Below are final pictures for my term 3 project – under the theme Dreams/Reality. My initial thoughts as you will know from earlier posts was down the route of surrealism, looking at Giacometti and his drawings and reviewing the work of photographers such as Idris Khan (which were the layered pictures to give that jarred, unfocused effect). I took some test pictures with my niece’s first communion dress, which came out ok… although I did have some issues with the hard lines of the individual frames. I thought that was where this the project was heading, but its not where it has ended up.

I never intended the project to take on a ‘political dimension’  but by choosing and then blending some of these photographs below, I think that this is what has happened – an accident of design, a by-product of trying to be creative – yeah sounds incredibly pompous 😎but that’s how it has come out for me. The dreams and reality of: oil, war and freedom.

Some context: the Naked Bike Ride is a protest against a dependence on oil  (and other non-renewable energy sources) and also about cyclist and pedestrian safety. At the same time (and this is what I read into it) there are elements of freedom – from society’s shackles of clothing and having to be clothed. Beating Retreat a military performance, a remembrance of war and wars, of the the fallen, those who have given their lives in battles around the world. Humanity has an unending tendency to go to war for many reasons, sometimes just over natural resources (hence the link to oil). But enough politics…. over to the pictures……


Camera on the bulb setting – because it was during daytime, I couldn’t hold the shutter open for very long even with a small aperture. But I do like the ghosting effect where you only see the outline of the cyclists – you get a sense of their form but nothing else. In times gone by I would have rejected this picture and would never have thought to post it, let alone include it as one of my final project pictures, but this demonstrates how much I have grown as an amateur photographer. I can now appreciate this shot for as much of what it does say and for what it does not.


For some reason this picture got missed off the original post but was included in my final six pictures. Again we have movement of the naked bike riders merging into a blur.


Before cars, we used horses to for transportation (as well as on the battlefield). These horses are demonstrating how they are trained with special reins. As the overarching photographic technique used for the pictures was one of movement, what I like about this one is the diagonal flow of movement – as well as the colour contrast of the dark horses v. the white and gold of the uniforms.

This picture seemed to be a firm favourite amongst some of the class members when I presented the project to them.


I look at this picture and see a representation of the craziness of war…..the movement so blurred as to look like one uncontrollable mass.


The final two pictures were layered – bringing together the Naked Bike Ride and Beat Retreat into the overall theme of Oil, War and Freedom. I tinkered with the opacity, kept one black and white and the other colour. Of all the pictures taken, this is my favourite. Putting two seemingly incongruous subjects together to create a composite that in my mind works well. The clip mask collage adds a little more mystery with the missing boxes – what do they represent for you? what are they telling or not telling you?

I cannot wait to see these printed…. wondering how they will look on paper.

Postscript – I presented this to the class and the feedback was positive. My tutor did however show me a more creative way to achieve the collage and an easier way to create the grid. That process would also give me more control to adjust the individual squares in the collage. He also questioned whether I intended to distort the pictures in the collage (as a result of amending the frame from landscape to square – this was a just a consequence of changing the perspective and not an intentional result). However, This is something I will definitely want to explore with other pictures that I may take in the future.

Postscript 2 – now that I have printed the pictures my clear favourites are pictures 2-5. I made a mistake inadvertently choosing a watercolour paper for pictures 1 and 6 as this just does not work. I will get them reprinted onto glossy paper as I believe this will be closer to how I visualise they should look. In the exhibition at RACC, pictures 1 and 6 will not be displayed.

This blog post covers assessment criteria references for Unit 2.