Evaluation…

The research blog has been a motivating project for me taking me out of my comfort zone.  The blog encouraged me to branch out into things that I hadn’t considered before. And it was a vent that has allowed me to directly view the progress of my practise which has been the most useful part, and is certainly confidence boosting. Using discussion with tutors and peers has also helped me shape my direction, as it has been easier to see what an audience feel is successful to work out what I should be creating at this stage in my practise.

The thing I tried this semester that I haven’t attempted before was contacting photographers and companies; I have contacted roughly eight studios in London and five photographers with some success. Particularly towards the end of this semester I knew I had to get out and assist, I have given my details to Phillip Taledano, Colin Thomas and Steve Neaves for assisting jobs.  One studio that contacted me back was ‘The Worx’ who have agreed to take me on as an assistant for a week in February 2011. I’m proud of this because it will be a professional studio experience where I can learn what is expected of an employer in the industry. I am happy that I have something to show from my research, and if all goes well I will be looking for more work experience.

Another area the course has really nailed into our heads this year has been the use of lighting, which has been so valuable. Being introduced to new equipment has triggered my mind into action as I can now shoot some of the ideas I already have, in a more professional way. Having access to location lighting kits and ring flash has made a chance for diversity in the way my portfolio is coming together. I have a book of ideas waiting on standby which I don’t want to rush through until I feel I can do them justice. The blog process has made me realise that planning a shoot methodically is essential.  And that once I understand the technical side and evaluate along the way it’s then the concepts that I have to think about, which is exciting because it’s the bit I love most about photography.

Assignments for PH2000 this semester have been broad allowing me to flow with my own style with plenty of time for reflection and idea accumulation. Using artwork as original inspiration in assignment one was a nice change; however I had a blip when deciding on what to do for the project. At first I decided on an idea that wasn’t entirely relevant in response to art that I wasn’t entirely passionate about and that may have been too ambitious.  This is one of my floors, getting carried away. Looking at the blog and talking it over with a tutor made it easier to see what I was doing. I had a rethink and found an artist that I related to better. Studying fashion photography in the second semester and collaborating with a styling student will help me with these issues because I will be able to discuss and learn with another person how we both want the visual to pull off. When it came to the final shoot, I took a while to setup everything, and just about everything went wrong with weather and location lighting kits but I learn so much from it and all the way through thought about what would be communicated to the viewer. I think a lack of model really helped me as I could just think about a still life scene, and as I get better I may be able to control even more elements. Assignment two was about taking inspiration from a film, in my case Shallow Grave. I really got into the project, built a scene, used the dedo lighting kit on three occasions and arranged for actors to be in the shoot so am proud of the achievement. I am that happy with the concept of this work that I want to continue it on as a practise for portraiture, but it would also be an interesting exhibition.

Other skills I feel I have strengthened have been Negative scanning which I have made a real effort to get into and being introduced into the medium format digital back and the Capture One software. A few sessions into the Capture One software it is easy to see why it is used by the pros, and I have confidence that I can use it. Even if I can’t get my hands on it as a second year I could assist the third years to get more experience.

Continuing on from this introductory research blog is a new blog, workbook and big idea. I’m motivating myself to dig deep and think of an idea that isn’t cliché and that can really help me develop my style. I’m thinking about using proverb and fables as inspiration. One issue I do already foresee is how I tackle the images, as I work in two styles it will be difficult to choose. And if I take a tongue in cheek look at my ideas it could end up very blank advertisement looking. These are just worries that I will have to overcome. I plan to bounce my ideas off lots of people and to not rule out any possibilities; I just have to get down to it. What I will do differently, is to move faster and capture all ideas at the time. Get onto Photoshop more and my graphic tablet so I can do justice to the ideas I have in my head.

To conclude I will be focussing on developing my style and getting noticed by doing what I do best, working on amazing concepts for this huge new brief and really considering how to get my intentions across to the viewer and finally working towards work of an exhibition standard that I will hopefully exhibit.

One phrase that i always keep in mind to motivate me… If you do what you’ve always done, You’ll get what you’ve always gotten.

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Shoot #3, Faye

Original Sketch..

The idea behind this idea is one i have wanted to do for some time, its completely model driven. I half dreamt this of my friend faye, also a photography student studying in Liverpool. This idea was to practise different portraiture and to bring us together.

 I needed a chair for a prop, so contacted the library and they agreed. I have a written agreement with the library to borrow a chair between the hours of 4 and 6pm which i arranged a week in advance, the shoot took place on the 7th of October.

 

 

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Influence

I found the portraits below on Flikr, by someone known as ‘Everybodywakeup’, so i’ll never really know the photographer. The use of light and composition caught my eye, they may be quite straight forward but for my shoot i’m not looking for something hugely dynamic. I’m interested by the shots, and prefer the one on the right because it isn’t overexposed and the item of the floor is less distracting. I think the lack of eye contact the photographer has instructed makes us less intrusive as the audience.

A completely contrasting portrait is one i also found on Flikr.. a totally different approach, a bit to lit and stylized for what i have in mind.

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The Shoot

#1 Refining the setup

Some issue i had was the size of the chair.. and the shadow casting of the chair, so i had tobe aware of this when shooting. It worked out well because i had assistants all around me helping me decide what looked best for moral support.

