Friday, 10 February 2012

Major Project Proposal

Over the last two years my wife and I have been unsuccessfully trying to have children. We decided to go through the IVF process which has proven to be both extremely stressful and complicated. Luckily, against the odds, the process has worked first time and we our expecting our baby to arrive at the end of June.

I wish to capture this moment in our lives and in a series of portraits of my wife. Through these photographs I want to show some of the emotion involved in the process and the relief of it being successful without it being all about the IVF process itself.

The project will be broken down into 6 development segments:

  1. Initial ideas. Research.
Research photography which is related to pregnancy and portraits in general. Develop ideas to be used in an initial photo shoot

  1. Initial shoot
Take a series of photographs based on work carried out in segment 1.
  1. Ideas development, evaluation of shoot.
Evaluate the photographs gained from the initial shoot and use critical thinking to develop ideas further.

  1. Further shoot
Complete an additional photo shoot to show development of ideas.

  1. Evaluation and adjustment of shoot
Evaluate images and make any necessary adjustments. Do further shoots if needed.

  1. final images/display options.
Prepare final images and look at display options.


The result of this project will be a set of 10 -20 photographs. All work carried out will be shown in my blog which will include critical thinking, analysis, preparatory work and research.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Gestalt project

I have submitted the following three images which I believe make use of Gestalt laws:

Image 1:  Law of Closure.  This image uses the rocks that surround the pool to provide a frame for the reflection of a lighthouse. This gives a structure that encloses that subject matter.

Image 2: Law of Simplicity.  With this shot I wanted to isolate the horses eye against a plain background which was provided by the horses neck and head.  To add to this I used a very shallow depth of field focusing on the eye, which I thinks helps to simplify the image.

Image 3: Law of Segregation. For this image I have tried to use the figure-ground technique in order to separate the sky from the buildings in the foreground.  This was done by simply exposing the shot for the sky so as the lighthouse is in silhouette.  I think that this technique works quite well when the subject matter has a distinctive shape that is easily recognised such as this lighthouse.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Gestalt thoughts

For my current assignment I need to produce three photographs that make deliberate use of gestalt principles.

Usually when taking shots I would concentrate on things like leading lines, simplifying and the rule of thirds.  Whilst elements of these techniques do cross over with the gestalt principles, it will be a new way of building images for me and is something that I'm looking forward to giving a go.

The one that I'm mostly interested in using is the law of closure and in particular the formation of triangles in the composition.

As for subject matter for the shoot, I'm still a bit unsure as too what it will be.  I haven't done much in the way of street photography previously so I may try some for this assignment.  Alternatively their are a few new buildings in Belfast that I'd like to get some shots of so this may be a good opportunity to do so.

Monday, 18 October 2010


For the next project I have to look at Gestalt psychology and then produce three images which use it's principles within their composition.

Gestalt is the name given to a series theories that where devised by a group of German and Austrian psychologists in the early 20th Century.  From these theories a number of laws and principles were created that can be used in artistic composition in order to have an effect on how the viewer perceives an image.

Some of these Gestalt principles have been used to great effect by artists such as M. C. Escher and Salvador Dali.

Whilst the theories laid out by Gestalt are not perfect they can be used by photographers in order to make more interesting shots.  The main interest for photographers lies within the Gestalt laws of perceptual organisation which are as follows.

1. Law of Proximity.
The mind organises elements within a photograph according to how close they are to each other.

2. Law of Similarity.
The mind tends to group together objects or elements that are similar either by shape or content.

3. Law of Closure.
The mind seeks to create recognisable shapes from groups of elements in order to create completeness.

4. Law of Simplicity.
The mind seems to prefer simple shapes and lines as well as balance and symmetry.

5. Law of Common Fate.
Elements that are grouped together in an image are perceived by the mind to move together as one.

6. Law of Good Continuation.
The mind tends to attempt to continue shapes and lines beyond the limits of the image.

7 Law of Segregation.
to allow the mind to perceive an element within an image it must stand out from the background.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Imbalance (Balance task)

I found that showing imbalance in photographic composition is a bit more tricky than getting a balanced shot.

Choosing a composition that is not balanced can often result in a photograph that is full of tension and has an uncomfortable feel about it.  For this reason I wanted to pick the subject matter quite carefully.

Recently I have noticed that the spider population in my back garden seems to be growing at a fast rate and although I don't have a problem with them I am aware that people can often have a very real fear off them.

I though that I could play on this and attempt to portray them in a way that would give the very an uneasy feeling due to the shots being imbalanced.




With all of these shots I have used isolation to create imbalance within the composition.  This has been done by getting in close to the spiders, using a 100mm macro lens, so as there are no distracting elements within the frame.  

Also by using a wide aperture I was able to create a very shallow depth of field so as the background is completely blurred without any detail in it at all.  

With these shots the viewers eye tends to try and move from the spider in order to focus on something else but finds nothing so has to immediately return to the subject matter and it is this that creates tension in the images.


To get some shots using balance I headed of to Belfast docks, which now seems to called the Titanic Quarter, to photograph the Harland and Wolfe cranes which dominate the skyline of East Belfast.

This was also the first outing for my new Cannon 5d and 100mm lens so I was looking forward to seeing how it performed and also learning how to use it.


With this shot of one of the smaller cranes at the docks I have tried to used the shape of the clouds to add balance to the composition.

In this case the area of blue sky at top right of the photograph balances with the main subject matter as it is of similar size and shape.

To get this shot it was necessary to wait until the clouds moved into a position that made this composition possible.


With this shot I have tried to use a similar technique as with the shot above.  Again the contrasting blue sky has been used to balance against the colour and shape of they yellow crane.

The shot has been composed in such a way that the the shape of the blue sky area creates an almost mirror image to the main subject matter.


This shot shows part of the newish Victoria Square complex in Belfast.

With this shot I wanted to balance the tower which is quite a weighty architectural feature with the sail like sun shade.

I think that this shot demonstrates how an object that can be perceived as heavy can be balanced with a lighter object that is closer to or in this case extends beyond the edge of the frame.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

First task - Balance

The first task that I have been given in this course is to produce 6 images that explore that theme of balance within composition.  3 shots will be balanced and 3 are to show imbalance.

The use of balance in photography is a compositional tool which can be used to give a certain feeling within the image.  For example if the photographer wishes to portrait a scene as being harmonious or calm then the composition should show some balance, conversely, if the intention is to show an image containing some tension then the composition should be imbalanced.

Balance can be obtained using various techniques such as using symmetry, used of colour and by placing similar elements next to each other in images.

To create imbalance we can shift the view to isolate the subject matter and give the viewer nowhere else for their eye to travel to.