Photography assignment blog

Final Images.

I have now presented my final images for this assignment. I feel all of the images are applicable to the brief set which was to create 5 final images in the category of ‘Flora and Fauna’ , ‘Wildlife’ or ‘Landscapes’ in this case it was Flora & Fauna, which are stock photo quality. I have used the work of Rotenberg, Cunningham and most prominently Mapplethorpe’s flower and plant photography throughout the assignment to inform my work and feel my final images reflect their work and the research. One of my aims for these images were to create ‘clean’ images, as opposed to when i went out on shoots and got the flowers amongst foliage or had trees in the background and distracted the viewer, i wanted to create professional-looking imagery that i think would be accepted by stock photo agencies. To achieve this look i have demonstrated experimentation with lighting to create highlights on parts of the subjects and I used the zoom on my 18-55mm lens as through using different lens based equipment in the earlier stages i decided that i got the best quality photographs by using this and i could capture the details i wanted. If i was to shoot again i think i could try more lenses but overall I am pleased with my final images and think they reflect my research i have done in the project and fit the specification requirements.

Studio Shoot : Final Images
5. Lily Stamen
Throughout my research i came across different styles that artists use to capture flowers and plants. The most popular form of flower photography is macro photography. Zooming in on one little detail and making it stand out to the viewer is a popular technique that has been used by every photographer i have researched so i wanted a good quality close up shot of a small detail. The stamen of the lilys were perfect to shoot as they stand out from the middle so i could get them against the background and the rest of the yellow lily behind them. To get the darkness of the background I turned the lights off in the room where i’d set up the make shirt studio and just used used the lamp to illuminate the subject creating quite a dramatic and strong image. I shone the light from the left to parts of the stamen could be visible in detail and also increased the contrast in the shadows.
Studio Shoot : Final Images
4. Pink Rose
I think this is a really successful final image. I didn’t use a flash for the photo because i used a spotlight aimed from the right side onto the face of the flower head which highlighted the pink petals. Because i did not use flash the background is also lighter, and i think the pale blue background and the pink petals also work really well together. The shade of the background also looks a bit like the sky, almost like the photo was taken outdoors. I like the depth of field of the image and how you can really see the details and textures on the petals and the single flower against a plain background technique i wanted to use that Mapplethorpe used in his work.
Studio Shoot : Final Images
3. Lily Two
This was one of the images I was most pleased with out of my final five images. I feel the colours and composition of the photograph are what makes it strong, The contrast of the yellow, green and purple together makes the image eye catching. The variation of light shades for example the yellow on lily petals and the lighter lilac work well combined with the dark orange of the stamen which has quite a high contrast. I experimented with the lighting and shone it underneath the petals aiming the light up so it actually lit up the underside of the petals, but i think that the lighting is really good on this image and highlights just enough of the stamen for us to see the details and the textures of the petals. The photograph reminded me of ‘Nodding Trillium’ by Nancy Rotenberg with the purple shades in the image. 
Studio Shoot : Final Images
2. Black and White Rose
I wanted to include at least one black and white photograph in my five final images. I set myself on doing this as my main influence for my floral photography has been Robert Mapplethorpe and he was famous for his monochrome still life work, so i wanted to include my own black and white flower image amongst my final work. For this image, i chose to use a large striking flower to really create a dramatic black and white image. I was taking influence from his work 1987 work ‘Tulips’ to inform this work. I liked how he really showed the shadows in-between and underneath the petals by using contrast. I thought the rose was the perfect rose to use to create an image like this as the tulips he sho had large petals so there was lots of shadows around them that he could enhance and create contrast. I think this is what i feel worked best in this photograph, the contrast around the petals and the shadows, i used a spotlight to highlight the front of the flower and keep the background a dark grey which i think definitely helped bring out the contrast in the flower.
Studio Shoot : Final Images
1. Curl
From my previous post and contact sheets on the studio shoot i did experimenting with lighting I was able to capture my final images. I took inspiration from Robert Mapplethorpe’s  ’Calla Lily’ where he takes a photograph of a lily and the curl on the tip of the petal is really focussed on, bringing out a small detail and making it one of the main/the main focus of the image. I used a yellow lily to photograph like he used a lily and i noticed this small curl in the petal, i chose to zoom in and photograph this as it looks really delicate and reminded me of his work.  I decided to shoot in colour as the lighting i used really brings out the yellow in the petals and the shadows in the background came out a violet colour which contrasts well with the yellow tones. I wanted to make the image square, taking influence from Robert’s work and i think that by having cropped in slightly, the image looks much better this shape and i like the composition. I was aiming to capture the small curl and make it look delicate by having this against a dark background and i think i have achieved this in my image.
This is an image i shot on this studio shoot but i felt this was a contender for a final image, but not as strong as the other images it would be next to. I like the depth of field, how we can see the small flowers in detail to the left, yet still see the bunch of flowers in the background and still make out what the subjects in the background are, I also think the dark background really makes the viewer’s eye go straight to the white flowers, this demonstrates the technique used by Robert Mapplethorpe of having a dark background to bring out the subject.
Studio Shoot
..I feel i got some of my best images from this contact sheet, especially the roses, i managed to achieve Mapplethorpe-esque photos which was what i was hoping to achieve, a single natural subject on plain background..

Studio Shoot

..I feel i got some of my best images from this contact sheet, especially the roses, i managed to achieve Mapplethorpe-esque photos which was what i was hoping to achieve, a single natural subject on plain background..

