Category Archives: ASSIGNMENT 2: Collecting

Assignment 2 Collecting – Crowds and Personal Space: Rework Post Tutor Review

The following is a rework of the original submission post tutor review. Changes that have been made are:

  • Overly similar images have been substituted.
  • The hanging plan has been changed to reflect greater image affinity.
  • An objective analysis of image selection has been included.
  • Reasoning behind the sequencing and layout of hanging plan has been included.

Introduction

Within this Assignment I wanted to explore the concept of personal space or rather the invasion of personal space; where personal space is defined as the space surrounding a person which they regard as psychologically theirs.  This space can be looked upon as a bubble around oneself that expands and contracts depending on the circumstances. Research has shown that there are 4 different distances that we accept. When these distance norms are encroached we have feelings of discomfort, anxiety or even anger.

  1. Intimate distance for children, lovers, close family members, friends, and pet animals.
  2. Personal distance for conversations with friends, to chat with associates, and in group discussions.
  3. Social distance is reserved for strangers, newly formed groups, and new acquaintances.
  4. Public distance is used for speeches, lectures, and larger audiences.

What I want/hoped to demonstrate (through the use of aperture, focal length and viewpoint ) is how people react when these distance norms are forcibly broken down by circumstances and their space invaded such as on a crowded train.  Is it possible to show that we are just accepting because we have now have no other option, or perhaps is there a new order of distances emerging in a modern crowded society?

Process

In terms of process my plan was threefold.  Firstly to produce the images in black and white as I felt strong could be distracting.

Secondly to move through the range of apertures and focal lengths to represent the four personal distance spaces.  Therefore the intimate space would be represented by a long focal length with a narrow depth of field.  This would allow the focus just to be on the subjects without the distraction of a background to demonstrate the closeness and proximity to each other.  At the other end of the spectrum a wide angle deep depth of field would be used to illustrate the public space.  This would not only demonstrate the vastness of the space people move (or not move) but also give the dimension of depth in a crowded situation.

What would be the limiting factor to my aperture/focal length plan would be the amount of available light.  It could be possible that within certain environments (inside a building or down in an Underground station) there would not be enough light and I could have to open up the aperture and lose the depth of field I required.  Alternatively using the long focal length with the aperture wide open I would have to slow the speed down beyond the point where camera shake would start to cut in.  At slow speeds blur of moving subjects could be a possibility but I would hope that it may add rather than detract from some of the images.  A tripod would certainly overcome these issues but unless absolutely necessary I avoided this so to be spontaneous and secondly not to attract attention to myself.

Thirdly another dimension to emphasis these space bubbles is that of view point.  The intention for the more personal space shot was to be down at subject level or lower.  Again this would further isolate the subjects from any background.  For the public spaces the plan was to have a high vantage point looking down onto the crowds.  However I did not want to be too square to anything below else it would have lost the full advantage with the depth of field.

Evaluation

Looking at what worked well, what didn’t work so well and improvements future:

Was I happy into the depth of research? Yes

Starting from a point of almost zero subject knowledge and with the amount of reading by comparison I almost feel like an expert in the field of personal space.  This background investigation really helped with what I was looking for as subject matter in a scene.

Also what helped here was my correspondence with a number of prominent street photographers on how they would approach such an assignment. These responses are outlined in my research section (https://swissrolly.wordpress.com/2015/03/15/assignment-2-collecting-practitioner-responses/)

Was I happy with the technical execution in terms of use of focal length, aperture, speed, focal point etc? Yes

This did prove challenging in that while I could plan what I wanted to do with focal point, or aperture for instance, trying to find the right aspect of personal space at the right time did prove quite problematical.  Many of the images taken are a cross between grab shots and the decisive moment.  If I did not take the picture then, regardless of the camera settings, the moment would have been lost.  Without doing an exact count by I would guess that over half of all the pictures taken over the various sessions would be eye level and 50mm lens equivalent.

