Blog Entry 1

In this first of many entries I will discuss the way, that I have approached any photography project. Before even deciding on a project, my main drive behind photography is that of telling a narrative. These narratives are often easily relatable, they mostly discuss an human emotion or impulse. Secondly, I strive to create work that is unusual or new to its field, meaning I need to take a look at other photographic projects in that field. That field can be taken from projects fellow peers or colleagues have been working on or are currently working on and researching projects of that field on the internet. I observe the nature and approach (both visually and technically) to the subject matter. If I feel there is a common element reappearing, even in other practitioners work, I will firstly brainstorm ideas that I may want to cover. These first few ideas are taken into consideration for the next phase, but if not convincing enough will be discarded. The phase following the one I just mentioned is devided into two parts that are identical in their intention. One part is browsing through a folder on my laptop I called „Reference pile“. It is a folder filled with images that showcase a quality (may it be color, the use of lighting, structure etc.) that spoke to me personally when I discovered them at one point in time. These images are not only from the photography field but are also from film, graphics design, architecture, motion graphics and so on. I try to keep that collection of images, in terms of context, as unusual and refreshing as possible. These images are there to help me think outside of the box when creating a new project. If there is a subject, theme, issue etc. enclosed in these pictures, that would create an unusual but interesting idea with the existing core main drive of the project, then the next phase would begin. The second part of the phase is additional gathering of images that get me thinking outside of the box. This part serves the same purpose as the images inside of my reference pile folder. After gathering images that appeal to me, the next phase will consist of sketching and mapping out potential compositional ideas. The sketches are drawn via a pencil, with no use of colour. If the sketches are not convincing enough in their sketch form, they may be discarded all together. From the perspective of the context or the visuals, with every new project I strive to incooperate a new aspect that is new to my practice and combine it with my established visual style. This is more personal then any other reason. This merely serves my development as a photographer. Depending on the nature of the project (meaning if they involve human subjects or are still life in nature) a test shooting will be arranged. I prefer creating test shootings for still live images, as this gives me the freedom and more importantly time for trial and error. If my photography project deals with human subjects, the same methodology is applied but with more work done during pre-production. That preparation would often times mean, investing more time in sketches and collection of mood images or asking friends for a shooting and applying these ideas to their images. Even when the images follow another visual design language, there would always be the opportunity to incooperate ideas (may it be technical or visual ideas) into the project. This may occur one to three times and will be reflected on. I would compare these to projects that have come before them and interrogate and evaluate the quality of execution and if the idea has improved or degraded the project/ image. Meanwhile, numerous sketches that are experimenting with new compositional ideas and the exchange of ideas through trivial conversations with fellow peers and friends would have been done as another part of creating the project.

After that, eventually, the main production of the project would start. Depending on the subject matter and depicted scenes, I would also take over the role as production designer, designing and creating the sets as much as possible for in-camera use. If I fail to obtain everything in-camera for whatever reason, that reason may be due to organisational issues, models cancelling etc., the rest of the production will be added on via Photoshop. The actual production of the shooting is usually done fairly swiftly. I tend to do Photoshop composings when working with models, where I put the subject or model onto a new background. This method spare‘s one the troubles of organizing models and location (that are outside of the studio), as working outside can be fairly unpredictable concerning to the ever changing weather conditions and possible delays of the start of shooting. Working in a closed environment (studio) gives me control over outside factors (lighting and weather) and minimzies other issues. Certainly, this requires more time and attention during production and post production, but I like to give the post production more time anyways for that reason. When shooting production that involve models that need to be put onto a new background, the shooting of these backgrounds need to be done beforehand, so one is aware of issues that need to be considered and included in the shooting of the models (lighting, perspective). The division of production into shooting models, location, set pieces etc. gives one another form of creative freedom during the post production part. Some aspects cannot be completely changed, for instance the perspective from which an object or a person has been photographed from, but one can change a part of that issue, if that helps push the projects main idea. That can be the changing of a colour, the brightness adjustment, the positioning of an object or a person (to some extent) and many more. Furthermore, the method of shooting the production into separate pieces, allows one to ensure the highest quality that the image can achieve. For example, if a subject needs to be placed on to a background that provides a high dynamic range, one can decide (if needed) to stitch various images to one, to create a n HDR for the background, while still obtaining full detail with the subject in the foreground. Furthermore, if one chooses to strive for that visual design, this method ensures the highest possible depth of field, with no object falling out of focus.

All in all, I would describe my work methodogy (that works the same for the curation of commisioned work) one of action and reflection. I look to other fields of creative outlets and apply parts of them to the project, while at the same time keep parts of my visual identity.

Blog Entry 2

In the previous post I explained the way that I work and partly touched on the issues of why I approach new projects the way I have just described them. Certainly, that approach cannot simply described with one word or phrase. It is the result of multiple events that have shaped me as a creative practitioner. One phrase that sums up a part of my work methodology is: „Work smart, not hard“. This motto presented itself during the post production of an assignment in my Bachelor study. I will explain the origin of that phrase but first I want to explain my thinking behind coming up new visual ideas. In the previous post I mentioned that I strive to combine things from interdisciplinary fields. This motivation is embedded due to the nature of my previous study, which was a hands-on, commercially orientated study. At one point of the study my tutor stated he would not be in the position of a tutor anymore but that of a client. From then on, every image that a photographer hands in needs to be so good that he would want to buy it. Meaning, it would need to be new and unusual but still be able to perform in its category (may it be still, beauty or fashion photography). This created a very competitive environment. When presented with a new image, I wanted to apply two aspects. The first being my background in film and my brief studies in the arts of film. The second following the MAYA-Principle. Most Advanced. Yet Acceptable. A principle created by Raymond Loewy, that „sought to give his users the most advanced design, but not more advanced than what they were able to accept and embrace“ (Dam 2018). Author Rikke Dam of „The MAYA Principle: Design for the Future, but Balance it with Your Users’ Present“ follows the description of the term with a quote by the designer himself, stating: „The adult public‘s taste is not necessarily ready to accept the logical solutions to their requirements if the solution implies too vast a departure from what they have been conditioned into accepting as the norm“ (Loewy unknown date, Dam: 2018). So, when presented with a task, irrelevant of its specific photographic field, the two mentioned aspects are one of the main things that are being considered. 

In the following passage, I will provide a more in-depth look at the usage of the above mentioned aspects but also the development of solutions to creative problems. This example applies to not only client commissioned work but to personal work as well.


