EYV 2 research point

The brief

Do your own research into some of the photographers mentioned in this project. Look back at your personal archive of photography and try to find a photograph that could be used to illustrate one of the aesthetic codes discussed in Project 2.

Background summary

– By using shallow depth of field you have the ability to direct the viewer’s gaze to the point of focus.
– With deep depth of field you remove that direction; there’s no point of focus because the whole image is sharp.

Thanks to depth of field […] the viewer is at least given the opportunity in the end to edit the scene himself, to select the aspects of it to which he will attend.
– André Bazin, quoted in Thompson & Bordwell (2007)

Depth of field aesthetic codes

1. Political: eg Ansel Adams and the F64 group, Fay Godwin (Our Forbidden Land, 1990), Gianluca Cosci (Panem et Circenses)
2. Lifestyle and advertising: eg magazines, retailers
3. Intimacy: eg Mona Kuhn (Evidence, www.monakuhn.com)
4. Memories and reverie: eg Kim Kirkpatrick (Early Work, www.kimkirkpatrick.com)
5. Fashion: eg Guy Bourdin


While researching this project I found this image by Ansel Adams, which struck a chord in relation to articles I’ve been reading on the Tate Gallery’s website about the history of the sublime as a subject in art. Having really enjoyed the exercise I did yesterday on deep depth of field, this image makes me keen to continue experimenting with a very small aperture and wide-angle lens.

Shallow depth of field is often used in food advertising to give the impression that there’s exciting but unspecified activity going on in the background. The bokeh in the Waitrose ad below conveys the sense that we’re looking at a glittering dinner party, so while the image falls primarily into the Lifestyle and advertising category, its intention is to convey a sense of cosiness and belonging in the same way that Mona Kuhn’s images do so effectively, so it also fits into the Intimacy category.

Ansel Adams: Moonset, near Donohue Pass, Ansel Adams Wilderness, California

Mona Kuhn: images from Evidence series (2006)

My re-imagined image

I took this photo at a get-together that took place at my sister’s house at the beginning of January between my two sisters and their husbands and myself. Although I hadn’t consciously intended it when I took it, the image reminded me when I looked at it afterwards of some of the Danish lamp adverts of the 1970s. The lamps in the image are actually by the same Danish manufacturer as the ones in the advert below, and my sister bought them from me when she renovated her kitchen. So like the Waitrose image above, my own image could be repurposed in either the Intimacy or the Lifestyle and advertising category.

References and resources

Ansel Adams Gallery (2018) The Ansel Adams GalleryAvailable from: http://anseladams.com [accessed 31/01/18]
Kuhn, M. (2018) ‘Mona Kuhn – Artworks’. Available from: https://www.monakuhn.com/portfolio/works [accessed 31/01/18]
Tate Gallery (
2018) ‘The Art of the Sublime’. Available from: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/the-sublime [accessed 31/01/18]
Thompson, K. & Bordwell, D. (2007) ‘Observations on film art’. Available at http://www.davidbordwell.net/blog/2007/10/10/do-filmmakers-deserve-the-last-word [accessed 31/01/18]