May 12, 2014

I initially set out to explore the theme ‘Portraiture’. Not only did I want a starting point that was simple and easy to adapt and expand on, but I was also inspired by photographers such as David Bailey, Richard Avedon and Erwin Blumenfeld. At the start I researched these photographers carefully, looking at their work and style of working; this made me certain that I wanted to start my project off with their beauty styled portraiture.

To begin my project I drew a mind map in order to lay out all my ideas and plans to paint a clearer picture in my head of what I wanted to achieve in the next couple of months. I then started doing a lot of research, looking at different types of photographer whilst keeping an open mind about my project and how I might develop it.  As well as looking at portrait photographers I also looked at other types of photography to give me some ideas for future shoots.

In the early stages of my project I looked at David Bailey’s work, namely the shoot he did with Twiggy. I really liked her quirky look, especially her eye makeup, because I thought it made the picture; I also liked how he got her to pose in an over exaggerated manner as her personality really shines through in photographs. Influenced by these photographs I went on to replicate the pictures using my model Michaela; I did this by doing the eye makeup in a similar way, tying her hair back to give the illusion of short hair like Twiggy, made her wear a similar jumper and I asked her to pose in an exaggerated manner to create a similar ‘playfulness’ in the photographs that is in the one by David Bailey.

For my second shoot I decided to take my photographs at home instead of in the studio; this was because I wanted to experiment with different lighting around my house. I found an online article called ‘The Awesome Light Hiding in Your Home’ which gave me knowledge on natural lighting and how to use all the different types in my portraiture photographs. Firstly I took photographs outside, which happened to be on a grey day and, because of this, the clouds diffused the natural light and thereby tended to provide shadow-less lighting on my model. I then proceeded to take my second set of photographs of my model facing in front of a window, but, because of it being a dull day, not a lot of natural light was seeping through.  However, I think that as a result of this, the outcome of the photographs ended up being more successful than if it had a been a bright sunny day because my images came out soft looking, whereas if it had been a sunny day my photographs could have been over exposed. I then went on to take photographs where there was a window behind my model; even though these photographs came out too over exposed in the background, and underexposed on my model, it gave me the opportunity to experiment with what might happed and try it out for myself. After this I took some photographs in what I think was my most successful spot, a place in my house where there are windows both sides of a room in which I put my subject. This showed me that this spot could be used again for future shoots if I wanted to, although I ended up deciding against this idea, not so much that the light there gave me problems but more that the location wasn’t particularly interesting.

After this shoot I then chose to switch back to using the studio because I preferred the control I had over the lights in comparison to using natural light in my house. The fact that the studio background is plain also gave me the opportunity to add shadows that I could control, instead of the distracting elements that were inevitably going to be in the background of my home.

I decided to look at two more photographers; Horst P Horst and Paolo Roversi. I liked Horst P Horst’s portraiture work that was taken in a studio and used shadow in the background. In a particular photograph I liked the focal point being on the shadow and how elegant it looked and this influenced me to producing a shoot similar in style to this, but instead of the focal point being the shadow of the woman’s hat I chose for my model to have an umbrella.  This way I not only produced my own interpretation of the photograph but I also found that the shadow of the umbrella was more powerful and eye-catching within the photographs.

I also looked at Paolo Roversi’s work with shadow projections which I liked very much because I love the effect it gave to the photographs. I went on to try this method out with my model Amy placed in front of a city background, provided by an over-head projector. This shoot was primarily experimental but it was to also show the collision between an individual and the city.  I found out from this shoot that the most successful photographs were those where my model was faced to the side revealing her facial features clearly against the shadow.

From here my project then developed into the main theme within my project, that was portraying an individual feeling the hostilities of a city environment; this then led to me eventually exploring the opposite to this as well.

I looked at David Bailey’s photographs of Jean Shrimpton in New York, where she undoubtedly looks uncomfortable and rigid in the city environment and portrays herself as an individual lost in the city, which is shown through the shape in her posture. I then gained inspiration from this shoot as there were similarities to the shoots I had just done with Amy and Michaela, which was exactly what I wanted to achieve.  I decided to try this lost and uncomfortable look out in a real city environment for my next shoot, in which I wanted my model to look out of place in the city.  In the photographs I took I got my model to wear black straight-lined clothes to portray her posture as looking tense and uncomfortable, I also got her to look miserable and uncomfortable.