The task was to create a commercial still live image for a whiskey brand of our own likings. Criteria were, the bottle and the glass needed to be in the picture and take up atleast 2/3 of the image and it needed to be a low key image. It needed to be original and new but still suited towards commercial use. Other aspects, for instance, the bottle and the glass needing to be immaculate and the bottle being 100% in focus were preconditioned and natural to any professional photographer. All other aspects, for instance location, the way the image needs to be conceived or a goal aspect ratio were up to the photodesigner.

One of my first thoughts when receiving this assessment was avoiding the clichée of the commercial whiskey picture. The glass and bottle on a table near a warm and cozy fireplace. Or basically any scenario with a warm and soft lighting. The two mentioned aspects were at the foreground, my filmic background and the MAYA-Principle. An idea was to be brave in mixing colour and isntead of using soft lighting, to use light sources without any diffusion. These two aspects would follow Loewy‘s idea.

Still_Whiskey.jpg

Due to my background in film, I tend to chase inspiration in movies. I remembered Ridley Scott‘s 1982 „Blade Runner“ and its dark and grim depiction of the future. Its cinematography is one of cinema‘s prime examples of neo noir to date. Vibrant use of colour, dramatic lighting. These followed the first ideas of my initial thoughts. The movie‘s production design also balanced the act of using existing objects and addding or altering it so much, to make it appear new and modern. Also, sounding very familiar with the MAYA- Principle. In few scenes, one can see the main character drink a whiskey from a very unusual and strikingly designed whiskey glass. Although, these scenes never spoke to me visually, I admired the atmosphere of it, a product of my own imagination. I looked to another product of the neo noir genre. In the form of a video game called „Deus Ex: Human Revolution“ released in 2011 by Eidos Montreal. Visually, it takes the same approach, a depiction of a dark world with dramatic lighting. The colour palette of the mentioned sources vary though. Where as Blade Runner (depending on which version one chooses to go with) uses a colour palette leaning towards blue and blue-ish greens, Deus Ex heavily carries a palette filled with orange and ocra colours. Both mediums, take use of the film noir genre lighting, with its distinctive light and shadow plays.

There were aspects from both sources that I liked and wanted to translate onto my project. The way anamorphic lenses renders neon signs and lights in the background in Ridley Scott‘s Blade Runner, has a wonderful aesthetics, that I did not see very often in commercial photography at the time or atleast not in the same manner that the movie depicts them. At first, I was also inclined on using blue as a backlight and orange (mainly to light the whiskey itself) but quickly went away from that colour scheme as I felt this has been overused and at that point in time always labeled as the „cinematic colour palette“. So, instead of using the clichée in the visual nature, I wanted to try to use the green Deus Ex hinted at but still used in a desaturated and soft manner. I also liked the appeal of the production design of Deus Ex (and partly seen in Blade Runner as well, but Deus Ex used it more prominently). The contrast that was created by placing the rough and coarse texture of the pages from that book to the high gloss elements (the table, the bottle). The theme of using two extremes manifested itself. Rough and corase next to smooth and glossy. The colour orange mixed with the color green that are both bright and saturated, in a dark and grim environment. 

The lighting in combination with its production design is telling a story, or a more suited description, a mood. My intention was to picture the office desk of an investigator/researcher, who has decided to pick up the bottle too sooth the long hours. The manifestation of that idea can be seen in the form of various books on a shelf in the background, the old paper and books in the fore-/ middleground and the cigarette on the table. The lighting suggests on the right hand side, off camera, a desk lamp that illuminates parts of the scene. The loosely hanging neon lights above the table suggest, the one who has put them there did not care much about the way they have been mounted, suggesting an almost „run-down“ feel to the depicted environment. The actual shoting of this picture proofed to be complicated as no professional equipment was available, meaning no studio lights or diffusion. Household lamps and lights that are being used as part of the production design were used to light the scenario. The only restriction I had during shooting was the iris, which was set to 11. The lights I was using had different brightness levels, to compensate that lack of exposure on my subject, I adjusted the shutter speed. The lighting area was more times than not too wide, resulting in either the spilling of light onto the background or foreground elemnts or even causing flare. This meant, I needed to put this image together out of various images to create the lighting that I was striving for. That meant the whiskey bottle, glass and the camera were not allowed to move, during shooting. Exposing to the right, is a term every photographer should be aware of and utilize of at every given moment. The benefits in quality are self explanatory. In the case of a low key image, this can, at first, alter the impression of the image when it is being put together in Adobe Photoshop. But before one starts to colour grade the image, one should make sure the depicted objects do not showcase any fingerprints, scratches or other kind of artefacts, that are unacceptable for commercial use. When the image was being put together, the whiskey bottle itself showcased a lot of errors. Although, the depicted object was carefully picked and then cleaned, the bottle itself still showcased issues due to the production of the glass itself. Producing work for a client, espeically in a commercially orientated market, one needs to remove big and obvious issues like that before handing off the final piece to the client. But due to the nature of the light and the structure it evokes, the botle appeared almost unsuitable towards commercial use. This realisation was before the image was given the final colour grading. As this image needed to follow the stlye of low key, the idea of dark and grim were taken further than first expected and as a result of it, diminished these unwanted artefacts. The application of the visual style helped resolve a technical issue. 

This was the first project where I applied my current work methodology and idea generation to. From an idea perspective, it asked the question: „How can the clichée be changed towards something new and interesting?“ The location of the clichée did not change all that much, but helps to the drastic colour contrast, it puts the known into a new context, closely following the MAYA Principle. The storytelling/ mood is conveyed through its lighting and decorational assets, that is unlike the mentioned clichée of a whiskey image. The lack of studio equiment forced me to work differently but did not alter the quality of the final image. This is the result of knowing one‘s tools and utilising them when needed.   

Bibliography Blog Entry 2:

1.MAYA principle available at: https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/design-for-the-future-but-balance-it-with-your-users-present

2. Daniel Gansen (2015) Whiskey [picture] (private archives)

3. & 4. Deus Ex: Human Revolution (2011) produced by Eidos Montreal. [screenshot from cinematic story trailer] (available at: https://youtu.be/Kq5KWLqUewc)

5. Blade Runner(1982) Directed by Ridley Scott [screengrab] (available at: https://www.indiewire.com/2017/10/blade-runner-influence-cyberpunk-sci-fi-ridley-scott-1201883053/)

6.Blade Runner(1982) Directed by Ridley Scott [screengrab] (available at: https://goo.gl/images/bYkunt)

Blog Entry 3

As I am looking into deepening my understanding in the subjects that I want to follow for my postgraduate degree project, I have started reading through a recommended piece of academic literature. I am currently on the very first pages of „Vision and Visuality“ by Hal Foster but have encountered a topic that has been reoccuring in my overall research. The author, Hal Foster, mentions a statement by John White, where he differentiates from artificial and synthetic perspective (John White, in Hal Foster 1988). The artificial perspective being a flat mirror that is held up to nature and the synthetic being a concave, [...]thus producing a curved rather than planar space on the canvas“ (John White, in Hal Foster 1988). This passage reminded me of two subjects, one that I have encountered in a past research. During the project development for the Practice 2 module, I touched on a statement made by Roger Deakins on the importance of lens choice and camera location during the shooting of a dialogue scene. „I think, [...] the camera wants to be inside (pointing to the space between himself and the interviewer) here. [...] There‘s a sense of presence. [...] You‘re right there with somebody. [...] I think psychologically, it‘s a totally different effect“.

