Mary Ellen Mark

Mary Ellen Mark was born in the 1940 and died 2015. she was from New York in the United States. most known for here photojournalism,  She photographed people who were “away from mainstream society and toward its more interesting,  and often troubled fringes of society”.

How dose this relate to my work and idea?

This artist relates to my work because it takes urban photographs, rather sad and down at heal gritty images with building sites, hoardings, rubbish and graffiti present.

My intention is that some of my images will incorporate the urban look.  I am not intending to photograph any youths with guns.

Boys holding a gun – What do I like about this picture?

I like this picture because of the way that the photographer has managed to capture and display innocence of the boys holding a gun and putting it away in his jacket.  The fact that two boys have a gun is not a usual thing, the way they are behaving it appears to be totally innocent day to day item to have a gun.

I also like the way the photographer has captured the way the two boys look like they are trying to behave like they are older than they are, almost like they are trying to imitate gangsters from the past.


Two boys holding stereos – What do I like about the picture?

I find the picture amusing, the size of their stereos are so big and look to be heavy and awkward to carry.  The boys have to carry the stereos with both hands because of the size.

Music machines of today are so very different, the size of street music machines are now very small and can fit on a mobile phone.  The photograph is clearly from the late 1970s to 1980s when cassettes were the only mobile music format.

The wooden board shuttering gives reinforces the look of urban decay.  The stark multistory car park in the background.


Why do I like the picture?

The photograph captures the feeling of a city where there is a mix of excitement that anything could happen and the ‘boredem’ and greyness of the city.

Web site resources about Mary Ellen Mark:

Beauty lighting – Two reflectors bouncing light back onto the model

Beauty lighting is similar to the lighting set up of the Butterfly lighting, but uses three light sources.  The key or main lighting is provided by the softbox lighting.  This positioned close and to one side of the camera between 20 degrees away to the side of the camera to introduce some contrast and shadow to the model’s face and raised above the subject so the light shines down at approximately a 45 degree angle on to the forehead and face.  The model faces the main lighting and then turns their head to face the camera, to the subject.  On the other side of the face add a reflector to provide some soft fill in lighting to the other side of the face.  A second reflector is placed low to bounce light up to reduce the dark shadows created under the chin, nose and around deep set eyes, but the bounce light will not be so strong as to remove the completely the shadows.  The shadows are needed to give the face definition and the photograph to have some subtle contrast.

In my demonstration photograph the main light was placed on the left hand side of the model’s face, a reflector was positioned low also on the left hand side.  The second reflector on the right hand side I feel could have been better positioned further round to the right and placed so that more light would be reflected on to the model’s right side of their face.  I could have reduced the ISO light sensitivity so that the left hand side of the face would not be so highly exposed, and it would show more skin tones.

The details of this photograph.  Camera Nikon D3100, ISO-3200, aperture F-Stop f/7.1, shutter exposure time 1/80 second.





An alternative to the reflector is the use of a fill-in flash.  The use of a fill-in flash is that it gives additional light to a subject that is not well illuminated or the subject is in it’s own shadow because the light is coming mainly from the side or backlit subject.  The ideal is to use the flash to throw light on to the subject, but the light not to be too strong that it removes the the shadows thrown by the sunlight or other studio lighting in a similar way that the reflector gives additional soft lighting.

The use of fill-in flash should not be so bright that it bleach the colour of the subject or generate unwanted reflections that dazzel down the lens or red eye of the model.

butterfly with lit background

Using 2 lights in the studio moving it around my subject

This series of nine photographs are to demonstrate the effect of using two types of studio lights when taking portrait photographs of a model.  The positioning of the lights were moved to show changes the lighting and the effects created.

These photographs are part the assignment theme of portraiture and lighting techniques.changing the light using 2 lights .jpg

Photograph 1
20° softbox, 220° spotlight
Photograph 2
60° softbox, 260° spotlight
Photograph 3
100° softbox, 300° spotlight
Photograph 4
140° softbox, 340° spotlight
Photograph 5
180° softbox, 0° spotlight
Photograph 6
220° softbox, 20° spotlight
Photograph 7
260° softbox, 60° spotlight
Photograph 8
300° softbox, 100° spotlight
Photograph 9
0° softbox, 180° spotlight

How I created these pictures.

