Tag Archives: Real

Specialist Studio Practice 3 – Selecting down – Final images & Best Practice images

2nd May 2016

Throughout this project I have learnt a lot and I see that my perception and the way I look at life & people is a unique thing. I tend to look at things through a ‘lens of understanding, empathy and love’ as people around me have said before.

Within this project I wanted to capture something ‘REAL’ – I wanted to show something authentic about people and their relationships. I wanted to capture the good and the bad… and specific moments of genuine connection and emotion between people. I have photographed throughout this semester and I feel I have achieved this with my final images:

(See prints folder for final image (1) from kids club Impact)

I feel like this project has become a part of me and I know that I will carry this project on even after I finish my degree, because it is something I am very passionate about. I also believe I have created a unique selling point within my business whilst doing this project – ‘a relationship shoot’ – where people who are in relationship with one another in whichever way this may be, can get together and have a chance to be ‘in the moment’ with one another and really bond again, with no distractions. I will ask them questions that spark them talking to each other and reminiscing but also capture them together at the same time. I believe this could also be a great idea for couples specifically who feel as though their relationship hasn’t had chance to restore e.g when the business of life gets in the way. It desire to create an environment where they can feel comfortable and connect with one another again – and also have some photos of this to cherish.

Throughout the course of this semester I have also undertaken a lot of photography work and opportunities outside of my project work. I wanted to include these in my best practice because I have put so much time and effort into these (as well as my project) with regards to collaboration, communication, editing and building a reputation for myself as a professional. I have chosen to mainly include images of people within this set because people are my main ‘practice’. People are what inspires me the most and people will be what my future business focusses on:

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Specialist Studio Practice 3 – Feedback on images

28th April 2016

I met up with my tutor and received feedback on all my images so far for my project. This was a great time and we talked about everything ‘people’ and discussed my project idea and selecting down – looking at what message I’m really trying to say and portray through this set of images. We went through each of my shoots so far and analysed through the images commenting on key elements such as focus, composition and lighting, but most importantly on facial expression, body language, emotion and positioning of people within the shot.

It was interesting though because I learnt that not everyone has the same version of what is ‘real’. For example, I know the people I have photographed so I know when they’re posing and when they’re not. I know their personalities and the relationships they have, for example who has the strongest bonds with one another etc. However I realised from comments my tutor made about the people in my images, that he was coming from his own perspective about them – being people he doesn’t know. I noticed how our perceptions of, say, children and their temperament differ from one person to another. Some people love kids and see them as little angels. Some people really don’t like children and perceive them as ‘naughty’. Some people are indifferent.

It made me think about and question the judgements that we make on people according to our own experiences or perceptions. This feedback helped me understand something beyond just a photo on a screen, but helped me understand us as humans and the way our minds work even more.

The feedback I gained also aided me in my editing and selecting process. I realised that I have to go with my instinct with these images. After all I am the one holding the passion for this project and I know my heart motives of why I started doing this in the first place.

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Specialist Studio Practice 3 – Shoot towards my project

28th March 2016

Swinsty Reservoir Walk with Church family

My Church arranged a walk around Swinsty Reservoir just to spend some time together and because it was a lovely day! This was a great opportunity for me to take my camera and focus in on the moments and connections I saw happening around me. The fact that I know these people very well is an advantage because I can anticipate moments that might happen and the way people interact and their mannerisms. I was looking at things like facial expression, body language and how people group together and relate to one another.

Here are my images:

This was an interesting shoot and in some ways I was able to capture what I wanted, but because of my position within the crowd, especially once we started walking, it was difficult to get the shots I was imagining, although I think there are a couple of definite shots in the bunch. It was also quite difficult to get the more intimate/close shots because of the location being out in the open, and for example the children wanting to run ahead – although this did add to the shots as I got them chasing each other. This walk was a hub of activity so I had to keep my eyes sharp – whilst also contending with the windy weather!

Some of the shots that I think work best are: the two men (Ian & Steven) chatting together, Zach holding the lead of the dog (Zeb) whilst being watched over by his sister in law (Claire), the greeting of a hug between the two girls (Becca & Beth), the tall boy (Craig) & the smaller girl (Alyssa) comparing shoe sizes, the four men (Steven, Adam, Paul & Ian) all stood looking to the right hand side at something going on outside of the frame, the man (Simon) with the boy (Dan) in the pram smiling as he comes into the crowd of people and Zach holding Claire’s hand (from behind). I like the symbols of relationship within these images and because I know the people and their connection to one another specifically, that’s why I specifically snapped those shots.