From a pure technical point of view are the pictures exposed correctly and sharp, level, composed as I wanted them then the answer is yes.  On one or two shots where a slow speed was used movement can be seen but this I feel does not detract

Am I happy that I have managed to capture personal space especially so the invasion of personal space? Yes and no

Yes in that I think each photograph demonstrates a different aspect of personal space and have given a detailed comment of how each image achieves this.  No in that perhaps being too critical of my own work what I wanted to capture in my mind’s eye was not what I could either find in real life and then if found subsequently capture in the way I had envisioned.

Do I think the series works as a whole? I think so

Why I give a reserved yes is because it comes down to seeing the pictures against the intended backdrop.  Without knowing the subject matter the viewer would see 10 horizontally orientated black and white pictures all with the same look and feel giving a sense of rhythm and harmony to the set.  Each photo is composed well, technically competent but none are show stoppingly excellent.  Once the context is then known the pictures take on a different dimension and then this theme is seen across the whole set tying them together as a cohesive unit.

As highlighted in my research the big issue for me was that I took too long over the assignment.  This was a combination of:

  • choosing a subject that was difficult to capture (born out by my correspondence with street photographers)
  • Took too long over the research e.g. was recommended a book by my tutor (The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard) and read it from end to end. It contained very useful themes and ideas but in hindsight I should have adopted a different reading approach.
  • trying to get an image that demonstrated an intrinsically different aspect of space. I did not want the themes to duplicate or repeat and this took time

Key learning for me is that for future assignments I need to re-evaluate how I plan my workload else while enjoyable I will never get the course completed in a reasonable time.

Finally while having to respect to the question to keep the same format throughout (to ensure coherence to the series) I would have liked to introduce a mixed format approach.  Due to the nature of some of the aspects of personal space a vertical format or even a square format would have better suited what was being portrayed.

Hanging PlanHanging1

Image Selection Criteria

The images selected each represent a different aspect of personal space however as touched on before the viewer needs to know the context.  Although they are good pictures individually and work well as a set it is not until the context made known do they all sit together.  Yes it can be argued that that each image should be so strong that the context should be obvious to the viewer.  In some cases this is very much true (photojournalism perhaps) while others less so.  I have covered the context debate a little in relation to the work of Chloe Dewe Mathews (https://swissrolly.wordpress.com/2015/01/06/conflict-time-photography/)

The images were selected by the following criteria:

  • Is it of an acceptable technical quality? (e.g. tone, focus sharpness)
  • Is it compositionally pleasing? (e.g. would the viewer feel comfortable viewing)
  • Is the composition and subject matter sufficiently different than other images selected (to avoid similar looking images)
  • Does the picture work in harmony with others selected? (e.g. does the image draw the viewers attention to the detriment of others?)
  • Does it show a unique aspect of personal space compared to other images selected?
  • Is there a spread of different focal lengths used?
  • Is the format of the image consistent with others selected

For me the most difficult selection was choosing sufficiently different images.  While I am happy with the outcome in that they all work as a group they are not necessarily what I consider my ‘best’ photographs however they do all meet the selection criteria.

Hanging Plan Design

The hanging plan design fell into two stages.  Firstly the selection of the format and secondly the position of the images within the format.

Format
For me this proved problematical in that in theory there are almost a limitless way in which the images can be presented (horizontal, vertical, linear, random, angled etc). My choice was by the fact I did not want eye running along a series of images trying to pair off or balance.  I wanted to break the flow so the eye and stopped and inspected each image in relation to another.  It was a way of slowing the viewer eye down and presenting visual barriers. Also I tried to develop the theme of personal space between the images making the distance between each image much further away.  While this seemed a good idea the final result disconnected the images from the context as there was visually too much space for the eye to easily cross.

Position
Once the format was decided logic was applied to the position.  Again even after ruling out unbalanced compositions there are many ways in which the images can be displayed.  My final selection was made on the following criteria

  • Left wing balances out right wing.
  • Stronger images are in the middle
  • Link the middle through a pyramid of open to closed spaces
  • Try and develop a visual flow from the cramped conditions of the train which both physically and visually transports you to the other images and back to the train for completion.

