Assignment 2: more processing

I spent half of yesterday processing the results of my morning shooting and put up a few alternative processing treatments for peer review, as I’m struggling to pin down the right aesthetic for this assignment.

Change of heart

I spent most of the day preferring the b&w versions, as did some of the students who commented on the Facebook group. However, a few students (step forward, Sarah-Jane Field, John Umney and Carol Street) made me stop and think a bit more. Between them they challenged my thinking and teased out some problematic aspects of some of my work-in-progress options.

My main original objection against colour, especially against the plain white background, was that it looked too much like advertising. However, a couple of people brought up the text overlay and it became apparent that this was also part of the resemblance to an advertising aesthetic. Also, the stats are meaningless without context and that’s not always available to the viewer. So I had a rethink: no text.

Without the text the set began to resemble an ad campaign less. Good.

I was then encouraged to examine my preference for b&w over colour. One commenter made me realise that b&w potentially places this narrative in the past, when it is in fact a very contemporary issue that I’m trying to depict.

Then I had a realisation: my preference for b&w is almost certainly coming from my current Documentary course reading (‘The B&W Document’) and I’ve let it seep into this assignment. The perils of parallel study!

So between the past/present confusion and the fact that I don’t want the set to look like documentary photography, I ended up flipping my preference: the set will be in colour.

Background options

What remains, however, is the question of what to do with the background.

To recap, I want to keep the main images tall and thin (2:1 ratio) against a horizontal ratio background, as I am aiming to imply a narrowing of focus – a kind of tunnel vision. The options on what to do with the remaining space are:

  • Leave blank as pure negative space
  • Unfocused background, washed out to de-emphasise

I’ve mocked up four executions with these two treatments.

Now to seek more opinions – as I’m still not sure…


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