From researching a variety of different photographers and methods, I decided to start the shooting process. Because it was more of a scientific project, I had to ensure that the variables where the same. Before when I photographed as part of the conversations task there was little emphasis on the science side of the project, it was more about the visuals. However, I wanted to expand the project on a bigger scale, so because of this I had to keep the framing, exposure, location and clothes that I was wearing the same, so their focus would be on the changing features of the participant.
To make the variables of the conversation itself the same, I would therefore have to ask them the same question, and allow them to respond to it in the duration that they feel comfortable with. I asked them…
‘Could I have two minutes of your time for a conversation please?’
‘I’m doing a photography project for uni, would you mind the conversation being documented with photos?’
‘What do you think about having conversations online compared to talking in person? Do think social media has changed the way we talk?’
‘Thank you for your time?’
I felt keeping the conversation relevant to conversations and the changing nature of how we speak to each other made it an interesting juxtaposition. This is because people would respond saying social media reduces the need to have regular conversations, but yet they are saying that to a stranger on the street. This wasn’t necessarily relevant to the outcome of images, but it was a conversation that most of us have an opinion on and something we can speak freely about.
To ensure that the position was the same each time, I put some masking tape under where each leg of the tripod would be and where I would stand each time. On each shoot I was able to emulate the same framing each time because of this.
I would also have someone else photographing these conversations. I didn’t want the camera to be on a time-lapse, because then I would have been thinking about it while in conversation, thinking whether someone passing by would steal it and whether it would stop working; it would also mean that I would have to reset it after every conversation. This would increase my own subjectivity in the project. Having someone operate the camera made me more objective and more concentrated on the conversation. The operators (Stephen Ma, Samantha Dennis) started a timer once I started talking, every 5 seconds they would press the shutter until the participant would leave the cameras visual field.
Each persons conversation would be represented differently. If they spoke for 10 seconds, they would have 2 photographs, 20 seconds, 4 photographs and so on. Each person would also choose where to stand in relation to me asking the question. Some would be centimetres away and others would be metres away. The project therefore documents how each person responds to having a conversation to a stranger.
There were a lot of people who didn’t want to be part of the conversation, but surprisingly, a lot did. This was because they were coming into my space, a lot of people felt obliged to interact because I was in their way. Again, this wasn’t part of my project, but it acted as a catalyst to increase the participants.