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Contextual Investigation – Essay

The aim of the essay is to describe the influences and provide context around my final major piece.  The essay contains description of photographers, their works that are relevant to my concepts and ideas.  The intent is to provide meaning and context, an analysis of their techniques and concludes with a discussion around identified key features.  The thoughts I have formulated why and what I would like to include within the images for my final piece.

Eassay – Context, influences for Final Major Piece 

FMP Essay – Work in progress. Contextual Investigation final major project.

The essay in final format has been published as a PDF See the post


My final major piece I have decided to represent in photographs that are about the urban landscape and the journeys people make through towns or cities and the transport of the city. I have been looking at a variety of photographers for ideas, inspiration that I can use and take ideas, themes to experiment and expand upon and develop into ideas for myself. Some of the photographers are from the 1920s right up to contemporary photographers of the 2010s.

Stephanie Jung

Contemporary photographer Stephanie Jung is photographs capture the chaos and hectic mood of a city with people on the move, the bright vibrant life and colour of advertising hoardings and shop fronts.

Image 1 New York VI by Stephanie jeng

Jung is based in Germany, Berlin. Between 2008 and 2010 Jung finished her studies in Visual Communication that allowed her to experiment with different photography and production techniques. Jung states an influential photographer while she was studying was Sabine Wenzel. Wenzel produces a mix of styles from very clear and defined commercial architectural photographs and photographs that contain fluidity and movement. You can clearly see the influence of Wenzel in Jungs work.

Image 2 “Der deutsche Wald” Wald 01 by Sabine Wenzel

Jung emphasizes the cityscape photographs by multilayering images to build up a frenzied image that bursts with life. Her photographs of the USA New York, Japan – Tokyo, Oska, Nara and her home city of Berlin.

Image 3 “Berlin Collection” by Stepahine Jung

These effects are experimental works using digital image editing that is possible with photo editing software like Photoshop. Jung uses similar post processing of nature shots of multilayering, combining shots to create a new atmospheric image. Jung also uses Photoshop editing effects and filters to introduce whorls and spirals in to floral landscapes




What do I like about the photographers work?

I like the photographers work because they have managed to capture the chaos and bustling life of a city. The strong reoccurring theme is the traffic on the road, the street lines, the cars and buses and taxis. I also like this photographer’s work because the bright colours used making the pictures standout as a collage on top of each other, but you can still see enough of the images to recognise the image as a street scene. The multi layered photographs build images of light and impressions of shapes that are similar to Turner’s later swirling patterns of light paintings such as The Fighting Temeraire or Rain, Steam and Speed.

How does this relate to my project?

This photographer relates to my work because Jung has created images of city movement in a static image. Jung states about her city photographs “it was a moment full of life. This was something I wanted to exaggerate by the multiple effect.” This was an idea and effect I wanted to try and explore the possibilities of creating different ways to capture busier pictures focusing in on the transport and people around here making a more interesting composition in the picture.

What techniques can I take from her work?

The multilayering of the image, altering the transparency of the image and adjusting the size of the image. Experiment with taking photographs at an elevated position as well as at street level.

How did I create my pictures?

Overlaying the same picture on the top of the previous picture. I made the picture slightly bigger each time and moved it in different places, offset from the original picture. I then changed the opacity of the picture to 20% this is so you can see several layers at once making the picture look hectic.

I have experimented trying to create images in a similar style. These are my responses, a series of photographs that I have taken in raw format to allow me to alter the light levels, contrast and vibrancy of colours and add as multiple layers to create a frenzied and hyperactive series of images.

Image 4 “Backs of terraced houses” by Lucy Younghusband

The urban landscape of houses look interesting, but the buildings have no people or vehicles that would add to the feeling of movement and vitality. The image has a more ghostly quality, not the atmosphere I was trying to achieve.

Image 5 “Carousel” by Lucy Younghusband

The carousel photograph is very expressive and interesting, it has a slow exposure to give the lights on the merry-go round movement. The high contrast of the light with the dark sky adds to the atmosphere. However there are not enough people in the photograph to give the impression of moving crowds of people that I wanted. The individual person has a feeling of solitude and isolation. I did try increasing the number of offset layers, but the composition looked messy and I deleted the image and retained this example.