I was able to go to New York during the course of my project and while I was there it was the Macy’s Parade, which is a massive event in America so people from all over the country come to see it.  Luckily I was able to capture the business of the parade and the period afterwards when it had finished. In New York City so many people were permanently busy and on the move and seemed stressed. Comparing this to where I live, which is more a natural environment it had a completely different vibe and atmosphere.

Before I went I printed some photographs off of parts of New York from a couple of years ago. While I was there I tried out the technique of taking a photograph of a photograph; I first of all did this while I was on a boat trip. As the boat travelled along the water I held up the photographs I had printed in the same location as the photograph I had printed was taken, here I wanted to show modernisation through these photographs and that even though the photographs are nearly identical to the real thing at the moment, I wanted to give off the tragic reality that they are inevitably going to change. However, a different meaning was behind the photograph of the TwinTowers as I wanted to show that modernisation has indeed occurred through terrorism and that we as individuals cannot stop change even if we wanted to, but in holding these photographs up it shows how we as humans have the power to make how these changes occur.  There is also the tragic thought that this modernisation also shows how even if people do prefer natural environments, these environments are bound to be destroyed in the future and replaced with locations similar to modern New York.  Although these were themes that occurred during this shoot I decided not to develop these ideas any further in my project; however, I did later revisit the technique of photographing a photograph.

After my trip I went on to take pictures of my models in a woodland area. The difference in these photographs is in how I asked my models to pose compared to those I took in the city; in the woodland I asked them to pose like they were comfortable in this environment. Both Lorna and Amy (my models) achieved this by touching the trees and plants, leaning on them and also sitting on the ground, which showed they were relaxed where they were. I also asked if they could wear something that portrayed that they were comfortable; they both chose to wear a skirt that flowed. The dark green dress that one chose mixed in with the green of the nature and the white kimono the other wore had butterflies on which also flowed and portrayed a positive view of nature.

It was here that I revisited the technique of taking a photograph of a photograph when I went to London.  London is one of the fastest changing locations and used to be a lot more natural, but from the 1780’s onwards Britain was transforming due to the Industrial Revolution - before then most people lived in the countryside, which was surprisingly situated in what are now parts of London. It was after doing research on London and its rapid change that I was influenced to do a shoot on this. Before I went I printed out photographs of the countryside and then placed them by famous modernised landmarks to portray the change that has occurred. This shoot then led to me developing my project to showing a model trapped in the city (shown in a separate photograph held in the picture I was taking) wanting to reach out to the countryside and a model in the countryside (same technique used) trying to hide from an ever enclosing city.  By doing this I wanted to show the model craving an escape from the city and the content feeling of being in a natural environment.

Looking over my project I don’t think there is anything I would drastically change if I had the opportunity to but I would have liked to explore more surrealist forms of photographs at the start of my project as I find the concept very interesting and inspiring. However, looking back at my project and the nature to city route I chose I don’t think it would fit in with my project anymore.

If I had been given more time for my project I would have liked to further develop or explore my ideas by perhaps going back to using the studio to portray an alternative view of looking at nature and perhaps move onto surrealism within this.

Word count: 1,857

May 12, 2014

The topic I started at the beginning was Portraiture and I researched David Bailey and so that inspired my first shoot, making my model, Michaela being Twiggy.

After looking into Portraiture and famous photographers and their work, I then looked into lighting. After using the studio for my first project, I knew I wanted to take some portraiture photographs elsewhere, so I was intrigued in where the best lighting or place in a home was to take them. After looking at this, I looked into shadows and how lighting can be manipulated and contribute to a photograph positively. Horst P Horst was a photographer I looked into, whose work I found very interesting.

During a shoot with my model, Michaela with her shadow, I noticed that with the poses I was making her do, she looked uncomfortable being in a busy location so this triggered my idea as to how to develop my project, into a project where I present how individuals tend to feel more uncomfortable in a busy socially constructed town environment, in comparison to a natural environment.

The difficulty I experienced was undoubtedly the weather, as at the end of my project I was reliant on the use of the outside, and at this point the weather wasn’t great, so it was difficult to plan my shoots for when it wasn’t going to rain etc. I overcome this difficulty by just being flexible and just going to do my shoots on days where the weather was good.

