At the start of our new trimester we were told two main directives for the coming design units: the first was that the units would be mainly solo work; the second was that the first few weeks would be dedicated to photography. Coming off the back of some intensive group projects, the first point was a welcome change — while I have improved significantly in team situations, the knowledge that in this trimester I wouldn’t have to rely on others or conversely be depended on was a much-needed breath of fresh air.
The second point got me even more excited. I have only a little experience in photography, and what experience I do have has been very much based on my own limited knowledge, so I was quite keen to be formally taught some photography skills. While I’ve never done much photography myself, three main styles of photographs have caught my eye over the years: macro photos of details that are invisible to the naked eye, bulb-based photographs that capture movement including light painting, and portraits that have been edited for painterly or ethereal effect. Following some research, I found some photographers who specialise in these styles, and over the course of the trimester I hope to learn and emulate some of their techniques for creating their amazing photos.
Thomas Shahan produces comical yet detailed photographs of animals, specialising in insects. I love the bright and whimsical feel of his photos, and in true macro style he masterfully captures every detail in the hairs and scales of his subjects. In an interview with idesigni.co.uk he says that the key to his photographic style is a keen focus on the eyes of his subjects, combined with careful consideration of the colours and values in the photo to really make it pop. While I probably can’t get up and personal with insects as he can (hi, I’m an arachnophobe), I hope I can emulate the bright colours and emotions conveyed in his work.
Jacky Parker is another macro photographer, but one whom specialises in floral photography. The reason I enjoy her photos however is because of the ethereal floating effects that she produces using the flowers’ petals. While I am not sure how exactly she makes the photos look the way they do, it looks like it could use the “bulb” function of a camera, which captures movement over time in a soft blur. The result is very aesthetically pleasing and could also be great for some more conceptual photoshoots.
Continuing with my natural theme, Svetlana Belyaeva is a portrait and fashion photographer who photographs her models in nature rather than studio environments. On the whole, her style is vibrant and full of energy and emotions. Once again her use of colours is what really appeals to me. Her liberal use of flowing fabrics also helps make the photographs exciting, and likewise I hope to incorporate some interesting fabrics into my own portrait shots to add visual interest. I think that proper lighting and post-processing will play a major part in achieving a similar look.
Overall I am very much looking forward to the trimester ahead and practising some of the techniques of these inspirational photographers, but for now I have to wait for my broken wrist to heal before I can even hold a camera!