I’ve been out and have had fun experimenting with the multiple exposures for my assignment. At this point, I’m just playing, seeing where the images lead me, but am very broadly (at the moment) aiming towards something in the line of “the effect of commodification on recreation” or “the effect of industrialization on nature”. I haven’t quite figured it out yet, but something is lurking there in my brain about this. Maybe encroachment would be a better term than effect. But as I said I’m still working on finding the hook.
I want to ensure that each image is textured by some natural element, e.g. water/sand, etc. The colour palette is quite different from the images that I made in Mexico – altogether much softer there, even though I was shooting in bright sunlight (see my initial Assignment 5 planning page). I think it is the dark green mountains that are affecting my colour palette here and of course the sea isn’t as turquoise as in Mexico (can you tell I’m still in holiday mode?).
Any way, I would be very grateful for some feedback, while I’m searching for other locations to shoot. Many thanks.
Well since I began working on this assignment last month (initial planning post here), it has been a stop-start-stop pace which has been most frustrating. I’m finding that with the growth of the university I don’t have many free moments to slip out of my office and walk around and photograph anymore as I did a few years ago. With the result my shooting time has mainly been confined to my lunch hour (when I’ve managed to take one of those).
I’m lucky in that most of my colleagues are very used to being photographed as this is something that happens on a daily basis on campus, so I didn’t experience any resistance there. I would have liked to have more staged photographs by this stage but have only managed to get a few as getting all required people together at a specific time is proving to be a bit of a challenge what with folks being in meetings, out of the office and so on. At the moment my collection is a mix between staged and candid photos. I’m still struggling to figure out my new flash and when I’m finding a decent flash exposure I’m finding that my photos have quite a bit of noise in them and I haven’t been shooting above 500 ISO. My Nikon D7200 is supposed to perform marvelously in low light, but I’m not finding this. So not quite sure where the problem is although I’m suspecting it is probably something that I’m doing (or not doing).
At any rate I’m posting some contacts here to get some peer feedback, hoping for some pearls of wisdom! I really need to crack on with this as I’m going to be late with this assignment.
For Assignment 3 we have to choose between doing a ‘mirror’ or ‘window’ series of images. For the ‘mirror’ option we are to choose a community that we are already part of, something that takes up a large amount of our time. For the ‘window’ option we are to become part of a community that we don’t know much about and tell their story with the aim of becoming an insider.
As my time is eaten up with work and studies I have elected to do a ‘mirror’ on my work place. I work at a small university. With the research that I have done thus far on the corporate environment – and there really doesn’t seem to be very much out there – I am particularly inspired by Brian Griffin’s work. I like the tension and quirkiness of his group portraits with the mixture of various gazes – so very unconventional for the corporate portrait! While researching gazes last night I came across a few paintings that also employ this mix of direct, internal and averted gazes like Rembrandt’s The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp, Jan Steen’s The World Upside-Down, Pieter Claesz Soutman’s Cloveniers Haarlem and Ferdinand Bol’s Governors of the Wine Merchant’s Guild.
As with any corporate environment, universities also have the inevitable office politics and it is this concept that I would like to explore in my assignment. How best to depict power and hierarchy, passion and political behaviour and “tribal conflicts” within a university structure is something that is going to require quite a bit of thought.
The Mindtools website has a useful article on dealing with office politics with some pointers that I may wish to explore further:
Re-Map the Organization Chart
Office Politics often circumvent the formal organization chart. Sit back and watch for a while and then re-map the organization chart in terms of political power.
Who are the real influencers?
Who has authority but doesn’t exercise it?
Who is respected?
Who champions or mentors others?
Who is “the brains behind the organization”?
Understand the Informal Network
Once you know who’s who in the organization, you have a good idea of where the power and influence lay. Now you have to understand the social networks.
Who gets along with whom?
Are there groups or cliques that have formed?
Who is involved in interpersonal conflict?
Who has the most trouble getting along with others?
