Research – FORMAT 2017 Derby

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AUDIT of A.N. OTHERS Photography Practice

1410

1409

INITIAL IDEAS FOR DEVELOPING PRACTICE

Notes.

Investigate the use of various filming techniques and equipment  to interpret theme. Possibley look at the use of Gopro, iPhone, super 8, BHS  and other equipment which is not usual.

 

Experiment with this DSLR 5D Mark III /sound – USE Zoom Mic and Road Mic (ON AND OFF CAMERA) and use filming accessories, tripod dolly, table slider, monitor and tracking devices.
Look more closely at camera technique for filming: hand-held, angles, feeds, transitions , cutaways, establishing shots and focus pulling.  Also consider location, daylight studio, use home, select location- considering lighting look at colour balance and LED light panels.
REFERENCE
REAR WINDOW (Alfred HITCHCOCK). A wheelchair-bound photographer spies on his neighbours from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder.
‘One of the lovely things about the movie is its use of location. The entire movie is set in the apartment. This would seem claustrophobic but Hitchcock never inhibits us like this – he lets us escape through Jeffries binoculars and camera lenses, and his roving camera swoops down to let us see what the characters see (but never anything more than that, creating suspense). Every thing you need to know about the characters and scenario is given to you in the opening – establishing shot.’Screen Shot 2017-05-29 at 19.46.09

 

ROBERT RODRIGUEZThe one-man film crew, gorilla film makers, look at – ‘From Dust Till Dawn’. 

PETER JACKSON. Interview extracts  ‘Make something you love. And then let the market decide if they want it. Never create for others. Always create for yourself. You don’t need a fancy lens or camera. If you have a smartphone, tell your story. When you create in a fictitious world, you need a lot of ideas. Let the ideas flow through you. Even when they are not the right idea fit for your project, they lead to more ideas. Culture is the one thing that makes us the same as each other. We react to the same things, and it is probably why sports has been around for thousands of years. You share and participate together. We are on a planet floating in space and we are all the same. The more you expose yourself to culture, the more you realize we all want to laugh, together. Every decision will drive you crazy if you don’t follow your instinct. Just make decisions, trust your instinct, and hope that’s enough. If you want to be a filmmaker, take your phone out and film something.’ https://www.forbes.com/sites/brianrashid/2016/09/20/an-afternoon-with-peter-jackson-director-of-lord-of-the-rings/#6a085aaa1b88

 

CINEMATOGRAPHY

Breaking continuity to serve a “higher purpose.”

Hitchcock, the master of the designed sequence, said you should never cut back to the same shot twice.

Cuts are precious because the audience’s attention is so tenuous. Once you lose them, they’re gone. And every time you add an unnecessary cut, or shot, or gesture you diminish the focus of the film.

The “puzzle piece” approach where each shot fits in a place to make the whole.

Day Light –  Stanley Kubrick, ‘Eyes wide shut’  In order to give the movie a dream-like quality, the filmmakers used an old-school method of shooting—and a treadmill. “In some of the scenes, the backgrounds were rear-projection plates,’ “Generally, when Tom’s facing the camera, the backgrounds are rear-projected; anything that shows him from a side view was done on the streets of London. We had the plates shot in New York by a second unit [that included cinematographers Patrick Turley, Malik Sayeed and Arthur Jafa]. Once the plates were sent to us, we had them force-developed and balanced to the necessary levels. We’d then go onto our street sets and shoot Tom walking on a treadmill. After setting the treadmill to a certain speed, we’d put some lighting effects on him to simulate the glow from the various storefronts that were passing by in the plates. We spent a few weeks on those shots.”

Artificial light (Neon) –  Nicolas Winding Refn ‘Only God Forgives’

 

Muted Colours – NBC ‘Hannibal’ Series. The production team has done a great job with the set, and of course the color. Every shot is stunning, and in trying to figure out why, it is apparent that over and above the fact that it’s shot with fantastic shallow depth of field, nearly every shot has complimentary colors in it.

In this case, teal and blood-red seem to be the main complimentary’s used throughout, and with those colors, different levels of vibrancy (darker or lighter shades of the same color) are used. Those colors also makes a lot of sense, given that Hannibal has a lot of blood in it, but there are also scenes that incorporate an orangey-yellow with greens and blues – also beautiful to look at.

