Photography project: The Car Park

Finding interest & beauty in the mundane surroundings of your local parking-lot.

This project is designed to help you think creatively in what may first strike you as a very mundane environment. This is often the challenge working photographers have; boring place, boring subjects, mundane story….. so how do I make it interesting? The freedom you have here is that YOU can choose your car park. So choose a good one…..

The Japanorama ‘CarPark’ photography project and sample images are also available to download as a PDF, here [467kb].

The Brief
This project is to be shot in black and white. Using no more than 48shots [no deleting] students are asked to photograph in their nearest big parking lot.  Looking beyond shooting just whole cars or wide vistas of the car park, you should focus and photograph more abstract elements such as reflections on metal surfaces, lines created by the cars design, textures, hubcaps, road-markings.

Rationale
This assignment helps the student explore a seemingly familiar territory in a new light and from a different persective, opening their eyes to new ways of seeing familiar objects.  To abstract means to withdraw something from its source.  Students learn to abstract not by making something familiar look bizarre and distorted, but by simplifying the subject matter, a car, to elements the students find beautiful.

Helpful Vocabulary
abstract, composition, line, texture, space, perspective, positive / negative, close-up, counterpoint

Technical Considerations
I have shot the accompanying images with a prime lens. This also provides an additional set of restrictions, based on the fixed nature of the field-of-view. I’m not asking you to go this far yourself unless you want to. Lens choice is up to you. You may also want to consider a macro lens. Use of contrast and coloured filters in the set-up of your monochrome shooting could also be useful.

Historical References
Edward Weston, Minor White, Paul Stand, Harry Callahan, Ernst Haas, Andre Kertesz, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Aaron Siskand.

Here’s a gallery of sample shots, taken by me at the weekend.

Here are some of our student’s results, each as a Flickr slideshow. If you have done the project, please send us in a link or some pics. Thanks to Sarah and Adi for these; some great shots guys. Really nice work.

Photos by Adi

Photos by Sarah Corbett

About Japanorama

Japanorama is run by British professional photographer, Alfie Goodrich, and provides practical photography teaching in Tokyo. Weekly workshops, group and one-to-one lessons bring together photographers of all ages and abilities.

We also welcome submissions of photos and articles for this site, so please get in touch via our contact page. Thanks.

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