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China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors exhibition

Posted on July 15, 2018 by Admin under 30 Day Blogging Challenge, Design, exhibition panel design, History, History and Heritage, Review
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China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors exhibition, in Liverpool – a review

The 7 real terracotta warriors

The 7 real terracotta warriors

I’ve wanted to see the Terracotta Warriors for years. Given my mobility issues, the dream of this was becoming more difficult.

Then I saw that it was coming to Liverpool and I knew I had to work out how see it, what ever happened. I did a bit of research of travel, walking distances, hotels, other things to see in the city and booked my ticket.

Terracotta Warrior and horse

Terracotta Warrior and horse

The exhibition organiser

In May I attended the Museums and Heritage show. Guess who happened to be speaking. Fiona Philpot from the National Museum Liverpool, the lady who had actually organised the exhibition.

According to Fiona, Liverpool was chosen to host the exhibition due to it’s large Chinese population. She and her lead designer visited China to research the culture, design, history and other aspects, that would provide inspiration for the exhibition.

The design

At the entrance to the exhibition, on the ground floor of the Museum, stand 2 colourful replica warriors. Red chinese lanterns line your way to the main doors.

One of the exhibition panel designs at the terracotta warriors exhibition

One of the exhibition panel designs at the terracotta warriors exhibition

The introductory video isn’t shown on a plain video wall, but a multi faceted, projection. Different clips of film are projected on each projection, creating a kaleidoscope effect.

The first exhibit is a fabulous warrior and his horse. It is free standing so you’re able to see all the way round and is a great introduction.

The exhibition walls slope upwards to reflect the walls of the tomb that the warriors. The top of the display cases have ornate wood fret work and are backed by red. The inspiration for this apparently came from a restaurant that Fiona and her designer visited in China. To reflect China’s importance in introducing silk, huge silk banners drop from the ceiling. Each tells a  different aspect the story of the Emperor, how he unified China and the warriors.

A half size replica charioteer and horses at the terracotta warriors exhibition

A half size replica charioteer and horses at the terracotta warriors exhibition

China only allowed 7 of the actual warriors to leave the country. Each warrior represents a different type of warrior. An infantry man, a General, a charioteer and so on. A video is projected behind them. This gives the idea that there were more warriors with them in a tomb,

There is a half size replica of a chariot and 4 horses. These are also free standing, which allows viewers to see them from all angles.

One of the real terracotta warriors

Some of the real terracotta warriors

Around the sides of the exhibition are other panels and artefacts telling the story of Qin Shi Huang who died in 210 B.C. He conquered 6 neighbouring states to become the First Emperor. His tomb is still unopened, even though his warriors are still being excavated and the last display in the exhibition creates an animated idea of what the inside of his tomb might look like.

A stone suit of armour at the terracotta warriors exhibition

A stone suit of armour at the terracotta warriors exhibition

Conclusion

Luckily I knew beforehand that there would only be 7 real warriors in the exhibition. I heard other people saying how they had expected more and were disappointed. May be a notice outside would manage visitor expectations more effectively. If I had travelled all the way to Liverpool from London, not knowing there were only 7 warriors, I would have been extremely disappointed.

A giant bowl at the terracotta warriors exhibition

A giant bowl at the terracotta warriors exhibition

Another negative, for me. There was very little about how the warriors themselves were made. Or how they were painted. The only time your see a painted warrior, is at the main entrance to the exhibition. Or briefly in the video behind the warriors.

Three of the terracotta warriors

Three of the terracotta warriors

There are several programmes about the warriors and how they are made. Each warrior is different. Artisan craftsmen made them. There is a possibility the craftsmen may have been influenced by European craftsmen. There was nothing about this. I love crafts and seeing how things are made, especially historical artefacts. This was disappointing. To me that seems as though it should be an key part of the exhibition.

A gold horse at the terracotta warriors exhibition

A gold horse at the terracotta warriors exhibition

On a positive note, the flow of the exhibition seemed good, except of course, in front of the real warriors. You can move round freely and see most of the exhibits easily. Accessibility is good and the staff are very helpful. To be able to see all those wonderful artefacts, close to is great. To be almost eye to eye with a warrior was an amazing feeling.

Read about my exhibition panel design for Islington Heritage Centre here.

Other samples of my exhibition design can be seen here.

To discuss your exhibition design project, call 0775 341 3005 or email info @ iconiccreative.co.uk

The Story behind What did you do in the war Grandad?

Posted on July 14, 2018 by Admin under 30 Day Blogging Challenge, film, filmmaking, independent film, RAF, Video, WW2
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The Story behind how I made What did you do in the war Grandad?

F/S James E Linehan

F/S James E Linehan

I’ve been researching what happened to my uncle and his crew during WW2 for over seven years. They were shot down on 8 April 1942 and have no known grave. Chatting with my neighbour who works in the film industry as an SFX artist, the idea began to develop that wanted to make a short film about what happened to them. I began to get involved on small independent film shoots, helping out as a production assistant, runner or stills photographer, to gain some experience of how things worked during a shoot.

The crew of Wellington x3757

The crew of Wellington x3757

But what about the script?

Alfred Hitchcock said “To make a great film you need three things – the script, the script and the script.” It is THE most important aspect of a film. If it’s not right, the film won’t be right. I spoke to several script writers about my ideas, but realised that by the time I’d told them everything I wanted to use in the script, I might as well have done it myself.

So I did. Despite never haven written a script before.

My initial plan

My initial plan was to write a 15 minute short, but I found as the story wrote itself, the run time expanded to 45 minutes. Not having done any creative writing since my school days, I was extremely nervous about the results.

My first review

I emailed it to a friend of mine who is an author and sat nervously waiting at my computer for her response. Half an hour later she messaged me back saying she was sitting reading it with tears streaming down her face and that it was beautiful. I was stunned with such a reaction and it gave me the confidence to think that perhaps that I’d produced something worthwhile.

Kevin & Sarah Arrow - What did you do in the war Grandad?

Kevin & Sarah Arrow – What did you do in the war Grandad?

Professional reviews

I then sent the script to a script consultant for their input.  They had offered several options for me to explore and suggestions to help improve the drama and tension. I gradually implemented their ideas. They suggested that I make the story into a feature film, rather than a short. A daunting suggestion to say the least.

Expanding my story

I spent hours on the tube, at lunchtimes and whilst watching TV tapping away on Final Draft for ipad, moving scenes around, adding in more characters, expanding scenes and putting new words in the mouths of my characters. Gradually the story began to take form.

What did you do in the war Grandad? Shooting the flashback scenes at The Golden Pot in Lasham

What did you do in the war Grandad?
Shooting the flashback scenes at The Golden Pot in Lasham

What could I do about the ending?

But I was still stuck for an ending. The crew died and never came back home. I haven’t yet found the plane yet. How was I going to end something we already knew the ending to?

I received my uncle’s Bomber Command Clasp and an idea began to form for the ending. As I wrote, I got a pain in my heart and a lump in my throat. The tears began to fall. I realised that I was on to something. Finally I had found a viable ending to the largest piece of creative writing I’ve done to date. I had written a screenplay! What an accomplishment.

The second professional review

I sent the second draft to the script review company and they came back with more suggestions to improve the script. It’s pretty daunting as the script is now over 120 pages. I invested in Final Draft full version to help me manage the scene order, the characters and so on.

What did I do next?

What did you do in the war Grandad? Shooting the flashback scenes at The Golden Pot in Lasham

What did you do in the war Grandad?
Shooting the flashback scenes at The Golden Pot in Lasham

I saw an advert for a competition for 3 minute short films and thought maybe my neighbour and I could enter it. I sent him the details and he loved the idea, so I began to think about what I could write this time. Using what I already know about the WW2 RAF, I based the idea around a WW2 RAF veteran who is visited by his grandaughter. She finds his medals and he tells her about what he did in the war.

Building a team

Time was paramount as the deadline for the competition was coming up, so I had to source cast members, medals and period photos as props, and locations fast. Actor friends recommended someone for my ‘Grandad’ and he very kindly agreed to help me. Sarah Arrow of SarkeMedia suggested her daughter Jasmine for the role of Lucy, the grandaughter.

Arriving - What did you do in the war Grandad?

Mum and Lucy arriving – What did you do in the war Grandad?

The first audition

Jasmine created a video audition of my script and it was great seeing my words come to life as Lucy. And lastly for Lucy’s mother I asked another actor friend if she was interested and she was, so I had my cast. I bought the medals on ebay and my Bomber Command friends sent copies of their relatives photos and letters for me to use as props.

