During the easter break, we were set a task to photograph an event, the event choice was up to us and we could choose how to interpret the event through our images. Once we had taken our event images, we had to whittle it down to our best 10-12 images to submit.
I chose to use the previous lesson task called “3x image photo story” as my inspiration for this eater project. In my previous photo story, I went to Westfield in Stratford to photograph the buildings, colours, and things that you see what you look up. For my event photos, I wanted to capture a similar thing and capture colour, shape and unusual things you wouldn’t usually notice.
I had a few ideas that I was going to photograph for my event, however they didn’t work out. One of my ideas was to photograph a gig taking place in Shoreditch, I went with my camera to get images, but the venue didn’t fill out enough to capture good event images. Another idea I had was to photograph a quiz and darts day at a local pub for a group of old ladies, I went there to ask if it was okay to photograph them, but majority of them didn’t want their pictures taken. In the end, I ended up going to a fun fair in the next town along from me. It is a funfair that comes back a few times a year to both my hometown Ware, and Hertford. I went to the funfair on a warm, sunny evening, expecting it to be busy, however it wasn’t the busiest I’ve seen it. When walking around the fair, I did the same thing with my Westfield photo story and looked up, to see what colours and shapes I could see. Once I had taken some images of what was above me, I also took some close up images of colour and detail on the fair rides and food cart.
During our Enhancement Week, we were set a task by Celine to photograph a “Journey”. It could be any journey you wanted it to be. I didn’t want to take the literal meaning of journey and photograph going somewhere from place to place, I wanted it to be a different kind of journey, either mentally or physically to do with a persons personal journey/progress.
In October 2015, my brother sustained a double leg break injury while playing football. He was in hospital for 5 weeks, having emergency operations every two days and he even got compartment syndrome, which is a severe thing for athletic people. After he was released from hospital, his ‘journey’ to recovery was a long, slow process. He had to have physio sessions every few days, and get used to having a titanium rod and screws in his leg. Along with all of this, he had to get used to having a scar the size of his calf, running down his leg, and a scar on his thigh from his skin graft operation. Having to get used to all of this was a shock to my brother, and it changed him mentally and physically. Now, a year and a half on, he has completed physio sessions, been signed off from the hospital and it slowly getting back into playing football. As this was something that not only affected my brother but our whole family, I decided to document my brothers journey and what he now goes through on a daily basis.
I captured images of the horrific scar on his leg, how he has to stretch it with elasticated bands a couple of times a day, how he has to moisturise it with bio oil to take down the scarring and how he now exercises to keep up his fitness.
These were the images I chose to be my best ones-
Once I had whittled down my images and chosen my best ones, we practised putting them into a book layout on InDesign. Celine had examples of phonebooks at the front of the class that we could refer to for inspiration. To help me get ideas for my layout, I referred to a book called “A Portrait Of Hackney” by Zed Nelson, and a book called “8” which I am unsure of the author. These books were very simply laid out with a range of minimal space around the images to quite a bit, there was also some colour surrounding the images.I decided to go for a minimal look so that most of the readers attention went onto the images and not what was around it.
This was a rough layout that I made with InDesign-
Todays lesson started off with going through peoples photo story tasks and seeing the range of images and stories people created using street photography. I found this interesting to go through as I saw a range of stories that people thought of and a variety of styles of photography that people like to shoot. After we had been through peoples task images we were told that we were being set a task to go to a location of our choice and to use street photography to capture another story. This time we were told it could be either street photography of people and what they are doing at your chosen location, the location itself or the buildings in that area. I felt like I had done a lot of street photography of people so this time around I chose to set my story on buildings at a location. I particularly wanted to focus on the size of buildings around us and how small they make us feel, also documenting what you see when you look up, as you don’t realise what is around you until you look properly. Once we come back from our location shoot we were told to edit down our images and pick 3 final ones to submit on to google drive to show Celine and the class.
From the contact sheet I chose these images as my best ones-
I then whittled my images down further and chose these as my best 3 to submit-
I chose these 3 images as my best ones from the day as they all had a running theme of “What You See When You Look Up”. Before taking these images I wouldn’t have realised that half these things were right above me, so while doing this task I educated myself on my surroundings and what I can find when I look a bit closer. My favourite image overall is the one of the balloons on the ceiling of stratford underground station. This image has a lot of mystery to it as at first you can’t quite work out what it is you’re looking at. When I showed the class, quite a few people said it looked like I was looking down on people walking across a road or it looked like sweet wrappers on the floor and the image had been flipped upside down. The image also makes me wonder how and why the balloons are there. For example, did a child let go of the balloons and there was no way of getting it back from the ceiling? Did someone put them there for Valentines Day? Seeing as they are heart shaped balloons. Did they get there by mistake? For example, was someone selling them in the station and let go while selling them to someone? It unravels a lot of questions which is one of my favourite things about this image along with the colours and lines that makes it hard to focus your eyes on.