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Specialist Studio Practice 3 – Proposal Update

4th February 2016

“REAL” proposal

Olivia Wilford

Studio Practice 3

“I want to photograph people & their relationships, showing the real dynamics – good and bad, between different groupings of people – opposing ‘fake’ or ‘sensationalised’ versions of relationships represented within common media.”

Within this proposal I aim to explore relationships within portrait photography and why they are important. I wish to examine connections between people – on all different levels of ‘relationship’. I want to explore why we need connections as humans and how it adds, or takes away, from our lives. I also want to explore whether authentic representation is possible within portrait photography, reflecting our attitudes towards and need for others.

My research will consist of creating and handing out questionnaires and social research by observation of social interaction and also complete test shoots showing examples of my results. I have been looking into ‘subjective documentary’ photography and photographers that shoot in this way such as Richard Billingham, Nick Waplington & Martin Parr. I find this style of photography stretches across 2 genres – portrait and documentary, however the difference with subjective documentary is that the focus is the subject (in my case, people & their relationships) but shot in a documentary style – capturing what is there in front of me, as true to life as possible. Richard Billingham and his series ‘ray’s a laugh’ is a very powerful source of presenting a raw reality of what the subjects lives are really like, and the ups and downs of the relationships they have with one another. I admire his style because it shows what is real – it opposes the ‘Hallmark version’ of relationships within the media where everyone looks euphoric and in harmony with one another – which unfortunately isn’t always the case in reality.
These photographers shoot in a very similar way but their motives for photographing people and what they are trying to achieve/show is slightly different. Each of these photographers knew the subjects very well and this enabled them to get the most natural, real and authentic moments of the dynamics within close and not to so close relationships. Another phrase I would use to describe these type of images is ‘environmental portraits’ – using location as a context for the relationship between the group(s) of people I choose to photograph. Another photographer I have looked at is Brandon Stanton –the photographer behind ‘Human’s of New York’. His images are a great source of inspiration for me because they capture the person themselves and in quite a few cases the relationship between the people being photographed, with a raw sense of emotion because of the back-story that is included alongside the image. I also love how he photographs people with their possessions that have specific meaning for them. This is something I aim to explore in the research process of this project – how we use possessions as outward symbols of inner feelings/relationships we have with those we are connected to. Some of these relationships I aim to photograph may even challenge stereotypes/stigmas about relationships within society – for example people of different religions/age groups who society may not associate with each other. I believe however that we are all human and we all go through the same emotions and milestones in life, although the way in which that is expressed is completely individual to the person and their life events/experiences.

I aim to photograph mainly on location and use the context as an indicator of relationship. I will mainly use natural day light as much as possible (so the subject does not feel they are on a ‘set up’ ‘photo shoot’). However I want to shoot in the studio also, to test the authenticity of some relationships and if the environment they are in affects how they respond and act with one another.

My target audience and end users would be creative intellectuals who would have the ability to read an image and understand the reason behind it. I imagine people who work in jobs with people and are interested by psychology and humanity as a whole would be intrigued by my work. I envision seeing these images in the SWPP (Society of Wedding & Portrait) magazine, and in their own exhibition as a ‘series’/substantial body of work. I also envision them in the British Journal of Photography magazine as a feature series. The clients/people I photograph would also be the end users of the photos, as they are of them and their relations – which I have found is a very powerful and meaningful thing for people in the grand scheme of life, as a photograph that captures genuine love between two people can be one of the most powerful images there is.

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Specialist Technique & Process 3 – Evaluation

12th February 2016

Evaluation

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.

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Specialist Technique & Process 3 – Images over Christmas – Towards my project

Christmas 2015

Over Christmas and New Year I found it the perfect opportunity to photograph my family and friends in their natural environment and at Christmas ‘do’s’/events. My aim was to capture natural reactions and the natural relationships that are present within my strong/large family & friend unit.

