Thursday, 18 July 2013

Project: A Story in Pictures

This section deals with how although we tend to be concerned about a single image, pictures are more often than not used editorially in combination to tell a story. The course material again has a useful quote, this time from Harold Evans of The Times and Sunday Times, "The picture story is the ultimate expression in photojournalism. It documents as well as dramatises. It can be looked at gain and again and when its message impresses it is passed on to other people."

To do this successfully you need to have visual variety Evans also wrote you need "changes of scale, sequence, proportion, perspective...different lenses..viewpoints...shapes...."

A balance needs to be struck between similarity and contrast. The course material asks you to look through your archive again, take between 5 and ten images on a single subject or theme and turn them into a picture story.

I need to choose layouts either from examples given or layouts seen and admired in other publications, as starting points. There should be a heading, short introductory text and a caption for each image. I felt this was going to be tricky as when taking images historically I tended (and still do tend) towards thinking about individual shots, not a variety to make up a photo story/editorial. Several hours were spent trawling about looking for good examples. Again emphasis on pre-planning a variety of shots and maybe having a check list of what you are after would be a plan!

However I finally decided upon a set of images taken in Kew Gardens back in 2009 of the wicker Seed Walk made by sculptor Tom Hare. Some of the images may not have been as technically brilliant nor were there that many variations of depth of field of lens changing or close up images. However this was partly why I chose it. Also there were enough images that would hang together on one theme. As initially thought it really did show up my failings for taking a variety of shots within a set!

Then came the layouts, I had a look at many in books and magazines and found the most helpful in this instance to be a Kew magazine- it helps to be a member sometimes! They had a recent article on David Nash (I missed his exhibition on wood carvings and - am so gutted - I had initially thought to do my assignment 3 based on that but life gets in the way eh?)

Start with a blank A3 sheet, grids and guide lines were set marking margins and gutters, I read a lot about leaving extra mm's for bleed and printing on various websites but as most of that went WOOSH so I just stuck to plain A3. Fonts were chosen,simple and to a minimum. For the title page I used Times New Roman, both standard and italic, photography credit was Calibri. For the article text I stuck with sans serif as this seems to be the industry standard and personally it is easier to read, an odd size of 15.75 pt as it fitted the text box and page layout I wanted, until printed who knows if it truly works but things can always be juggled and adjusted. The captions were also Calibri 10 pt and placed in hopefully a logical place, next to or close to the actual image. Information was kept short and hopefully added extra interesting information. Another reason for choosing these shots was because amazingly I did note what they were at the time and had tagged some of them on my flickr page. The first page I took advantage of the grass to overlay the text. White was chosen as it it complements the temple whilst standing out against the grass, however as it was not that dark, in order to help the writing stand out a little more I created another layer below with an autumnal colour. I also used a slight Gaussian blur in the selected area.

The photography credit is fairly subtle but that was my intention, it is important that the photographer is credited but the article is not about me.

I noted that with many articles the initial letter in larger and sometimes coloured, I followed this idea and the "T" is the same colour as the heading "shadow" not sure that it is totally obvious so a different tone/shade of the same colour may have been a better idea. On the final page some weblinks are given and to make them stand out I used green. I felt this tied in with the tones and colours of the images and the overall garden/nature theme.

The Kew magazine was a good starting point but an odd size it didn't reflect the A3 layout I was working on so it wasn't strictly adhered to, which to be honest wasn't the aim of this task anyway. Juggling the images and the captions wasn't as easy as I thought it would be and took many hours, very annoying when you suddenly realise you have been lining all the images and text boxes against the wrong guide LOLOL!

Here are the final drafts for this exercise. Pleased with them as they stand I am sure things could be altered or added I need to walk away and possibly come back with fresh eyes, other feedback would be handy. I have a random B&W image on page 4. Not sure it works but wanted to do something with a contrast, did try both smaller images B&W but the second didn't look so good in monochrome. A total of 8 images were used over four pages.

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