Disaster strikes

Then the dreaded lurgy struck. I was laid up for over a week and had to cancel my first ever film shoot. I was devastated as we missed the competition deadline. Trying to look at things on a positive note, I then realised that we were no longer restricted by the 3 minute run time and could now make the short a little longer.

The RAF Re-enactors

What did you do in the war Grandad? Shooting the flashback scenes at The Golden Pot in Lasham

What did you do in the war Grandad?
Shooting the flashback scenes at The Golden Pot in Lasham

Part of the film (called What did you do in the war Granddad?) is a flashback scene of the veteran during his war days. We used WW2 RAF re-enactors so they had all the necessary kit. We filmed in a pub near Lasham called The Golden Pot. The owners were lovely and let us film in the gardens, the skittle alley and inside. The re-enactors are from Ops 39-45 and regularly re-enact RAF and WW2 characters. They were wonderful, so patient and offered knowledge and suggestions. We had a great day, despite the cold.

Filming

Our next scene was Grandad looking through his photos and medals. We filmed it in a friend’s house. Trying to film in the hallway as Grandad opened the front door proved the most challenging scene, and I had to stand on the stairs behind the director, holding the boom mic over his head, so that we could actually get the shot and decent sound.

Lucy looking at Grandad's photos - What did you do in the war Grandad?

Lucy looking at Grandad’s photos – What did you do in the war Grandad?

RAF Hendon

Having gained permission, we then shot at RAF Hendon, in north London. We spent a great day shooting around the Lancaster, the Lysander and the Sunderland WW2 planes. The most challenging section of filming was inside the Sunderland for several reasons. It’s not the easiest of planes to get into, you have to bend to get through the door, which proved a little difficult for ‘Grandad’. Then the gangway was so narrow that the actors could barely get past the director with the camera, whilst also looking natural.

Meeting the Lancaster - What did you do in the war Grandad?

Meeting the Lancaster – What did you do in the war Grandad?

The Bomber Command Memorial

Our final scene was to be at the Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park. This proved exceedingly difficult to organise, with the date being pushed back due to various reasons, particularly the cold and wet weather. As the producer I am responsible for peoples’ safety whilst filming. The Memorial is an open structure with no cover, no facilities and no easy access to warmth. I couldn’t have the cast, particularly ‘Grandad’ standing around in that space for hours in the cold.

The Final Scene

Visiting the Sunderland - What did you do in the war Grandad?

Visiting the Sunderland – What did you do in the war Grandad?

Eventually the weather finally played nice, and we booked 8 April as our final day of shooting. Suddenly it occurred to me. It was the 74th anniversary of the day that my uncle and his crew had been killed. How poignant!

We shot lots of scenes around the Memorial, making sure we didn’t interfere with visitors. As part of the story we laid flowers at the feet of the statue. We left them there after filming, as a fitting tribute.

Editing

Working with the director I put together a draft cut and then edited until it worked well. Unfortunately, the sound from RAF Hendon wouldn’t sync properly, whatever I tried. I was stuck. I didn’t know what to do. The director suggested just using music. It turned out to be a good choice, the emotion of the edit went up several notches, through that simple change.

Checking a take - What did you do in the war Grandad?

Checking a take – What did you do in the war Grandad?

Rotoscoping

Rotoscoping is a way of masking/cutting out objects in a film clip and is used to hide/replace unwanted elements in an image. I spent ages rotoscoping out modern posters and paintings in the film, replacing them with war time propaganda posts and notices to make the film more authentic.

The Premiere

Premiere of What did you do in the war Grandad?

Premiere of What did you do in the war Grandad?

We held the premiere of What did you do in the war Grandad? at Thames Valley University and it was attended by a local journalist, who very kindly wrote a piece in the local newspaper for us.

Competitions

Independent film makers often enter their films on competitions, to help raise their profiles. I entered our film in lots of competitions. Very excitingly we were long listed for the Winchester Short Film Festival, but unfortunately didn’t get through to the short list. Even more excitingly, we were accepted into a film festival in Santa Monica in 2016.

For some one who knew very little about filmmaking eight years, had no experience of script writing, but just a dream and an idea, I’m very proud of what I was able to achieve, with the help of friends and colleagues.

If you’re thinking of making your first short film, check out my blog post Making short films on a budget for tips.

For help with scriptwriting, promos and filmmaking call me on 0775 341 3005 or email info @ icnoiccreative.co.uk.

The little guide to mobile phone filming

Posted on July 13, 2018 by Admin under 30 Day Blogging Challenge, film, filmmaking, Mobile phone filming, Tips, Video
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The little guide to mobile phone filming

Mobile phone video is becoming more and more important in helping us reach a wider audience. You may be wondering exactly what equipment you need to invest in to take advantage of this trend.

I’ve put together a list of the basic things you might want to consider for your video kit.

Mobile phone filming kit

Mobile phone filming kit

Smart phone

As smart phone cameras become better and better, they are great for on the fly interviews, vlogging and Facebook Lives. You can of course use more sophisticated cameras, depending on your budget.

Sound

Whether you’re a small business creating vlogs or Facebook Lives, or a large film production company, ensuring your film or video has great sound is critical to the success of your output. People will put up with badly filmed video, but will switch off if they can’t hear the sound properly.

Microphones

To ensure you get decent sound in your videos, you will need a microphone. There are different types of microphones available. They all do different things and have different directional capabilities: omnidirectional, bidirectional and unidirectional. If you visit any trade show (such as BVE) there are loads of companies selling suitable microphones and of course you can also get them online as well.

Rode directional mic for mobile phone filming kit

Rode directional mic for mobile phone filming kit

Rode mic

One well known brand of microphones is Rode. The Rode mic I have here is their VideoMic Go, Lightweight On-Camera Microphone. It cost me around £50 on Amazon.

Lavalier mic for mobile phone filming kit

Lavalier mic for mobile phone filming kit

Lavalier mic

The lavalier mic I have here is a Blixxo Lavalier mic BLM-10 and it cost me about £30 on Amazon. It is an omnidirectional microphone and clips on the lapel or other clothing of the person being interviewed, or your clothing, if you’re are the one that is talking. The fluffy thing, is a sock to put over the microphone when you’re filming outside. It stops wind noise on the mic.

Tripod for mobile phone filming kit

Tripod for mobile phone filming kit

Tripod

To help keep your phone or camera steady, especially if you’re a bit nervous, use a tripod. There are lots of ones available that are suitable for smart phones, like the one I have here.

 

 

Flat view of camera rig for mobile phone filming kit

Flat view of camera rig for mobile phone filming kit

Camera rig

You can also use what is called a camera rig. This allows you hold the camera steady and add lighting and a microphone to is as well, making it easier to film.

Tripod, rig & mic setup

Camera rig and mobile phone, on tripod, with Rode mic, for mobile phone filming

Camera rig and mobile phone, on tripod, with Rode mic, for mobile phone filming

In this pic I’ve set the camera rig on top of my photography/film tripod, added a light and the Rode mic. This means my footage is stable and I am hands free to talk directly to my viewers, without having to worry about keeping the camera pointing in my direction.

Lighting

How you light your video is also important. This doesn’t have to be expensive. Natural light is often the best way to light anything, be it a photo or a video. Think about the direction of the light. Light coming through a window is directional, so if it is very strong, will give strong shadows on the other side of a person’s face. If you’re filming on a really bright, sunny day, the sun can make people quint, which doesn’t look good on camera.

On camera light & selfie ring light for mobile phone filming kit

On camera light & selfie ring light for mobile phone filming kit

Diffusing light/reflectors

To help balance the light more easily, use reflectors. Again, these don’t have to be expensive. A sheet, or piece of white paper is a good start to fill in the shadows. Use a light coloured curtain, or even a net curtain to diffuse light coming through a window. I have even used a cheap white shower curtain from Wilkos, which cost me about £1.

On rig lighting

If you use a camera rig, there are spaces to add a light, or even multiple lights. Just be careful if your subject is wearing glasses. It can cause strong light reflections on the glasses. May be use some of the diffusers you have such as the Wilko shower curtain, to cut down on the glare.

Selfie ring

For those all important selfie videos, a selfie ring can add light to your video. This just clips over your phone and is super easy to use.

