PROJECT A WEB GALLERY

I do not currently have a Web Gallery.  At this time, I do not feel that my photography warrants its own website, I do not specialise in any particular photographic genre, and I do not take photographs for profit.  When I started my studies with the OCA, it was my sole intention to learn about photography, to learn what all those technical terms mean, and to learn how to take a good photograph; I never expected my studies to become anything more than a tool for learning.  However, things are not that simple anymore as my thoughts surrounding this taking photos malarkey are changing, and I have been thinking that perhaps there could be something more on my horizon.  With this in mind, I have been pondering on whether I should take a leap of faith and create a site of my work, nothing fancy and really just a portfolio of images, somewhere I can point people to if they are ever curious about what I do.

Actually, the statement above is not entirely right as I do have a Flickr account (a link to which can be found below).  Although at this time, my page is not very good, as I tend to use it more as a dumping ground than a serious place for people to see my work.  I think the reason for this is that Flickr confuses me, in my mind it isn’t very logical, especially as you make up categories and tags as you go along; this may sound great and limitless, but as we do not all think the same, this could cause misjudgement in tagging, and good images may be missed completely!  Perhaps I need to take the time to look into its functionality, tidy things up a little and re-launch myself into the big unknown.

Reading what Freeman (2011 p.242) has to say about this subject, it would appear that there are two types of website, the first a portfolio to display ones images and the second a sales site, where customers are able to buy images and products directly from the source.  Whilst researching websites on the Internet, it was common to see a combination of both of these functions; a sensible thing to do as potential clients and customers are able to browse and buy at the same time.  Moreover, it is becoming more common to see sites that add a third element in the form of social media, with links to blogs, Facebook accounts and twitter feeds.  I am not sure if this is a good or bad thing, but this addition has probably been dictated by the digital world we now live in, therefore making it easier to keep everything together under one umbrella, not forcing additional searches to find separate pages by one author.

Reading the list of bullet points supplied in our course work, it is interesting to see what should be considered when creating a website and it is unfortunate that not everyone takes these points into consideration.

  1. First decide the purpose of the website.  Do you want to show off your best images, or exchange all of them with friends, or present just on aspect of your work.
  2. You are presenting your best creative work.  Maintain confidence in the excellence of our images, and think of the website as a display area of fine photographs.
  3. The image comes first.  The first priority should be displaying each photograph to its best advantage.  That means occupying a substantial area of the screen and with nothing around it that fights for attention.
  4. Everything needs a reason.  Add symbols, buttons and words only as necessary.
  5. Keep it simple.  A good default decision in photo gallery design is simplicity.
  6. Offer the fewest clicks to navigate.  Do not make the viewer work hard.
  7. Make it searchable.  Put important words in HTML, not embedded in pictures.  Search engines like Google can search only words, not pictures.
  8. Let viewers know where they are at any time, and how to get to the next picture or set of pictures.  An array of thumbnail images is a good way of stepping in and out of a collection.
  9. Get other people’s opinions.  Talk through your ideas and design with friends and other photographers in order to help give you an objective opinion.
  10. Do you want your site to fit in with the general standards and style of other photography sites?  Or do you want to stand apart?  Take some time to look at other photographers’ websites.  Consider making screen grabs of them so that later you can put your new design among them to see how it compares.

As suggested, I spent sometime looking at dedicated photography websites, some of which were from of companies/people I already knew and others were random selections that I made from search engine results.

Those sites that appealed to me most were very simple in both layout and colour design; I found it much easier to navigate through the sites with lighter backgrounds than those that were white on black backgrounds.

I also found it very off putting when faced with a barrage of colour and text.  These are two sources I use regularly in my photography; I have taken workshops and watched videos from both of these photographers, but feel that less content and colour would benefit both sites.

