The photographer’s eye

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The photograph above was taken at Clough Co Down, one of the centres where the Orange Order were parading throughout Northern Ireland on the 12th July.  On the day I surprisingly took very few exposures but this image is one that stuck in my mind.  It’s not a particularly well composed image and it was taken early in the day before the parade started.  So why did I take?

There were several reasons, firstly I noticed the cowboy boots, the lyrics to ‘These Boots Are Made for Walking’ by Nancy Sinatra came to mind!  Another reason for seeing this picture was the fact that nearly everyone else in the scene is standing and the main subject is sitting, so there is a certain juxtaposition.  The fact that the heads of the people standing are cut off help the viewer to concentrate on the main figure.  I lowered my position when making the image so that I was almost at the same level, obviously the person saw me take the image which has not spoiled the photograph.

This image conveys a relaxed atmosphere in anticipation for the parade yet to commence. Probably the dominant feeling was …will it stay dry?  In actual fact it did stay dry until around 5pm!  There is nothing threatening or decisive conveyed by the image, unlike many images of Orange Order parades that you will find in the media.

Photographs are a powerful means for conveying messages and you are really depending on the honesty of the photographer.  In this case Clough was really about a family day out and meeting up with friends.

All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley. Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission 

The Somme Remembered

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Yesterday (1 July 2014) was the 98th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme and the usual civic remembrance was held within the grounds of Belfast City Hall.  In documenting the event I took 85 exposures and from these I have selected just 13.  In making the selection I took the deliberate decision to exclude politicians and other civic dignitaries because I wanted the Armed Forces on parade to be focus, after all it was their forefathers who paid the supreme price!

Her Majesty’s Forces on parade were drawn from the Royal Irish Regiment and the Irish Guards.  The series of images commences with army personnel assembling, the series continues with the parade to the cenotaph and it concludes with an establishing shot taken through a window from a second floor cafe adjacent to the City Hall.  

All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley. Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission  

Click on the link below.

http://ulsterphotography.co.uk/?page_id=5207

Red Barn Gallery

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Frankie Quinn pictured above runs and manages the Red Barn Gallery in Rosemary Street, Belfast and currently he is displaying his own photographic collection entitled “The Orange’.

On display are around forty images, all monochrome and 18 inches square, depicting various aspects of the Loyal Order as he recorded them in Belfast, Londonderry, Scarva and Rossnowlagh between 2011 to 2013.

Frankie is from the nationalist community which makes the treatment of his project all the more interesting.  A visit is definitely worth it and I understand the display will be available until the end of July.

All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley. Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission   

 

The Photographic Frame

Having returned from abroad we are now getting back to Ulster Photography and to what this blog is about.  In this issue I want to consider the image frame.  All images are created in a spatial context, the camera frame, which is two dimensional.  The image framed may remain unchanged or it may be cropped to make the image more pleasing to the eye.

It is always best to compose the image in the frame and to make full use of the negative or processor size so that maximum resolution is retained.  So when raising the camera to the eye careful attention should be given to the edges of the frame and to what is and what is not included.  In this case I cropped out a narrow strip on the right hand side of the frame to exclude a motorcar!

Having some knowledge of design does help; making use of lines within the frame, or by making use of juxtaposition can greatly add to the impact of the image.  The Rule of Thirds is followed by most photographers, but like all rules they can be broken.  I am reminded of the quotation that ‘rules are for fools and the guidance of wise men’, or women! 

So here is my chosen photograph!

Ulster Covenant 100th Anniversary Parade, Wellington Place, Belfast

This photograph is a re-enactment of Sir Edward Carson, later to become Lord Carson, processing from the Ulster Hall to the City Hall to sign the Ulster Covenant in 1912.  In taking this image I was drawn to a number of features.  Firstly the two parallel ranks of men which frame the edges of the photograph and secondly the Sir Edward Carson look alike in the centre and immediately above him the statue of Dr Henry Cooke (1788-1868) – the Black Man, which stands just in front of Inst in College Square East, a clergyman who became involved in politics.

The lines in the image create a triangle and there is symmetry within the frame.  The juxtaposition of the statue with the Carson lookalike and more importantly the juxtaposition of political concepts between the politics of the two figures work well in this image.  These factors combined make this image a keeper in my view.

As always your comments are welcome.

All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley.  Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission.

Print it big!

The various events organised to celebrate the Ulster Covenant have kept me busy.  I seem to have taken thousands of photographs and spent endless hours editing in front of a computer screen, so one image began to look much like another.

This led me to print out some of the images on an A3 printer and it is clear that viewing the printed images gives the viewer the much better experience than viewing the same image on screen.  One of the downsides of digital photography is that people seldom print their images and in years to come we will be left with a dearth of archival images.

With the photographic documenting I have been doing my hope is that I will have a body of printed images that will be a permanent record.  Nothing beats a mounted print hanging on a wall!

All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley.  Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission.

Fill the Frame!

To my mind photographs that fill the frame have more impact!  Because the wider context is not shown the viewer is compelled to ask questions, such as where is this and what is going on?  The famous documentary photographer, Robert Cappa, once said “… if your photos aren’t good enough, then you’re not close enough”.

With this advice in mind here are a couple of images I took recently!

Choice of lens or using your feet to get in closer is the answer!

All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley. Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission.

Providing the wider context!

In my last blog I talked about excluding elements from the photograph as a means of forcing the viewer to want to find out more.  The photograph I used was tightly composed to exclude other details and following my last blog I was asked for more information about the image used and what brought it about.

In this blog I have provided the wider context by including other details in the image and by providing other images from the same shoot.  The first image below was taken just before the image I used in my last blog and immediately much more information is included in the shot.  See below:

Ulster Covenant Anniversary Parade in Banbridge, Co Down, Saturday 30th June 2012

Another way to provide context is to use more than one photograph so that various elements of the occasion are covered.  In this case the head of the parade leading off and the final image of an exhibition in the local hall and a symbolic resigning of the Ulster Covenant.

The parade sets off

Exhibition in the local Orange Hall following the parade.

A useful way to tell a story is to use the picture essay technique, if you found this helpful please do let me know.

All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley.  Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission.

What’s in the photograph?

This photograph was taken in Banbridge, but what does it show?  When taking this image I purposely decided to exclude other elements from the photograph.  I could have selected a wider angle to show the background, to include the wider environment and give the viewer a wider perspective, but I clearly didn’t do so.

Sometimes you want the viewer to ask questions and to dig a little further. What is this picture about, who are the marchers and why are they marching?  The picture should make the viewer want to know more about the story behind the photograph.  If it doesn’t do this then the image has not been successful.

Marchers in Banbridge, Co Down, Northern Ireland

All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley.  Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission.

Black Saturday in Comber, Co Down

Black Preceptories from Belfast held their annual demonstration in Comber Co Down this year and provided the opportunity for some event photography.  For this shoot I decided to station myself in Comber Square rather then move around the town or to visit the demonstration field.

All images were captured using a 70-200mm lens, so most of the shots are quite tight and fill the frame. Only two of the images are cropped the rest are as shot.  The challenge was to look for character shots!  Here the aim was to take tight shots and use selective focus and a narrow depth of field, a task for which a telephoto lens is ideally suited. Please do feel free to leave critical feedback.

Copyright Notice

All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley. Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission.