4.5 – Assessment Criteria – Creativity

Exercise 4.5
Make a Google Images search for ‘landscape’, ‘portrait’, or any ordinary subject such
as ‘apple’ or ‘sunset’. Add a screengrab of a representative page to your learning log
and note down the similarities you find between the images.
Now take a number of your own photographs of the same subject, paying special
attention to the ‘Creativity’ criteria at the end of Part One. You might like to make
the subject appear ‘incidental’, for instance by using juxtaposition, focus or framing.
Or you might begin with the observation of Ernst Haas, or the ‘camera vision’ of Bill
Add a final image to your learning log, together with a selection of preparatory
shots. In your notes describe how your photograph differs from your Google Images
source images of the same subject.

a google search for ‘pink tuplips’

The image I have chosen from my set of images, is one where the tulips appear to be incidental in the picture.  However, they were actually placed there deliberately behind the statue to get this image.

tulips incidental in the image

I liked Chris Steele-Perkins’ shots of mount fuji which showed it in juxtapostion against the everyday life that is carrying on around it.

Chris Steele-Perkins

with such a well known flower it was very difficult to come up with something new, but the act of doing so, made me look harder at the subject and decide if there were different angles, or positions I could place them to get different light on.

The contacts below show the different ideas I had for capturing this flower. Mostly I went for prominent in the frame, but I also tried the incidental shots. 


4.4 – Ex Nihilo

Exercise 4.4 Use a combination of quality, contrast, direction and colour to light an object in order to reveal its form. For this exercise we recommend that you choose a natural or organic object such as an egg, stone, vegetable or plant, or the human face or body, rather than a man-made object. Man-made or cultural artifacts can be fascinating to light but they also contain another layer of meaning requiring interpretation by the photographer; this exercise is just about controlling the light to reveal form. You don’t need a studio light for this exercise; a desk lamp or even window light will be fine, although a camera flash that you can use remotely is a useful tool. The only proviso is that you can control the way the light falls on the subject. Take some time to set up the shot. The background for your subject will be crucial. For a smallish object, you can tape a large sheet of paper or card to the wall as an ‘infinity curve’ which you can mask off from the main light source by pieces of card. You don’t need to use a curve if you can manage the ‘horizon line’ effectively – the line where the surface meets background. Taking a high viewpoint will make the surface the background, in which case the surface you choose will be important to the shot. Exposure times will be much longer than you’re used to (unless you’re using flash) and metering and focusing will be challenging. The key to success is to keep it simple. The important thing is to aim for four or five unique shots – either change the viewpoint, the subject or the lighting for each shot. Add the sequence to your learning log. Draw a simple lighting diagram for each of your shots showing the position of the camera, the subject and the direction of the key light and fill. Don’t labour the diagrams; quick sketches with notes will be just as useful as perfect graphics. In your notes try to describe any similarities between the qualities of controlled lighting and the daylight and ambient artificial light shots from Exercises 4.2 and 4.3.


using studio lighting gives you a lot of control over the look and feel of your final images. 

Project 4: Ex nihilo

Ex nihilo – out of nothing

This section is about using studio lights to control how you shape form:

Things to consider are:

  • Quality – hard or soft, modifiers, diffused
  • Contrast – the difference between highlights and the shadows, low key, high key, wrapped around
  • Direction – where is the light coming from, which is the key light, or fill light, create drama, bring out the form of the subject
  • Colour – add colour with gels, or reflectors (i.e. gold to warm skin tones)

Lighting guide

Film Noir

Film Noir Research

researching Christopher Doyle’s lighting, I came across the ‘Film Noir’ genre which was the name given to a series of films made in the 40s and 50s.  Doyle’s cinematography seems to contain a lot of the elements of film noir, but in a more modern setting.
film noir
fɪlm ˈnwɑː,French film nwaʀ/
  1. a style or genre of cinematographic film marked by a mood of pessimism, fatalism, and menace. The term was originally applied (by a group of French critics) to American thriller or detective films made in the period 1944–54 and to the work of directors such as Orson Welles, Fritz Lang, and Billy Wilder.
    • a film marked by a mood of pessimism, fatalism, and menace.
      plural noun: films noirs

    http://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/news-bfi/features/infographic-what-makes-film-noir [accessed 07.04.18]

according to this article, to make a good Film Noir image, it should contain:

  • assymetrical, imbalanced
  • Deep focus, give background equal importance
  • High contrast, no fill light, long shadows
  • use reflections to increase sense of drama and unreality
  • ‘Choker’ close-up to heighten intensity
  • wide angle focal length
  • dutch tilt, strong diagonal bands (cased by prison bars, staircasses, blinds)
  • obscured vision (cigarette smoke, rain, fog, protagonist being drugged or knocked out)

google image search for ‘film noir’

http://www.darkmansdarkroom.com/film-noir-lighting-with-lighting-diagrams/ [accessed 07.04.2018]

In Darkman’s blog, gives examples of lighting setups and says :

The lighting is sometimes either stark dark or light contrasts as are the dramatic shadowing effects known also as the chiaroscuro style. Chiaroscuro is a style of light and dark paterning that came from Renaissance painting. One typical cliche and always notable scene type is the shadows of venetian blinds on the wall or across the face of the characters in the movie or photo.

I very much like this genre and shows what can be done with little lighting.  However, I would like to think about how to use this genre in a modern contemporary setting rather than just recreate images like those above.

4.3 – The Beauty of Artificial Light

Exercise 4.3
Capture ‘the beauty of artificial light’ in a short sequence of shots (‘beauty’ is, of
course, a subjective term). The correct white balance setting will be important; this
can get tricky –but interesting – if there are mixed light sources of different colour
temperatures in the same shot. You can shoot indoors or outside but the light should
be ambient rather than camera flash. Add the sequence to your learning log. In your
notes try to describe the difference in the quality of light from the daylight shots in
Exercise 4.2.

a selection of images taken indoors using only ambient lighting from the room.  All were taken using a tripod and longer shutter speeds.

The SOOC shots have a warmer yellower light caused by the lamp lights in the room.  There was no other natural light. I took each of the following images and adjusted only the white balance on each.This gives an idea of the difference in colour temperature between taken these images in daylight and artificial light.  

When looking at the scene myself, I would say I saw something in between the two.



Project 3 – The beauty of artificial light

Photographers review and research

Sata Shintaro

Night Lights

Sato Shintaro

These shots were taken in the streets of Tokyo and Osaka at night from 1997 to 1999, and in them I have avoided the more aesthetically pleasing locations such as seaside areas and the well-known “subcenters” in favor of the everyday disorder of the streets. Take a brightly-lit busy street bustling with people and remove the people: the purpose of the lighting is lost and only the glow remains – providing a glimpse of the streets we know well from a less familiar perspective.

images from Sata Shintaro’s Night Lights collection

did he take these images by staying until there were now people, or did he use a long exposure, long enough to eliminate the people?

Rut Blees Luxemburg

German photographer takes mostly images of urban landscapes at night.  She is also a lecturer at the royal collage of art.


she uses long exposure, using only ambient light.  Many of her images have a very orangy/red or green hue.

I came across an explanation about the colour of light during a Phlearn Tutorial on editing a film noire style image. He explained that most flashes and lights are set to mimic ‘white light’ or the light that we would typically get at midday.  This tends to have a bluish tint because the this the time when the radio waves combine the most and humans see this as white.

At the ends of the day, the light turns more yellow, orange and red. therefore many photographers use CTO (colour temperature orange) gels to recreate an night-time feel to photos.



this web page explains how you can use this scale to create the look and feel you want.

having now found this, I can compare with images I took for exercise 4.2 and notice that the later images definitely have a bluer tint as the light fades.

Project 3 The beauty of artificial light

Review of Photographers using artificial light:

Christopher Doyle

This video shows the evocative lighting that Christoper Doyle uses to light his characters. Alot of the scenes are dark and are shot looking through something, often completely black on the edges with bright almost primary colours lighting the subjects.  He particularly seems to like reds and oranges which give a warm sensual nature to the images.