One thing I did notice during my research, there do not seem to be many women photographers out there, and those that do have websites, blogs and businesses tend to photo photograph babies, weddings, and not much else.  Perhaps there is a need after all …

Source:

Reference:

http://www.grahambakerphotography.com

http://www.danieljamesphotography.net

http://www.garnhamphotography.co.uk

http://www.philiphunton.co.uk

http://www.photographycourses.biz

http://www.danielbridge.co.uk

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Assignment Four Image Rework

As part of the feedback I received from Assignment Four: Real or Fake?   My tutor made the following comment:

Images produced have been captured effectively to ensure the desired aim is achievable. The end result demonstrates your abilities well but there appears to be some loss of quality over the various photographic elements. This may just be due to the ‘crayon effect’ filter that appears to cover the image? It may be worth having a look at this to see whether sharper images would be possible.

Now that I have looked in detail at sharpening, I wanted to set about making improvements to my image.

You may remember, that this was the original image I submitted against the assignment,

Original Book Cover 'The Invisible Man'

Original Book Cover ‘The Invisible Man’

which at the time I was really pleased with, especially after all of the hard work I had gone through to achieve my objective.

Looking at the image from a distance, to my untrained eye all looks fine, but when you enlarge the book cover, the cap and glasses do look a little blurred around the edges, which probably isn’t helped by the crayon effect filter I added to the shot.  With this in mind, my original intention was to open the image in Photoshop, which I did, and precede to sharpen the layer containing the cap and glasses.  A simple and obvious idea to take on board, but of course it came with complications and no amount of sharpening combinations would give the desired effect I was now looking for.  Not really understanding what was going on, I then opened the image containing just the cap and glasses, and this is where I found the issue – the edges were not very sharp, in fact when zooming into the shot, things looked

Original Cap, no Sharpening

Original Cap, no Sharpening

really quiet fuzzy, and this was the cause of my pain.

By now, I had spent quiet some time playing around with the original files, finding myself no further forward then before.  This is when I decided to create the cover again, I had done it once before, and now that I had new Photoshop knowledge surrounding Layers and Sharpening I decided that this would be a good opportunity to practice a little more before moving on with my work.

I proceeded in much the same way as before to produce my cap and glasses combination, but I made a few changes to my output workflow.  Once I had isolated my items, I ran an

New Cap with Sharpening

New Cap with Sharpening

unsharp mask filter with the amount set high and the pixels low in order to sharpen the edges.  I then refined my edges; by setting the Edge Detection Radius and Contrast quiet high, I decreased the Shift Edge to -10.  Making these changes to my New Layer with Layer Mask, I was able to achieve a very crisp, sharp outline.  Whilst playing around with my new cap, I had decided to change it appearance by adding some additional texture, this I did using the Clone Stamp application.

Once I had the cap and glasses looking how I wanted them too, I merged the information with the original background of my book cover, and to make it seem as though the ‘man’ was invisible, I decreased the opacity to 70%.  On opinion, I have made the cap and glasses bigger in the new image, as before my invisible man was a little lost in amongst smoke and text.  I have also left of the crayon effect filter, only applying this to the background.

So finally, I have a new book cover, which is very similar to the previous cover, but now I think it looks better and a little more professional.

New Book Cover 'The Invisible Man'

New Book Cover ‘The Invisible Man’

Initially, I was pleased with the work I submitted for assignment and in my defence, at the point of submission I did not know how to use the unsharp mask and was unsure of its effects to my work.  In this mini-project I also took the time to play a little more with the edge definition tool and instead of using the settings as recommended by others (as I had in my original image), I created my own settings, ones that worked better towards the effect I was trying to achieve.  I am glad I took the time to revisit this work and to produce, in my mind, a better submission.

It is always difficult to understand tutor expectations for assignment, and in this case, I was so pleased to achieve what I had set out to, that I did not think about the finesse of my finished work.  My post-processing workflow continues to grow with each exercise I conduct, and I do not think that my computer screen can handle many more sticky notes of post-processing reminders!  Although, at the moment I am feel quiet positive about my work and about my current knowledge base, and feel a little sad to soon be leaving the digital world of photography and move onto my next challenge.

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EXERCISE: Sharpening for Print

Take an image that you have processed as the reference standard, with some edge detail and some smooth areas.  A portrait is ideal – with the eyes carrying wanted detail, and the skin smooth areas that you do not want to be over-sharpened.  For the reference image, make sure that you have applied no software sharpening.

