Time-based audio-visual presentations

Like books, slideshows have a very ‘linear’ narrative, even more so than the photobook. The creator is in control of the order in which viewers see images and therefore has greater control over the meanings generated.

Victorian ‘magic lantern’ shows –  idea of projecting a photographic image onto a surface for a temporary duration rather than creating a hard copy to be exhibited

1960s, 70s and 80s  slideshow screenings at amateur international competitive events. Specialist equipment was developed, whereby two slide projectors would be automated (in terms of duration and opacity of each slide) whilst also playing a stereo soundtrack, all controlled by a domestic cassette tape.

Automated displays of photographs as for example web galleries are now very common. Slideshow galleries on WordPress and SmugMug, the Slideshow module in Lightroom and iPhoto, as well as Windows consumer software, make it easy to compile this type of automated slideshow quickly and easily. But these are limited – the main control being over the images themselves: which images are show in which order, manipulation of each image to vary the effect of eg colour, viewpoint and crop, sequencing to vary these effects in a meaningful way, and the content and style of any titles and text to reinforce or challenge the meaning in the image. Some software like lightroom Slideshow module allows narration, sound and/or music and mixing of photos with video.

More considered audio-visual presentations can be both works of art in themselves, and/or more effective as a means of promoting still images. Here the creator takes more control of the relative timing of viewing of each image – some take longer and some less time. There are also different types of transition. Effects can be superimposed to change the image – zooming and panning, changing colour and focus as each image is viewed, multiple images shown at the same time.

Software used include:

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Premiere
  • Adobe Animate
  • Adobe After Effects

This means that substantial numbers of images can be combined – some similar and some contrasting to enhance a narrative.

The boundary between video and still photography is becoming increasingly blurred. As high definition video is becoming a standard feature of both consumer and professional DSLRs, and shooting video is becoming more intuitive to digital photographers, it is likely that clients will start to expect photographers to offer video as well as still images.

YouTube and Vimeo are two places where video content and slideshows saved in a video format (.mov or .mp4) can be self-published.

Examples

  • Urbex: Beauty in Decay
  • Chris Leslie: slideshows of ‘Disappearing Glasgow’ with photos, background music and interviews. I find these very evocative as a social documentary portrait. These are in a linked series on vimeo – start with  https://vimeo.com/29799259
  • Xavier Ribas  ‘Concrete Geographies’.  Photos of concrete blocks in Barcelona. See his website: http://www.xavierribas.com. This has inside views and links to vimeos of other books like Sanctuary – no text, one photo per spread. Sometimes a cross-over image. But the onscreen resolution is not good enough to really see the images.
  • Alessandro Rota A Neocolonialist’s diary.  Small paisley pattern cover. Coloured photos of sheets in Lusaka. Dark night streets. Lights. See his website . And vimeo of the book. https://vimeo.com/28099164
  • Foto8 Magazine has many powerful photo-only documentary stories with music.

More video-based:

  • Magnum in Motion and the subscription-based Mediastorm have powerful documentaries that mix video (often slow-motion and photo-like) and animated or still photos with narrative voice over.
  • 1 in 8 Million (New York Times) has a video gallery with video/photo mixes linked to videos with personal stories of varied New Yorkers.
  • Duckrabbit does training as well as producing documentaries blending moving as well as still images.

Less effective I thought were:

For links to my own work so far see: Create a slideshow. But this needs more work – when I have less work and risk of RSI.

Audio-visual pieces – some points to consider

(adapted from Course Guide)

Some of the design tips for photobooks, most notably rhythm and sequencing, are equally relevant here.

  • Rationale: What is the purpose of the slideshow? What is the main concept? Who is it for? Why do you want to present your work in a slideshow? Is a slideshow the most appropriate treatment of the work? If there’s a lot of content within the frame, will the viewer have enough time to ‘read’ the image at the given pixel dimensions?
  • Selection and Editing: Edit your work strictly.  Do all the images sit comfortably next to each other. Do any seem out of place? Can this be resolved, or should they be omitted? How long will your slideshow be? If it’s intended solely for on-line use, then it will probably need to be shorter than a piece that will be shown on a loop in a gallery.
  • Sequencing: Sequencing is paramount: consider how certain images relate to each other (graphically as well as in terms of the ‘connotations’ of an image, or the juxtaposition of images within the sequence).
  • Text: Will you use text? What will you say? Will the text complement and reinforce the images, or challenge the viewer through contrast or contradiction?What typeface and style will you use?
  • Sound: Consider the relationship between the sound and your images? Have you got relevant audio and/or textual material to accompany the images? If not, what could you look for?  Adobe Audition and Sony’s Acid Music are quite easy to use giving music loops to combine and layer to compose your own simple music tracks. Websites such as http://freemusicarchive.org  offer copyright-free audio tracks for non-commercial use.

Landscape Photography websites

Creative Commons Images

Tate 

http://www.tate.org.uk 

‘Website content that is Tate copyright may be reproduced for the non-commercial purposes of research, private study, criticism and review, or for limited circulation within an educational establishment (such as a school, college or university).’