Power bank for mobile phone filming kit

Power bank for mobile phone filming kit

Power bank

The final bit of the kit is a power bank. There is nothing more annoying than running out of power half why through your interview, or piece that you’re filming. Have at least one charged power bank. More is better.

Check out my video version of this guide on YouTube here.

Making a short film on a budget with your smart phone? Check out my blog post of tips here.

To discuss how I can help you with your video projects call 0775 341 3005 or email info @ iconiccreative.co.uk.

 

Tips to improve your exhibition panel design

Posted on July 12, 2018 by Admin under 30 Day Blogging Challenge, Design, exhibition panel design, Tips
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Exhibition panel design

Star wars exhibition panel design

Star wars exhibition panel design

  • Are you a small business thinking about taking part in a trade show or an expo?

  • Are you a larger company looking to upgrade your stand design for more impact?

  • You’ve already spent a fortune on display materials, but they haven’t had the desired effect?

Over the years I’ve worked on several exhibition design projects, from single panels and roller banners, to 15 panel pieces that cover a whole room. I’ve picked up lots of tips and thought I’d put these into a blog to help you.

Dawn Petherick Roller banner

Dawn Petherick Roller banner

1)Intent

As with any design project understanding exactly what you are creating the exhibition panel or other material for, and what you want it to do.

As the name suggests the design is for an exhibition, not a brochure, and so needs to be short, clear and succinct. It needs to stand out in a large crowd of people, be visible across a crowded room, catch some one’s attention and project a clear brand message. Don’t do what one person I met did, and try and put every single service that his company did on his roller banner. It is a waste of your money as no one will be able to read it until they are 2 foot away.

2) Purpose & positioning

You might be wondering what the difference between intent and purpose is. What I mean by purpose is, how you actually want the exhibition panel or roller banner to be used.

Is it/will it

  • Stand either inside or outside a door to a conference or talk
  • Stand beside or behind your table or stand at an exhibition
  • Is it advertising a new product or service and so on.
Mobile Movie Magic roller banner

Mobile Movie Magic roller banner

Banners for small businesses

Depending on what its purpose is, will (or should anyway) dictate where you put all the elements on the banner. For instance, if you’re a small business taking part in an expo for the first time, you will most likely be putting your banner behind your table. If you then put all your contact details at the bottom of your panel or banner, they will be hidden behind your table and no one can see them. Consider moving them higher up the panel/banner.

Exhibition panel design for larger businesses

If you’re designing material for a larger exhibition or trade show, consider peoples’ eyeline, where your stand is positioned on the ground plan and where people are likely to approach your stand from.

  • A corner/junction stand where people approach from multiple directions
  • An aisle such as the ‘street’ at The Business Show

How people will view your banner

In the later option people are likely going to be crammed in a queue of people trying to get down the ‘street’ so may not be able to stop for long, so your message needs to be very clear, so that people can see it in one glance. The multi approach is easier in some ways as people can stand back to view your message. In small local expos, using a banner helps attract attention across a room full of low level tables and makes you stand out from the other small businesses.

Circle Band pop up banner

Circle Band pop up banner

3) Design and images

Brand and brand colours

As with any piece of material for your business your panel/banner needs to have your brand on it, to make it instantly recognisable as representing your business. Speak to your designer to make sure they know your brand colours. Because a panel/banner will be printed, any colours used need to be CMYK or Pantones (PMS or spot colours), not RGB.

Brand font/s

Again, to keep your design ‘on brand’, make sure you use your brand font/s. If you only have one brand font, research appropriate supporting fonts to showcase your message. Don’t use an ornate script font if your company provides a service such as IT support, as I saw one company do. It is not the right font or font family for that type of business. See my links below that give details about the main uses for font families.

Beauty & the Beast 1.5 panel exhibition panel design

Beauty & the Beast 1.5 panel exhibition panel design

Images

One of the most common mistakes I see when small businesses design exhibition panels and roller banners, is the images they try and use. Banners are very large, taller than most people. Images from your smart phone just won’t be big enough to print.

Hire a photographer

Hire a photographer (such as me) to take bespoke images targeted towards your brand and message. Professional photographers shoot in a RAW format. This is like a digital negative and retains all the information in the image and means the image is huge. From that RAW file the photographer will export TIFFS and jpegs. If they use software such as Lightroom (like I do), they have the option to export TIFFS and jpegs at larger resolutions, so can supply you with large enough images for banners.

Stock libraries

If you don’t want to hire a professional photographer, use a decent stock photo library. There are loads around, with a vast array of free and paid images. When downloading/purchasing images for print, and particularly when designing a panel or banner, select the largest possible image size for your download.

4) Shell unit design

Whilst there are now lots of free standing, pop up exhibition panel design options available, you may decide that you want to use the ‘shell unit’ provided by the exhibition organisers. The main points above are still relevant, but there is another thing to consider when designing these.

Technical specs

The organisers will supply your with technical specs for the shell unit. Your exhibition panels will need to be custom designed to fit. If you create a design with an image or graphic that covers the whole side of a stand, you need to take into account the panel dividers when creating the image.

Freedom Hotspot exhibition panel design

Freedom Hotspot exhibition panel design

This exhibition panel design above,  I created for wifi hotspot company Freedom Hotspot when they exhibited at the Hospitality Show. I designed their graphic to cover all exhibition panels, but I had to allow space for the panel spacers. This is the critical point to remember: to make the image view correctly, I didn’t just space the image apart, I had to ‘subtract’ the width of the spacers from the image. Any easy mistake to make if you’re not experienced.

Eyelines

We talked about eye lines earlier. I’ve been asked why I didn’t put the images at the top, or higher up the design. This was to ensure that my client’s key messages were are peoples’ eyeline as they approached the stand. I used the flowing wave graphic at the top of the graphic to add cohesion across all the pieces and add visual interest as the images were at the bottom.

Allowing space for facilities

With this example the client also wanted a TV installed. To ensure that it was installed at the correct height for people to view it, I checked the height of the counter cupboard in front and then made sure the TV AND the contact details were visible above the cupboard. All easy things to do, but easy to miss if you’re creating a shell stand exhibition panel design for the first time.

Top tip: facilities

Remember that there will be items such as lighting, power units, cables and so on, sited in various places on or around your stand. Make allowances for these too when creating your design. Check the technical specs or talk to the organisers to ask what might affect your design.

Top Tip: consider designing a custom facia header board

Each shell stand normally comes with a pre designed and numbered facia at the top, so that people can find your stand. I designed a custom facia, which proved a great idea as loads of people kept looking up at the stand.

For more tips on design check out my blog post What your designer needs from you here and my blog post Understanding ‘Designer Speak’ here.

My Little Pony 15 panel exhibition panel design for a whole room

My Little Pony 15 panel exhibition panel design for a whole room

To discuss your exhibition panel design or roller banner design, please call me on 0775 341 3005, or email info @ iconiccreative.co.uk

Case study – Exhibition panels for Islington Heritage Centre

Posted on July 11, 2018 by Admin under 30 Day Blogging Challenge, Case Study, Design, History, History and Heritage
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Case Study – Exhibition panels for Islington Heritage Centre

Islington Heritage Centre were planning a 4 year long commemoration of WW1. The focus would be on Islington Home Front during the Great War. A series of 9 exhibition panels was required where the Centre could showcase information and photographs. The panels would tell the story of the Borough in that period.

The panels

The Centre asked us to design panels that would give an overall feel of the period.  They also wanted to use (initially anyway) colours similar to the purple and green used by the Suffragettes. However, they didn’t yet have all the material they planned to use available, so we had to create a initial concept. This would give them an idea of how the panels might look, using images sourced from stock photo libraries.

I have always had a love of history and studied it at O and A level, and knew a lot about WW1 (as well as other eras) So I was able to draw on that knowledge and passion to source suitable images. I developed a montage of different iconic elements from the period. I used a khaki like green as the main thematic colour, to reflect the military aspect of the conflict.

Because the Centre, didn’t yet have images, I had to guess what space might be required and so left a large area in the centre of the panel clear for them to introduce material later.

The logo

The Centre also asked me to design a logo for the exhibition, again using the Suffragette purple and green. I used another iconic element as part of the graphic, barbed wire. At the time there was or had been only one World War, which they referred to as The Great War. With hindsight we tend to call the conflict World War 1 so I used The Great War as the title.

The Great War logo for Islington Heritage Centre

The Great War logo for Islington Heritage Centre

The result

I really enjoyed creating this piece, drawing on my passion and knowledge to help the client solve their need: creating an atmospheric and poignant design for their exhibition. The client really loved the concept too.