Now make three more versions, each with a different degree of sharpening.  There will be a certain amount of trial and error in this, but make sure that the weakest of the three is quiet close in on-screen appearance to the unsharpened original, and that the strongest is noticeably aggressive.

Print all four (unsharpened original plus three differently sharpened versions) at full size.  Next, with neutral white lighting next to the computer screen, compare these prints with each other and with the 100% magnification images on-screen.  You may be surprised at the difference in appearance between the same images as it looks on the screen and as a print.  Use a magnifying glass to inspect the prints in detail.

Write down the difference you see, and also your assessment of which degree of sharpening seems to your taste to be the most appropriate for the image in print form.  Note the results in your learning log.

Part one

I have made a couple of changes to the requirement of this exercise.  I was not able to find an ideal portrait shot as suggested above, so, looking through my image bank I came across a photo, taken during the summer, while I visited a county show close to my hometown in the UK.

My decision to use this image of an owl was because of the detail contained within it’s plumage, which although is already quiet sharp, I thought it could be improved upon so that the birds head really stood out within the frame.

Original Image

Original Image

Aperture Priority; Shutter Speed 1/500; Aperture f5; Focal Length 78mm; ISO 400; Spot Metering; Auto White Balance

As you can see in the original image, this is an already bright and well-focused shot, with the blur as it should be, in the crowded background, with our full attention focused on the owl.

Upon closer inspection, detail around the beak, where the hair is finest, is quiet blurred and fuzzy, so this is where I wanted to improve the shot and bring out the highlights all around the face.

Opening my image in Adobe Camera RAW, I controlled the clipping and lightened the blacks just slightly, and then went into the details feature and made a minor adjustment to the noise by increasing the luminance slider a fraction.  Upon completing this work, I opened the image in Photoshop.

I went into the unsharp mask filter, to look at the details of my original image, which read; Amount 36%, Radius 0.1 Pixel(s) and Threshold 10; these would be my benchmark readings.

Making my first copy, using the unsharp mask filter, I left the threshold at 10 and on the advice given by the various literature I had read and watched during my research, increased the radius to 1-pixel.  Doing this allowed for sharpening within the fine detail, my aim for this exercise, I then changed the amount to 50%.   Doing this met with the exercise requirement of there being little change between the original image and my first sharpening filter.

First Sharpen 50%

First Sharpen 50%

As you can see, there is very little change between these two images, although a small amount of brightening is present around the eyes.

Next, I copied this image and set about my second pass with the unsharp mask filter where I left both the threshold and radius unchanged, but moved the amount up to 200%, which has greatly improved the shot by continuing to brighten some of the finer feathers around both the eyes and mouth.

Second Sharpen 200%

Second Sharpen 200%

When comparing this image to the previous one, the definition around the eyes is beginning to make them really stand out even though the lightness around them has not changed too much.

For my final image, I duplicated this image, and as before left both the threshold and radius the same, but cranked up the amount to 500%, the highest value allowed by the slider.

4.Third Sharpen 500%

Here we can see the biggest change of all, especially in comparison to the original shot.  The eyes really pop now, and the brightness has migrated down to beneath the beak and onto the breast making the individual strands stand out more, thus giving the impression of improved sharpness. The difference between these four images can be seen below, where each image has been cropped tighter to highlight the owl’s face.

Part Two

For this part of the exercise, we are required to print our images and compare them with their on-screen counterpart.  I have done this, but my printer here is not as good as the one in the UK, so I have muddled on as best I can.

Looking at the cropped images above and comparing them with their printed counterpart, I actually feel that the images look better on the computer compared to those in print (the printed images can be found in my sketchbook), but I feel that this is down to both the quality of printer and paper used during the exercise.  On screen, all of the images look vibrant and almost lifelike, but in print, the images are a little dull in comparison, although on closer inspection the printed images, especially the final two are very crisp and the detail well contained.

