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.
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.
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.
Set with the task to develop interview techniques with the use of a peer within our class, I asked Louise a number of informal photographic questions regarding her current project on Identity. In reflection, the task set has allowed us both to establish and refine interview approaches in which we can now transfer within our current project. Understanding the importance of gathering information to support our work conceptually whilst gaining trust between sitter and photographer – methods I will use to support and gather evidence further in regards to breaking stigmas towards the vegan community.
So, what does your current project involve?
My project involves showing how the outfit someone wears portrays their personality. So, I’m going to focus on one person and how their fashion changes.
Which format are you going to use?
I am going to be using digital for this project. I am going to be using the canon 5d for my final outcomes and for my test shoots.
…and in what style?
I am still developing my ideas on what I want to mainly focus on in my images. However, I do know I am either going to create comparison images of the two different styles my model has, or create two landscape images per page showing the outfit and a detail of her clothing.
Who inspired you for this project?
I have currently looked into Cindy Sherman as in her photographs she uses outfits to change her identity. She changes herself into completely different people just by her fashion choice, and this is what I want to focus on in my work.
Where do you see your project taking you?
I see my project developing into something that people can be inspired by. As I want to show how it doesn’t matter what your fashion is, you are still the same person in the end, and you know who your identity is and that you don’t need certain clothes to define that.
Influenced by Andrea Gjestvang’s use of analog in conjunction to available light whilst following from the brief set with a Mamiya RZ67, I opted to photograph Larnie – another photo student. However, it must be noted Larnie isn’t vegan herself but for the purpose of this test shoot, the outcomes are only to evaluate the Mamiyas suitability for the series in mind. Perfectly, the day chosen to shoot had been forgiving allowing plenty of natural daylight to flow through the stairway on campus. Larnie, a confident person herself perfectly adapted to the environment. The light exposed details of her clothing and characteristics – the results exceeded my expectations despite a few underexposed outcomes from the roll. With more consideration and planned shoots ahead, refocusing upon my chosen brief of breaking stereotypes within the Vegan community, future test shoots will now be taken using the Mamiya in a bid to form an overall series of portraits.
An introduction into digital flash using a Canon 5d mark ii. In pairs, we spent the afternoon shooting each other indoors – approaching bouncing flash off the ceiling and how to blend with daylight. Evidently, this is an element I struggled to grasp upon reflecting within the outcomes of Louise’s skin tone. Using Lightroom I have attempted to adjust the colour balance however having failed to calm the tones in time this will be an area to improve upon manually and in postproduction. Later in the day, we used a soft box and shot our tutor Ed to further explore digital flash indoors. The outcomes depict a cinematic feel, echoing in balanced shadowing upon the sitters face focusing directly on their details whilst introducing their environment – forming identity. The introduction heavily allowed us to gain confidence within digital flash and how to use this accordingly to the brief set, whilst benefiting our work in low light situations something to bare in mind whilst on shoot.
A short introduction into studio lighting and the digital hasselblad – the equivalent to medium format. Within our class, we quickly shot simple portraits to gain an understanding upon the controls of the camera and lighting setups. Throughout it is evident there had been a lack of attention to the backdrop chosen – marks appeared within the background drawing away from the subjects. However, as an overall body of work the series radiates the purposed task set depicting basic head shots reflecting the subjects characteristics. Using a light metre, tones and textures are apparent to the face creating shadow and depth to the images. In hindsight, as a group we should of taken more care of the backdrop and positioning of the sitters. However, as a the brief states we cannot shoot this current project in a studio setting, this is something we will not be following with through are work. Granted, the opportunity allowed us to explore new mediums whilst improving our confidence with light metres and tethering to a computer.