My view is I am happy with the result and assists in the visualization of the theme of the assignment.

Capture 3

Final Selected 10 Pictures with Observational Commentary
(Note: all pictures taken on a 1.5x crop factor camera)

1) Museum Queue, Palazzo Chiablese, Turin, Italy
55mm  1/100 sec at f4.5

DSC00454

This images show a queue of people waiting to get into an art exhibition.  As the queue was outside there was room to move it can be seen that as the crowd was not forced close together.  As a result a gap of personal space has opened up between groups.  What can be seen is that the gap has not opened up too much so that the shape of the queue remains and no one could easily push in.  Interesting to note the two children at the end appear if they could be strangers with personal space between themselves but they are just getting to know each other.  Perhaps during the course of the queuing as they get to know each other the space will close down.

The flat square on view is used to demonstrate the personal space gaps.

2) Re-enactment, Hampton Court, London
26mm  1/13 sec at f4.0

DSC07151I have put this picture in as a positive antithesis to the invasion of personal space.  This one breaks all the rules in that there are a large number of people in a confined space yet they all seem comfortable that they are invading each other’s space. Why is this?  My theory is they are all here for the common reason of an enjoyable purpose – to see a re-enactment.  They are there for their own enjoyment and they want to see and appreciate what is going on.  This can be further seen by the fact that some of the children are to be involved as they have been dressed for audience participation.  As everyone is there for the same reason the barriers seem to have broken down.  They are concentrating on the show smiling and laughing that any personal space limits have disappeared.  What I could not determine was how long this social euphoria would last after the show before people would return back to the spatial norms.

I like this photo because it was shot at a low angle in line with most of the audience and a slow speed because of the low lighting conditions.  As a result of a wide aperture, the front few subjects are in focus while the rest fade slowly out of focus emphasising the sense of enjoyment on the foreground subject faces.  The slow speed has also added some blurring movement in a few subjects which add some dynamism to the image.

3) Station Platform, Morges, Switzerland
26mm  1/800 sec at f5.0

DSC06337

A square-on shot showing passengers waiting at the station.  Initially my image was going to show the large gap between the man on the right and the girl on the left.  The third subject arrived and placed herself almost dead centre between the two giving naturally equidistance spacing.  Clearly the girl must have (perhaps subconsciously) thought about this as she approached her position to place herself so perfectly.  What is interesting is that the man seems to be oblivious of the newcomer yet the other girl (providing it is not just me capturing point in time) seems to have adopted a protective body language stance.  I was hoping that another person would come along to see where they would stand in relation to the others but the train arrived and the passengers departed.

 

4) Underground Train, London
16mm  1/60 sec at f4.0

DSC06816

A crowded underground train shows how all personal space has broken down.  Passengers appear to accept this as the need to get to their destination outweighs the need for keeping distance.  The lower wide angle shot seems to emphasise the lack of space.  Also interesting to note that a number of passengers appeared to have spotted me.  I think what has happened is that I am a point of interest to which they can fix their gaze outside the carriage rather than having to look into eyes of their fellow passengers.  What I like about this image is that the symmetry adds to closeness and confinement, and the teeth like motif on the door adds to the feeling of the passengers being trapped within their surroundings.

5) Millennium Bridge, London
55mm  1/100 sec at f4.5

DSC07355

An observation here of when all the rules of personal space seem to breakdown to achieve a different goal.  I found out that the subject here was a yoga practitioner who was part of a photo shoot for her website.  Clearly the lady was not concerned about what people thought or how they would react in seeing her.  What I saw was two things relating to passers by (i) intimate space seem to close up between couples when seeing anything strange.  Almost an inbuilt safety mechanism had kicked in, and (ii) the lady was given a much wider berth than others in the thong of people crossing the bridge.  Therefore it could be concluded that while people did not like being too close in crowds it was accepted because of the situation (the narrowness of the bridge), but when something out of the ordinary happens normal rules of distance are applied.

6) Great Court, British Museum, London
36mm  1/60 sec at f4.5

PicDSC06628

This image is all about choices.  I observed the scene for a good ten minutes in anticipation of what would happen before I took this image.

