Exercise 3.2 Series – 5 mins in

07th December 2019

Decide on a specific subject… and work on making a series of photographs… but you must be clear at the outset what your subject is.

When you’ve made the final selection of photographs, print them and place them in a grid or linear series. Invite people you know to comment on them and note down their responses.

OCA Foundations in Photography Course Folder pg101

5 mins in

I had decided straight away that having to photograph something that I have daily access to meant that it would either have to be in the garden or within the home. This might sound boring but actually when you sit down and think about a series created within the home, so many avenues can be followed. I decided to shoot on the subject of text, words and numbers, logos etc… around the home, having a graphic design background and using text within my exhibition work meant I really wanted to try something different in a photographic series format. After scouting around I realised yes, there is a lot of text around me but I wanted to create a series that was more abstract. Having sat down with a coffee I put NETFLIX on for a film and then then answer hit me. Due to the fact that I really enjoyed shooting the fight scenes for Exercise 1.10 Shutter Speed from the TV – I loved the interference lines, the blurring and double images, in fact the whole unpredictability of not knowing how the image will turn out, I could create a series connected with programmes and films that I am watching now.

The different type of photographic series that I could create was plenty from one on different genres, one connected only with a specific genre for example, horror, comedy or sci-fi, my favourite actors or actresses etc… the ideas kept coming. But because I wanted to create a series that had text within it I decided to go with what I am watching at the moment and their related texts.

Knowing that I wanted to shoot text off the TV, the next decisions how? Would it be when scene had books, phones, signs etc… within it? Would there be enough? Would there be a large enough variety to make my series of photographs exciting and stand out?

I used Amazon Prime as my base from which to work from as I have been watching films and series on that quite a lot lately.

I answered no to these questions and then I realised that each film or TV series has intro credits and also there is there titles, so I decided with enthusiasm, that this would be ideal to create a series from. I called the work ‘5 mins in’ as I wanted the programmes each to be linked not only by text, angle of camera shot but another means. Therfore ‘5 mins in’ relates to the first five minutes of the TV programme where I take shots of text and a few images and then stop.

Below are my contact sheets for the shoot.

The Series and films that I chose to shoot are ones that I am currently watching or have just watched. They are, in order of the contact sheets top to bottom and left to right:

  • The Purge – 2019 Season 2 episode 8 created by James DeMonaco
  • Preacher – 2019 Season 4 episode 1 developed by Sam Catlin, Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen
  • The 100 – 2018 Season 5 episode 1 developed by Jason Rothenberg
  • The Vatican Tapes – 2015 directed by Mark Neveldine
  • Bad Match – 2017 directed by David Chirchirillo
  • After the Dark – 2013 directed by John Huddles
  • Open Grave – 2014 directed by Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego

It was quite interesting to note that the lower budget films had far less opening credits and began almost straight into the film. Some of the shots I took didn’t have any text in them due to the fact that as I pushed the button for a shot they had disappeared off screen.

I now have to decide how I am going to select the final images and how to present them. I need a strong link to begin, then a middle and end. The link could be the title, then perhaps two shots with images and text. I will firstly study the contact sheets to find the images that begin the series.

Show Titles

I chose to shoot the footages from the same distance and height from the TV set and I did not mind if the titles disappeared off the screens long as the whole title was evident and people could make out what the text said. I found that with the Open Grave title which is the last shot on the contact sheet, I only managed to shoot two letters of the title. I also realised I only managed one shot for The 100 but couldn’t remember why this was. So I am going to re-shoot the opening title for both of these so that they fit in with the remaining titles images.

Below is my second attempt for The 100 and Open grave. I have realised that, Open Grave quickly disappeared from the screen and The 100 only had the one image for its title. So again I was limited to that which I caught in shot for them both. You can see their second shoot below.

The second shoot contact sheet

Due to the fact I was holding the camera, I have noticed that I, on occasions, held my camera at an angle and so the text was also angled across the picture plane. I will therefore straighten the titles in Photoshop and make another contact sheet with these images on them to see if they fit together and if any of the images need to be taken out.

The seven titles of programmes and films watched

I am actually really pleased with these that I have chosen and straightened. The only one that I am not too happy with is the ‘Bad Match’ because it is quite blurred on the edges of the text. Initially I didn’t mind if I was to get blurring and interference across the text as it would add to the texture of the overall text and image but ‘Bad match’ was the only title to be fuzzy edged. ‘The Vatican Tapes’ managed to get some great interference lines in one of the title shots so I used this one and the ‘Open Grave’ title began to quickly fade out, again I really like this and you can still work out the title. So would the series be better matched without ‘Bad match’ although the red of the text does add a needed dynamic colour within the set as the rest are quite subtle and actually relate better to each other.

I will try a grid out below to see if it is beneficial or not to have this title within my series.

