Friday, 16 April 2010

Final Evaluation

I have learnt quite a bit from this brief. I Beforehand I did not really know what narrative photography was. I knew that it was telling a story I just didn’t really know how they told a story. I have learnt that narrative tells stories in all sorts of ways and that it depends on the photographer telling it. I have learnt how to tell a story in an image and also how to create a person in an image. Through my research into narrative photographers I have found how other people create stories in their images and although none of the photographers I looked at created characters apart from Duane Michaels’ Bogey man I have learnt that narratives generally some in two ways, a series of images or one single image. The series documents each part of the story in a different image and the single incorporates parts of the story into one image and leaves your imagination to fill in the blanks. I have also learnt that you don’t need a big fancy lighting set up to get a good image. I am very happy with what I have produced and I used only natural light coming in from a window. Before hand I generally had the idea that good images took a long time in the studio, a lot of time and patience, a lot of equipment and a lot of editing. Now I realise that is not the case.

If I were to do the brief again I would look at more photographers to gain a broader understanding of narrative photography and the people who are involved. I would have also have shot my images earlier so I would have had time to analyse them are maybe re shot again if need be. I think I would have also done more practical research in the form of shooting more objects and playing around with scenarios to see what worked best. I would have also looked at photographers that shot something similar to help me with my concept.

My motivation for this brief has been my Final Major Project. I don’t know why but it has always been in the back of my head that the sooner I get this finished the sooner I can start on my final major project. It has been the same with university. I have been thinking the sooner I do this the sooner I start my fmp the sooner I’m on to bigger and better things. My inspiration has definitely been the photographers that I have looked at, especially the two that photographed Haiti. I found the images incredibly inspirational because they told the story of an event via the participants ... a little like I am trying to do.

For this brief I have researched narrative photographers, I couldn’t really do much technical research as I have found that the later the year goes on the less and less technical research I can do. The briefs are more and more about the concept. So I found absolutely no technical research to do at all. I found my research on photographers very useful as it showed me all the different ways to present a narrative and what is already out there.

My time management for this brief has been good, I was in a bit of a rush in the last two weeks getting everything in the right order and everything evaluated etc but I finished 3 days before the deadline so that’s good in my books ( free weekend ) .

I have definitely learned that I have a tendency to lean towards emotional image subjects; I always have a ‘sad’ image subject. And I don’t think it’s a bad thing it is just an observation. I have also realised that I feel too comfortable in the studio that I have to get out and do so location work and get really good photographing things without the aid of a studio first.

My ideas initially, like always came from my own head; I never consciously get my ideas from anywhere. Maybe somewhere subconsciously I have read or seen something about personal effects bags but I am unaware of it. They came from me thinking about what I think defines a person in today’s society. About how I could make a person without actually photographing them. And the answer was clear ... their possessions. You can learn a lot about a man if you look at his possessions. People’s lives are lived through material goods and I just had the idea of a personal effects bag because my family have received one and in face received one towards the end of this brief ( I didn’t photograph it ... I wasn’t allowed ) .

I think my images are a reflection of what I think of society. On how materialistic I think people are. They aren’t really an expression of my personality just on my materialistic nature. I define people by how they dress, how their house is, by what car they have etc. I am a very materialistic person and it is typical of me to choose peoples possessions to define them.

Conceptually my images say that society is too damn materialistic. But they also say that rich or poor at the end you are not defined by your car, your fancy house etc your whole life is reduced to what you had on you at the time of your death and if you just popped around the corner to the shops it isn’t really going to be a great deal.

Finally, I like my images; they say exactly what I wanted them to say. They tell my story how I wanted it to be told and hopefully they spark some really crazy scenarios from the people who view them.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Final 5 Images


I decided to evaluate the images as a whole not as individuals. They do not work on their own as the narrative runs through all 5 images and you don't really get the story if you don't see them all together. For this brief we were asked to create people in an image and for my narrative i decided to create 5 lives / people using only the items they had with them when they died. Now these people are completely fictional, i have created every one of them but my viewers do not know this, as far as they are aware all five of these images represents someone. Each image represents someones life and their whole existence has been condensed into a little plastic bag full of worthless items.

Visually the images are very striking, the strong harsh lighting and the strong contrast makes for a harsh image. I did not really intend for the images to be this harsh it is just how they turned out, I cannot envision them any other way. I think the harshness came from the poignant nature of the subject, even though the people are fictional the subject is real. If that makes sense. These bags are real for some people and if you are unlucky enough to have to receive one you would know just how awful it is to hold that particular persons life if a little paper bag. It is an incredibly sad thing and I think it needed a dark harsh image to put across that sadness.

