Exercise 3: Making Figures Anonymous

This exercise is an interesting look at how a photographer can use the shape, size, figure of a person, without having them personally recognisable. By using motion blur, partly obscuring, silhouettes, facing away and distance and many, the photographer is able to produce images with an added depth of interest, the mystery and interest in who that person may be is a powerful tool when used to its full potential. I aimed to take these images while in London, hoping to recognise and capture each of the ways suggested in the course guide.

The first image, of a couple embracing on a street, was a very quick reaction image by myself, passing them as I walked past I managed to get this angle where you only see a very slight area of her face as she looks up into her partners eyes, from an exercise view of this image, I think it works very well in obscuring the two people from view while still giving us a very personal view of them, while looking at the image in general, I think it is a very strong image that tells us a lot about the subjects while also being sharp in the right places while still giving us an understanding of there surroundings and context on a busy street in London.

This second image, showing a skateboarder along a busy street in London during a jump, he is facing away from the camera obscuring him from view, but the movement and trick with the skateboard give us an idea of a young athletic man. I like the composition of this image, the balance of the guy on a skateboard and the BMW to the left of him, while also the jump he has made is clear, with the movement in his legs, arms and board. I think this works really well in effectively obscuring the person, and in a similar way to the previous image, by still telling us a lot about them.

The third image, taken at the base of the Shard shows many people rather small, with none of them really working as a focal point in the image, what does work as the focal point for me, is the pink ballon as a colour accent, really standing out and grabbing the attention. I like this image because of this flash of colour, I think it adds a quirky element. As part of the exercise I think it works rather well, as mentioned no one is a focal point and they all seem to blend in together beyond the ballon.

The fourth image, taken a third of the way along the Millennium bridge uses an ND filter to ensure a long exposure, using motion blur to effectively make the large group of people walking towards me anonymous, this coupled with the background and blue sky make for an attractive and interesting photograph. I think the volume of people moving in front of the camera add to the interest, because it is a solid wall of movement it adds to busyness of the area while also obscuring the identity of each individual in the frame.

The fifth image, using silhouette as the form of obscuring was taken on the balcony of the Tate Modern, exposing for St Pauls Cathedral in the background left this couple under exposed resulting in this interesting silhouette, I really like this way of obscuring individuals, especially when you can capture the right moment between two, I found it important to ensure there was that connection there that I saw, of a couple, so I waited to ensure I got them looking at each other, composing the image as best I could in the confined space to best show the lines off to compliment this.

This final image of the exercise in an abstract self portrait which obscures my face not only by the use of the camera but also the reflection giving from the metal balls on route to St Paul’s Cathedral from Millennium Bridge. I thought this was interesting use of both the metal ball, also by adding the Cathedral to add interest but also as a self portrait obscured by the scratches and the camera, however to those who know me, this would perhaps still be recognisable.

I really enjoyed this exercise and it was harder than I first anticipated, I found it was a case of finding a location and working out who and how was best to capture each image, apart from the first which was a spur of the moment notice and quickly work the best image possible. I like what obscuring the identity of people in an image does, as mentioned at the top it adds an air of mystery and interest to an otherwise possibly average photograph, for example the first image wouldn’t have been as compelling and interesting if we could of seen more than the hand and a slice of the ladies face.


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