exploring the idiosyncratic nature of black and white photography

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Photography Exploring the idiosyncratic nature of black & white portrait photography

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Exploring the idiosyncratic nature of black and white photography


  • Photography

    Exploring the idiosyncratic nature of black & white portrait photography

  • 1st Set

    Exploring the idiosyncratic nature of black & white portrait photography


    The significance in this picture for me was the expression of the man he appears to be unhappy where the wrinkles around his face enhance this expression along with the deepness of his eyes. The deep cheek marks make portray that he is about to cry; the man possibly is looking at something upsetting him or thinking about something thats deeply worrying him. The photographer has gotten up close and personally with this shot either really close to the man or zoomed into his face from a distance, he wants us to feel with this man; focusing on the expression he is portraying deep sadness, the background is completely irrelevant in this shot and we are oblivious of where he is, so the photographer only wanted us to concentrate on the subjects expression.

    The man is quite hairy so he hasnt shaved recently this also adds to the idea of him having possibly having important things on his mind therefore finding it unnecessary or it just doesn't cross his mind. This also adds to his elderly appearance, he has rather deep wrinkled eyes depicting depression where his mouth is slightly open again I think this makes us feel he's looking at something/ just noticed something or realized something that has deeply saddened him or simply pondering on a sad thought.

  • For my first idiosyncratic idea I thought something that related in a way to a grayish tone, I felt cigarette smoke would make an interesting idea as the smoke obviously is an whitish grayish color. Smokers often tend to have a crafty expression and edge to them as they are taking in the smoke, I suppose I would consider this an type of idiosyncratic as they all share similar expression and posture while smoking. The man on the left I asked to behave as he would if I wasnt shooting him and he squinted his eyes while inhaling and exhaling , an odd expression most smokers pull. The composition, I specifically chose to base the subject central/left of the frame. The sky - I chose to block with his head; seemed to retain the sense of dark tones within the photograph( no strong contrasting light). The small smoke around his face is quite gentle and faint but rather defiant; while editing I attempted to enhance imagery of smokers expressions; increasing the harshness of the structure. I think the smoke surrounding his face is possibly why his eyes are squinted.

    The shot to the right the guy also appears to be pulling a similar expression though cant see his eyes his forehead appears to be slightly frowning. The angle I chose because I felt this way his frowning expression was more readable from a closer perspective due to his rather big ray bans covering up his eyes. There's a lot of sky in this shot contrasting with a majority of the shot. The depth of field I rather pleased with his in a lot more definition in comparison with the people behind him making him an a lot more strong subject point. The glasses give him a very mysterious edge again due to the fact they cover up an amount of his face, his appearance is partially oblivious to us.

  • I also experimented with a few profile shots as an perspective It was quite an fun angle to experiment with , people within brick lane particularly tend to have an very fascinating sense of style very diverse and unusual so I was always faced with an completely different appearance to the last. The guy to the left was one of the few people who had a very basic and simplistic dress sense and personality so he I focused in on more of his facial expression; nothing spectacularly unusual or odd he just appears rather simply and just focused straight ahead at nothing particularly, I only found him waiting at the bus stop.

    This guy on the other hand very different in comparison to the other guy, hes on his phone and has a hairy face we can see from his profile a lot more facial hair than the other guy. My chosen filter (harsh structure) had an greater effect on this shot mainly due to the different amount of tones in the shot due to the weather I took it in fairly sunny and bright skies allowing a lot more light on the different colors, this made everything very vibrant. Even in black and white we can really see the difference in the different colors. The detail in his shirt and around his shaved section of his head appears very sharp and vibrant really strengthening the impact of the image.

  • A very spaced out shot with the subject packed to the side of the composition, this I thought would create an more compelling shot particularly with the surroundings. Initially my take to this project was to work a lot with the surrounding of the shot descending into the distance reason being why tend to take portraits along the sides of buildings. The building in the background of this shot I felt fitted in nicely with this composition his placed beside the nearest section of the building to us, interestingly in a way looks like he is almost reacting to something like the broadness of the shot almost.

