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We learnt how to use a 35mm camera, more specifically a Pentax K1000, I’m used to 35mm cameras as I have used them before. If I borrowed the camera from the media loan shop it would come with a 50mm lens, this is known as a prime or fixed lens. Fixed lenses mean they do not have the ability to zoom and also have a low aperture.

The aperture dictates the amount of light going through a lens but also the amount of light that goes through the lens and also the depth of field. The higher the F-number the less light goes through the lens but also gives a longer focal range. The lower the number the more light let into the lens but also will give a lower depth of field.

There two other things that affect the amount of light that goes through a a lens, these are the ISO number and the shutter speed. The shutter speed affects how long the shutter is open for, so 1/500 of a second is a very quick shutter speed not allowing a much light through the lens but also will provide a still image. Whereas a shutter speed that is long such as two seconds, this will show movement in the image, it will also let a lot of light pass through the lens. The ISO number stands for International Organisation for Standardisation, the ISO is the light sensitivity the lower the number, for example 50, will be it is not very sensitive so this means a lot of light can pass through the lens whereas the higher the ISO number such as 1600, this will be more sensitive to light so less light can go through the lens yet there still be an exposed photo. However the higher the ISO number the more noise a photograph will have.

So, if I used a light meter and found out I used have 1/25 shutter speed, F8 and ISO number 200, but if my film was ISO 400, I could keep the shutter speed to 1/25 but the F number would need to change to keep the exposure at a mid grey, this would be I would need to go up one stop as the ISO went down one, so my F number would now be F16.

We also learnt about presentation skills.

  • Introduce yourself and the topic
  • Say why you are doing the presentation
  • Set a theme and talk about it in the introduction
  • Be confident all the way through
  • Be clear from start to finish
  • Do not have all the information on one slide and do not read off the presentation
  • Break into subsections, light bite-sized chunks – structure the presentation
  • Pause between sections
  • Face the audience and do not block the screen
  • If doing a photography presentation use lots of photographs.
  • Do not ask the audience to read off the presentation
  • When preparing work out how long it will take you to read and how long the audience might want to read or look at something
  • Say things in order on the screen
  • Think about the environment you might want for example, where people are sitting and lighting
  • Practice and plan
  • Summarise at the end

Tips:

  • Perhaps a friend to encourage you during the presentation
  • Maybe, focus on this person, like you are only reading to them – combat nerves.
  • Remember to breath
  • Consider what might go wrong
  • Add a little humour

We also watched videos of Steve Jobs (the founder of Apple) and his presentations as many people consider him one of the best presenters.

The reasons why he is good at what he does:

  • Sets the theme this is consistent throughout
  • Opens and closes each section of his presentation
  • Demonstrates enthusiam – use words like ‘amazing’ and ‘wow’
  • When offering statistics and facts (which there are only a few) he contextualises
  • Make it very visual – small amount of text
  • Put on a show – make it interesting
  • Rehearse
  • Conclude
  • Does ‘and finally’ part so the audience feel like they have an added extra.

We were then grouped up and had a couple of hours to make a 10minute presentation on six photographers, our photographers were:

  • Cindy Sherman
  • Richard Avedon
  • Robert Frank
  • Dorothea Lange
  • Lee Friedlander
  • Danny Lyons

The notes we made were:

Richard Avedon:

Portrait photographer usually celebrities in which some featured in magazines including Vogue, Harpers Bazaar and Look Magazine. He was also known for making new photographers known. He developed intimate relationships with his models, which is reflected in his work.

Some of his work is shot in front of white or plain backgrounds, and usually not all of the person is shown.

Robert Frank

Was born in 1924 and was a documentary photographer, his most famous piece of work is a series called the Americans, this highlighted the political issues in a America of black segregation.  And documented iconic parts of America such as the jukebox and diners. Frank travelled across America documented what he saw.

He is also known for his filmmaking  which he focused on after the Americans was published. His films include Pull My Daisy (1959) and Hunter (1989) The most recent fill was True Story in 2008.

Dorothea Lange – was born in 1895, originally she was a studio photographer taking photos of families, she grew tired of this dabbled in landscape and plant photography. In 1929 when the Stock Market crashed in Wall Street she looked outside for people to take photos of. In 1935 she looked at the problem of migration of agricultural workers. During this time she took probably her most famous photo of a migrant mother. She followed families around on their migration process.

Lee Friedlander was born in 1934 in Washington, he became interested in photography at the age of 14. By 23 he was living in New York and supporting himself by photographing jazz musicians such as Count Basie. The photographs were mainly used for record artworks. In the 60s he did a series of self portraits but he only appeared in an unobvious way such as in reflections or as a shadow. In the late 70s he was commissioned by Akron Art Museum to take photos of industrial areas around the Ohio river valley. Around this time he also took landscape photos around Japan.

Danny Lyons was born in 1942 he was not trained in photography and taught himself . He published series of his work such as the ‘Bike riders’, he documented his travels with outlawed motorcyclists. His aim was a to glorify the life of these cyclists. Another book of his is ‘The Destruction of Lower Manhattan’ where he photographer buildings about to be knocked down, as they were being knocked down and after they were. He also photographed the people who were effected by the demolitions. In 1971 he photographer six prisons in Texas over a 14month period, he published these photos in the book ‘Conversations With the Dead’, in this book he added prisoner artwork, records and letters.

One of the most famous self portrait photographer is Cindy Sherman, an American photographer model director and actor. She was born in 1954 in New Jersey, originally a painter but found it too restrictive. After her graduation in 1976 she started her work in self portraits now known as Untitled Film Stills where Sherman would place herself in roles of actresses from films. She would dress up and act out the scenes. This series stopped in 1980 after 69 images when she said she had ran out of cliches. Although most images were invented not taken literally out of films. Sherman works by herself which really enforces the ‘self’, she puts herself in many costumes of different roles and characters.

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