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Surrealism (part 1)

Students are currently exploring different approaches to Surrealism using photography. The images below are an attempt to show how this kind of thing can be effective if the images match in a number of ways: i) that the perspective or ‘eye level’ is more or less the same in both images, and ii) that the light source seems to coming from the same position. One or other of these things can make a number of images seem like they exist in the same physical space.

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Experiments with Light

‘Light trail’ photography can be a bit predictable and uninspired. Students are encouraged to think of interesting ways of approaching such techniques and of trying to avoid the cliches. Here are some experiments by Jack and Brendan:Image

Dreams & the Unconscious

Students were asked to consider dreams that they had had as the starting point for coming up with interesting images. Here are some the class came up with:

I got eaten by a dinosaur whilst on the toilet; I was best friends with Beyonce; I changed into a bird; I was a zombie; I turned inside out and all of my organs fell out; I met George W. Bush in the chip shop; My sister turned into a lizard; You can’t run very fast and you have no control over what is happening; You can do things you can’t normally do- fly, fall endlessly,…; We revisit places we haven’t been in years; I was pretending to be a boy in the army and was shot in the head; I was in college and everyone was bald; I was locked in my room and everything was taken away from me; I was at my own funeral; I dreamed I couldn’t walk and had to drag myself around on the floor; I was a ghost in my own house; I was fined on the metro; I was outside of myself watching what I was doing;

Following on from this we looked at the extreme distortions in scale that you often find in the work of Surrealist painters (and the photographer Grete Stern). The following images were also inspired by the work of Slinkachu:

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The Strange & the Surreal

On the first year of the course students looked at the influence of the Surrealist movement on the work of photographers like Man Ray, Herbert Bayer and Grete Stern. David Lynch’s ‘Eraserhead’ and the Dali designed dream sequence in Hitchcock’s ‘Spellbound’ were also looked at as sources of inspiration for work that explored dreams and the unconscious. Here is an example by AS student Bethany:

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Light & Colour pt.2

Here is Sam’s work for the same brief:Image

Light & Colour

Students on the second year of the course are asked to explore more abstract and slightly more technical approaches to photography- defocussing, the effects of light, the image refracted through a lens, colour temperature and mixed light photography… Here is an example by A2 student David:

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Aperture & Depth of Field

Students have to demonstrate an understanding of some technical matters on the course, so, without getting bogged down in camera-speak or technical matters that inhibit creativity, they will be expected at the very least to understand what an aperture does and how it affects the photographic image. Here is an example of expertly controlled depth of field from 1955 by German fashion photographer Walde Huth. Below is an image of the lovely Craig and Neil who were also happy to demonstrate what an aperture of f5 does to an image.

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Rembrandt Lighting

As an introduction to black and white photography students are shown some basic lighting set ups and are required to take a series of portraits. This is an example of ‘Rembrandt’ lighting- the key light positioned in such a way that enough light illuminates the far side of the face, creating a triangle of light beneath the eye.

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Students on the…

Students on the course often produce work that crosses or combines genres- fashion and portrait photography, film stills and conceptual work, documentary and ‘fine art’ photography (William Egglestone being a good example of this kind of approach). Here are a series of experimental portraits by A2 student Bethanie.ImageImage

This is an example of an exam piece by Abbi exploring dreams and the unconscious.Image