Exhibition panels concept of The Great War for Islington Heritage Centre

Exhibition panels concept of The Great War for Islington Heritage Centre

See more of my exhibition design on the exhibition and environmental page on my website.

Learn more about the stages in the design process by check out my blog, 13 Key Steps in the Design Process.

To find out how I can help you create atmospheric, eye catching and effective design solutions, call 0775 341 3005 or email info @ iconiccreative.co.uk

 

Better Photography 101 – Part 3 Depth of Field

Posted on July 9, 2018 by Admin under Better Photography 101, Photography, Tips
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Depth of Field

Have you seen photos that are sharp on a person’s face and then blurred just passed them? This is making use of your camera controls to create depth of field (DOF).

The easy definition of depth of field is the area of an image which is in focus.

Bluebells in Perivale Wood with shallow depth of field

Bluebells in Perivale Wood with shallow depth of field

Shallow Depth of Field

Shallow depth of field is like the bluebells here. If the subject of the photo is sharp, but the surrounding parts of the photo is blurred, particularly very blurred, that is shallow depth of field.

Using shallow depth of field can be used creatively to create atmospheric, romantic and  dreamy images, allowing you to direct your viewer’s attention to the area you want them to look at and add evoke emotion.

It also allows to pick one person out of a crowd and focus on them, good when doing documentary or reportage photography, or at a wedding to capture a bride or groom’s emotions.

To obtain a shallow depth of field open up your camera’s aperture (f-stop) – the wider the aperture, the shallower depth of field and the softer the background of your image.

The amount of aperture opening will depend on what lens you are able to use on your DSLR. Basic lenses often open to about f3.5 or f2.5, more expensive ones open to about f1.4.

The drawback is that the more you open your aperture, the more likely you are to get blur due to camera shake in your image, so you need to hold your camera very still (hold your elbows tight against your side and breath out gently before pressing the shutter), balance it on something, a wall, fence or the ground, or put it on a tripod. For the bluebell image above, I was laid horizontally on the ground, with my head tilted almost upside down – yes I suffer for my art 🙂

Deeper Depth of Field

Carnival time! Deeper depth of field

Carnival time!

Deeper depth of field means more of the image is in focus and sharp. In this image I’ve focused on the carnival organiser, but because I was doing reportage coverage for the organisers, I wanted to show some of what what going on in the background, although not in detail.

Antoine - West end drummer brought his kit in for his photo - depth of field - using aperture

Antoine brought his whole drum kit when he had his photo taken

Using a deeper depth of field means that everything from close to your camera to infinity in your image will be sharper, depending on what setting you use.

To ensure more of your image is sharp close your aperture down (increase the f-stop number). From about f16/f18 is good for this. the smallest aperture is usually f22.

To add creativity to low light/night shots you can even make street or other lamps sparkle, by closing your aperture to it’s smallest opening (usually f22, but more expensive cameras and lenses go further). In this shot of Antoine, I’ve ‘stopped down’ to create light flare on the studio lights to make it look like it was taken on a stage. If you were to shoot things like diamonds (wishful thinking), you could use this technique to to add sparkle to the stones.

Think of it another way

Another way of understanding aperture and depth of field is how much light you’re letting into your camera: the larger the aperture (and the smaller the f-stop), the more light you’re letting into the camera. The small the aperture (and the bigger the f-stop), the less light you’re letting into the camera.

The more light that goes into the camera, the brighter your image, the less light means that your image will be darker. You can then control aspects of that through other tools such as shutter speed and ISO.

Aperture diagram - create depth of field using your aperture

Aperture diagram

This diagram shows some of the f-stops available.

 

 

 

 

Check out some more examples of shallow and deep depth of field

Trip to Torquay with my friends with shallow depth of field

Trip to Torquay with my friends with shallow depth of field

Shallow depth of field

In this photo I’ve picked out my two friends using a fairly shallow depth of field. They are pin sharp as they’re within the zone of focus of the aperture that I have chosen. According to the EXIF data for this image I used an f-top of f5.6, a shutter speed of 1/160th and an ISO setting of 320.

The background is softer and slightly blurred, meaning that all the attention is on my friends. I hadn’t seen the two of them for several years, so this is a lovely reminder for me.

The image below that is of Jo Brianti of JLB Support Solutions. Because Jo is the subject of the portrait I’ve used a shallow depth of field of separate her from the background and focus on her.

Jo Brianti of JLB Support Solution - shallow depth of field

Jo Brianti of JLB Support Solution

According to the EXIF data for this image, I used an aperture (f-stop) of f5.0, with a shutter speed of 1/160 and an ISO of 100 (as we were under a canopy and I was using off camera flash and a reflector).

Jo is clear and sharp and the trees are softer and slightly blurred, helping her stand out, therefore enhancing the impact of the portrait.

Deeper depth of field examples

In the next photo, of the Martin Parr exhibition I saw in Paris, I’ve used s deeper depth of field so that even the Eiffel Tower in the distance is sharp. I’ve also utilised diagonals to draw the eye along the photos to the Eiffel tower.

Martin Parr exhibition Paris = deep depth of field

Martin Parr exhibition Paris

I found this an interesting exhibition watching people interacting with the photos, creating even more juxtaposition with the images themselves.

According to the EXIF data I used f8, with s shutter speed of 1/320 and an ISO of 250.

In the last example I again used a deeper depth of field so that all the images and all the people are sharp, as I wanted to see all their responses and include that in the image.

According to the EXIF data I used an f-stop of f8, a shutter speed of 1/160th and and ISO of 250.

Martin Parr exhibition Paris - deep depth of field

Martin Parr exhibition Paris

Learn why cropping your photos is a great way to improve them.

Check out part 1 of the Better Photography 101 series about your intent behind your photos

Check out some of my previous work at www.iconiccreative.co.uk

To find out how I can help you create atmospheric portraits, or event coverage, call me on 0775 341 3005 or email info@iconiccreative.co.uk

The Autochrome

Posted on June 26, 2018 by Admin under colour, History, Photography
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Part of a steroscope Autochrome by Leonid Andreyev

Part of a steroscope Autochrome by Leonid Andreyev

This Autochrome essay was my final essay on my HNC Photography Course – I gained a Distinction for the whole course, which entailed gaining a Distinction on each of ten modules.

In the context of this Autochrome essay what do we understand ‘colour photography’ to encompass?

  • Does it refer to a transparent image that can’t be duplicated or printed and can only be viewed by projection or with special viewers
  • Does it refer only to a physical colour print that we can hold in our hands, that can be duplicated, enlarged and be viewed by many people at one time?

Photography has often been described as the pencil of nature and its direct translation means drawing with light. Sir Issac Newton discovered that light is made up of the colours of the spectrum, so one could draw the inference that any technology that worked with light might and should include colour.

Today’s colour photography

We are now able to produce both colour transparency images which can be duplicated, printed and projected at a larger scale than anything available at the turn of the twentieth century. We can also produce brightly coloured images on paper at a variety of scales on different stocks, so I would suggest that ‘colour photography’ can include both transparency and paper prints.

When the first photographs hit the public arena in 1839, they were monochrome tones rather than natural colours, disappointing many.

‘How could a process that captured the forms of nature with such exquisite detail, fail so dismally to record its colours2?’

And so ‘the race was on for colour3‘.

Early attempts

An initial response was to hand colour prints and some portrait painters, struggling to survive after the invention and rise of photography, learnt how to add colour to daguerreotypes. While this produced a pleasant effect, it very much depended on the skill of the retouch artist and was time-consuming and not cost effective.

One early colour attempt was made in 1840 by Sir John Herschel who was able to register colours on paper with light-sensitive silver chloride, but was not able to fix them and eventually they darkened. However, he was able to bring colour, albeit one colour, into a photographic image with his invention of the cyanotype in 1842.

The cyanotype

This was based on a blue pigment called Prussian Blue, which was used by painters and is what we know now as a ‘blueprint’. Other ways that photographers introduced colour into their images was through the use of different coloured printing stock. These were called Autotype Pigment Papers and they were actually carbon tissues, used by amateur and professional alike. Apparently, the company is so popular it is still operating today.