What is the basis for the interrelationship? Friendship, respect, manipulation?
How does the influence flow between the parties?
I know the answers to most of these points as I have been with the university since its inception in Vancouver and have had the opportunity to observe a lot of comings and goings over the past ten years. My aim is to use these pointers as building blocks and see where I go from there.
This is my round 3 of photoshoots for this assignment and time is really marching on so I have to wrap this up now. I came up with a new idea (see my planning post for more details) and am now posting a few images as contact sheets in order to get some feedback from my fellow students as to my final five that I need to submit. I know I have included two portrait formats in the set, but that is simply because there is just no way the location would allow for a horizontal image – shooting in a very narrow passage. Please bear in mind I still have some post-processing to do. I’m hoping things like insecurity, fixation with body image, sadness, frustration, depression come through.
Well, my ideas are not panning out for this assignment. After reshooting last Saturday and getting some more feedback from my fellow students, I realised that my initial idea is lacking substance and this is probably due to the fact that I’m tackling it from the wrong end instead of working out a concept first. Feedback that I got ranged from “focusing on what instead of why”, “has an urban fashion shoot feel”, “focusing on the subject and merely see background as colour”.
After watching the documentary “No Body’s Perfect with Ranking and Alison Lapper” on BBC 4 on Sunday night, I felt the percolation of an idea brewing. My goodness I haven’t felt that in such a while – I was almost ecstatic! I thought back to a conversation I had had with a fellow colleague who told me about the problems her young teenage son was having with his body image. After watching Rankin’s gentle approach in getting his subjects to open up and allow him to photograph their insecurities, I felt it worth talking to my colleague to see if I could photograph her son. I spent the night doing some research and coming up with some ideas which I felt he would be able to relate to and explained it all to her the following day also reassuring her that I could make the assignment entry private so that only tutor could view it, if that would make him feel more comfortable. She was willing to ask him if he would take part in the assignment, but unfortunately he declined. So at the moment I am scouting for another model. I’d preferably like to use a male model as there does not seem to be very much documented about eating disorders or body image issues among male teenagers. But as time is marching on and my assignment is so overdue I will be willing to take on a female model as well.
I’m having a difficult time bringing my images down to a final edit of five, so am posting my contact sheets which include another shoot that I did yesterday. I need some fresh eyes on this project so am asking my fellow students for some feedback again. I revisited the scene at the quay later in the day just around sunset as I wasn’t too happy with the earlier colour versions (harbour images on contact sheet 1 and 2) as I think the blue was too light. As a reminder these were all shot with tungsten WB and with an orange gel on the flash (the exception being the bus image). The reason why I’m doing it this way is to reflect the colour of the city. Vancouver is a very blue city. On a bright sunny day, if one goes up one of the local mountains and looks down onto the city there is an overall sense of blueness. This is because there is so much water surrounding the city – it is situated on a bit of peninsula and the sky scrapers are mainly glass buildings which again reflects the tones of the water. My subject is my son who is very environmentally aware and makes use of public transport whenever he needs to get into the city to avoid paying for parking. We have a variety of public transportation here so I was aiming to show the variety as well ranging from ferries, buses, skytrains and bikes.
Again I have been struggling for inspiration on this assignment. As my tutor said when I emailed her about my creative block, I have probably been overthinking the assignment. So with that in mind and having done a bit of research, thus far on Lee Kirby and Bruce Davidson, not forgetting Walker Evans earlier in the coursework, I have settled on the location(s) for my images.
I am planning on shooting in or around train stations, bus stops, ferry terminals and other transport modes in the city. I’m aiming for a moody tone to my images so have tried to create a certain colour palette by shooting in tungsten white balance with an orange gel on my flash. Some images, specifically those indoors, were more successful with this, but I found that the outdoors images were a little iffy for my liking. So I converted to black and white and now I’m not sure if I like that better. Therefore, time to get some peer feedback from my fellow students. Here are a few images in both formats, not necessarily my final picks. Please click on the galleries below to enlarge.