The Sunday Times Magazine Layout

A Sunday Times Magazine Layout showing a woman on the left of the page. On the right of the page is a large quote. Underneath that is a small bio which puts the quote into context

From the beginning of my project, I’ve had a clear idea of how I’ve wanted my magazine layout to appear. I believe that my magazine would be best suited to magazines such as The Sunday Times Magazine. As a result, I viewed various layouts created for The Sunday Times Magazine, and allowed this to influence my work.

A Sunday Times Magazine Layout showing a woman on the left of the page. On the right of the page is a large quote. Underneath that is a small bio which puts the quote into context
Laura pictured left. Article about her family being slaughtered by The Congolese militia

2.

On the left of the page is a black and white image of a man. On the right in the content supporting the image. The colour palette involves greys, whites and blacks.
‘A life in the day of Ole Nydahl’.

The articles shown above inspired the layout of the magazine. I tried to replicate the layout of number 2 by bleeding the image over the page. However, this did not leave room for the amount of text in my documentary style articles (‘To Dine for’, ‘What’s cooking?’ etc.) Therefore, to ensure my pages did not look cluttered I did not use this effect. However, I did bleed the image into the margins.

The placement of the text in number 1 inspired my work. I used a similar style for pull quotes and a short bio to partner with the editorial images. I liked the balance between image and text. The image on it’s own, leaves questions. The text alone leaves the reader confused to who Laura is, and what’s happened to her life. Together, they support each other to create an interesting read.

3.

A Sunday Times Magazine layout which shows small details such as a pull quote box. I have used this example to show the direct similarities between my work and this layout.
I took note of the smaller details in this article. For example, the pull quote box and drop caps.

I took inspiration from the style of this magazine in respect to the small detail/the finishing touches. I took note of the drop caps (shown in the left page ‘W’), I believe that this showed a sophistication to the magazine as a whole. If the article should not have used a drop caps, not only would it lose this sophistication but the layout as a whole would be effected as it would look more like a report, or generic internet page than a glossy magazine. Furthermore, I paid attention to the pull quote and the formatting/design of the box. I had previously been used to pull quotes in a circle, filled with a block colour. I believed this would not look suitable for the Sunday Times magazine. By creating a similar style pull quote, it allowed the page to breathe and made direct similarities to my work, and my chosen platform.

 

Understanding my topic

Over the last few weeks, I have researched my topic of ‘food allergies’ to understand it more, ensuring that I portray it correctly. One thing I found particularly interesting is the difference between food intolerance and a food allergy.

Food intolerance is when your body cannot digest a certain type of food. For example, lactose intolerance. If a person suffering with food intolerance was to ingest food with a ‘lactose’ property within it, their digestive system would almost have ‘an internal struggle’. This is often not as serious as the repercussions of a food allergy, and symptoms would involve constipation, diarrhea  and other ‘bodily fluids’. Food allergies is when your immune system reacts to a type of food. The symptoms of this would include examples of; rashes, swelling, hives etc. The problem is not that the food cannot be digested, but more so that your body reacts against it.

Allergy UK believe that food allergies are on the rise, and affecting more people than ever: “The latest surveys show that the rates of allergy are increasing throughout the world, affecting up to 30-35% of people at some stage in their lives… In the UK, it is estimated that up to 50 per cent of children are diagnosed with an allergic condition.”

There are several possible explanations for the rise such as genetics, environmental factors, changes in the food we eat etc. The genetic explanation is the most plausible and uses scientific fact to state that the more food allergens have risen throughout the years, the more chance there is for a parent to pass on a food allergy to a child. Allergy UK have said:

” In the UK today, children have a one in five predisposition to develop an allergy. However, the risk is doubled if one parent has an allergy (particularly if that parent is the mother). If both parents have allergies, the risk is increased to 60-80 per cent.”

I will need to use this information to shape my project. However, I would like to keep the project on a very personal, human-interest angle. Therefore, I plan to write an introduction to my project (200-300 words) which describes food allergies and intolerance’s (similar to the above) and that they are rising. It has been difficult to find a first-hand account of food allergies, but one I particularly enjoyed was by a blogger Stephen Fratello.