First successful experiment

James Clerk Maxwell' additive first colour attempt - a tartan ribbon - print of this was created by the Vivex process in the 1930s

James Clerk Maxwell’ additive first colour attempt – a tartan ribbon – print of this was created by the Vivex process in the 1930s

The first relatively successful ‘additive’ colour experiment was that of James Clerk Maxwell who, using black and white negatives shot through respective red, green and blue filters, produced a famous image of a tartan ribbon and rosette.

This produced a recognisable colour image. However ‘the difficulties of achieving the much-desired colour on paper by the additive process4’, meant that a print was not produced from the negatives until the 1930s by the Vivex process.

Other attempts to create permanent colour images

Other processes that were attempted included:

  • a filter colour line screen process invented by Joly
  • a mosaic screen created by McDonough
  • a one-shot colour camera using triple negatives called Heliochromy.
  • In 1869 Du Hauron demonstrated ‘subtractive’ photographs on paper, but due to the insensitivity of the materials of the period, the colour balance was incorrect.
  • F. E. Ives created an additive system called Kromskop similar to Maxwell’s process which exposed three separate black and white negatives on a single plate through blue/violet, green and red filters. Three glass positives were made through contact printing, cut and then viewed through the Kromskop viewer. Again the image would prove extremely difficult to print on paper.
  • Gabriel Jonas Lippman’s direct interference system. This was neither additive or subtractive, but worked through the creation of interference patterns between light waves. This process used mercury to reflect light into the photographic emulsion, similar to our modern hologram technique.

Inspiring the Lumière brothers

McDonough’s earlier mosaic screen provided the impetus and inspiration for the Lumière brothers’ offering, a process that would stun the photographic community, sweeping the world with ‘colour fever5’. This process was the Autochrome process.

The Autochrome process

The Lumières were already involved in the photographic world, making strides in cinematography and creating ‘an easy to use, affordable “dry” black and white plate called ‘Etiquetter Bleue6’. This proved very successful and provided enough finance for them to explore and experiment with colour photography, a quest which lasted 14 years. The company eventually became the largest photographic manufacturer in Europe.

Another use for ‘the Humble Potato’

Microscopic grains of starch from the ‘Humble Potato’ were used to create a mosaic screen on a glass plate. The grains were dyed three different colours: blue/violet, vermilion/orange and green and then mixed together in roughly equal proportions.

They were then spread extremely thinly on a glass plate that had been spread with varnish. The tiny spaces between the grains were filled with carbon black.

The new and more sensitive fine-grained, panchromatic silver bromide emulsion was spread over the whole plate. Finally, the plate was subjected to a very high pressure to ensure that the grains became very thin and transparent.

Exposing the new photographic plate

To expose the plate it was placed in the camera with the emulsion furthest away from the lens (the opposite way to how plates were normally exposed). Light then passed through the colour mosaic screen before registering on the emulsion.

A yellow filter was placed over the camera lens to balance the over blue sensitivity of the plate. Processing entailed developing the negative image, removal of the developed silver, then the development of the residual positive image. The actual development itself in total darkness was difficult for photographers used to black and white printing.

Untitled, Rudolf Dūhrkoop

Untitled, Rudolf Dūhrkoop

Some drawbacks of the new process

  • Plates were a lot slower than the black and white plates, as filling the gaps between the grains ‘reduced the effective speed of the plate7’.
  • Subjects had to remain still for at least a second, taking photography back to its early days of rigid poses and no movement.
  • Photographers had to become much more conscious of elements and colours within a possible image, selecting and rejecting items to become part of the composition, and staging images rather than allowing the action to occur naturally.
  • Often the starch grains would clump together showing particularly in large areas of colour such as skies, although on a positive note it did help create the very ‘dreamy’ quality of the process.
  • Plates were very fragile meaning that many did not survive.
  • The process produced a positive transparency which at that point in time was unable to be duplicated or direct colour prints made from it.
  • Difficult for large numbers of people to view the transparencies at the same time, making exhibition problematic.
  • Professional photographers such as Stieglitz, Steichen and other Pictorialists and Photo-Secessionists felt the process allowed little leeway for artistic ‘tweaking’ (unlike black and white photography), giving ‘the operator no right to call himself their creator8’.
  • This was one of the main reasons why many eventually stopped using the process, including Stieglitz, whose enthusiasm ‘would last only about a year9’. The only way creative input was possible was during the development process, which Steichen became proficient at.
  • Cost was also an issue, with plates being supplied in boxes of four rather than the usual twelve as they were so expensive to produce.
  • Exposure. No consistency in the sensitivity of the plate which made it difficult to judge the exposure time. This was improved later in the life of the autochrome process.

The positive aspects

  • It produced ‘luminous and lush10’, ‘distinctive colour quality11’, with an ‘unreal shimmering Impressionist colour cast and an atmospheric depth12’.
  • It produced Autochromes that were ‘lyrical and evocative13’ with ‘inherent luminous beauty and dream-like quality14’. This appealed to both the professional and hobbyist alike.
  • The autochrome didn’t require any specialist equipment, it made it very popular with the hobbyist photographer, much to the dismay of the professionals who were concerned that amateurs would produce ‘the most appalling fried-egg results15’.
  • The process handled red extremely well, creating a rich, romantic warmth in the red tones (but sometimes had problems portraying a correct blue and sometimes yellow). Many photographers took advantage of this trait and often used models who had rich red and auburn hair or introduced red elements such as shawls and parasols to increase the impact of colour in the images.

    Women in Cofu, Auguste Léon - ladies in their national dress, showcasing how the Autochrome process enhanced the reds of their outfits

    Women in Cofu, Auguste Léon – ladies in their national dress, showcasing how the Autochrome process enhanced the reds of their outfits

The launch

The launch was greeted rapturously and ‘many photographers were bewitched by the twin spells of depth and colour17’. Both Stieglitz and Steichen had been lucky enough to be in Paris when the Lumières launched the Autochrome and Stieglitz returned to America, declaring in a press release that ‘Colour Photography is an accomplished fact18’. He equated:

‘the marvels of “macronigraphing” (wireless telegraphy)…… to “looking at these unbelievable color photographs! … The Lumière process, imperfect as some may consider it, has actually brought color photography in to our homes for the first time, and in a beautifully ingenious, quick, and direct way19’ and he felt ‘the invention….. equaled that of photography itself in its importance20’.

Stieglitz prophesied:

“The possibilities of the process seem to be unlimited. Soon the world will be colour-mad – and Lumière will be responsible”21.

Other photographers

  • Personnaz in France encouraged his contemporaries ‘not to leave it solely to our foreign colleagues to take advantage of this new progress in the very French art of photography22’.
  • Steichen took plates to England and showed them to George Bernard Shaw, who ‘autochromed’ Alvin Langdon Coburn
  • Coburn who ‘autochromed’ Shaw, actually travelled to Paris to get his own supply as they weren’t yet available on the British market.
  • Steichen ‘though more taken than anyone with the latest vehicle of colour vision, kept his balance better than most…’ produced both larger and smaller plates and offered his autochromes at a wide range of prices23’.
  • Newspapers printed several articles on colour photography
  • Society of Colour Photography was established in London.
Untitled (Woman Posing in a Garden) Paul Bergon

Untitled (Woman Posing in a Garden) Paul Bergon

Public exhibition

Despite the problems of public exhibition almost 100 autochromes appeared in the Salon Exhibition of 1908 (viewed against backlight, projected or viewed through diascopes), by figures such as Steichen de Meyer, Langdon Coburn and Annan.

‘many amateur photographers eagerly embraced the world of colour that was now finally, within their grasp24’.

Albert Kahn – banker and philanthropist

French banker and philanthropist Albert Kahn was also very excited by the possibilities of the Autochrome and ‘realised that photography was standing at the threshold of a new world of creative possibilities’25. He envisaged that it could be the ‘instrument that would help him achieve a cherished political ambition’26, to create world peace and promote international understanding through people experiencing the different cultures of the world.

Kahn’s Archive of the Planet – world peace through the Autochrome

Kahn considered the Autochrome to be an educational tool to broaden the mind through travel and set up a scholarship to allow teachers to visit various countries. He also ‘bankrolled’27 one of the most significant photographic archives in the world, his Archive of the Planet, now housed at the Musée de Albert-Kahn, France.

In 1908 he acquired his first autochrome plates and the images created were shot by his chauffeur Alfred Dutertre on a ’round the world’ tour that the pair undertook, thought to be the first known colour images of the respective countries that they visited.

