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Archive for the category “Documentary Photography”

Main Assignment Proposal

This feature must be a documentary feature that is suitable for an existing editorial publication.  It could be a news story or a feature story based on a current issue.  You will have to produce a proposal for your story that is aimed at an existing publication or website, and present it during the tutorials in week 7.  You will then work on your feature story and deliver an edited set of ten pictures as your final assignment.

As the prices of fuel, car tax and emission charges in certain cities continue to rise even the so called untouchable super car owners are starting to look at alternative ways to becoming more efficient. One of the newest ways that is starting to come in to production is Hybrid cars, they combine both a electric motor and a petrol engine within a car to try and reduce the amount of emissions and cost of general running. Although this technology is relatively new it has been successful with the like of the Toyota Prius. The Prius is a very boring family car, nothing like a super car so  the super car manufacturers have started looking at ways they can keep or in some cases even improve the performance of their cars while trying to reduces emissions and increasing mpg statistics. As I have been interested in motorsports from a early age even I have seen the technology advance and change in cars and motor sports. I felt it would be interesting to document the change of the way cars have been manufactured (mainly the engines) over the past 100years. Starting from the massive 12litre V8’s up to todays 1litre sports cars. As its something I’m interested in I feel if written for the right magazine people will be intrigued into how they have changed, and why have they changed? The photos taken by myself would have to be clear and obvious as to what is in the image to give the reader the clearest view possible on the subject being talked about.

TopGear magazine is a magazine I read regularly therefore I am familiar with the way it is written and what articles within it contain. As the magazines target audience are people who are interested in cars I felt that the article I am planning to write would be of interested to TopGears target audience.



Final Assignment, Magazine Story

Write a 500 word magazine story to go with your pictures.  This could be a short interview, some descriptive writing or some comment on the story.  This should be written in a style that is suitable for your target magazine.

Is this the year for the Economical and environmentally friendly sports car?

For the past 5 years many manufacturers have been focusing on hybrid family cars, but this is no good to the serious petrol head. We do not want to sacrifice power and performance. This year manufacturers have started to prove that we no longer have to with the launch of some of their latest hybrid and alternative fuelling technology. Documenting from the early days of super cars and comparing them with todays it is obvious the industry has came a long way.



Delage Bequet

This 1923 Delage Bequet was one of the earliest race cars. Fitted with a humongous 11.7litre V8 engine that was pretty much unstoppable during the GP races from 1923 to 1925 until the rulings changed. The Delage would of averaged a measly and wallet clenching 2mpg due to the size of the engine and the weight it was lugging around. Charging around the track on the skinny rubber tyres with literally no grip in the wet was a spectacle that gained the interest of the original GP crowd.



Lotus 56

Jumping to 1968 to the Lotus 56 indie car. This was the next big step in motor racing. The tall structures had been swapped for low, aerodynamic ones with weight trying to be lost throughout the process. The new turbine engine was capable of producing up to 600bhp, more power to weight ratio of any other car of its time. To produce the power the Lotus 56 had to incorporate a huge 280litre fuel tank into the design of the car to feed the kerosene slurping turbine.



lotus 72




McLarens MP4-27 (2012-2013 season)



The Lotus 72 from 1970 had a 3litre naturally aspirated V8, very similar to McLarens MP4-27 2013 F1 car that also has a V8 engine in. Although the V8 engine has decreased in size to a 2.4litre, this made it more fuel efficient and with the aid of 3 more gears than the Lotus the overall bhp was also improved, showing that the technology was allowing greater performance from smaller engines.


Formula Ford EcoBoost

The Formula Ford EcoBoost was produced as a 1off by Ford in 2012 to showcase the power you can get from their 1litre EcoBoost engine. Producing 200bhp from the engine combined with a ultra-lightweight chassis resulted in the 1litre turbocharged powered Ford being a track monster!  


Lotus Evora 414E

The 414E is powered by a electric motor, producing 300kw, the equivalent to 414bhp. This was showcased at the end of 2012. Could this be the new alternative to petrol? Is electricity the new petrol? 


Lotus F1 (2013-2014 season)

The regulations for this years Formula 1 has had a drastic change on the cars. They have moved from 2.4l V8 to 1.6l turbocharged v6’s due to a 100kg fuel limit per race. Even the top motor sports are becoming more economical.


Mercedes SLS AMG Electric Drive

First revealed in 2013 the AMG Electric Drive has over 700bhp with 0-60mph in under 4seconds. The showcase of this has sparked rival companies such as Porsche and McLaren to focus on their production of a electric sports car.


McLaren P1

Available for the public since 2014. The P1 combines a electric motor that works alongside a additional petrol motor. This combination allows 34mpg average but with a 0-60mph time of under 3seconds! Its considered to be the start of the next generation super car.


Peugeot Onyx Concept

Peugeot have even jumped on the Hybrid wagon with their concept car. Said to combine their v8 race engine with hybrid technology producing a apparent 680bhp.



Final Assignment

Write a 500 word reflective evaluation of your final assignment that gives an account of your research for your assignment and a critical assessment of the decisions that you made about the content and research for this assignment.  Did you have to change anything about your project whilst you were working on it?  Give an account of the decisions that you made?