I feel that this level of ‘high-end’ sharpening has a place, and this place should be centred on subject matter and viewing arrangements.  Even though I really like the last image produced with the highest level of sharpening, I think image three, sharpened at 200% is the nicer shot as it appears more in kin to the bird in real life than the over sharpened image.

Conclusion:

As with most of the exercises conducted during DPP, this has been very interesting and quiet enlightening.  I have always thought that the images I choose to share are in the sharpest focus that I can produce, but now I see that with a few minor tweaks, images can be perceived as being even sharper and more detailed within their frame.

It continues to amaze me how much light can influence our images, yes, I know that photography is all about light and they way we capture it, but who would have thought that by changing the brightness of a shot it can actually make it appear sharper?  I am looking forward to adding the unsharp mask filter to my post-processing workflow, as I can see this will be a handy tool to master in the future.

I continue to learn that using Photoshop to improve my images is not such a bad thing, as long as I am true to my beliefs and do not cross any ethical boundaries.  An odd tweak here and a minor alteration there is okay, but that should be where the line is drawn.

Source:

Reference:

Cambridge in Colour.  (n.d.) Guide to Image Sharpening [online article].  Available at: http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/image-sharpening.htm [Accessed 8 November 2013].

Walsh, J.  (2010) Photoshop CS5: Michigan’s MI Learning, 0902 PS CS5 (Unsharpen Mask) [iTunes U podcast].  Available from the iTunes store.

Posted in The Final Image ~ Exercises | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Sharpening

Image sharpening is now widely available in most digital processing software packages, and is often used to draw viewer attention to certain areas within the frame, by making them stand out or ‘pop’; sharpening can also be used to emphasise texture and detail.  Moreover, this process can be used to add a certain amount of sharpness to our images, however, over use of this filter can produce unsightly artefacts, so a certain amount of trepidation and experimentation is required during its application.  Cambridge in Colour states:

Image sharpening is a powerful tool for emphasising texture and drawing viewer focus.  It’s also required of any digital photo at some point – whether you’re aware its been applied or not.

The reason for adding sharpening to our post-processing workflow is because a digital camera’s sensor and the lenses we use will always add a degree blur, hence the reason why we need to understand the best way to address the issues that arise.

Sharpening can be divided into two separate classes; the first to correct loss of sharpness due to digital processing, and the other to optimise an images appearance in relation to the medium in which it will be displayed.

How it all works

In most cases, image sharpening is managed by applying a filter called “Unsharp Mask”, which despite the name, actually works to sharpen an image by exaggerating the brightness along the subjects edge(s).

Sharpness describes the clarity of detail contained within a photograph, but it can also be a visual aid for emphasising texture.  Even though post-processing can go a long way in improving our images, image sharpness is actually limited by camera equipment, image magnification and viewing distance.  There are two fundamental factors that contribute towards the perceived sharpness of an image; resolution, which describes the amount of pixels (or dots) per inch, and acutance, which is the transition of brightness levels around the edges within the frame.  It should be noted that an Unsharp Mask cannot create additional, or recover lost detail, but by applying sharpening to an image, it can create a better appearance of pronounced edges, thus making it appear sharper.

Concept

Taken directly from the Cambridge in Colour tutorial on Sharpening using the Unsharp Mask, the theory behind this filter works thus so:

Concept behind the Unsharp Mask Filter

Concept behind the Unsharp Mask Filter

The sharpening process works by utilising a slightly blurred version of the original image.  This is then subtracted away from the original to detect the presence of edges, creating the unsharp mask (effectively a high-pass filter).  Contrast is then selectively increased along the edges using this mask – leaving a sharper final image:

Note how it does not transform the edges of the letter into an ideal ‘step’, but instead exaggerates the light and dark edges of the transition.  An unsharp mask improves sharpness by increasing acutance, although resolution remains the same.

In practice

As is often the case in life, too much of a good thing can have disastrous consequences, and this can also be true when over using the Unsharp Mask.

Due to the manipulation of pixel details within our images, if over-sharpening occurs, artefacts known as sharpening halos will begin to appear around our subject, which is very unsightly and an unwanted presence within our work:

You can see from the images above that the third shot is very stark and that halos have appeared around the edges of the dragon, this has been caused by over zealous sharpening on my part.