The techniques outlined in this video:

  • Wide angle lens as wide as 18 mm
  • long lenses
  • shallow depth of field
  • angles off kilter
  • moving camera
  • use of colour, influenced the neon colours
  • embraced random chaos of colours
  • used dark alleys and tight spaces
  • silhouetted actors against the colours
  • liked buildings and the way light fell on them
  • inspired low angle shots
  • used small spaces and street lights
  • the lighting in a naturalistic environment is always from the top
  • actors always lit by one light, rarely any back light or glamour light
  • introduce a slight blue tint into the faces of the leading ladies.
  • Contrast ratio of the charts
  • Blacks had a lot of green in because he’s using fuji film

“I think the point of cinematography, of what we do, is intimacy. Is intent, is the balance between the familiar and the dream, it is being subjective and objective, it is being engaged and yet standing back and noticing something that perhaps other people didn’t notice before, or celebrating something that you feel is beautiful or valid, or true or engaging in some way.” — Christopher Doyle

Don’t Look Now Nicolas Roeg, 1973 Cinematography | Anthony B. Richmond

“During the minutes or seconds that this fleeting image is on the screen, you have to enable the viewer to see and especially to experience that there is a very rapid emotional shock. So the lighting has to be designed in such a way that its form can pierce through the screen and travel like an arrow into the viewer’s mind.” — Henri Alekan

The advantage of still photography, is that the viewer has time to peruse the image at leisure so perhaps the impact could be more subtle?

quotes and images from : https://mattystanfield.com/2016/01/06/light-and-shadow-or-the-magic-of-cinematography/ [accessed 20.04.18


Tony Ray-Jones Interviews Brassai” Pt. I (1970)

Although trained in art Brassai says he thinks education and intelligence are better prerequisites for photography as painters try to unconsciously take photos like paintings and that photographers need to see things fresh, using their intelligence as well as their eye. 

Project 2 – ‘Layered, complex and mysterious…’

Photographers reviewed:


[accessed 24.03.18]

Michael Schmidt’s project – Lebensmittel (Foods) – 

The images on their own didn’t make much sense until I translated the title which is ‘Foods’.  It is a series of 10 images which have a connection to the food we eat.  the majority of the images are black and white with just two being in colour.  The lighting is very defused and almost clinical with no dark blacks or white whites.

I think he may have deliberately taken his images this way so as not to put his feelings into the images, allowing the viewer to make there own conclusions. 

translation: The photographer Michael Schmidt will be exhibiting at the Gropius-Bau in Berlin in his exhibition “Michael Schmidt. Lebensmittel” on January 11, 2013. For his most recent long-term project, the artist photographed the production of food in salmon farms, bread factories, slaughterhouses and vegetable farms. Photo: Maurizio Gambarini / dpa)

Michael Schmidt

In this article Michael Schmidt is described as a contemporary photographer, with is analytical style.  From this I take that they mean that the images are not ‘painterly’ Personally I think they work as a series together, but individually I don’t really like them as individual pieces.  some of his earlier work is

http://www.americansuburbx.com/2013/01/interview-sally-mann-the-touch-of-an-angel-2010.html [accessed 19.03.018]


In contrast to Michael Schmidt, Sally Mann’s images in Southern Landscapes are full of dark and light almost macabre.  Alot of her subjects seem to be around decay and deep contrasts and soft lighting seem to add to the feeling of the image. 

Her images are all feel very intimate and she explores some very deep emotions around sex and death.  She says in her interview for ASX that quite often the project finds her, rather than her starting with it all mapped out, a bit like a writer to doesn’t know the ending when he starts to write.

Tacita Dean’s short film on the ‘green ray’ at http://vimeo.com/38026163 [accessed 18.03.2018 – interesting

https://www.nga.gov/404status.html [accessed 19.03.18 – page not found]

Golden, R, 1999, 20th Century Photography, Carlton, London

Le Quai, I’lle de la Cite (1925) – Eugene Atget

Atget’s images were largely seen as ‘functional illustrations’ of life in Paris, until he sold them to a lot of the painters of the time. It wasn’t until after his death that people recognised the artistry in the images themselves.

