A nice little feature on the Left A Bit blog: http://leftabitblog.tumblr.com
A nice little feature on the Left A Bit blog: http://leftabitblog.tumblr.com
When writing the piece I realised that the tattoo was an important element of the story and so I had to make a decision as to where it would go and what I would take out as I think 7 images would be too busy on the page.
I decided to take the picture of Josh looking up at his Dad in the living room because Josh in the bath looking up at his Dad represents the same thing.
I considered taking out the top middle picture with the red walls in the background because I felt it was in danger of being too similar to the establishing page but I decided that the content was different enough and the unconcious mirroring of Paul and Joshua on the sofa was important. Also, they aren’t on the same page so having a similarity like that in’t really too much of an issue.
How will my choice of establishing page affect the edit?
If I am to choose this layout I have to sacrifice the following:
I don’t particularly want to lose this picture but I don’t think I can use it alongside the establishing shot. The scene is too similar despite being at different times of day. I think it’s unfortunately worth losing this in the edit in order to have the establishing shot as it is.
My original edit. I think these moments are more interesting and tell more of a story than the narrative of a typical day for Paul and Joshua, which is how I edited some of the layouts in previous blog posts. Words can easily describe the simpler pictures I’ve missed out but I think it’s pictures like some of these that give photography it’s place in art and storytelling, as words fail to describe easily these moments in our lives.
Second page design alternative
I think having six pictures that are all the same rectangular format limits the design as I don’t want to crop my images. I know in reality they might be cropped but I don’t really see a need and barely an opportunity so I’m happy to leave them.
I think between this and the original design, I prefer the original. The pictures need space between them as they work well in threes: the top being the activities and the bottom being at home.
Having spoken to people who have been following this blog…(namely my Mum and my housemates), I’ve narrowed my decision down to these three designs.
I think Design 1 is likely to be the final submission because the text truly belongs on the picture. The font, colours, positioning and even how the text looks lit up from the natural light on the wall.
This was a favourite amongst people but I feel that the headline looks as though it has been placed there through default, as there is nowhere else for it to go, which is the truth. There needs to be more space between Joshua and the headline, and this is more evident when we can see the perfection of the above design.
I still can’t move away from this initial design although it was only my Mum that agreed with me. I just really like how the headline works alongside the images. However, it received criticism that when in context with a double page it might look too divided because of the headline having two bits to it and the pictures being quite different. It was also thought that the tattoo detail looks as though it belongs within the story but maybe not as an establishing shot, which I think is a valid point.
So all in all, I think it’s likely I’ll choose Design 1 but I’m going to print out all 3 in preparation for submission to see how it looks physically on paper.
A minor change from Design 2 as this time I have joined up the two images in the central gutter. I think for the establishing page it could be a good thing to do as these two pictures stand for one thing. They are not two separate elements to the story and neither are they the beginning of the narrative; they just act as a collective summary.
I’ve tried to see how the story works if I limit the amount of pictures within it. Below are the pictures I took out:
I took these two pictures out as they don’t contribute to the story as such. However, having taken them out and looking at the four that remain, I do think they contribute to the overall story about the relationship between Paul and Joshua. They are the quieter moments, which can be as important as the ‘doing’ moments.
I just wanted to see what it looked like to have a more vertical second page to match the first page but I still think I prefer the way that the pictures work in a lengthways three.
I’ve also taken out two pictures that I thought could potentially be replaced by pictures I was considering. I think this picture story creates more of a narrative but I prefer the two pictures I’ve taken out to these. The question is whether this narrative is strong enough that the compromise is worth it.
This story opens with ‘Me in You, You in Me’, which tells us that the story is about the unconditional love between father and son. The detail of the tattoo also suggests that there is a story behind their relationship, without telling us too much – (hopefully just enough to make you want to turn the page!)
On the second page it is suggested that Paul has picked up Joshua and they are walking together happily into town where they get some food from McDonalds. They then go to Paul’s flat where they will spend the evening, have bath time and an intimate embrace as the day comes to an end. The story then finishes with the absence of Joshua.
If I were to use the other selection the story would be more about the relationship between father and son rather than a linear narrative of the weekend. Either can work, I just need to figure out what is more interesting and how I can write the story for it.
