Assignment 5 – Photography is Simple

Body of Work

Inspiration and Idea Development

‘There are two fundamentals in all picture taking – where to stand and when to release the shutter … so photography is very simple.’ (Jay & Hurn, 2001, p.37).

The course text suggests that photography is simply a series of snapshots and in the end is simple. In this context I refer to a shot being snapped, not by the definition referred to by Bull (Bull, 2009, p 84). However, it must be that experience and intuition play a part in determining position and the moment and that comes with learning and practice. The human mind can unconsciously process at high speed so that in fact the inspiration is nothing more than the brain reliving the learning obtained from, for example, this OCA module. The learning grows with the passage of the module and experience, skill and intuition with it, evident in the progression of quality, creativity and so on.

So photography is simple because the complexities of the process, techniques and so on, have become subconscious.

This mental process and frame of mind is consistent with what Ann Hjort Guttu describes as being ‘… in this state where everything could be art, or not… as if I was inside a zone where all things could be the result of a higher formal awareness: the roads, the chewing gum on the sidewalk, the yellow light over the city on our way home from kindergarten. Or it could not be, it didn`t matter anymore. Everything became art, and in that same moment nothing’. [accessed 08/04/19]

I have interpreted these ideas for this assignment as having a brief to take photographs as the inspiration takes me in the view that taking the photograph in the end is simple, because of the learning I have achieved through my study. As with Guttu I take art where I find it, and present it to the spectator, and in the end the spectator can decide for themselves if they receive it as art. I am left, then, with a decision to take a series based on the same theme (with no common information) or a sequence that essentially crosses genres but encapsulates the interpretation above. The sequence I started with is shown below:

Following some reflection after my initial ideas and following a recommendation by a fellow student, I revisited the work of Ringo Kawauchi and Wolfgang Tillmans. I have found that their work is the distillation of my thoughts I am trying to articulate above. I therefore have followed a different path, producing a set of images inspired by Kawauchi and Tillman that form a more coherent series while remaining “simple” and “pure”.

Taking this specific inspiration I selected the following photograph from my initial set of photographs and using it as a starting point for the submitted series.

Technical Approach

All images were taken with a Fujifilm X-T3 camera set to aperture priority mode. ISO was adjusted according to lighting conditions and all pictures were taken handheld. I over-exposed slightly to emphasis the luminosity in the series.

Contact Strip


Bull, S. (2009) Photography. Abingdon: Routledge

Jay, B. & Hurn, D. (2001) On Being a Photographer: A Practical Guide (3rd edition). Washington: LensWork