The Shoots – Holly, Jonathan, Amela, Francis and Lesley

I arranged a lot of my shoots for Thursday and Friday, they were days that I was free for the majority of the day, so I used them for shooting.

My first shoot was with Holly, after meeting her before we scheduled to meet on Thursday for some photographs. Being an English lecturer she is interested in books and had a large book case in her office. She was shy and nervous for the photographs so I had to make sure she was at ease. Even though my shoots are a collaboration, I’ve realised that the nervous participants want direction so that they don’t feel as awkward. Regardless of this I always speak to them to try and make them as at ease as possible. If none of my methods work I say that if the camera scares you look away from it and engage with something else and when the time is right I take the photograph. This captures more of natural pose. In Holly’s case she was nervous, but she asked if she could read a book while I took the photographs, of course I agreed and told her to do whatever makes her feel comfortable. I framed the shot in front of the book case and positioned my reflector to give her more light and I captured the image when the moment was right. Using film slows me down and makes me wait for the right moment, I think that my film photographs work a lot better than the digital ones because of the time in composing the photograph, as well as waiting for the right moment.

My second shoot was on Friday morning with art lecturer Jonathan Waller. Jonathan didn’t have much time for the shoot because he had to see students and tutor them with their work. He was interested in my project and interested in my choice to use film, because he too likes to photograph with film. Jonathan was not nervous at all when photographing and he didn’t need any direction, I just waited with my camera while he moved around and I picked the moment. Unlike the other people I’ve photographed, he choose to look at the camera when I took the photograph. This doesn’t show continuity in my project, but it highlights him as an individual that is confident to have his photograph taken.

My third shoot was only 20 minutes after seeing Jonathan, I went to the John Laing building to photograph Amela, an architecture lecturer. She showed me around the building and showed me different projects that her students were creating. She took me into a particular room that showed students projects on the cathedral in Coventry. The room was small and like most of the others it was messy. Architecture students do a lot of model building and need a lot of space, but they don’t like cleaning that space. The room that we went to was an example of this, but the work was great. Amela was incredibly nervous even after I tried to put her at ease. She mentioned this to me before when I met her, but she wanted to be part of the project. She said that she isn’t nervous when talking in front of a lot of students, but put a camera in front of her and that confidence is gone. Like Holly, I told her to engage with something and not look at the camera. I told her to read the students work on the wall. Even though she knew a lot about the design she hadn’t read the students comments on the work, and was excited to do so. I saw her eyes following the text and she was completely engaged, so I captured the image. Even though she looks nervous in the image, it captures her engagement with the work and a true candid portrayal. After receiving the images from the processing lab I saw that the machine has faded the images, all but one were completely ruined, but I saved that one and even though the edges were faded, it was a nice image.


My fourth shoot was with Francis Lowe, an illustration and animation lecturer. He was confident and mentioned that he used to work closely with photographs so he knew exactly how to represent himself. We were in the Graham Sutherland main lecture hall, so it was an interesting setting for the images. He wanted to be creative in the images and I encouraged him to be, because it is his photograph. He sat in chairs, spread is arms across desks and sat right on the top of hall with his legs hanging over the edge. I encouraged him not be someone else, to try and express what he is about and what people see in him. He was a very confident person and he said the quirky poses suited him, so that’s what we went for. I really like his images. There is a sense of him trying to affect the connotations of the images with slightly arrogant poses, but it’s what he feels represents him.


My fifth shoot was with Lesley McBride, a physiotherapy lecturer. She was really nice and really excited to be photographed, especially with my film camera. I talked to physiotherapy students before I met Lesley and they all admire all of the work she does and how nice and happy she always is. While I was taking the images she had a big smile on her face. I said that the smile doesn’t always show an accurate representation of someone because they are changing themselves in front of the camera. But she said that is who she is, and she enjoyed the process of image making, so it naturally made her happy. For one of the photographs I left the camera on the tripod and talked to her to make her smile naturally, and took the picture with the shutter release. This way I was confident that I was capturing her smiling in a candid way. She was confident and looking at the camera but my subjectivity wanted to get the most natural image and she agreed it would be a nice touch.


I really like the film photographs because I enjoy the process and the aesthetic. But because some of my photographs didn’t come out right from the film processor, I photographed digital as well just so I’ve got something to show. The digital process was a lot less engaging and a lot quicker. I took too many photographs and I didn’t enjoy it as much. Here are the digital images, but they are only here to show my process, even though they are nice images,  I don’t think they have a place in my project.

amela digital francis digiral jonathan digital lesley digital


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