The two main image manipulation techniques that i will be using in my image are perspective warp and being able to link effects to a single layer.
For both technical issues i found very helpful videos that clearly displayed what i had to do
Perspective warp: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2Jut0semFI
Linking visual adjustment layers to a single layer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5oO6gkLVks
This has helped me immensely in the production and composition of my image and will therefore make the meaning of my image clearer. I have used the linking of visual adjustment layers to a single layer in many cases in my image to help with changing the colour of clothing and background. the perspective warp will most likely be used on a wall in the background to give it the appearance that it is disappearing in to the distance. this helps to give my image a sense of depth and allows it to be more visually striking.
Put simply, negative space is the area which surrounds the main subject in your photo (the main subject is known as the “positive space”). Negative space defines and emphasises the main subject of a photo, drawing your eye to it. It provides “breathing room”, giving your eyes somewhere to rest and preventing your image from appearing too cluttered with “stuff”. All of this adds up to a more engaging composition. When used properly, negative space provides a natural balance against the positive space in a scene. When framing your photo, adjust your composition until the positive and negative spaces in the shot feel well balanced against one another. Be generous with the amount of empty space you leave, and don’t feel you have to cram something interesting into every square inch of the frame. Getting this balance right is tricky and rather subjective. In relation to my image, i feel as though i will have to walk a fine line between my image being too cluttered or too empty. The idea of ‘claustrophobia’ for the young girl in a dangerous predicament in of paramount importance to conveying the message of the article.
(information collected from: http://www.photographymad.com/pages/view/understanding-and-using-negative-space-in-photography)
To help with spacing i will attempt to apply the rule of thirds. The basic principle behind the rule of thirds is to imagine breaking an image down into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so that you have 9 parts. The theory is that if you place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines that your photo becomes more balanced and will enable a viewer of the image to interact with it more naturally. Studies have shown that when viewing images that people’s eyes usually go to one of the intersection points most naturally rather than the center of the shot – using the rule of thirds works with this natural way of viewing an image rather than working against it. From this i will attempt to make the two main points of conflict, with the lashing arms and the groom reaching out his hand on the main intersections points of my image. By being able to represent both conflicts i will be better able to represent my article.
(information collected from: http://digital-photography-school.com/rule-of-thirds/)
In order to make something a visually striking contrast is by using opposite colours. Opposite colour pairs like this are also known as “complementary” colors and lie on directly opposite sides of the colour wheel. When these colours are side by side or close together in an image they produce greater contrast than either would if hey were put with any other color. This theory becomes very important when attempting to create an image that captures the attention of a viewer.
“Unlike other pairs of complementary colors, fiery orange and cool blue are strongly associated with opposing concepts — fire and ice, earth and sky, land and sea, day and night, invested humanism vs. elegant indifference, good old fashioned explosions vs. futuristic science stuff. It’s a trope because it’s used on purpose, and it does something.”
Although the orange and blue is sometimes slammed as a overused colour palette within the the photographic and film mediums, I feel as though it can be applied effectively in my image. I plan to use orange shades on the left hand side of the screen to help show the fury and rage of the arms that are reaching to the girl in the center of the screen. Then from the right side of the screen I will have dark blue colour tones to help to visually portray the depression associated with the groom in the image. Both these colours with meet quite sharply in the middle where the child bride will be and this will help to show that she is in the center of a conflict. It also may help to convey the idea that in her given situation, the arms and the old groom represent her only two choices and by way of visual comparison, the latter seems the lesser of the two evils.
By using a desaturated version of a cold colour like blue and a more saturated version of a hot colour like red, my image can remain visually striking whilst also helping to convey a sombre tone. Hot and cold colours are deeply coded in humans minds as being associated with certain emotions. From my research I found that certain desaturated shades of blue are associated with depression and brighter shades of red are associated with rage. Although nuances within the use of these colours may be culturally bound, the overall emtotion tied to these colours is fairly universal and the view of the colours is held by my target audience which is very important.
The above image is a good representation of the colour tone and palette i am planning on using.
