Results

Within this page I will compile all the data from my sources and briefly describe my processes and results.

1) The results from the exhibition

The exhibition aspect of my project was a huge success. With over 65 voting cards filled out this far surpassed my expectations. Lets have a look at the results.

The bar chart above shows quite clearly how the audience voted. Lets take this image by image.

Image one. This was taken by an experienced photographer who produces images to sell on a frequent basis. His image (below) utilises the Golden Ratio to good effect to achieve a composition that draws your eyes to the main point of focus (the bench).

This was the best image that used the Golden Ratio out of the three. If we look at the results for image one, 48 people voted this image to be the most pleasing one out of the three with only two people voting it to be the leasing pleasing.

Image two. This image was taken by photographer who has had a reasonable amount of teaching and training, but doesn’t practice photography on a regular level. His image doesn’t use the Golden Ratio at all, almost a polar opposite from image one.

Voters were definitely much more indecisive about this image that any other one. In terms of how close the results for pleasing vs least pleasing were, 28 voters found this image to be least pleasing out of the three. 12 voters did however find this image to be pleasing.

Image three.

Image three was taken by a completely camera illiterate volunteer. This image uses the Golden Ratio to some degree, almost like a half way image between image one and two.

The image generated mostly least pleasing results with 39 people voting that they found it the least pleasing image with only 8 people saying they found it the most pleasing out of the set.

So the image that uses the Golden Ratio to best effect (image one) had the most pleasing and the fewest least pleasing votes. The curve ball image (two) was the most confusing one which yielded mixed results for the Golden Ratio. Maybe the voters got compositially confused? These results will help me offer my personal opinions

2) My results from tracking images

After I processed all of the volunteers film and digitised it I had to formulate a type of tracking of composition within the Golden Ratio. Flick back to the article titled “Flickr & Facebook Photos” for more information on how I achieved the tracking of composition.

But I had to come up with a way of calculating the results. I came up with a circler diagram which I overlaid over each image. This gave me five areas to count the dots, area one being the most central.

An example of the rings

After completing the results all I had was a set of numbers with no way of comparing the two categories, snapshot non professionals vs the professionals. So, to add a relative figure to each categories I worked out the mean for the rings.

The results are as follows:

As you can clearly see, the professional photographers had a higher hit rate within rings one and two that the non professionals. Likewise, the non professionals had more hits in rings three and four. For each photographers diagrams, click on their names below.

I will discuss all of this primary research in more detail in section four of my project.

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Post Exhibition

Today was the last day of the exhibition. Due to my short timescale I had to draw it to an end just after its been up for a week. Sad this maybe, it has served me well. The response I received from the voting has been much more than expected. Originally my aim was to have around 20 completed voting forms. I’ve got over 80, far more than I ever imagined.

Peoples engagement was reinforced by their comments. Whist watching people look at my work I could overhear comments such as “wow” and “thats cool” and it turned heads. All thanks to the Lenticular effect.

The website side didn’t quite go to plan when it was let into the wild. I had exactly the opposite response towards the voting side. I had thought that having the ability to vote when you like, where you like by the means of the internet would far outweigh the physical voting box in my exhibition. I was however wrong. People viewing the photographs online, they were also viewing them on the Mac Mini next to the exhibition.  I could tell how many page views and hits the site was getting from the information collected by my server.

Note* The reason the Number of visits is low is because the main source of hits came from the Mac Mini. That computer would count as 1 visit.

With a maximum of 25,650 amounts of hits (individual images loaded) and the amount of bandwidth (434.08 MB) going out I is clear that it was in use. Why people were not voting on the website is slightly more unclear to me.

So where next. Having looked at the results from the website I have reviewed and decided not to include any data that have been gathered from my website. This is purely because a lack of data which I have deemed would make the results irrelevant. So, the exact opposite happened. I predicted that the website would be the main source of data where in actual fact the exhibition collected far more than I anticipated.

Where does the website go from here?

I have decided to convert the website (vote.webmeta.co.uk) into a portal for all the images. I have disabled the voting system entirely and modified the text accordingly of the site to reflect the change . The website will now also house the results from my personal findings, the data from the exhibition and my overall results/concussion. I believe this is the best way to (again) exhibit and archive my work.

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Exhibition Goes Live

Creating an output for my work was a very long and windy road with many obstacles which had to be overcome. Within this article I will cover the process I went through. I’ll start with the Lenticular images.