Image 6 “St.Thomas’ London” by Lucy Younghusband

I did like this image I created. I used multiple layers and mirrored the image in the layers. The night slow exposure captures the movement of vehicles as they pass by in front of St. Thomas’ Hospital. The many lights in the building, the verticals and horizontals of the building structures construct to make the most successful example all my attempts experimenting to create a cityscape that contains movement. The darkness contrasting with the lights is in my opinion what has made this composition work.

Image 7 “City front page News” by Lucy Younghusband

I wanted to take a cityscape, the newspapers stacked in many piles reminded me of city tower block buildings a city in miniature. The photograph was taken in natural light. The multiple offset layers has created a pleasing composition, the shades of grey, the strong tower shapes ghosting give a strong sense of movement. The newspaper towers are both static and look to be in the act of falling or being thrown down. However this is not a large cityscape with large numbers of people on the move, but a photograph of city detail.

Idris Khan

Idris Khan was Born in Birmingham in 1978, Khan lives and works in London. Since completing his Master’s Degree at the Royal College of Art in London in 2004 he has shown internationally.

Khan’s works – in media including sculpture, painting and photography – rely on a continuous process of creating and erasing, or adding new layers whilst retaining traces of what has gone before. He is well known for large-scale works in which techniques of layering are used to arrive at what might be considered the essence of an image, and to create something entirely new through superimposing images repeatedly.

Khan’s style is similar to Jung multi layering images and off setting them to create a collage image. Khan works with B&W images that creates a sketch drawing quality to his creations.

Some of the subject studies that Khan undertakes are a homage to the German industrial photographers Bernd & Hilla Becher. He has taken their photographs of an industrial building – gas tanks of the same type and overlaid them with a pale opacity. This gives a soft edged image, an overall impression similar to charcoal drawings

Image 8 “every…Bernd And Hilla Becher Spherical type Gasholders” by Idris Khan, 2004. Saatchi Gallery

Image 9 “The Houses of Parliament, London” 2012 by Idris Khan

Khan’s B&W image of the Houses of Parliament create an image that to me is similar to an architects drawing or the sketches of Leonardo da Vinci.

How does this relate to my project?

Kahn’s work similar to Jung’s the images are of industrial and city views. Khan’s images are very different from Jung’s and the images I want to create, in the fact they have a quiet, stillness of a pencil drawing. The people and city traffic are not the key features of his photographs. There is a quality of tranquillity.

What techniques can I take from his work?

The multilayering of the image, altering the transparency of the image and adjusting the size of the image. An interesting idea is to take other photographers work and use them to create a new composition.


Walker Evans

Walker Evans (1903-1975) Evans recorded the American way of life from 1920s to the 1970s. Evans photographs captured street scenes, architecture and everyday people going about their daily lives.

Evans is credited with capturing “the spectator’s role, and of the poetic resonance of ordinary subjects.” Evans captured the facts of social history and changes in American way of life that happened over the 50 years he took his photographs. The changes in transport, fashions, farming the shops the change in cities as they grew.

Between 1938 and 1941 Evans took a series of photographs on the New York subway using a concealed 35mm camera. Walker wanted to take photographs of people unnoticed, travelling with the passengers taking their photographs in such a way they would not react to the camera, change their facial expressions or compose themselves.

A similar approach of taking photographs of passengers on the underground was repeated more than 50 years later by a French photographer Luc Delahaye on the Paris Metro between 1995 and 1997.

Walker Evans – People on New York subway http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/features/slideshows/the-streets-of-new-york-american-photographs-from-the-collectio.html






Luc Delahaye

French born photographer, born in 1962. Delahaye started his career as a photojournalist during the 1980s Delahaye devoted himself to reporting upon war and conflicts. He had his photographs published in Newsweek Magazine.

Delahaye used the detached photojournalist approach in a series of 90 photographs and portraits taken between 1995 and 1997 published in an album called L’Autre where people and passengers were secretly photographed on the Paris metro using a hidden camera.

