First set of images – Alan East

After establishing good contact with Alan, I arranged to photograph him. On the day I booked out a 500w single head light, a tripod, light-meter and shutter release because I wanted the best lighting available to create a considered analogue image. After I booked out the equipment I set it up in the photography department to ensure that I was prepared for the shoot. Once it was all set up I received an email saying that he couldn’t make the meeting because he was ill. Even though I couldn’t shoot that day I wasn’t down beat, I’d gained confidence by setting up the equipment and felt prepared for next time.

3 days later I met with Alan with all the same kit, we talked for a while and then went to his office. While setting up the lighting and getting out the tripod, I began to doubt the size of my equipment. The office was small and the plug sockets were few, and there was another lecturer in the office who had no idea what was going on. Regardless of this I set everything up and started shooting on my Hasselblad. Alan was initially nervous and unsure about what to do. I told him that he he’s not my model but a collaborator. I told him to look like no one was watching and hold his hands like he would naturally when listening to someone. It was the camera that was making him pose, so he looked away from it, and then adopted his natural pose while I was talking to him about other things as a distraction. He then said he felt comfortable, so I started making images.

Photographing with film made me consider the composition and the moments more subjectively. I wasn’t subjective with what I was photographing, I was more concerned with how I was photographing it. Both Alan and I enjoyed the shoot, it lasted about 30 minutes and I made it as enjoyable as I could. In the future I’d use a reflector instead of large light, because it will be more portable, take less time to set up and be less intimidating.

alan 2 alan alan3

After taking the images I took the roll of Kodak Portra to a colour film processor in Coventry. It was a 1 hour processing shop that could do colour film, I wanted to see the images and I needed them before Monday for my presentation. The negatives looked alright and I was happy with the results. I scanned in the images in the photography department and noticed a green mist in the corner of some of the scans, because the scans were such high quality I could crop them slightly to get rid of them, but it was annoying. After this I talked to Olly from third year and he said that nearly everyone who has taken colour film to that processor in Coventry has come back with some images messed up and the green mist in the corner of most of the photographs. I don’t want the quality of my work to be affected by the poor service of a photography shop, but it’s the only place I can process my film in time for the deadline. I’ve decided to take both film photographs and digital photographs so the shop can’t affect the quality of my work. Why should I stop my preferred process for my project because a shop can’t offer a decent service. Film photography interests me, so I’ll continue my project but with digital images as well.

Regardless of all this negativity, I’m proud of my images. The lighting works and so does the composition and colour. I like the windows presence in the image. It shows the influence of the external environment on the person, similar to the photography of Jane Hilton, having intense window light shinning in to light the face of cowboys.

I talked to Lee and Alex about the photographs without saying any of the context. They said that the images show authority and importance, but they also look quite vulnerable. After telling them he was a Law lecturer they were surprised but after looking again they could see it. The vulnerability shows the humanity of the subject, because he isn’t posing to affect the connotation of the image so he won’t look the same as a conventional portrait. Alongside with the images of objects that would help someone succeed studying law, it would provide for a nice diptych narrative. I like the way that the portraits have their own character, they aren’t conventional occupational shots where their is a certain arrogance to the poses, these photographs incorporate a more artistic aesthetic, and reading has helped me place it in that category.

Untitled 1

The image above is one that I won’t use because it seems very posed. I usually don’t like portrait photography where the subject is so close to the background because the depth of field and lighting can’t be as creative. I like photographing with a shallow depth of field because it makes it more pictorial, a style that August Sander used in his photographs as an early pioneer of this style. I gave the scene a chance but I don’t think it works as well as the other images.

I will take what I’ve learnt and apply if for my next shoot. I’ve scheduled a shoot with Angela of Fashion, Lesley of Physiotherapy, Aysar of Automotive Design, Francis of Illustration and Martin of Nursing.


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