The above grid is my first trial and I am actually very happy with it. We have different fonts and different colours but each title is connected by being in capital letters. The other connection is their colours we have whites and pale/ ice blues, a deep red and sand orange colours that run through more than one font which therefor helps with the design of the grid.

However I am yet to add the remaining images and text. I noticed some other brilliant text with logos but I need to see if each of the above titles has these as I am sure it was only the films that advertise their company names with logos such as the shots below for the film Open Grave.

Unfortunately it is only the films that have these credits so I cannot use these as planned. However this is not to say in a future series that I create which is connected with films that I have watched, liked, disliked etc… (depending on my theme), that I cannot do this. In fact depending on my time this week I might actually make another series for this exercise with these as an added informational image section.

Next I made contact sheets for each programme/film so that I could see what images I had captured for them. This way I could see if there was enough text and images to be used for each one so that they were related in some form or other. I am thinking along the lines of each title image having one other text image with it and a picture image.

Below are my contact sheets:

The Purge, Season 2 episode 8
Open Grave

09th December 2019

After looking through the entire set of images that I had shot for this series, ‘5 min in,’ and looking for the next images to accompany the title images, I had noticed that ‘Open Grave’ did not have any text within the first five minutes of the film opening, therefore this film cannot be used for the ‘5 mins in’ series.

Notes for next contact sheet

I was therefore left with these images as seen below in the next contact sheet:

Image set 2

Reviewing the above images I noticed that both ‘The 100’ images are quite dark and the details lost, these will have to have the necessary adjustments in Photoshop to enable them to fit in visually. I am also not to happy with ‘After The Dark’s’ head image because the eyes have been caught closing but it does fit in with the partial head shots overall, so this probably wouldn’t be as noticeable to the viewers as it is me.

I have also noticed how both the images for each film/series are related very closely in colour and so, if needed, for the final composition I could actually mix the images up and people could ID which one belongs to which series by the similarities in colour.

Below is my first put together contact sheet of all the final images chosen for the series, ‘5 mins in.’

Final selection of images

Next I shall adjust each image as appropriate for the completion of the series. The adjustments that I made included cropping and re-positioning of images and each image had their tone adjusted. I also decided not to go with ‘The purge’ image number 5 but with number 4 because the text was in focus better.

Once the images had been adjusted, I created a Photoshop document to work in and kept re-arranging the images until they worked visually. I will show a couple of examples here on this post with the final image. If I hadn’t learnt to create the exhibition on walls I wouldn’t be able to do the composition values like this. Previously when working on presentation styles I would have printed the contact sheet out, cut the images out individually and kept re-arranging them until I was happy taking snapshot as I did so to remind me of the compositions that I had completed.

The initial set up is seen below. this is where I have unpacked the stack of images, resized them and formed a grid. The images have been placed in no particular order, its function is purely to set up a template so I can reposition the images appropriately.

The following three trials were designed but I was not happy with how they felt to my eye. The titles especially jumped out as not being fully suited to each other. On further analysis I realised the reason was because of ‘The 100’ which was a numeric title and not an alphabetic one and because all of the other titles were on very dark backgrounds where as this title was on brown. Therefor it did not sit right with the series, I am therefore removing ‘The 100’ from my work and on further pondering I think this is a good choice as the images also are too dark for this specific series.

These are the following composition trials without the series ‘The 100.’

‘5 min in’

Above is my final chosen composition and therefore the photographic series, ‘5 min in.’ I have also realised that this is like the back page of a yearly picture calendar where they show you the years images in a grid.

Final image composition values

I thoroughly enjoyed completing this series and would definitely like to go back to completing some more for it using different themes, for example, all horror films and TV series.

I also like the square block format with the images in and I have thought that I could have these squares representing one image each so on completion of another series there could be three images by three images but each image had nine images within them. Really intrigued with this idea and wonder if it would work or if there would be to much information held for the eye to be able to settle and work things out? Quite a lot to think about!

10th December 2019

When you’ve made the final selection of photographs… Invite people you know to comment on them and note down their responses.

OCA Foundations in Photography Course Folder pg101

This is when good old Facebook is needed. I put the series, ‘5 mins in,’ on Facebook and invited just over 80 people to comment on the finished piece. This was my message and the comments follow:

Hi, everyone. 
As part of my college course I had to produce a SERIES and invite people that I know to comment on it.

My SERIES is called ‘5 mins in’ and is connected with some of the Amazon series/films that I have watched. (The Preacher, The Purge, Open Grave, The Vatican Tapes.)

The concept is to show the title, one image with text and a portrait from each one. I only took photographs within the first five minutes of each show and this is where I have got my title from, ‘5 mins in.’

Please comment. The good, the bad, ask questions, give me your thoughts – anything and everything and as much as you like. Your comments will be placed on my blog and if you do not want your name added with your quote just put at the end of your writing NO NAME.