20.png

We know for a fact, that the choice of a lens distorts subjects inside of the frame. And from what it seems, photography seems to be preoccupied with portraying its subjects matter beautifully, whereas filmmaking seeks out to use a variety of lenses to not merely get the appropiate coverage but to distort and change one‘s perception of a scene or complete film. An idea, on why one gets the impression one is being inside of a conversation when filmed/photographed via a wide angle lens is perhaps due to our constant engagement with the visual medium. The constant exposure with television shows, motion pictures and the not avoidable fact that everyone nowadays owns a camera, may it be a consumer digital camera or in form of our smartphones. We use photographs to capture moments that we do not want to be lost in time, for instance a meetup of old friends around a dinner table. Or other close encounter situations, that force us to use our camera that offer a wide peripheral to capture the whole scene. What I am hinting at is, that we are aware of scenes where the camera was close to the subjects and in others where it was far away, looking at the subject from the distance. Perhaps it comes down to the way lenses distort an image and that our visual literacy has absorbed that information.

Perhaps, it is due to other reasons that I want to bring up in this blog post. Typically, a lens that is considered to be a wide angle will, if the image is unedited, present a barrel distortion where as a lens of a higher focal length will create what is called a pincushion distortion. An original thought I had, when I first dealt with this, was the distortion a wide angle lens will create will be fitting to the curvature of the human eye. But the human eye, strictly speaking, is a biconvex „lens“. In the example images above, showcasing a cross-section of a typical wide angle lens, one can make out that the front element of a wide angle lens is a curved glass, a negative meniscus. When viewed from the perspective of the camera‘s sensor, not seeing a cross view of the front element but merely looking at it straight ahead, one could not make out the nature of the glass but only that it provides curvature. One could also say, this piece of glass is a concave. Like the curvature of the human eyeball and the mirror that is being held up to nature in John White‘s statement about synthetic perspective. Perhaps, it is the involvement of how an image gets distorted, that creates the effect of being inside of a location instead of being a passive observer. Certainly, in the consumer market, one has encountered a „painting“ in form of curved mirror. Manufacturers like Phillips, Samsung and many more created curved LED and OLED televisions. If a consumer is in doubt about purchasing a curved screen, a Samsung employer created a page on „Why Choose a Curved Monitor?“ to clear up on that concern. The curved screen‘s unique selling point is „[...] by curving the screen, monitors respond to the natural curvature of the eye, matching our field of view and offering a new, ergonomic ideal“ (Tom 2016). 

Summarizing at this point, the brought up evidence would suggest that our impression of being inside of a situation is due to the nature of the lens that captures it or more precisely, the distortion that the glass creates. The visual literacy angle, that our knowledge of how lenses of different focal lengths subconsciously give us the indication of that effect, perhaps supports the idea but is perhaps not critical to that identification. From the current stand point it would seem it certainly has something to do with the distortion of the lenses, but I do want to touch on another issue that is embedded in visual literacy in another blog entry, that further indulges of this entries discussion.

Bibliography for Entry 3

1. Foster, H. (1988) Vision and Visuality 

2. Example image of different focal length in a portrait [picture](available at: https://goo.gl/images/KGTigk)

3. technical example image of the two different distortions [illustration] (available at: https://goo.gl/images/5fCcmf)

4. Illustration of two wide angle lens constructions [illustration] (available at: http://www.wikiwand.com/en/Wide-angle_lens)

Blog Entry 4

Due to the availability of televisions in the 1950s, people stopped going to the cinemas and stayed home to watch a movie there. This caused an issue that Hollywood swiftly dealt with, that drew audiences back into the seats of the cinema. In 1953 the first anamorphic movie called „The Robe“ was released. The anamorphic format presents the movie in a wide aspect ratio, 2,40:1 (Wikipedia entry for Anamorphic format). The format of anamorphic is now more common then ever. One of the selling points that the anamorphic format has over any other aspect ratio, this presents a horizontally spread image.

Blade-Runner-049.jpg

2,4:1 is widely known as the standard format for an anamorphic movie, but the final aspect ratio depends mainly on two factors. Firstly, the aspect ratio of the film or sensor on which the image is being captured on and secondly the stretch factor of the anamorphic lens itself. The anamorphic format selling point correlates with our very own way of perceiving the world.

Each of the human eye has a horizontal viewing angle of 150°, which combined equals a total of 180°. In the overlap of each eye‘s viewing angle, a area of roughly 120°, is our spatial perception. (Carle, R. 2013) Our maxi Whereas the horizontal viewing angle is distributed equally, our vertical viewing angle is asymmetrical. Our viewing angle towards the sky is ca. 60° whereas we have an additional 10° downwards to the ground, adding up to a total of 70°. The area where we can perceive objects without moving our eyes or head is between 25°-35° (Carle, R. 2013). Summarizing, our horizontal viewing angle is 3,4 times greater than our horizontal viewing angle. An image covering that area would result in an aspect ratio of 3,4:1. Although anamorphics are capable of portraying images as wide as 3,4:1 but due to the projectors, the movie would need to be cropped to be suited for that viewing experience as cinemas are commonly fitted with a 35mm projector, with a projected image with a total aspect ratio of 2,55:1 (Carr and Hayes 1988, in wikipedia entry „Anamorphic Format“). There are few exceptions of course with the very rare existence of 70mm projectors able to project a movie of 2,76:1, also known as Ultra Panavision 70. Meaning, the aspect ratio, concerning the motion picture market, comes fairly close to resembling our own viewing angle, if one is seated at the correct position of course. If that is the case, the image will take up most of one‘s viewing angle. It is the anamorphic‘s key advantage over any other format, the immersion of the viewer into the portrayed world.It is every moviemakers goal, to immerse the viewer into the portrayed story. But, due to the topic of my previous blog entry I am wandering, if that immersion (leaving out other techniques through cutting, directing etc.) is because of the aspect ratio or the distortion the anamorphic provides. And answeering the question if that knowledge can support my postgraduate photography project and future projects?

