The objective of this assignment is to provide you with an opportunity to explore the themes covered in Part Two with regard to the use of both studio and location for the creation of portraits.
This assignment is about taking what has worked from the above exercises and then trying to develop this further in terms of interchanging the use of portraits taken on location (street) with portraits taken inside (studio).
You need to develop a series of five final images to present to the viewer as a themed body of work. Pay close attention to the look and feel of each image and think of how they will work together as a series. The theme is up to you to choose; you could take a series of images of a single subject or a series of subjects in a themed environment. There is no right answer, so experiment.
My initial thoughts on this assignment can be seen here: Assignment 2 – Initial Thoughts (and problems) and my planning, research and practice work here: Assignment 2 – Vice Versa – planning and practice
The images I have chosen for this assignment are those of an autistic young man, Sam – age 14. Sam has very little language and so everything that was done with him needed to be carefully explained and directed by example. I set up an outdoor backdrop of a large painting of big cats that I thought would appeal to him and took a series of images of him by himself, with his sister and with a friend. I had planned to also include his mother but was not able to do so on the day. Sam was very co-operative, but found it amusing and insisted on pulling faces at me.
We took the images outside rather than making up an indoor studio as that would have necessitated the use of flash which Sam might not have tolerated. Prior to taking the images we had a practice session where Sam familiarised himself with my garden to reassure him. Sam generally enjoys having photographs taken and likes looking at them afterwards.
I could not get formal consent from Sam because of his lack of language but discussed the situation and the use of the images with his mother and she gave consent on his behalf.
I chose to attempt this series as I have not previously done any formal studio work. It built on the portraits taken both for assignment 1 and those taken for the exercises in part 2 however in this case I used an artificial background to mimic a studio. I tried to avoid getting the ‘automatic smile’ that most people give when faced with a camera – but in reality, I had little control over Sam’s facial expressions.
I am pleased with the outcome although I would have liked to manage a greater range of images, possibly including other members of Sam’s family and this is something I will continue to work on.