    Similarly here I attempted the same only along the side of a road with a lot more commotion and activity brick lance being a very busy place I thought it would be the perfect location for this; she's almost out of place, where the background is packed with cars buildings and road signs completely out of focus she is very defined and focused on. Her position allows us to see the broadness and wildness of her surroundings, almost her standing is like she is showing us this is the craziness here.

  • I saw she was quite an smiley person and her in this cityscape with the noodles in her hand I felt would make an interesting photograph, though the guy in the football kit didnt help he sort of added another element of contrasting with the cityscape. This shot almost reminds me of those pictures you get to show the representation of people within different traditions however interestingly here she isnt really suited up as youd expect. The pot noodles was a good addition as it gives us an additional sense of her personality because we only know what we see she was obviously eating and walking so she most of been hungry and also really enjoying it due to the grin on her face.

    Completely oblivious to the fact I'm taking a photograph this man is simply only concerned on the opening of his tangerine, I found this quite humorous. His presence in the shot however is quite effective he does capture my attention as a viewer when I look at the shot hes the main subject and the only person in the shot facing the camera which is what gives him such impacting prescience in contrast to the much less significant people in the shot.

  • I Found smell from this is England and she was very expressive , as you could see she has a very interesting comedic personality and her composition in the shot works well to express it. Working again with the composition of the background I let in a lot of the background to the shot . The emptiness of this particular shot makes her expression all the more comedic as there's no one around and she just looks like she's humoring herself or just posing for the photograph which as an audience viewers would just be oblivious to.

    I liked this portrait as he has a funny expression which can be taken many different way: chuffed, humored, slyly irritated almost any expression. His eye brows are slightly raised and but not frowned and the end of his lips are slightly raised but not a whole deal so his who expression is quite suspicious I suppose his head similar to smells also suggest some kind of impression in the case of smells just being silly and whacky but in his he just seems to be saying yo along with his slightly raised eye brows, or simply posing; trying to look cool.


    The location in this shot has a lot of complementing tones from the black and white filter which strongly helps bring out the focal point : the subject, her collection of tones from her head scarf to her gown which contrasts one another bringing her face out more. The shop window behind her has a slight reflection which blurs out the activity inside the shop, the bright white shutters either side of her enhance the darkness at the top corners of the shot which also seems to create a concentration on the subject. The top right section seems to have vague grayish white what seem to be scarf's they gentle become visible towards the bottom. The subject clearly posited for the photograph is posing for a photo shoot possibly, the black and white filters effect on this shot sets a idiosyncratic nature, the location has a slight mystical feel indistinctive objects and activities also hidden by the photographs grayish tones.

  • Focusing more on composition here for this shot I bent down from to an lower angle to have an dominating view of the subject but wasnt really dominating due to the fact he was sitting down and was profile to the camera. He seems almost oblivious of the camera even though he wasnt just concerned about what hes reading off his phone. His eyes appear closed but are just slightly opened, were not too certain of his expression and just seems to be having a sit down on his own possibly having a conversation with someone.

    This angle of composition unlike the above choice I chose to look down on the subject instead of leveling out with him, I really love this shot because of its contrast of themes: hes dressed rather formal casual and then in contrast to this you have to vandalism hes sitting beside which together works really well in my opinion looks really cool and edgy. Again the small surroundings I introduce, the front door of what seems to be an empty store the white within the black frames of the store (the windows) really compliment his harsh structured design within his knit sweater due to their blurriness.

  • Another one of my favorite photographs because it has a elements your not really sure of unless you can figure them out, like why hes leaning his head on his shoulders: because hes talking on the phone but you dont know this because hes smoking and therefore obviously isnt talking. His camo jacket brings a very attractive component to the whole shot and gives me a great idea for potential developments leading on from this. The jackets very impacting within the blurred brick walls and stands out a great due even with the black and white dullness of the shot. Again the idea of smoke being and idiosyncratic addition makes this photograph as well very appealing to me.