The example images above showcase what comes to mind to anamorphic, concerning the nature of the distortion. One can see straight lines, for instance the sidewalk on the right or background features in the background on the left hand image, bending, with the middle part pointing towards the centre of the image. With these images, one cannot miss the noticeable barrel distortion. Due to the nature of an anamorphic lens (where, of course, every lens will be varying in its lens construction from manufacturer to manufacturer) these distortion will be evident in images. Which does not mean every anamorphic lens shows them as pregnant as these example images above do. Depending on the focal lengths and the design of the lens itself, artefacts like these may be kept to a minimum.

An old anamorphic lens may provide a coating that is from a quality perspective not up to par to the ones now produced by manufacturers like Zeiss or Hawk, but that does not mean the older generation of lenses also come with bad vignetting and/or disortion. The example images above, the left hand example from the 1995 drama „Heat“ (directed by Michael Mann) and on the right hand side „Léon: The Professional“ from 1994 (directed by Luc Besson), both films that were produced with anamorphic lenses. From the nature of the distortion and how the background seems to be directly behind the depicted characters, one can assume these images were photographed with a lens that is beyond 100mm. One can see the geometrical lines showcase no visible distortion. So, the anamorphic format alone does not always bring the distortion to an image as that depends on lens design and focal lengths but it does offer a similar distortion that I discussed in the previous post. The aspect ratio supports the effect, that the barrel distortion provides by (coming close to) mimicking our own field of view.The question is, how can this information benefit my current and future projects?

Bibliography for Blog Entry 4:

1. ‚Anamorphic Format‘  last updated on 7 September 2018, in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, Wikimedia Foundation Inc., (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anamorphic_format)

2. Blade Runner(1982) Directed by Ridley Scott [screengrab] (available at: https://screenmusings.org/movie/blu-ray/Blade-Runner/pages/Blade-Runner-049.htm)

3. Carle, R. (2015) Technology Photography module papers

4. Carr, Robert E. and Hayes, R.M. Wide Screen Movies. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1988. in wikipedia entry ‚Anamorphic Format‘

5. Heat (1995) Directed by Michael Mann [screengrab] (available at: https://goo.gl/images/HCwf82)

6. La La Land (2016) Directed by Damien Chazelle [screengrab] (available at: https://goo.gl/images/DUYqFe)

7. Leon: The Professional (1994) Directed by Luc Besson [screengrab] (available at: https://goo.gl/images/d2eK6y)

Blog Entry 5

The past two blog entries dealt with the same subject. It was an investigation and discussion of a subject that first originated in another research. My investigation into that subject and the reasoning behind that effect, forced me to look for connections between the camera lens and the human eye. It was an investigation made possible due to my knowledge I gathered from my past study and my personal interest in the practice of filmmaking and its use of the anamorphic format.

I have always carried a fondness towards the distortions, the depth of field etc. provided by anamorphic lenses and, at the time, I could never quite point out the reasoning behind that fondness. That knowledge, that was built up throughout the years, informed the investigation and my reasoning. This was the first time, where I encountered a theme/ subject/ issue whose answer was not provided in a piece of literature or any other format. It was created due to a research that delved into various fields of practice. Only through the observation did I notice a reoccurrence of the concave lens/mirror.

To what extent, the solution to that question and the effect itself works, needs to be experimented and only then one can evaluate the quality of research/ investigation that I have done.

One thing, to be considered is the field of application. The effect of the barrel distortion can be applied to any image via a simple slider in an image editing program, but in light of the layout I have designed for my postgraduate study, an unique approach might be suited.

This effect is only discussed by the contemplation of one image at the time. The way my project will be presented is different. The project consists of three parts and the three parts consist of five images that arranged in a specific manner. The effect of the distortion and, in the field of filmmaking, the cinemascope, applies to the idea of viewing one image at a time and completely covering one‘s field of view- or atleast most of it. As for the series I intent to produce, the most important factor is to convey the story in a new and cohesive manner. Which is why, I want to showcase these image in the arrangement, like in the example image above. Applying the barrel distortion to every image in this arrangement may be wrong or even lead to the expression of an unprofessional editing of the images. I do not only want to showcase the images inside of their respected parts but also separately, so the viewer can look at the images independently. It is perhaps only then, where a subtle barrel distortion may support one‘s involvement into the depicted image. 


Blog Entry 6

A subject that has been left out of my critical research so far is the art and technicality of modern retouching in combination of a limited and carefully choosen colour palette, found in the paintings from the dutch era of the Renaissance. The dodge and burn process was one of the original motivational points to have the retouching part as a crucial phase in the production. Before, the idea of this project was even curated, I was acquiring more information about high-end retouching processes found in Beauty and Fashion magazine/photographs from a fellow peer. In our discussion I asked about his sharpening process as I felt the images he edited (he considered himself mostly as a retoucher, rather than a photographer) had a wonderful clarity. He explained the effect of the sharpening does not come from the actual sharpening of the images, which he admitted to only do very subtly, but that the effect comes from the manipulation and the cleaning of colours and light values. The technicality of dodge and burn has been known to me from the veryearly beginnings of my past study, but the depth high-end retouchers apply that approach was new to me. Certainly, this is a technicality, which is why I shall not discuss the details of it on here. But in combination with a recent discovery during a research phase into the art of Rembrandt, there is one thing retouching could very well support.

In Ernst van Wetering‘s book „Rembrandt - The Painter at Work“ he mentions a student of Rembrandt, Samuel van Hoogstraten. One of the design ideas Hoogstraten mentions is „[...] that the somewhat coarse surface of the paper gives the eye something to focus on, [...] whereas the blue sky lacks this optical „anchorage“ (van de Wetering 1997: 183). From that I derived the idea to control perceptibility and imperceptibility through the use of de-sharpening and sharpening of an area in an image. That experiment was partly successful, as a complete desharpening of an image can result in colour banding. Another idea to control perceptibility is through the use of depth of field, which I will only allow in only very few examples to a certain extent. Anyways, in the retouching phase one could control that perception of perceptibility/imperceptibility by deliberately leaving a characters face with a great variety of light and dark values, skin irritations, blemishes or the introduction of additional grain/sharpening. This in contrast to a background that has been cleaned up in terms of structure, brightness and colour values, will create the effect Hoogstraten mentioned.