The photographs were created in the studio using a white background. I set the camera up on a tripod, the camera did not move.  The camera and settings also remained constant for the series of photographs, Nikon D40X, Focal length 42mm, ISO-100, F-Stop f/16, 1/60 second exposure.  I used two lights directly opposite each other, a softbox light and continuous spotlight fitted with a honeycomb grid over the front to help focus the light beam on to the model and stop the light from spilling and splaying out beyond a narrow beam.  The lights were moved around in a circle placed at 40° intervals with the model positioned in the centre. After each photograph the lights were moved around 40° from the last point. This was repeated until the circle was completed.  Both the hard spot light and the softbox light was positioned above the model’s head shining down on to the models head and shoulders.

The spotlight is very powerful and bright compared to the more diffused light generated by the softbox. The spotlight has a harsh blue tone compared to the slightly warmer light from the softbox.

The photograph 5 (centre) with the hard spot light aimed straight at the model’s face, with the softbox immediately behind the model.  The model’s face is very pale, bleached by the intensity of the light shining on the face, part of the left eyebrow is lost because of the bright intensity of the lighting.  The detail around the eyes, nose, mouth and chin appear flat.  The photograph 9 the model’s face is illuminated by softbox and behind the head the hard spot light.  The light from the softbox is not so strong and does bleach out the face, the light from behind highlights the shape of the head and hair providing a sharp outline with a halo highlight on the hair.  If the hard spot light lamp were raised higher and extended behind the model’s head so the lamp and the light stand would not be seen in the photograph.

When these are contrasted with the photograph 1, the softbox lighting is approximately 20 degrees to the left of the model’s face, the majority of the face is illuminated with warm soft tone lighting that compliments the model’s skin tones and hair.  There are some shadows that show depth around the eyes, nose and chin and the cheek bones.  The hard spot light from behind at 220 degrees gives a highlight to the top right hand side of the head and enhances the variety of colour tones within the hair are visible.

Photograph 6, the reciprocal lighting photograph with the hard spotlight at 20 degrees and the softbox behind the face at 220 degrees demonstrates the diffuse lighting created using the softbox compared to the strong light and the face that is half illuminated and half in shade.  The softbox lighting from 220 degrees gives a more gentle light to the models hair, but none of the light from behind shows on the models face.

Photograph 7. The spotlight is shining from the side of the face gives a strong illuminated left side to the face, left cheek and ear and left side of the nose, but the front of the face and, mid line of the nose and right side of the face is in shadow.  The diffused softbox lighting from the right is positioned behind the head, but some of the light catches the corner of the right side of the models face.





softbox spotlight + honeycomb grid


Tester Shots Idea 1

Untitled       -2.jpg

test shots fro idea 1

my idea was to take a sear’s of pictures using surrealism as my main theme through the pictures. I then thought of people doing something surrealist, such as painting there face as camouflage showing only the persons clothing and hands. i also thought of  people using tractors to open sweets in packets making the sweet bigger than the tracers. this then made me think of making the people small using doodle fingers and placing them in a bigger world were everything is too big for them.

can some one make my wish come true, surrealism

can some one make my wish come true blakc and white.jpg

how did i create this picture?

i created these pictures with a digital camera, once i took relevant pictures i loaded them onto the computer. i then opened them up into photo shop, i changed the saturation an all of the pictures making them black and white, for the picture on the top left i then used the smug tool, this is how i made the face look blurry

I created this picture using a digital camera and Photoshop. i took the pictures on a digital camera, this is so i could transfer the pictures on to the computer easy,

what worked well?

I believe this picture has worked well, this is because i have managed to make the

how can i improve this picture?

i can improve this picture by making some if the pictures

Issues of concern Gillian Wearing




How did I create the picture?

I took the pictures on a digital camera, I made sure that I was shooting in raw format. This is so I could transfer the pictures onto the computer after I had finished taking the pictures. I opened the pictures in Photoshop to edit and change the lighting in some of the pictures.