Over the next twenty-two years, he sent photographers and cameramen all over the world, capturing film and still images, in colour and black and white. His photographers ‘recorded in intimate detail the lived experiences and cultural practices of thousands of ordinary people from across the globe28’ and immortalising the cultures at a time when often they were undergoing major political and social changes and upheaval.

Kitty Steiglitz, Alfred Steiglitz

Kitty Steiglitz, Alfred Steiglitz

What Kahn photographed

They travelled to the Western Front during World War 1, changing forever our black and white perception of the horror of the trenches. They chronicled the dying Gaelic villages of the Claddagh in Ireland, the mourning in Japan for the death of the Emperor and the changing face of the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Scandinavia.

Thanks to Kahn’s opérateurs we are introduced to the notables of the period, in glorious colour. Ramsay McDonald, Sir Austen Chamberlain, King Alexander 1 of Yugoslavia and the sculptor Auguste Rodin are all immortalised in autochrome plates.

Effects of the Wall Street Crash on Kahn & the Archive

Eventually, Kahn owned his own bank and probably thought he would be able to continue to finance the archive indefinitely. However the financial crisis of the Wall Street crash of 1929 ‘reduced one of the most successful bankers in Europe to something approaching penury29’ and by the mid-1930s he was bankrupt.

He sold his Boulogne estate to the local authority, but they allowed him to continue living there (it later became the Museum that housed the archive). The Archive survived the war, narrowly avoiding being stolen or destroyed when the Nazis invaded and now provides us with an amazing window on a time of change and social and cultural upheaval throughout the world and an Autochromic legacy of over 72,000 images.

Other uses for the Autochrome

As well as portraiture and historical and cultural documentation it was, like any new technology, used for pornography and nude studies due to its delicate handling of skin tones. Autochromes were also used as an educational tool (in the true sense, not Kahn’s sense).

A macro autochrome

A macro autochrome

Gervais Courtellement (one of Kahn’s Archive photographers) gave popular, illustrated lectures of his Oriental travels and opened a Palais de l’Autochrome which exhibited his war photos.

Aubert, one of Courtellement’s colleagues produced gory images when he worked in the war hospitals and some autochromes were used to document and examine various diseases, wounds and deformities, projected in lectures and in stereoscopes.

This provided a new way to share information with other hospitals and doctors. Dr Friedrich Paneth a chemistry lecturer and director of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, was also an avid photographer and used autochromes in his lectures, projecting the Periodic Table from autochromes.

Book illustrations

Occasionally autochromes were also used to illustrate books if the publication had the finances to support the required separation to colour printing (not photographic printing). One such book the author of this essay discovered was The Adventures of Jack Rabbit by Richard Kearton, published by Cassell in 1911, which has six delicate autochromes reproduced in colour, showing a variety of woodland flowers, butterflies and moths, and bird’s eggs.

Vault of San Zeno de Maggiore, Fernand Colville, Archive of the Planet

Vault of San Zeno de Maggiore, Fernand Colville, Archive of the Planet

After the initial excitment

After the initial excitement following the introduction of colour, photographers such as Stieglitz reduced their use of the autochrome because of the ‘lingering impracticalities30’of the process.

According to Natalie Bouloch, author of Autochromes and Pictorialism (in Impressionist Camera, Pictorial Photography in Europe, 1888-1918) Stieglitz et al, ‘deeply attached as they were to the idealistic doctrine of interpretation31’ came to the conclusion that autochromes were ‘mere slaves to reality32’ and came to see the autochrome ‘as part of a regressive movement33’.

Sales increased

Despite the limitations of the process and despite a ‘latent desire for colour photographs on paper34’, production and general sales increased. The British Journal of Photography at the time commented that ‘the demand in France has been so great that there has been no chance of any plates reaching England yet, but as the makers are doubling their output every three weeks it will not be long before plates can be obtained commercially in England35’.

Many photographers stockpiled plates, especially after the break in supply during World War 1 and Albert Kahn is thought to have purchased 1% of the total 20,000, 000 Lumière production and the process ‘dominated the market for colour photography for nearly 30 years36’.

Decline of the Autochrome

Endeavouring to resolve the issue of the fragility of the medium, in 1932 Lumière introduced the Autochrome on a film stock and marketed it under the name of Filmcolour and within two years it had almost totally replaced glass. However, these improvements failed to save the autochrome.

Competitors

Other manufacturers such as Kodak and Agfa were developing ‘new multi-layer colour films through subtractive synthesis – thus doing away with the need for filter screens37’. In 1935 Kodachrome was announced in the Rochester Evening Journal, as ‘the first commercially viable colour film38’ and it was described as ‘a momentous day in the history of colour photography39’. In 1938 National Geographic magazine used only sixty-two Kodachrome images, by the following year that had increased to three hundred and seven.

Very shortly after that, they decided to use Kodachrome exclusively both as 35mm and sheet cut film. In 1936 Agfa patented a method of producing colour couplers that ‘stayed put40’ in an emulsion layer and they were able to bring to the market a multilayer reversal film which they called ‘Neu’. It was also 35mm and slightly slower than Kodachrome.

And so the era of the autochrome was over.

End of an era

The process that promised so much and excited so many photographers, that had made such an invaluable contribution to the history of the photographic story, but which for some had failed to fulfil that promise, ceased to be a viable, commercial medium.

The question in respect of this essay, is whether it satisfied the quest of the photography community for the ‘Holy Grail’ of easy to use, commercially viable colour photography?

Was it inclusive?

Firstly one can ask whether the process allowed all members of the photographic community to produce colour images. The fact that all photographers could use their existing equipment, without having to buy bulky and pricey ‘add-ons’ would suggest that the autochrome was egalitarian enough to meet this first requirement.

Was it recognisable and permanent?

Secondly was the colour produced by the autochrome process recognisable and permanent? Unlike previous attempts to produce colour, the autochrome colours were rich, atmospheric and permanent (lasting, we now know over 100 years).

Although there were some issues with colour sensitivity and speed, these were addressed either through the use of filters or improved as the process was refined during manufacture. This suggests that the autochrome fulfilled the second requirement of colour photography.

Was it easy to view?

Next, was the process easy to handle and view? At first, the plates were very fragile, leading to many breakages and wastage, but this was later improved by using a film stock. Viewing and exhibition were problematic, requiring as it did, the use of projection or diascopes to make the most of the warmth of tones and the luminous quality inherent in the process. In this respect, the autochrome was not so successful and so it doesn’t fulfil the requirements fully.

Was it competitively priced?

As with any commercial product, price is always an issue. When they were first released onto the market plates were sold in boxes of four, rather than the usual twelve. This suggests that they were much more expensive than black and white plates and some photographers, after the initial excitement had died down, stopped using them for this reason. However, they fulfilled a ‘need’ in the photographic community, that of a viable colour medium and many used them despite the price. So I would suggest that on this point the autochrome fulfilled the requirement of commerciality.

Did they offer creative potential?

Black and white photography had allowed many photographers to ‘tweak’ and manipulate their work to create fine art and aesthetic images, not just direct reproductions of nature and people. Many professionals had hoped that the introduction of colour photography would allow them the same leeway, but unfortunately, they were to be disappointed, with only a few such as Steichen developing enough skill to manipulate the image during processing to satisfy his artistic desires.

Should this suggest that the autochrome was unsuccessful, just because a select few were disappointed? The fact that it allowed amateurs to produce colour images, which had previously been beyond their reach, suggests that in fact, it was extremely successful with general photographers.

Conclusion

Nanny Mary Warner with Lotte and Hans Kūhn - Heinrich Kūhn

Nanny Mary Warner with Lotte and Hans Kūhn – Heinrich Kūhn

Overall the autochrome process produced beautiful, atmospheric images of a period of great social and cultural change. It failed to fulfil the latent desire for prints, but proved to be an invaluable step in photographic history towards colour photography as we know it today, …

…..especially digital photography which uses Bayer technology, a mosaic colour filter system similar to the autochrome.

To view examples of Nicola’s colour photography click here

To discuss your photographic needs call 0775 341 3005 or email info @ iconiccreative.co.uk

Footnotes:

Autochrome: the Dawn of Colour Photography, National Media Museum, pg 1. (Article in Appendices). / A Century of Colour Photography from the Autochrome to the Digital Age, Roberts, Pamela, pg 25.

Autochromes: the Dawn of Colour Photography, National Media Museum, pg 1.