There are 14 food allergens that must always be labelled on pre-packed food when used. They are:

Foods that need to be labelled on pre-packed and non pre-packaged foods when used as ingredients are:

  • Cereals containing gluten, namely: wheat (such as spelt and Khorasan wheat), rye, barley, oats
  • Crustaceans for example prawns, crabs, lobster, crayfish
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Peanuts
  • Soybeans
  • Milk
  • Nuts; namely almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, pecan nuts, Brazil nuts, pistachio nuts, macadamia (or Queensland) nuts
  • Celery (including celeriac)
  • Mustard
  • Sesame
  • Sulphur dioxide/sulphites, where added and at a level above 10mg/kg in the finished product. This can be used as a preservative in dried fruit
  • Lupin which includes lupin seeds and flour and can be found in types of bread, pastries and pasta
  • Molluscs like clams, mussels, whelks, oysters, snails and squid

From this researchl, but dependant on sources, I would like to use in my project:

  • Gluten
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and peanuts (as one)
  • Crustaceans and molluscs (as one)

 

To-Do List

  • Research Studio Lighting
  • Email my subjects for quotes on their food allergy (content)
  • Document a subject(s) with a food allergy in a supermarket and restaurant
  • Decide which allergies to focus on in my project
  • Discuss materials and why I chose specific food allergies
  • Experiment with still life photography

Reflection of Week Six’s Lesson

This week we were introduced to Narrative in Photography. There are two key defining terms for this concept:

  • Text
  • Narrative

Text

In theoretical terms, a text can be any media artifact that can be read or interpreted. Books, articles and stories are texts. But, in semiotic theory this can include:

  • Films
  • Songs
  • Photographs
  • Artwork (eg. Fine Art)

Essentially, the above uses text as a metaphor.

Narrative

A narrative is a story that is told in a structural format describing fictional or non-fictional events. Therefore. photography can have a narrative. People argue that narrative should have a sense of time. On the other hand, it can be suggested that photographs, for example, capture a moment in time that may address history, development or change.

Ephemeral Culture can effect narrative as it only lasts for a short space of time (ie. pop culture) but, it can change the audiences perception of the subject that is being drawn, photographed etc. A good example of this, is Britney Spears. She was always pictured as an inspiration for many young people, somebody who was attractive yet successful. However, the ephemeral nature of the photographs taken of her shaving her head, changed this perception for many of the public and she was then seen as unstable, mentally-ill and tragic.

Pleasure VS Bliss

Roland Barthes described resolved or unresolved narratives as ‘Texts of Pleasure’ or ‘Texts of Bliss’. A narrative can either tell a complete story with a satisfactory beginning, middle and end and is classed as a ‘Text of Pleasure’. Or, a narrative can tell a story that leaves the audience with questions and is ambiguous. This is classed as ‘Texts of Bliss’.

It can be argued that there is no room for ambiguity in Journalism, especially in documentary or reportage photography. The argument is that the combination of images and text in a documentary means that all the images end up being ‘Texts of Pleasure”. However, this can be argued against the idea of ‘Photo Stories’ were the photos are the driving force behind the story. Therefore, the text is not essential to translate the meaning that the photographer is trying to stimulate.

Semiotic Theory

Semiotic Theory is the relationship that an object, photograph, art etc. can give meaning. Therefore, it can be said that anything can hold a semiotic field. For example, the colour red on a traffic light means to ‘stop’ without explicitly saying to do so. So, it can be said that narrative in photographs, art and films use semiotic theory to signify a meaning or symbolism.

Food Styling

A crisp. brown chicken sitting on a bed of Spinach leaves. The scene is vibrant ion colour and depicts prepared food ready to enjoy

Thoughts of food-styling

One thing to take into consideration when working with food for my project is food styling. As I will be working in a studio-based environment for several hours, I should be aware that food products may change, spoil or look unappealing in this time.

