Erdal Redjep's Blog

Week 2, Assignment 2: Street Photography

Posted in Uncategorized by erdalredjep on January 30, 2010

Our second practical brief was to photograph three different street scenarios. The technical parameters were the same as for our last assignment  – a fixed 35mm or 50mm focal length, all settings to be manually controlled (including focus), an ISO no higher than 400 and only use of available light. Again, images would be viewed in black and white.

This felt more open and more challenging than the previous assignment. Before going out to shoot, we spoke about legislation on shooting in public places, the likelihood of confrontation and different ways of dealing with being challenged. My three self-assigned themes were ‘Faces in Marketplaces’ (shot mainly in Petticoat Lane Market), ‘People on Stairs’ and ‘Walls with People’, although the third grew into something much more open. Particularly for my first theme, I did a lot of ‘shooting from the hip’ and after a while I found a quick rhythm with this technique. As much as I love shooting on a 50mm prime lens, I found that a slightly wider lens (like a 35mm) would’ve had some advantages when using this technique. Going home on one of my shooting days, I came across a major road accident and, with my gear on my back, photographed this too.

In our group presentation session, we spoke about dominant faces in our pictures and the Barthes idea of a ‘punctum’ – a detail that encourages some sort of emotional response. We also spoke, perhaps obviously, about how so much in photography is subjective.  By the end of this tutorial, I think we all felt a bit ‘over-saturated’ with pictures, so I may do a tighter edit on the upcoming weekly assignments. This week I also read John Berger’s Ways of Seeing which discusses the way social and cultural factors are so strongly bound up with how images are made, processed and received. Here are some of my pictures from this week…


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