PHVP 3409 Week 19 (Long Post)

In the last tutorial I have mentioned many things and during the time, I tried to achieve it.  After looking at Jim Rice photographs I have tried to experiment slightly in overexposing the faces that they would be more noticeable in the photographs. Here is couple of examples from before & after:

The difference is not that huge, but it still makes a face to pop out more. In my point of view, face in portrait is most important part 🙂 

Before my interim assessment presentation on Wednesday I had still some time to capture some people and decided to concentrate more on timeless locations. In my previous examples of work it is possible to see various distracting shop signs, posters and etc. which just really don’t add anything for the picture. Viewers attention goes on them rather than on the subject. So, from now on I will try to pay attention to details and avoid unnecessary objects in my portraits. I noticed from my work and also from the others that timeless locations makes you wonder more about the picture itself and when these photos were being taken.

Last time I mentioned here, that I will share a photo copied photos from The Forgotten Ones by Milton Rogovin and here they are:

As you can see from these images above, everything just works. It is difficult to explain of how I work with the strangers, but I want to show them in serious way and maybe an eye contact creates that look which keeps you watching and thinking about the portrait. 

A little bit more contemporary photographer called ZOLTÁN JÓKAY has done series of portraits around 2000s as well. He used colour film and probably a 35 mm film camera to achieve such results, however most of his pictures are slightly out of focus… For the wish to separate subject from the environment, photographer needed to blurry the background while using fast lenses and wide apertures. Nevertheless, of not perfect focus, all his subjects are having their own time and Zoltan captured them in the way of how I am trying to do it. For me it is quite easier to focus, I guess, because my widest aperture on Bronica is only 2.8 and he probably used 1.4.

Talking about colors and remembering William Hoiles about which I wrote in previous post as well, colorful portraits are more vivid and provides you more visual information in my opinion. However, I noticed that when you tell your subjects that you still shoot on b&w film, I can spot their even bigger confidence in me.   

You may ask, why I like stronger contrast in my all b&w portraits and the answer is quite simple. According to my practice, higher contrast and adjustments in middle tones allows me to highlight a face, the details of skin, clothes and a blurry background.  For example: in the photo album Asakusa Portraits by Hiroh Kikai photographer captured all his really great portraits in the same location, however the soft contrast just doesn’t look great for me. Subjects are all fine, but contrast not. 

Here is my couple of portraits which I have captured before my presentation for Wednesday:

During my presentation Greg and Nick were really positive about my experiments with strangers and encouraged not to stop and keep taking such portraits. They offered me to see some of the Daniel Meadows portraits made during the 70s because both of them agreed that my way of showing and capturing people is quite the same to Meadows. According to tutors it is quite unique nowadays to see such portraits. Here is a couple of examples of Daniel Meadows portraits which are actually quite similar to my work.

Last week I was looking through my all negatives since the 1st year and found this image with the dog & his owner. Personally, I like this portrait because of their gaze and position and it made me to make a short experiment. Now, I am taking pictures with people and asking some general questions, however I thought that I could try to photograph people but WITH their dogs. That would be something different and more interesting perhaps because everyone likes the dogs and it wouldn’t be so similar to my inspiration – Humans of New York. I tried.

So, I have met couple of owners and with each had a great chats about their dogs, however I found it quite difficult to capture, because dogs were moving, waving their heads… I realized that this idea is worth expanding, but certainly not on the film camera and surely with colors, not in black & white. 

During the presentation Greg offered me to check Keith Arnatt’s series called Walking the Dog and when I took a book I’am real photographer from the library, I smiled. Those pictures with dogs and their owners were so good, that I will definitely try to keep doing this project behind my main one. I am not sure if I should use color film on this or just capture it digitally, but I already feel that this project could receive a lot of feedback. 

During my 2nd year, Nick had a lighting workshop in the studio where he explained and showed such technique. You underexpose the picture and compensate the difference with a flashgun. The results are always eye catching because you don’t see such images everyday and so I wanted to experiment that technique on my Bronica SQ-A.

 I felt a need to add something to my portrait images and after spending about 10 minutes, I managed to capture the image. I don’t know if you can see the light coming from the right side, but with more practice, I reckon I could achieve even better results.

That’s it for this time. I am going to take some images now.

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