lazare’ (Paris, 1932) is the photograph that helped coin the term ‘The Decisive Moment’.

In 1932, Cartier-Bresson began using a small, hand held Leica camera with rolls of film he could carry in his pocket. This liberation enabled Cartier-Bresson to capture images that could not have before been created with cumbersome large and medium format equipment.

The image was captured by pressing the camera between slats in the fence, Cartier-Bresson says he couldn’t even see the picture at the time he pressed the shutter. Did he then, see the figure and ‘anticipate’ that the person would jump into the flood water. Was there another piece of debris not shown that the jumper could have been aiming for to save himself from getting wet?

Cartier-Bresson always chose “form over light L’amour Tout Court (2001) and spoke of pictures needing a strong sense of geometry.

In ‘Derriere la gare Saint-Lazare’ My eyes come back to the point of the symmetry where the heel of the figure is off the ground and is a fraction away from touching the reflection. This is the point of  ‘movement’ in the image making it interesting but also the point of the highest contrast. I also find the reflection of the static figure in the background stands out, again for the contrast but also because we recognise the shape as human and while the railings and geometry of the lines give structure to the photograph, we are probably more curious about a human figure. We know what the railings and buildings are doing, their story or form won’t change but we are naturally drawn to part of the image that might move or allow us more information to the story.

This particular picture is also interesting from upside down. The ‘jumper’ looks like he is putting more speed into the motion. We can also see his hands and his back leg is almost ‘springing’ from the board.

Another picture by Bresson titled ‘Hyeres, France’ was also taken in 1932. There are many similarities to the two images. It is difficult to know which was taken first but, the form of the cyclist in the space past the railings could of helped Bresson anticipate ‘The Decisive Moment’ in ‘Derriere la gare Saint-Lazare’


Homage Photography-The Distance Between Us

I started my photographic beginnings being heavily influenced by Cartier-Bresson, Andre Kertesz,  Jacques Henri-Lartigue and Eugene Atget. In the early 90s, it was for me, very much about black and white imagery,  and self processing and printing. I have never acknowledged how much of an influence these great photographers have had on me…until now, viewing them side by side. I am astounded, and hugely grateful to have been asked to make this ‘connection’.

Exercise 5.2 The Distance Between Us

For this exercise I have chosen a picture from photographer Shane Lynham named ‘Untitled’. I first saw this image at the Getty ‘Renaissance Prize’ exhibition. The image was shorlisted in the category ‘Line’. I very much like the work of Lynham and this image has been etched into my mind ever since for the simplicity of the background and understated participation of the subjects.

Whilst at a local Triathlon, I knew I could use the idea of Lynham’s picture to create similar aesthetics.

After reading Terry Barrett’s Photographs and Contexts, I believe my response of the photograph falls into the category of ‘internal context’ because of the near identical subject of the swimmers wearing caps, the element of sea and also of the composition as the line of swimmers draws your eye to the same point on the horizon. The viewpoint, whilst taken from the right hand side, is different as Lynham is standing higher, creating  a lower horizon line for a greater expanse of sky.

Assignment 4 Tutor Feedback

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills:

Materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills

Your work for this assignment has shown very competent technical and visual skills. The lighting and in particular use of darkness for a background works very well. The use of screens and shadows is highly effective. You have constructed these images to only show exactly what you want to show and so visual awareness, design and composition have all been carefully and effectively controlled.

Quality of Outcome:

Content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas.

Your work has been presented well, I could see this work as large prints in an exhibition. You have communicated your ideas effectively, there are a lot of signs and symbols in these images and I would be interested to see a write up on the thoughts for each image. Also could they have text accompany them to emphasise the idea or do you think this would detract?

Highly effective work presented in a professional way, showing strong judgement.

Demonstration of Creativity:

Imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice.

Strongly creative, takes risks with many imaginative and successful outcomes, strong evidence of personal voice. I think your idea and the way you have gone about constructing it is very personal to you. Well done.

You have experimented with lighting and reflections in your image to create images which are full of layers of interest to keep you looking at them for longer and trying to“read” the images.


I can see exercises have been completed from the write up on your work submitted, however for assessment the exercises will need to be provided on your blog.


Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis.

I can also see you have completed thorough research from the write up of your work. You have reflected well on your own work and the work of other photographers.

Learning Log:

Very articulate and self aware, very well researched, demonstrating a developed intellectual understanding. Make sure that everything is on your blog for assessment.

Pointers for the next assignment / assessment

  • Keep up the good work
  • Make sure everything is evidenced on your blog


Exercise 5.1 The Distance Between Us.

Use the camera as a measuring device. This dosen’t refer to the distance scale on the focus ring! Instead, find a subject you have empathy with and take a selection of shots to explore the distance between yourself and subject. Select your best shot.

When choosing your ‘select’ don’t evaluate the shots according to the idea you had when taking the shots, instead, evaluate it by what you discover within the frame. Be open to the unexpected.

Look critically at the work you did by including what you didn’t mean to do. Include the mistakes or your unconscious, or whatever you want to call it and analyse it, not from the point of view of your intention, but because it is there.-Alexia Clorinda.


My ’empathy’ moment came whilst on a camping trip in Cornwall. Most of the weather was good, but it was the onset of misty morning drizzle that inspired me to pick up the camera. The very nature of the weather and leisure activity undertaken by many during the Summer holidays made me feel even less able to approach people to photograph them than before. I wasn’t interested in them (the others) in the slightest, or them of me.

The select I have chosen emphasizes the distance between us. Instead of becoming closer to the subject I became further away. Although I was aware of the person I was photographing and even the rain on the window, I was not aware how the picture made me feel until I saw it again. Although I was also camping and in the same situation, I was sheltered , separated by the glass of a car and the weather. A million miles away from the wet and gloomy subject.


A dog walker on a campsite in the rain