Scholarship photography exemplars - 2016

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Outstanding Scholarship

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Panel 1 (JPG, 1.5MB)

Panel 2 (JPG, 1.5MB)

Panel 3 (JPG, 1.2MB)

Entire Folio (JPG, 4MB)

Sample Workbook pages

Sample page 1 (JPG, 3.5MB)

Sample page 2 (JPG, 3.6MB)

Sample page 3 (JPG, 3.7MB)

Sample page 4 (JPG, 3.9MB)

Sample page 5 (JPG, 3.9MB)

Sample page 6 (JPG, 4MB)

Sample page 7 (JPG, 3.9MB)

Sample page 8 (JPG, 4MB)
 

This submission presents a survey of life on a rural farm in New Zealand that moves through a range of activities and vistas using explorative viewpoints of the selected subject matter and happenings. A durational aspect is introduced via the scope and ordering of observed moments, from early morning landscape views, detailed close ups of a spider web to the milking station and post workday ruminations.

This work builds on the strength of personal insight and the availability and accessibility of the subject, a key aspect in documentary photography. The work operates on a few levels to communicate life on the farm – capturing the daily mundane tasks, seasonal changes and the life cycle of humans and animals. This is reinforced by formal elements, such as the repeated circular motif in the frosted fence post, the pond, the tractor tyre and the grouping of cows.

A high level of technical facility is sustained throughout the enquiry with special consideration of light, time of day and the effects of reflection, silhouette and diffuse light. There is a striking employment of photographic conventions, viewpoint and cropping to compositionally challenge what we think we are seeing. Work on the folio demonstrates a well-considered understanding of image sequencing; an image of a reflection in a puddle sits next to a picture of a man’s hand in a pond – in both images the still water fills most of the frame. This points to the level of observation and seeing on the part of the candidate. A sequence of images of a brown circular shape from the fence posts frames a view of the cows and directs us towards a portrait of the cow. Again, this demonstrates the control the candidate has over the medium as it frames and re-frames our view as the one looking.

The workbook explores a sense of belonging and examines a generational history of farming, including interviews with family members. Other research looks at the future of farming life for the next generation of this family, the impact of environment issues and the advancements in technology used to aid the farming life. This Scholarship submission is an informative and visually competent photographic essay that provides an insightful and engaging enquiry into rural farming life, a key feature of New Zealand identity. As a documentary, the submission sits in context of and is part of a longstanding New Zealand documentary photography tradition, as mentioned in the workbook with the inclusion of artists such as Marti Friedlander, Laurence Aberhart and Anne Noble.

Scholarship

(click icon images to see a large version in a new window)

Panel 1 (JPG, 1.3MB)

Panel 2 (JPG, 1.3MB)

Panel 3 (JPG, 1.3MB)

Entire Folio (JPG, 3.7MB)

Sample Workbook pages

Sample page 1 (JPG, 3.9MB)

Sample page 2 (JPG, 3.9MB)

Sample page 3 (JPG, 2.7MB)

Sample page 4 (JPG, 2.5MB)

Sample page 5 (JPG, 2.4MB)

Sample page 6 (JPG, 2.4MB)

Sample page 7 (JPG, 2.1MB)

Sample page 8 (JPG, 2.4MB)
 

This submission has a political focus that interweaves a number of key themes: environment issues and human corruption, specifically drawing on the candidate’s own perception of the current state of planet earth. They immediately own the fact that they have a somewhat cynical viewpoint, which productively translates into a political and opinionated driver for the work. Working with a topic of personal interest gave the candidate a lot to work with and respond to through studio and location-based photography.

The candidate communicates their intention for the enquiry very clearly and sets out to share their concerns. They are a passionate environmentalist and through this photographic expose aim to make images that force viewers to think deeply and reflect upon the serious nature of the topic. The image making narrates what the candidate sees as a massive issue; the deforestation, pollution and destruction of the planet. They want people to emotionally engage – and go about this by creating a series of works that powerfully commentate what they perceive as the fate of the planet, should the lack of care and conscience continue.

The selected locations are appropriate to the proposition; the enquiry begins with a healthy green planet, tall trees in warm golden light with blue sky backdrops. The photography strategically shifts to black and white when trees are chopped down and reduced to logs. Fire is used as a metaphor to show life and death. This type of subject treatment continues in a number of ways; nature bleeds, a flowering shrub survives in an apocalyptic landscape, a figure breathes through a floating plant, a plastic membrane suffocates. The selection of the candidate’s own mother as the central figure speaks to the currency of environmental issues as they relate to the generations and metaphorically refers to Mother Earth.

The direction involved in the production of this work is sophisticated and very well managed. The candidate makes excellent choices of location and model with very purposeful costuming. The intensity of these images is reinforced by the incorporation of well-considered props, e.g. with the mask changes, the white mask is protective gear, the breathing apparatus is lifesaving and signals an escalation of concern.

The workbook demonstrates sustained attention to detail and consistent evaluative process in all areas of decision making, such as rationale for the use of natural lighting across different times of day, adjustments in staged lighting for colour and atmosphere, cropping decisions, etc. An excellent range of camera techniques are employed; selective eye, control of depth-of-field, range of viewpoint, forced perspective, sequencing – along with a variety of photographic equipment and processes. It is clear they have full control of an array of image-making strategies – DSLR, film, scanning, shooting through glass, sensitive use of Photoshop (as and when required to advance the proposition). Overall, this is a technically strong and well-executed body of work.

 
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