I have researched food styling and the ‘tricks of the trade’ for this subject. Despite many food stylists wanting to keep their career secrets just that,  I have found feature articles discuss these preventative measures and the hacks food stylists use.

Inspiration

(Source: The Guardian)

From motor-oil for syrup to gelatin and soy sauce for coffee, the food stylists know it all.

Chicken or Turkey will probably be raw inside, but crisp on the outside.

Photographer: Marshall Troy

Prop Styling: Grace Knott

Food styling: Charlotte Omnès.

A crisp. brown chicken sitting on a bed of Spinach leaves. The scene is vibrant ion colour and depicts prepared food ready to enjoy
According to The Guardian: “In this shot, Omnès pinned down the turkey’s skin so it wouldn’t tear in the oven. She lined the pan and stuffed the bird with a water-soaked paper towel so it would steam instead of turn crispy. To achieve that brown, glistening look, she brushed the turkey with a mixture of water, Kitchen Bouquet and dish soap.”

Ice Cream or Whipped Cream will most likely be shortening, corn syrup and frosting

Photographer: Beth Galton

Retouching: Ashlee Gray

Food styling: Charlotte Omnès

A Knickerbocker Glory ice Cream Sundae with chocolate and vanilla ice cream on the left. On the right, an upside down mint ice cream slowly melting on the surface
According to The Guardian: “To create the “ice cream” on the left, Omnès mixed frosting with icing sugar (the cone on the right is the real deal), but the most common fake ice cream recipe is a combination of vegetable shortening, powdered sugar and corn syrup.”

Milk is probably hair products, sun cream or even glue

Photographer: Chris Elinchev at Small Pond Productions.

Food styling:  Tamara Kaufman.

A bowl of cereal and milk with raspberries, almond flakes. A spoonful is being taken out of the bowl.
According to The Guardian: “In this photo, Wisconsin-based Tamara Kaufman used Wildroot, a white hair cream for men with a sunscreen lotion-like consistency that many stylists covet. Krejca prefers the old-school method of white glue, which photographs just like the real deal. When pros do use actual milk, it’s only a very small amount.”

The steam from food is likely to be coming from a tampon or cotton ball

Source: PetaPixel

A Jacket Potato photographed with a cotton wool ball behind it that is giving the illusion of steam
According to PetaPixel: “[Soaking in water and then] Heating up a tampon, cotton ball, or sponge is one of the classic “tricks” for steam shots. A dense cotton wad will hold the steam for a few minutes, so you can hide it behind the food and then shoot from in front. The steam doesn’t last forever, though, and it can be tough to control exactly where it goes.”

The fresh fruit is probably wearing lipstick, lemon juice and ‘Fruit Fresh’:

Source: Readers Digest

A bowl of berries including raspberries, blueberries and strawberries
According to Readers Digest: “It’s often put in a cold-water bath with a sprinkle of a product called “Fruit Fresh,” which can be found at most grocery stores. Some food stylists add lemon juice to water for a similar effect. To redden berries, a food stylist might use lipstick to cover any white spots.”

Further Research

When working with fresh product, food stylists will have hacks to keep the food as ripe, fresh and appealing as possible. I have listed the tricks I have found below:

  • Oil or water on fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and poultry.
  • Lemon Juice and ‘Fruit Fresh’ keep fruit looking fresh.
  • Hairspray on cakes and bread is used to maintain the appearance without cracks surfacing.
  • Deodorant is used on glasses when advertising drinks to give a ‘cool’, frosty effect.

