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Austerity is looked upon in so many ways; a lot of those different ways whether it being simplicity, poverty, fashion sense or just a loss in government funding, are what I wanted to incorporate into my own feature story.

A woman, middle-aged is seen as a high class individual in the city who has everything SHE believes she needs. Being herself, drinking fine wines, speciality teas and looking perfect every single day must be a lot of hard work but she believes in it. Until things start becoming duller, her life begins to spiral upside down, her appearance slips, her habits degrade and she hits rock bottom, circling with those who don’t even have their own money for even a cup of tea. You can tell the woman is slowly losing her riches as the photo story progresses, not only from her appearance and the way she is acting in the images, but also because of the effects I have portrayed in the images, these firstly being in black and white because austerity is about being quite stern and not including a lot of colour. I also injected different shades of grey to show how her life started, this showing a brighter shade of grey until her life started to worsen and things became more dull, this also showed her emotion, because after all the whole story was based on her life.

Austerity is something which many of us have witnessed, whether this being recession or something of the kind. What I am trying to portray is showing just a single woman and how it has affected her life and how it can affect any single one of our lives no matter how much you have in life. In life I have seen many people in life who have had everything and then to see it all being ripped away from them, one of these being my Uncle, who suffers from down syndrome and after my Nana died, he was told to move out of the house he shared with her, due to not having enough money to accommodate himself. I see this as wrong, and things like this shouldn’t be done to those who have these needs.

After talking to a man in the street who was trying to sell me a small joke book for a few pounds, it shows that people are willing to do anything for a bit extra cash. This man explained ‘I am not begging for money, but extra cash will help support my life after being made redundant’ I therefore straight away knew the man wasn’t joking and supported him.

“A lot of people measure a man by what he’s got. I’ve decided to measure myself by what I can give up.” – Geoff Nicholson

I believe this quote instantly sums up austerity as a whole, it shows that people can have riches, such as wealth but it takes a strong person to give up certain things in life when needed to.


These are all the unedited photographs which I took when I was creating my photographs. Each of them represent a different part of the story which I wrote about in my plan:

contact sheet

These are the final images which I used for my Photo Story Final Assignment, I have included the unedited versions and the showed the final images and how I edited them to suit the story more and to also give a better finish to the photographs and show some of the techniques I learnt throughout the Graphics Module.


1. For the first image and throughout my story line, I wanted to stick with the Black and white them because I believe this relates a lot to austere behaviour. I therefore changed the image to Greyscale and also used the ‘Black and White’ tool to use maximum white in the image as I wanted to start my images of whiter and gradually get darker. I also cropped the image so that it just focused on the main sector.

2. For this image, I also used greyscale and ‘black and white’ to lighten the image to a lighter shade of this. I also used the rotate tool so that the picture turned the right way around.

3. For this image, I used greyscale, the ‘black and white’ tool to make the image lighter but gradually getting darker and also the rotate tool.

4. For this image I used greyscale and also the ‘black and white’ tool for enhancement.

5. For this image I used greyscale, I also used the ‘black and white’ tool but instead of using the maximum white choice I used the ‘maximum black’, this is because it is a darker point in her life and it is starting to become more unhappy.

6. For this image I used greyscale and also ‘Black and White’, I again chose the maximum black option.

7. I used greyscale and maximum black on the ‘black and white’ tool.

8. I used greyscale and also ‘maximum black’ in black and white, I kept making the image darker until it was darker than the previous photograph to show things progressing to the worst.

9. For this image I used greyscale but instead of using the ‘black and white’ tool, I decided to use the Brightness/Contrast sliders to create a better effect. This was able to make the image look darker and stop it from becoming to pixelated and overworked. 

10. For my final image, I used the crop tool to focus on the most important part of the image and I also converted it to greyscale and used the Brightness/Contrast sliders to make the image as dark as it could possibly go to show the end of the austere moment and the photo story.

After researching into Austerity, I have learnt a lot about what the word means, therefore I have came up with a number of things which could be included into my photo story, I have listed them below:

– Austerity is rather dark, so shades would be better to use than colours, as well as greyscale images because this would give off a better effect than colour.

– Austerity is also plain, so I could take photographs of images which don’t include much in them, such as blank rooms or just one single signifier in the middle of a wide open space, such as a tree or something which stands out as appearing on it’s own.

– I have researched that poverty could have been related with austerity, so therefore photographs of people with little money at all could be worked with to show the consequences.

– During war time, there were a lot of rations due to there not being enough money, this would show people have to queue for food and only being able to take what they could afford by cutting back.

– Another idea is in a supermarket, where someone who normally buys a bigger brand, has to settle for smaller brands and also less quantity.

– For travel, because there is not much money, I could show someone cycling in the street rather than taking the bus or a car because this is then saving them money.