Please help me as it was a requirement for this exercise.
Many thanks
Dawn x


  • Neil: Very interesting, dark and menacing. Like the continuation of the colours through the various images.
  • Suzanne: These are strong, pensive, threatening images, that give you a good indication of the genre of the programme that may follow! I find myself drawn to the middle orange image which appears different to the rest. I find the orange colours running through the picture fascinating. Whether intentional or not, the image could be perceived as more supernatural than horror. Without the waves of colour running through it, this still picture on its own, would not, I feel, give the correct indication of the genre of the film and therefore stands out to me. The Purge with its subsequent images indicates potentially the most violent of the four series. After the dark with its images gives me a sense of dark mystery. The preacher with the mask, feels like more of a suspense horror and finally Vatican Types a suspense thriller. I do not know any of these series so I’m just working from your images. Don’t know if any of this helps you xxx
  • Terry: A set of images that create an aura of intimidation, foreboding and Malevolence that at the same time entice you in wanting to know more, who, why and what. The tonality across the images works well in connecting them together.
  • Clare: I like the darkness behind them. The feeling of horror & the supernatural. They draw you in & make you want to know more!
  • Paul: love this, it portrays the darkness that envelops me tonight, the fears I face, the turmoil inside, the frustration, anger, desperation and isolation. x
  • Christie: They all just look like adverts for films to me, so I don’t have much to say about them as I am used to flicking through them and usually pass by the horror ones as I am not interested, the only one that intrigues me is the third one along second row, because it doesn’t look like a film, it looks like a snap shot from a real life situation.
  • Adam: gotta say you have so much talent its unreal what ive seen you done keep it going 
  • Kinsey: I am confused. Is it 4 films with 3 photos about each?Are they individual photos or is it meant to be a grid? Because that would influence my response. Looks very powerful eitherway.
  • Kinsey: OK so if you have to present them in a grid like that I would put the ones with bold writing or lighter colours in the centre to draw the eyes to the centre. Otherwise they are all very powerful and creative
  • Jenny: As a pensioner maybe I see things that others might not see. 
  • Christine: To me they all look very deep, somewhat dark and fearsome, like they could jump out of the screen and get you x
  • Robert: They all look very scary to me and very foreboding to as if something might happen at any time and ultimately you should avoid them.
  • Paul C: Really like this, the darkness of the programmes shows and would make a great poster.

It is quite interesting to note peoples responses to the end series. Most people felt physically and mentally the darkness and horror behind the context and content of the images. This is great, they have responded appropriately – they have been moved towards a specific feeling and thought process.

A few people have understood the colour theory within the work which is that I have chosen specific tones and darkness that relate to each other as well as relating to the overall feeling of the films/ series content.

I have noticed that Christie wasn’t interested in the series because the overall composition to her just said, ‘advertising for films.’ In a way she is correct, this is exactly what the grid is doing, it is telling us about the films and some of their content. I also like how she noticed that the footage from The Vatican image was taken from a supposedly live feed off the TV (within the film) I hadn’t thought how this would fit in with the remaining portraits. Perhaps for flow it should be replaced with a character shot just as the others have within the grid because now I see this difference my eyes are drawn back to it which is not what I wanted it to do within the composition.

Another interesting comment was from Kinsey, ‘I am confused. Is it 4 films with 3 photos about each?Are they individual photos or is it meant to be a grid? Because that would influence my response. Looks very powerful eitherway.’ Here she has analysed the grid and tried to make out the individual parts rather than looking at the whole. Is this because it is in grid format which separates the images into individual elements? Here she is questioning the grid format, ‘individual photos or is it meant to be a grid?’

Another interesting comment is made by Jenny, ‘As a pensioner maybe I see things that others might not see.’ I think not only can age play a part in how we see this series but whether you are interested in the themes for example, Christie was not interested so her response differs from someone who does like such a genre. Other influencing aspects of individualism could be likes and dislikes, religious background as well as age etc…

Perhaps when introducing the work and asking for a comment I should have informed people that the grid presentation was intentional. I had explained that the images were a series and given it a title which means Kinsey’s comment ‘individual photographs’ shows that she didn’t quite understand my introduction. English is a second language to Kinsey so this shows that when introducing work I have to make it very clear as to what I am saying. The culture differences may also influence someones response to different types of work just like social class and religion.

There is much to think about when presenting work and receiving feedback from people. It is an eye opener and helps you to see not only the positive aspects of the work but areas which are confusing or stand out to people. This way as the artist/ photographer you can step forwards in your learning curve and understand responses better, responses that will inform you and your working practices and which will help improve your practices and understanding.

I am now going to make a second series that is not connected to my TV and film watch list but objects and text within my home. this series will be called, ‘Wherever I Find Text.’

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