Another aspect, very important to me is the use of qualities that resemble a painterly quality. Why one uses the description of a picture having „painterly qualities“ is something I am not quite certain of. It is only recently, that I noticed the use of it to describe images in a positive manner. A picture I produced was claimed to have a painterly quality. The definition given by dictionairy.com is that it resembles „[...]qualities of color, stroke, or texture perceived as distinctive to the art of painting, especially the rendering of forms and images in terms of color or tonal relations rather than of contour or line“. It would be interesting to see the details on why one chooses to apply that comment to a picture. Nevertheless, in van de Wetering‘s book the amount of pigments Rembrandt used for his paintings were limited depending on the area they were applied to. „The mixtures found usually consist of two to four different pigments; mixtures of five- or, in very exceptional cases, six-pigments are found in [...] flesh passages“ (Van de Wetering 1997: p.150). Meaning, one could apply that methodology to photographs to emulate the same effect. Of course, this is merely concentrating on the pigments used, which could be altered on the canvas (or in the photograph or photoshop for that matter) through the alteration of the light values. Another aspect, that could be controlled either on set during shooting, or in post production is something Goeree calls „Houding“ (Goeree, W. 1668 in: Van de Wetering 1997). Goeree states that „[...] houding [...] causes everything from the foreground to the middle ground and thence so the background to stand in its proper place [...]; so that everything stands out, without confusion, from the things that adjoin and surround it“ (Goeree, W. 1668 in: Van de Wetering 1997). Without a doubt, Goeree is talking about, what one has come to define has figure ground relationship. He hints at the techniques used for houding: „[...] the proper use of size and colour, and light and shadow“ (Goeree, W. 1668 in: Van de Wetering 1997). Ernst van de Wetering paraphrases a comments by Gerard de Lairesse „[...] to use the colour of one‘s figures clothes as a means to achieve a convincing spatial structure (i.e. „houding“) in a painting“ (De Lairesse 1711, in Van de Wetering 1997). The subject of houding is brought up by Hoogstraten again, where he recommends to not „[...] mix up lights and shadows too much, but to cobine them properly in groups; let your strong lights be gently accompanied by lesser lights, and [...] let your deepest darks be surrounded by lighter darks“ ( Van Hoogstraten 1678, in Van de Wetering1997). One cannot doubt the value of spatial structure playing a great role in Rembrandt‘s paintings. The occupation of showcasing depth in an image was of great concerns for the other dutch artists, who were mentioned in the description of the term houding, as well. In another module, I covered other techniques brought up by Rembrandt‘s pupil Samuel van Hoogstraten, that help support the depiction of depth in an image. I think what one can deduce from those pieces of research is controlling the colour and light values accordingly and carefully. Although there are no specific guidelines to this (concerning the light values), one could use the given amount of colour pigments in a photograph to pursuit the emulation of Rembrandt‘s colour palette. Indeed, this will be one of my guidelines concerning the colour but my project is divided by three parts that distinguish themselves in colour tone and saturation. The series will be completely desaturated with the last part. Rembrandt seemed to have always used slight desaturated ochre themed colours. Even his blacks were not pure black. The first part will use a dominant orange and blue colour and the second part of the project will use them in a desaturated form. Given the fact I am striving to pursuit Rembrandt‘s style and my colour palette, I will need to approach this issue differently. Nevertheless, the control of light and colour values is an issue one can easily control in post production, meaning it will not play as great of a role during the production of project, though it will always have to be kept in the back of one‘s mind.

Bibliography for Blog Entry 6:

1., 2. Van de Wetering, E. (1997) Rembrandt: The Painter at Work (University of California Press, Berkeley Los Angeles)

3. Goeree, W. (1668) uknown source in Van de Wetering, E. (1997) Rembrandt: The Painter at Work (University of California Press, Berkeley Los Angeles) p.150

4. De Lairesse, G. (unknown year) unknown source in Van de Wetering, E. (1997) Rembrandt: The Painter at Work (University of California Press, Berkeley Los Angeles) p.150

5. Van Hoogstraten, S. (1678) Inleyding tot de hooge schoole der schilderkonst: anders de zichtbaere werelt in: Van de Wetering, E. (1997) Rembrandt: The Painter at Work (University of California Press, Berkeley Los Angeles)p. 252

Blog Entry 7

I am coming to realize that the artists from that era, are fairly similar to the ones working and continuously learning today. At the beginning of this postgraduate study, I thought I would be able to gather information and rules a renaissance painter from the dutch era, that I could apply to my own work. Learning how to think like a painter in a medium where an image is created in an instant. My research concerning Rembrandt consisted of constantly analyzing his works from the perspective as a photographer. I have applied the constructs of the geometrical frame to his paintings to see if one can deduce a pattern. A great help was the information by Hoogstraten and other dutch painters. And it was during my research that I have come to a realisation. There is no a specific way to create an image and most certainly not a blue print to create one that will become a masterpiece. But there is a rule that I think creatives have used and will always use. „Go ahead bravely and sacrifice your paper on it, continuous exercise might make you abundantly rich in ordonnantie [arrangement of figure in a composition]“ (Van Hoogstraten 1678 in: Van de Wetering) Practice. We grow as artists through constantly practicing. Practicing the setting of light, composition, staging, whatever it might be. I think, what we, or one person, perceives as beautiful and aesthetically pleasing varies from person to person. Everyone has a different perception concerning that issue. Rembrandt seems to have had a great sense of displaying scenes and people in a way that did not only please him but many people and artists to come. These subtleties, for instance the adjustment of contrast inside of various fields of a singular painting, a controlled and limited colour palette and many more in combination created the artist we have come to know. It is the multitude of things, personal taste, the stories and people inside of the frame and the artist‘s personal taste, that created the works that have gone down in history as great pieces of art. These things are the same things that should be important to any creative practitioner working today. Every creative practitioner learns (and in a way copies) works from other artists and in conjunction with their personal taste, experience create a style that is unique to them. Considering this in addition to the fact that one should approach a new photography idea, in the same way one would have with film or with a canvas, one will resemble the methodology of a painter. From my perspective, working on a master‘s degree level will be different from practitioner to practitioner but I think, what it means for me, is a constant consideration and evaluation of techniques and information one gathers throughout the years of experience, the numerous experiments and academic research and knowing when to apply what to the given work piece. But it is also important to grow as an artist and the best research method there is, is the open mindedness towards every subject, despite it having nothing today with one‘s own field of practice. As creativity and new ideas are born out of a multitude of ideas that together create something new and interesting. If one keeps the idea of creativity and a careful approach to designing an image, one will automatically attain the workin methodology of a painter.


Blog Entry 8

At some point during one‘s practice one thinks about one‘s own style. Certainly, after a specific time one will attain a style that will be quintessentially one‘s own style. We have come to recognize one‘s journey to a personal style is marked through one‘s learning materials, personal interest inside and outside of one‘s practice, current trends and one‘s methodology that manifested itself through the first few years of an academic or non-academic study in a creative field. During my practice, I have been advised, time and time again, to keep my width of interests as wide as possible. Furthermore, that I should be curious towards anything, as these subjects, despite their immediate unimportance towards one‘s own practice, may come to one‘s aid at a future point in time. A conceptional work methodology manifested itself during the end of my previous practice: Copy. Combine. Transform.

