Wednesday, 30 September 2009


This blog has been set-up as a repository of thoughts, planning and anything related to my Digital Imaging and Photography MA. Initial thoughts for projects include;

- Explore the idea of sleeplessness, allows for low light atmospheric photographs. Would be an ideal chance to use a recently bought Canon 50mm F1.4 lens for low light portraits. Try and find philosophical texts relating to sleeping/waking for inspiration and background research. Look at other established photographers who have conducted low light work to convey a human state or feeling. Consider using multiple frames on a background to tell a story.

-Separate project relating to shortcuts/alleyways. Use physical alleyways and wide angle photography as a metaphor for taking emotional shortcuts through life. Use a wide open road scene as an opposite? Illustrate photographically that taking a shortcut might seem inviting but very uncertain, an established road is long but proven? Research philosophy! This idea really needs development but it seems to offer interesting scope.

Below are all the posts relevant to the second MA project. I've removed them from their original date posted as I need the blog to focus on my final MA project only. Second project posts read from most recent to oldest.

Major update
I seem to have neglected this blog recently but not for the lack of project work. The main achievements since my last update;

1. Images selected based on research then scanned in to produce TIFF files
2. Selected images edited and saved a JPEGS
3. Images integrated into a working web-based slideshow
4. Audio cut-up and edited into a sequence for the slideshow
5. Project 2 paperwork finalised

I selected the images for my slideshow based on textual and visual research. The work of Peter Robinson and Stuart Clarke is vast but some of the inspiration that ended up being key to project decisions are;

It is difficult to summarise exactly why these images were so important as it is discussed at length in the project write-up. Their importance is to do with the desire to be involved in a community, this desire can then lead to subconsciously competing for fan status which forms a hierarchy.

My slideshow with sound can be found at;

I will update more in the coming days with comment on the final project. I have been stupidly busy trying to finalise this second project so blogging has fallen by the wayside unfortunately. The image below is a screenshot of what the final slideshow looks like;

Football Fanaticism Project
Another shoot for the second project was conducted on Saturday 3rd April. Some images are really pleasing and will be included in the work handed in for assessment. Two of the images I like the most, and ones that integrate into research surrounding fan interaction and behaviour at football matches are given below.

The files are low-resolution and quite small but the relevant negatives will be scanned and minor adjustments made before final delivery. Another shoot is to be conducted on Saturday 10th April.

What is pleasing about the timing of the project, is that the football club in focus is on the verge of promotion. This has seen some fan behaviour amplified and a 'carnival' atmosphere around the ground.

Both these images will form part of the second project submission.

This image was captured after a shot was taken by the opposing team that just ran wide of the goal. The closed eyes of the central man suggest despair and relief, along with the youngster who has physically turned away from the pitch.

This second shot is illustrative of people from an older age group displaying the care-free attitude associated with pre-match banter, usually found within the younger generation. The interaction between the man on the left and the balloon blowing clown is interesting, along with the man in the cap engaging an in-depth discussion with another clown.

Second Project. Linking Visual Research to Textual Research.
I've been reading a lot relating to fan culture so decided to switch to looking at some images that might convey what is being written about. The few below are from Stuart Clarke who appears to have captured hundreds of images from teams across the football league. Some contain Norwich City fans which is helpful.

I like this one because it is sort of bizarre. No matter what age a fan is they are all united in one moment observing the same thing;

I also read a lot of Matt Hills' (2002) work surrounding the idea that fans of a certain 'thing' are subconsciously aware of the constraints and barriers in their fan community. This could be argued to lead them to almost 'compete' for fan status. This links into the work of French social theorist Boudieu who also discussed the idea of a recognition of rules within a fan culture. He comments on the desire to vary and stand out in the hierarchy.

The image below (again from Stuart Clarke) pretty much sums up part of what i've been reading. The guy in the picture is well known throughout the Carrow Road ground. This could be seen as further indication that a social hierarchy rather than simply a fan community is at work across certain areas of football stadiums.

Second Project Textual Research Approach
When dealing with a project relating to 'fans' of something it has become apparent that I need to examine both sides of the coin. To do this i've broken my research into two areas.

1. Cultural texts - these are books, magazines etc that are actually targeted at the group of people themselves. This research can reveal what a football fan expects, dislikes, wants, values etc. It will help when scouring a football ground seeking to convey the true essence of being a football fan.

2. Academic/theoretical texts - Necessary to understand what makes someone 'fanatical.' These texts are probably not targeted at the fans themselves but theorise on what makes a person fanatical and what that actually means. Useful to the project as it aids in pondering why large groups of people gather in one place on a saturday afternoon all for the same reason.

Examples to illustrate what I mean;

Cultural - Velody, M. (2009) Can We Play You Every Week? , London: Short Books.

Theoretical - Hills, M. (2002) Fan Cultures , London: Routledge.

Un-project related Holga tests
Its probably a good point to note that i've been testing out how the Holga performs under different lighting conditions, the images below I quite like.

These were done on 200 speed film but I think 400 for the next proper shooting phase at a football ground might provide more versatility for if I go into inside areas.

Second project concept
I've been trying to think about how what i'm doing links to football fan culture as a whole. This quick diagram supposes a fan's team wins in parallel with my image capture phase during a match. Not sure about it but kind of interesting and something I will draw into my project proposal paperwork;

Test Shots for second project
I've reeled off a few shots to test out what I am likely to get out of the Holga. I'm pretty pleased with some of the results. For the next match I need to literally take a pocket full of films and get as many shots as possible. I need more to sift through.