    Unlike a majority of my other portraits her facial expression is more vibrant in emotion or interestingly completely dull in emotion however angle you look at in from. At first I thinking shes very mysterious and to herself but I suppose her dress has a lot to with that, her top rather plain matches her hat which is also rather plain no sign of personality or impacting style creating an sense of style in itself. Her face then from another perspective seems almost slightly happy but just very subtly shown as her left cheek is lifted slightly. Her generally personality comers across very mysterious and at the same time just normal friendly person.


    This photograph by Louis Wu of an old man with a cigarette very similar in portrayal to that of womanish however this I found far more impacting and contained more imagery to add to the emotion he is trying to portray. The photographer in this shot also appears to be some distance however has zoomed into the subject wanting us to concentrate on his face, The man in this shot I feel could either be pondering on something maybe nothing worrying or then again maybe something deeply worrying; the depth of the wrinkles on this mans face gives him a natural depressed looking appearance even without him necessarily pulling an expression which is why I feel he is possibly just mere pondering on something.

    However though this man has a very distinctive mass of wrinkles his posture where he's leaning on his hand depicts tiredness of either being fed up but considering the mans age I suppose maybe thinking about his past; he clearly has a lot of experience possibly watching something that brings back a memory. Smokers often use smoking as a form of stress relief or relaxation so this man possibly is an addict or judging by his expression in an rather relaxed mood thinking about something important. The photographer I feel has enhanced the impact of this photograph during editing there's a strong vibe of contrast and the whole photograph has a general strong impacting set of distinctive lines.

  • 1st Set

    Exploring the idiosyncratic nature of black & white portrait photography

  • 1st Developmental Set

    Transparency/ Being made up of your environment

  • To enhance to ideology of black and white idiosyncratic imagery I felt that attempting to create an ghostly apparition affect within the appearances would work successfully in further portraying the theme. Within this particular composition there is an variety of different elements from cars to banner and shop windows so this had a great participation when attempting to blend him within his environment. The main idea within this theme was to blend the subject within the environment however maintaining that abstraction which keeps them still contrasting within it at the same time. His hat seems to be successfully camouflage to what seems to be the continuation of an building behind where the rest of his body is rather filled with odd elements of posters and windows. I was really impressed with the outcome of this development, I

    would of loved to taken these photographs with the person then without but this was the background at times isn't maintained. The left section of his head has a strongly abstracted element to it I really felt this filter created the sense of ground within the photograph even though I focused on maintaining the idea of transparency within his left side to his right side the ground again is imitated which I chose to leave creating an odd clash against the realism of his transparency and random sections within his environment partially making the subject up.

  • Smalls sections of his face alone was altered this made him look almost as if he is gentle eroding away, which in a way gives him a statue element. What I saw with this guy unlike people from the other portraits, he has a strong element of stillness and I saw this may be because hes actually not focusing on anything we know of or can see, just a simply profile shot of the subject staring out of the frame at something we as an audience are oblivious to. His jacket seems to be slightly attempting to blend into the shop window behind him and sly imitations of the people standing in the distance within as well.

    The transparency element within this subject wasnt to successful while trying to merge him with random elements of the environment I saw that it didnt look legitimate as most the others so I left the small element of the woman's white sleeve which gives him an malformed factor. Looks though like its growing out of like and strangely look like its been specifically placed in an cloned manner which was intended , in a way he does look as if he from the top of his face to his chin vaguely beginning to disappear.

  • This development due to the strong impacting contrast and detail within the first edits of the shot gave the transparency element a lot of depth. Due to the depth of field within the photograph itself the man being in good focus; the vague transparency on his head looks very impacting and compelling. Know interestingly he expression goes even further to be an response to him fading away within his environment, the building in the background successfully Is visible within his head which gives him a sense of being an odd ghostly apparition.

    This development was one of my favorites as it successfully portrays the wild environment around impacting on the person Im subjecting within the photograph, she looks ad if she being hidden within the commotion and wildness of her surrounding and really looks transparent within it all. Her body has completely been covered and her remaining head looks lots in all the collisions of street life. Looking at the picture for the first time from some distance you probably wouldnt notice her so significantly as the black and white elements strongly helps to do this.