However, as you can see when comparing the first and second images, when used correctly and within limits that show marked improvement, the unsharp mask is a great tool to add to any post-processing arsenal.

Other complications to be aware of when using the unsharp mask filter are possible shifts in colour.  This is due to the change in RGB pixel values applied during the sharpening effect and more details of this can be found at the following link: http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/unsharp-mask.htm

Within the Unsharp Mask filter there are three settings to be aware of:

Unsharp Mask Filter Settings

Unsharp Mask Filter Settings

Playing around with each of these settings will enable you to get the sharpness of your images right, and as we will see below, certain combinations of settings work better for specific output sharpening.

Image Noise

Dependent on your tolerance for noise in images, any noise issues you have should be dealt with prior to using the Unsharp Mask.  This is so because image noise can influence our perception of sharpness; there may be times when much noise is present in an image, but due to a very high acutance, we may be tricked into thinking that the detail present within the shot is sharp, which is probably not the case.

A good place for dealing with image noise is in your software’s Camera RAW packages, such as Adobe Camera RAW, which is part of the Adobe Creative Suites Package.

Sharpening Workflow

It is agreed by most that effective sharpening occurs when it is applied more than once during any given post-processing workflow, and that the unsharp mask filter should become a permanent part of a photographers overall post-processing workflow.

There are three areas where sharpening should be considered:

Capture Sharpening: aimed to address blurring at the source, whilst taking image noise and detail into consideration.  Within our camera, blurring can be caused by the camera sensor’s anti-aliasing filter and demosaicing process; it can also be caused by our choice of lens. The camera applies sharpening automatically as it captures JPEG images, ensuring that images respond well to subsequent sharpening during post-processing.  However, RAW data files require manual manipulation in a RAW processing package on a computer.  It should be noted that images taken in landscape mode are usually much sharper than those taken in portrait.

Creative Sharpening: applied selectively, based on image content or artistic intent.  This type of sharpening is mainly used to selectively sharpen specific areas within an image, thus making the subject standout within the frame.  Key to this type of sharpening is the use of layer masks, which is a defined way of specifying the where, why and how of creative sharpening to be applied.

Output Sharpening: used at the very end of the image editing workflow, output sharpening concentrates on the amount of sharpening needed for optimum display of your image in any given media.  Once an image has been sharpened, its appearance should look nice and pin-sharp on screen, however, this is not usually sharp enough to produce a pin-sharp print.  Output sharpening requires a large leap of faith as it is nearly impossible to judge whether an image on screen has been sharpened correctly for print, in fact, output sharpening can make an on screen image look brittle, harsh and quiet mechanical.

When sharpening an image for print, image size and viewing distance needs to be taken into consideration, these, and other requirements will have bearing on the amounts of sharpening needed in post-processing.  Output sharpening therefore relies on mathematical formula to calculate the estimated sharpening radius; this is based on a) viewing distance, b) resolution of print (in DPI/PPI), c) printer used and d) type of paper.  As a general rule, larger viewing distances require larger sharpening radiuses, therefore, the key is having the radius small enough for the eye to see, but large enough that visibly improves sharpness.

When sharpening an image for use in digital media, especially if the image has been reduced in size to less than 50% of its original size, all existing sharpening halos are removed; therefore additional sharpening is needed to offset this effect.  The unsharp mask settings need to be reduced to a radius of 0.2-0.3 and an amount of 200%-400% these seem to work well, and although at such small values sharpening halos do not exist, other artefacts such as aliasing/pixilation and moiré could cause new issues.