A Century of Colour PhotographyRoberts, Pamela, pg 12

A Century of Colour PhotographyRoberts, Pamela, pg 15

The Autochrome: 100 Years of Color Photography, Antman, Mark. Article reprinted from The Picture Professional, Issue 2, 2007 (Article in Appendices). Quote from Alvin Langdon Coburn in a letter to Alfred Steiglitz, pg4 of article.

The Autochrome: 100 Years of Color Photography, Antman, Mark. Article reprinted from The Picture Professional, Issue 2, 2007 (Article in Appendices), pg1

The Illustrated History of Colour PhotographyCoote, Jack, pg40.

Autochromes by Clarence H. White, Nickel, Douglas R., Record of the Art Museum, Princeton University, Vol 51, No2, The Art of Pictorial Photography 1890-1925, pg2. (Article in Appendices).

The New Colour Photography – A Bit of History, Steiglitz on Photography, Steiglitz, Alfred, pg 208. (Article in Appendices).

10, 11, 12 A Century of Colour PhotographyRoberts, Pamela, pg 24.

13 The Autochrome: 100 Years of Color Photography, Antman, Mark. Article reprinted from The Picture Professional, Issue 2, 2007 (Article in Appendices), pg1. (Article in Appendices).

14 Autochromes: The Dawn of Colour Photography, National Media Museum, pg2. (Article in Appendices).

15 Autochromes by Clarence H. White, Nickel, Douglas R., Record of the Art Museum, Princeton University, Vol 51, No2, The Art of Pictorial Photography 1890-1925, pg2. (Article in Appendices).

16 The Autochrome: 100 Years of Color Photography, Antman, Mark. Article reprinted from The Picture Professional, Issue 2, 2007 (Article in Appendices), pg1. (Article in Appendices).

17 Autochromes: The Dawn of Colour Photography, National Media Museum, pg3. (Article in Appendices).

18 Stieglitz A Beginning Light, Hoffman, Katherine, pg 243. Quoted from the original Press Released reproduced in the book.

19 Stieglitz A Beginning Light, Hoffman, Katherine, pg 243. Quoted by Hoffman from Stieglitz, 1907b, pp. 24, 25.

20 Autochromes by Clarence H White, Nickel, Douglas R., pg 1. (Article in Appendices).

21 The Wonderful World of Albert Kahn, Okuefuna, David, pg 9.

22 Impressionist Camera, Pictorial Photography in Europe, 1888-1918, Saint Louis Art Museum, pg 270. Quoted from A propos des autochromes, Bulletin de la Société Française de Photograhie no 18, 1908, p.378.

23 Edward Steichen: The Early Years, Metropolitan Museum of Art, pg 32.

24 Autochromes: The Dawn of Colour Photography, National Media Museum, pg 4. (Article in Appendices).

25, 26, 27 The Wonderful World of Albert Kahn, Okuefuna, David, pg 12-13.

28 The Wonderful World of Albert Kahn, Okuefuna, David, pg 12-13.

29 The Wonderful World of Albert Kahn, Okuefuna, David, pg 15.

30 Edward Steichen: The Early Years, Metropolitan Museum of Art, pg 32.

31, 32, 33 Impressionist Camera, Pictorial Photography in Europe, 1888-1918, pg 272.

34 The Illustrated History of Colour Photography, Coote, Jack H, pg 71.

35 The Illustrated History of Colour Photography, Coote, Jack H, pg 41.

36 Autochromes: The Dawn of Colour Photography, National Media Museum, pg 4.

37 Autochromes: The Dawn of Colour Photography, National media Museum, pg 4.

38 http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/12/7/04913/9030/204/278472

39 The Illustrated History of Colour Photography, Coote, Jack H, pg 141.

40 The Illustrated History of Colour Photography, Coote, Jack H, pg 152.

Reference

Roberts, Pamela, A Century of Colour Photography from the autochrome to the digital age,  Andre Deutsche.

Hoffman, Katherine, Steiglitz, A Beginning Light, Yale University Press, New Haven and London.

Saint Louis Art Museum (essays by various authors), Impressionist Camera, Pictorial Photography in Europe, 1888-1918, Merrell, London and New York.

Coote, Jack H, The Illustrated History of Colour Photography, Fountain Press.

Nickel, Douglas R., Autochromes by Clarence H. White, Record of the Art Museum, Princeton University, Vol. 51. No. 2, the Art of Pictorial Photography 1890-1925, pp. 31-37, Princeton University Art Museum (article printed in Appendices).

National Media Museum, Autochromes: The Dawn of Colour Photography, National Media Museum (article printed in Appendices).

Steiglitz, Alfred, Steiglitz on Photography, Chapter: The New Colour Photography – A Bit of History, Aperture (article printed in Appendices).

Antman, Mark, The Autochrome: 100 Years of Color Photography, Reprinted from The Picture Professional, Issue 2, 2007 (article printed in Appendices).

Okuefuna, David, The Wonderful World of Albert Kahn, Colour Photographs from a Lost Age, BBC Books

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/12/7/04913/9030/204/278472

Bibliography

Books and articles

Metropolitan Museum of Art, Edward Steichen, the Early Years, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Marien, Mary Warner, Photography A Cultural History, Laurence King Publishing.

National Media Museum, Alternative Photographic Resources, National Media Museum.

Friedman, J.S., History of Color Photography, Focus Press.

Roberts, Pamela, A Century of Colour Photography from the autochrome to the digital age,  Andre Deutsche (article printed in Appendices).

Johnson, Frances Benjamin, An American Century of Photography, Hallmark

Online sources

http://www.photographymuseum.com/potatoestopictures.html

http://www.nationalmediamuseum.org.uk/autochrome/Notable_Photographers_detail.asp?PhotographersID=9

http://www.institut-lumiere.org/english/lumiere/autochrome.html

http://www.nationalmediamuseum.org.uk/autochrome/Colour_Development.asp

http://www.notesonphotographs.eastmanhouse.org/index.php?title=Osterman,_Mark._%22The_Autochrome_Process%22

http://users.telenet.be/autochromes/introduction.htm

http://www.luminous-lint.com/app/vexhibit/_THEME_Autochromes_Travel_01/2/0/0/

http://blog.photoshelter.com/2008/07/george-eastman-house-and-the-autochromes.html

http://blog.gettyimages.com/tag/autochromes/

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/autochromes.html

http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/photography/photographers/first-natural-color-photo.html

http://www.photographymuseum.com/autochromeclatworthy.html

DVDS

The Twenties in Colour: The Wonderful World of Albert Kahn, The End of a World, BBC4 Thursday 29th November 2007

Edwardians in Colour: The Wonderful World of Albert Kahn: Northern Exposure, BBC2 Friday 23rd November 2007

3 Typography Tips to improve your design projects

Posted on June 15, 2018 by Admin under Design, Tips, Typography
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Typography is a key element of design. Having worked as a designer for the last 20 years, I’m always ‘reviewing’ peoples’ material subconsciously.

There are 3 typography mistakes that jump out at me every time:

1 – Widows and orphans

2 – Hyphenation

3 – 2 spaces or not 2 spaces

Typography errors showing widows, orphans and inappropriate hyphenation

Typography errors showing widows, orphans and inappropriate hyphenation

1 – Widows and orphans

A ‘Widow‘ in typography is a line of text from a paragraph that either sits at the bottom of a column with the rest of the paragraph starting at the top of the next column. Or a single line from the end of a paragraph that has flowed on to the top of the next column on it’s own.

An ‘Orphan‘ is a single word, or hyphenated part of a word that is left at the bottom of a paragraph. This to me is a dead give away that whoever created the piece of material hasn’t had any design training.

How to solve this issue:

Keep your layouts regularly and reflow ‘widows‘ and ‘orphans’ if you can, to get them together in one paragraph. What I do with ‘orphans’ is use what is known as a ‘soft return‘. Normally when you do a paragraph return on a computer to create a new paragraph, this creates what is known as a ‘hard return‘. If you turn on ‘the invisibles‘, the invisible characters that show spaces and returns, in Word and other processing programmes you can see what a ‘hard return‘ looks like.

Soft return

A ‘soft return‘ keeps the word/s following as part of the original paragraph and doesn’t make a new paragraph. To make a ‘soft return‘, hold down the the Shift key as you’re pressing the paragraph return key.

To get rid of an ‘orphan‘, I will read back through a paragraph. I move small words down the paragraph by using a ‘soft return‘ at the end of each line. Eeventually another word, or two/three will drop onto the last line of the paragraph where the orphan is. You no longer have an ‘orphan‘ and your paragraph looks much more professional.

