Assignment 5 – Photography is Simple

The Brief

“Take a series of 10 photographs of any subject of your own choosing. Each photograph must be a unique view of the same subject; in other words, it must contain some ‘new information’ rather than repeat the information of the previous image. Pay attention to the order of the series; if you’re submitting prints, number them on the back. There should be a clear sense of development through the sequence.”

What is it about?

This is about my view of the world in miniature. I wanted to explore the possibilities of this ‘secret world’ with my camera, and enjoy a feeling of being lost inside it, as a kind of escape from the ordinary. This idea isn’t new. I wonder what the fascination is and why we seek to re-create it?

Humans have explored this other realm in a variety of ways. Sometimes with human made items, such as dolls houses, miniature villages, replica boats and ships with every detail recreated, many crafted to precise scale.

 “It always seemed to me that the miniature was the most effective solution to experiencing visions of worlds and new perspectives that otherwise could not be achieved in life” – Matthew Albanese, miniature artist and photographer

“In my experience, working at a small scale invites viewers into a personal, intimate relationship with the piece. At the same time, the very nature of small scales keeps us at a distance, unable to fully ‘enter’ the work…. A place where time has stopped” – Thomas Doyle, miniature artist and model maker.

Little People Project from the book Global Model Village by Slinkachu.



Mar Cerda creation for Wes Andersen’s ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’


Miniature scenes inside a toilet roll


I have been interested in ‘miniature worlds’ from an early age; I have vivid memories of visiting the model village at Bouton-on-the-Water, Cotswolds. The village itself is not only recreated as a scale model, but at one end is an even smaller model village; a replica inside a replica. This has always reminded me of looking into parallel mirrors, stretching into infinity.

Away from human made scenes, the miniature is a strange, unreachable world that we can only glimpse, where nature flourishes quite happily in its own secret dimension. It was this I wanted to explore, within my immediate surroundings. I found myself perfectly absorbed, glimpsing spiders, tiny snails smaller than my little finger nail, luscious flower petal texture, raindrops shimmering, on both natural and human made objects.

Perhaps one source of inspiration could be music? If so, this subject reminds me of Suzanne Vega’s track “Small Blue Thing”.

Today I am
A small blue thing
Like a marble
Or an eye
With my knees against my mouth
I am perfectly round
I am watching you
I am cold against your skin
You are perfectly reflected
I am lost inside your pocket
I am lost against
Your fingers
I am falling down the stairs
I am skipping on the sidewalk
I am thrown against the sky
I am raining down in pieces
I am scattering like light
Scattering like light
– Suzanne Vega

There is also a piece of fiction which unfortunately I can’t quite remember where its from – I think its by the American author David Leavitt – where one of the main characters says to his lover not to be afraid as he be will ‘curled up inside your pocket’.  Small can be powerful too!

In seeking inspiration from professional photographers, I particularly liked the work of Heather Angel. The images are beautiful, and often so close up that the subject becomes a delicate network of repeating pattern.



I also noticed Grahams Wen’s nature images, which are stunning – I particularly like the brown trout captured in water.



Whilst I can’t hope to emulate the quality and complexity of this kind of professional work, hopefully I’ve managed to convey small hints of this fascinating miniature world within my own photographs. I certainly enjoyed making these images very much.


My Images

The vast majority of these images are shot with manual focus – but it turns out they just aren’t properly focused. I used the tip of using live view and enlarged the screen to try and check my work, but I wasn’t accurate enough. It eventually dawned on me that I had been trying to focus outside of the focal range of the camera. I swapped to auto focus and respected the ‘bleep’ to let me know it could lock on. This helped quite a bit (!)

Some further problems were that I’d chosen I very bright, but changeable day so the exposure was tricky. And as the majority the images were taken outside, the wind had fun whipping the delicate plants around all over the place. Not easy!



My Images

As when I tried macro photography a little earlier in the course, I found it pretty challenging. As I don’t have a macro lens, I used my macro filters, stacked on my camera. It does make focusing very difficult, as obviously the depth of field is tiny.  Unlike previous assignments, before submitting work to my tutor I have used as much post processing as I know how (using a combination of exposure, levels and curves) to alter exposure when my images were under exposed. In some cases, such as the snail images some areas remain quite dark. I really do like this, and would want to see this range in tone in an illustration, but I understand that this means some of my work remains a little underexposed.

I may well have used too much sharpening on my red rose, I love the ridiculously gorgeous velvety folds of the petals, but I don’t think I managed a sharp enough image. I’m a bit embarrassed just how few of my images are actually even approaching useable but I guess it just takes time. Still. I really, really tried and thats all I can do!

Looking  1/30 sec;   f/5.6;   ISO 200


In front of me 1/250 sec;   f/5.6;   ISO 200


Simplicity  1/125 sec;   f/5.6;   ISO 200


Complexity 1/80 sec;   f/4.5;   ISO 200


Beauty 1/100 sec;   f/4.5;   ISO 200


Cruelty 1/100 sec;   f/4.5;   ISO 200


Perfection 1/125 sec;   f/4.8;   ISO 200


Secrets 1/80 sec;   f/5.6;   ISO 200


Revealed 1/160 sec;   f/5.6;   ISO 200


The Small World 1/320 sec;   f/5.6;   ISO 200


Please click here to view Tutor Report ruth-arnold-513075-photography-1-expressing-your-vision-assignment-5

Revisited Work –

“See My Small World”

After receiving feedback from my tutor, I have reviewed my selections slightly, with a view to strengthening and re-enforcing my ideas. The suggestion of drawing my images together under the theme of ‘Love Hurts’ didn’t really appeal to me – I’m not one of those lucky people who have never had my heart broken believe me – but this piece is about life and my experience of living with chronic illness. This theme has cropped up in my work before,  and its really difficult to avoid, as my  choice of photography subjects throughout the course have been restricted to where I can physically manage to be. In this case, the available world was my garden. I hope this revision in some way expresses a narrative that makes sense to other people. Here goes….

  1. See My Small World 1/30 sec;   f/5.6;   ISO 200


2. Look down 1/250 sec;   f/5.6;   ISO 200


3. Is Beauty in the Details? 1/125 sec;   f/5.6;   ISO 200


4. Or A Perfect Whole 1/100 sec;   f/5.0;   ISO 200


5. Life Is Complex 1/80 sec;   f/4.5;   ISO 200


6. Fragile 1/100 sec;   f/5.0;   ISO 200


7. Beautiful 1/100 sec;   f/4.5;   ISO 200


8. Painful 1/100 sec;   f/4.5;   ISO 200


9. We All Feel Pain 1/100 sec;   f/4.5;   ISO 200


10. This Is My Small Un-Seen Life