Week 6: Independent Reflection
For the first time in this Module, I have had the chance to focus upon my research project. Rather than just bolstering the portfolio, I spent time investigating the most appropriate light conditions and it was interesting to see just how dramatically the colours of a stained glass window change. While the warmer, more vibrant colours of a cloudless sky produced preferable image colours, it had the negative effect of introducing shadow into each pane of glass. Consequently, the light of a bright, but overcast day was best: it was reassuring to confirm that I had been photographing the chapel windows in the most appropriate conditions thus far.
I also chose this time to revisit the first stained glass window that I photographed in 2013, using multiple exposure blending. Aware of the limited time that I have available to my research project during this Module, it was concerning that the post-production editing took eighteen hours. However, the this produced and image of markedly better quality than the 2013 original and more importantly, the finished image is more true to the original. This advancement is thanks to a number of changes… an new camera body; a better tripod head and greatly improved image editing technique.
It is clearly the case that all aspect of my work have improved over the past five years and I am confident that through this project I will see further improvements. It would be wonderful to discover a most efficient method of post-production, although realistically I cannot see this diminishing greatly.
Thinking About Spaces
With a plans to host an exhibition of my work, it is clear that my studies would have benefited from more time being spent on this week’s topic.
I am very much aware that there is a huge difference between an appropriate space for exhibiting and a space that will draw the crowds (perhaps unwittingly). Perhaps the most ideal location for hosting an exhibition portraying the stained glass windows of Oxford’s chapels would be within a chapel. This could be easily achieved in St. Luke’s Chapel, now part of Oxford University’s Conference & Events venue portfolio: Virtual Tour.
While a stunning and perfectly themed location, capable of accommodating 70+ people for an exhibition, sadly St. Luke’s is a little out of the way and would only attract those who intended to visit the exhibition. Passing tourist traffic is not at all high and it is only open when a client pays for it to be open.
To maximise footfall, the location of choice would be Aiden Meller Gallery on Turl Street in the centre of Oxford. An almost-pedestrian street popular with tourists and locals alike. Working in my favour, it has already hosted an exhibition in 2017 of Pre-Raphaelite cartoons for stained glass. Importantly, the gallery is also a dealership, used to marketing and selling art work, and is exquisitely capable of hosting exhibitions to the very highest level with knowledgeable curators on site.
Google Street View (2017) Aiden Meller Gallery, Turl Street, Oxford
While neither of these locations are any great distance from me (each being less than 3km away), right on my doorstep is The North Wall, just 300m away. Part of St. Edward’s School and just a few meters away from their chapel, The North Wall Arts Centre is a flexible, multi-purpose arts complex which contains a theatre, drama studio, dance studio and art gallery. Located in the most affluent part of Oxford, this would certainly be more readily visited than St. Luke’s Chapel, but falls outside the typical stamping ground of visiting tourists. However, The North Wall is very accommodating, always open to visitors and has a resident curator.
In addition to my project work, this week saw me attending the Athletics World Cup at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium in London. As I was purely spectating, this was my first visit there without a full frame camera and white lens, relying instead on the Canon G3 X. It was inevitable that the combination of smaller sensor size and small aperture lens would result in less crisp images, but with static shots the comparative lack of quality was not very noticeable. However, unsurprisingly, it struggled rather more with action shots – that said, the results were far from disappointing.