I saw the couple had set themselves down to chat and or eat.  From what I would expect that I had learned about personal space that if someone else came along they would set up their own territory as far away as the could.  As expected a lady sat down on the other table and at the end to ensure this was a border so her space only had the potential to be invaded on side.  It could be argued that she had to sit somewhere so she randomly selected this seat.  Yes that is true but the observation her was that was not the case.

I like this image because you see it from the perspective of someone who may have want to enter this space.  The photograph conveys the element of choice

 

7) Ticket Queue, Musée des Confluences, Lyon, France
55mm  1/100 sec at f4.5

DSC09409

A shot from above shows well the space between people queuing for tickets to enter a museum.  This demonstrates the personal space between the couples/parties in the queue but also demonstrates the intimate space between the couples.  I would argue that as nobody is in a great rush (as there is not start time unlike a sports event) people are keeping their distance and the queue has not closed up.

 

8) Tourist Party Outside Santa Croce Church, Piazza Carlo Emanuele II, Turin
210mm  1/80 sec at f6.3

DSC00326

Taken from afar this image shows the conflict between personal space and achieving a goal. The party is a group of tourists who other than perhaps couples have no connection between each other than they are getting ready to go on a guided tour of a church with this being the introduction/briefing before they enter.  People have to get close enough to hear the guide but because they are unfamiliar with each other they are trying to leave space between each other.  The angle from which the photograph was taken shows this clearly.  So why do not the tourists just stand in front on the guide to get the best position to hear?  Why leave a large gap?  Based on what I have read I would argue that this is a combination of keeping personal space but also what is deemed as the social etiquette of good manners.  There are times when these proximity rules break down.  People on the autism spectrum generally lack any natural sense of personal space, or alternatively people under the influence of alcohol have these barriers broken down sometimes for better or sometimes for worse.  With reference to the picture neither appear to be the case here.

 

9) Platform, Zürich Flughafen Bahnhof, Switzerland
55mm  1/40 sec at f5.6

DSC08795

With this picture I have tried to capture people ignoring any conception of personal space when they have a specific goal in mind.  Here passengers are either rushing to catch the train or get to airport terminal as fast as possible.  What is not represented in the picture too well is how people would jostle and push each other to achieve their goal.

I do not feel that this picture adequacy captures what I saw in that how people react.  Perhaps a slower exposure that would have represented the motion trail may have served better. In saying that this picture was difficult enough as I was seen as a barrier, and subsequently jostled out of the way.

Again what I did not observe that once the people got on the train how they decided to sit.  From observations during taking pictures for this assignment my feeling was each person would seek out a seat ideally with no one else either surrounding or next to them.  Therefore the barriers of personal space breakdown with the goal to get on the train yet return the moment when they have achieved this goal.

 

10) Millennium Bridge, London
16mm  1/100 sec at f5.0

DSC07338

In a way this image is counterpoint to the Underground picture.  In that the passengers were almost looking to me as an escape.  Here the people crossing the bridge to keep their personal space safe did not want to look at me.  Yes they saw I was taking pictures of people passing in front of me, yes they had the opportunity  to change course and go around the back of me, but they carried on in a straight line and to protect their space just looked down and carried on going.  Perhaps on a sunnier warmer day they may have gone around me but on this very cold late afternoon a straight line was the preferred option.

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Contact Sheets

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Assignment 2 Collecting – Crowds and Personal Space: Reflection Post Tutor Review

Again as per Assignment 1, I will keep the detailed comments private but in summary the overall feedback was positive, the theme of the assignment was deemed of interest and engaging, and the recommendation was made to move on to Assignment 3.  I feel the comments given were very fair annotated with excellent mentoring pointers, and confirmed for me where I am in terms of course development and what is needed for the future.

In summary the changes needed to the work are:

  • Too many overly similar images in that while the individual images are strong I need to substitute others from the contact sheets.
  • A need to change hanging plan layout for image affinity so as the images balance each another in a more harmonious way.
  • An in depth objective analysis of my thinking in selecting these images needs to be written and added.
  • Reasoning behind the sequencing and layout of hanging plan is required.