Looking over my project, I don’t think there would necessarily be anything I would change as in order to gain idea’s about your next shoots you have to go through with your previous shoots - my starting point being portraiture > lighting > shadows is completely different to my project towards the end.  

It would have been interesting to develop my project further by carrying on with the nature Vs town environment photographs, and expanding on this, and perhaps changing round the norm, for example.

February 23, 2014

Final photographs for Shoot 15

Using the photographs from Shoot 14, I firstly put them on card so that when I held them up they wouldn’t blow about. Then I placed them in a town environment to portray how if an individual was in a socially constructed town environment like Amy is, but surrounded by nature, then they are going to be happy. This shows the tragic reality that maybe an individual will not be happy with being in a town environment in comparison to a natural environment due to it’s artificiality and lack of “realness”, so thereby having Amy surrounded by nature takes this hostile feel away of being in a town environment.

February 23, 2014

Contact prints for Shoot 15

February 21, 2014

February 21, 2014

Final photographs for Shoot 14

In these photographs, similarly to the photographs I took of my model in a town environment looking unhappy, I wanted to show the influence an environment can have on a person. Contrasting to the town environment whereby my model looked unhappy and uncomfortable, in these images I wanted to present an individual happy to be in the environment they are in, shown through their facial expressions, posture and interaction with the nature like the tree’s.

I chose for my model to wear a dark green dress so it shows that she is accepting of the nature surrounding her, making her fit in with the environment. I also chose for her to wear natural make up and her hair down, to show that she is like nature herself and apart from the weather being chilly I chose for her to wear a white butterfly kimono, the white symbolising purity and tranquillity and the butterflies symbolising liberation and of course nature. 

February 21, 2014

Contact prints for Shoot 14

February 21, 2014

Final photographs for Shoot 13 - ‘In touch with nature’ Shoot, using the photographs from Shoot 12.

From when I took Shoot 12, I had the intention to print out and use these photographs in a natural environment whereby it looks like the model is actually reaching for the trees, plants and flowers. To show that she is comfortable in the environment, over the town she is in in the picture.

To take these photographs I chose to increase the ISO, due to dark, grey weather and to edit them on Photoshop I increased the saturation and colour to again, show the natural environment in a more positive light.

I chose to place the first and second photograph (where she is holding onto a pole in the town and gazing into the opposite direction and reaching out) by a tree so that it portrays how much she prefers the nature and its tree and how amazed she is by it, in comparison to how dull the lamppost is, and fundamentally the town.

Even though in the third photograph she isn’t reaching out for something so visibly like the others, I decided to place the photograph by a tree that had the same ‘Y’ shape, which portrays relaxation and that she feels comfortable being part of the nature.

For the forth photograph, where she is bending down and reaching out, I thought it would blend well together if I propped the photograph down by some flowers, as it looks like she is bending down to sniff them, but she can’t.

This shoot is all about the crave of nature and imagination. She is visibly not in this natural environment, but in a socially constructed town environment, yet by reaching out for trees, flowers etc. that aren’t there shows that she is imagining and perhaps daydreaming about them.

February 21, 2014

February 21, 2014

Contact prints for Shoot 13

February 13, 2014

Editing process on Photoshop;

I decided to edit these photographs by decreasing the vibrancy, saturation and I also played around with the levels to make the location appear dull and miserable to make it seem more negative. Also being a representation of how she feels.

February 13, 2014

February 13, 2014

Shoot 12 - Crave for nature

In this shoot I wanted to achieve a look of nature deprivation and isolation from being in a city location which has a lack of nature. I asked my model, Chloe to pose acting like she was in a natural environment, reaching out for leaves trees etc. and reaching for freedom. I am then planning to use the most successful photographs in my 13th shoot whereby I will be holding them up by a natural forest location to show a deeper meaning, which would look like she’s mentally there, but is trapped symbolically, in the town and the photograph. 

February 13, 2014

Contact prints for Shoot 12

February 13, 2014

Shoot 11 - Nature in London

From the 1780’s onwards Britain was transformed due to the Industrial Revolution. Until then most people lived in the countryside which was in fact situated in parts of London. After researching this I was then influenced to do a shoot based on this. So, I printed natural images of the countryside from the internet and then used them while I was in the city of London by placing them by famous modernised landmarks to portray a dramatic viewpoint of the industrial change and tourism evolution that has occurred over the past couple of centuries, whether it is viewed as a positive or negative change.

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