These are the cut down contact sheets, as I took about 300 photos. In terms of cutting them down, I had to decide on what best lighting, framing and quality the images had, as some of them were mid chat (odd facial expression), too dark/light, or blurry.
The shoot started spontaneously with granny needing to hang out her washing. I thought this would make for some interesting images, allowing the viewer to take in some more of the glimpses of personality. In terms of keeping in mind the form of my granny and how it fit within the frame, with the washing line aswell, it was a trying time almost, as I had to be mindful of how the white sheets where reflecting light, as well as the quite strong sun was making the subject look in the image.
The sun also proved a problem, making for some interesting facial expressions – a lot of squinting in the light. The quality of light was also not even that great, the quite white and cold temperature proving to bring out the cooler tones in her blue shirt. This in return though, brought out some of the warmer tones in the browns, allowing for a more gentle background of hues, bringing out the also brown tones in her hair, warming up the face slightly.
I like the idea of allowing the viewers in slightly, seeing more into her life, exploring her as a personality. This was really the only time I captured her a bit off guard, as she likes to ‘keep her walls up’, the movement of hanging up the washing allowing for a slip in the ‘facade’ of identity. I think I will struggle to get underneath this, but I will keep trying to get to the point where things become so comfortable it slips even slightly.
Itook her through to her bedroom/spare room, loving the even and very soft light that entrered through the single window light source. The glass was covered by cream blinds that were closed on an angle, which distributed the light very evenly over the room. The cream walls and white doors allowed the light to bounce even further. Again, the brown tones brought some warmth into the image, and the blues and greens in the paitning are mtched with the tones in the subject’s scarf/blouse.
When in the bedrooms I tried to focus on the framing and spacing of the subject, allowing for the empty space around her to speak more volumes than if it was a close up. I wanted to convey a deeper understanding of the subject by including her surroundings, and I think the perfectly made bed, specifically placed chair, and straightened painting providing more of an insight. When in these rooms I wanted to get my model more comfortable so I could get some more candid, less posed shots, but really, she does ‘perform’ for the camera, very much being aware of it. There were times were this dropped ever so slightly, but however much she tried to hide the sly glances at the camera, the natural poses she was in made for a much more staged set of images.
This is not neccessarily such a bad thing, but I think in order to get a more natural set of images, she has to be in a much more ‘naural’ state. I think next time I’ll ask if she keeps her makeup off and wears something that is abit looser in terms of being ‘formal’.
I think our go to place was probably the sofa, and as noticed in my first shoot, this didn’t really work when the sun was strong, so she sat on the other side. This proved to be better, but I found I was getting the same sort of portraits as in the previous shoot. This is okay, as I could present a series of portraits ‘on the sofa’, but I do like the other portraits where she is standing, as I feel these can be more interesting in terms of spacing and atmosphere.
The portraits with her standing in the door were requested to be taken by her, as this pose (her in the doorway) is quite iconic of my childhood, and thus, of our relationship. The doorway is at the top of a ramp up to the house, and so my viewpoint was down slightly, and in terms of theory, this put her at a higher position of power than me. This is an interesting thought to bring up, as the power dynamic definitely changes from photographer to granddaughter, from ‘subject’ to granny. I was of course aware of this when I went into the project, as I felt apprehensive about using someone so close to me, knowing if would pt a shift in the relationship an, but not necessarily in a bad way. The metaphorical ‘step’ (also literal step) that she stands on uses the film theory of the person ‘higher’ in the frame having more power. This is only slightly noticeable, but in one frame in particular, the camera meets her gaze, and she almost ‘stands down’ the camera, with a slightly hostile, deadpan gaze. I think this has a very different feeling to the sets before.
I think this shoot was successful, varying location definitely proving to be more successful than perhaps some of the others. The different levels of light and quality of it was also interesting to manipulate, being able to use my technical skills to my advantage, changing my settings to comply with the vision I had.
I think the next shoot will be more of a focus on getting a more relaxed and natural capture of personality, I think the idea of talking a lot more to create an atmosphere, and then also the added bonus of the previous 2 shoots will improve the level of my subject being comfortable in front of the camera, being more apt at letting it fade away. I think I’ll be able to find a couple of gems within this set, hopefully being able to uncover the personality even more with each shoot.