My last tutorial for Body of Work has been and gone, It was a bit of a roller coaster but ended up as a success, at least in my eyes – I’m not so sure about David’s view !
I’d printed the portfolio at A3 because the type of image only really works at a large size. For the assessment I’ll be getting the images printed at around A2 size but for the tutorial I wanted the images to be large enough for the impact of their size to be apparent. Since A3 is the maximum that I can print that would have to do for now. It was lucky that I did because David’s first comment was that I had a technical issue that was apparent when printed at the larger size but not at A4 size which I’d printed at for the earlier assessments.
At that point I was desperately trying to figure out how I was going to reshoot everything in the next couple of months, at the same time losing the change of seasons that was essential to the portfolio. The issue was that the images were soft at the edges and this detracted from the whole image. It was obviously a technical issue when David pointed out but what was I going to do?
Luckily, when I pressed David as to which particular images were affected it was obvious that they were the autumn images that I’d taken earlier with a walkabout lens and crop sensor, fully intending to reshoot them with a full frame body and better lens for the assessment. I’d been intending to do this to ensure they’d be printable at A2 but hadn’t registered the problem in terms of the soft edges.
The full size image shown here doesn’t really show the problem but if I really zoom into the top left corner the issue becomes apparent
The issue was obvious once David pointed it out but luckily it was only apparent of those images which I intended to reshoot so panic over.
There was a minor issue with the white balance on a couple of images causing the two to stand out from the others. One had the technical issue so was being discarded anyway but the other didn’t really have a problem with the WB in the sense that it was “as shot”. Nevertheless it stood out from the others so needed to be adjusted or discarded.
A really interesting suggestion from David was the idea of shooting (or cropping) at 5×4 ratio instead of the default 6×4. David’s view was that the 5×4 ratio connoted high end imagery through it’s association with larger format cameras and also made the portfolio stand out from the norm. He admitted that it was very much an individual and subjective choice but it made me think about it.
After playing around with a couple of crops I realised that the 5×4 images actually worked better for my theme in the sense that they created more of an impression of a “portal” than the standard, landscape 6×4. I appreciate that it’s totally subjective as David suggests but in comparing the two forms of the image below I feel that the first (6×4) creates a sense of vista whereas the second (5×4) creates the portal impression that aligns with my intentions.
A portal isn’t the main message of the image but it does align with my intention to show the imaginary barriers or boundaries that lie just off the main tourist paths.
David made an interesting comment when he suggested that my images were similar to some that he was making for his current project, they were just “prettier” than his. That puzzled me for a while since it wasn’t my intention to make “pretty” images and I certainly hadn’t done so in the past. Then I realised that my aim was to show the attractive or interesting areas of the Park that were available to those who stepped of the tourist route so, by necessity even if by accident, I’d made the images more attractive than would be my normal method of working since without that attractiveness there’d be no incentive for the tourist to explore.
I’d been slightly concerned about my intended approach to the Assessment – I’d intended to just make sure that the images spoke for themselves with a series of c12 high quality images at a large size, professionally printed. I’d notice that other people were doing things around the images e.g. books, accessories etc and was concerned that my approach would be regarded as too simple (though I still intended to take that approach). Comfortingly David agreed that it was the best approach for such a portfolio – concentrate on presenting the images, keep it simple and focused.
There were a number of other, useful comments made during the tutorial but one final suggestion was to look at Fay Godwin’s “Paesaggi” on YouTube ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JE8I44Ak7o ). It’s a video of her talking to the camera while out at work on a portfolio. It’s a fascinating video of a true master at work and well worth a view. It’s subtitled in Italian which, if you understand the language, creates an interesting, sometimes alternative, interpretation of Godwin’s work.
So overall I was pretty satisfied with the way that the tutorial went. I feel that I’ve got a reasonable portfolio to present at assessment and I’m content with the way that I intend to present it. At the present time I can’t ask for any more than that!