Sally Mann

Reading through the interview between Sally Mann and Chinese photography magazine

I am struck by something Sally Mann says …

When I remember my childhood, I remember pictures of my childhood; I don’t remember actual moments. Photographs are really subversive in that way.

This is exactly how I see my childhood, I can visualise almost every photograph in my albums, occasionally I can replay snippets of a moment in my mind but mostly I see still images and remember the associated feeling that goes with it. Even memories of my own family are usually conjured as images in my mind with these occasional snippets. I even recall the images that were poorly taken and relegated to the outtakes box along with the negatives. I remember where and when and in the blurriest of images I even recall who and the story behind it. Sadly my images are now on discs or in ‘the cloud’ with chosen images printed for my wall. it makes me wonder if future generations will have the same memory response to images if they are not held in print? Will their memories be as ‘true’? With image manipulation and filters does this mean their memories will be tainted?

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My cousin Rita, her and my Aunt came to visit, she had her first car a blue mini metro. My parents were in the middle of re-turfing the garden and building a new brick wall, the missing fence was our neighbours as my dad was giving them our old fence. I must have been around 11 and I think this was taken with my first camera, a Halina telewide 110. I remember really liking Rita’s dress which I recall had gold threads running through it.

So much memory from one blurry photo! But the most interesting thing is that although this photograph was discarded I still remembered it , I could visualise it, and I knew where to look to find it.

Initial thoughts on natural lighting

Before I continue to exercise 4.2 I realised that I had visited Dungeness again recently with very different weather / lighting conditions. I wanted to look back at these side by side to see the comparison. I went purely to walk my dogs but on both occasions I took my camera as an excuse to practise, my first visit was in November on a very cold, slightly wet overcast day. My most recent visit was in April half term on what is currently considered the hottest day of the year so far.

The views are not exactly the same but the difference in lighting is vast! The overcast dull day actually produced better skies which gives more atmosphere to the shot. The cloudless blue skies add colour but give a much more typical ‘beach’ shot, although the sun did provide deep shadows which added contrast.

Exercise 4.2

In manual mode take a sequence of shots of a subject of your choosing at different times on a single day. It doesn’t matter if the day is overcast or clear but you need a good spread of times from early morning to dusk. You might decide to fix your viewpoint or you might prefer to ‘work into’ your subject, but the important thing is to observe the light, not just photograph it. Add the sequence to your learning log together with a timestamp from the time/date info in the metadata. In your own words, briefly describe the quality of light in each image.

I started this exercise a little later than planned in the morning but it was still relatively early, I continued throughout the day until just after sunset which was at 20:11.

I decided to set up my camera on a tripod in my conservatory where the changes in light would be the most noticeable. I also decided to keep the shots exactly the same so I could record how the light changed and moved throughout the day and how it affected my images. I set the camera to full manual mode, all of these images have been unedited to clearly show the natural changes.

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I had expected to see a variation in the shadows as well as the colour cast but I think the conservatory may have been too bright an area to really get the effect of this. There is a clear blue tint/hue as the day goes on, plus different times of the day became overcast so the natural lighting was unpredictable. There is a mix of hard light (which gives the hardest shadows) when then sun was in full view and some softer light when the sun was diffused by cloud cover.  My ceiling lights also created some interesting shadows. It is also noticeable how the shadow from the apples moves from in front of the apples to behind and how this affects the details on the front of the apples, this is due to the sun being a moving light source so the angle of light has varied throughout the day  The change in the  highlights on the apple are also noticeable.

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