Select an image by any photographer of your choice and take a photograph in response to it. You can respond in any way you like to the whole image or to just a part of it, but you must make explicit in your notes what it is that you’re responding to. Is it a stylistic device such as John Davies’ high viewpoint, or Chris Steele Perkins’ juxtapositions? Is it the location, or the subject? Is it an idea, such as the decisive moment?
Add the original photograph together with your response to your learning log. Which of the three types of information discussed by Barrett provides the context in this case? Take your time over writing your response because you’ll submit the relevant part of your learning log as part of Assignment Five.
Following is my response to a photo by John Davies from his series Fuji City.
In my photo I am responding to Davies’s stylistic approach of putting a dramatic mountain in an incidental position in the frame. In the area in which I live, Mont Blanc is an important visitor. I say “visitor” because frequently it is obscured by clouds and there aren’t that many times of the year when it is clearly visible. Normally, I’m thinking about getting up high and keeping the foreground to a minimum, or at least making it attractive (the lake, forest etc.). In this case, I had to turn my thinking around completely to mimic the Davies style. I had to think about including railway lines, industrial buildings – in short, something banal – in order to change the context.
Using the Barret (1997) classification:
Internal context: obviously this is a mixture of the mountain and the foreground elements. The mountain is in the background, and is small compared with the foreground – it has a secondary role.
External context: the presentational environment either in the original setting or in this blog is more-or-less the same. The photos are presented simply with only minimal caption information, as might appear in a gallery.
Original context: the causal environment is probably the key context here because of the deliberate choice to make something secondary which most people would see as primary. By choice of camera angle and use of a wide angle lens, the physical environment has been distorted in a way to focus our attention on the foreground. In effect, the context has been manipulated to show that Mt Fuji/Mont Blanc is part of the environment, but it’s no big deal – it’s just there.
Figure 1. Davies, John. Fuji 515, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, March 2008 [Photograph] At: http://www.johndavies.uk.com/fuji%20text.htm (Accessed on 9 August 2016)