Step one:

Using a technique similer to a Lenticular image was always going to be a challenge. So, in preparation I created a test model, just to understand the process of making it. Step one was to understand how large it was going to be. I wanted it big, big enough to catch peoples eyes when they walked passed. The limitation I had was really paper with which is 24″. The image could have been as long as it wanted as the paper is on a roll. So, as a simple solution to the problem I rotated the image 90 degrees and printed it length wise. The overall printed dimensions of the photograph was 65″ wide by 20″ high.

Step two:

This stage was to understand how the paper would react when bent and creased into shape. Answer – a lot harder than my small scale model. First step was to score down each crease line, making sure it was 100% accurate. I did this because the paper was curving instead of bending. I soon realised that if you push remotely hard you’ll be buggered as the craft knife you go through the paper – vital knowledge. Once this had been down I could move on to making the creases and bending it into shape.

Step three:

Renforcement! The scale model i built didn’t need any reinforcement due to its small scale size. Larger objects tend to bend more, bad news. My answer was to reinforce each section with three bits of mount board. This aided in another way too. It gave it structure to stop the photo paper bending in on itself. Unfortunately I didn’t have any subtable substance to adhere the mount board to the photo paper so in the interest of time I had to use sellotape. To my surprise this did actually stick… for a night. The morning after it was loosing its power to stick.

An example of the underside of the photo

Step four:

This step was to stick the photograph to the MDF. This if anything was the most annoying part – and the most insecure. To marry the MDF to the photo paper I used small bent mount cards, one end attached to the MDF and one attached to the photo and acted like a hinge. Fin

A few days after I had completed the test model I brought it into show my other classmates to gage their opinion to the display technique. The overall response was good. They like the idea of how each photograph would look but were critical on the manufacturing saying it was too flimsy, and they were correct as it was about to fall off the MDF. Doing this test model gave me vital knowledge towards the final models.

Next step was to print my final images out and collect materials. I first of all sent three out of four images to be printed and sending the fourth one at a later stage. I soon realised that it was going to be a longer job than anticipated due to a few modifications needed. The biggest modification, and the most time consuming one was to add triangular sections to the top and bottom of each image. These would be first gaffa taped town to the photo and later glued. These triangular sections improved each model significantly in terms of structure and looks. Perviously it was possible to look inside the structure and see the messy mount board supports. The triangular sections made it impossible to look inside. The main aid these gave was to adhere the photo to the MDF. I made the triangular sections longer so that they wrapped around the MDF and his pulled the photo tight. I then glued the triangular sections to the MDF. One other improvement was to replace the sellotape throughout the structure with high grade gaffa tape. Due to time constraints I didn’t have enough time to manufacture the fourth and final one. I didn’t anticipate how long each one would take. However in some respect I didn’t really matter as the three images I printed out were all different in terms of the use of the Golden Ratio (one that uses it very well, one that kind of uses it but not only extremely well and one that doesn’t use it at all).

The final images used were:


The Website

The main reasons I have build a website was because it enables an audience who don’t go into university to engage within my work. Through social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook posts with links can be added for people to navigate to my site. The viewer will be able to view and rate if they think each individual photographer belongs in the “professional” or “amateur” category when relating the images to the Golden Ratio. These results will come through to me at the backend of the website where I can tally them up. Another good reason for making a website is to house the images of which they are over 500. Alternatives to a website would have been a book or even printing all 500 and displaying them all somehow. A website would be much more suited for this type of image count then a book or even printing.

I started off thinking about what is the best way to design a website that has enables certain functions:

1) It must look minimal, sleek, sharp and crisp

2) It must have some kind of voting system embedded within the front end (how it looks and acts when anyone views it) and backend (how it works “behind the sense”).

I started to by creating a subdomain on http://www.webmeta.co.uk (my blog) called http://vote.webmeta.co.uk. Creating a subdomain is basically like creating a new blank website under the same domain or website address. What this meant was that I could make a new website and still have my blog functioning at the same time. I installed a content management system called WordPress. WordPress was initially for personal blogs but has evolved overtime and now hosts any kind of website. The critical aspect of it all is that you don’t have to know much code (HTML, CSS, Javascript etc). I know small amounts of HTML, not not enough to make a website from scratch so this was the correct path to go down.

First of all I addressed how my website would look or the “theme” as its known. For WordPress you can download thousands of individual themes for free. As you can imagine you can search around the internet for hours upon hours finding the right looking theme, which I did to no prevail. So I starting thinking, what could I do with the default theme that comes preloaded when you install WordPress. Twenty Ten is the name of that theme. Its a sharp and crisp black and white theme, very minimal. I started looking around in the HTML area of the theme and taking bits of code out according to how I wanted it to look. A few key changes were to remove the header image and to make each page one column instead of two.

