The assignment was to take a series of images about a group of people, either a group you were already involved in (as a mirror) or a new group (as a window) to tell a story about the group.
I spent some time thinking about the options. I am not a very social creature and the only groups I am already involved in are to do with my previous work. Using these groups is difficult because of ethical reasons. I am in the process of working on a long term project with the local ASD community, meeting with both people with autism and their parents/carers and this was a possibility – but I am thinking of this as a much longer scale project, and I suspect I will need some of the skills learnt here to complete it.
Looking at groups that I could join to to act as a window for I came up with several options:
- A craft group
- A choral society
- A running club
- A gaming group
I investigated all of these possibilities, but the final choice was to work with the local gaming group, DWARF (Dunfermline Wargaming and Roleplay Fellowship). I choose this for mainly practical reasons:
- It is local and I can easily attend
- They meet every week so gave plenty of opportunities to go on a regular basis
- My son already is a member – so I had ‘an in’
- I used to roleplay many years ago, so I knew the ‘language’ and the background of what was going on
- I started by going along to one of the meetings, introducing myself to the committee, explaining who I was and what I was hoping to do and leaving a business card. They got back to me the following week after having discussed it and said that they would be happy for me to come provided that I posted a selection of the images I took on the club Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/DWARF.GAMING).
- The next week I went back for an initial go at taking images. This was moderately successful as the club was having one of their regular large tournaments (Winter War) and so there was a lot of activity to experiment with.
- I rapidly discovered that light was a problem! The main room they use is very large and has an extremely high ceiling. The lights are a peculiar colour and give an odd orange tinge to everything. They are also not very bright. I could alter the colour in Lightroom, but this was not ideal. The upstairs room has much better lighting and gave a normal colour.
- I has originally hoped not to use flash so that I would be less intrusive within the group, but this was a clearly not going to work.
- I went back over 5 weeks and took images each time. I had planned to continue going but the club has been cancelled because of the Covid-19 problems.
- The club was very welcoming, and I rapidly became involved with the different groups there to the point that they:
- Wanted me to join in with the activities
- Complained if I hadn’t taken pictures of them and their group
- People who initially had said they didn’t want their pictures taken changed their minds
- I obtained a very large number of images; some were quite repetitive because of the lighting problems and doing it over several weeks
- The lighting
- The cancellation due to Covid-19
- I found it difficult to get images that showed what was actually going on there rather than just portraits of the people involved.
- The people got so used to me that they completely ignored me taking images – which was a good for reality but bad for focus!
- The number of images obtained – which I now have to try and break down.
Where I am now:
The club has several different activities which go on each week, Warhammer, Bolt Action, tabletop games (lots of different one) and role playing (mainly Dungeons and Dragons). It will be difficult to show all the activities done at the club without using a very large number of images so I am considering whether to pick out one activity and concentrate on that rather than to attempt to show the whole club. I am also thinking about how to show the images. I am considering several possibilities:
- Single images
- A slideshow
- A newspaper
- Colour versus black and white
The next stage is to think about how best to put the piece of work together and, most importantly, choose the most appropriate images, which may not be my personal favourites.