The following points should also be taken into consideration before sharpening commences:

  • Sharpening is irreversible, so it is advisable to save all unsharpened originals whenever possible.
  • Due to their unprocessed properties, RAW & TIFF files respond much better to sharpening than JPEG files; sharpening my largely increase JPEG compression artefacts.
  • Blurring due to motion or camera shake may require advanced techniques such as deconvolution or Photoshop’s “smart sharpen” tool.
  • Some camera lenses do not blur objects equally in all directions, see the following Cambridge in Colour Tutorial on Lens Quality: http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/lens-quality-mtf-resolution.htm#astigmatism
  • Images will often appear sharper if you also remove chromatic aberrations during RAW development. This option can be found under the “lens corrections” menu in Adobe Camera RAW, although most recent photo editing software offers a similar feature.
  • Grossly over-sharpened images can sometimes be partially recovered in Photoshop by (a) duplicating the layer, (b) applying a Gaussian blur of 0.2-0.5 pixels to this layer 2-5 times, (c) setting the blending mode of this top layer to “darken” and (d) potentially decreasing the layer’s opacity to reduce the effect.
  • The light sharpening halos are often more objectionable than the dark ones; advanced sharpening techniques sometimes get away with more aggressive sharpening by reducing the prominence of the former.
  • Don’t get too caught up with scrutinizing all the fine detail. Better photos (and more fun) can usually be achieved if this time is spent elsewhere.

So, there you have it.  Now I know the reasons for lens blur and the workings of Adobe’s unsharp mask, it is now a case of putting my learning’s into practice for the Sharpening for Print exercise that follows.

Source:

Reference:

Cambridge in Colour.  (n.d.) Guide to Image Sharpening [online article].  Available at: http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/image-sharpening.htm [Accessed 8 November 2013].

Bibliography:

Cambridge in Colour.  (n.d.) Guide to Image Sharpening [online article].  Available at: http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/image-sharpening.htm [Accessed 8 November 2013].

Cambridge in Colour.  (n.d.) Image Resizing for the Web & Email [online article].  Available at: http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/image-resize-for-web.htm [Accessed 11 November 2013].

Cambridge in Colour.  (n.d.) Lens Quality: MTF, Resolution & Contrast [online article].  Available at: http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/lens-quality-mtf-resolution.htm#astigmatism [Accessed 12 November 2013].

Cambridge in Colour.  (n.d.) Sharpening: Unsharp Mask [online article].  Available at: http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/unsharp-mask.htm [Accessed 11 November 2013].

Cambridge in Colour.  (n.d.) Tutorials: Sharpness [online article].  Available at: http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/sharpness.htm [Accessed 11 November 3013].

McNally, J.  (2013) Pro Tips On How To Hold Your Camera for Super Sharp Images [online video].  The Photo Argus.  Available at: http://www.thephotoargus.com/tips/pro-tips-hold-camera-super-sharp-images/ [Accessed 11 November 2013].

Reichmann, M.  (n.d.) Understanding Sharpness [online article].  Available at:  http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/sharpness.shtml [Accessed 11 November 2013].

Reichmann, M.  (n.d.) Understanding Resolution [online article].  Available at: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/understanding-series/und_resolution.shtml [Accessed 11 November 2013].

Walsh, J.  (2010) Photoshop CS5: Michigan’s MI Learning, 0902 PS CS5 (Unsharpen Mask) [iTunes U podcast].  Available from the iTunes store.

Walsh, J.  (2010) Photoshop CS5: Michigan’s MI Learning, 0902 PS CS5 (Noise Reduction) [iTunes U podcast].  Available from the iTunes store.

Posted in The Final Image ~ Learning Log | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Assignment Five Research

During my time in the UK, I had a long, in-depth discussion with my tutor surrounding the work I want to submit for the final assignment in the Digital Photographic Practice module.  The first questions she asked were; what interested me most in photography, and what would I be able to achieve for the assignment.  Answering the first question was easy, Black & White has had a big influence on my work over the past year, and I would be interested in shooting assignment five in monochrome.  Okay, that was fine, but what would my subject be?  This was a little more tricky to answer as I knew that South Korea would be my home during the work against the assignment; as I have a fascination with Temples, then this would be a good subject to choose.  Will this photograph well in black & white she asked; well no, not really as Temples are all about colour and intensity, which would be lost if captured in monochrome, so back to the drawing board then.