These changes will be made and a revised Assignment 2 will subsequently be posted.

In addition it was recommended to add to my Research section the practitioner responses to my questions about personal space.

Assignment 2 Collecting – Crowds and Personal Space : Reflection Post Submission

Overall I believed I have met the criteria therefore would judge my work at the detailed level as follows:

Demonstration of technical and visual skills – Materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills. (40%)

  • Technical skill: All in focus, all exposed as I wanted then, all level, depth of field as I required
  • Observational skills: Did not go for the obvious, selected carefully the subjects and scenes I needed to depict both personal space and the invasion of personal space
  • Design/Compositional skills: As required by the question I selected a variety of focal lengths and focal points. Also the pictures are all landscape format for consistency without any or very little any cropping.  The core elements are contained within frame which I wanted to depict.

Quality of outcome – Content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas. (20%)

  • I feel I have produced images that show visual qualities that allow the viewer to connect with the theme at hand. I believe that the viewer can see the idea and concept of personal space manifest itself through the images.  I feel the image do not come across as just pictures of crowds but can be seen that they have been taken for a purpose both as standalone images and as part of themes set.
  • Where I feel I have much to learn is that of the editing process and the final ‘hanging plan’. With many images to choose from deciding which to use so that it demonstrates all aspects of personal space and as a set of coherent images was not without difficulties.  I fear that I could have spent just as long with this process as I did with producing the body of work in the first place.  In the end I feel comfortable (within my current knowledge) with the balance of the final set.  No doubt there is much room for improvement as the assignments progresses.

Demonstration of creativity – Imagination, experimentation, invention. (20%)

  • I hope that the images reflect that I have challenged the question in that I have thought hard about what I wanted to represent, and in doing so create both an interest and a curiosity with the viewer regarding the subject.
  • While the nature of what I was trying to capture reduced the latitude for creativity I feel that this has been added to the images. I feel I have explored a range of approaches both planned and opportune that resolved my ideas from conception to reality.
  • Perhaps if this body of work were over a longer period there would have been time to deeply understand both how crowds react, and also what to do to make myself as the observer and recorder of this behavior disappear into the background so as not to interfere with the natural course of events.

Context – Reflection, research, critical thinking. (20%)

  • While I may have overly researched and taken too long to produce this assignment I think on balance I am happy with what I have produced. Contacting other street photographers and university professors gave a rich insight to both the theoretical and practical side to the subject.  Even in depth research from the internet I would not have discovered any of the valuable information given by this approach.

Based on the experience and assessment from Assignment 1 I would consider this a pass but how much I have no idea but there is certainly room to improve.

Assignment 2 – Collecting: Crowds and Personal Space

Introduction

Within this Assignment I wanted to explore the concept of personal space or rather the invasion of personal space; where personal space is defined as the space surrounding a person which they regard as psychologically theirs.  This space can be looked upon as a bubble around oneself that expands and contracts depending on the circumstances. Research has shown that there are 4 different distances that we accept. When these distance norms are encroached we have feelings of discomfort, anxiety or even anger.

  1. Intimate distance for children, lovers, close family members, friends, and pet animals.
  2. Personal distance for conversations with friends, to chat with associates, and in group discussions.
  3. Social distance is reserved for strangers, newly formed groups, and new acquaintances.
  4. Public distance is used for speeches, lectures, and larger audiences.

What I want/hoped to demonstrate (through the use of aperture, focal length and viewpoint ) is how people react when these distance norms are forcibly broken down by circumstances and their space invaded such as on a crowded train.  Is it possible to show that we are just accepting because we have now have no other option, or perhaps is there a new order of distances emerging in a modern crowded society?

Process

In terms of process my plan was threefold.  Firstly to produce the images in black and white as I felt strong could be distracting.