Once I had the website looking the way I wanted I moved onto the gallery aspect of the site. The gallery was probably the most vital point of the whole website as it would control each photo. WordPress has me covered on this front too. Because of the customisation of WordPress I was able to import a plugin called NextGEN Gallery. It’s this plugin that basically controls every image on the website from the resizing of the thumbnails to the displaying of the galleries.

First of all I had to take the digitised images and reduce the size of them. I used a lightweight program called ImageResizer which did the job well. Setting the perimeters at 900 pixels wide by 596px high at 72dpi gave me a nice small file to upload to my server. When working with images online you must consider one major factor, file size. This is for two reasons. One, a smaller file size means a faster loading webpage. Two, larger images take up precious bandwidth, and bandwidth costs money. So a smaller image size it is. As soon as they were resized and compressed into a zip file I could upload them onto my server and point NextGEN Gallery into the right direction. Once it had all be set up backend it with a few tweaks here and there it was good to go.

The final step was to set up a voting system. Luckily I found a plugin for NextGEN Gallery called NextGen Gallery Voting (NGG Voting) which allowed votes to be cast when a certain bit of code was inserted into a post. Problem being that it wasn’t set up to say “Professional Photographer” or “Amateur Photographer” but “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” instead. Looking in the code of NGG voting revealed that it just pulled two PNG images from an image folder on my server. So I changed these two images to say “Professional Photographer” and “Amateur Photographer” in Photoshop, redesigned the backgrounds a little making them look more appropriate and uploaded and replaced the old PNG images on my server with the new ones. Only slight problem with this is when looking at the results backend the labels are still named “Thumbs up” and “Thumbs down”, thumbs up being professional photographer and thumbs down being amateur. Not a massive problem.

An example of the buttons

Once this was installed the website was launched. A slight hiccup happened when my hosting company had half a days downtime where my site was inaccessible. Noting I could do, just part and parcel of the web.

Once everything has settled down I set about hanging my Lenticular images and setting up a Mac Mini with the website on.

The Final Stages

Hang the Lenticular images up wasn’t too hard as the MDF was a good material to screw the metal loops on. All that need to be down was to line everything up correctly with the aid of a sprit level and sticking a few things down. Setting up the Mac Mini proved to be slightly more difficult. Setting up the Mac proved to be a little bit of a problem. I needed it to act in a few ways:

1) To display my website and function.

2) To be as tamper proof as possible (I didn’t want people browsing to other website)

3) To be on a timer so that it switched off during the night and back on in the morning

I used the default Mac XOS internet browser called Safari to display my website on. I explored using others like Firefox but decided not to for one reason. I found a plugin called Glims for Safari which enabled a nice full screen mode of viewing the website. This removed the tool bar (where you enter a URL) and bookmark bar making it hard to navigate towards another website. Firefox does have a full screen mode but it is much easier to close and change websites. I also removed the keyboard from the Mac leaving only a mouse. I did this as I didn’t have any text fields on my website – so no one need to enter any text. However, even using Safari with Glims it still was possible to change websites. I needed backup plan. I’ve been using a program called Log Me In on my Mac for a while now. This peace of software allows remote viewing/controlling of any computer that it runs on. With Log Me In installed on the Mac Mini I could remotely view whats on the screen at any one moment and, if it was on another website, change it back my mine. The beauty with this software is that I don’t have to be anywhere near the computer. I can do it sitting down at home or while i’m at the pub.

An example of the LogMeIn interface

The last part was to program the Mac to turn off in the evening and on in the morning. Mac OSX as a build in schedule within the energy section of the preferences. This allows you to set the computer asleep and turn it back on again at certain times of the day. Great, or not. Whenever the computer goes to sleep it looses the login credentials for the university network so it would automatically route to the login page.

Because the computer isn’t connected to the internet because its not logged in I couldn’t remotely control it from Log Me In. So, I removed the automatic scheduling for it to go to sleep and wake up. As a way around this I will enable the screen saver around 8ish in the evening and disable it when I wake up in the morning.

The very last thing to do was to design the voting cards which will allow the viewer to vote which one they find the most visually pleasing and the least visually pleasing and to design a flyer to dot around campus.