– I will take photographs of what they wear and how they present themselves, this will be rather smartly as well as looking after themselves, although they are dressed quite simple, I will make them look rather strict and also fashionable at the same time.

– I will include photographs of their facial expressions, this being their portraits to try and capture their feelings and also to try and give a good impression of austerity, and how they would be feeling.

Throughout taking my 10 photographs to try and produce a photo story and give off the theme Austerity. I will use the same main character, this being a woman who is living through a time of Austerity, and show her reaction to it. I will try to include all of the challenges which we were aksed to complete throughout the term, this being fashion, travel, portraits and events to try and show a story and their life through their own eyes. I think this will give off a vibe and also hopefully be intreuging to whoever is the audience of the photographs. The woman will be dressed in formal, dark clothes with dark make up, styled tied up hair and a good posture to begin with, this showing her starting up being high class at the start of the period of austerity, and by the end of the period, it shows how it has effected her and how she has became less fortunate. The colour of the photographs will go from brighter to dull from start to finish. Here I will give a run through of each of the 10 photographs I wish to take:

1. A photograph will be taken at a walkway where there is the less fortunate sat begging for money whilst the woman is stood and not giving them much thought and also looking down at them.

2. A full length portrait (fashion photograph) of the woman herself, focusing on her body posture and her appearance, her facial expression will also be taken into account.

3. A close up portrait of the womans face, not looking directly at the camera, her facial expression should give off what she is feeling, hopefully strength.

4. A photograph of her in her house, this being a plain house which is quite decorative, and she is still stylish drinking a good old english cup of tea.

5. This photograph shows the woman becoming less high class, and shows that she is becoming weaker in her state of austerity and knows things are becoming worse.

6. The woman is then slouched on the floor showing that she has barely any money left and is starting to look distraught. 

7. This photograph shows the woman checking her cupboards and realising she only has a couple of items of food left, knowing she cannot purchase more.

8. This shows the woman drinking excessively and not caring about the world, this is her trying to forget about her troubles, again looking distraught. 

9. This shows the woman fully crying and practically looking as though she is given up, this will be a close up portrait to show her full emotions. 

10. This photograph shows the woman at the start in the position of the person at the walkway, and instead of her looking down at them, she is now being looked down on.

Camera, lenses, the woman, clothes, make-up, less fortunate person, cardboard sign, ragged clothes, cigarettes, house, teapot, cup, saucer, table, chair, bank card, cash machine, cupboards, food, bike.

The two main themes which we were able to choose from were purity and austerity. Both are two very different from each other and with great thought and effort, a good photo story will be able to be created if research was thorough and included enough interest into the theme.

What is Purity?
Purity is mostly described as being free from anything else, such as taints and impairs. A good description could be that it is clear from anything else and nothing else is included in it. A man named Oswald Chambers once said that ‘gold must be heated and and melted to rid all impurities, it is then unmixed with any other substance and becomes pure gold’. A lot of people see religion as purity and believe that Jesus is the only completely pure person who ever lived, this is why a lot of people look up to him, to try and aspire to be like him. There are many different kinds of purity, this being within relationships, such as being all loving and having no flaws of selfishness or lying. Athletic is another, this being no cheating or decieving, Work which involves no disobedience or laziness and the most well known being sexual, with things such as no sex before marriage and no impure thoughts.

What is Austerity?
Austerity is the trait of great self-denial, this refraining themself from worldly pleasures. It can also mean the condition of of living without things that are not necessary and without comfort. They also have limited money and goods. This could be due to an earlier experience or just a habit of living like this, a lot of people can look at it as being ‘stingy’ in the modern day if they have enough money but aren’t willing to spend a little extra for something a little more. Austere is the definition of being stern, cold and rigid, the best example of this is a ‘nun school teacher’, this is because she would not be lenient and isn’t afraid to enforce order without showing mercy. Another example of this is extreme simplicity of style and appearance such as a huge plain white room. Another great example which I found was this ‘In economic terms: poverty. In behavioural terms: harshness.’ If looking at economics, it is when a government reduces its spending to pay back creditors. Austerity means that in time of recession such as the government reducing spending, then one should cut back on spending and budget money instead of spending how they normally would.

 I have decided to focus on looking at Austerity, this is because I believe it to be a more difficult aspect than looking at purity, when I searched for photographers of purity, there were so many to choose from, but with austerity, that was a different matter. This photograph was taken by James Galpin, it was produced for a competition which was themed ‘Austerity Britain’ after researching the full definition of Austerity, I believe this gives off a brilliant vibe, the first visual thing you see is the fact that it gives off no colour, this is therefore stating that austerity is a dull time and there is nothing really good about it. Then you can see that the area is quite a wide open space, this then showing that it is quite a plain picture and very simplistic. There also isn’t many signifiers in the picture apart from the house itself, chairs, table and maybe a few decorations, this showing that the person has obviously limited and budgeted themselves at this present time. Or another reason could be they might be the type of people to be very plain and also quite snobby with their money, not wanting to spend on things they believe that aren’t needed and live of basics.

