Exercise 4: Reflections

From the work and projects looked at in the “It’s About Time” section of the Photography course I have concluded that photography can be an integral part of the artistic process whether or not it is the sole final product. Continue reading “Exercise 4: Reflections”


Exercise 2: Reflections on Using Photography to Portray Time

It is argued that the ‘mechanical’ nature of photography precludes it from being considered an art. The ability of photography to capture Cartier-Bresson’s ‘decisive moment’ makes it unique in its ability to portray intervals of time that are too short for the human eye. Does this make photography a medium uniquely suited to portraying time and the passage of time? Continue reading “Exercise 2: Reflections on Using Photography to Portray Time”

Exercise 1a: Attempts at Capturing the Decisive Moment

I have an Olympus E-400 DSLR and, even after owning it for the best part of a decade, am still learning how to use the manual settings. This section of the course is the perfect time to try to grasp at least the basics. I have made a few basic attempts at capturing movement and plan to do more research on how to gain more control over my camera. Hopefully when I have a better idea how to make my camera do what I want then I will make a second attempt at this task. Continue reading “Exercise 1a: Attempts at Capturing the Decisive Moment”

Exercise 1: The Decisive Moment


Derek Trillo, Passing Place (2006) Manchester

  • conveys movement through the contrast between the blurred images of the people and the crisp lines of the staircase and handrail.
  • two people are passing each other on a staircase. The sense of direction is shown by the blurring of the figures. Extending the exposure time allows this blurring without the people and sense of direction being ambiguous as it would have been had the exposure time been much longer.
  • The posture of the people is still recognisable and gives the sense that they are hurrying up and down the stairs. This effect is increased by catching both people as they move from one step to another which can be seen each has one leg that is significantly more blurred than the supporting leg. The multicoloured background gives the impression of early morning or sunset and adds to the sense of urgency. The point where the observer extrapolates that the figures will pass is highlighted by a pale blue band of light. The intersection of the pale blue band and the staircase (the passing place) is approximately one third from the left and one third from the bottom of the image which increases the sense of dynamism.

Harold Edgerton, Bullet and Apple (c. 1964)

  • conveys movement by freezing an instant which is normally unable to be captured and processed with the naked eye.
  • a bullet has passed through an apple which has been attached to a spike. The photograph has been taken when the bullet has passed through the entire apple and emerged from the other side but the debris from the entry and exit has not yet fallen towards the floor. The ‘decisive moment’ has been chosen to be framed such that the bullet and apple are equally framed by the blue background.
  • The central framing, static crispness of the image of the bullet makes the viewer aware of the fast shutter speed that must have been used to capture that instant as the human eye could not see a bullet moving as more than a blur naturally. The fact that the bullet appears clearly suspended in mid air along with the debris from the impact creates a sense of expectancy of motion as the viewer knows that it is an ‘unnatural’ composition in the presence of gravity. The triangle formed by the point of the bullet and the debris from impact on the right hand side suggests an arrow which has the connotation of movement. The way that the debris has scattered on the right hand side is also reminiscent of the feathers of an arrow or shuttlecock, both of which are associated with motion and indicate sense of direction. This association with an arrow may also suggest the connotation of the myth of William Tell shooting an apple off his son’s head.

Harold Edgerton, Multiflash tennis serve (1949)

  • conveys movement by showing many overlapping images of a man with a tennis racket in one photograph.
  • a man is photographed making a tennis serve with a long exposure. The multiple images are created by activating the flash multiple times during one exposure rather than once which would have created a consistently blurred image.
  • If the multi flash had not been used then the image would have been one consistently blurred image and it would have been much harder to tell what was shown. By using the multi flash, the image of the tennis racket can be clearly seen in the variety of positions that it passes through during a serve. This techniques gives the viewer far more detailed information than creating a blurred image, rather like showing footage of the tennis player in slow motion so that the viewer can process the subtlety of the motion.

Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Cousin Bichonnade in Flight

  • conveys movement through the dynamic positioning of the woman’s body and the expectation of the viewer that she must fall to the ground. The title meanwhile implies that she is flying and so her body position suggests that she is moving towards the left of the frame.
  • A woman can be seen having leapt from a staircase and Lartigue has taken the photograph whilst she is in mid air. Her hands are slightly blurred however the rest of her body is clearly in focus. The way her dress is shown billowing behind her increases the sense of forward motion.
  • Images of people mid jump are relatively common now however in 1905 this was possibly an unusual image as originally camera technology required longer exposure times. Today the posture of the woman combined with the ‘in Flight’ title has the connotation of portrayals of superheroes in comics and movies.

Reading the commentary from the OCA notes, I am pleased that by looking at the images I was able to make an educated guess as to how they were created as I haven’t attempted much motion photography in the past.