In the image above, Arget has used the early morning light to create a serene and mysterious look to his image.  When look at his images i was reminded of the glass plates made Nicolas Laboire now and remembered how much better the glass plates look than the printed images, I would like to seen these on their original plates.

4.2 – Layered, complex and mysterious . . .

Exercise 4.2
In manual mode take a sequence of shots of a subject of your choosing at different
times on a single day. It doesn’t matter if the day is overcast or clear but you need
a good spread of times from early morning to dusk. You might decide to fix your
viewpoint or you might prefer to ‘work into’ your subject, but the important thing is
to observe the light, not just photograph it. Add the sequence to your learning log
together with a timestamp from the time/date info in the metadata. In your own
words, briefly describe the quality of light in each image.

Following light 19.3.2018

These images were all taken on the same day at about hourly intervals.  The camera was set up with a remote trigger so that all images should be the same.  The only adjustment made for each image was the shutter speed, which was altered to maintain optimum exposure. All images are SOOC.

The light was very diffused throughout the day, and there doesn’t appear to be much in the way of shadows or contrast.  

4.1.1 & 4.1.2 – Exposure

Part 4 – Project 1 – Exercise 4.1

Exercise 4.1
1. Set your camera to any of the auto or semi-auto modes. Photograph a dark tone (such as a black jacket), a mid-tone (the inside of a cereal packet traditionally makes a useful ‘grey card’) and a light tone (such as a sheet of white paper), making sure that the tone fills the viewfinder frame (it’s not necessary to focus). Add the shots to your learning log with quick sketches of the histograms and your observations. You might be surprised to see that the histograms for each of the frames – black, grey and white – are the same. If there’s not much tonal variation within the frame you’ll see a narrow spike at the mid-tone; if there is tonal variation (such as detail) you’ll see a more gentle curve. If you find the tone curve isn’t centered on the mid-tone, make sure that you have your exposure compensation set to zero. You may see an unpleasant colour cast if you’re shooting under artificial light, in which case you can repeat the exercise using your monochrome setting (a light meter is sensitive to brightness, not to colour). This simple exercise exposes the obvious flaw in calibrating the camera’s light meter to the mid-tone. The meter can’t know that a night scene is dark or a snow scene is light so it averages each exposure around the mid-tone and hopes for the best. But why can’t the camera just measure the light as it is? The reason is that a camera measures reflected light – the light reflected from the subject, not incident light – the light falling on the subject. To measure the incident light you’d have to walk over to the subject and hold an incident light meter (a hand- 78 Photography 1: Expressing your Vision held meter) pointing back towards the camera, which isn’t always practical. If you did that each of the tones would be exposed correctly because the auto or semi-auto modes wouldn’t try to compensate for the specific brightness of the subject.


As the exercise suggested the three items looks almost the same colour and the histograms are very similar.  This shows that if left to the camera, it will always try to make everything 50% grey or the mid tone.


 Set your camera to manual mode. Now you can see your light meter! The mid- tone exposure is indicated by the ‘0’ on the meter scale with darker or lighter exposures as – or + on either side. Repeat the exercise in manual mode, this time adjusting either your aperture or shutter to place the dark, mid and light tones at their correct positions on the histogram. The light and dark tones shouldn’t fall off either the left or right side of the graph. Add the shots to your learning log with sketches of their histograms and your observations. Switching to manual mode disconnects the aperture, shutter and ISO so they’re no longer linked. Because they’re no longer reciprocal, you can make adjustments to any one of them without affecting the others.

In manual mode, the shutter speed or aperture can be altered to get the correct exposure.  However, if you want the image to be darker and closer to the black range, you can slow the shutter or close the aperture until the midpoint on the camera moved to the left or (-) side.  The reverse is true if you want to lighten the image.

Using manual mode gives you more control of the light that hits the sensor.  Of course you can also use the ISO to change this too