The Flyer

The Outcome

It’s been up for a week now and so far so good. My one fear that the Lenticular images may all collapse in on themselves hasn’t happened and the computer hasn’t crashed yet. Overall i’m very pleased with how it has all turned out. I think the website functions very well and does its job of supplementing the Lenticular images by the exhibition and also works as a stand alone piece on the internet. The Lenticular images do their job well too. Being bold and eye catching has enticed people towards them and more importantly engaging with my work. To date (25/11/2010) i’ve have had 60 responses through the vote box next to the Mac.

A group of students engaging in my work (not staged)

http://www.youtube.com/v/sfy-5Y3pK4U?fs=1&hl=en_US

All in all it was a fun experience. Experimenting with many new techniques that I’ve never tried before. Hopefully the results will reflect the amount of time put into making the project.

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Why an Exhibition?

During my primary research on the Golden Ratio one thing became clear. Whilst ‘pro’ photographers had a fairly good understanding of the Golden Ratio, or at least the ‘rule of thirds’, almost all ‘snapshots photographers participating in the project had no knowledge of this rule of ‘good’ photographic practice. For the uninitiated, the Golden Ratio could simply have been a brand of bottled water!
Most of the participants were, however, interested in how this concept could inform or possibly improve the quality of a photographic image. I began to ponder how I could address this lack of exposure to a common photographic practice. The answer was to mount an exhibition of images to test the degree to which a random selection of observers saw the value of the Golden Ratio in creating ‘visually pleasing’ images.
The overall plan is simple – but effective. Have three photographs printed that have been taken by my volunteers with disposable cameras and mounted onto MDF using images that use the Golden Ratio and those that do not with the lenticular effect added. The viewer will first read a brief introduction statement explaining what the Golden Ratio is (in few words as possible). The viewer will then be asked to review the photographs and will then be asked to vote to signify the photographs which they consider to be the most “visually pleasing” and “least pleasing”. The one main reason I have used the lenticular image process with the Golden ratio overlaid was to try and direct the viewer into thinking about the Golden Ratio and how it works with the image and voting accordingly.

Hopefully the nature of how the lenticular image will work will:

1) Help people visualise the Golden Ratio upon my images

2) It’ll hopefully be more interesting to people walking past and therefore will generate interest within my work.

Click to enlarge

The viewer can also look at other photographs on the website, and vote on the ‘visual attractiveness’ of these images. Exhibiting like this will hopefully encourage audience interaction within my project. The voting system will also reveal whether the audiences preferred the Golden Ratio “enhanced” images or images that (consciously or otherwise) may no use of the ratio. The findings from this exercise inform section four of my project.

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Half Way Post

I’m just past half way in this project and I thought it would be a good idea to review my progress to date.

Just to recap. My four primary goals for project one are:

  1. To explore the concept of the Golden Ratio and its historic use in art, architecture and photography.
  2. To examine how the Golden Ratio is used in modern media images.
  3. To investigate the use of the Golden Ratio by ‘trained’ and ‘untrained’ photographers in creating ‘visually interesting’ images
  4. To offer some personal reflections on the ubiquity of the Golden Ratio in modern photography. To examine whether (‘trained’ or ‘untrained’) photographers who make use of the Golden Ratio (consciously or otherwise) produce images that are perceived to be more visually interesting than those who do not.

I have now completed the first two aims of my project within the timescales set for my project plan. My main area of interest now lies with Task three.

Task three will involve willing volunteers comprised of people who have had no training in photography (that is people who class themselves as “snapshot” photographers) and people who class photography as a serious hobby or as part of their profession (that is ‘trained’ photographers).  Each photographer will be given a disposable camera for a week and asked to take photographs which they consider to be “visually pleasing”. No attempt will be made to define the criteria for creating a of a “visually pleasing” image: this will be left to the interpretation of the volunteer.

Only after this exercise will the volunteers know about the tracking of their judgements to the composition ‘rules’ used for the production of the  photographic images. The photographs and results will be uploaded onto a website as the output method. This task will start in week five and end in week nine.

Current status of task three:

With 25 disposable camera brought and handed out to a mixture of “trained” and “non-trained” photographers, the third stage of my project is progressing well. To date I have had photographs from 19 cameras returned, developed, digitised and uploaded onto my website. My project timescale for this work was set between weeks five and nine.

I have, however, had to change the timescales for my project plan dramatically. This was to include an additional element in the project – an exhibition of photographic images which will allow random viewers to judge the photographic images produced in stage 3 of my project. In essence they will be asked to judge whether “photographers or non photographers who make use of the Golden Ratio (consciously or otherwise) produce images that are perceived to be more visually interesting than those who do not use the Golden Ratio.”

