Exercise 4.5 – Considering Creativity
A search engine image search for “church” returns many images.
As these images are the top images returned by a search engine; they are the images ‘wanted’ by those who are searching for an image of a church. Search engines track responses and then display what is responded to.
Many of these images are shot deadpan, the others from a viewpoint slightly to the left of the church. The predominance appear to be what I would consider to probably be American churches. Mostly the images contain some sunshine, there are some blues in the skies and some skies are dramatic. There is a church interior looking upward and toward the altar. Nearly all are in horizontal format.
A church in the village of Wentworth was chosen as the subject to photograph.
Before photographing the church I had a sense of what I wanted. I wanted to photograph the church in vertical format, slightly to the left, despite the search engine returns, as the church has a beautiful additional round tower to the southern objective. I felt I would need to crop into the sides of the church. I also wanted to further photograph the church at closer proximity with different focal lengths looking at what it is about a church that tells us it is a church; the architectural communication of belief from the building.
My favoured photograph is the image I wanted to take.
(f22, 1/8, ISO 100)
The chosen image is still somewhat like the search engine returns. Yet whilst they might not be considered as as creative as some photographs they are employing classic approaches to capturing our notion of what a church is. The above image I feel also captures the classic essence of what a church is yet I also feel that taking the image in a vertical format lends to the architectural communication of a channel to God or belief.
I considered archetypes in terms of churches and searched for images of Van Gogh’s paintings of churches, particularly the Church d’Auvers-sur-Oise. Whilst I love the shapes of the churches Van Gogh painted, I feel that there is not so much open space towards belief. And whilst Van Gogh may have been communicating that there was room for all to approach the church, it is not the approach I am concerned with in my communication.
I wished to show the small rounded tower that is the sort of feature that in my opinion seems of the fairy tales of childhood. I wished to show the small door. I wished to show the full height of the church’s impressive Victorian architecture, which stands at 200 feet and to allow the vertical format to worth the church’s height.
The weather was suitable at this point in the day (approx. 3pm) to allow for some moments of brighter sunshine that gave a preferable crisp yet sunny contrast to the stonework.
Removing foliage that had intruded on the sky plus additional sharpening, contrast and low opacity sky overlay has resulted in a photograph which whilst still within the realms of the more classic images obtained from a search result yet creatively communicates something of my perception as to belief.
The images below are further selects of the church at Wentworth.
(f6.7, 1/250, ISO 500)
( f8, 1/45, ISO 400)
(f4, 1/125, ISO 400)
(f6.7, 1/125, ISO 500)
(f8, 1/125, ISO 800)
(f6.7, 1/250, ISO 500)
The other selects are non-standard representations of the term “church” as they are ‘cropping in’ to the architecture. When we think of a church visually we might often think of the outline of the architecture.
Bill Brandt’s approach to photography was that, ‘Photography is not a sport. It has no rules. Everything must be dared and tried.’ (Victoria and Albert Museum). And of course he is correct in a form. His statement could also be applied to conceptual notions of what something is, such as a church.
The above images were shot to show salient features that make a church.
It would have been interesting to take this exercise further. If it were a major assignment I would have considered whether it were possible to enquire as to permission to photograph the interior of the church and also whether the project could be further extended to include any of those who work for the Parish or the congregation.
To re-conceptualise “what is a church?” seems to be the beginning of the creative scope in this exercise.
I have considered what a church is. For me, if a church is a possibility of a channel to God or a place where one might find and re-affirm belief then the ‘channel’ needed to be creatively communicated, the potential difficulty of realising belief needed to be creatively communicated and selecting an image created by cropping into the whole was not possible.
I considered spending greater time using Photoshop to change the sky of the chosen image further than I have done but instead went for the very subtle sky changes only.
Brandt, B, Victoria and Albert Museum, [http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/b/working-methods-bill-brandt/] Last accessed 14/08/2016
“Church” results accessed via Bing [https://www.bing.com/search?q=church&form=EDGEAR&qs=PF&cvid=30b2f1ac4ec249e5996d6f4613854881&pq=church] Last accessed 14/08/2016
Gogh, V, Musée d’Orsay, [http://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/collections/works-in-focus/painting/commentaire_id/the-church-in-auvers-sur-oise-7170.html?cHash=41a41feee6] Last accessed 14/08/2016
Wentworth Village Church, Holy Trinity, [http://www.wentworthchurch.com/history/church] Last Accessed 14/08/2016