You can use a ‘soft return‘ on ‘widows‘ as well. Review your paragraph to see if there is another line or two that can be brought onto another line using a ‘soft return‘. Are you able to make two lines rather than just a ‘widow‘ at the top of the new paragraph?

Using a ‘soft return‘ will help you make your typography much cleaner and tidier, as well as looking more professional.

2 – Hyphenation

Another very obvious sign that someone has little experience in typography is that of inappropriate hyphenation. Sometimes a word won’t fit in at the end of a line and so the automatic hyphenation in the programme kicks in and breaks the word.

From a designer’s point of view, this looks incredibly ugly.

How to solve this issue:

The easiest way to solve this, is to go into the programme type controls and turn off ‘automatic hyphenation‘. This means that any word that doesn’t fit at the end of a paragraph will drop to the next line. The only hyphenation will be where a manual hyphen has been used.

3 – 2 spaces or not 2 spaces

This one is often the most contentious. I’ve seen, and taken part in, long ‘discussions’ on various forums as to the rights and wrongs of 2 spaces after a full stop.

Origins of 2 spaces

In the days of manual typewriters, it was standard practice to add 2 spaces after a full stop. This apparently had to do with the spacing of different physical characters, to make it easier for people to read the copy.

One space

Now a  days, with computer typesetting and design, fonts are designed specifically with spacing in mind, so it is no longer necessary to add 2 spaces to your copy.

As a designer, it is standard practice when laying out client copy, to remove all double spaces from the text. This makes the text flow better. Even if you put them in when you supply your copy, your designer will most likely strip them out, to make your design look better.

I hope you’ve found these 3 tips helpful. To learn more about design and typography check out some of my other blog posts:

’13 key steps in the design process’ in this blog

“Understanding designer speak’” in this blog

‘The benefits of using good design’ in this blog

‘What your designer needs from you’ in this blog

To see more examples of the extensive design work I’ve carried out for my clients visit the Design page of www.iconiccreative.co.uk.

To discuss your design requirements email me at info @ iconiccreative.co.uk or call 0775 341 3005.

Better Photography 101 – Part 2 – Camera tools

Posted on May 24, 2018 by Admin under Better Photography 101, Photography, Tips

Camera tools (for DSLR)

PentaxAll DSLR cameras have tools which allow YOU to choose determine how you create your image. YOU are in control. By changing each tool, YOU can change how YOUR final image looks.

ISO – this is the sensitivity of the film (ASA in the ‘old days’) and now the sensor in digital cameras

Camera settings

Camera settings

Camera settings ISO/ASA

Camera settings ISO/ASA

Use different values for this depending on the light conditions ie if it is bright sunlight set the ISO to 100 (and close the aperture to f22 – ‘stop down’), but if you’re shooting inside or on a darker day increase the ISO to 800 or above so that you capture more light. There are drawbacks however. The larger the ISO number the more ‘noise’ is introduced into the image.

The close up of this old film camera shows 200 ASA. It would change depending on what film you put in the camera. Digital cameras allow you to change the ISO to suit the conditions, but they still relate to how film sensitivity worked. 100 ISO is used in bright light and in studio flash situations. 200-400 ISO in more over cast situations. Higher ISOs such as 1600, 3200, can be used in really dark conditions, but create more ‘noise’.

Light is one of the main tools of photography

Light is one of the main tools of photography

Light – what is available to you: natural light, sun light, ambient lighting, or photographic lights

Photography translates as drawing with light, so light is a key tool. By knowing how to control light you can really improve your photos

Natural light is the main one that most people would use. On a sunny day the light can be very harsh, with strong directional shadows. Even these out by using an extra light source in the form of a flash or a reflector. These don’t always have to be expensive, sometimes a sheet of white paper, or a white sheet can be used. Even a white wall can act as a reflector.

The aperture allows you control how much light enters the camera

The aperture allows you control how much light enters the camera

Aperture/F stop – This tool is the lens opening on your camera that lets light through onto the film or the digital sensor. YOU can change it to allow different amounts of light through.

An open aperture lets in lots of light, a smaller aperture lets in less light. This is also a way of creating depth of field. A large aperture creates a soft, out of focus effect. If you focus on a foreground image, the background will go out of focus.

To create a sharp area through more of your image, use a smaller aperture (larger f/stop number).

Slow shutter speed with an f22 aperture

Slow shutter speed with an f22 aperture

 

Aperture chart

Aperture chart – the larger the number, the smaller the hole

 

 

 

 

 

F/stops range from f1.4 through to f22. Combining a slow shutter speed (see above) with f22 creates lovely light flares.

A slow shutter speed can be used to create dreamlike water effects

A slow shutter speed can be used to create dreamlike water effects

A slow shutter speed can be used to create amazing light trails

A slow shutter speed can be used to create amazing light trails

Shutter speed – This is how fast the shutter moves and how long the sensor is exposed for.

A slow shutter speed exposes the sensor for a long time, a faster shutter speed exposes the sensor for a shorter time. This gives you a great tool to create fantastic effects.

Low light product shot

Low light product shot

Night shot showing lights

Night shot showing lights

Slow shutter speed

Using slower shutter speed is a great tool that lets you create dreamy waterfalls, or seascapes, stunning lights trails and amazing low light imagery and night photography. Use a tripod if the shutter speed drops below 1/125 to stop camera shake.

Fast shutter speed

A faster speed is a great tool to use to allow you to freeze motion. This is good for sports photography and other instances where the image content needs to be sharp.

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Each tool affects the other. Knowing how to balance and manipulate them to create amazing images takes practise and can really improve your photography.

Learn why cropping your photos is a great way to improve them.

Check out part 1 of the Better Photography 101 series about your intent behind your photos

Check out some of my previous work at www.iconiccreative.co.uk

To find out how I can help you create atmospheric portraits, or event coverage, call me on 0775 341 3005 or email info@iconiccreative.co.uk

Better Photography 101 – Part 1 Intent – Take better photos

Posted on May 8, 2018 by Admin under Better Photography 101, Photography, Tips
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Have you ever wished that you could take better photos?

This series of ‘better photography 101’ blogs will help you improve your skills

Basic composition and lighting principles can vastly improve the quality and impact of your photos, whatever your camera.

Pentax - better photos

Pentax

Facebook and Instagram Stories, and Storytelling have become very important in raising your profile. Improving your photos, to give your images more impact makes sense.

“It’s not the camera but who’s behind the camera.”

 Create better photos – create meaningful images – find your voice.

Here are a few basic tips that will help you improve your skills and help you create better images.

Martin Parr exhibition Paris - better photos

This photo was taken in Paris at the open air Martin Parr exhibition. I waited for ages until I saw someone start using their mobile phone (the lady in purple) next to Martin Parr’s photo of people on phones. She wasn’t quite as close as I’d hoped though.

Better photos – Your intent

List all the things you like about photography, why you like taking photos, what message or story do you want the world to hear?

Do you have a cause you’re passionate about and want to highlight? Are you happy just to capture family parties and events for posterity?

Do you take photos of your kids’ sports events? Or are you captivated by the natural world?

Snaps and selfies have their place, but even they can be vastly improved by learning some photographic techniques and considering the message you’re trying to convey.

Bring out your inner artist and find your Voice. Do a google search for famous photographers for inspiration, or look on Pinterest or Instagram for ideas.

Taken in India in Mandawa in India - better photos

Taken in India in Mandawa in India.

Exercises for better photos

  1. Take a photo a day for a month, don’t think about it just do it. At the end of the month review your images. What themes have started to emerge? What did you like photographing the most?
  2. This one is very interesting to do. Take your camera and 2 dice out for a walk. Roll the dice and walk the number of steps the dice say. Roll the dice again and take the number of photos the dice tell you, but think about what you want to say about what you’re photographing. Use position, angle, distance from your subject and so on.
    You’ll be surprised at what images you can create. To vary it, use more dice.

I once did a variation of this exercise and ended up under a very boring railway bridge, having to take 10 photos in the one spot. I had to think very creatively to get interesting shots that said something.

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Learn why cropping your photos is a great way to improve them.

Nervous about your photoshoot? Check out my blog giving tips to make you feel more comfortable.

Check out some of my previous work at www.iconiccreative.co.uk

To find out how I can help you create atmospheric portraits, or event coverage, call me on 0775 341 3005 or email info@iconiccreative.co.uk