“Are you in Harmony or in conflict with the social structure that you are a part of?”
This is the question I have been attempting to answer with my final set of images for this assignment. At first I had to figure out whether I was in harmony or not but the answer became clear once reviewing each shoot. I must be at harmony if these people are opening up to me and presenting themselves in the way they have in front of me and the camera.
Hopefully these images are relatable to the viewer and that they see people from their own social structures in the same light. My images are a representation to the relationships I have with these people and I want the viewer to become immersed into these lives. By having a close relationship I have a unique insight into these peoples lives that are not viewable to outsiders, which is what I am trying to display with these photographs.
I have edited down all the images I have taken for this assignment and selected the 10 below to be submitted as my portfolio.
I have only included 3 people in this final selection, as it is only 10 images and I do not think it would be as effective with more people because there would not be a strong a focus on the people I have included. When you view them as a sequence you can see that I have grouped the images of the same people together, this way you can focus on one person at a time rather than having your attention continuously flicking from person to person.
I am please with my response to the brief as I believe my final set of photographs answered the question at the beginning of this post. I think if I were to produce a larger portfolio than just the 10 images then I could begin to delve deeper into these peoples lives by photographing all aspects of their lives, but with 10 images I have only just begun to touch upon the stories of these peoples lives.
Following on from my previous post I went off to photograph the daily routine of someone close to me. I had shadowed him throughout the day choosing to photograph the more mundane aspects of his daily routine, that may usually be overlooked or private. These images are the unique perspective I have on this persons life that I want to share. They may not appear to be moments that are anything special or out of the ordinary, but they are moments that I take notice of and appreciate. Hopefully they will be relatable to anyone viewing them and they can reflect upon and appreciate these mundane intimate moments.
So far for my assignment I have been photographing people within my own social structure in a way that shows I am in harmony with them. I have attempted to do this by photographing them in intimate situations and by capturing the side of there lives that would not be seen from an outsiders perspective. The images below are a few examples of what I have so far.
I do believe that these photographs achieve what I wanted and have an intimate connection but I feel like the images are limited in showing you their lives. If I were to submit these images alone I do not feel they would immerse the viewer into their lives, which is something Danny Lyons managed to do with “The Bikeriders” and is what I would like to achieve with this assignment.
There are a few images I have taken that I believe begin to tell a narrative to these peoples lives, such as the ones below.
I think that if I placed these sort of images amongst the first lot of images I showed you then it would become more obvious that I want to invite you into these peoples lives and share the relationships I have with them.
By including the subjects environment in the frame and capturing them in motion, like in the images above, I have begun telling a story about these people through a single image. The blurred effect I have used in the image above is a style Duane Michals uses in his own images to tell a narrative. Capturing them in motion represents a period of time passing, which suggests there is more to be told with the image.
I need to take more images now that capture moments from peoples everyday lives to put into my final set of images, so that it becomes more obvious that I am trying to immerse the viewer in their lives.
For these images I decided to attempt something different than the previous images I have taken for this assignment. Rather than have a one on one session with the subject I decided to observe the intimate interactions of other people and try not to influence them in any way. The moments I have captured in these photographs were taken during a rehearsal of an intimate scene, that I asked if I could come in and observe and I took images as they ran through the scene.
These are a few images I have selected from this session. I was using a Mamiya RB camera, which as you can imagine is quite difficult to operate in a quick spontaneous way. The lighting was quite low so I had to use a long exposure, meaning the images would inevitably come out blurred. This did not bother me to much as it is a style I have seen used before in Robert Franks images. Some of Franks images in “The Americans” series were slightly blurred or tilted but this reflected the style that he worked in, which was spontaneous so that he did not interfere with the people he was photographing. Perhaps if he had taken the time to adjust the camera so that the images would turn out ‘perfect’ then the people would have become aware of the camera and altered their behaviour. Capturing the exact moment Frank saw became more important than capturing an image that would meet the standards of a great image of the time.
For this shoot I chose to work within the theme of nudity again, which is a theme that has naturally developed throughout this project. I believe this is due to its strong connotations of intimacy, an important aspect of my work for this assignment.
Chloe (the subject of these photographs) is someone I have lived with for a few weeks now and so have developed a relationship with. By living with her I have an insight into her life and her environment that is not seen by the outside world. In these images I have attempted to delve into her world and present her in a very private way.
In reflection of this shoot I have not utilised the environment as much as I could have, like I have commented on in my post about Robert Wyatts work.
In the images of Chloe at her sink I have gestured towards her location, which begin to tell a narrative. The images of Chloe on her bed need to be put amongst other images that have more of a narrative. By doing this I could create a series of images that immerse the viewer into this persons life.