How does this fit in with your theme of issues of concern?

This fits in with my theme of issues of concern. The individuals are holding their statement about how they feel or what is worrying them.   These statements show the name calling and stereotypes people say and about people even when they don’t know the person.

What has worked well?

I believe this has worked well this is because I have managed to copy the same idea and achieved a similar effect as Gillian Wearing. I also believe that this has worked well this is because I have managed to make some of the pictures look like they were taken in a studio with a white blank background.

How can I improve the pictures?

I could improve the pictures by using a faster shutter speed, this would stop the pictures from being over exposed and over glare, this would also make the writing on the signs stand out on the paper making it eraser to read. I could also improve the pictures by all of the people stand in the same place this would make backgrounds more consistent within the series of pictures. This would give a more overall proportional series of images.

How can I develop this idea further?

I could develop the idea taking more photographs with different people, from different ages, gender or ethnic backgrounds, ask them to write out on a large piece of paper their concerns or worries and photograph them with their permission.

pentaptych destroy and fears

black and white picture storey this one .jpg

How did I create these pictures?

I created montage of photographs using a digital camera.   I took the photographs and loaded them into Photoshop. I changed the colour of the photos to black and white (Image>Adjustments>Black&White – Alt+Shift+Ctrl+B) This was to give more impact to the pictures.

What worked well?

I have managed to show my fear of being trapped and imprisoned against my will. The change of photographs from colour to B&W has worked well, it provides more uniformity in the images and removes some of the changes in coloured walled backgrounds and lighting levels. All the photographs look to be part of the same series and theme.

How can I improve the pictures?

I can improve this pentaptick by making the pictures bigger, this would make the pictures easier to see and more impactful on the screen.

How does this fit in with my theme of destroy and fears?

These images are suitable for the theme of destroy and fears, because I have tried to show my fear of being silenced, overlooked, ignored and hidden. The fear of heights with the low perspective behind bars. Is this to protect me from falling down the stairwell, or bars to keep me locked away?

The photographs also are aligned with the theme of destroy because it shows how a person can be destroyed by their mental as well as physical emotions and change their personality.

I have also experimented with the same 5 photographs to change the sequence and background to see if this is more powerful.




How did I create this picture?

I took these series of pictures using a digital camera, this is so I could change and adjust the shutter speed depending on the surrounding light. It also gave me a chance to see the pictures immediately after I took them.

I opened the photographs in Photoshop, this is so I could put all of the pictures together on one document and so I could change the colour saturation and make the black stronger and hih contrast where it was needed.Untitled-2.jpg

How does this fit in with your theme?

This fits in with my theme of fears, it  shows my fear of fire and what it can do. I tried to show the fire in different forms making the pictures more interesting and so show the power and what it can do.

What worked well?

I believe this picture has worked well because I have managed to capture various aspects of fire and it’s power and movement.  The explosion of  fireworks, flames of burning matchs, the fire movement leaving streaks of dancing sparks from where the fire moves through the sky.

How can I improve the pictures?

I can improve the firework pictures by using a more sensetive ISO light setting slightly plus a shorter exposure, this will ‘freeze’ the flames, and reduce the over bright points of light and allow more of the colours to come through in the pictures. I can also improve the pictures by focusing in more on some of the fireworks, this would make for an interesting photograph to focus in more on the action and detail of the firework explosion.

What does this picture make you feel?

This picture makes me feel relaxed and peaceful, this is because all of the soft lighting used in the pictures and the flowing lights leading you through each picture.

What does this picture make you think of?

This picture makes me think of the war and battles with the explosions of and the bright red in the firework, the harsh movements in the flames and explosions.  It is also calming the unsusal dynamic shapes and glows created.

How did I create this picture?

I created this picture using two of the photographs above (bright sparks and flames on a match.  I used Photoshop, I combined the two pictures using layers and changed the opacity to merge and create a new third composition.  I saved the new image to a new file.


The photographs I created I wanted to try and introduce similar elements of mystery and mood as photographs created by  Cenci Goepel and Jens Warnecke as part of their series of images called ‘Lightmark’.  Goepel and Warnecke use light painting techniques to create their mysterious photographs set in landscapes with the use of lights and props.

