12th February 2016
The aim of this project was to capture relationships. I wanted to show real connections between people and real emotions/scenes of what life and relationships are actually like – opposed to the media’s common representation of the ‘Hallmark version’ of relationships. I wanted to, and will go on to capture, something REAL.
At the start of the semester I had a word – ‘relationship’ – but it needed development. At first I was thinking very broad – my first 10 questions show this, as I was thinking about not only capturing relationship with the camera – but about relationships beyond that. For example the relationship we have with ourselves, the way we view ourselves and whether the media has skewed our ‘view of self’, the relationship between the photographer and the subject, the relationship the subject has with the environment they are photographed in, the subjects relationship with objects associated with relationship and the photographers relationship with themselves. However when getting feedback on my questions I realised I needed to focus on the subject –
What would I actually be photographing and why? What am I trying to capture/show?
So as I went on I realised I wanted to capture relationships between people and scenarios where I could get natural shots of them, where emotion – whether good, bad or ugly, could be seen. This conclusion came from shooting at a family party and getting feedback on these images. It made me realise I could actually create an environment for people where they could just be themselves with each other, and by asking questions about the subjects relationship whilst photographing, I could see how this would be a great tool to capture this ‘realness’. So I went on and photographed Jess and Josh in this way. I felt I got good results from this shoot, but I also realised the questions I ask are very important to what reaction I get/create.
I photographed Chris & Lisa’s wedding and because they wanted more documentary style images – this was also a great opportunity for me to capture ‘moments’. I Weddings are one of the best opportunities to capture emotion because of the celebration of something so deep. This was also a consideration when photographing Sarah & Alex, however they were more posed engagement style shots, although I did try and capture a few natural moments within that too.
I went on with my research and as part of my dissertation also, I began to look at the work of Richard Billingham – Ray’s a laugh, Nick Waplington – Weddings, Parties, Anything & Living room, and Martin Parr’s work. This was a huge inspiration for me and I saw how real their images were. Ray’s a laugh was such an emotive body of work it almost drove me to tears, and I wanted that reaction/feeling for my viewers when looking at the images I create – whatever emotion I capture in each image I want it to be so real that even the viewer feels it and can identify it. I loved the way Nick Waplington captured such specific moments between the family he stayed with. I could see that with his work, timing was definitely a key element. I also like how families can relate to his work because of the real moments he captured within the family dynamic. He also had an ironic/humerous edge to his work which I really liked. Martin Parr’s work I found quite intrusive in some ways – and it could be perceived as offensive to some. I think this is because of his intention behind the people he chose to photograph, and the angle he put on them. He was trying to show how bad things got in The Last Resort, and he chose his moments carefully. However the thing I admire about his work is that – it opposes the media’s glamorous version of places and relationships. Although he did show people in quite a specific light to make a point, none of his work is staged/posed. It’s real. It’s real life scenarios. It’s real people and real families. It’s everyday life in that place. These were all elements I wanted to include in my work, but I would put a different angle on it. I wanted to look through a lens of love, understanding and ultimately ‘we are all human, let’s just be real about it.’
I then began to photograph in this style with my images over Christmas and New Year. I felt that these were some of my strongest images because I photographed in a documentary style, but focused in on specific moments. I had the styles of these 3 photographers in mind whilst shooting, and I felt it paid off a lot. I managed to capture real moments consisting of a lot of different emotions – fun, irony, joy, concentration, seeking of approval, seriousness, expectation, hilarity, care, love, sarcasm, nostalgia and surprise. I had a specific intention in mind when photographing, and this is what I believe helped me ‘see’ these moments to be able to capture them.
I believe through this project I showed a Knowledge and Understanding of my subject throughout, at first I developed my ten questions about relationships in a more academic sense and did research to support these questions. These questions, because they were more academic I could actually use them for my dissertation work. However I needed to hone in more on the subject itself, and I developed further by looking at different photographers to influence my photographing of the subject and how I approached it. I looked at their styling, questions around representation and the techniques they used for example – their positioning, framing, height they photographed from etc. This research was also used in the process of forming and beginning to write my dissertation.
I believe I have demonstrated Cognitive and Intellectual skills throughout my analysis of all my works – from my reasoning all the way through to getting the job done in a professional and safe manor. I have also developed my knowledge of paper work e.g writing an Invoice for companies and filling out Freelance forms, the contracts that I need to develop on as a photographer photographing people and how to deal with the public. I have always carried out jobs with the utmost consideration and looked into health and safety throughout a range of different scenarios, as I have approached many different kind of jobs throughout this semester, and it has taught me more things to consider for next time.
I believe my Practical & Professional Skills have been shown throughout where I have formed and followed through a project, tested different styles and techniques and developed the style I photograph my project in. I have acted on feedback given and have pursued photographers within my research to help develop this project. I have worked on many external jobs and opportunities this semester and this has developed my skills as a professional, and taught me more practical ways of handling situations. I have been working as a professional and providing services for other professionals to a high standard. Most of my external work has been paid jobs and has helped me promote myself as an individual, as a photography company. I have undertaken jobs that are ‘routine’ to me, however I have also faced and problem solved in many new, ‘non-routine’ situations such as photographing Head shots for a company, photographing and arranging Geoff Latz art to a portfolio standard and photographing for the Sugar Snap Kitchen Event (food photography). I have become increasingly aware of the industry and how it works, and I believe I have grown significantly as a professional over the expanse of this project.
I have become better and better in my Key Transferable Skills and how I communicate with people on different levels. For example I have refined my wording when describing my project to people I want to photograph and also when describing myself as a photographer and ‘what I do’ to different professionals. I have understood that when talking to different people, I have to meet them where they are at and communicate effectively. Seen as I have increased my knowledge and have gained new skill sets throughout this project, I believe this will benefit me in the long run, and has opened my eyes to what needs to be done in future for myself as a professional with a business.
In conclusion, I believe my portfolio images show examples of this whole process, from my project work, to external jobs and techniques learnt and used throughout this project.