The brief of the modules final assignment was to find a “current issue” that can be aimed to be featured in a certain publication. My final assignment idea is to do with motor sports, and have the days of big fuel guzzling super cars and race cars ended? This is because 2 of the biggest names in the super car world, Mclaren and Porsche have both released production cars with dual motors (one petrol and one electric motor within one car) The magazine I am aiming for is the TopGear magazine.


Understanding the way motor sports and super cars are going I felt was a crucial part of this assignment as for it to be published in such a prestigious motoring magazine such as top gear you have to know everything as many of the readers will be very knowledgable on the subject too. Looking at how I could then document the change in the motor sport industry got me thinking, as I do not have a massive backlog of photographs of all the old super cars and race cars so I had to do the next best thing. Go to a motor show where I knew there would be a range of old/vintage cars up to the brand new prototypes.


I have researched many car/motor sport photographers and these have influenced the way I’ve taken my photos in the past, but as this was going to be a more factual documentary piece on how the cars have changed I felt that the images had to be clear and obvious on what the cars were in the images. This made me re-think the way I should take my photographs for this assignment and I found that Justin Leighton produced the same style of images that I was looking to produce. He is able to capture cars in such a way that it is clear on what the car is (vital for my assignment) but also in the same photo is able to make it look interesting and arty, not just a square on picture of a car.

With the style of my photographs narrowed down the style of my writing would be the next major thing to research and plan out. TopGear is known as a very witty, knowledgable and informative magazine catering for petrol heads that are seriously interested in cars. The magazine has articles in its monthly issues that review new cars and also compare a range of cars over the same tests. I would be trying to compare the difference in the old style of super cars and race cars compared to the modern, more emission conscious super cars and race cars.

I decided to take my photographs at GoodWood Festival of speed as I have previously been there and I knew that the range of cars there is one of the best in the country and thought it would be perfect to photograph for this assignment.

Street Photography, Fast Food Images

I chose to take my pictures from the same place. I sat outside one of the main fast food restaurants in Leeds for about 20minutes and my aim was to capture people walking out with their fast food. This was to emphasise the meaning of fast food, food they were able to quickly purchase and then eat on the go having minimal impact on the customers time. While sat outside I noticed that wide variety of people who used this fast food restaurant. Here are six of my images I took below.







Does documentary photography always depict the truth?

Documentary photography is regularly thought of to depict a true picture of what is going on. This is not always the case. People say that seeing is believing and I think in documentary photography that is true as the images shouldn’t be manipulated in a way that misinterpret the original picture, although the way the photographer takes the picture and selects what photographs go into the public eye doesn’t always depict the truth. A example of this is there could be someone in the street that is being mugged, they then try and protect their self by hitting out at the mugger. If someone was taking photographs of the whole ordeal happening they could easily just let the public see the picture of the person being mugged hitting out at the mugger. They would then look like they are the attacker but if the public were able to see the full story then they would soon realise that intact they are the victim of a mugging and are only acting in self defence. This example proves that you cannot always rely on documentary photographs to depict the truth as it is up to the photographer or the editor of the magazine/paper/website that the photos appear on to choose what photos they want to put on. There choice of images could be very one sided, if documenting a war and they are on a certain side they will most probably only document bad pictures of their opposition as they wouldn’t want the side they are on depicted in a bad way. Overall I do not feel that documentary photography depicts the truth.

Week 5, Observations and Ideas

Documentary Photography is…


A Self-assigned form of reporting that tackles big-picture problems in a nuanced and evocative fashion, building up arguments through a series of images made over long periods of time and from an informed experiential point of view.



Independent photographers combine their skills as reporters and artists, developing extended photographic essays that delve deeply into humanistic topics and present distinct personal visions of the world.

Brett Abbott Engaged Observers in Context Paul Getty Museum 2010


Philip Jones Griffiths was a famous Photojournalist from Wales. He covered the Vietnam war while working for Magnum Photo Agency. The images he took during this time is what he is now known for. His photographs reveal the disturbing realities of war that the media don’t often show us. 


He also documented the daily life in a urban war zone in Northern Island in the 1970’s


Documentary is “The selective dramatisation of facts in terms of their human consequences” – John Grierson


Sebastio Salagado is a Brazilian Photojournalist who focusses on addressing the lives of workers in less developed countries, in places that tend to go undocumented.


So called human documents are personal, heartfelt, and emotional.  Social documentary work can depict how a situation feels and not just how it looks; it can convey factual information about the world compellingly by delivering it in emotionally charged ways.

Brett Abbott Engaged Observers in Context Paul Getty Museum 2010

Laura Greenfield is a american photographer who’s project “girl Culture” draws light on the self as teem crisis amongst American women. The image below bring the attention to the on going obsession in the western world with ones appearance.



