Saturday, October 23, 2010

Assignment 4: Best so far

Now that I have 6 separate sessions completed, it is time to start to think about what might constitute my final selection of images.  The brief asks for 6 final photographs plus at least twice as many from which to make the final selection.  This had me puzzled for a while as I was not sure whether it called for 6 or 12 to be submitted to my tutor.  Clearly in the age of Digital I would select from more than 12 photographs, my problem is to stop taking photographs.  Should I submit 6 or 12?  Looking at work in other  blogs or on the student site I get the impression that people have submitted 6 images, so I shall do the same.  Currently, however, my pool of "keepers" is down to 20 or more, so much work remains.  The selection of images will also change depending upon the number submitted.  12 images offers greater freedom of expression and also the ability to vary the feel of the images.  Submitting only 6 I may need to keep them more visually coherent.  Not sure.

Currently I am thinking around a series of themes for each of the 6 images and have grouped the 23 photographs into these groups

1. River

The Western boundary of Haidhausen is defined by the river Isar.  This creates a strip of green through the center of the city and also enables juxtaposition of architecture and nature.  The river is also the site for a number of the older buildings in Haidhausen, among them the 100 year old swimming baths featured in the following photographs.

The first photograph has strength as it provides scale and more clearly defines the architecture of the swimming pool complex.  The people in the foreground add interest.  It's weakness is that the river itself is not visible.  The second photograph places the river and building into context and is a far more interesting composition, but is less visually appealing.  The third photo is a similar viewpoint to the first, but includes the river.  The weather is very different, the bright blue sky is typical of a clear day in autumn, but this is too colorful for my taste, but I suspect most people would pick this one if asked.  Doesn't mean they are right, however, what would the commissioning editor of a magazine think?

2. Cafe Culture

My next theme looks at the cafe culture of Haidhausen, a district renowned for its relaxed sophisticated bars and restaurants.

Of these the first image will be in the final selection, I consider it to be one of the best photographs I have ever taken, it works for me on multiple levels.  I also really like the second photograph, the small dramas going on at each table make form a very engaging image.  I may split this topic into Cinema and Bar.

3. Living

Above all Haidhausen is now a residential district and contains a great variety of buildings:

These are very varied images, each is of typical apartment buildings in Munich.  The first is the space between buildings, Munich is very green, the girl reading adds a small but vital point of focus.  The more I look at the second picture the more I like it, there are few places where it is possible to image a row of buildings, such a perspective is normally blocked by more buildings.  The third is an attempt at a very geometric view of one of the very few truly high rise blocks of flats in the city.  The final image is very typical of the colour and structure of inner city housing, drab is not part of the architectural syntax in Haidhasuen.

4. Industry

Whilst Haidhasuen has lost most of its industry, some remains, notably brewing, but also a number of modern office blocks add to the variety of buildings in the district:

I will find it difficult not to select the first image, the space coupled with the cranes and steel barrels is makes for a complex composition.  The second image is a straightforward view of one of my favorite companies, the Paulaner Brewery!  The third image was one I held in high regard at the start of this process, but I no longer feel it works with the theme I am building.  The final image is simply, for me, a very satisfying composition.

5. Commerce

Where people live they must also shop:

Initially I wanted to photograph some of the more modern shops, but could not create an interesting photograph, so I turned my lens to the fruit and vegetable shops that are dotted throughout the district.  In Germany people have not abandoned their local shops for the lure of the supermarket and these small businesses add much to the character of the district.

6. Street Life

The final category is a catch all for a number of different alternate themes that I was thinking through, worship, transport, people...

The first of these is very simple, but I think effective.  A little girl shoots through open space in front of an old church.  The second and third images are simple street scenes on a brightly lit day, which might be their undoing as I am turning away from bright towards muted with most of these images.  The fourth street scene is outside my favorite Italian restaurant, this might work if I take a very street approach to the submission.  The final two are transport related.  The Bauhaus one is joke in a way, the fact that Bauhaus is the name of a German equivalent to DoItAll is rather sad.

I am now starting to think that I have enough strong material to submit a set of 6 images, with a further 6 in backup, the question is which.  Organizing and editing take more time than photographing and are equally important.  At the point that I press the shutter button I make compositional and thematic decisions that might or might not create a good photograph, how I assemble a series of photographs into a coherent group adds meaning and context to the photographs.  A final comment is that I have very deliberately avoided vertical framing for this series of images, I want to present the street world which is very much a horizontal environment.

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