In Design 2, I have very simply switched the vertical layout to become horizontal. I don’t think one works better than the other, it is just a matter of preference. However, I do think that layout 1 reminds me of my final design of Longevity due to the writing being on one side, pictures on the other with lots of white space surrounding and for that reason I’m leaning towards Design 2 which has it’s writing spread across the length of the page.
I’ve kept the same layout for the second page because I think it works better when coupled with the second establishing page design because they are both horizontal layouts and flow into each other nicely.
In my last post I explained that I was trying to work out whether these two images work well as an establishing spread to the story of Joshua and Paul and I’m pleased to say that I think they do!
Although the content of the two images are fairly different, i.e. a detail and a close-up portrait, they are similar in the way they are shot – with a 50mm lens and large aperture so there is an aesthetic similarly and they both have connotations that tell you what the story is about as opposed to telling you any denotation. For example, the tattoo is a sign of commitment and love for his absent child and the portrait of Josh with its neutral colours and detailed perfect skin is a portrait of innocence and beauty.
What really marries the two images together is the headline (thanks Dad). It gives both images purpose as one is lost without the other – which is indeed the case with unconditional love.
Having made the establishing page, I had a think about what pictures I could use for the second. These six pictures seemed to hold a balance between them as three describe their activities together (the top three) and three are beautiful moments between the two of them. On the left, Joshua looks at his Dad with love as he gets him ready for bed. The middle picture shows them playing a game in the bath and I have captured a moment where their hands form a beautiful similarity. The third shot shows a moment of equal emotion and love in the form of an embrace between father and son.
I’ve placed the pictures in places I think works. I saw a clear division in content between the top and bottom images, which is how I divided those and then I thought about what would start the story – a picture of them walking along the river, which reads as Paul picking Joshua up and them both being very happy about it.
I placed the wide shot of them on the sofa in the middle as the other two are in different places other than the flat so it seemed to make sense to place it in the centre.
The bath shot went in the middle because it holds a neutral, lighter colour that separates from the other two, which are both in the flat and similar in ways.
I’m also aware that by placing two pictures through the centre of the spread will mean that the centre of the image gets slightly cut into the gutter of the double page. However, this is done in many editorials and I think that as long as you don’t place a picture where the centre of the picture is critical to the image then it is not a problem. Both my images contain subjects at the sides and I think therefore it is okay.
I’ve tried to keep the design simple and crisp as I did with Longevity because right now I am concerned with content. I just did what I felt was best as a starting point. This means using Futura for the headline again and this time using Courier New for the poetry, page numbers and title of the editorial, which I didn’t use before but I would still conifer it a crisp, classic and modern type face.
As I haven’t written the story yet I was trying to think of what to write on the page to avoid filling with placeholder text so I started looking at poetry about fathers and sons and found this perfect verse by William Wordsworth.
I have a boy of five years old;
His face is fair and fresh to see;
His limbs are cast in beauty’s mould,
And dearly he loves me.
It mirrors both the headline and the images when I read it and so I feel it has a belonging on the page to help establish the story between Paul and Joshua. Although I do have a concern that it might be necessary to describe the story on the establishing page as I did in Longevity but as I am more free to experiment with this spread, I am happy to run with it for now.
I’m going to continue having a play with this layout to try and get the best from it before using other establishing images in order to make a comparison and further develop the design and write the story.
Red: Stand-alone establishing shots
Green: Two establishing shots together
The idea behind the establishing shot(s) is that they inform you as to what the story is about whilst tempting you to continue looking and reading. This means they need to be visually strong as well as informative.
The stand-alone establishing shots show the closeness between father and son. They are precious candid moments that stir emotion and therefore (hopefully) tempt the reader to look further.
The two images that I think could work together I think are strong images but alone they are not particularly informative. With a clever headline linking the two pictures, it could work although I have a feeling I will end up preferring the simplicity of one strong image.
I don’t intend to use all images but I think there are a few different variations that would work, so at this stage I don’t want to rule any out.
My step step is going to be to establish which of these images I could possibly use for the establishing page, whether it be one picture or more.