Personal Study Essays

Fear is often struck into the heart of a student when discussing A Level Photography and they hear the word ‘essay’.This is really nothing to be frightened of, it is merely an opportunity for you to explore your ideas in more depth and also a chance to show off.Ed Drew – Image Analysis Drew’s use of tintypes – a photographic technique common place in conflicts such as the American Civil War – in Afghanistan, creates an eerie feeling of ghost like figures.

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The construction of the scene detracts from the facial expression and forces the viewer to consider the portrait as a whole.

The American flag behind the soldier is a dominant symbol of patriotism, it sits above him in the frame, possibly representing that the country is greater than him and his personal anguish is worthwhile for the benefit of the nation. The word uniform itself can be defined as “remaining the same in all cases and at all times” ( The purpose of my project is to reveal the subject in greater detail, by placing the subject in a uniform it has in fact removed the subjects identity and therefore must be considered when developing my own work.

The fact that each plate has its own unique flaws caused by inconsistent flow of collodion over the plate also aids this discussion.

Each soldier exhibits unique scars, whether physical or mental, caused by being exposed to a war zone.

A downside to using Tintypes to document in this way is the time it takes to create a single exposure.

A sensitised plate has the equivalent ISO of 1, in a studio environment a one second exposure would require four 800 watt flash heads.

His work has a parity with the photography of Matthew Brady, Alexander Gardner, George Barnard, and Timothy O’Sullivan who photographed battle fields and regiments of soldiers during the American Civil War.

Their work ‘…brought the gruesome realities of warfare home to the American public’ (Foner, E.

Drew’s exposures were taken in daylight, leading us to assume that even under midday sun the subject would have to remain still for at least two to three seconds.

Because of this the pose, expression and setting for the image would have had to be considered beforehand and potentially dictated by the photographer to the subject in order to result in a well exposed portrait.


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