Week 5: Meet someone new

Week 5 Meet someone new
We were asked to meet someone new as we went about our daily business and ask them about their locations, what they notice and what this makes them feel. We then had to take images from their perspective, show them to the person and receive their comments as a way of learning about others views and developing a “collaborative model” for our own work. A model that is inclusive and engaging of others this being “one that can perhaps present people in more inclusive, complex, and empowering ways.”.

My meeting was not with someone absolutely unknown to me in that we are are on the same online course and have realised that it would be possible to meet up given the proximity of our home locations. We arranged to meet at a beach side location this being changed at the last minute as a consequence of finding out the tea room would be closed. We moved to a nearby National Trust property and met in the tea room there. This being a first meeting we had not made firm plans to go beyond a coffee but in the event agreed it was a nice day and a walk would be a good idea especially as we had established that we are both interested in natural landscapes. I picked up on comments in our questions and discussions over coffee that there was a strong interest in the colours and lights of autumn, this being a favourite season as it is mine. I wondered to myself whether our likes and preferences may have been too similar for this exercise? I also noted a tinge of disappointment that you may have missed the best colours of the season. While I took images when we walked and stopped to look at views I was not sure I had captured ones that may have been from your perspective. I was lapsing into my research project world of spotting debris as we were by an estuary. After we had said our goodbyes and having reflected for a moment while in the little shop, I decided to take myself into the more formal gardens of the property and focus on seeking out images that might meet the approval of my course colleague in playing to their preferences. The tree and close ups of leaves were taken at this point. I emailed these along with an image of  Birch tree polypore fungi I had taken when we both stopped to take this and a large group of Sulphur Tuft mushrooms. In addition I could not resist taking an image of a squirrel I spotted in the gardens. I thought this represented autumn although the vibrant leaf colours were not present. I also wondered what the reaction to this image would be but was more interested in the response to the autumn colours images.

I was pleased to have a great response “All of the images you have sent definitely show autumn to me.” The images received not only individual responses/reactions but I was also given advice about using light and getting in closer to an image which will be very useful to bear in mind in my work.

Reflecting on this exercise I think it could have been very different had I approached someone new rather than a course colleague who is a photographer. Our common preferences for autumn and interests including our research projects which both relate to nature and outdoor landscapes, may have resulted in too much synchronicity and not enough challenge in seeing another person’s point of view. Having said that I enjoyed the challenge, it was great to meet a colleague as our course is online and hopefully we can meet up with other colleagues in our area and gain from each others perspectives and experiences on mini field trips in the future. I may try this exercise again with someone I have not met before.

Thank you to my course colleague…..you know who you are!

The comments I received are set against the image they refer to below:

“The close up of the leaves (1st image) show the change of season and really like the shaped you managed to capture in this in image. The other image almost shows the process of the leaves loosing their colour before falling from the tree – both of these couldn’t have been taken at any other time.” Great compliments to receive for my homage to autumn colours. There is a suggestion in the feedback of a slight preference for the 4 leaf image and I agree. It was far more interesting for me to try to position myself in relation to the light in order to show the veins as well as the colour of the leaves and I think the result provides a focus for a viewer to consider. In contrast the second image is busy and your eyes dance back and forth without a main agenda item to focus on.

“The photo of the tree loses some of colour I was talking about ……….but this was because the light was very flat that day but there is some wonderful light on the base of the trees looking through them.  It is a nice image and I think another a little closer concentrating on this light would have also made a nice photo.” Yes I can see and agree with what is being said here.  I wonder whether a crop as well so that the leaves are in the upper third, the trunks in the middle third and grass in the lower third as well as waiting to see if the light improved as late afternoon approached would be a good idea.

“I think the photo of the squirrel is just great, this is the sort of photo that would be shown on BBC Autumn watch, captures the season perfectly.” Wow! What a compliment. I take great joy in capturing wildlife but am only a beginner technically so my images although they are  gradually improving (to my mind) are nowhere near a standard required for professional airing. So this is a real confidence boost.

“The Fungi on the tree was maybe my least favourite, still an interesting image, and one I think reveals more the more you look at it.” I wondered why this was the least favourite image, perhaps lack of vibrant colours, perhaps my composition (the image could have been cropped so that the fungi was in the centre), or maybe fungi which is intrinsically linked with autumn in my mind is not a feature that my colleague usually focuses on especially as they tend to take images of wider views of landscapes. I will try to remember to ask them….

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