Well, not quiet back to the drawing board, as I knew that the subject of Temples was the right direction to follow, I would just have give up the idea of shooting my work as a montage of tones, textures and strong composition.

Next I was asked to think about the direction I could take my subject; I am not required to submit an assignment of random images based around a theme, but I am required to submit a body of images that are connected by a theme.  So with this in mind I suggested that I look at the relationship between Buddhism and Temples and how each complements the other, especially on a local level.  So with this as my starting point, it will be the lead I take to complete a comprehensive, meaningful assignment to tie up DPP.

Over the past few weeks, I have been trying to determine the best way to go about taking my images.  In her recent feedback, my tutor commented that I should ask myself “why am I producing this work?” and “what do I want my audience to learn from my images?”

I think the reason that I want to produce this work is to satisfy my personal fascination with Buddhism, especially at a local level, as I am interested to see what the faithful set to gain from their loyalty to this entity, this will also be a good way of sharing my findings with others who hold the same fascinations as I hold.  This will also enable my audience to see first hand what happens at the Temple’s here in Korea, it is probably the same thing that happens in all Buddhist Temples, but I will have to see how this study unfolds before I try to understand Buddhism on a larger scale.

As per the recommended reading list for this course, as well as on the recommendation of my tutor, I have finally picked up my copy of Charlotte Cotton’s “The Photograph as Contemporary Art”.  I had struggled to read this book in the past, but I am finding it a little easier to digest now, perhaps that is because I have a better understanding for photography?

Flicking through the pages of images, I have always thought them a little old fashioned and perhaps somewhat out of date for our studies, but now I understand the story this book is trying to tell, which is probably down to my now understanding the term contemporary art.

According to the Internet, Contemporary Art means:

Art that has been and continues to be created during our lifetime

Esaak (n.d.)

The article goes on to state that collectively, contemporary art is more socially conscious than any of the previous art eras, with connections to various issues such as globalisation, AIDS awareness, feminism and multiculturalism to name a few.  It also states that contemporary art runs from roughly the 1970’s through to the present day, with modern art concentrating on the impressionists (1800 to 1970).

To put this in context with the writings of Cotton:

The aim of this book is not to create a checklist of all of the photographers who merit a mention in a discussion on contemporary art, but to give a sense of the spectrum of motivations and expressions that currently exist in the field.

Cotton (2009)

By reading and using the works of the contributors within Cotton’s book, I should achieve a better understanding of the strategy behind, as well as the art of storytelling within photography.

I have started to put some of this learning into practice by visiting a few of the larger temples local to where I live, although I am also interested in some of the smaller establishments and hope to include these within my assignment.  I also have a few books and website to be investigated; some of which relate to the relationship between Buddhism and Temples, as well as to Buddhism within Korea.

I am feeling both excited and enthusiastic about this assignment, and just hope that I can keep the momentum going forward.  I have been conducting some image research surrounding temples in Korea, and although most are nice, there are not too many that get down to the nitti gritty and tell the story of Buddhism within the local community, I am hoping to change this with the findings from my assignment.  Over my time here in Korea I have taken many Temple images, most of which come under the ‘nice’ category, but I feel it is time to move on from this and start a new photographic journey into contemporary art.

Source:

Reference:

Cotton, C.  (2009) The Photograph as Contemporary Art.  Revised 2nd edition.  High Holborn; Thames & Hudson Ltd.

Esaak, S.  (n.d.) What is Contemporary Art? [online article].  Available at: <http://arthistory.about.com/od/current_contemporary_art/f/what_is.htm&gt; [Accessed 4 November 2013].

Bibliography:

Angali, K.  (n.d.) What is Contemporary Art? [online video].  Available at: <http://www.ehow.com/video_4757685_what-contemporary-art.html&gt; [Accessed 4 November 2013].

Cotton, C.  (2009) The Photograph as Contemporary Art.  Revised 2nd edition.  High Holborn; Thames & Hudson Ltd.

Joon-sik, C.  (2007) Buddhism, Religion in Korea.  Seoul: Ewha Womans University Press. 

Official Korea Tourism Organisation: asiaenglish.visitkorea.or.kr

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