Visual Exploration and what it means

You search you find ..

Visual Exploration is all about exploring what the eye comes across and then interpreting that in your own unique manner. We as humans explore everyday, we’re constantly learning new things, thinking about them, putting some of them into action, this is how we are continually visually exploring the world around us and adapting to certain things within it.

Exploring and learning from everyday life is probably one of the most exciting things for me that I look forward to when I wake up every morning. Knowing that there is a great vast world out there, waiting for me to find things, write about it, photograph and talk about it. Visual exploration most definitely has no limits. Anything that has meaning to it, is worth examining, and I choose to blog about certain things that interest me,events I attend and moments that I photograph around the world.

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Throughout my life growing up I’ve learnt to document moments that inspired me, to leave a memory for someone who hasn’t found what I have found yet. It’s a joy for me to go places, visually explore, whilst learning from others and sharing that with the world to the best of my ability, with words, pictures that take the audience back in time. I have learnt a lot from studying the true meaning of Visual exploration by living my life and just simply being alive, finding the beauty in each day. And now I have finally come to realise.. 

.. keep searching, your heart deserves to feel that moment of ‘awe’ when your eyes finally visually meet something amazing.

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Elliot Erwitt

Elliott Erwitt was a documentary and advertising photographer. He is well know for his black and white candid photographs, where he photographs every day things, such as families spending time together, someone cooking, children, eating and everything else. Erwitt started studying photography in 1939 at Los Angeles city college when he moved to America, finishing his education in 1950. Elliot served as a photographer’s assistant in the 1950s in the United States army. Photographers such as Robert Capa, Edward Steichen and Roy Stryker influenced Elliott to take photography further as he was inspired when looking at the images they took of society, making them look natural, within the moment, and what actually happens in real life.

Roy Stryker hired Elliott to work on a photography project for the ‘Standard oil company’. This experience led to him becoming a freelance photographer, producing work for Colliers, Life and Holiday. He then went on to continue shooting projects around the world because he joined the Magnum Photos agency in 1953.

All of Elliott Erwitt’s photographs are very simplistic and observed. He waits to grab the best angle and photo which comes naturally. In four of Elliot’s books that he published, Son of bitch (1974), Dogs Dogs (1988), Woof (2005) and Elliot Erwitts dogs (2008), a subject he decided to focus on was dogs. Elliot went on to spend a lot of time in film making since the 1970s. Some the documentary films that he produced are ‘Beauty knows no pain’ (1971) and ‘Red, white and bluegrass’ (1973), but the most well known one is ‘Glassmakers of Herat, Afghanistan (1977).

I looked at one of Elliott Erwitts latest books called ‘Personal Exposures’. Seeing what few others see and capturing it for us, is the essence of personal exposures. In this book Elliott put together prints that he rediscovered after a long time of not seeing them, creating a unified whole that reflects a consistent, mature vision of photograph and humanity. He photographed men, woman, children in off guard moments, old people, little girls, and many other things. I took ideas from his work, looking at how he approached society to photograph them working, living everyday, something I am going to do. Finding people in the most bizarre places, doing unusual things, or things we see all the time, find that perfect moment and then capturing it.


References-

Book: Elliot Erwitt, W.W.Norton & Co,First Edition(16 Nov 1988).Personal exposures. Schirmer/Mosel Verlag Gm (2012).

Website: http://hautlieucreative.co.uk/Photography/2014A2E/elliot-erwitt-david-bailey-preferences-for-film/ viewed 27/11/14

Website: http://www.americanphotomag.com/photo-gallery/2014/05/elliot-erwitt-work?page=1 viewed 27/11/14

Eugene Richards

Eugene Richards is an American documentary photographer. Within Richards photographs his main aim is to raise social awareness and they have been characterized as highly personal. In his first book that he published ‘Few comforts or surprises (1973), he photographed the poverty in Arkans. In His seconds book however ‘Dorchester Days (1978), the book comes across more angry and bitter, both political and personal. Eugene has also been a member of Magnum photos.

As Eugene lived in Arkansas in 1968, he became increasingly involved in the black community. He began to use his camera to record what he observed, not only the poverty and suffering of these people but also their laughter, contemplation, and triumphs. His subjects range from children at play to an African style wedding to scenes of work and home life. Death, religion, and imprisonment are major elements of Delta existence, and of these photos. The 110 photographs collected within his book ‘Few comforts or surprises’ that I looked at and studied, express the quality of life in a part of the South.

  

When Eugene was in Arkans, he helped found a social service organization and a community newspaper, many voices, which reported on black political action and the Ku Klux Klan. Photographs he made during these years were published in his first monograph and book ‘Few comforts or surprises’ which I studied, learning from his work and taking ideas from it to put towards my theme. When Richard returned to Dorchester, he started to document the changing, racially diverse neighbourhood where he was born. His second monograph ‘Dorchester days’ was published in 1978, the same year he joined Magnum photos where he remained for 17 years.

Some of Eugene’s work has appeared in major magazines worldwide including Life, New york Times, Mother Jones, National Geographic and The Nation. Some of the books that he has published include ‘Cocaine true Cocaine blue’ which is an extensive reportorial on the effects of hardcore drug use. Looking at some of the books that Eugene has published that I myself studied here and there, I see how he clearly photographs people in unstable surroundings, showing their actions, which give us an understanding as to why they are showing a certain emotion. Eugene’s aim is to capture moments where the viewer connects with the person in the image, understanding their life and behaviour; this is something I have included within my shoots.


References-

Book: Eugene Richards.MIT Press,New edition (22 Aug 1974).Few comforts or surprises: The Arkansas Delta.

Website: http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/photography/photographers/photographer-eugene-richards/ viewed 27/11/14

Website: http://www.photoeye.com/Auctions/Auction.cfm?id=6278 viewed 27/11/14


Everyday Semiotics

As we know sighs play a very big part in our everyday lives. From an early age we are all taught the meaning of most signs in order for us to operate and understand how things work in the real world. Some signs are informative for eg, Toilets (male/female), Notices (shops,bars,clubs, building regulations), restrictions (no running, no dogs, no smoking). Some signs mean safety for eg, Lights (car lights, street lamps, traffic lights), warnings (high voltage, deep water,road works). We are taught what these signs mean so that when we come across them in person, the human mind automatically knows how to respond to it. It is important that we get taught the meaning of these signs from a young age as they could one day save your life, for eg if there is a very dangerous hazard, knowing that the sign says not to go any closer to it can keep you from serious harm.

As a conclusion, signs are made up of two parts. The signifier and the signified.
The Signifier is the visual  aspect of the sign,what we can see. The Signified is the mentality that comes with the meaning of the sign that is learnt through society and culture.


Semiotic signs