The early stages of the selection for this assignment were difficult, and I felt I was really struggling to obtain anything meaningful and coherent with my first few shoots. I have three series of images of different subjects during that period which just did not work, and which were not worthy of adding to the final set. (Copies of the contact sheets for these three, as well as the others are attached at the end of this post). I am therefore grateful for my tutor’s suggestion not to rush the process, and to concentrate on what it is I like about this image below, which I had told him seemed to be the best of what I had so far achieved.
On mulling it over, I decided that the main features of the image I liked were the natural pose, which has a sense of dynamism and the fact that the person was directly engaged with the viewer in a way that expresses both their personality and their relationship with me, the photographer. The background is bland but has meaning to the subject, being farm land which is currently being prepared for a large housing development.
It therefore seemed sensible to concentrate less on the location (albeit still showing it as a background to the subject) and to focus more on a natural, unforced pose and expression, which expresses my own relationship with the subjects, and this made the shooting and selection process much easier for subsequent shoots. As a result of this thinking, the final three shoots were straightforward and lacked any of the angst and doubt of the first few.
Below, I have considered each of the sets of contact sheets. In most cases, these are a selection taken from a larger number of images in order to fit them onto one page. (I do not know why they have white lines across them, but it is not important for this exercise).
Subject 1 – Chris
This was my first shoot, and although I am happy with the concept of the shoot, and particularly like P1510374, it subsequently became clear that the subjects were all going to be photographed outside and at full length, so reluctantly this set had to be dismissed.
Subject 2 – Talis
There were a number of possibilities in this set. I particularly like the last image, and this was my first choice for this subject. However, on asking fellow students their opinion of the proposed series, this was the one that did not seem to fit. Apart from it being about a building, the colours and style seem to jar with the others, rather than flow, and I have decided to go with P1510400 instead.
Subject 3 – Ann
This set was relatively easy to produce and there are several within in it that I like, especially P1510419, but th3e subject is too far away in the image, and so I have decided to use P1510424 instead. As mentioned above, this was the starting point for the final set of images.
Subject 4 – Amanda
Sadly, none of these were suitable. The weather was very bright sunshine, and there is a great deal of contrast in many of them. Also, the subject is posing rather more than I am aiming for, so this set has been rejected.
Subject 5- John
In my first shoot with this subject, there were similar problems to the shoot with Amanda, and the light was too harsh for successful images. I also was not happy with the decision to photograph the subject next to the sign – it looks forced and slightly peculiar. He was kind enough to allow me to undertake another shoot, and this was much better. For the purposes of this assignment, either P1520953 or P1520991 would work, but I decided to use the former on the basis that all the other selections were full length, so this one should be too.
Subject7 – Steve
This short shoot was not successful for a number of reasons. Again the weather was not helpful, and I did not have time to chat to the subject enough for him to feel comfortable about what I was doing. He therefore looks unhappy and posed in the shots, and I decided to leave any of this series out.
Subject 7 – Gareth
Bizarrely, the weather was also sunny for this shoot, but the telephone box happened to be in the shade of a large tree, which softened the light. Any of the last four would have been fine for the series, but I felt the composition was best in P1520073.
Subject 8 – Vince
Another gloomy day for this shoot, and again there were several possibilities for the final selection, but I decided on P1530108 as the image most reflective of the person.
This selection process has been long, but I really benefitted from taking a step back for a while to allow some objectivity to enter the equation. I am also grateful to fellow students for the feedback they have given on the whole process and I am now more confident that the series reflects what I was hoping to achieve One of the elements of the final series which has been remarked upon is its autumnal feel, which is good because it lends a unifying seasonal background to all the images.