The brief is to make a link between subjects and their background by taking 3 portraits in a place of their choosing, having first spent some time discussing where and why they chose that particular place. The key here is the interaction between you and the subject.
- I approached 5 people to discuss this exercise with to allow for problems with any practical issues. Four were happy to engage with me, the other said she didn’t feel comfortable having a photo taken by anyone as she thought she ‘was unattractive’. This was not true – but I did not feel in this instance that I could change her mind.
- I met with the remaining 4 people over coffee in a neutral venue of their choosing to discuss what their feelings about the project were and where they would like to be photographed.
- One of the people was very interested in being photographed but was more interested to get an image or series of images that talked about how she felt about her present place in life, rather than in a particular geographic place – so this is a piece of work I will consider for later.
- I organised a time and date for the remaining 3 that they could manage around other family commitments.
- All the people wanted to be photographed outside.
- I wanted to make it a relaxed occasion, but, bearing in mind my tutors’ comments on the last work, to try and keep control of the situation.
- I tried a variety of poses for all of the people, both full body images and head and shoulders.
- All except one wanted to ‘smile for the camera’ – so this took some work as I felt a neutral, contemplative image suited the discussions we had had.
- For each person I took multiple images. I ended up taking ‘some for them, some for me’.
- I took some images from close in and others from much further away
Processing and selection:
- I sorted the images into contact sheets of all the successful ones.
- I then cut them down into groups of 10 or 12 images that gave the contemplative look I was aiming for
- I checked the colour balance and focus
- As well as making the images about the people I wanted to make them into a coherent set, this was difficult as I had only landscape images for one person and mainly portrait images for another. All were taken outside.
- I considered the possibility of black and white images or colour. In this case I felt the colour added to the sense of the outside landscape and the atmosphere – but one could argue that the contemplative feel might be better given by a monochrome or even a very muted colour look.
Subject 1 – Original
Subject 1 – Contemplative
Subject 2 – Contemplative
Subject 3 – Original
Subject 3 – Contemplative