The subjects of the photographs, they do not look at the photographer, their facial features are not posed intentionally or unintentionally for the camera. The subjects’ faces show no recognition, mouths are slack, their eyes unfocussed, deep in their own thoughts.

Delahaye photographs capture the passengers on their daily travels, and the stillness and private worlds of the passengers. What they do not capture is any sense of motion, the journey that is being undertaken. The passengers appear static, solitude and self-reflecting waiting as if time has stopped waiting for their stop and the next stage of their journey.

What do I like about Evans and Delahaye’s work?

The hidden camera has resulted in photographs taken of passengers who have not responded to being photographed.

What can you take from these works?

Challenge is to take photographs so that people do not respond to the camera or photographer, the methods adopted by Evans and Delahaye might be considered controversial, taking portrait photographs without the persons permission.

If someone does notice me using a hidden camera they may react, especially if they object to having their photograph taken, they may be aggressive or draw me to the attention of authorities, and without any permission to photograph on the tube system I might be in trouble.

For this reason I shall not attempt to try taking secret portrait photographs.

How dos these works relate to my project?

The photographs relate to the subject matter I am drawn to, the London Underground, but I do not want to take photographs of people’s faces without their permission, but to try and take images of people on the move, not to capture identifiable faces. I wanted to capture the transitory nature of people and trains on their journey.

Bruce Davidson

Bruce Davidson is an American photographer born in 1933. He has been a member of the Magnum photo agency since 1958. His portrait photographs, notably those taken in Harlem, New York City, have been widely exhibited and published.

“I really focused on the way they felt. They were depressed. They were poor. I didn’t know how poor they were, but they were very poor and dysfunctional. The neighborhood didn’t support them in any way. So, that’s what it’s about. I think that’s what makes it universal. It’s about the way teenagers feel if they are abandoned, abused or lost.”

“I’m not photographing people. I’m photographing the environment.”


I like this photographer’s work because of the high contrast.  The graffiti that has been daubed inside and outside the trains

How will this relate to my project of transport?

This relates to my transport project because it shows more than just there object of transportation moving you from destination but it shows the passengers that you also see with in the transport especially when it is public transport.

What will I take from his work using his ideas and techniques on my own work?

The photographs taken have been taken openly, and the people, some react to the camera, others ignore or look away. The environment on, and off the trains have been captured. The people as they travel through the networks.





Danny Lyon

An American photographer born 1942 in Brooklyn New York. Lyon photographs has a strong association with civil rights. His works include works around prisoners in Texas jails in a book called Conversations with the Dead (1971).

Lyons style of photography has been called ‘New Journalism’, this is when the photographer has become immersed, and become participant, of the documented subject.

Lyon photographed commuters and passengers on the New York Subway in 1966. The photographs were taken using a Rolleiflex medium format camera and Kodak colour film

Magnum Photos – Danny Lyon




Bob Mazzer

Bob Mazzer captured on his small Leica M4 35mm camera passengers, tourists, party goers and commuters travelling on the London tube. His work has been exhibited around London galleries. Some of his first work was first exhibited at the Royal Festival Hall sponsored by GLC

Mazzer did not attempt to hide his camera as Walker Evans or Luc Delahaye had done in the past. You can see how some passengers ‘play-up’ to the camera pulling faces, looking away or deliberately hiding their face.

What do I like about his work?

I like his work because of the harsh light and colours he uses in his pictures making them more striking to look at. Some of the photographs are amusing and are a record how things have changed on the tube. Some people are photographed smoking and drinking alcohol on the tube, these things are no longer permitted. The clothes, hairstyles.

How does his work relate to my project?

I think that his work relates to my project because of the way he has managed to capture the people and the constantly moving people on the transport.

What can you take from his work?

I believe I can incorporate the way he captures people and what they can see on the journey form the station walking to the train to on the train, this could include people busking at the side of the corridor, to people sat messing about with friends on the train.





















Frederick H. Evans

about him

Frederick H. Evans was a British photographer1853 – 1943  he was most known for his architectural subjects. He is best known for his images of English and French cathedrals. Evans began his career as a bookseller, but retired from that to become a full-time photographer in 1898, when he adopted the platinotype technique for his photography. He explored these stone monuments with a particular interest in spirituality and symbolism. Evans was a member of the Linked Ring, an association of photographers formed in England in 1892 to promote photography as a fine art.

why did he do photography?