As I have been looking at the work of Richard Billingham, Nick Waplington & Martin Parr, I wanted to try and photograph in their styles. Each of these photographers photographed with a slightly different intention, but their styles were all ‘snapshot’ type photography and they captured specific moments. My intention would purely be to capture genuine moments, no matter how good, bad or ugly they may appear – I am looking through a lens of love, understanding and appreciation for every individual character and their quirks and the way they relate with others.

I found this a really interesting exercise and I tended to notice more intimate moments between these people – that I thought I new back to front – but I found that studying them and really analysing the way people interact (through a lens) taught me a lot more about them as humans and when to press the shutter on their way of interacting. Each person has different mannerisms and ways of relating to the people they love – so each person is individual and I had to look out for each individuals ‘moments’.

The only downside to being in such an enclosed room/space and trying to photograph people without them realising, was that they did realise at times and sometimes posed. However most of the time everyone was having such a merry time and just enjoying the festivities, and because they are used to me having my camera out at family parties – they didn’t notice being photographed.

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Specialist Technique & Process 3 – Third Draft of my Proposal

12th December 2015

Third Draft of my Proposal

Olivia Wilford

Techniques & Processes 3

Within this proposal I aim to explore relationships within portrait photography and why they are important. I wish to examine connections between people – on all different levels of ‘relationship’. I want to explore why we need connections as humans and how it adds, or takes away, from our lives. I also want to explore whether authentic representation is possible within portrait photography, reflecting our attitudes towards and need for others.

My research will consist of creating and handing out questionnaires and social research by observation of social interaction and also complete test shoots showing examples of my results. I have been looking into ‘subjective documentary’ photography and photographers that shoot in this way such as Richard Billingham, Nick Waplington & Martin Parr. I find this style of photography stretches across 2 genres – portrait and documentary, however the difference with subjective documentary is that the focus is the subject (in my case, people & their relationships) but shot in a documentary style – capturing what is there in front of me, as true to life as possible. Richard Billingham and his series ‘ray’s a laugh’ is a very powerful source of presenting a raw reality of what the subjects lives are really like, and the ups and downs of the relationships they have with one another. I admire his style because it shows what is real – it opposes the ‘Hallmark version’ of relationships within the media where everyone looks euphoric and in harmony with one another – which unfortunately isn’t always the case in reality.
These photographers shoot in a very similar way but their motives for photographing people and what they are trying to achieve/show is slightly different. Each of these photographers knew the subjects very well and this enabled them to get the most natural, real and authentic moments of the dynamics within close and not to so close relationships. Another phrase I would use to describe these type of images is ‘environmental portraits’ – using location as a context for the relationship between the group(s) of people I choose to photograph. Another photographer I have looked at is Brandon Stanton –the photographer behind ‘Human’s of New York’. His images are a great source of inspiration for me because they capture the person themselves and in quite a few cases the relationship between the people being photographed, with a raw sense of emotion because of the back-story that is included alongside the image. I also love how he photographs people with their possessions that have specific meaning for them. This is something I aim to explore in the research process of this project – how we use possessions as outward symbols of inner feelings/relationships we have with those we are connected to. Some of these relationships I aim to photograph may even challenge stereotypes/stigmas about relationships within society – for example people of different religions/age groups who society may not associate with each other. I believe however that we are all human and we all go through the same emotions and milestones in life, although the way in which that is expressed is completely individual to the person and their life events/experiences.

I aim to photograph mainly on location and use the context as an indicator of relationship. I will mainly use natural day light as much as possible (so the subject does not feel they are on a ‘set up’ ‘photo shoot’). However I want to shoot in the studio also, to test the authenticity of some relationships and if the environment they are in affects how they respond and act with one another.

My target audience and end users would be creative intellectuals who would have the ability to read an image and understand the reason behind it. I imagine people who work in jobs with people and are interested by psychology and humanity as a whole would be intrigued by my work. I envision seeing these images in the SWPP (Society of Wedding & Portrait) magazine, and in their own exhibition as a ‘series’/substantial body of work. I also envision them in the British Journal of Photography magazine as a feature series. The clients/people I photograph would also be the end users of the photos, as they are of them and their relations – which I have found is a very powerful and meaningful thing for people in the grand scheme of life, as a photograph that captures genuine love between two people can be one of the most powerful images there is.

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