Studio Shoot
..On the first few photos i was focussing on tiny flowers on the bunch trying to capture details of them amongst the other flowers, they worked well but i don’t think the photos are as dramatic or striking as i’d like my final images to look..

Studio Shoot

..On the first few photos i was focussing on tiny flowers on the bunch trying to capture details of them amongst the other flowers, they worked well but i don’t think the photos are as dramatic or striking as i’d like my final images to look..

Studio Shoot
..On the fourth row, I tried to shoot these flowers in a vase like Mapplethorpe’s 1987 photograph ‘Tulips’, using a black vase and light coloured flowers, yet to get all the flowers in, and the vase, i either got creases from the backdrop or part of the wall behind the sheet in the shot so i decided to just continue with close-up shots..

Studio Shoot

..On the fourth row, I tried to shoot these flowers in a vase like Mapplethorpe’s 1987 photograph ‘Tulips’, using a black vase and light coloured flowers, yet to get all the flowers in, and the vase, i either got creases from the backdrop or part of the wall behind the sheet in the shot so i decided to just continue with close-up shots..

Studio Shoot
..Towards the bottom of the sheet, these are images where i tried using zoom burst on the lily yet i just got too much light and the effect just looked like i’d really lowered the contrast in the images so i decided to just carry on using zoom to capture the flowers in a traditional way..

Studio Shoot

..Towards the bottom of the sheet, these are images where i tried using zoom burst on the lily yet i just got too much light and the effect just looked like i’d really lowered the contrast in the images so i decided to just carry on using zoom to capture the flowers in a traditional way..

Studio Shoot
..This first contact sheet shows me getting to grips with the lighting and experimenting, in the first half of the sheet, on how i could focus on the stamen of the lilys and seeing how i could highlight it with the lamp..

Studio Shoot

..This first contact sheet shows me getting to grips with the lighting and experimenting, in the first half of the sheet, on how i could focus on the stamen of the lilys and seeing how i could highlight it with the lamp..

Studio Shoot

From having shot flowers outside and experimented with different techniques to create non-traditional images, it has given me an insight into the best way to take photographs for my final images. Although i feel the select images from the stanley park shoot were strong and i was pleased with the outcomes of them, i think i want to create images where there is no foliage or distractions behind the images. Most stock agency photography companies have high standards regarding quality of images that they use, I feel like a couple of the images from the shoot looked more like ‘snapshots’ rather than professionally captured images, I am pleased with them but will not be using the method of shooting outdoors for my final images. Trying experimental ways of creating images for example me using pinhole cameras, fisheye lens and creating photograms, using lighting and looking into flower photographers that created inspiring work has helped me decide how i envisage my final 5 images. Mapplethorpe’s work has really stuck with me. I love how he creates a striking piece of work using contrast and plain background to bring the subject out to be seen as a masterpiece or a work of art on its own, he makes what would be, in mass with others, just a plant and takes it and creates lighting round it and composes the subject to beautifully that it is seen in a different light and like the only one of its kind. I have found inspiration in Imogen Cunninghams work by her having showed me that you can create an artistic flower photograph by angling the subjects in various positions and not just have the subject straight up in the middle, not ‘your regular photograph’. The details in the photographs and how she zoomed in on one small detail/intricate details and made the focus on that, using narrow depth of field was what i took inspiration from in Nancy Rotenbergs work. From constantly evaluating my work and taking inspiration from these artists i have decided that to create professional looking images that i feel will definitely be ‘stock agency worthy’ i need to shoot indoors. I set up a makeshift studio in my spare room and had a large sheet on the wall as a plain backdrop and a table in front of it, i also made sure i had plug sockets near, so i could plug in a lamp that i could hold to highlight parts of the flower, like Mapplethorpe did in his studio. I also got my tripod ready as to make sure i get the best quality photos without any slight blur or disruption when taking the photographs. For health and safety, i made sure all cables were on one side and not in front of the table where i would stand. I also had someone holding the lamp, with me instructing them on where to angle the light, as it would be dangerous and not practical for me to hold the heavy lamp and my camera at the same time. 

Experience: Local Area Shoot

I wanted to create some non-traditional images of flowers, so i used a fisheye adaptor on my 18-55mm lens to create experimental photographs. By using the adaptor i did feel like i lost some of the sharpness of the images and of course, they were not as pristine as using a regular lens to shoot. You also cannot zoom in, as you lose the fisheye effect the more you zoom, and you really need the whole frame and the edges of the adaptor in the image to get the full fisheye effect. It was interesting to get some experimental shots but i feel that to get the images that are more ‘stock agency-worthy’ i should use a regular lens with zoom, as i found, for example on the Stanley Park shoot, that i could get really in depth detailed shots of the flowers and intricate details on the zoom, whereas with the fisheye you get all of the background in too and it is harder, i found to focus on one specific area, though i do think using fisheye and wide angle lenses would be really effective for shooting landscapes, but not for this genre of photography.

Local Area Shoot
This is, i feel my strongest image using the fisheye lens adaptor shooting the rhododendron. This is typically reminiscent of the type of flowers and subjects that Nancy Rotenberg shoots, the colours of the flowers instantly reminded me of the ‘Nodding Trillium’ by Rotenberg, with the pinks. Again, i don’t think that the contrast is high enough but i like the angle of the shot, the way it looks like it is towering over the camera and we get a sense of size and height.