BA Phot

C&N Part 1: The photograph as document

Page 5b - Exercise 1.4


Preamble - Project 1, Eyewitness - Exc. 1 - Project 2, Photojournalism - Project 3, Reportage - Exc. 2 - Project 4, The gallery wall – documentary as art - Exc. 3 - Project 5, The manipulated image - Exc. 4 - Exc. 5 - Upsum

C-B and surrealism - irony - Late photography - McMurdo - Meyerowitz - objectivity in citizen journalism - Pickering - Rosler - Sanguinetti - Seawright - street photography

Exercise 1.4

Instead of using double exposures or printing from double negatives we now have the technology available to us to make these changes in post-production, allowing for quite astonishing results.
Use digital software such as Photoshop to create a composite image which visually appears to be a documentary photograph but which could never actually be.
To make a composite image you need to consider your idea and make the required amount of images to join together.
Upload the images and decide which image you’ll use as your main image and background. Use the magic wand to select sections of image from the others you wish to move into your background image. Copy via layer and drag into the background. Do this repeatedly until you have all the pieces of your puzzle in place. In order to make it more convincing, use the erase tool on each layer to keep the edges soft and to create a better illusion. Be aware of perspective and light and shadows for the most effective results. [r] OCA, Photography 2: Context and Narrative, p. 42

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As an example, we are referred to the montage of Tony Blair taking a selfie with a pasted burning oilfield in the background, made in 2005 by Peter Kennard and Cat Phillipps [i]. Given the nature my relationship with the Labour Party, this image has been close to my heart since I first saw it in Tate Modern a few years ago. I see it every day as a DIY fridge magnet, together with Richard Hamilton's 2007 Shock and Awe [ii] that was (I think) exhibited next to it.

fridge kennardphillipps Hamilton
Box A
1. My fridge, 10 Jan 20
2. Tony Blair ('Photo Op'), 2006, by kennardphillipps (Peter Kennard and Cat Phillipps)
3. Shock and Awe, 2010, Richard Hamilton

[6Jan20] I have two initial ideas.

1. Two people on a backless bench, one facing forwards, the other backwards. Swap the heads in software.

2. Buy a fish, say 6-10 inches long. Photograph it on a wooden board. Swap the tail for a second, reversed head.

The problem with (1) is finding a bench with an appropriate background and two volunteers. No. (2) should be easier, but would the scales match up?

[7Jan20] experimenting with stock fish shots, the difficulty arises with fish that differ top to bottom - I had envisaged them covered uniformly in scales. Check a fishmonger for anything suitable.

On the benches, head reversal front, at the risk of self plagiarism and cultural appropriation, I have deployed an image from EyV Asg.5, Benches, an abandoned project option. Here's before (fig. B1) and after (fig. B2).

Benches, 9 Aug 19
Box B
Southbank, 9th August 2019
Before and after

At least that's one in the bank in case the fish head notion doesn't work but I'd prefer a custom image, ground level, two subjects, closer in. Continuing the fish theme, I recently started noting images of sardine tins (see Facchetti and Jagodic). There is potential here for amending the contents (a plastic carrier bag would be on topic nowadays, but best photographed as a constructed unit than Photoshopped).

[15Jan] Next I worked on an image taken on a largely empty train, returning from Southwark Cathedral.

This was not as successful as the first effort, largely because of complications around the neck and chin (fig. C2). This is a shame because leaving the reflection of the more distant head unchanged would have leant a nice sense of incongruity.

train, 13Jan20 train, 13Jan20
Box C
Train passengers, 13th January 2020
Before and after

[17Jan] My final effort for this exercise is a bit of a cliché, but at least it works. I have been drawn to sardines lately after seeing images by Facchetti and by Jagodic. The link of sardines and commuters is apparent and so, having to travel up to town for a 9 o'clock appointment this week, I photographed a sardine can in anticipation (it seems that can with a key no longer exist, at least in the supermarkets I use) and took a camera intending to take a few shots of the throng before boarding. I didn't realise how dark it still is at 7:30 and so have had to recycle and perspective-correct an image from EyV (fig. D2) as a temporary measure. I will try to remedy this in the summer.

Passengers Can Ram-packed
Box D
1. Train passengers, 25th June 2019
2. Sardine can, 14th January 2019
3. 'Ram-packed', dedicated to J. Corbyn. 2019

Exercise 1.4 - Local References

(i) Jones, J (2013) The Tony Blair 'selfie' Photo Op will have a place in history [online]. Available from [Accessed 8 January 2020].

(ii) Spencer, C. (2014) Collage Master: Richard Hamilton at Tate Modern [online]. Available from [Accessed 8 January 2020].

Page created 06-Jan-2020 | Page updated 23-Sep-2020