Photography for me is about expression. Expressing an idea, Conveying a feeling, Showing viewers what they want to see and look for or what they don’t want to see but must.
It takes many forms, many shapes, many shadows and tones. Photography isn’t just about the image, but the people within it. I am a strong believer of this.
Hopefully you can see that within my photos from this assignment despite my own opinions of them for not being “perfect”, though I suppose that could make them beautiful, too. Enjoy…
The spotlights were used in this image to illuminate the subject, as well as the rule of thirds. If you look into the colour palette you’ll notice that it is mostly neutral tones like light pink and brown contrasting the dark surroundings. This can be a simple image being just as it is or can be suggesting other things within this darkness. The exposure of the pink emits an almost glowing look, this typically would resemble something of an angelic trait suggesting maybe she is stepping into the darkness or vice versa. The flamboyant black dress with a trail and lace could be a sign within itself for something but the interpretation can once again, be up to you.
This was really pretty in person but I think it was just over exposed and moving the light back and changing settings didn’t change how this photo came out unfortunately.
I was playing with the shadows cast here for an idea for a photo at a later date.
A candid photo because I loved how deep the red looked here with the slight professionalism.
Before edit –
After edit –
I didn’t do anything drastic to the appearance of this photo but in comparison you’ll find that I’d covered over the light from beneath our curtains in the studio. Personally i feel like despite it only being a small change, it does make a difference to the overall feelings within the image.
The concept we had gone with was domestic abuse, there are many possible interpretations to this progressive series. One of them being that the female within this photo is present but doesn’t want to be or isn’t fully there. Another more complex idea we had was to create a series of lovers for the abuser and follow that up with themes of death, escape and possibly even link in a conversion of sexuality; maybe these women were past partners of his that are together now.
A concept we had briefly which were displayed in James’ photos more than mine was that it’s possible once upon a time the woman in the photo was or still is the secretary of the male character. I’d then delved deeper into this idea and thought of having story based photos; the books making their own cameos / appearances in each photo, this is the reason for the book “The secretary” being on the side of the sofa. Perhaps he is haunted by experiences with this person or was having his own fantasies but is supposedly a pure man and feels guilty, hence the red?
My opinion on the strengths and weaknesses within this photo are quite mixed. For example the contrast within this photo is one I enjoy, harsher tones bringing highlights out on the subjects skin with negative space behind, the flannel shirt and movement within the female subject makes me naturally drawn to her despite not using the rule of thirds. Following the rule of thirds we have attention brought to the male subject’s facial expression and positioning, structure and forms play a large part in this photo for me as it could change the whole theme in a slight hand movement. If you analyse a little further into the photo for all of those into modelling techniques, there is a shape made here, too. This is something many models and photographers think about in an attempt to make their photos more aesthetically pleasing. I’d had created shapes within this image which, when looked into, could imply some sort of hierarchy with the woman being at a higher status with power over the male in this scenario.
The lighting we used was one main light [Front light] with a red gel, aiming for stronger shadows in the background and illuminating the subjects in the foreground.
My thoughts overall when it comes to weaknesses is that if our models had turned up we would’ve been able to get some really nice candid photos for this photoshoot as well as experimenting with other angles such as the dutch angle, this might have given it a more ominous look enhancing the ghastly appearance however this didn’t happen so we modelled and self timed our own photos. This took up a lot of time in the studio to get adjusted to, too, so we were thankfully able to book another hour.
After experimenting with filters I’ve found that my personal aesthetic consists of more harsh and vivid lines with high definition/strong shadows.
My favourite filtered version of this photo is either number 2,3 or 5 depending on which mood I am trying to achieve. If i were to go for a more vintage based style number 5 might be more fitting whereas the others would be less likely to be used while trying to achieve such a theme.
This shot was also taken in this setup and although there is a more visible transparency and rule of thirds, the male model is also caught moving and that’s not exactly the look I was going for with this set of photos however could be used and interpreted. The camera also seems a lot closer in this photo despite not moving it since the previous shot due to cut off body parts which tends not to be a particularly sought after thing in a shot like this, making it seem awkward and unprofessional from my perspective.
Your hands are scarred from murder,
And yet I trust them completely.– Unknown
This is another photo we had taken with the self-timer. My initial idea was for it to look a lot more threatening, skin being visibly grabbed/dug into and fake bruising as well as much harsher shadows and deeper shade of red, with an even closer close-up shot of the stomach and hands without all the extra parts like the outline of the shorts however, this was still a challenge as the tripod could only reach a certain height, the light couldn’t get any closer without being at an unwanted angle [It is at a front angle here]. Despite all of this, I wasn’t entirely disappointed by the results as I can improve from here and try to find different ways to re-create this image and idea with more practice in hopes that eventually I’ll capture the moment the way I want it to be, meaning viewers will truly feel the moment rather than seeing a picture.
Born from fire, she danced with flames with a power that shook the devil’s domain.– Unknown
The idea that I had initially for these images were quite similar to the ones displayed however I’d like to have done the extended version of them that applied to our teachers challenge them; Day of the dead. For this photo I’d used one red gel covered main light, electrical candle props and a fairy light skull of mine. There were many ideas I’d had to accompany this image and so it is up for interpretation. The red causes the scene to look more sinister, the models hand looks relaxed which could possibly create the illusion of it being a corpse or maybe a sleeping woman. The photo itself isn’t taken from a noticeably high angle but it’s also not at eye or low level which makes it one of my favourites personally as it seems more natural to me.
I’m not too happy with this entire image and would’ve needed the other models and a yellow gel light behind the sofa for the effect that I wanted here but, the light naturally caught onto the camera’s lens so I felt I had to include it simply because of how pretty I think it is.
In conclusion, I feel like creating these photos was a hugely valuable experience for many reasons. I got to learn how to make the environment and situations more fun for my model and for myself while modelling and taking the pictures, I found the most successful way to do this was through music. Playing music that they like while preparing for the photos or doing happier candid photo-shoots and music that related to the topics at hand such as “figures” by Jessie Reyez from a playlist I’d made in preparation of the session helped the models to get into the feelings of these characters, to understand the pain and desperation, to create their own image within mine using the music, to loose themselves in the moment and portray another. It helped a lot as far as I could tell. This was just an idea I’d had due to a tendency of mine to go around listening to music to put me in a better mood and help me enjoy the moments more and after researching other photographers like Annie Leibovitz I’d found this was something frequently done so applied it to my own sessions.
During this assignment we had all learnt how to fill out the pre-production paperwork too which will help us all greatly in the future as a necessary part of the production industry.
In hindsight, I don’t regret our choice of models despite them cancelling on us because it was a good test of quick thinking and patience for us. It is entirely possible for models to get into accidents or for something urgent to come up resulting in them not being able to attend so as a note to myself and other photographers, try to make sure there is someone to call to help last minute or have someone on set with you that can step in. I don’t imagine you could create many of the desired shots when it is limited to just you, the lighting crew and the camera but there will always be a way to adapt or improvise so maybe even create some extremely vague and flexible image ideas.
On that note though, if I could go back and change something it’s likely I’d been more self critical and give James [The male model and fellow photographer] a more vivid image of what I wanted to portray for the domestic abuse based images for a stronger look and try to make more use of my time with the model we did have for 30 minutes, taking more photos to make sure it was completely focused and at the angle I’d wanted.