In order to manage this new aspect of my project, I realised that I needed  to start handing out cameras in week four, stopping in week six. This would allow me to mount an exhibition of the photographs produced in stage 3 in weeks eight or nine. This in turn would give me sufficient time to analyse the finding from my primary and secondary research and present this in printed book form, which would take a minimum of two weeks. This has been a good learning point for me in terms of setting realistic, but challenging, objectives for a project to be achieved within very tight deadlines.

My next step this week is to print out four or five images with the Lenticular effect added to them, mounted to wood and ready to hand. The images will be a mixture of images that use the Golden Ratio and ones that don’t. The website should hopefully be fully functional by the end of this week (week seven).

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Photographers Golden Guide to: F1 Photography

One of my passions in life is F1. From the glitz and glamor of the sport to the semi-automatic seamless shift sequential gearboxes, its great. So it makes sense to research into the nature of photographing such sport. With hundreds of  photographers covering each race weekend you tend to get quite a lot of the same generic shots. However one photographer seems to break the mould when it comes to F1 photography.

Darren Heath is one of the top F1 photographers shooting today. His approach to taking photographs of F1 is still fresh, even after 22 years of doing it. One of the first times I came into contact with Darren’s photographs was through the BBCs website. The F1 Big Picture was a page which was updated every race with one of Darren’s photographs, each one as stunning as the next. A video introducing Darren Heath:

http://www.youtube.com/v/5hGnj2nBBbE?fs=1&hl=en_US

This next extract was taken from the BBC where he was describing one of his photographs.

“In the world of photographing Formula 1 the composition of a photograph is – as in all forms of the art – king. Whilst obvious attention is given to the big-in-the-frame action shot it’s often a good idea to shoot a tad lower using the visual stimulus of the surrounding landscape to compose a picture that can have almost equal amounts of drama. When framing such a shot it is of paramount importance to have in mind the rule of thirds. As all professional lens men should know, the rule states that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections. By adhering to this simple yet often ignored technique, rather than simply centring the subject, one’s resulting pictures will have more drama, energy and interest. With the rule etched in my mind from an early age, I see almost everything through an imaginary grid.”

Heath seems to highly rate the rule of thirds which is practically the same as the Golden Ratio. One interesting part of the quote was found in the last sentence. Heath talks like he uses the Golden Ratio subconsciously when taking photos. When he says “rule [was] etched in my mind from an early age” may suggest that Heath was in fact born with the Golden Ratio already embedded in his mind.

Heaths use of the Golden Ratio is one of his key strengths as a photographer. Gaining this compositional skill within his photography would be very hard considering these cars can reach 200mph+. Conquering this technique maybe one of the reasons Heath has become a common name in F1 photography.

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Lenticular Exhibition

Brief background

Lenticular is a technique where an image has the ability to change or move when someone passes it from a different angle. It  has been used for many children’s toys from book marks to posters since being created in the 1940′s. It also has undergone a series of technological changes allowing for much bigger posters and a better “3D’ experience. Modern day uses for this technique have lent itself to advertising graphics that allow a message to change. For example movie posters where the lead characters change according to the angle viewed upon.

I won’t be using the modern day method due to cost of producing/printing. So, I’ve gone back to basics with this technology and will be making my own. When completed it’ll be part of an exhibition whereby the viewer can walk down one side of the wall and view the images, then when walking back in the opposite direction will view the image with the Golden Ratio overlay. Before looking at the Golden Ratio side the viewer will have a change to vote if the think the photographer is professional or a “snapshot” photographer.

How it will work

The fundamental principle itself is quite simple. Take two images and interlace them together into one image. In theory this should create one image that is the same hight as the original images but double the width. Then fold and bend each line break of the image so that its like a concertina effect.

An example of interlacing images

The photo above is a flat test image that I quickly mocked up and printed out. One photograph had the Golden Ratio overlaid and the other was an unedited version of the original. They were then both spliced together to form a long photograph.

Above are the final results of the test. The technique works well. A few pointers though. The fold line has to be dead on otherwise it will leak into the next slice. Something else i’ve got to think about is how thick each slice is going to be. In the small scale test they were 3cm wide. I think it would work better if each slice was slightly wider. Next step – full scale.

Posted in Exhibition, Lenticular, Project 1, Research, Results, The Golden Ratio | 3 Comments