 

Look at how this can be achieved with DLSR? ‘DSLR h.264 is useless when it comes to achieving such beautiful cinematography.’, ‘You need that raw 444 footage to really crank out the colours in the shadows like they do. It works with Alexa footage but not with anything in the h264 category (at least not nearly as creamy)’

Wide shots – ‘ Vanishing Point ‘(1971). The extreme wide shot is a shot taken from a long distance. This shot is often also used as an establishing shot. It typically features landscapes or massive building exteriors. An extreme wide shot showcases the surroundings of a character. Like the wide shot, it prominently features scale, distance, and location. If the character is visible in the shot, they are often minuscule in size. They are not the focus of the shot, yet they are there to complement it.

Camera movement and angles – ‘Breaking Bad’ 

‘With unique camera work, a very different kind of pacing and bold use of light and color, Breaking Bad has created a look unlike anything else on TV. Credit for this aesthetic is due largely to Michael Slovis, who’s been the show’s director of photography since the beginning of season 2. A veteran DOP with other shows such as CSI under his belt, Slovis says he’s thankful he’s had the freedom to experiment and credits both Gilligan and AMC for creating a show that pushes boundaries in every direction.’

In some ways he compares the cinematography to an impressionist painting.

“This isn’t just about looking like reality; this is about eliciting an emotion,” he says.

One of the most obvious ways that Slovis has set Breaking Bad apart is through his use of color. Flying in from the East Coast, where he lives, Slovis says he was immediately struck by the brown and yellow hues that dominate the landscape in New Mexico where the show is filmed. “In the northeast we just don’t have that; we have a very different color palette,” he says.

Instead of fighting it, Slovis decided to embrace the new landscape. Every time the show shoots out in the desert — something they’ve come to be known for — Slovis says he uses a filter on his camera that enhances the earth tones, making the scene look even more desolate and Mars-like.

To add contrast to the Southwest’s famous blue sky and white clouds Slovis uses a polarizing filters and when the show filmed scenes that were supposed to be in Mexico — as opposed to New Mexico — Slovis used yet another filter, letting the new color alert viewers to the shift in geography.

When shooting inside, under artificial light, the use of contrast and color is similar. Slovis isn’t afraid to shoot darkly lit scenes — they’ve also become a signature of the show — and he says he’s come to rely on that fluorescent green color that you get when you shoot photos inside without a flash. It’s become a signature hue for inside the various warehouses that fill the series.

“My job is not just to merely record the time; my job is to interpret the scripts,” he says. “That said, I never want to overwhelm them, and I never want it to be about the photography so I’m lucky that the performers are so strong and the writing is so strong. It allows me to take more chances.” “I don’t have to explain that color; people get it,” he says.

You might call Breaking Bad more “cinematic” and Slovis says that’s a conscious decision. He says that AMC purposely wanted the show to appear more movie-like and part of the way they’ve achieved that is by shooting on film. “It’s a choice made by AMC that I don’t argue with. I actually love it,” he says.

Slovis says shooting on film is also an advantage becuase it’s expensive and it motivates people to get it right. “Everyone has to be careful with film,” he says. “It lends an air of intentionality to it.”

When it comes to pacing, Breaking Bad is often slower than a lot of other shows. There’s no rush so Slovis has the ability to let the plot gather tension by itself without trying to fill it in with fancy camera movements.

One clear example, he says, is the scene in episode 501 (the first episode of the new season) where Walt and Mike are arguing about about how to get a laptop out of a police evidence room. The scene drags on as they go back and forth while Jesse, who is out of focus in the background, makes his own suggestion: Magnets. It goes unheard until the camera finally focuses in on Jesse as he raises his voice and gets Walt’s and Mike’s attention. “It’s not a shot that you would normally see in network television,” he says. “Most of the time the pacing is a lot faster but we have the luxury of letting the actors set the pace.”

The most famous pieces of Breaking Bad cinematography are probably the wide shots. Playing off the enormously long horizons in New Mexico (where there aren’t a lot of trees), Slovis and Gillagan like to shoot scenes where the characters — or oftentimes cars — in the scene are just little blips on the screen. Like the filters Slovis uses, the wide open shots help to reinforce the desolation of the desert. “The wide shots come from Vince’s love of [Italian Director] Sergio Leone,” Slovis says. “One of the first things he told me was to look at the The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.”

As fans know, the plot in Breaking Bad has become increasingly dark over the course of the show. Season 5 is the final one and everyone is wondering just how much further Gilligan will take things — especially after the ending of season 4. But Slovis says there is still room for the story to develop and as things get more an more intense, so will the lighting. “What I can I can tell you is that even more than in the past the lighting will follow the trajectory of the characters,” he says. “[The show] goes to even more disturbing and darker places and some of the lighting gets extremely expressive at times. It’s almost like Breaking Bad on steriods. It gets really fun.” ‘ https://www.wired.com/2012/08/the-look-the-feel-of-breaking-bad/

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This overhead shot from season 4 demonstrates the contrast-y light Slovis occasionally uses inside.

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Slovis lets the camera sit on Walt and Mike as they argue during the first episode of season 5. The scene is an example of the cinematic pacing in Breaking Bad.

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Slovis lets the camera sit on Walt and Mike as they argue during the first episode of season 5. The scene is an example of the cinematic pacing in Breaking Bad.

Screen Shot 2017-05-29 at 21.32.30

A composed detail shot that uses low depth of field to highlight the rims of Gus Fring’s glasses.

Research: One day Symposium Photography’s relationship with Illness, Mental Health and Wellbeing. Feeling Images

7th April 2017, WaterShed Bristol.

Patrick Graham, ‘The Things You Left Behind’

Patrick’s photographic practice draws upon a lifelong interest in the physical environment and our interaction with it. Having worked in land based management his work is broadly informed by a multitude of disciplines that also include humanitarian perspectives drawn from psychology, religious and spiritual ideologies, folklore and mythology as well as contemporary art. Through the medium of photography he seeks to reveal the underlying threads of commonality that connect us all, in a way that engages the heart and mind.

“The things you left behind” is a concertina photobook exploring themes of the absent father:-

Heather Agyepong, ‘Too Many Blackamoors : The burden of the strong black female narrative’

“The work was inspired by a 19th century Carte-de-visite of Lady Sarah Forbes Bonetta. Sarah was the West African adopted goddaughter of Queen Victoria who came to live in England at a young age. The images are based on my own personal experiences as a young black woman, dealing with the macro and micro traumas of racism encountered while travelling around European countries. The format was based around Rosy Martin and Jo Spence’s ‘Re-enactment Phototherapy’. Too Many Blackamoors aims to challenge the ‘strong, independent, black female’ narrative that can burden and often entrap black women. With Sarah as my template, the project attempts to illustrate the effects of such perceptual limitations whilst exploring my own internal conflicts of falling short from such mainstream ideals.”Screen Shot 2017-05-23 at 11.28.42

AD7803 Interrogating Practice Proposal

 

February 2017

Initial Proposal

I have set out to address issues of ageing and memory, and am concentrating my work on the subject of my mother and my relationship with her, I will continue developing this theme. I am interested in her deterioration of memory and how my shared memories with her have held a different significance as her recollection has faded and altered with way we communicate.

Accrete time perception is critical to us living in the modern world; our expectation of communication is that it will be based mostly on exact facts and correct accounts of real time. The passage of time into old age inevitably affects the ability to remember current information; time perceived is not accrete and accounts of events within the past few hours are often not factual. However, there is an interesting element to accessing remote memories and recounting information factually from many decades ago.

It has always been important for me to reflect with my mother on our shared past, she has always been able to affirm, and help me reference the past and offer wisdom with sensibility going forward into the future. The change in this relationship seems significant, and the process of change feels poignant and complicated and tinged with sadness.

In an attempt to describe this personal process of change I have previously explored various darkroom processes that describe transitions from one form to another, which I have recorded. These transitions concentrated on the change to images with time and light and chemistry that evokes change to photographic material within one process or another. I would like to move my practice forward with the development of particular techniques concerning moving image. The mechanism of capturing images, the fundamental camera work require to create a piece of photographic art is not something I am practiced in. I will be concentrating my work on the techniques of cinematography. I will attempt to create a chip, which is one scene from different points of view, looking at the use of composition, light, angles colour and speed of frames. I will also continue to explore the use of sound.

I envisage a short moving piece, possibility interjected with animated frames. I would like to use a simple audio of conversations or monologue from my mother or possibly tacks that I record of her singing hymns. The sewing, machine and it’s mechanisms with be key to the photography, the cotton thread moving around as it unwinds, the needle puncturing the fabric with the up and down action, the bobin loading….. etc. One scene, several angles, including long shots of my mother sitting at the machine within a room. Light will change as the natural daylight fades, I will enhance this notion with LED panels. Props; I may well use the sewing machine, the dressmakers dummy, garments, fabric and patterns.

Much of my inspiration for the look of this work has come from William Kentridge and I have taken particular inspiration from his drawings onto old books. There is a narrative and sense of time passing and an element of nostalgia. I always like the way he incorporates sound (singing). I will look at the work of Peter Green Way and specific relevant films for subject matter and camera technique.

Importantly there is a melancholy within my theme, a sorrow, which I want to be able to subtlety, underlie the pictures.

“Photography is an elegiac art, a twilight art. Most subjects photographed are, just by virtue of being photographed, touched with pathos.” SUSAN SONTAG, On Photography, 1977.