  • Straight away you notice the duplicated man on her right shoulder which in a way takes us away from to key theme that of her translucency with in her environment. He overall blend with the environment looks very believable and isnt to abstracted apart from the duplicate man which looks like a cloned hologram following him along as he walks. She appears very ghostly however this imagery is then contrasting with the fact she has a big smile on her face which is quite comically in a way because you usually relate ghosts and apparitions to horror.

    Smalls sections of his face alone was altered this made him look almost as if he is gentle eroding away, which in a way gives him a statue element. What I saw with this guy unlike people from the other portraits, he has a strong element of stillness and I saw this may be because hes actually not focusing on anything we know of or can see, just a simply profile shot of the subject staring out of the frame at something we as an audience are oblivious to. His jacket seems to be slightly attempting to blend into the shop window behind him and sly imitations of the people standing in the distance within as well.

  • The idea of blending into the environment within this edit was quite exotic as she has strong vibrant stripes along her face and arms which stand out quite bright contrasting with the other dull tones she made up by. The street in this shot I think is very complementing in making her seem very faint and unnoticeable the light thats hits the pavement in the distance is very strong but pleasant.

    Though he doesn't seem to be perfectly merged however he is still nicely masked and faint looks as if he's being eaten away and eroded into what is an sculpture of the environment. Successfully portraying the key theme I was planning to show; that of the environment molding its ecosystem into a transparent yet vaguely noticeable figure which can only by a but be distinguished.

  • The tones in this shot are very neutral; they all so not contrast against one another to much in comparison to most of my other edits. the subject has a very feathery light sense about him which I think is probably due to his legs they seem to have completely disappeared but you dont really notice it, this gives an unconscious sense of floating. Being on his phone we do not have a full view of his face or facial expression but there is a generally vibe of isolation and secrecy he's looking through his personal things and as an audience we can see him but are unaware of both his expression and situation (what he's looking at).

    The composition of this shot has a strong impact on the subject really stands him at the pavements has been cut into a way he has sort of been introduced to the audience; gradually broadening towards the camera where we are then presented with this ghostly apparition figure which share the similar level of contrast with its surroundings. Interestingly he's black top match the shop window frames in the background and his trousers match the curb. Reminds me a lot of the car advert where the theme is camouflage and blending in which I think this development has successfully achieved.

  • Very impacting and unusual shes made up of sudden strange segments of the photograph a bit of a cars bonnet and I replaced the side mirror with another, though I used an impacting high harsh structure on the whole photograph that particular section stands out a lot more mainly due to its peculiarity and bizarre element. To some extent I think her expression does complement the idea of peculiarity and edge of sinister as she seems almost strongly possessed and aroused by these segments of her surrounding.

    The softness of the background brings out the distinct harshness of the subject, however the contrast with this effect is the camouflaging affect I added upon him he seems to be almost attempting to blend as one with the gates behind him. The overriding imagery within this photograph is that of camouflage; I specifically chose the subject because of his ideal coat pattern which seems to have complemented itself while I attempted merging him with the background.

  • Final Set

    Environmental impact

  • Final Set - Environmental impact From the first development I wanted to enhance the idea of the environment making and building the people who live within it, so I focused more on the building up of the individual within the shot. I thought blacking out the surrounding will create more tension and focus on the individual and the different unusual objects their made up of; this would also conjure thoughts and ideas within the viewers minds on possibly locations in which the individual might be in. its interesting to see how the scenery makes a major change to perspective once vanished, as a portrait it enhances the concentration on the subject which makes the facial expression more significant within the composition. The first shot Im most pleased with mainly because of hes composition; the blank surrounding make him look even more intensively impacted on due to his posture; crouching his back. I faded his back with the black portraying further becoming the environment in which your in. Likewise the third shot of the girl is very impacting and fades into the darkness; the combination of her initial surrounding within her strongly portrays the theme successfully of being made up of surrounding I felt a car would be bizarre however help illustrate this theme. This final filter helped make objects and sections within the subject indistinctive and unclear again I liked this as it makes the audience more attentive as to what things may be; conjures a variety of expectations within the viewers minds. The effect of the filter on the forth shot is rather strong in separating dominant tones and harshness, the generally structure of the subject.

