An abstract style of photography was introduced, referred to as Joiner photography. This is when a variety of photographs are pieced together either digitally or printed and then placed together, to create a new larger piece. Often the photographer takes pictures of a scene, but instead of capturing one photograph of the whole scene, small sections are captured. They are then put together similarly to a collage, in order to produce a new scene. The sections may have different exposures, with an overall artistic approach to the final image. I was assigned with the task to create my own joiner, using Adobe Photoshop to create the whole piece.
An influential artist who created many examples of joiner photography pieces was David Hockney. I researched his pieces to gain a better understanding of the way they picture can be stitched together and what kind of scenes he captured.
I discovered a range of examples that featured landscape scenes to everyday items, such as the desk in the image above. I found the desk interesting as it presented different angles put together, to create a unique and creative outcome. He had taken many pictures that were zoomed into areas of the desk. For example, each drawer of the desk was photographed which allowed him to have creative freedom with manipulating the overall image. Such as, he could add extra drawers to the desk to change the size and shape. I think that including the floor has created a more effective outcome, providing further possibilities of how detailed the image can become.
The landscape above includes many photographs that have created an image on a much larger scale. I think the individual pieces have worked effectively by zooming into small details that have allowed him to produce an image with more freedom to change the positioning of objects and even add other objects into the landscape It has created an abstract appearance and the change in exposure produces a surreal and unique effect. I found this style of photography very artistic, as though I am painting a new piece of artwork from my own photographs.
The joiner above, created by Daniel Crooks is a style that I am interested in producing myself. I like that he has focused on one subject and took detailed images that have been overlaid to change the original proportion to make the girl appear abstract. Taking the close up pictures of the face has given him the freedom to manipulate her facial structure, along with using different angles this creates a striking result. The way he has picked the images together has been done effectively because the different angles slow into one another, which is pleasing on the eye.
After researching the work of a famous artist, I then analyzed modern examples of ‘joiner’ photographs. I found that David Hockney had an artistic painting style appearance to the images and manipulated the original scene to create different viewpoints. Whereas many modern pieces have recreated a scene, such as landscapes to appear very similar to a photo of the whole scene. The examples above show some landscapes that look less abstract as Hockney’s work. It is not as clear to see each individual photo in the center parts of the image.
However, the picture of the guitar is interesting because it has changed the typical appearance of a guitar. The artist has pieced together sections of the instrument but then added another neck and rotated the pictures in order to create an unusual design. I found this creative and think the modern items and designs combined with a creative arrangement of the pictures produces and impacting overall outcome. From this research, I have gained inspiration for my own joiner and have discovered various compositions and subject matter that I think has worked effectively.
Through my research, I have been creating ideas for my own work. I draw very rough sketches for initial ideas that I could c=produce. My first thoughts were taking pictures of trees or flowers that I could then piece together. Further ideas lead to architecture and then simpler, which was with single objects. For future projects, I will create more rough sketches with a variety of ideas. I need to create more visual research and planning for my work in order to have a better understanding of how I will achieve the desired outcome.
For my first attempt, I decided to capture a macro shot of flowers outside, shown in figure 1. I thought it would be interesting to experiment with depth of field and focusing on something smaller than a whole landscape piece. I used a shutter of 1/80 which was fast enough to reduce the chance of blur from camera shake or movement from the flowers, with an ISO of 100 to minimize noise. I created a shallow depth of field by using an aperture of f2.8, using a Canon 60mm macro lens. The light was strong enough to enable the lowest ISO setting which was beneficial as the color green can show more noise in the picture.
I was unsure how to start the piece as it was an unfamiliar technique. I did not enjoy not being able to view the final image during the shooting process. For example, I would usually take a single photo, therefore I am able to view the image through the viewfinder. Whereas for a joiner I am taking small sections of the image, unaware of how it will appear until I piece them together. This reminds me of using 35mm film with a traditional camera. I have had some experience with this style of photography and found it unusual to not be able to see the photograph through the viewfinder., only discovering how the image turned out in the darkroom during processing. This makes me feel more nervous in case I do not think the final result has worked successfully. To resolve this I took many pictures of sections of the flowers and went back after viewing the images in a rough edit to capture another attempt.
I found that taking small sections became tedious and I had to make sure that the camera settings did not change. This is because if the exposure changed too dramatically the photo would stand out too much against the others and for this image I did not want the depth of field to change. I wanted the background to remain blurred, however, in auto focus, the background would have been focused when taking pictures of this section. Therefore using manual focus-resolved this issue. I found that I had to put more thought into taking the image than I normally would. On reflection, I feel that this technique has benefitted my creative thinking and problem-solving.
A negative about the final outcome was that I focused on too little of the image. Only some flowers are in focus with too much of the background presented. This could be improved by using an aperture of f4 to focus on more flowers and moving closer to the subject so that the flowers take up most of the frame. I then could have captured smaller sections of the flowers instead of having larger images which do not provide much creative freedom.
An issue was that I did not take enough pictures. The pictures should have been of smaller details so that many more could have been taken. This would have then been easier to change the appearance of what was framed into a creative design. Flowers could have been moved or enlarged to have produced abstract designs. I found that this was more difficult to achieve with a few pictures that covered a large scale of the scene.
During this attempt of creating a joiner image, I think the way in which I composed the image hindered the final outcome. Previously explained in the evaluation I had focused on a small subject with too much background in the frame. The blurred background then overpowered the image instead of complementing it by making the subject stand out against the shallow depth of field.