I created my photgraph by capturing the light of fireworks when they exploded and combined with the natural flickering flames and sparks from a fire.

Goepel and Warnecke create a sense of fear in the example below, photographed in a dark wood.  They conjour a fantasy, unearthly and mystical feel created by a variety of illuminated elements, the spots of light, the lines of light that are spouting from the light source in the grass, the glow on the grass around the base of the trees.

Lightmark No.15 Goepel and Warnecke  


Fears 2

fears blind and lonlieness.     psd.jpg
Fears 2


How did I create these pictures?

I used Photoshop on some of the pictures this was too make some of the pictures brighter so that there was a more even brightness across all the pictures in the montage.  I changed some of the pictures using the hues, saturation and brightness levels tools in Photoshop.  This meant I could make the photos brighter or darker depending on what I wanted.

What does it make you think of?

This makes me think of broken friendships and people growing apart. This is because when you see people in the quadriptych montage they are always dark and not quiet in focus making you think something bad has happened between the group. In one of the pictures the members of the group are walking away, and one of the member of the group is clasping her head possibly in anger or frustration.  This also makes you think of the past and memories of friends not seen for a long time, this is because the people are out of focus and blurred like an old faded memory.

How does it make you feel?

This picture makes me feel nervous as if I’m am in trouble this is owed to the way the people look towards the camera, straight at you, it feels accusatory. It introduces lots of tension between the pictures that all together convey a strong uneasy feeling.

What worked well?

The overall composition worked well.  I like the picture of the reflected person standing in-front of the window wearing a stripped top worked well.  The elements are combined so that you can see there is someone there, but not clearly enough to identify who.  It makes you question who it is, whether it is the person remembering some of their past or whether it is someone who had a fallen out with the group of people in the other picture elements.  The layout of the composition has worked well the large black boarder background pulls the four pictures together as one.

What didn’t work well?

I don’t think that all of the pictures convoy the same mood that I am trying to create.  I think that some of pictures are too out focus.  It might have been better to try using something over the lens to make the picture appear out of focus (Cling film), or taken a sharp focused picture and used Photoshop blur filter to soften the focus where I could experiment easily.

The reflected person in the window with the striped top, the colours are too bright possibly making it distracting against the rest of the pictures in the composition.

Does this fit in with your theme?

This fits in with my theme of the self and fears,  it shows my fear of breaking with my friends and being excluded or left behind.  I tried to show this by making the pictures of the group of people look straight at the camera and blurred as if something was wrong between the viewer and the group.

Photographers relating to my work and inspired me when taking the pictures 

Danie Arbus photographer.  Her subject are the unusual people, people on the fringe of society, the social outcasts.  The fears I have is becoming one of the social outcast.

0034.+Diane+Arbus,+A+woman+with+a+pearl+necklace+and+earrings,+New+York,+1967.jpg (600×601)
Danie Arbus – Photographer

Creating My Avatar

Lucy created avatar


Photograph of Me
Photograph of Me

How did I create this picture?

I created this picture in Photoshop. I used a picture of me as a template in Photoshop and set it as a background layer, this gave me guidelines as to where to draw the main features of the face.

I used the open tool to cut out my mouth, eyes, hair, neck and my top. Creating a new layer for each of the features. Once I had cut out the features using the pen tool I then clicked on layer mask creating ‘running ants’ around the selected cut-out. I sampled the colour from the original picture and filled the shape in with the colour from the sample to give a flat cartoon coloured fill.  I then repeated this process through the picture creating an avatar cartoon person.

I created the background with a new blank layer and added different coloured spots using the paint brush tool changing the colour of the spots every so often to give an impression of a oversized comic book print dots.

Alternative method

Avatar created using filters

I have since found another Photoshop method that could be used
to create a stylised avatar.  This uses  smart filters to build up layers of effects that flattens the details, introduces filters such as paint daubs or poster edges, change the sliders for edge thicknes, intensity, brush size, sharpness, also blur and soften effects.