Factory Film

I went for a ride along with Factory 35, an image library who specialise in backplates and HDR domes shot for automotive advertising. I learnt a lot about camera shake and the importance of tripods, I will definitely be taking one along next time. Also, all licence free music for films is very dramatic. I couldn’t find anything to fit so unfortunately another silent film.

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Femme Fatale

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I dug into the depths of an old hard drive and found this. I made this contact sheet when I was studying at university. We had to do two contrasting portraits using the same model and shoot it on a Bronica medium format film camera. I decided to portray a femme fatale. Initially, very sweet and innocent and then revealing herself to be manipulative and self-serving. We processed the film ourselves and printed the final images to A4. I only used one light for this and crafted the blinds out of cardboard and string. This was the only module I really enjoyed.

To The Sea

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Quite early this morning I bundled into my dad’s car and we set off in convoy behind my mum. Heading off to the unlikely Royal Quays to photograph a burial at sea. The light was beautiful and dreamy. The water was so still, it was clear why today was chosen to make the journey out.

We didn’t board the boat, we stood with some others at the shore. It seems like a peaceful way to go. It would be nice if all the people who join you on the boat could come too. I worry about it being lonely and cold for the person being buried, although I guess you wouldn’t mind.

 

 

“Why did they make birds so delicate and fine as those sea swallows when the ocean can be so cruel?” ― Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

 

Developing

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Sheep at Sycamore Gap, December 2017.

After ASDA closed their Photo Lab last summer I have been searching for somewhere to develop my film. As a result there was a back log. The film spanned spring, summer, winter and the early days of a new spring. It was a wonderful feeling opening up the envelope and seeing the last year in tactile glory. A really satisfying feeling that can’t be replicated. Although I almost entirely destroyed a roll with light this is one of my favourite photos. The blue is as piercingly cold as it was on the day.

Hilary

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A photograph I took of a musician called Hilary. My first experience of shooting on location with a big bag of equipment. The lighting was hit and miss so I used a speed light to bounce the light back from the ceiling. The editing process is by far my least favourite but it must be learnt.

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To produce a studio portrait of a person with an object on their head that isn’t a hat is an interesting concept. Immediately different objects spring to mind. There is a process of composing a visually engaging image whilst also developing technical skills. The purpose of this brief I believe is to engage creative ideas, use equipment we may not be used to and to get experience working within the studio environment.

Initially thoughts went to extravagant headpieces worn in stage production. They have a high impact and can be very intricate and beautiful. This idea failed to reach fruition as it felt lacking in substance or meaning. Deciding upon my concept took time.  A lot of the research I undertook featured photographers who worked within the film industry such as Eve Arnold. This felt like a natural pull as working in a studio is a very controlled environment not dissimilar to a film set. Realising later that the most interesting images produced were not taken whilst the filming was taking place.

My idea eventually came from the seeing an elderly gentleman gleefully jumping up an escalator. I felt able to communicate what I had seen in another way to others, hopefully sharing how this made me feel. Photographing a model with a balloon on their head wouldn’t be straightforward but I felt it was the best object to convey a childlike feeling of weightlessness and jovial fun. Turning my research towards more commercial images such as the work of advertising photographer, Dean Bradshaw. Once looking in this area, it led me to the work of Sacha Goldberger. Both had produced humorous, engaging images of older models in unlikely situations or costume. As a result of looking at this work I decided to follow a similar concept.

Having only a brief experience in a studio setting meant familiarising with the equipment. In order to produce a successful portrait, I decided to light it using a soft box. This gives a less waxy look to the skin tones and creates a softer, more flattering light on the model. Having only been in the studio once before I had forgotten about the need for radio slaves in a busy space. It was good to have experience using these again. If I was to do this shoot again I would use a tripod. It creates more consistent images in regards to framing. This is useful when it comes to editing the images. Although initially daunting, I felt more comfortable with practice in the studio.

The post-production area of photography is something completely new to my work. I have little to no experience with tools such as Photoshop. The experience highlighted this as an area for attention. Realising images can be created without looking over-worked or false was a revelation.

Framing an image with almost double height from the top of the head was a difficulty.  As a result of this the balloon often fell badly or didn’t sit properly within the frame.

My final image displays a feeling that I hadn’t considered. The initial idea was a close up of a lined, laughing face. The pose and expression of the model is more one of wonder and thought. Without direct eye contact there is a sense of childlike distraction. I wanted the balloon to be bright and attention grabbing. Due to the intense colour, the eye falls there first. Following the string down to the model and then focusing on the face. This is highlighted by the pose, leaning slightly into the frame and highlighted by soft light to the right. This allows the features to be seen clearly and studied. Although the model isn’t a stereotypical older man there are signs of age. A slight grey in the temples, unruly eyebrows and some pronounced facial lines. His clothing, a cotton shirt and suit jacket, are slightly crumpled but smart. The choice of a mid grey background was so the observer wouldn’t be distracted from the subject.

Overall, I believe the photograph produced is an interesting piece. I wanted to create an image where there is an unusual object on the head but it doesn’t take over or detract from the narrative.  I received some positive feedback for the final image, it definitely seemed to convey my original idea. For future photographs, I would like to gain a better understanding of the printing process. During this process I expanded my knowledge on studio based shooting. Learning more about the lighting and how drastically this can alter the image. As well as Photoshop tools such as patch and clone.