After looking at different peoples work it gave me a insight into how wide documentary photography is. You can literally go from war zones to beauty patents! The documentary photography that I find most interesting is the stuff you do not see every day. This is could be because the news channels and papers do not want you to see it or it could be due to the fact you don’t see documentary photographs on a certain subject because it is very rare someone is able to get to the places and people to take the photographs in the first place. It has made me realise that if I want to take what I feel like are good and interesting documentary photographs I will have to work hard and get myself into positions and places that the general public are usually unaware of what goes on there such as documenting a life in the day of a prisoner.



Hidden Places Assignment

As my original plan for this assignment was unable to be completed I had a very limited amount of time to get another opportunity to take some photographs for this assignment. I got in touch with a friend who I knew from his Facebook page he was in the process of producing a EP. After a few phone calls we arranged a time where I could drop into one of his studio sessions where he was recording his bass.

When I first entered the recording studio the first thing that struck me was the size of the mixing desk, there seemed to be endless buttons and knobs that all obviously have their own role, what that role is I don’t know! Mitch then gave me a brief explanation of what he was in the process of doing and how he will be moving in and out of the mix room and the recording studio and that I was free to go where I wanted. I also didn’t have to worry about how much noise I made due to the fact he was pugged in directly to his guitar and wasn’t recording off of a microphone. It was tricky to not get the same style of shot over and over again due to the fact he was only doing two things, playing the guitar and editing it using the mixing base. If I had more time I would of been able to attend more of his recording sessions and the pictures would of been more varied. This wasn’t possible due to reasons out of my control.

Here are a few of the pictures taken from my time in the studio with Mitch


ImageStudio 2Studio 1ImageImageImage

Street Photography, Shipley



These are a few of my photos were taking during a trip to Shipley. I experimented with different street photography techniques such as being obvious I was taking a photograph of the subject. Also I tried to take some surreptitious photographs where I had the camera at my hip and i wouldn’t be looking at my subject when the picture is taken. This took a few attempts so to understand what angle the camera should be at but eventually I got it. I preferred taking photos this was as it was less obvious (took the attention off of me) but also the subjects looked natural, as I found if I was obviously taking photos and they spotted me they would try to get out of the picture.

Week Four, Negotiated Photography

Photographers sometime to get exclusive and insightful photographs have to negotiate there way into certain places allowing them opportunities not normally allowed. Photographers can spend several years building trust that can then provide them with a insight into someones life with no barriers. Negotiating is a very important part of Photojournalism and especially documentary photography. 

During the lecture we got shown a couple of series of photographs that the photographers had negotiated to be able to take the photos. Some were fairly sensitive subjects such as the fallen soldiers one where Ashley Gilbertson would speak to the families of fallen soldiers to enable access into the soldiers room to take photographs of their room. Gilbertson would of spent months building up the trust of the families before they would allow him to publicise the personal space of their lost relative.

Another example of this is a Channel 4 documentary on Gypsy’s. While watching the programme it was obvious that the gypsy’s were comfortable with the cameras around them and therefore were acting natural. The natural footage that Channel 4 were able to get was only made possible by the trust they gained by the people they were filming. 

For the hidden places assignment I was asked to negotiate access to somewhere that is not usually seen. Take a set of pictures that describes what is happens in the place and also expresses your point of view as a spectator in a private or forbidden world.

I really wanted to do something to do with my passion, Motorsport’s. I had a idea that I could contact several race teams and see if any of them got back to me. Unfortunately this time none of them replied to my e-mails so I soon realised I had to go down a separate route. One of my dads friends is friends with a race chief who has a team that races in the British Superbike Championship. I was able to obtain Pauls number (The Race Chief) and give him a call. I phoned him up and explained who I was and what I was studying at University and then went onto explain the assignment I had been set. He seemed interested and asked me to e-mail him more information on what I was wanting to do. Here are the e-mails:Image

The e-mail below is what Paul sent to the Media office of the track I was going to attend.


I was unable to gain a media pass to go around the track but my original idea of taking photographs in the pits was still fine.


Unfortunately I was unable to complete this due to being called into court as a Prosecution Witness. After putting all the hard work and planning into this I was gutted that I was unable to complete this. I hope you can understand this and see that I had everything in place to go and take the photographs and the reason it wasn’t completed is completely out of my control. I am now looking to quickly organised another option for this assignment.


Week 3, Street Photography

One of the most popular street photographers at the minute is Brandon Stanton. He is known for his project called “Humans of Newyork”. The project originally began on tumblr but since then a book has been published and topped the New York Times’ best sellers list. He goes around New York meeting the inhabitants out on the streets. After chatting to them and getting their story he then takes a photograph of the person and then uploads it to the internet coupled with a quote they said.

Here are a few screen shots from his Facebook Page:ImageImage


For the street photography assignment I narrowed the four options down to two. The two i was left with were After Hours and Fast Food. 

After Hours: People on a night out, Restaurants empty/offices/bus stations, street cleaners after a saturday night cleaning up the mess before people get up on sunday morning.

Fast Food: People eating, street stalls selling food, fast food restaurants, all different cliental that eat fast food, litter from fast food.


After weighing up both sides I have decided to use the idea of fast food for my street photography assignment. I have chosen this over After hours as I am going to try and capture the different types of people that eat fast food from different classes to different ethnic groups.


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