Part 3. Communication: Narrative

Exercise 3.1 – Searching. Lanes.

It was our brief on this exercise to wander around for a couple of hours with a camera. I stumbled across some back lanes in the area that I live and was immediately interested in exploring them.

I don’t think I’ve walked down a back lane for 35 years. Not since i was a child, playing around in the local area. It felt a bit naughty, as if i shouldn’t be walking up and down them. I guess not many adults do use them unless up to no good? Anyway, i was intrigued by the different patterns and shapes created. I purposely avoided too many cliches such as rubbish. I like the lines.

On a technical level I am annoyed as I didn’t realise until I got home that I still had the ISO on 1250, which is far too high on a sunny day. This does affect the quality of my images. It highlights the importance of spending 2 minutes going through your settings before embarking on on some shoots. Lesson learnt.

I have presented them in the style of Bernd and Hilla Becher.
Final images for this exercise

I am quite pleased with the images. I’m not sure they tell a story or show a journey. They are quite interesting aesthetically, i guess. There is potentially something to work on for the future.

Narrative: Lanes tell a story of community order and long lost spaces that children once played in before modern technology took over.

Searching continued… White Lines.

I took my camera out on a walk with the dog and my youngest on her bike. On the walk I started to take pictures of her shadow in puddles. At one point I asked her to ride around a car park as there were a few bigger puddles.

On uploading the photos I found that the images with the white lines were more interesting and they then became more interesting again when uploaded into a grid gallery. I think they work really well as a series of images when put together. Individually they do not have the same impact/quality.

Exercise 3.2 Series. Looking up.

Plymouth.┬áThe city centre is a beast of 50’s architecture mixed with traditional run down buildings and new student accommodation.

The University have quite a big presence in the city. There is a sense that the university is possibly trying to fill the cities void with their impatient building of new halls of residence. . Theres a real sense of the town trying hard to improve, or should I say, rather unflatteringly, it’s trying to be something its not.

I have relatives in Plymouth so have to visit every now and again.

I had the idea for this exercise of ‘looking up’. Theres lots of things going on beyond being lost in thought and gazing straight ahead or staring at the floor avoiding eye contact with life. When i’m in a good mood i often find myself looking up…I like to look up and see all the interesting shapes and angles created by man made buildings in contrast with the beautiful sky of the day, or in contrast with other buildings.

For this exercise I wanted to capture the unusual mix/juxtaposition of old, 50’s and new buildings that I noticed on previous visits to Plymouth.

I have included contact sheets of some of the photos that I set aside to be chosen for the final pick.

Final images for this exercise

As instructed I printed the photo’s out and invited other people (work colleagues) to look at and comment on them. I asked them to see if they recognised any similarities, any series or sequences within the photos. They discussed the photo’s pointing out which were their favourites and why. With encouragement they set aside two groups of photos that they thought went well together and worked well in a series. I hadn’t previously separated them myself but did agree with their choices. The photos above are the series they chose.

Narrative. The juxtaposition of new and old, and life and death, of Plymouth as a city.

Exercise 3.3 Sequence. I can’t see clearly now.

For this exercise I went back to a technique I played around with in Part 1. Using long exposures I took photo’s of a bus passing in the high street, placing a strong colour in the background. I positioned myself so i could see through the bus windows to the other side of the road. I like the results as they provide a sense of things passing quickly in time whilst containing a strong commercial (capitalist) background. The blur also presents a sense of uncertainty. I hope all three together are symbolically and visually attached…

Final images for this exercise

Narrative: Unease and uncertainty in a fast moving world dominated by capitalism.

Sequences Continued: Below are a set of 3 photo’s I took of my daughter. I thought they worked well as a series mainly due to the colours.

Exercise 3.4 Documenting Change. Waterloo.

I took photographs over a period of a week from our top bedroom for this exercise. These were the more interesting images. I have placed them in chronological order.

Final images for this exercise

Narrative:Light and different weather can affect the mood and feel of its environment.

Exercise 3.5 Photographs from text. While I breathe

For this exercise we were asked to use a text as a basis for an image. I decided to use the family motto for my surname Sharp; While I breathe, I hope. My father has been banging on about this motto recently, and while I find it a little bit cringy, the Sharp family are on the whole a positive and productive bunch. I used my daughter as she is a ‘Sharp’ in many ways, and symbolises the beginning of life…and all the things we hope for.

After a little bit of research I came across the artist Barbara Kruger, as suggested in our manual. I was instantly struck by her work. I liked the way she used images, working alongside text, to give a message. Her style reminded me of Pop Art, despite using photography instead of paintings. For me there’s also a street feel about her work which I like, reminding me of some of Branksy’s work when he/she uses images and text together to get across a political message.

As you can see below I decided to produce a piece of work in the style of BK. I decided to use multiple images instead of one due to the sequences we have previously completed in this module. I also was concerned that by using one image in connection with the words, it would struggle not too become too corny…

Final image for this exercise

I have included my workings below on this exercise as it took a lot of attempts to finally get the image I wanted, which I thought did the work of BK justice.

Contact sheet

I had a lot of fun with this exercise. I enjoyed getting to know photoshop a bit better. I enjoyed trying to replicate the work of BK.

I think the photo’s used in connection with the words work well. I think that the different ranges of emotions are important, as ‘hope’ means so many different things to different people.

Narrative: While we are breathing, there is always hope….whatever that means to you.

Exercise 3.7 – Significant Object. You too.

I used U2’s Joshua Tree album as my significant object. I recently re purchased the vinyl version. I remember to this day sat watching Top of the Pops and they came on signing their new single ‘Where the streets have no name’. This started my obsession with the band and, i believe, led me down the ‘indie’ route with my music tastes, which in turn influenced all areas of my life.

Below are my final 3 images for this exercise. The 2nd image is a photo of the baby on the front cover of Nirvana’s Nevermind album. The 3rd image i took from a previous occasion at a music gig.

Final images for this exercise

Narrative: Part of my musical journey.

Significant place

I do a lot of work from this spot in a local coffee shop. I have become a ‘regular’ here, which feels nice. It has also become a significant place for me and my little one as we often cycle here from our house and she has her favourite toasted sandwich and chocolate brownie. It’s our ‘favourite cafe’.


You can guess the look i would go if i was dark with hair.

Exercise 3.10 A Formal Portrait. Jocie

For this last exercise I choice one of our team leaders, Jocie, in one of her working environments; supporting a lady with learning disabilities and her partner, in their own flat. Jocie has been with the company for 4 years and has been working with this particular person for the majority of the time.

I would say Jocie is visually interesting; a new generation where tattoos and piercings etc are more mainstream, and generally more accepted. Without knowing her she can look quite ‘hard’. But to do this job you can’t be hard! She is extremely gentle and empathetic with the people she supports and builds up long lasting relationships with them. I really wanted to capture this contrast.

I am happy with the images. I like all the colours in the background, i like the mess, the cuddly toys etc. I like the contrast between Jocie and her surroundings. I feel i only captured part of Jocie’s personality but due to the how this worked with the background i was happy to leave it as it was.

I took along my 50mm prime lens however this was totally unsuitable as the space was so small. Stupidly, I didn’t have a back up lens with me. So the images below are taken with my camera phone. I figured the subject and surroundings were the most important part of these images, so felt happy to include them.

Final image for this exercise