I have discovered a personal project Robert Wyatt has carried out, which I find relevant to my current assignment 1 project. Wyatt usually works as a fashion photographer but for this project, titled “At Home”, he has gone against what he does professionally by taking away the usual lighting set ups, hair and make up team as well as the clothes. The images are of nude ‘real women’ in their home.
“What you’re left with is the beauty of an intimate portrait of a woman in her own home” – Robert Wyatt
What I think is vitally important in making these photographs intimate is the location. Wyatt has established a trusting and intimate relationship with his subjects, in these photographs, which has been done by his subjects inviting him into their personal space and by bearing all in front of the camera.
This has made me more aware of the location I am photographing in and how big of an impact it can have on the reading of my images. Up until now I have not been utilizing the environment I am shooting in and so now I think I will attempt to make a personal and intimate space within my images.
After researching into Danny Lyon‘s work I found the style in which he works to be fascinating and can relate it to my current project, for assignment 1. In Lyon’s work, such as “The Bikeriders”, he immersed himself into the society he was photographing by joining the Chicago outlaws. This allows us (the viewer) to get an in-depth insight into a world that we would not usually get to see. The video below gives a summary of Lyon’s work and style.
This has allowed me to realise what my work could potentially communicate to anyone viewing the images. The images of my own social structures give an insight into my world that would go unnoticed to everyone else. But what Lyon managed to do in his work of “The Bikeriders” is to remain an objective point of view of his subjects (as mentioned in the video) so that he did not influence the audience in anyway, when they viewed this society. This has given me something to think about whilst photographing, but as I’ve mentioned in previous posts my purpose is to display my relationship with my subjects, so keeping an objective style may prevent me from communicating my purpose.
This is a shoot I did in response to the assignment 1 task. As I mentioned in my previous post “Project Development” I wanted to display harmonious relationships with the people I photographed and I thought this would be easier to achieve by photographing people I have already built a relationship with, so in these images I have photographed my friend Lily.
I had asked to photograph her in a location she was familiar and comfortable with, so the shoot took place in her bedroom. I had also asked what was the least amount of clothing she would be willing to wear in front of me and the camera. By her revealing as much as she has I think this shows a trusting relationship that she would not have with any stranger observing these images.
I hope a harmonious relationship between myself and Lily is conveyed through these images to anyone that views them.
Following on from my “Greater than the Whole” task (refer to previous post) I have developed an idea assignment 1. As you can see from the way i have photographed the subject, for this task, I quite a close connection with this person.
Being able to present yourself as a nude form in front of someone else can show that you have a high level of trust and intimacy with that person. Think about whenever you may appear nude in front of someone else, these moments will probably be very intimate and private. My intention with this shoot was to take this intimate and private moment and make it public and viewable to others. I believe that this idea has been heavily influenced by the work of Nan Goldin, whose work displays the very most private moments of her life. Goldins work is not of people she does not know but of people she is close to, which allows her to be involved in these intimate moments and capture them to share with people outside of the relationship.
In the brief for this assignment it s asked…
“Are you in harmony or in conflict within the social structure that you are part of?”
I think that the relationship I have attempted to convey in my greater than the whole task answers that question and says that i am in harmony with this social structure. For the rest of this assignment i will be looking into my own social structures and try to display a harmonious relationship between myself and the people I photograph. I think this may be achieved by capturing moments that other people would not get to see such as moments when they appear vulnerable.
For this task we were to photograph an object, which we had a connection to and was precious to us. A Precious object could be absolutely anything as long as it held some sort of a story or had any significance in your life. At first I was clueless as to what to photograph, so I began by thinking of any objects that I felt some emotional connection to. This could have been anything, from the series of images I took of my friends on holiday to presents people have bought me in the past, but I wanted something that had a deeper meaning.
The Images above are my chosen precious objects, they are a few cards given to me wishing me good luck at university and a kettle. Once i had chosen my objects I to think of a way to photograph them, that signified that they were precious to me, so I wanted these objects to be the only subject within the frame. As they are alone in frame they become the soul purpose of the image, the viewer knows that this object holds some sort of significance.
The cards may be more obvious as to why they are precious to me, they represent a relationship between me and the people who bought them me and by keeping hold of them I retain this connection with them. The kettle may be more ambiguous as to how it is precious, but hopefully by the way I have taken the image it shows it has some importance. The kettle has its own light source and so I decided to use that light alone and photograph it with a long exposure, which has not lit the object entirely, making it unclear to what it is. I like how it is unclear as it matches the ambiguity of its significance in my life.