  • Idea 2

    Enhancing the ghostly subject matter

  • 1st Developmental Set

    Enhancing the ghostly subject matter

  • 1st Set Evaluation

    For my second idea I kept under the topic of portraiture however from a different point of view, I change my general composition from close up/cut in shots to long/mid shots this was particularly because my next idea was to even further enhance the ghostly subject matter but in this case portraying a realistic levitating being. Where the subject would look as if they are floating this was to create the perception of a ghostly like behaviour. I found this set of photographs particular hard to do as if required asking different people to jump which when being photographed a lot of people found awkward especially girls. As well as the awkwardness of jumping there was also the problem of getting people to successfully portray this ghostly like behaviour with not only their levitation but with their body language and especially facial expression. The facial expressions I thought was very important because the generally ideology of ghosts is rather mysterious so laughing of grinning would completely defeat this theme which I did struggle a lot to avoid. A reasonably fast shutter speed was required so I dont end up with blurred pictures which in a way in some cases could actually help portray this ghostly theme but then again it did come across as a badly taken photograph, so I eventually chose to implicate this theme during development. Generally I'm quite pleased with the developmental idea but I think that I could of chosen better locations, a majority fit in perfectly to the theme but a couple though didn't hugely impact, I felt may of diminish the reality of a ghostly figure being present. Furthermore the black and white perfectly adds that ghostly atmospheric theme I tried to portray.

  • 2nd Set

    Enhancing the ghostly subject matter

  • 2nd Set Evaluation

    To enhance this matter; still focusing on the subject predominantly I experimented with a couple ideas that I felt could maintain this realism however not going to overboard ruining the attention and connection I want the audience to have. I felt it was really mystical and enticing for the subject to be duplicated again maintaining that sense of realism; appearing in another section of the shot oddly positioned or just really subliminal at first until as a viewer you figure out on further analysis. Its interesting because I played around a lot with illusion and complexity; really just composing the shot further to implicate supernatural with everyday look people, a lot of the people I used didnt really have any unusual factors or clothes which I felt was all the better as it really just shows the average person blending into the surroundings however he isnt only slightly translucent in this scenery but appears to be levitating which in itself is quite an appealing factor. The most successful outcome I would say is the first 2 photographs, particularly because of the subject I would say, he has a good casual stature no major signs of movement of jumping. The first shot we do not see the subject face, this creates or conjures expectations. Presenting the audience with a hidden subject I felt this was a good way to keep attention and capture a viewer. Is this even a human being? As a viewer you wouldnt know due to the lack of visible features (hands in pocket) and just as a shot he appears to be hanging without any fuss, looks almost as hes s doll hanging off a piece of invisible string. The second shot likewise, i was told that it looks like he's standing on the ledge, which I was pleased with however again it contradicts the whole ideology behind it, but the casualness was there which is what makes this shot within this set the one I'm most pleased with as a ghostly portrayal.

  • Final Set

    Supernatural perception

  • Final Set Evaluation

    Finally I still maintained the structure and key elements of the location as it creates a stronger impact on the subjects appearance and influence on the viewers perspective however I did intent to at one point darken the surrounding of the subject creating more impact and concentration on them as a central point, I thinking maintaining its appearance and completely altering the subject sufficiently gets the message across to the audience. My choice of edit on the subject in this set is very unusual and appears very supernatural and in a way to me very revolting, due to the relationship between viewers and the shots; obviously the subject being humans the strange unusual formalities may be quite peculiar looking to most and makes me personally cringe in a way. The last shot for example here unlike the others I concentrated more on the formation of this creature (supernatural figure) itself, conjoining it to the man himself creates that ideology of this ghostly apparition having a connection or just simply having that supernatural element. The third shot is very effective in portraying this theme of a ghostly presence, I was pleased with the subject posture in the shot hes hands are raised in a manner implicating almighty presence or levitation. with the addition of the filter it creates a spectrum of feelings as to what the photograph is implicating. The human figure is still very much depict-able which is why viewers can look at it and query what is going on, this is unusual?.