Seeking respite from the health problems that he seems to have struggled with all his life, he traveled often to the Lake District in the north of England. The fresh air, stunning landscape, and breathtaking views were a tonic for mind and body. Numerous trips to local woodland areas in Surrey resulted in photographs of majestic trees that recalled the soaring columns of cathedrals

In 1911 Evans was commissioned byCountry Life magazine to document the abbey for the upcoming coronation of King George V. He did not record the actual ceremony, which took place June 22, but he was able to photograph the interior in the spring and again in late summer, after the event. I


how is his work relevant to my project?

why do i like his work?


Daniel Hewitt

About Hewitt

British born photographer, his career started in academic world studying philosophy, architecture and law. The interest in architectural design and aesthetics can be seen as still holding his interest in his photography work.

Why do I like his work?

I like his work because if the way that he manages to capture the sculptural shapes, light and shadow created by building structures, with his photographs are stripped to the minimum, flat grey pale skies, objects that are not part of the buildings excluded from the frame so that you focus on the buildings, the surroundings are empty spaces.   He captures the patterns, textures of the walls, windows, balconies and beams of buildings, the geometric shapes, shadows and reflections, this makes the viewer focus on the building subject, the abstract shapes they sometimes create. You are not be distracted by any other elements such as people or nature. The photograph of the South Bank theatre the angle he has taken makes the building look like a large ship coming straight at you.

The overall emptiness of living people adds to the mystery, it is as if there has been a disaster and mankind has been eradicated and only the buildings remain.

I also like his work because Hewitt takes many photographs in B&W which gives a timeless quality. The use of B&W also helps to remove any potential distractions that colour would introduce in the picture.

How is his work relevant to my project?

I believe that his work relates to my project of transport because I can use some of his techniques and ideas in my own work when photographing buildings associated with transport like stations, shelters or garages. The use of B&W making the picture look enduring and drawing in the eye helping the viewer to contemplate their own stories they see when looking at the photographs.

The urban cityscape contains buildings, in the city space many buildings are designed to have striking or impressive shapes. I need to try and ensure I capture the impression of these shapes within my photographs. Hewitt has a documentary style of photography, elements of this recording the facts is a style of approach I want to include in my photographs. I can try and use some of his framing techniques making sure that my pictures are not overfilled and complicated with distracting elements that could take your attention from the main focus.





Rut Blees Luxemburg

About Blees Luxemburg

Rut Blees Luxemburg was born in 1967 she is a German photographer. Blees Luxemburg studied photography at the London College of Communication, she then studied at the University of Westminster in London. Luxemburg is most known for taking photos of urban landscapes at night using a large format camera taking long exposures, exposing the film for several minutes at a time. The only light she uses in her pictures are from the street lights and the surrounding buildings.

What do I like about here work?

I like her work because of the way she captures strong and unnatural lighting within photographs creating an element of mystery within the photographss. I also like her work because of the different unique and interesting angles such as looking directly down from the tops of buildings, creating unusual perspective and views, making effective pictures that draw you in to find out more.

I particularly like the photograph of Cockfosters tube station caught in a reflection of a puddle. The quality of light and clarity of the reflection.

How is she relevant to my project?

I believe that Blees Luxemburg relates to my project because of the subject matter, the streets of London, she has managed to capture many aspects of transport. The quality of light that she has captured. I would like to try and emulate the colours. In her photographs the greens of fluorescent street lights and glow form the lamps is evident when photographing using colour film or digital camera that has not been balanced for strip lighting. Photographs of neglected places such as old underpasses, stair ways and passages which are commonly associated with transport.

Blees Luxemburg was commissioned by Transport for London in 2007 to produce a series of photographs Piccadilly’s Peccadilloes to celebrate 100 years of the Piccadilly line. The images in the series include details of the front of twelve London Underground stations on the Piccadilly line

References and web sites with interviews and more examples of Luxemburg’s work









photographers to investigate

Photographers to investigate, view their works and consider if they are an inflence in my FMP.

