The ‘New Topographics Task’ is what we have been asked to do for our induction week. We are expected to do between three and thirty-six photographs in response to the quotes I have written out below. I have listed not only the quotes but also a brief descriptions of what sort of photos they did that interested me and my ideas based on that and what they said.

Elliot Erwitt

‘I wasn’t imposing my presence on anyone, .. which is very important for a would – be journalist. I stayed back. Always let people be themselves.’

.High contrast, black and white, people don’t look at camera, photos of everyday scenarios with everyday people.

Idea: Go into town, sit on a bench, watch people go by and take photos of them passing by. Try to make the photo focus on one person, pick someone at random.

Nan Goldin

‘The complete disregard for the camera’s presence indicates it’s complete saturation in their lives. The subject neither notices nor seems to care that someone has been invited into their private moment.’

.Bright, high saturation, seedy, intimate moments, the people rarely look at the camera or seem to care that it is there.

Idea: Take photos of roommates or classmates, not looking at the camera.

Edward Weston

‘I would say to any artist: ‘Don’t be repressed in your work, dare to experiment, consider any urge, if in a new direction all the better.’

.Sepia + black and white, building landscapes, twisted bark, patterns in organic matter, beauty in the mundane.

Idea: Photograph the first thing that catches my eye no matter how mundane, work in sepia as I haven’t used it much before. Look for patterns and textures in simple things.

Martin Parr

‘i go straight in very close to people and I do that because it’s the only way you can get the picture. You go right up to them. Even now, I don’t find it easy. I don’t announce it. I pretend to be focusing elsewhere. If you take someones photograph it is very difficult not to look at them just after. But it’s the one thing that gives the game away. I don’t try and hide what I’m doing – that would be folly.’

. Bright, close, right in the moment of whatever is happening, people are the main focus.

Idea: Go somewhere, perhaps a shop, and try and photograph people without them noticing.

Duane Michals

‘Trust that little voice in your head that says ‘wouldn’t it be interesting if …’ And then do it.’

.Words and writing with photos, black and white, sometimes out of focus or off to the side, sets of photos documenting a moment or event.

Idea: Walk along the street and take multiple photos of people walking past, maybe write something underneath that grabs my attention about the moment.

Philippe Halsman

‘The immortal photographers will be straight forward photographers, those who do not rely on tricks or special techniques.’

.Black and white, portraits, face takes up the whole page, the characteristics of the person noticeable, looking straight at the camera

Idea: Take a simple close up portrait shot of someone, someone who I don’t really know. Don’t edit or change anything about the image, simply use it as it is.

Helmut Lang on Jeurgen Teller

‘Juergen has a very strong individual voice,’ Lang says, ‘which is a rather rare accomplishment these days. i love the ability to say out loud what other people are afraid to even think.’ Teller became the documentation of Lang’s designs: ‘It was natural to have him express the soul of my work.’

.Bright, highly saturated, garish, strangely arranged fashion photos but also photos of people out of there element, like the model sitting looking miserable backstage.

Idea: Either try and photograph someone like a shop worker out of their element, like having a break or in another store, or arrange something strangely out of place in my room.

Robert Frank

‘I have been frequently accused of deliberately twisting subject matter to my point of view. Above all, I know that life for a photographer cannot be a matter of indifference. Opinion often consists of a kind of criticism. But criticism can come out of love. It is important to see what is invisible to others. Perhaps the look of hope or the look of sadness. Also, it is always the instantaneous reaction to oneself that produces a photograph.’

.Black and white photographs showing events and people. He sometimes takes photos that make us assume something because of social stigmas.

Idea: Try and take a photo that could make people assume something, like maybe somebody pushing a pram or holding a baby. Or take a photo of something that could make people angry, not to sure what though.

Minor White

‘Let the subject generate it’s own photographs. Become a camera.’

.Close up photographs of textures or photgraphs of buildings with high contrast.

Idea: Take macro photos of textures that wouldn’t necessarily be attractive and try to let any mistakes become a part of the photograph. Try to make the subject matter obscure.

Bill Brandt

‘I am not very interested in extraordinary angles. They can be effective on certain occasions, but I do not feel the necessity for the in my own work. Indeed, I can feel the simplest approach can often be the most effective. A subject placed squarely in the center of the frame, if attention is not distracted from it by fussy surroundings, has a simple dignity which makes it all the more impressive.’

.Angles of the human body, bare surroundings. Black and white with pale skin and dark surroundings. Fair bit of nudity.

Idea: Take two photographs, one at an interesting angle and another with a simple straight forward shot. Do it of a random body part like a foot.

Bertolt Brecht

‘Photography has become a formidable weapon against truth in the hands of the bourgeoisie. The enormous quantity of picture material spit out daily by the printing press, that consequently appears to possess the character of truth, actually serves to only obscure the facts. The camera can lie just like the type setting machine.’

.Not a photographer, poet and writer.

Idea: I have no idea what to do. I have images of somehow twisting information or holding up a piece of paper that says one thing but my expression says something else. It is all speculative and I am feeling pretty confused about what to do at the moment.

Robert Capa

‘If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.’

.Black a white pictures of people, families and portraits.

Idea: Take a picture of someone as close up as possible?

Paul Caponigro

‘It’s one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are.’

.Black and white nature photography and macro shots.

Take a photograph of a place or a plant while trying to capture the magnitude and ‘feel’ of it.

Jan Groover

‘You have to follow your nose … to have a mental attitude about what you feel good about and yearn for in a picture. Being able to say ‘I like it’ or ‘I don’t like it’. That’s first.’

.Close up bright images of simple everyday objects. contract and reflections seem important.

Idea: take a photo of something in the flat that is mundane but catches my eye, like its placement or texture.

Yousef Karsh

‘Photography is, to me, more than a means of expression, more than my particular profession – it is a way of life. And if I were asked to choose one word which holds the key to my work I would select ‘light’ – for light is my language, and it is international, readily understood by any person of any race. It has been my good fortune to welcome before my camera many great men and woman who have made their mark on our generation and will find a place in history. I feel that my life’s work is to interpret the best of my ability, the inner strength, the true character, of these personalities, through the medium of photographic portraiture. I can think of no elation equal to that when something close to my ideal is achieved, through necessarily there must always be a spark of what I call ‘divine discontent’ – the constant striving for near-perfection. In this self-appointed task, which also carries, I believe, a great sense of responsibility, the medium of light is all important. It is the portraitist’s chief tool, and he can never learn enough about it.’

.Famous portrait photographer, interesting poses and strong light.
Idea: Use a strong light source to get a contrasting image.

August Sander

‘I hate nothing more that sugary photographs with tricks, poses and effects. So allow me to be honest? And tell the truth about our age and it’s people.’

.Details of buildings, shots of people either standing and looking at the camera or being photographed doing something.

Idea: Take a simple photograph that is easy to read and interpret. Perhaps just someone sitting on a bench. No Photoshop or post production of any kind.

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