Author: Alan Harris

Work In Progress Portfolio

PHO704: Sustainable Prospects

Work in Progress Portfolio: There And Back Again

This is a personal project and does not represent  work that is being made as part of the Final Major Project for the MA in photography at Falmouth University.  It was undertaken for a number of reasons :-

  • I had began to feel that I needed to take a break from my work on Hiraeth as the images being made were becoming very similar and feeling a little ‘stale’
  • I wanted to get back to using the iPhone as means of making images.
  • I wanted to ‘challenge’ myself by making new images in colour. Normally I work solely in monochrome.
  • Part of this challenge would be to make images containing people. Something that I would not normally do and usually try my best to avoid.
  • To try and put together a set of images that would combine all of the above points yet also contain a narrative.

The project I decided upon was to photograph my Monday to Friday commute between the South Wales Towns of Carmarthen and Llanelli, attempting to include elements of the infrastructure, rolling stock and passengers.

The images made are deliberately untitled, although images should have a title that gives some indication of their subject I wanted the viewer to make up their own titles for each image,

Hopefully, this has succeeded.

PHO704_WIP

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New possibilities of dissemination

The digital era has bought many changes to the creation, production and dissemination of photographs. The most obvious has probably been the massive increase in the speed with which an image can be created and made available to the world at large.

The main way in which I choose to disseminate those images that I find interesting is via Facebook, usually to one or two groups to which I belong and on my timeline. Other methods of (digital) dissemination include Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Snapchat (much used by the pupils in the school where I work) and several others. One of the most useful to me is the Lensculture website – its a great source of inspiration. In addition to the Social Media sites the Web based sites are also plentiful and, with the advent of sites such as WordPress, Squarespace and Smug Mug (where no knowledge of HTML is required) the ability to create a revenue earning site as become something almost any member of the public can do. A great problem though is the ability to retain control over your image and the way in which it can be used, something which requires a great deal of time and research into the licencing of images before I even think about making use of.

Despite the ease with with digital images can be disseminated and made available for public viewing via the Internet and Social media the older methods are still very much in evidence around us – Galleries are still plentiful and making work available.

It may also be possible to work at a more local level – offering images on a sale or return basis to Cafes, restaurants and pubs may be something that will be worth looking at in the future.

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How has digital changed the production of photography?

The advent of digital has moved the emphasis away from the type equipment of equipment that you have and how you use it (hardware) towards the software that you use. It has enabled photography to become a ‘real time’ activity with work being created and made available almost immediately. Where this immediacy as become most welcome is probably in the field of ‘news gathering’ where its possible to shoot an image and have it in the paper / on the TV news within minutes of it being taken. It has also made photography much more democratic – everyone is a photographer now because everyone has a camera equipped mobile phone. However, there is a serious ‘downside’ to this – its very easy to place a digital image on the Internet or Social Media but almost impossible to delete or rescind the image. It means that we have to be very careful about what sort of digital footprints we leave behind us, particulary if we are seeking a career in photography.

Probably the greatest change that I have noticed is within the Camera Club environment where there is now a great emphasis on producing the ‘perfect’ image, it has now become routine to shoot an image with the attitude of ‘do it now, fix the mistakes later’ using Lightroom and Photoshop (and the alternatives). For myself, I still prefer to try and make as much of the image ‘In Camera’ as possible, still persisting in using Graduated filters, ND filters and the traditional coloured filters for monochrome work.

There are great advantages to the use of digital but it seems to be as if so much has been lost,  from the thoughtful approach to making an image, to the sometimes arcane knowledge that went with using the film based SLR, although much of this also applies to the DSLR camera.

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