Simona Panzironi

I use only ambient light, with a large-format camera and an exposure of about 10 minutes. So once I’d set up the tripod, the camera did all the work of recording the scene.

Daniel Hewitt

Rut Blees Luxemburg

Albert Lévy

Albert Levy was a French photographer active in Europe and the United States. Most active in the 1880s and 1890s, he was a pioneer of architectural photography. Wikipedia
how dose he relate to my work?
 Frederick H. Evans
Died: June 24, 1943, London

My brief FMP (Final Major Project)

The subject of my final major piece will be around the theme of transport.

The theme of transport is very wide, from methods of transport, vehicles new or old, land, air or sea. The theme of transport can also include the journeys taken, or images of the people transported on a journey.  As the project progresses and concepts evolve and I develop ideas I will focus down to produce pieces of work for exhibition in the Spring term.

The project will require:

  • I perform research on this theme, identify works by other photographers, investigate and review their ideas, styles and compositions.
  • Investigate photographic and editing techniques, methods and styles that may be used in my final piece.

The final pieces (minimum 10 images) will be presented in an appropriate format yet to be decided.

I will be looking a variety of techniques such as multiple exposures and long exposures to explore what effects and techniques I can create in preparation for my final piece pictures.

Throughout the FMP I will be producing tester shots, developing ideas, experimenting.

I will complete the 1st batch of tester shots of my idea by 18th of October.  I will be taking these tester shots and editing them in Photoshop creating different effects and techniques.

I will complete a 2nd series of tester shots by 31st of October, developing my ideas further.


I am setting for my self deadlines.

I will complete the 1st batch of tester shots of my idea by 18th of October.  I will be taking these tester shots and editing them in Photoshop creating different effects.

I will complete a 2nd series of tester shots by 31st of October, developing my ideas further.

Carry out research of photographers and images that have used a similar theme. Produce a critque of these works, this work will continue through out the project.

Investigate techniques and seek advice on methods that could be useful and interesting. Study Photoshop methods to create multiple images.


  1. Initial Research Plan
  2. Formative Seminar No.1
  3. Presentation No.1 – Personal Brief development of ideas
  4. Formative Seminar No.2
  5. Formative Seminar No.3
  6. Formative Seminar No.4
  7. Presentation No.2 of work so far
  8. Final submission of work
  • 17  October 2016
  • 18  October 2016
  • 31  October 2016
  • 8 November 2016
  • 22 November 2016
  • 5 December 2016
  • 6 December 2016
  • 31 January 2017

During the work on the FMP there will be fortnightly review of work in progress sketchbook.  Group and individual tutorials

Stephanie Jung


About here

Stephanie Jung is a freelance photographer based in Berlin, Germany. In 2010 she finished her studies in Visual Communications, where she discovered her passion for experimental photography. she is now focussing on fine art and portrait photography. she loves to capture the vibrant and hectic mood of a place. But her work is not just about citylife, it’s about time and caducity, about capturing special moments and  getting lost in time.

“it was a moment full of life. This was something I wanted to exaggerate by the multiple effect.” this what she wrote in the maggazine article Cooph http://www.cooph.com/magazine/features/techniques/detail/article/profolio-the-textured-moments-of-stephanie-jung.html

What do I like about the photographers work?
I like the photographers work because they have managed to capture the chaos and bustling life of a city. The strong reoccurring theme is the traffic on the road, the street lines, the cars and buses and taxis. I also like this photographers work because the bright colours used making the pictures standout as a collage on top of each other, but you can still see enough of the images to recognise the image as a street scene.

How does this relate to my project?
I think that this photographer relates to my work because of the different ways to capture and to create a busier picture focusing in on the transport and people around here making a more interesting composition in the picture.

What techniques can I take from here work?

The multilayering of the image. Experiment with taking photographs at an elevated position as well as at street level.

How did i create these pictures?

I created these pictures by overlaying the same picture over the top of the prevues picture. I made the picture slightly bigger each time and moved it in defferant places on the original picture. I then changed the opacity of the picture to 20% this is so you can see several layers at once making the picture look busier.


tester shots in responce


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