When I researched joiner images a large landscape enabled the photographer to have a big subject to work with. They were able to capture all the landscape in focus using a small aperture with many pictures taken of different sections of the landscape. Alternatively, other photographers chose to focus on a small subject but zoomed into the details further and took small areas of the subject which they could then piece together. I think that I did not plan how I wanted the final outcome to appear in enough detail. I wanted a macro-style shot but did not capture a detailed closeup of the subject. I think that the process of taking many photos took my attention away from how I was composing it and how it would appear in the final design.
In-depth planning and further research of similar joiners would have improved the final outcome. I believe that the unfamiliarity of this abstract style of photography affected the Image. I was trying to piece the image back together too perfectly, making it appear similar to the traditional style of a single picture. I did not want to see the seams between the separate images or change the appearance of the subject. I think this had a negative impact as it limited the creativity and does not suit this style of photography. The most successful joiners are unusual and make the viewer look closer at the image for a longer period of time than they normally would. I did not submit this image for the final or test joiners as I thought I could improve the technique with further practice and am not satisfied with the result.
For my second attempt at creating a joiner, I decided to choose a different location and style of photography. I chose to photograph Chester cathedral and focus on a large depth of field to have the whole image in focus instead of the shallow depth of field in the previous image.
At this stage I had not had much experience photographing in the streets, making photographing the floor and small parts of the building uncomfortable as it attracted the attention of the public. Fortunately no one approached me, however, I still found it difficult to concentrate.
I found the grand structure to be slightly overwhelming and began to think that I may have chosen something too complicated to use. I then felt this more when editing the pieces together and am not satisfied with the final result.
I have not created an effective joiner because the image has not been manipulated enough to create a more abstract result. I have pieced the structure too closely to its original form, making the final result less effective.
I chose a subject that was too complicated and detailed. I think it made it more difficult to manipulate into something effective. Therefore, I will focus on a simpler subject matter so that I can focus on producing an abstract overall appearance from the images.
I found that the wide angle lens that I used made it difficult to focus on smaller areas of the building. I should have brought the selection of lenses that may have produced more effective results. I need to focus on smaller areas of the subject so that I can then manipulate the image easier.
The lack of images hindered the overall effect because it reduced the number of options I had to piece the image together. It provided limited resources to change the structure in creative ways.
I had decided to focus on a simpler subject instead of architecture or nature. Therefore I chose a skull that I placed on a cloud effect backdrop. I thought the backdrop would be interesting and the skull would allow me to focus on taking pictures of smaller, more detailed areas. I used constant lights on either side to light the skull but allowed shadows to be cast because I thought it may produce more depth to the subject.
I then undertook two more experiments using this skull to improve the final outcome. I took pictures of different angles and arranged them as separate skulls for one image and then combined all angles for the third image.
I used Adobe Lightroom to view all the images and then edited the final A2 image in Photoshop. It was much easier to view all the images in lightroom, similar to a contact sheet. This allowed me to take time in deciding which images would work best and then Photoshop allowed me to create a new document where I dragged the images on and created the final joiner.
I felt that I had more control over this piece as I only focused on one item. It was much easier than the previous images and felt that I could take my time and create different effects. After placing the images together I initially thought it worked well, but then came to realise it did not produce a creative joiner.
I received feedback that I had made the same mistake as the other images. I had made the image appear as its origin form, without any manipulation or creative changes. I agreed with this and tried to design other ways of piecing the image together. I was surprised at how challenging it became and found it difficult to think in this abstract style. I felt out of my comfort and was not satisfied with the work that I had produced.
I wanted to continue with this project, therefore I took more pictures of the skull from different angles. I felt that this made it easier to create a joiner and allowed more freedom. I combined the angles into one joiner, presented three skulls. I felt that this was an improvement from the first attempt, but now in reflection, I am not as satisfied.
I knew more work had to be done, therefore for the third experiment I took more time in planning what I could do with the image. I researched examples of faces that had the joiner effect and used this as inspiration for the third attempt. This made me feel more comfortable and gave me new ideas.
The third experiment was much easier to carry out as I had more of an idea of the effect that I wanted and could see my progression through this project. I knew that I needed to be more open minded and abstract therefore I worked more freely when editing the images and took the time to place pictures in different areas, adding or removing others to find the best outcome. The final effect feels much more creative and suitable for the criteria. I am pleased with the progress that I have made and feel that I have improved from the first image of the skull.
The main negative from the first two pieces is that they are not abstract enough. I needed to arrange the images in a more interesting way and that changes the original appearance of the skull.
For the final image, I learned from the mistakes that have made and combined all the angles to one single scull. I found this to be much more abstract and change the proportions to further change the final appearance of something more interesting and creative.
I found the main hinder was that I did not take enough image, especially detailed areas. I needed to get closer and make sure that I did not have the background in all of the images. I found it was difficult to arrange pictures over other because the background would then overlap the skull. Therefore, I had to take more pictures, but of smaller areas, such as only the teeth instead of the whole mouth.
To conclude this was a style of photography that I had not experimented with before, taking me out of my comfort. I found it difficult to change the way I compose images. I needed to become more free and abstract in the way I placed the images for the joiner. This has helped me think differently about framing and become more creative and confident with trying something new. This project was not a strength but I think I made progress and will continue to challenge myself with new ways of creating images.
I have chosen this image for the final piece because it is the most creative design. I had continued to improve the way I composed the images and tried to think more artistically. I think this image has met the criteria more successfully compared to the other attempts and have shown more creativity with less formal structuring that resulted in the other images creating images that did not appear any different from their original form.