Exercise 3.7 A significant object – final edit

12th February 2020

‘Family Stories’

For this exercise we are asked to choose a specific object that is significant to us, photograph it, taking into account its background, viewpoint, placement, light and composition. We are then asked, “Does the photograph (the representation) have the same meaning as the object itself? Is there a difference?”

This exercise proved fun in a weird kind of way, fun because I changed direction a couple of times and ended up having three different shoots and then completed my exercise with analysing and changing the shape and size of the image boundary and the content within that frame as well as adjusting the colour.

The different contact sheets can be found here and my full research and background tests here.

All the while I was completing this exercise I was thinking about the question we were asked, “Does the photograph (the representation) have the same meaning as the object itself? Is there a difference?”

My conclusion is, No. A representation cannot have the same meaning as the object itself. This is because each viewer will have deciphered their own meaning from the image outcome.

The viewer will bring their own experiences and non-experiences when viewing an image. The personal details and feelings another person has connected with the object can not be directly known or felt, unless there is accompanying information text for the work. As a viewer we only see the ‘material thing’ we cannot see or feel a directed meaning from the photographer only an echo formed from a human response to the visual stimuli and our empathy towards specific themes.

My object represents family history, the cameras do not give the concept that they are a families equipment, they show the objects. The viewer cannot feel how we relate to our cameras they cannot know that the Polaroid belonged to my grandad and this is where my love of photography came from and it was this camera that influenced me and in turn my enthusiasm influenced my daughters. The images have a clue in that the title, ‘Family Stories’ is present, but unless the viewer has read my introduction to the work the images can be seen as advertisements for cameras and specific brands.

My completed final images are below:

Rosebud’s camera
Poppy’s camera

After the multiple critiquing of my work, looking at compositions, lighting troubles and shape and sizes of contents and image frame, I can positively say that I really like the final images.

They represent us as a family and are creative photographs with the ‘Color Splash’ adjustments which is another side of my photography work.

I also like how there are three distinct generations of cameras shown as well as four generations of our family, one hidden as he was the initial stimuli and first owner of the Polaroid.

There are how ever many faults with the images these include:

  • The book ‘Family Stories’ – contrast is different in each shot plus there is a difference in sharpness of the portraits on the front cover.
  • I forgot to clone out the hair on the iPhone camera case.
  • The blacks within the third image are slightly lighter than in the first two images. This can especially be seen in the magazine in the background, the portrait isn’t as dark

Would I have done anything different? No, this is because I have never set up a still life before so it was all one big learning curve from which I have learnt through my mistakes, primarily the lighting mistakes. Even if someone thinks I have not met the objective with the final outcome I have actually learnt where my knowledge is the weakest and that I need to study more in the technical areas of lighting. So it has been a positive exercise to complete.

However I would have wished I had longer to spend on this exercise as I would have liked to corrected my mistakes as in the list above.

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