My curiousity and working methodology combined enabled me to pursue subjects, that stood out from fellow photographers. Even when the images were lacking an issue in terms of quality (for instance: high-end retouching), the images stood out from the crowd due to the unusual nature and their approach to storytelling. Visually, the photography projects from my previous practice did not share visual elements that would leave one to conclude they were created by the same practitioner.

With the beginning of this postgraduate study, I have noticed two issues. The first being the nature of my postgraduate project, the pursuit of extracting visual design elements from dutch artists and incooperating them into my own field of practice. This idea combines my personal interest of the visuals from dutch Renaissance paintings and the working methodology from my previous practice; the incooperation of these new design cues into my own practice.

The second is my view on contemporary photography. My opinion towards todays photography originates from my personal observation. Technological advancements in photography enabled many people to pursue photography, even without a practice. Social media and design platforms offer the opportunity to publish their images for everyone to see. The internet and technology is a revolution in its own right, though this created a flood of creative works that are lacking quality, creativity and a critical approach to its central message. An academic or other formal education that informed the practitioner of critical work has been eliminated. This, of course, does not apply to everyone and is merely for a select few, which, at times, does seem to predominate the creations by practitioners that do showcase the better qualities. Looking to the motivation behind my postgraduate project, I understand why, besides my personal interest, I have chosen to pick that specific idea. My issue with todays digital photography is, that it is over in the blink of an eye, compared to any other period of time concerning the image making process. For me, Rembrandt has always impressed with the depiction of characters and how the artists prepared the settings for them. It showcased a perfect blend between realism and theatricality. The staging of the characters feel arbitrary, yet at the same time feel as if a director carefully chose their actions. In David Hockney‘s „Secret Knowledge“ is a graph that represents lens-based images and images created by „eyeballing“. Hockney states that „[...]Rembrandt (crossed) the line, transcending mere naturalism to produce paintings that not only depict exterior reality but also reveal inner ‚truths‘ “ (2006: 184). Hockney continues by touching on the fact that, now with Photoshop, the „[...] hand has returned to lens-based images“ bringing „[...] the photograph closer to drawing and painting once again“ (2006: 185). The amount of detail and the high degree of detail one can now put into an image via the tools that are available to a photographer are overwhelmingly great. From my perspective, I see this as a great opportunity to push one‘s creativity. All these technicals tools could be used for art pieces that, perhaps, similar to Rembrandt‘s art pieces push beyond the threshold of naturalism and at the same time reveal the inner truths (Hockney 2006:184).

Bibliography for Blog Entry 8:

1.-3. Hockney, D. (2006) Secret Knowledge Rediscovering the lost techniques of the Old Masters (Thames ] Hudson Ltd)po. 184

Blog Entry 9

In interest of expanding my knowledge in the art of arranging and staging characters inside a frame I have started researching artists and paintings that provide tableau vivants, that please my personal taste.

I am personally intrigued behind the idea of tableau vivants and the arrangement of a great amount of characters inside of a frame. The point of interest the contemplator choses switches constantly, making the eyes move around in the image. The amount of detail, concerning the narrative, is tremendous. These three example images above are from the same century, the 19th century to be exact. Whereas the origin country differ from each other. Although, I am not planning to do scenes that require that many characters inside of one frame, I do want to dissect the reasoning behind the appeal of these images. In Charles Bouleau‘s book „The Painter‘s Secret Geometry“, the author would apply the constructs of the geometrical frame onto the paintings and examine them in that manner. 

My method of introducing new aspects into my pictures is divided into two parts. The first is a constant interaction with a style or a theme I would like to pursue in a similar manner. I believe one‘s taste is determined by one‘s inputs. The human mind is good at detecting a rhythym, a pattern in various objects. For instance, if one takes a look at Stanley Kubrick‘s movies, one would find that the locus is almost always positioned in the geometrical centre of the image, often times resulting in images dominated by symmetry, asymmetry and long guiding lines meeting at the vanishing point. Of course, this is a general rule but it can capture the feel from the range of work produced by a practitioner. Just like one has a feel for the golden ratio, without having to construct the geometrical design grid to determine its exact position, one can deduct the wanted essence by a constant interaction with the medium that carries the mentioned qualities.

The second part is as crucial as the first, which is putting the new found qualities into actual practice. I do not think that only carefully thinking about a design idea and sketching it out, will help it incooperate into one‘s practice. One needs to put these ideas into actual practice. Situations on-set, even if it is only practice, can sometimes be unpredictable and cause problems one was not prepared for on a piece of paper. It is at that time, one can use one‘s previously aquired knowledge of other visual design elements and experiment and observe the effect. It helps to primarly design an image with the desired design element in mind.

My thinking behind the integration of new ideas is critically considered pre- and during production. Of course these new ideas are built upon my existing knowledge and habits, which need constant evaluation in contrast to the new ideas, especially if one is desiring to pursue a specific style, which would be altered by one‘s own style. My goal as a practitioner when seeking inspiration by other artists is extracting one or two things that appeal to me for one reason or another. Perhaps I am speaking for all the artist when I am mainly concerned with defining my own style rather than appearing to be copying off of another artist. The reasoning behind my fascination and great interest towards the importance of staging in images is embedded in my point of view towards contemporary photography, which for quite some time now, seems to be preoccupied with the elimination of perspective and the presentation of its subjects from a graphical view point. Needless to say, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that specific approach. I would like to think every design rule has a specific time and place to be used. In my previous practice, during the first two semesters of my studies as a photographer, my tutor often received the question: „What is the best lighting solution?“ And his response was that there is not one or two lighting setups that will satisfy every need. One should not be preoccupied with making a scene light, but with the intention to shape the light according to the desired mood and the feeling one wants or needs to evoke inside of the viewer‘s mind. Meaning, setting up a beauty light styled setting for a picture that carries a tragic narrative, may not be the ideal solution.

Hence, why I am stating there is nothing wrong with the approach of using graphically inspired compositions to design a picture. In fact, they will be likely to be molded along the geometrical constructs of the frame, like the images in this blog entry. I want to transfer the style from the paintings, in terms of arrangements onto my photographs, not only to support the visual heritage of it being influenced by the dutch era but for future projects to come. Similarly, to the way how one understands one compositional idea for an image or an image series and continues to apply it to future projects whenever it is called for. Learning the art and design behind the arrangement of a great amount of characters, will like a general design rule, help heighten the quality of my future work, irrespective if they are personal or commissioned work. Furthermore, a reasoning behind my interests towards the mentioned design rule is the motivation to stand out from my fellow peers internationally. From my point of view, there has been a great lack of great compositions concerning the staging of the depicted characters. As I have mentioned before, current practitioners seem to be preoccupied by eliminating perspective and any other motivation behind directing the depicted people inside of the frame. One often times find the people in pictures to be positioned simply and almost in a comically manner as well. 

