BIBLIOGRAPHY

Definition of veganism (2016) Available at: https://www.vegansociety.com/go-vegan/definition-veganism (Accessed: 23 November 2016).

Soth, A. (2013) Broken manual « Alec Soth. Available at: http://alecsoth.com/photography/?page_id=213 (Accessed: 16 January 2017).

hellenvanmeene (2017) Photos: A selection of works (in chronological order). Available at: http://hellenvanmeene.com/photos/chronologic (Accessed: 16 January 2017).

J A Mortram (2017) Small Town Inertia. Available at: http://smalltowninertia.co.uk/about/ (Accessed: 16 January 2017).

One day in history (no date) Available at: http://andreagjestvang.com/projects/one-day-in-history/ (Accessed: 16 January 2017).

Hilton, J. (no date) Isle of Sheppey. Available at: http://www.janehilton.com/photography/isle_of_sheppey.php (Accessed: 16 January 2017)

Task II / Evaluation

Four final responses to the given brief of “Identity”, refining mediums from analog to digital, exploring how a person can be represented within photography and how my production impacts this. Conceptually, the outcomes reflect vegans for who they are whilst breaking stereotypes faced as a community, inviting the viewer to use their own recognition, henceforth the title of “Meat Us” – a play on words hindering the concept behind the photographs shown without giving too much definition of their meaning.

Fixated upon Andrea Gjestvang’s natural portraits depicting a number of surviving victims and J A Mortram’s series entitled ‘small town inertia’ also embarking on documenting surrounding individuals. Both of these photographers heavily influenced my own practice, subtle notions of their framing and approaching subjects can be seen in tests shoot taken by myself. An example, photographing local vegans in their personal environments to focus on more direct outcomes such as the shoot at the rescue.

Opting to challenge myself and after a number of workshops ranging from analog to digital, I felt most comfortable in using a Mamiya rz67, a large format film camera suited for portrait work. Having shot some quick test shoots in advance, film truly captured the depth and rawness in which I desired for this project. However, it must be said using analog hindered my project slightly. Unfortunately the Mamyia used had double exposed over half the rolls shot, producing unusable outcomes and setting myself behind in the brief. In hindsight, digital outcomes should of been taken to support the mamiya encase of a situation like this arising.

Furthermore, I have been able to reflect upon this positively. Shooting analog is an exciting practice. With only 12 shots per roll, you truly try to conceive your perspective whilst ensuring you “get the shot”. Analog definitely helped my confidence in approaching strangers (vegans) whilst directing shoots, I took pride in each location I went too, knowing the outcomes needed to be as refined as possible in order to reflect their identities as individuals and a community.

The final outcomes depict Mark the owner of F.R.I.E.N.D and Sarah a volunteer interacting with the rescue animals living at the sanctuary. The juxtaposition between four photographs depict off guarded portrayals of themselves in reflection to the directed images. It can been seen as the conflicts between the meat and dairy industry and the hidden truths behind them both. Symbolising this through Mark and Sarah’s pose – who when directed took pride in themselves as vegans and when captured off guard expose their emotional bonds towards animals; instead viewing the rescues as beings not products.

Cropping the photographs to square format allows for our attention as the viewer to fully project upon the subjects, removing distractions. The outcomes acknowledge the brief set yet alter my own statements slightly. Previously I had suggested to depict vegans in a less stereotypical manner, breaking away from the stigmas faced as a group. Yet, it can be clearly seen the outcomes now only hinder these stereotypes more. Subconsciously I had felt depicting vegans away from the stereotypes would portray us as a group in a more reasonable perspective to an omnivore.  However, this can only be said to be my own self conscious. Reflecting Sarah and Mark for themselves instead exposes the compassion behind the lifestyle – this isn’t just a diet or a “fad”, veganism is a movement and one of change.

Test Shoot / F.R.I.E.N.D

After a number of problems over the festive break, I had been unable to direct my project with the intentions I hoped for. Fortunately, a local vegan contacted myself who was able to pull numerous favours into place and help finally fulfil the brief of documenting local vegans. Visiting a nearby animal sanctuary called F.R.I.E.N.D (Farmed Animal Rescue), I was delighted to be introduced to Mark the lovely owner of the rescue and Sarah a volunteer for another sanctuary as well as F.R.I.E.N.D. However, along the way I had also been introduced to other individuals from vegan parents, an activist and local micro pub owner Tim (of the northern seaman in Rochester). Unfortunately the Mamyia used had double exposed over half the rolls shot therefore unusable and setting myself even further back. However, this is a mistake I have reflected upon now. Although shooting analog is an exciting method there are many downfalls which in hindsight should be “backed” up by digital encase of a simliar situation occurring.

Reflecting upon the mistakes, it is clear certain shots have been damaged in the process thus appearing as square frames instead. Yet, this can be seen as a happy accident as I prefer the cropping personally which allows for our attention to fully project upon the subjects within, removing distracting elements. Referring back to the brief set, I had stated I wished to depict vegans in another light breaking away from the stereotypes and stigmas we are tarnished with. However, it can be said the outcomes only hinder this more yet with the current circumstances regarding the loss of shots and being let down countlessly. I am only able to work with the outcomes produced, adapting my brief slightly to support them. Instead, the outcomes expose the kindness of veganism overlooked by others and the compassion behind the lifestyle – this isn’t just a diet. To finalise, I will rescan the negatives using the flex tight scanner ensuring the highest quality is received whilst refining my edit for the brief as whole using photoshop and the hasselblad software. In conjunction taking care adjusting the colour balance and removing any dust/dirt carried on the negatives themselves.