Celine set us a homework task to complete during Enhancement week. The task was to take a 36 image (only) photo story of practically anything you wanted, and from the 36 photos we took we had to whittle it down to 6 final images that we thought were the strongest and told the best of our story.
During Enhancement week it was Valentines Day and for Valentines day I went up to london to do some sight seeing. My journey started off at Westminster, and I then walked around China Town, Pall Mall, St James’ Park, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and Covent Garden. The idea behind my photo story was to document the different things that people get up to on Valentines Day as not everyone celebrates it the same and some people don’t celebrate it at all.
Out of my contact sheet I chose these as my final 6 to show Celine and the class-
I enjoyed this task as it was independent with what you could photograph for the story. The story I chose I found quite interesting as it opened my eyes to something I hadn’t really thought about before, I never really thought about what people do on Valentines Day so this task allowed me an insight into how people go about Valentines Day. In my images I captured majority couples sightseeing around London, especially at Buckingham Palace and Covent Garden, whereas most people I photographed in Westminster were working, had just finished work or were by themselves. I captured a range of people doing all different things which created my story in itself. The one downfall to this task which I found tricky was sticking to only 36 frames and not being allowed to retake any images if we didn’t like them.
In todays lesson we had to meet Celine at the BFI in Southbank. Todays lesson was going around Southbank and the surrounding area to take Street Photography style images of people and the location. We were told that we couldn’t change the zoom on our lense and had to try as best as we could to shoot with the same zoom. After we had completed this task we had to head back to uni to meet Celine to edit our pictures and show her and the class our best ones.
Out of the images I took during the day I selected these as my best ones as they were the most in focus, had the best cropping, had the most interesting things going on in them and I also liked the colours and shadows in some of the images.
Overall I enjoyed being out in Southbank taking photos as it was something different to what I am used to. I liked being out and about and seeing what people get up to and being able to document it through photography. The part I didn’t like was when people were unhappy and caught me trying to take their picture. I asked a couple of people if they would let me photograph them but majority of people said no, meaning I had to do it without them noticing. This style of photography is very free and independent as you can photograph whatever you like to tell a story of either the people, place or both.
After having our first lesson with Celine and practising documentary photography with people, we got set a task to take an photograph of “Someone At Work”. The set task was- ‘In your time between the next lesson you need to research and find someone to take an environmental portrait of a person at work. It can be anyone who does any kind of job, but think of someone who does something that will be interesting to photograph.’
We also got told that they must be a stranger to us, show them in their environment, use the background to help tell the story- its just as important as the subject, we could shoot as many images as we like, with any camera and any lens, we can only use available light, no flash, edit your pictures down to one final image, no retouching except slight levels and contrast balance.
My image of a “Person at Work” —>
As fashion and photography are my strongest passions I chose to document someone working in a clothes shop. I chose to go into a clothes shop in a local town that I liked the look of and photographed the girl working in there. I found out that her name was Megan and she had been working there for just over a year. When I went in and asked if I could photograph her while she was working, she was more than happy to help. I instructed her to pretend that I wasn’t there and to just get on with what she would usually do while at work. I took images of her sorting out the clothes rails, tidying the shop and buying next seasons stock online. However, I chose this as my best image as I feel that having Megan positioned in the middle of the image works well with her surroundings. Having the clothes rails and the bags behind her stand out which help tell the story of what she does. When slightly editing my images I adjusted the brightness, contrast and saturation. I experimented with these settings as I feel that it gave my final image the “film camera feel”.
After having our first lesson with Celine for documentary photography I am feeling inspired and intrigued to trying new forms of photography. Documentary photography has always been style of photography I have loved but haven’t experimented with much.
In our first lesson with Celine we went through a number of various photographers that we should refer to throughout the unit of this course to help us be inspired. Some of these included Martin Parr, Zed Nelson, Tessa Bunny, Chloe Dowey Mathews, Sian Davey and Christoph Agov.
I personally liked Sian Davey’s work because of the story behind her images of the collection called “Looking For Alice”. I was intrigued by this collection of images as we were told that Sian took these images to become closer to her daughter and she found it hard to accept she had a disability. I found this quite sad which engaged me more with the story. The natural lighting and minimal editing on the images gives it almost a rustic film type look to the images which I like as it makes them different to digital images.
During the lesson we got set a task to go out in pairs and shoot 3 documentary images and slightly retouch them. We had to take one picture of a student inside their environment, one of a student in an outside environment and then we had to take the last one of a strange. I paired up with Naphesa and we went round the building photographing students inside doing work and having lunch. We both then went outside and were photographing each other and fellow classmates who were also shooting outside. For my strange image I approached a group of people and asked if I could take a picture of them while they were standing there talking and smoking and they let me. I found this lesson fun as it opened my eyes to a new style of photography and new inspiration I can use within my work. It was also fun as I conquered my fear of approaching strangers.