A case in point with Gregory Crewdson, a photographer who is acclaimed to be a great storyteller, boring styles from the cinematic palette as well. His topics mostly concern issues like lonelyness, depression and isolation. Although his visuals a flawlessly executed, I may be one of the very few who arries the opinion he is not fully utilizing the full potential of possible techniques available. Anyways, I would like to focus on the directing concerning the depicted characters. The feelings of isolation and sadness come across immediately when regarding these images or any other that he produces. But the reason why I am not keen on his style of execution is repetition. The expressions and the nature of their body posture does not change from character to character. All depicted characters seem to be cut out of the same material, contemplating into the distance with no expression. Melancholy has been a topic of visual arts as long as it has been documentated and it has found its way in photography long before I was born, which makes me question why we still continue to pursue that topic. Regardless, I feel the depiction of these emotions are easily executed, as Gregory Crewdson demonstrates. Additionally, the manner in which the characters are positioned and directed lack any great motivation which albeit is there to support the context, it is lacking any sense of expertise. And especially in this day and age, where digital cameras and mediums to produce visual ideas fast, this quality is becoming more and more valuable. Hence, my drive to introduce staging directions into my depicted characters that convey a state of emotion that is true and motivated by the character. Certainly, this is tied to the story of the project, which in my case does not discuss issues of human emotions of a depressing nature. Quite simply put, I am striving to integrate more integrate staging ideas to differentiate myself from my fellow practitioners.

Bibliography from Blog Entry 9:
1. Forti, Ettore (unknown year) The Embankment of a Roman Queen

2. Goya, Francisco(1814) The Third of May 1808 [oil on canvas; 268 cm × 347 cm] (location Museo del Prado, Madrid)

3. Northen, Adolph (unknown year) Napoleon‘s Retreat from Russia

4. Crewdson, G. (2014) Woman at Sink [photograph]

5. Crewdson, G. (2014)The Disturbance [photograph]

6. Crewdson, G. (1999)Girl in the Window (Twilight) [photograph]

Blog Entry 10:

Since my last blog post about Tableau vivant and the gathering of examplary images from paintings, I thought about the issues I have brought to light in my earlier blog posts, which discussed the effects of  distortions that mimic our perception. Reminiscing about that fact made me rethink the statement made my cinematographer Roger Deakins that concerned the position of the camera during a dialogue scene. Regarding the painting examples, I have come to notice that all of the arrangements were made in a manner as if it the depicted scene took place upon a stage.

Even if one regards the great master, Rembrandt himself, his arrangements are composed in a similar matter. One could imagine the characters to be positioned on the stage. I am considering on combining two design ideas, the one brought up by Deakins of positioning the camera inside of the action and one idea brought up by Samuel von Hoogstraten. This is one of the arguments I discussed in my critical analysis concerning Ernst van de Wetering‘s excellent book „Rembrandt: The Painter at Work“ (1997). Ernst van de Wetering mentions a statement by a pupil of Rembrandt, Hoogstraten, where he states the following: „[...] ‚heavily-shaded figures in the foremost corners‘ of their paintings, ‚flooding the middle-ground with a light‘. The sense of space conjured up by a dark repoussoir“ (1997: 186).

My intention lies on the last word of that statement, the dark repoussoir. I am considering this dark repoussoir to be, for instance, the silhouette of a character. But the truth of the matter it can be anything. Roger Deakin‘s style hints at the idea that is forming inside of my head. Although, I imagine the dark figure in the foreground to be even closer, almost inviting/ guiding the camera and therefore viewer into the scene. Certainly, I am not implying to apply this idea to every image, like I stated in my previous post, there is a right design idea for the appropiate time and place. But the idea of reframing the picture in the shape of the foreground and „flooding the middleground“ with the lighting and characters that I desire to portray, would combine two visual aspects from my critical research from interdiscplinary practices. As this is an idea, that has originated through various sources and has not yet been tested, I would need to see the value and its effect in a test image. But perhaps more importantly, if there is an opportunity to apply this design idea into the photography project to support the context or if the application would have had no significant effect on the feel of the project.


Bibliography for Blog Entry 10:

1. Forti, Ettore (unknown year) The Embankment of a Roman Queen

2. Goya, Francisco(1814) The Third of May 1808 [oil on canvas; 268 cm × 347 cm] (location Museo del Prado, Madrid)

3. Northen, Adolph (unknown year) Napoleon‘s Retreat from Russia

4. Van Rijn, R.(1642) The Nightwatch [Oil on canvas; 363 cm × 437 cm](Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam)

5. Van Rijn, R.(1632) The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp [Oil on canvas; 216.5 cm × 169.5 cm](Mauritshuis, The Hague)

6. The Assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford (2007) Directed by Andrew Dominik [screengrab] (available at: https://goo.gl/images/p51R2T)

7. Blade Runner 2049 (2017) Directed by Denise Villeneuve [screengrab] (available at: https://outnow.ch/Movies/News/2017/09/28/Desktop-Hintergrund-Material-Viele-neue-Bilder-zu-Blade-Runner-2049)

Blog Entry 11:

This project is from a production perspective, my greatest yet. This project will involve a total of 15 images, although there have been two previous projects that offered more than that, and will have multiple sets, that will need to be built, and will roughly have between 10-20 actors/models. The goal of this series was to tell a narrative, ideally one of great proportions, to highten the importance of the story. The scope of issues that need to be dealt with during pre-production remind me of the preperations of a short film. This obviously results in a shooting schedule that needs to be thought through carefully to avoid time managin problems. Certainly, the time managing of this project will be adjusted to my previous experiences working on set, managing a multitude of actors and the pre-production workflow. My previous experiences and mistakes shape the scheduling of this project. Similarly to the way Alfred Hitchcock preferred to work in controlled environments and therefore avoiding setting up productions outside, I have decided to take the same approach again. Lighting and weather conditions outside are not controllable and by subtracting this issue from the list of potential issues that can occur during shooting, I minimalize the chance of a production to be cancelled due to bad weather. Of course, everything has a downside as well, choosing to do a production inside means either one or two things. One thing needs to consider, if one chooses to photograph a model in front of a blank background and decides to cut the subject out and position them onto the desired surrounding, one needs to counter in the fact, one will be needing more time during post-production. Secondly, even if one does not need to do an extended amount of cutting or etc., one needs to build the sets, or atleast needs to aquire the help of a practitioner who is willing to do so. In my case, I am choosing to shoot all of my productions inside, in a controlled environment. Which is why, I have counted in more time towards pre-production, as I will presumably do both previously mentioned issues. Furthermore, I will be working with a range of people, who are not always actors or models but have been choosen for one reason or another. This produces another problem, which is the time managing of the necessary characters. As I will be producing this series with no assistant at hand, I would rather keep the set during production rather small and avoid greater crowds, as this would cause me more stress during production, needing to do various responsibilities at the same. So shooting the characters individually in front of a blank background spares me unnecessary stress and allows me to devot my attentions to details, which could be overlooked when situations get more hectic. Additionally, my experience provides me with a rough estimation on the time that I will need during the shooting. Certainly, this will range from a mutltitude of factors, for instance the time needed to adjust lighting, the amount of pictures, the interactions with the model(s) and the directing until I am pleased with the results.

