Jonathan Shaw

Jonathan Shaw came in and spoke to us about his photography, and how he has used light and alternative photography to produce some beautiful photographs.

Shaw felt light is the essence of photography, which is technically true, as without light the camera would not be able to capture photographs, whether it be in analogue or digital form. Photography relies on light, and so studying it is important. Shaw went to say how photography and photographers need to use lighting to freeze that moment and make it clear. There are changes over time in technology, a great example is the change from analogue photography to digital photography, however the principles are always the same, especially when it comes to looking and working with light.

Shaw posed the idea that in all photography there are links to older techniques and to what is being done now; he then posed the question of “is it unique and can photographs be considered as being unique if they are using these old techniques and methods?” Shaw said that rather than considering how you are different, maybe you should look at who you link to and have taken influence from. I really liked this idea from Shaw, and agree with him, as these processes and methods aren’t unique, only the content is sometimes unique, therefore take influence from existing work and use it to make your own work stronger.

Shaw talked about some of his work that he has done, and one collection that stood out for me was the photographs he did for the Birmingham Royal Ballet; this project was about creating linear images, the output was 30m slides which were impossible to print normally, so he had to construct his own enlarger that pulled a negative and paper through at the same time. For this body of work, Shaw looked at the movement of the dancers, showing the dance in a single shot but over a long span of time using a long exposure time. The use of long exposure times meant that the photographs were more expressive and showed flow and movement, echoing the idea of the movement in the dance.


Ballet 2

Ballet 3

Ballet 4

I really loved this work that Shaw did for the Birmingham Royal Ballet, and I made me think about my own work, especially for my 154MC- Personal Professional Development module, we have to create an artefact based on an extracurricular activity. For this artefact I was planning on doing photography based around the sport of skiing as I am going skiing in a few weeks and it is something I am passionate about. I wanted to capture this sport in a different way and show the movement and lines created by skiers on the mountain. I could take influence from Shaw’s work and use of long exposures, and experiment with this when skiing, to see if like Shaw, I can capture the movement and beauty of a sport.


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