 

 

Moodboard

I have found a serious of photographers, architects and artists that inspire my work and give me ideas regarding texture, placement and photographic techniques etc. They include:

  • Carl Warner: has created a series of ‘Foodscapes’, the idea to make food appear as a landscape. He has been comissioned by brands such as Tefal, Boss, Uncle Ben’s and Thatcher to create impacting imagery of ‘scapes’ as well as his own work which the use of food ranges from salami to lettuce. His work has inspired me to make the most of Photoshop and not to think it’s a ‘cop out’ to create impacting images. Furthermore, it inspires me to show that placement of a prop can be impacting to the overall image.
  • Marcus Nilson: created a series of photographs named ‘Guts of the Beast’. His work depicts ‘gruesome’photographs of offal. I took inspiration from his work as he depicts something that can make most uncomfortable, which the skull in my work could make people feel. However, he still gets a message across and makes the most use of simple props to encourage his overall idea.
  • Maciek Jasik: he described his work on ‘Secret Lives’ as “this series aims to reintroduce these mystical, invisible qualities to fruits and vegetables that have been lost amidst the clamor of nutritional statistics. Each offers its own indelible powers beyond our narrow habits of thought.”
  • Enrico Becker: he paired with Matt Harris to “challenge preconceptions of GMO’s and have a fun look into what Genetically Modified Food could look like.” I love his work as it challenges the norm and express colour clashes, something I think would be beneficial to my work to make my work more impacting.
  • Tim Hill: is a food photographer, I really like his use of lighting, photographic technique and especially capturing texture of each food subject. He works with a food stylist (Zoe) who also styles the props. Texture will be very important in my work to make the image impacting and realistic.

 

Pitch

My story idea is to cover the rise in food allergies and intolerance’s. I was drawn to this story through my own personal life through working in hospitality and being aware to such a variety of food allergens and intolerance’s that a few years ago, I never heard of. Furthermore, more of my friends than not suffer an allergy or intolerance, including severe ones such as ‘deadly nut allergies’.

In my imagination, I plan for the story to follow those with a variety of food allergies. I want to source the information in the most realistic way possible, by photographing and following a subject around a supermarket and in a restaurant and experience their difficulty in everyday life, with an allergy. Perhaps, I pretend to have an allergy myself in this situation to experience this further. After 2-5 photographs capturing this documented process, I plan to shoot an editorial feature on food allergies/intolerance’s through studio-based photography.

I would like to use a realistic appearing skull, which symbolizes a toxic hazard or death. Through studying a variety of allergens, this will be incorporated to manipulate the skull. For example, when capturing a lactose allergy, I would use ice cream in a cone and stick it upside-down onto the skull, capturing the melting process alongside an excess use of cream, milk, cheese appearing on the skull too.

My feature will contain a mixture of both illustrative photograph and a photo story. My story will be illustrative as the context of the idea is important to understand the photographs and truly grasp the effect of this. A type of ‘balance’ that either one wouldn’t be as great without the other. My story will also be a photo-story especially through documenting a subject in a supermarket, but also the images will symbolize a deeper meaning and use such a surreal type of imagery that it’ll draw readers in.

I envision my work on an online platform so that it can be circulated through various demographic and audience types. Food allergies are not female or male specific. It has been said that they are more common in women, but it has not been proven due to ‘physiological differences or to differences in health-seeking behavior between men and women’ according to the Institute of Food Research.  Therefore, I believe my article could be published in a magazine such as ‘Cosmopolitan’ or ‘The Huffington Post’, but the importance of the circulation online would be the most important element.

I have already begun my research through talking to subjects I plan to use to document in a supermarket/restaurant setting and experiencing conversations with friends and acquaintances about their allergy. I would like to use this primary information as a series of quotes throughout the body of the text instead of secondary information repeating what people already know, or could Google. The secondary information will defiantly be important to my research in broadening my knowledge and prompting what questions to ask a subject, but I want to keep a first-hand human interest angle. I think this could only strengthen my article, supported by Gultang and Ruge theory of news values of ‘personalisation/human interest’ that the public find other people, and their lives interesting and news-worthy in the right context.

Reflection of Week Five’s Lesson

A very clear focal point of Holly, whois in the foreground of the shot. Zoe is crossing the road and is in the background, although you can tell it's Zoe - it's blurred. This shows a depth of feild.

This week we published work through Leeds Hacks News. Following up from the weeks previous when we collected images for ‘Humans of Leeds’, we put the context from the recorded transcripts of interviewing that person.

