Archive for the ‘Photographic Practices’ Category

Last week’s task was to “shoot from the hip” and see what the results would be. All the shots are taken from hip/waist height and I’ve not done anything to them in Photoshop or elsewhere. I used my iPhone 5s for this task, as it was easier to carry around than my big Canon 550D. The only thing I did was stand still at certain moments in order to give it time to focus. I must say I’m surprised at how sharp the images are. Even though I gave the camera time to focus, I was expecting a certain amount of blur from camera shake as trying to take photographs on an iPhone from waist level is not as easy as it sounds. Struggled to hold my phone so that photographs would be upright and I was still able to press the button. Anyway, here are the images.





Philip-Lorca diCorcia is an American photographer, known for his staged compositions.

In the early 1990’s, he made five trips to Los Angeles in the US, financed by a fellowship he received in 1989. He shot a series of photographs, called ‘Hustlers’, of male prostitutes in Hollywood.

Some of his work is carefully staged, other parts are more coincidental. He would spend a lot of time thinking about the lighting. He would stage his subjects in a way that they’d be separate from the crowd, but would at times include the reactions and poses of accidental passers-by.

Here’s some of his work.






These photographs are absolutely amazing in my opinion. The way the light lights up the subjects and the way it falls on the surrounding environment in fantastic. A master at work, if you ask me.



I had a look at Jeff Wall for his unbelievably realistic constructed scenes. Looking at these shots, if you didn’t know any better you’d think they were simply snapshots of real life. However, everything is staged. I quite like it. Every little bit of the images add to the impact of the shot.

Jeff Wall 001

If we look at the shot which suggests the racist gesture, the clothes and surroundings give us an idea of the time it’s trying to depict. The fact that the Asian man seems to catch the gesture from the corner of his eye gives me both a feeling of shame and anger. I feel ashamed for the man making the gesture, but angry for the man on the receiving end of it. It feels very, very real. Very clever photograph in my opinion.

Jeff Wall 002

The image of the man sitting alone in the room is another example of an amazingly clever staged shot. It makes you question everything about it. Why is his room in that state? Why has he got tons of lightbulbs hanging in the room? What is going on with the man, what is the man doing? The actual state of the room and the lighting only adds to the feel of the image. It has quite a depressing feel, I think. A guy, sitting on his own in a room like that.

Again, looking at these shots and not knowing they were staged, you’d think all of it was real. It’s very hard to set up a photograph in a way that convinces people it’s reality. It takes a lot of skill. Jeff Wall definitely has what it takes.



The idea of this task was to set up your own scene and ‘construct’ the photograph. I decided to do something with the theme of ‘child abduction’, as this is, unfortunately, becoming more and more common in todays society.

I set up my tripod at the side of my car, slightly further back and asked my youngest daughter to be my model. I used a reasonably shallow depth of field, with the focus on the lollypop, to softly blur my daughter’s face. I then converted the image in black and white to see what that looked like.

Personally, I have a preference for certain things from both images. I think the black and white adds a bit of drama, whereas  the colour image feels more ‘real’ to me. The colour of the lollypop draws your eye in, just as it would draw a child in. Overall, although the image works either way, I prefer the black and white. Simply because I feel it isn’t a subject that should be mellowed down by pretty colours. It needs drama. The black and white does that for me.



For this task, we had to find a local news story and take photographs to go with it. In my case, I decided to take the story about the opening of the new tram lines in my area. This was quite a big thing here, as the local trains stopped running about 3 years ago and we have had to rely on buses only, which didn’t link the area very well. The following article comes from the Oldham Chronicle online:


Reporter: Lucy Kenderdine 
Date online: 27 January 2014

Metrolink finally enters town centre

TRAMS are now up and running through Oldham town centre, marking the end of years of disruption and the start of a bright future for the town. 

Excited passengers from Oldham and beyond braved wind, rain and sleet to board the Metrolink tram shortly after 5am to be part of the historic first journey. 

The opening of the new line includes four new stops in the town, Oldham Mumps, Oldham Central, Oldham King Street and Westwood, as trams zip along the roads towards Manchester or Rochdale. 

Several eager transport enthusiasts bought tickets and braved the cold pre-dawn start to be part of the momentous occasion, boarding the tram at various stations along the way. 

The tram followed the new route through each of the four new stops, including Westwood, Oldham King Street and Oldham Central, before arriving at Oldham Mumps just before 5.35am. 

It was a welcome end to the years of disruption, engineering work and line closures that the town has struggled through as the new service was installed along Union Street, through King Street and down the hill towards Westwood. 

One of the first passengers on the new line was Peter Crichton, a transport enthusiast from Grotton. 

He said: “I’ve always been interested in transport, probably because I grew up around buses and trains as my dad was a bus conductor. Every now and again I don the old anorak and take a ride on local transport.” 

Oldhamers weren’t the only ones ready and waiting for the opening of the new line. Paul Steane (56), from Altrincham also got up several hours early to take a ride before heading to work in Preston. 

“I try to get on the first trams when I can,” he said. “It’s exciting to be on board the first tram to go along a new line in Oldham and take some photographs along the way. It is a way to be part of history.”

After completing its trip through the town centre, the tram continued to Rochdale, arriving at 6am, before returning to Oldham Mumps at 6.18am to take the first set of commuters to Manchester. 

Metrolink driver Chris Allen (50) had the pleasure of driving the historic first tram on the new line and said it was a “very exciting experience”. 

Mr Allen, from Hazel Grove, Stockport, said: “I really enjoyed driving the tram along the new line. 

“Everything has gone to plan and it has been a very exciting experience for me, one that no-one else will have.” 

Transport for Greater Manchester project manager Alan Cayton, who was also on board, said: “It is great to see so many people using the tram even at this time in the morning and that everything has gone to plan.” 

The town centre line, which stretches from East Didsbury, through Manchester and Oldham to Rochdale, is the latest addition to Metrolink’s network, bringing it to 48 miles and 76 stations. 

Journeys from Rochdale Manchester Victoria take around 45 minutes, while journeys from Oldham Mumps will take 30 minutes. 

A return off-peak adult ticket from Oldham Mumps to Victoria will cost £3.60 or £5.40 at peak times. 

Off-peak return tickets from Oldham Mumps to Rochdale cost £2.90 or £3.70 at peak times. 

The new Oldham Mumps stop also benefits from links to bus services and a free park and ride site for Metrolink passengers. 

Councillor Jim McMahon, Oldham Council Leader, said: “Today is a historic and exciting day in Oldham’s history – and one that points to a much brighter future. 

“We knew the biggest infrastructure project in our borough’s history would inevitably cause disruption, especially for businesses and motorists, and I want to thank people for the patience they’ve shown during the construction period. 

“Looking ahead, our wide-ranging regeneration plans for Oldham town centre – like the work currently underway to turn the Old Town Hall into a multi-screen cinema – are all designed to capitalise on the arrival of the tram and the fantastic new opportunities it offers to residents, investors, businesses and visitors. 

“Metrolink has been the catalyst for all these plans and we are totally focused on delivering schemes like this that will transform what is on offer in Oldham town centre.”

My first image is an overview of Oldham Central station, mentioned in the article, in both colour and black & white.

Oldham Central Station BW Oldham Central Station Colour

My second image is that of the front of the actual tram, arriving at the station.

Oldham Central Tram Colour Oldham Central Tram BW


Oldham Chronicle Online ( accessed at 04.02.2014