Another photographer which I found based on the theme of Austerity was Wendelien Daan. As I am interested in fashion, Daan is in fact a fashion photographer herself, this photogaph was shot quite recently and is bringing back the theme of ‘new’ austerity. Although the picture involves a bit of colour I think it reacts with the dull background shades and also the clothing to make an impact. These pictures represent the fashion of austerity, this being minimalistic as well as severly plain.

Another photograph I found which was taken by Magnetomotive shows a different can of austerity. This links in with government cut backs, as they could have been living like any normal human being but because of recession, everything may have been taken away from them. Although some people openly live from basics, these people have to. This is a very moving image taken in NY and shows these people sleeping in places where people take for granted.
A man named Joseph Turp came up with a series of photographs in 2009, these representing ‘Austerity Games’. His photographs are published in the University of London and represent the 1948 olympics, showing people who took part six decades later in a simple form including things such as their achievements and memorables. Joseph himself says, “My images aim to show the Olympians in glorious, honest detail; capturing the beauty of these lived-in faces. These portraits are a celebration of the 1948 London Olympics, and those who participated in them. The preparation for the 1948 ‘Austerity Games’ was chaotic. There was no time, no money, and little sponsorship. Athletes often had to fund their own transport, race without any knowledge of the track they were faced with, and bunk down in the nearest RAF barracks. There was no Olympic village, only an Olympic spirit. Despite this, ‘The Austerity Games’ were a great success, and boosted morale after the war.” This proves that even due to lack of money and hardly any sponsorshop, there can still come achievements and proves that during the time of austerity, not everything has to be a dull place. Here are some of the photographs which were taken by him,

After researching thoroughly into this theme, I have definitely came to a final definition of austerity which I would use myself. This is that austerity represents a somewhat cold time in many people’s lives, showing signs or lack of qualities and just living with the necessaties. It also has made me realise that their are not two but three types of people, the first being those who are living in poverty whether it is due to recession or have been throughout their lives, then there are those who balance out and hold back their money whilst austerity is going on and lastly those who are basically the higher class and live with their riches but only purchase the simple things which they believe they need. This basically is showing the difference between the poor, rich and the in-between.

Although there are many different events to choose from, these could be things such as sporting, festivals, fashion, food, galleries or anything of that matter, I decided to stick with a true passion of mine, this being music. I have a lot of interest in many times of music, and for this particular assignment, I believe one of the gigs I attended would be absolutely perfect for this. The event which I attended was in fact my favourite band ‘Red Hot Chili Peppers’. I had been looking forward to this for ages and knew that my time there would consist of taking as many pictures as possible. I chose the image below to become the overall shot of what was taking place because I believe simply, this is what is showed. The signifiers in the picture are things such as the band members, the huge back screen, the stage, the crowd and the instruments. This therefore automatically shows that it is some form of a gig, and people may be able to recognise who if they have a general liking to the band.
I then needed to choose a picture which portrayed my experience of the event it self. Due to not having a great camera with me, because I was afraid to get it damaged, I was limited to a smaller, not so good quality camera so this therefore didn’t give a full effect. The picture which I would use to sum up my time at the event is:

This image shows the final song which was played at the event. The final song is normally a one which is most popular and finishes off the event in a spectacular way. I have to admit… it did. I shot this photograph through my own watered up eyes due to an utterly amazing show. I believe this picture gives the event justice as it shows the huge background, lighting and screens of which were brought in to give amazing effect to the fans. Also, I managed to fit more of the crows in and due to seeing all of their hands it shows that they are truly living in the moment and enjoying themselves, just as much as I was myself. The fans are also up on people’s shoulders, trying to get one final view which creates an unreal atmosphere and everytime I look at this photo, it straight away brings back memories of this event and I will always remember it as being on of the best of my life, if not… the best.

Although this image was taken with a self-timer, I believe I also had to include this in the assignment, this shows the merchandise I picked up, but it doesn’t include just the name, it includes in fact the actual date and where it took place at. I also believe this sums up my experience because I can look back on this photo/t-shirt and remember exactly what happened that night and the memories it has given me.

For this assignment, I decided to take a photograph of a place in my room which I suppose I love, but not when it is this messy! This just shows my love for fashion and clothes and shows my wardrobe or should I say FLOORDROBE! This tells a lot about me, especially my love for clothes and not enough room to put them all and it also shows that I can be a messy person, or maybe its just because I literally have no room left for anything… I used the Flash Gun during day time, this therefore didn’t let as much light in as it would on a night, and you can see the reflection from the sun on the side of the wardrobe, I believe this could have been taken better, but this is something that I am going to have to work on in the near future!