Needless to say, my previous experience help me shape the productions into a time frame that is critically thought through and provides enough time to do the production and allow human errors if they arise and at the same not to waste it at the same time. This methodology behind the planning is also applied to the post-production of this project as well, although it will other factors that could be an issue, for instance the time needed for printing the project.


Blog Entry 12:

Whenever I am dealing with a project, for intance with this master‘s degree project, I am already thinking ahead towards future projects. It is perhaps not at the forefront, but it certainly is in the back of my head. There are certain goals one wishes to meet with a project or a multitude of. For instance, in this project I am striving to push my visual storytelling abilities and introduce ideas from the dutch Renaissance. So, after completing them I will evaluate if I met these points or if I steered away from  my intentions and if so, if that new course benefited the idea of the project? Perhaps, the evaluation is mostly personal and concentrates on my view of myself as a creative practitioner because if one wants to value the project on its success, one should not look into the artist‘s thoughts but to the reaction of the viewers. The viewers opinion about the result of a project is without a doubt not accompanied with the thoughts of the artist. The viewers reaction is either good or bad and will have a reasonable argument on the reasoning behind it. The reaction behind this project and perhaps any forthcoming project, that strives to convey an intricate narrative is of great importance not only for the sake of learning the viewer‘s opinion about it but more importantly if the series succeeded in delivering its context. Whenever one chooses to portray a photographic series in an abstracted manner, one needs to be aware of the reality that it might fail due to the visual vocabulary of the project being outside of the contemplators vocabulary.

I feel, this is often times the reasoning why the general public, especially outside of the field of any creative practice, seems to reject abstracted pieces of art. In an interview with Tim Ferris, Ed Catmull stated that people seem to get the idea behind art fundamentally wrong, thinking if someone can draw or obtained another kind of form of self-manifestation is art. But he believes that artists learn to see. In conjunction with a passage from the book „Theory of Film“ by Siegfried Kracauer, where the author refers to the artist‘s manifesto that is touching on the fact that the artist needs to be as impersonal to the reality and the depicted moment as possible. One might argue about that statement in general but it supports in a way Catmull‘s statement and more importantly my perception of art, especially in my field of work. 

With my strong drive to put forth narratives to the viewer, I am starting to see myself more as a writer of novels than of a visual medium. A practitioner, who presents work with a subject matter that I want the viewer to comprehend and think about. Therefore, my viewer should understand my work just as plainly as if he or she were reading a book by an author, irrespective if he or she has read their previous work or not. Just like the tongue we speak, hear and understand, is it my goal to do so in a visual medium.

Which is why, returning to my previously made point, the feedback after publishing my project is crucial, to see if the vocabulary used was edaquately chosen. Ideally, the feedback is best received personally, so the viewer can elaborate and there are no misunderstandings that could arise through simple comments on the internet. This feedback and response from the viewers is important as they can be used to construct future projects or learn from the mistakes, so one can avoid them in other projects.

Reflective Blog Entry:

As this is not my first reflective academic blog and I have since moved on in my research towards my intentions for my postgraduate photography project, there is no doubt about the incredible change I can see in the text and my reflective thinking. It was to be expected that, at this point in time, the reflective academic blog may be filled with a greater amount of detail, as I am moving closer to starting the pre production of the master‘s degree project. Having learned from my previous attempt of creating a reflective blog, I have now focused my entries towards the desired questions in the learning path and the brief guide without sacrificing the content of my texts. Quite the opposite is true. Especially, the first few entries that endulge in an idea, that I started to grasp when I first came across the material in my critical research. The reflective academic blog offered me to write about the ideas that have manifested during the research towards my photography project. The medium itself offered the idea, that started to take form, a challenge. A blog is a gathering of notes, that are meant to be seen by people from one‘s own practice and outside of own‘s practice and aditionally are presumably not on the same page as oneself, if one chooses to discuss a topic, that has been discovered through research embedded in various sources. This means, explaining the issue, which in return makes sure if one has understood the issue, too. When first writing about my discovery, I was hesitant and carefully re-read my findings to avoid any obvious mistakes. Certainly, as time goes on, there is a chance, that through an instant I find out about the true nature and realise my mistake but as of re-reading it right now, I cannot say if there is any mistake. 

At the beginning of creating the reflective academic blog, one of my main drives, that I wanted to enclose in this assignment, was to go deeper into researching visual literacy. Which, needless, to say is not an indication of lack of interest. I chose not conduct any further ideas that could further inform my knowledge about visual literacy for two reasons. Firstly, as I was reevaluating the current trends in photography, I have come to notice its simplicity. My opinion is, that photography, unlike the research field most important to my project, paintings from the dutch renaissance era, is not striving to create more and more complex visual ideas but abstracted and simplified images. I have always believed going against the grain concerning the visual nature of my photographs and it is still my main drive. With that and the philosophy of the MAYA-principle in mind, I even feared to over complicate my project to such an extent, that it may, ironically, turn out to be as abstract as the art pieces, that drive people away from galleries and museums. Secondly, it was my impression that I did not succeeded in researching more in the fields of staging/tableau vivants etc. Unfortunately, reflecting on my blog and the presented findings, I was unsuccessful in doing so as well. From what I can state here, I have been continuosly looking at images that carry the desired quality but have not put these inspirations to any physical tests. This will need to be done, before or during the pre-production and needs to be evaluated. 

Summarizing, the reflective academic blog was a lot more focused and greatly filled with findings from my interdiscplinary research. Findings from one piece of literature are applied or compared to other pieces of information. This results in an evaluation and conclusion, that could benefit the photography project. Even though I did not succeed in meeting all of my fields of interests, I have greatly improved on the quality, compared to my first blog.