Secondly to move through the range of apertures and focal lengths to represent the four personal distance spaces.  Therefore the intimate space would be represented by a long focal length with a narrow depth of field.  This would allow the focus just to be on the subjects without the distraction of a background to demonstrate the closeness and proximity to each other.  At the other end of the spectrum a wide angle deep depth of field would be used to illustrate the public space.  This would not only demonstrate the vastness of the space people move (or not move) but also give the dimension of depth in a crowded situation.

What would be the limiting factor to my aperture/focal length plan would be the amount of available light.  It could be possible that within certain environments (inside a building or down in an Underground station) there would not be enough light and I could have to open up the aperture and lose the depth of field I required.  Alternatively using the long focal length with the aperture wide open I would have to slow the speed down beyond the point where camera shake would start to cut in.  At slow speeds blur of moving subjects could be a possibility but I would hope that it may add rather than detract from some of the images.  A tripod would certainly overcome these issues but unless absolutely necessary I avoided this so to be spontaneous and secondly not to attract attention to myself.

Thirdly another dimension to emphasis these space bubbles is that of view point.  The intention for the more personal space shot was to be down at subject level or lower.  Again this would further isolate the subjects from any background.  For the public spaces the plan was to have a high vantage point looking down onto the crowds.  However I did not want to be too square to anything below else it would have lost the full advantage with the depth of field.

Evaluation

Looking at what worked well, what didn’t work so well and improvements future:

Was I happy into the depth of research? Yes

Starting from a point of almost zero subject knowledge and with the amount of reading by comparison I almost feel like an expert in the field of personal space.  This background investigation really helped with what I was looking for as subject matter in a scene.

Also what helped here was my correspondence with a number of prominent street photographers on how they would approach such an assignment.

Was I happy with the technical execution in terms of use of focal length, aperture, speed, focal point etc? Yes

This did prove challenging in that while I could plan what I wanted to do with focal point, or aperture for instance, trying to find the right aspect of personal space at the right time did prove quite problematical.  Many of the images taken are a cross between grab shots and the decisive moment.  If I did not take the picture then, regardless of the camera settings, the moment would have been lost.  Without doing an exact count by I would guess that over half of all the pictures taken over the various sessions would be eye level and 50mm lens equivalent.

From a pure technical point of view are the pictures exposed correctly and sharp, level, composed as I wanted them then the answer is yes.  On one or two shots where a slow speed was used movement can be seen but this I feel does not detract

Am I happy that I have managed to capture personal space especially so the invasion of personal space? Yes and no

Yes in that I think each photograph demonstrates a different aspect of personal space and have given a detailed comment of how each image achieves this.  No in that perhaps being too critical of my own work what I wanted to capture in my mind’s eye was not what I could either find in real life and then if found subsequently capture in the way I had envisioned.

Do I think the series works as a whole? I think so

Why I give a reserved yes is because it comes down to seeing the pictures against the intended backdrop.  Without knowing the subject matter the viewer would see 10 horizontally orientated black and white pictures all with the same look and feel giving a sense of rhythm and harmony to the set.  Each photo is composed well, technically competent but none are show stoppingly excellent.  Once the context is then known the pictures take on a different dimension and then this theme is seen across the whole set tying them together as a cohesive unit.

As highlighted in my research the big issue for me was that I took too long over the assignment.  This was a combination of:

  • choosing a subject that was difficult to capture (born out by my correspondence with street photographers)
  • Took too long over the research e.g. was recommended a book by my tutor (The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard) and read it from end to end. It contained very useful themes and ideas but in hindsight I should have adopted a different reading approach.
  • trying to get an image that demonstrated an intrinsically different aspect of space. I did not want the themes to duplicate or repeat and this took time

Key learning for me is that for future assignments I need to re-evaluate how I plan my workload else while enjoyable I will never get the course completed in a reasonable time.

Finally while having to respect to the question to keep the same format throughout (to ensure coherence to the series) I would have liked to introduce a mixed format approach.  Due to the nature of some of the aspects of personal space a vertical format or even a square format would have better suited what was being portrayed.