#2 The Books. – I decided to use books as props as that’s the kind of scene i wanted it to turn in to. My aim was to find classic books to connect the viewer, books a lot of people can relate to, i got Moby Dick, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Catcher and the Rye [as they are also books that mean something to me]. However my distance meant the covers weren’t so clear. Another problem to overcome. On top of these books i had an idea to try to add a feminist book in as an experiment to make a statement. The idea being a beautiful woman is sitting in a chair, posing, wearing a ‘boyfriend shirt’ [ a sign of staying over at his place the night before] lounging causally… reading a book about feminist essays.. which i thought may be funny.

#3 A true portrait.. Thirdly, for me and the model i wanted to capture the actual her, as you would in a portrait after my experiments. So i gave her a Vogue magazine.. Faye =Vogue and fashion

The editing process was easy enough, I decided to stay with colour because i like skin against all the black and white in the rest of the frame. I’m really glad the chair is huge and black and the shadows spread so nicely. Here are the results,

Im really in love with these portraits, the ideas came together and i think its an engaging slick portrait, and theres a few to choose from. The next two are the feminist and the true portrait…

To conclude i’d say the final two are stronger, not only because they show something i tried to represent and an element of true portraiture but because they have more engaging pose and theres depth, shadows and good tones. Im very happy with the final images.

Ring Flash+ Digital Back+ Capture One

In class today we made up a portable studio in Victoria Building, with a tethered Medium Format digital back camera and use of Ring Flash. The point of the day was to show that once the technical is sorted it’s for the photographer to coax what they want from the model, no matter who they are. As photographers like Rankin and Avdeon worked with similar setups and are well-known because of their content.

Today i became more confident with Capture One and the creation of styles, and im confident about ring flash and can’t wait to book it out for a shoot next week. Here are the results of todays shoot;

..2011

Continuing to think about next semester and the use of proverbs, i have found more and seen the way others have expressed them.

Bruegel – Flemish proverb paintings from 1559. The image captures so many different proverbs, i enjoy the business and the mystery as the image is relies on the concepts.

Modern day..  Someone mentioned in class that Virgin made a painting that consisted of bands made of illustrations, its for the viewer to try and solve the riddles. I enjoy this interaction, and the deception of the image being ambiguous at first.

This project as i see it now is ambitious, and i am aiming for it to be a bulk of quality work thats exhibition standard. There is a lot of thinking to be done, which i am starting now… With a huge sketchbook. My Xmas is now Proverb related!

Bronica Shoot -19th October

To practise with the bronica i came up with a simple shoot, to also experiment with lighting and negative scanning too.

Nadav Kander…

Second Influence-James Franko portrait.

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The shoot. Taking refernce from both aforementioned photographers my main goals were to;

  1. Successfully use the Bronica for the first time with Black and White 120 Film
  2. Capture an essence of the models personality, the same as any portrait
  3. Ace the lighting I wanted, which is a mixture of both images. [ with a dated feel.. not modern looking]

Unfortunately i already failed at point number one from the begining, as i purchased colour film by accident.

As you can never be to careful with analogue, problems can occur from changing the film, development, i was safe and took some digital images. Also to gage what the medium format ones would come out like.

It was much more difficult to get the personality on the film, because there was a pressure of few frames and not knowing how they were coming out at the time. The next images are my two favourite from the Bronica…

I like the final images but recognise they arent perfect and there are things i would do differently…

I think the noise is good, although i had to rescue them because of a developing issue. I m happy with the contrast, the model and the colours, im glad its not black and white.

However i directed basic pose, put my own spin on some other ideas but not interestingly enough. And i’d wanna redo the lighting. I do prefer the digital images, lighting – wise they are better. A good first practise mind, next time i may try ring flash and film.

Final Images -PH2000 [Shallow grave responce]

Shoot- Went well once i reset the lighting like i had in the practice. A few set backs, mainly messing around with the white balance because it was set to capture the white ambient lights of the media factory studios and in victoria they were warmer.

The actors came along dead on time, and we got through quickly. They gave me exactly what i wanted, diversity and real facial emotions. I know i wouldn’t have gotten this from just any model or friends roped in.

Postproduction – i lowered the colour temperature, lowered the saturation, patched any distracting areas and cropped. The final three are my chosen images to submit, which i plan to go and get printed tomorrow.

Shallow Grave #4 PH2000

LOCATIONS

Catholic churches

To be authentic and not too cliché i need to scene to look like a confessional. My tutor advised that i call up some churches and see what they thought of me shooting. Although this would be a smart idea and the lighting system is portable, i don’t really see it happening and the idea makes me uncomfortable.

PLAN B

Building a screen that would be the centre of the confessional, which would also cast a shadow. The frame is just a huge piece of Fretwork which I got discounted from B&Q because it was broken, cut down. I added the frame around the edge which is just 2×1, then stained with varnish.

Using the frame, and assistant and the Dedo lighting experiment [on 23rd November] I wanted to try out 4 different ways that I could shoot the models.

1. The idea in this shot was to capture the patterns only, as a suggestion of the booth. The advantages being more focus on the facial expression, the disadvantage being I don’t get to show off the frame I made!

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2.The second experiment was like the first, getting the pattern effect and the screen in. Advantages, more symbolism and connotation with confession, disadvantages – is it too much?

3. The third using the panel as a backdrop, still getting some pattern. Advantages the aesthetic, disadvantages – the lack of face shown.

4.  The last with the model behind the screen, although this sort of portrait would leave more to the narrative, creating a relationship where we as the viewer are on the other side, the priest. But visually there is no detail in face because the patturn is so small. I won’t be using this idea.

Actors, after putting the poster out I have some interest. As the deadline is the 29th Nov, I plan to shoot on Friday 26th and print on Saturday 27th