To me they almost look like evidence photographs. The harsh light from a desk lamp maybe and the photographs will be filed away in a storage unit somewhere. It is the clean precise way that the items have been presented that makes it seem that way it looks like something that is an official documentation or record. This is a quality that I like, it makes them slightly cold and impersonal which i like. I don't know why I like them cold and impersonal I just do. I think it makes the subject easier to discuss the less personal it is.

I have definitely achieved what I set out to achieve, I wanted images that build the framework of a person yet still let the viewers fill in the blanks. I wanted to see what kind of crazy scenarios that people come up with. People tend to be very open to suggestion when asked what may have happened in a situation so I want to see if the subtle hints I have put into my images have indeed influenced what they think of the scenario and the people.
Every image represents a different person, they have a story, they had a life. In the images I have given clues to their story and what they were like and how they lived their lives and also how they ended up with their life in a paper bag. I want people to make that story up for themselves.

I shot all the images in basically the same way to keep things uniform, to keep the images looking like they belong together. I have noticed with some work that the images were so different from each other that you didn't quite get that they were in the same series or the same story. I wanted them to be instantly recognisable as a narrative and as a set of images. It makes it easier to understand.
Finally I am very happy with the images that I have produced I
think that they work very well together and fulfil the brief that was set. They work excellently together as a series of images and achieve and convey exactly what I set out to.

Sixth Shoot

My sixth shoot contained items from my handbag. I emptied out my handbag and arranged the contents. The only item I left out were my glasses because they gave away who's things they were because the people at collage know my glasses. I think the items work well together because they are very random. You have normal girls things in there like hand cream, breath freshener, lip balm, earnings but then you have party balloons which are not really to be expected. ( do have a good reason for having party balloons in my handbag they are for my little cousin when she comes into work). So I am again looking forward to hearing people theory about how this particular person died and the circumstances. It think it shows how people make up and let their imaginations go a little crazy.
Again I used the same great natural lighting which I think really highlights each individual item making them all stand out. I think it is the shadow which does this.

Fith Shoot

Yet again I used the same lighting, I had a good thing going so I thought I would utilise it. I tried to choose things that people associate with fathers. I wanted this bag to come across as a dad, but that's it, I didn't want to influence peoples interpretation any more. I want my images to be totally open to interpretation I want to see what people come up with. Almost as if I give them the framework and they fill in the blanks. I had a few problems with the glasses and the reflection in them but I worked that out by repositioning myself. So that the reflection was reduced, I suppose that is what i get for shooting in front of a glass door.

Forth Shoot

This shoot was shot in exactly the same set up as my third shoot except I decided to change the bag that the items were in. Instead of a plastic bag I used a paper bag and put the items on top of it. I think this worked better and provided a bit of variety into my images. The natural light was a little harsh but I liked it, I liked the shadows casted the worked well with the seriousness of the subject. I was undecided about adding the alcohol bottle as I thought it would be a little too suggestive but I think that it lets peoples imagination run wild, whether or not it is in the direction i want them to or not. It will be interesting to hear what scenarios people come up with.
I will be using Image 7051 or 7048

Third Shoot

This is a re shoot for my first shoot. As i was not happy with how my first shoot turned out i fel that i needed to re shoot the image. I used a table in my lounge to shoot on and used natural light to light the set up. I chose a really good day to shoot as it was bright and sunny in the morning. My house only gets sun at one time of day, morning, after around 12 pm it doesn't tend to get any sun and the sun only comes in through the back door so if i want to use natural light i have to use my time well and shoot early morning.
For this shoot i took some things out of the packet and added a few new ones. I only used the phone, a ring and the tablets from the previous shoot and added a set of car keys. I think reducing the items worked really well as it was less confusing and less for your eyes to take in.
I used a red background for this one as when i turn it into black and white it wont distract from the items, a really light background would and a the items would get lost in a dark background.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Second Shoot

This shoot definitely worked better, I think the simplicity of the subject worked with the poignant nature of image, anything too fussy and the sadness would not have been portrayed. I think that by choosing just one item for the bag I am portraying more about its owner than if I had thrown hundreds of things in there. I chose a different background this time, a coffee table, I wanted something with more detail and something the item and the bad wouldn't get lost in. I think the car is quite nicely separated from the background and I also like the shadows casted, it lifts that bag away from the table.  For this shoot I tried to use all natural light but i couldn't get enough light in the window and onto the subject because of the position of the windows in my house so I had to improvise with a desk lamp but I think it looks just as good. The lamp had casted shadows that has helped separate each component i.e car, bag and table. A problem i had with my last shoot.  I am definitely going to use one of these images, probable IMG_6072 or IMG_6080 because I like the placement of the car. Having it upturned creates a little bit of symbolism and makes the viewer wonder if it is a representation of what happened to the person.