Semiotics is the study of signs and the meanings they evoke. I felt as though it was very important for me to research this topic as it is a crucial part of understanding visual symbolism, which my image relies heavily upon. One that I found particularly helpful was Charles Peirce’s theory of paradigmic representation. This being that you can provide or enhance meaning of an aspect by providing something complimentary in the image that the viewer is able to gain a sense of meaning through similarities and/or differences between the two. As much as I can, I plan to incorporate this into the bride and groom section of the image to help evoke a more emotional response within the viewer to help them empathize more with the child bride. As per my previous conundrum regrading how traditionally i should approach the representation of my bride and groom, I have decided that the best course of action for me to take is to try and find a middle ground. The theory that helped me to decide was Clifford Burgess’ 5 levels of codes and 5 levels of connotations. The 5 levels of codes are universal, national, regional, local and individual. The codification behind the visual representation of marriage falls mostly into the first and second levels. Universally, the most common representation of marriage is that between two individuals, most commonly that of a male and female. This can be seen in almost every culture worldwide. The national codes of representation is where culture begins to effect perception. For New Zealand, the cultural norm is that of a man dressed int a formal suit and a woman dressed in a long white gown and a thin vial. This is quite different from how a Syrian wedding can sometimes look. To attempt to both cultures then, I must try to find an intermediate point between both cultures. This is reinforced by the 5 levels of connotations of which cultural background is seen as the base level of interpreting the connotations of visual elements. As defined by Ferdinande De Saussure, culture is the only true context behind connotations given to things. Therefore if I am to clearly represent the two as being bride and groom, I must keep this in mind.
Another part of De Saussure’s theory that I found relevant was the idea of providing connotative meanings for objects through their surroundings. For example, although the wedding scene itself has many cultural connotations behind it, it is where the wedding is occurring that really provides a deep level of connotative information to the viewer. Initially I wasn’t going to have any background for my image, however after reading about this I realized that I have to show where it is set for setting and connotative purposes. The power of setting can be illustrated in the picture below that shows a picture of a child bride. My image will now include a battered refugee tent that I will manipulate to look more authentic in photoshop. In order to grasp the kills and techniques that will be required in order to carry this out, I will look at photoshop techniques in my next blog post.
As the article I have chosen focuses exclusively on Syrian child brides I thought that it was very important visually to the veracity of my image that the bride and groom in my image are wearing authentic Syrian wedding clothing. What i found when conducting this research was particularity interesting to me. I found there was a great deal of variation within the outfits worn by the bride and groom to their wedding and it was based on a whole host of contributing factors such as social status, wealth and historical setting.
In this first, and particularly compelling image, we can see that outfit wise, they are very similar to that of a western styled wedding. The groom is dressed in a black and white suit with a black tie and the bride in a long white gown with exposed head and neck. Although this is a very good photo for my research as it was taken from within a refugee camp, I dont know if it will be the style I go with as I dont feel that it accurately portrays the ‘poverty’ of the article — which is a key theme.
In this second picture we see a more ‘traditional’ styled outfit for the bride and groom. Although the grooms outfit looks fairly similar, minus the tie we see the brides outfit is quite different with her neck and head completely covered in a traditional Hijab. The white dress and black suit colour scheme is still the same however.
In this picture, also from a Syrian refugee camp, we see a slightly different dress code again. This time the groom is simply wearing a tidy white suit and black dress pants and the bride is wearing a particularly interesting white hooded cloak. Not to seem culturally insensitive, but the bride and the groom in this image definitely seem less wealthy then those in the two images above. Therefore I think something a long these lines would be an appropriate choice of outfit for my image.
This last image is definitely the closest visually to what the article presents. This picture is taken from a similar article about marriage and poverty in Syrian refugee camps in Jordan. However, although their outfits have genuine authenticity, I encounter a conflict of interests where by trying to correctly portray a poor Syrian marriage, I may fail to present a scene that aligns with what the target audience perceives as marriage. As the article is one from the NZ Herald, it will be catering to a more kiwi cultured audience that I could run the risk of confusing with my culturally accurate image. To combat this issue, I will address it further in a later blog post about semiotics and further research into what images associated with marriage are universal and cultural.