Techniques

You Tube
Cambridge in Colour

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com

Lenscraft

Tutorials and information on technique by Robin Whalley

http://www.lenscraft.co.uk/

 Examples and competitions

Earthshots

http://www.earthshots.org

‘Earth Shots is a photo of the day contest celebrating the beauty and diversity of our planet. Each day we chose one fantastic photograph to feature on our homepage. Anyone can submit their photographs to Earth Shots for a chance to win the coveted photo of the day title.

Earth Shots’ photo of the day is enjoyed by thousands of people around the world on a daily basis. Winning photo of the day is therefore a great springboard for getting your name out in front a global audience. Every winner can also include a short biography and a link to their website under their photograph, allowing them to further promote their work.’

Started by Will Burrard Lucas  http://www.burrard-lucas.com/about

Photocompetitions

http://www.photocompetitions.com

Started by Will Burrard Lucas  http://www.burrard-lucas.com/about

 

 

 

Designing a project brief

Project briefs are of different types and allow different levels of negotiation and artistic freedom.

(what follows is from the Course Manual and will be revisited in Assignment 5)

Commercial (client-led) briefs
Any engagement with commercial photographic enterprise will involve a brief of some kind. This may be in the form of a legally binding contract, or it may be something much more informal. In a commercial context, a brief will usually be a document that is the conclusion of a verbal or email discussion about what the client is hoping to achieve from a shoot – i.e. what they want you to communicate with your photographs – and, importantly, what the intended outcome will be. Will the photographs be used in a book, for example? Or on a website? This second aspect has important ramifications in relation to the size, format and quality of files they are expecting, and may influence your choice of equipment. A brief written by a client may be fairly openended or it may include a list of specific products or subjects that need to be photographed, including aspect ratio and crop. It may be something prescriptive, to be referred to throughout the shoot, or something more abstract that you will respond to photographically using your own initiative.

A brief should align the expectations of the clients with a realistic outcome on the part of the photographer. Whether you’re being paid generously for your services or doing a job as a favour, it is extremely important to have, in writing (email is fine), an agreement that clearly identifies the needs of the client and what you agree to supply them with, in order to prevent at best disappointment, or at worst, being sued. A brief should include the following:
• A summary of the project and general purpose of the photographs.
• What the photographs should communicate.
• A list of any specific shots the client would like.
• The amount of time that you will spend on the shoot (hours? days?) and timings.
• The number of images you will supply to the client, and whether they will be processed or unprocessed.
• Your fee, as well as/including any expenses you will incur.
• Whether (if working digitally) your time for file processing is included or, if not, how this File format and size of processed images (and possibly colour profile and bit-depth).
• Permission for using your photographs from the shoot: how will you permit the client to use your images, and for what period of time?
• Whether you will administer Model and/or Property Release Forms.
• Details of any other parties involved in the shoot, e.g. models/subjects.
People who are in a position to commission photography may do so on a regular basis and, if so, will be expert in drawing up a brief and/or contract; other, just as valuable, clients may not. It may be down to you to put into writing their verbal description of what they want you to do. Forming a brief should be a negotiation between you and the client, and the specifics will depend on many factors, including your own particular workflow. The important thing is to make
sure all parties are content with all aspects of the brief before commencing a shoot.

[Although briefs are not discussed specifically, a wealth of related information can be found in Beyond the Lens: Rights, Ethics and Business Practice in Professional Photography, London: The Association of Photographers]

Self-authored briefs
This and subsequent courses you may study with OCA will ask you to set your own assignment briefs. The purpose of this is to allow you more creative freedom, to help you become a more independent student, and to encourage you to think of yourself as a creative, independent practitioner pursuing your own interests and working on personal projects, as opposed to making work within the confines of a prescriptive art and design course.
Developing the ability to articulate your ideas for projects or enterprises is an essential skill for professional practice, within both commercial and art-based practice. For instance, you may identify a potential business opportunity to collaborate with an organisation that might be able to commission you, and approach them to propose a project. Or you may have an idea for a documentary or fine art project and need to apply for funding. In either case, you’ll need to
write a brief. (This is explored further at Level 3.)

A self-directed brief, particularly one conceived within an arts context (e.g. an academic environment such as OCA, or a proposal to a funding body such as the Arts Council – www. artscouncil.org.uk) will include some, but not necessarily the majority of the points listed above. You’ll still need to discuss money, in particular your justification for any special resources you may require. Appropriately contextualising the project within a critical framework rather than an economic one will be the most significant difference between the two types of brief. If you’re requesting funding or support for production, for an exhibition or publication, or for an artist’s residency, you must be able to convince whoever writes the cheques that you’re conversant with the subject you wish to research and that you have the ability and commitment to complete
the project.

Unlike a commercial brief, a self-directed brief is not a rigid plan but a more organic document, which you’ll appraise and update as you go along. This is certainly the case with the selfdirected projects you’ll propose whilst studying with the OCA.