I'n terms of project concept it has developed after thinking more about the way in which football has changed over the years. I've started reading books about fan memoirs too. The summary of additions to the idea;

* Using older, rudimentary technology can reflect and hint that no matter how many years have passed, football has always been about the fans. When financial difficulty or on-field problems are stripped away from football clubs, the people who fill the stands make the history and are most important. The imperfect nature of Holga introduces the idea that through aged eyes, a football crowd can transcend the decades.

* Using a modern digital camera to capture pictures of a crowd does not convey the nostalgic, timeless nature of fan interaction. Depicting fan culture through Holga imagery removes all the glitz and glamour associated with the modern game and returns the focus to the fans. Almost a memorial to football days past.

Some books relating to fan experiences have been looked at. I like the idea that people are complaining about the modern game but still show allegiance to a club. Bolster the idea that a fan today really only wants the same as a fan did decades ago.

..pretty much sorted Portfolio one and the presentation for pre-production unit. A few points to note since I last updated.

1. Spoke to arguably the one of the best sports photographers ever about my football fan culture project.
2. He looked into getting me into a game with professional camera equipment.
3. Can't because every photographer has to be approved by the football league and enter a number online before a game. Rubbish.
4. So i'm sticking with the lo-fi idea. I can argue that it is reminiscent of the gritty image of football fan culture prevalent in the 70s and 80s.

Been undertaking some visual research surrounding fan culture and i've bought these three books cheap.

Need to scan some images in to put on here and in the write-up. The next step is to examine fan culture in general, and read some theory on it. Then I really need to begin to type up some paperwork for it. Not to mention taking a pocket full of films to some games and doing some intensive shooting.

Really pleased with..
how the weekend went. On Saturday I took a few shots with my new Holga at a football match, I've got a better understanding of what I want to capture for the project now. Captured some crowd noise on the sound recorder on my phone which when played over the top of the images should give a raspy, grainy feel to the whole project. I definitely need to do between 3-4 more shoots to get enough material to piece together a project from. If I cant get down to a Norwich City game, I will have to go along to a few Lincoln City matches.

In terms of the final project, the discussion with my brother about the most important areas in his home went very well. He is open to the idea of the piece which is great and I was allowed to roam freely and take some test shots of different areas. I also made a list of stories behind certain objects which will help when exhibiting the images.

I took over 100 images in the time I was there and some really do have potential, another shoot should provide enough material to organise into an exhibition piece. I do have some images i'm proud of but am loathed to put them up on here as I want the exhibition to have an impact. I may put one or two up once i've looked through them all.

Brief First Project Reflection
In a nutshell the first project examined the feeling of insomnia and the suggestion of 'counting sheep' to assist in sleeping. Research looked at the work of Max Ernst, Chip Simons and Ralph Eugene Meatyard. A lot of the project underpinning came from David Bate's musings on audience interaction with surreal imagery.

I'd of liked a little more time to produce more of a narrative in different environments, which is why I view the images as only partially successful. Cheers to Kerri for being my sleepless model. Four of the eight images are shown.

All set..
For a test phase of the second project on football fanaticism..

1. Visit pubs popular with Norwich City fans before kick off on Saturday. Fire off a few shots with a roll of 400 to capture the camaraderie and banter.

2. Wander to Carrow Road, take pictures of lairy away fans/celebrating home fans/half-time pint/fan groups after the match. Possibly use a roll of 100 or 400 depending on cloud cover.

The Holga i've bought seems to let me shoot at F/8 or F/11 which is handy. I also decided to go for one which takes 35mm film instead of 120. Reasons for this include the ease of processing, and any developers on the high-street SHOULD be able to give me high-res files on a CD. This offers a degree of control for the 'digital imaging' part. (Probably important considering the course title.)

I also plan to tap into the 'digital' part of the course through capturing some crowd noise and atmosphere via the sound recorder on my phone, along with some grainy video and images to possibly use as part of an audio/visual experience when delivering the final images.

The technique's for this project are rudimentary for a reason. Clean, clinical elements probably wont capture the raw essence and atmosphere desired.

In terms of outcomes, I hope to have a number of images to examine and ponder as to what works well/not so well. It should set up a solid plan for further capture visits.

Second Project - Tools and Rationale
I'm fairly settled on the idea of looking at football fanaticism for the second project. I began to consider what a football fan is, how they behave and what they may expect. When broken down a football fan endeavours to see a club, who they've offered their allegiance to, to obtain a desired result. Sometimes, the result may not be achieved in a perfect manner or even yield what they expect, but as long as it happens, it is cherished.

Taking this notion and incorporating it into the capture of images for the project would be interesting. I plan to buy a Holga camera and take it along to various football matches and into pubs showing football matches to capture crowd activity, friend groups, desperation, excitement, hope, despair etc. Fingers crossed, the images produced will hint at the unpredictability of being a football fan and offer a dream-like, hazy quality associated with 90minutes of a game, with a pint in-hand whether it be at a stadium or with a group in a pub.

This is what I want. 65 bucks well spent.

In terms of the second project, i'm interested in attempting to convey the notion of football fanaticism. The project offers scope to conduct portrait photography, close-up imagery of crests and badges along with a social aspect. I am keenly interested to depict the allegiance to a club and how it can produce strong social bonds between people.