Franck doesn’t give us much information on the project other than the title – leaving it to us to read what we like. As a UK resident where basketball is something you play at school for one term and little more, this series is reminiscent of American youth culture of the past. Whilst I assume (maybe wrongly) the courts are still used a lot, Francks desolate representations seem to be making a comment on the uncanny atmosphere of a “playing” area with no one on it, could this be a comment on today’s electronic youth culture? Kids not playing outside or a simple attempt at making beautiful imagery? Either way it is a thought provoking and visually stimulating project with a stillness and juxtaposition of busy cityscapes and desolate playing fields.
I have been shooting with my Ilford sportsman recently with the intention to use it in Tokyo to shoot my final pieces, however I thought it would be best to take a back up camera just in case one gets stolen lost or breaks. So I opted for my second favoured film camera, My Praktica, it used to belong to my mum but she gave it to me when I gained an interest in photography. I used it a few times in first year but have rarely used it since.
However to my surprise I found it a lot better to work with, and more realiable that the ilford. Using my iPhone light meter app, I learned from the last 3 shoots I have done and took the reading so the vibrant lights were at level 5. The images and colours are a lot better than the ilford ones, the camera and myself just work better, it is less clunky and has more option for adapting. I also love the light glare it creates, something which the ilford does not.
I will now be using the Praktica as my primary camera and the ilford as my back up. I am also very impressed with the accuracy of the light meter app on my phone but will take a normal light meter to Tokyo as backup.
I have been using a light meter app on my iPhone to take readings for the film camera. It has really helped, one thing it has taught me today is at twilight to make the primary light level 5, that means you won’t get any over bright lights and the rest will fall into place. I also shot a lot of these images on my film camera, so once I print them tomorrow it would be interesting to see if the light meter on my phone is accurate. I really hope so as it is so handy to see the exposure as a basic starter. The iPhone wouldn’t be anything but a way of measuring light for this project as iPhones cannot pick up details within light at all.
With my research well on its way I decided it’s time to also put myself out there and start producing images as part of my development. I have discussed before how I will be using a 35mm film camera for this project because its vernacular transfers so well to the photographers I have been researching and their use of reality and fantasy. I have been collecting film cameras for a while, just picking them up in charity shops, more for the history of the camera than actually using it. This one is special to me, my parents found it in a charity shop and bought it home for me, when I was looking at the history of the Ilford Sportsman I discovered that this particular model was produced in 1963 the same year as my mum was born. I instantly took a liking to it and have played around with it before, Ideally this will be the camera I use for my final project mainly because I enjoy the process of making images on it and I have a this family connection.
I decided the best thing to do would be practicing with it first, my film camera skills are limited and I need to get myself out of the mind frame of a digital user, I need to be considering each image, and take enough care and have enough confidence in myself to know the images will come out. I decided to shoot at twilight so that I could begin to explore the hyper-reality i’ve been exploring in my research. I also know my final piece is going to be city based and lit only by the twilight sun and the neon lights of advertisements and signs. So I headed for the most fluorescent street in coventry at 6.03pm in the snow and began to shoot.
I am not particularly happy with any of them. The 1st, 2nd and 4th images are getting there in regards to the colours, light and atmosphere it just needs fine tuning and I need to be able to produce better versions of these images on demand so when in Japan I know I will not wast my opportunity out there.
Mistake 1. Not taking a tripod to shoot during twilight.
Mistake 2. Using really cheap film
Mistake 3. Not working to my strengths, I should have taken the image on a digital camera first then taken the readings from that rather than working with a light meter.
Mistake 4. Non-consistant, Some images look as though they were shot at night, others in the day and some during sunset. I need to maintain the right exposure when making my images. They will be a series after all and need to have some similarity.
All these mistakes I hope to work on over the weekend, I will go and shoot 2 more rolls making sure I use a tripod and a digital camera as reference. However I cannot do too much about the film because it’s all I can afford if I am making this many minstakes. I will also start making portraits, and explore taking images inside during twilight too.
I am really taken with surreal nature of photos shot during twilight. It’s a visual component I am starting to explore for my final project in order to convey a hyper/surreal reality. In the library I found 2 books which explore the use of twilight light also mixed with city lights. In the same way Adam Hinton’s book ‘Lovin’ it’ does.
Peter Bialobrzeski – ‘Neontigers: Photographs of Asian Megacities’
Neontigers is a series of photographs made by Peter Bialobrzeski about giant megacities in Asia. The book opens by talking about how an architect living in Hong Kong was shocked by the Wests reviews of Blade Runner in the 80’s. They said it was a dark predication of the future, megacities lined with poverty. But the architect saw the Blade Runner world as the place he and most other people in East Asian cities lived in. The photographs in this book take a moment to stop and look at these megacities, showing the beauty and architecture whilst showing the poverty too. The images are shot at night and in twilight in order to create a surreal atmosphere and portray this futuristic ideal but maintaining reality.
“If you look out over Hong Kong in the evening from The Peak tower, it becomes the Milky Way.” – Florian Haning
Martin Barnes and Kate Best – ‘Twilight: Photography in the magic hour’
This book, in it’s own words,”focuses on several bodies of contemporary art photography that were made at, or evoke, the fleeting moment of the world at dusk.” It explores how “The hour of twilight also evokes haunting moods and provides scope for narrative intrigue and psychological depth.”. Displaying the work of various art photographers who use the twilight hour to enhance the story in their work and play with light, this book is the bible of twilight photography.
Perhaps this book is not as relevant as I first thought it was, but I do want to explore Liang Yue’s work more.