Human Presence- Selection of Photographs

For my final photographs I have based them on the idea of empty spaces and how these buildings represent human presence on the land; I had the idea to show shop windows in the community, these windows give the viewer a slight insight into the lifestyle of the people who own it, and represent their hard work and human presence.

I went through all of my photographs based on human presence, through shops representing the owners and their lifestyle; I changed the colour of my photographs to a warm brown/sepia so that it looked as much as possible like the salt printing method that I plan to use for my final photographs. By changing the colours it gave a better idea of what each photograph would look like, meaning that I could make a better decision as to which I will use for my final images. I was set the task for producing 2-4 images and I have been through my 18 original photographs and selected four images that I will use as my final ones, here they are and why I selected them:

20140512_1

I selected this first photograph as I love how the photograph shows the culture and personality of this shop; it is filled with traditional Chinese items and merchandise, as this shop is situated in China Town. The shop is busy and full of products, echoing the idea of all the people who would visit and buy stuff there. The shop also shows the human presence of the owners as it shows how they would set up their own shop and how this represents their lifestyle and income that they would use to live on. I took influence from the photographers Walker Evans, Lee Friedlander and Verdi Yahooda, whose work I looked at; they have all photographed shops showing the personality of each shop and the presence of the owners. I wanted, like Friedlander did in his photograph, to take the photograph straight on. My photograph is framed so that the viewer is looking straight at the window, with little around the edge to distract from the window, this allows them to be transported to the shop, making it feel like they could be there; it also shows the true representation and personality of each shop. 

20140512

I selected this photograph as I loved the textures and lines created by the magazines on this stand; the whole photograph is very busy and echoes the busy flow of people that would pass and buy from this shop. This photograph shows the wide variety of lifestyles that are represented by the range of different people, furthermore this whole shop represents the lifestyle and way of life of the owner, who runs this to make a living. I took influence from the photographers Evans, Friedlander and Yahooda, and their work that has photographed shops showing the personality of each shop and the presence of the owners. I wanted, like Friedlander did in his photograph, to take the photograph straight on. By having my photograph straight on it allows the viewer to have a clear view of the shop, like they would see if they were actually standing there looking at all the magazines; the photograph is a true representation. The composition helps to show the character of the shop, with the mismatch of lines showing the cluttered nature of it and how the owner wanted to present their shop; also further echoing the idea of the range of people who would use this shop.

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I selected this photograph as I wanted to show a different kind of shop that represents the lifestyle and personality of the owners. This photograph was taken of a shop in an underground station; in underground stations it is very dark and I feel this photograph highlights the shop with the lighting in the shop. It also highlights the lifestyle of the owner and the light is bringing the shop out of the darkness. Furthermore the light highlights the layout of the shop and food; the owner selected this layout, showing slight personality and personal choice. I chose a front on composition, taking influence from the photographers Evans, Friedlander and Yahooda, who have photographed shop windows, showing their character, by giving a true representation of the shop. The viewer is transported to each shop as the photographs look realistic and so make them believable and relatable to the viewer.

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This final photograph stood out to me as it was very dramatic, with high contrast between the light and dark areas; the light from inside the shop is highlighting the human presence of the owners and all the customers who use the shop. I love the lighting as even though it is bright, it still is clear what kind of shop this is, and slightly shows the personality of the place. Like the other three photographs, I took this one head on as I wanted true representation of the place, the viewer is looking straight at the windows, this allows them to be transported to the shop, making it feel like they could be there. I took influence from the photographers Walker Evans, Lee Friedlander and Verdi Yahooda, whose work I looked at; they all have photographed shops showing the personality of each shop and the presence of the owners.

I have taken the photographs at night time as this is when these shops are empty and so the main focus is on the shop and not the people who often occupy it with their presence. I also decided to do my photographs mainly at night as the light from the shops illuminate the space and highlight the human presence within each individual shop, showing the different lifestyles of each owner.

All of my photographs link to the work of Donovan Wylie, as he took front on shots of the structure of prisons, these photographs were very formal due to this front on view, and I think this can be seen in my work, that they are all formal photographs. Both this work and the work of the photographers who influenced me on this project, including Donovan Wylie, can be seen to be using the methods and qualities of the work of The Bechers.

Hilla and Bernd Becher iv

Bernd and Hilla Becher photographed the industrial architecture of Western Europe, creating an archive of basic forms of the industrial era. The Bechers tended to arrange their photographs in grids or sequence them in monographs. Influenced by the objectivity of photographic practices, the systematic nature of their approach has become a recognisable style. Their photographs can be seen as very rigid and straight on, photographing true representations of the subject. I feel that my work and work of many other photographers, not only the ones I studied for this project, have taken influence from the work of The Bechers.

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