Advanced Studio Practice 2A: Final Project Proposal

Final Project Proposal

Olivia Wilford

I will be shooting editorial style photographs using models and extravagant hair, make up and face paints… imitating animals. They will be put into the context of each animal, within a different and specific location for each photograph.
Within our speech there are so many phrases that we say but never actually think about. I want to base this project on the animal type sayings that are common in our expressions of speech. For example ‘like a dear caught in the headlights’, ‘like a bull in a china shop’, ‘it was the elephant in the room’. They are our way of describing situations and/or people, and our way of trying to make sense of and link up the world around us. I want to create these sayings, literally, in a series of photographs. I want to challenge the things we say and where they actually originated from. This will be part of my research. The reason I am using people to imitate animals is because people can relate more with other people, within photographs and because us, as people, are the ones who say these phrases.

I was inspired to create this project concept because of Kirsty Mitchell Photography’s set design videos on her website and the thought and concept and then creation that goes into each image that she takes. This inspired me aesthetically. However conceptually, a location I already had in mind that I found over the summer (a specific tree in Lister Park’s gardens) inspired me to think of photographing people as animals. At first I thought about photographing people, as animals – not in a studio – but the location the animal would usually be found in e.g a squirrel climbing up a tree. However I thought it didn’t have a real concept behind it. So I was talking with my colleagues and as we were speaking I heard one of us say one of these animal phrases. Then I got thinking about imagery to match the phrase that was said. I envisioned an editorial type image and this inspired me further. I started researching all the different phrases with animals in, and my minds eye saw the way these images would look. I was also inspired by a show I watched called America’s Next Top Model and they did an animalistic shoot with each model posing and dressed as a different animal. These photographs were taken by a photographer called Gerda Genis. They were to advertise Lubriderm. Although I won’t be photographing to advertise, the hair and make up was remarkable on these images and the posing along with these factors really created a set of powerful shots.

Within my links of photographers I sourced a photographer that photographed humans as animals and called it the ‘Anti-Human project’. Ethically this can be seen as degrading for humanity and some may say it is derogatory. However I do not want to photograph my models in this way. I want to photograph them in an empowering way and to celebrate their abilities to pose and their creativity to envisage the same image as I have and explain in my minds eye. My aim is not to insult any persons whatsoever.

I will be shooting in colour using a DSLR camera. I aim to use natural light to my advantage but I may also need to use flash effectively to light up areas in each image that I want to draw attention to. I will be shooting on locations specific for each saying. I will hire a model and a hair and make up artist, to get the look I desire, however at first I will try myself to create the look I see in my head, to test out. I may need to find and purchase props for each photo I want to create. I will be shooting in JPEG because I’m anticipating it will take quite a few attempts to get the exact look, pose, lighting that I need. I am going to do 5-10 sayings so 5-10 final images. I want to keep the amount concise yet varied because there are so many quotes to choose from. With regards to post processing I want to try out the HDR effect in Photoshop, and if it matches the aesthetic I am wanting to create, I may shoot in HDR, in camera.

I am aiming to reach the editorial market and hopefully impress other photographers within that field. I also aim my work at/consider it as something that may be featured in a magazine or even at an exhibition, as a series of images.

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