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Life Model / ‘The nude’

With the task set of shooting a nude model within a studio setting as a class, we alternated groups all having a chance as the role of the photographer whilst using LED lights and a Canon 5D mark ii. Having never experienced nude photography before, I had been somewhat nervous in how to approach documenting the human form. However, the use of lighting created depth to the body; casting shadows and tones to the curves of the subject directing my viewpoint. A blank expression allows for no distractions, only diverting our attention to the overlooked details of the human form as an audience. Granted, I found the experience a little intense, the outcomes produced were a true reflection of the sitter unlike an illustration. Yet, the subject did not mind this at all and fully trusted us to portray her in a light which reflected the identity of the body. Although the brief set directs us to not shoot in a studio setting, exploring LED lighting whilst confronting a stranger so openly allowed us to mature as photographers. Grasping the importance of maintaing a professional relationship between oneself and the subject in whatever context given. An experience I can now transfer within my own photogrpahic practices, especially in the context of this brief where I am confronting “strangers” to form the basis of my final outcomes.

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Test Shoot / Moe Sabil

After contacting a number of nearby vegans to myself and inspired by previous research of said photographers, I began contacting willing subjects. Moe, a local mechanic in Kent agreed to a shoot at the garage where he works. Granted, a little nervous I approached the shoot with some speculation. However, Louise assisted me upon the day gathering meter readings whilst I set the camera and directed Moe. Having been my first stranger I approached in regards to the brief and as a photographer, the outcomes are an honest reflection of the shoot with some being out of focus and others depicting the approach I had intended to reflect. Granted, areas of improvement are noticeable such as the inside locations are a little too dark to expose the details within the workshop. Moe a perfect subject truly breaks the stigmas vegans face today. Usually tarnished as “tree lovers” the outcomes form a series around Moe’s identity without obviously revealing his life style choice. It has to be said, some struggles occurred with the weight of the Mamyia yet with more consideration and planning I would adapt any further shoots to accommodate the weight of the camera and take thought whilst focusing upon subjects.

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Jane Hilton / Isle of Sheppey

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Jane Hilton – a documentary photographer and filmmaker based in the UK. Her series entitled ‘Isle of Sheppey’ (local to myself), depicts numerous characters on the island. It is obvious notions of Martin Parr are carried throughout the work due to the lighting used, wether it being fill flash or available. The heavy contrast brings density to the portraits, playing upon the colours embedded within the clothing and objects. Appreciating said candid feel, this juxtaposition plays upon typical seaside town life and maps the way we perceive the subjects shown. These natural unframed photographs are open to our interpretation through exposing their homes and local events which helps piece together their identities, class and welfare. Influenced, this is an aspect I would only hope to transfer within our brief. Whilst documenting local vegans I will consider simliar production methods to Hilton’s, by introducing elements which reflect personality through exposing their environments subtly.

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Task I / Alec Soth – Hellen van Meene

Alec Soth, a portrait photographer devotes his series entitled ‘Broken Manual’ to escapees of civilisation. Documenting numerous individuals from monks to hermits, the overall series represents those who wish to seek an alternative lifestyle in conjunction to the everyday. Evidently, Soth’s use of available light endorses a cinematic feel. Pose profoundly plays a vital role in dictating the subject chosen. Visually the expression appears blank yet relaxed, a natural reflection left to our own interpretation of the image – adding depth to the portrait conceptually and visually. Is his expression a symbol of the sanctuary in which he has found from breaking the mundane? Granted, prop hinders subtle notions through styling too. An example shown within the subjects facial hair, indicating an “off grid” nature. The figure has fully let go of everyday routines and subjected appearances of a clean shaven man. The marked clothing worn also shares an indication of the subjects characteristics, a gesture of the rawness of living away from the commercial lifestyle and his personality as an individual. Displaying the subject outside forms a canvas, a blanket in which the body is laid against stimulating us as audience to question the significance of the environment surrounding the body. The figure shown is truly immersed with nature. His position between the mossy background forms juxtaposition between his self worth as a being whilst comparing the figure to nature itself. Soth breaks away from stereotypes of the working man and interrupts our ideologies of lifestyles today.

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Hellen van Meene – an artist whose approach bares witness of teenage girls through the use of square format. It is apparent, Meene reflects upon adolescence throughout the portrait of the subject portrayed. Prop vitally plays a role, comparing the figure to the mattress behind. Symbolising the girl as an object in multiple aspects. The towel beside reflects the light onto the subject, directing our viewpoint as the audience whilst mimicking the figures clothes. Simliar again, the towel below also mirrors the subjects styling, in this case the blue toned skirt opposite. Conceptually Hellen Van Meene reflects the “single” mattress as a means to project the status of the individual stood by herself, as if the mattress is a symbol for her independence as a female. The pose is left as a blank canvas, allowing us as the audience to again project our own subconscious upon the subject portrayed. Although blank, it is clear the viewer holds herself confidently yet her facial expression conflicts against this, carrying notions of someone who is overworked and fatigued. The combination of framing and location invites the viewer into the environment in which the subject is standing within. As the audience we able to connect to the surroundings as her residence, signifying home further forming the figures identity and her placement within class.

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