Hanging Plan

2015-03-26

 

 Final 10 Pictures with Observational Commentary
(Note: all pictures taken on a 1.5x crop factor camera)

Station Platform, Morges, Switzerland
26mm  1/800 sec at f5.0

DSC06337

A square-on shot showing passengers waiting at the station.  Initially my image was going to show the large gap between the man on the right and the girl on the left.  The third subject arrived and placed herself almost dead centre between the two giving naturally equidistance spacing.  Clearly the girl must have (perhaps subconsciously) thought about this as she approached her position to place herself so perfectly.  What is interesting is that the man seems to be oblivious of the newcomer yet the other girl (providing it is not just me capturing point in time) seems to have adopted a protective body language stance.  I was hoping that another person would come along to see where they would stand in relation to the others but the train arrived and the passengers departed.

 

Great Court, British Museum, London
51mm  1/80 sec at f5.0

DSC06631

I observed this seat for a while before taking the picture.  Initially it was completely full and then a number left to create the gap as shown.  What is interesting to see is how people have reacted to this happening.  The couple to the right look relieved with the man actually stretching out and filling the space while the woman is almost surreptitiously looking to see what has happened in the vacant space.  Meanwhile the opposite is happening on the other end of the bench.  The lady clearly feels uncomfortable (or perhaps even more uncomfortable) that as there is now vacant space but gentleman drinking has not moved his position.  In fact the couple could not move further along the bench without falling off.  For ‘safety’ the lady has moved into the intimate personal space zone of her partner.

 

Underground Train, London
16mm  1/60 sec at f4.0

DSC06816

A crowded underground train shows how all personal space has broken down.  Passengers appear to accept this as the need to get to their destination outweighs the need for keeping distance.  The lower wide angle shot seems to emphasise the lack of space.  Also interesting to note that a number of passengers appeared to have spotted me.  I think what has happened is that I am a point of interest to which they can fix their gaze outside the carriage rather than having to look into eyes of their fellow passengers.  What I like about this image is that the symmetry adds to closeness and confinement, and the teeth like motif on the door adds to the feeling of the passengers being trapped within their surroundings.

 

Re-enactment, Hampton Court, London
26mm  1/13 sec at f4.0

DSC07151

I have put this picture in as a positive antithesis to the invasion of personal space.  This one breaks all the rules in that there are a large number of people in a confined space yet they all seem comfortable that they are invading each other’s space. Why is this?  My theory is they are all here for the common reason of an enjoyable purpose – to see a re-enactment.  They are there for their own enjoyment and they want to see and appreciate what is going on.  This can be further seen by the fact that some of the children are to be involved as they have been dressed for audience participation.  As everyone is there for the same reason the barriers seem to have broken down.  They are concentrating on the show smiling and laughing that any personal space limits have disappeared.  What I could not determine was how long this social euphoria would last after the show before people would return back to the spatial norms.

I like this photo because it was shot at a low angle in line with most of the audience and a slow speed because of the low lighting conditions.  As a result of a wide aperture, the front few subjects are in focus while the rest fade slowly out of focus emphasising the sense of enjoyment on the foreground subject faces.  The slow speed has also added some blurring movement in a few subjects which add some dynamism to the image.

 

Waiting Hall, Lausanne Gare, Switzerland
19mm  1/60 sec at f4.0

DSC08664

I observed the scene for a good fifteen minutes before I took this image.  Firstly it was for people to get used to me standing there and secondly for me to observe how people reacted to each other.  Initially the front bench seat was empty.  The first lady to sit down was the one now eating the sandwich.  She defined her space by sitting at the end of the bench.  Being at the end nobody could invade her space on one side.  To make certain and capitalise her territory a newspaper was tactically placed on the other side thus ‘reserving’ the space.  Not only that a newspaper has been placed strategically quite away from her marking herself a big area.  If someone was going to sit there they would have to make a conscious effort to ask for it to be removed.  The next to sit down was the lady at the far end who set up her space bordered by the waste bin on one side and again made her space by laying out bags on the bench.  Finally the third lady sat almost in the middle between the other two.  Again territory has been set up but this time can only be marked out by one bag so there is always at risk of someone sitting near.

