Exercise 4.4: Personal Voice

Make a Google Images search for ‘landscape’, ‘portrait’, or any ordinary subject such as ‘apple’ or ‘sunset’. Add a screengrab of a representative page to your learning log and note down the similarities you find between the images.

Now take a number of your own photographs of the same subject, paying special attention to the ‘Creativity’ criteria at the end of Part One. You might like to make the subject appear ‘incidental’, for instance by using focus or framing. Or you might begin with the observation of Ernst Haas, or the ‘camera vision’ of Bill Brandt. Or if you’re feeling bold you might forget about your camera completely and think about the tricky question of originality in a different way – http://penelopeumbrico.net/index.php/project/suns/.

Add a final image to your learning log, together with a selection of preparatory shots. In your notes describe how your photograph or representation differs from your Google Images source images of the same subject.


‘There can never be any question of ‘just looking’: vision is structured in such a way that the look will always-already entrain a history of the subject.’
(Burgin, 1982, p.188) 

Doing a search for ‘oven’ returned rows of photographs of different types of ovens taken in a fairly uniform manner. Most were taken at eye-level and when presented this way, Hicks Law- ‘the more stimuli (or choices) users face, the longer it will take them to make a decision’- kicks in. Ok, this is more relevant for e-commerce / digital design but it can be applied in this instance to mean that when an object is photographed in a conventional way (or some form of convention is established)  individuality can be lost or overlooked.

 To make this more interesting and give it an alternative twist, I decided to photo the oven from the ovens point of view. In photography, there is the view of the photographer, and the viewer, but what about the view from the subject/object?


An oven waits in anticipation for the cake it will dutifully bake. Reliable. Every time.