Assignment one- a
portrait: I made sure to take some time over this assignment as the author of
the course had suggested and photographed my model on different shoots. I found
it quite challenging to come up with different ideas, which differed in type
and style but in the end, I was satisfied with the outcome and glad I spent
some time over it.
For the first
portrait I had found a very interesting (in my opinion) fir tree, which I
thought had the potential for creating an unusual but effective backdrop for my
model. I discovered that this was, from my point of view, the case and it did
actually surpass my expectations as the shape of the tree became important in
relation to the model in the final photo for this shoot. More specifically the
tree seemed to form an oval around her, almost as though it was cradling her.
I asked my model
to wear clothes that were pretty complementary to the tree. Although not
completely complementary (the tree was green, the clothes were orange) I
thought the effect of contrast in colour was effective and made her stand out
from the tree. If I was to change anything about this photo it would be maybe
using completely complementary colours (so red and green).
portrait was kind of forced because the weather only permitted me to take
indoor shots at the time. However I was pleasantly surprised that I found a way
to ‘use’ the ‘bad’ weather to my advantage. Here the model was looking out of a
raindrop-covered window with a wistful expression on her face. I decided to use
off-camera flash here for two reasons. This was to make her more conspicuous
against the grey and brown of the houses/weather on the opposite side of the
street and also to highlight the rain droplets on the window. I wanted to
highlight the rain droplets so the viewer could pick up on the reason she was
looking wistful. I was quite happy with my attempt at highlighting the rain
droplets but thought they could have stood out a bit more and very happy with
the illumination of both the hand and face by the flash. This was because the
hand, in my opinion, was an extension to her wistful mood.
In the third
photograph I chose a completely different type of day to photograph my subject;
namely night. I concentrated here on context where the background could be
discernible as a famous landmark of London, namely Tower Bridge. I thought the
out-of-focus bright lights of Tower Bridge in the distance worked well in
providing context in a subtle manner. As for the photographing the model I
found the night setting to be very challenging in order to get a sharp (in
terms of subject movement) photo but I thought I just about managed this. In
order to manage it I had to use a high ISO setting on the camera and a fast
lens. This meant image quality was sacrificed a little because of the high ISO and
the nose looked inevitably larger than if I had used a longer focal length lens
(I used a standard prime lens) as I had found out in the focal length exercise.
However I felt these compromises were comparatively small in respect to the
sharpness of her face.
I decided to use
some of the experience I had gained from the lighting exercise; in particular
learning from a photograph by Richard Avedon of Carl Dreyer, director,
Copenhagen, April 8, 1958. I used natural lighting like he did but I used
softer light than he used. The principle was the same though, which created the
effect of her ‘looking out’ at the scene behind her. This was dissimilar to
Richard Avedon’s photograph in his photograph Carl Dreyer was merely looking in
the same direction as the light was hitting his face. So Richard Avedon’s photo
was simpler (less busy) and probably more effective. If I was to be more
critical I would say the background was a bit bland with the buildings too
blurred. In summary for this fourth photograph I would say that the lighting of
the face was the best part of this photograph.
I asked my model
to pose in the fifth photograph for the assignment in such a way that she was
in partial profile to the camera and her hand was raised to a flower she
smelled. I would say the mood of this photograph was pleasantly tranquil with
the clothes (deliberately) mimicking the colour of the large flower and the
lighting quite soft. All of this makes for a nice portrait in my opinion and I
didn’t have any real criticisms of it. My only quibble was the patch of bright
light in the upper left-hand corner, which detracted slightly from her face.
I thought up what
I felt was quite a clever portrait for the sixth photo where the torso and head
were visible but with a twist. The front of the head was visible through a
mirror only, while the body and back of the head were only visible in the
foreground. I was pleased with how I carried out the idea with a few minor
touches that made the photo more attractive. These were the colour coordination
of the clothes and the edge of the mirror and the hairbrush raised to the head
suggesting activity. I could maybe have used more interesting lighting but overall
I am pleased with this photograph.
Finally I used
photographic lighting to change an unremarkable pose into something I felt was
striking. I lighted her face from the left side of her body in such a manner
that only the left side of her face was visible and used a black backdrop
behind so that half of the face was the only thing apparent in the photo. I
also asked her to raise her hand to her chin with a finger pointing,
suggestively to the light. This was an experiment that I thought worked well
and provided interest and drama to the photograph.