What is interesting to note is that two of the ladies are abiding to a social form of etiquette in that they could have marked out the area by putting their large shopping bags on the seat.  However I would argue they are conforming to social rules that would determine that this would actually be seen to be sociably rude.

The wide angle emphasises the length and perspective of the bench and exaggerates slightly the gap between each person.

 

Waiting Room, Lausanne Gare, Switzerland
55mm  1/40 sec at f5.6

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This image is quite complex in the personal space model.  The two subjects have sat themselves as far away as possible in an enclosed space.  The subject nearer has defined his space by the posture he has adopted that he has made himself big by spreading out which gives an aggressive ‘don’t come near’ stance.  Also he has blocked off the space in front of himself in case anyone wanted to stand there.  The far subject allows the rubbish on the seat next to him to remain as this will act as a barrier/deterrent to anyone else to sit there.  It can be seen that there are many people outside of the waiting room but it was unclear to me how many were put off by entering an enclosed space where territory had already been defined.  The weather that day was cold but perhaps if it were raining this would have been enough of a catalyst for those outside to overcome any fears of invasion of already marked out space.

I like this image because you see it from the perspective of someone who may have want to enter this space.  The photograph conveys the element of choice.

 

Platform, Zürich Flughafen Bahnhof, Switzerland
55mm  1/40 sec at f5.6

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With this picture I have tried to capture people ignoring any conception of personal space when they have a specific goal in mind.  Here passengers are either rushing to catch the train or get to airport terminal as fast as possible.  What is not represented in the picture too well is how people would jostle and push each other to achieve their goal.

I do not feel that this picture adequacy captures what I saw in that how people react.  Perhaps a slower exposure that would have represented the motion trail may have served better. In saying that this picture was difficult enough as I was seen as a barrier, and subsequently jostled out of the way.

Again what I did not observe that once the people got on the train how they decided to sit.  From observations during taking pictures for this assignment my feeling was each person would seek out a seat ideally with no one else either surrounding or next to them.  Therefore the barriers of personal space breakdown with the goal to get on the train yet return the moment when they have achieved this goal.

 

Tourist Party Outside Santa Croce Church, Piazza Carlo Emanuele II, Turin
210mm  1/80 sec at f6.3

DSC00326

Taken from afar this image shows the conflict between personal space and achieving a goal. The party is a group of tourists who other than perhaps couples have no connection between each other than they are getting ready to go on a guided tour of a church with this being the introduction/briefing before they enter.  People have to get close enough to hear the guide but because they are unfamiliar with each other they are trying to leave space between each other.  The angle from which the photograph was taken shows this clearly.  So why do not the tourists just stand in front on the guide to get the best position to hear?  Why leave a large gap?  Based on what I have read I would argue that this is a combination of keeping personal space but also what is deemed as the social etiquette of good manners.  There are times when these proximity rules break down.  People on the autism spectrum generally lack any natural sense of personal space, or alternatively people under the influence of alcohol have these barriers broken down sometimes for better or sometimes for worse.  With reference to the picture neither appear to be the case here.

 

Museum Queue, Palazzo Chiablese, Turin, Italy
55mm  1/100 sec at f4.5

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This images show a queue of people waiting to get into an art exhibition.  As the queue was outside there was room to move it can be seen that as the crowd was not forced close together.  As a result a gap of personal space has opened up between groups.  What can be seen is that the gap has not opened up too much so that the shape of the queue remains and no one could easily push in.  Interesting to note the two children at the end appear if they could be strangers with personal space between themselves but they are just getting to know each other.  Perhaps during the course of the queuing as they get to know each other the space will close down.

The flat square on view is used to demonstrate the personal space gaps.

 

Ticket Queue, Musée des Confluences, Lyon, France
55mm  1/100 sec at f4.5

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A shot from above shows well the space between people queuing for tickets to enter a museum.  This demonstrates the personal space between the couples/parties in the queue but also demonstrates the intimate space between the couples.  I would argue that as nobody is in a great rush (as there is not start time unlike a sports event) people are keeping their distance and the queue has not closed up.

 

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