 

Unfortunately, Karl plans to publish the work as a group of articles and others haven’t completed their work yet. So, we have to wait for them.

Reflection of Week Four’s Lesson

An elderly woman who is an employee at a newsagents in Kirkgate Market. She is stoof behind the counter and smiling into the camera. You can see her body from the hips up as she is behind a counter.

This week, we focused on editing photographs and different techniques to enhance through Photoshop.

To begin, we were taught different ways to select images and rank them. Ranking images has been a practice across many years for photographers. I ranked my images through a ‘tagging system’ . My favourite images I tagged with a red marker. I then compiled these images in a separate folder and ranked them again with a purple marker. I then selected all the purple marked images and put them in a separate folder. I continued with this process until I was left with the best images. I found this technique works best for me because I get distracted or find it difficult to remove images and will compare them too much instead of going off what image is visually appealing automatically or has the most potential.

Other techniques could have included giving them a ‘star rating’ through Windows and organising the fodler based upon the star rating. Furthermore, I could have used photo ranking apps such as ‘Photo Feeler’ which gives unbiased feedback on your photographs and asks a third party to rank them. I did not use these applications as I feel that I understand my tasks more and need to develop skills such as choosing photographs, and I shouldn’t rely on a third party for this.

Once selecting my best images, I worked on them in Photoshop. One thing we spoke about in class was light and colour correction. The best way to edit photographs is to duplicate the layer of the original file. Once doing this, add an adjustment layer which essentially opens a dialogue with the image and enables you to step backwards if you’re not too keen on the editing technique you just used. It is a way to constantly develop, but not ruin your image. ‘A safety line’ in case you dive too deep with editing.

One of my favourite images is of an elderly lady (pictured below) at a newsagent market stall. I enjoyed editing the photograph as there was so much existing variety of colour, to enhance this only improved the image. My first adjustment was to change the ‘Levels’. Levels adjusts the brightness, tonal range and contrast. When doing so, I found that the hair of the elderly woman was still over-exposed. Ruth showed me that Levels has an inverse option, and when lowering the brightness through this method, although making the overall image darker, her hair was more visual. I then cropped the image and applied a grid to use the ‘Rule of Thirds’.

The rule of thirds is a crop to conform to ascetically pleasing rules. The subject model should be on one of the lines of the grid, as this enhances the focus on the subject. Ruth advised that in portrait styled images, similar to mine, she always places the eye on the line. When cropping the image, you should only crop to a standard ratio. Standard ratios come from analogue paper sizes. We still use them, even when publishing online to maintain consistency. The only reasons you should crop an image is as follows:

  • To remove things ethically. Ethically means that a photojournalist should not remove an item that changes the story or the perception of the overall image. Just as a photojournalist would not add an object to a photograph to deceive the audience.
  • To focus on the subject.
  • To make the image more ascetically pleasing.

I used the rule of thirds and aligned the gridline to her right eye which incorporated the rule of thirds in my image, as it previously didn’t confirm with this. I then cropped the image to remove the chewing gum stand as the bright colours of the stand took away from the subject.

The images below show a before and after:

Before:

An uneditted version of an elderly woman behind a newsagents in Kirkgate market. She is behind the counter so you can only see her from the wasit up.
The unedited image of Humans of Leeds: Elderly Woman

After:

An elderly woman who is an employee at a newsagents in Kirkgate Market. She is stoof behind the counter and smiling into the camera. You can see her body from the hips up as she is behind a counter.
F-Stop is 7.1 and Focal Length is 21mm.

 

Depth of Field Practice

A photograph os a males hand./wrist upon white bedsheets. The backdro of a radiator and blanket is unfocused and enhances the technique of depth of field

I took a series of photographs of my boyfriend on Sunday morning. We’d just woken up and I was messing around with the camera. He agreed to be my ‘model’ by pretending to be asleep and I created a soft focus and a depth of field to reflect the soft, bright overall image.

I wanted to experiment with my focus control, so I focused on one small light bulb from the fairy lights to really grasp this technique.