PHVP 3409 Week 17. New Inspirations

To begin with, let me remember you what my inspiration was for this staged portraiture project. In 2013 summer I came up with a very successful and famous internet blog called Humans Of New York. Here is the link for it. Photographer Brandon photographs people, their portraits, asks something and than writes a caption next to the image. Such idea really fascinated me and I have decided to begin taking portraits in Leicester and see what is going to unfold.

It is not a surprise that Leicester is very multilingual city and I thought that it should be a very good place for taking portraits with a different kind of cultures people and to see and feel diversity within their opinions. Unfortunately, my idea didn’t work out because most of the Muslims, Indians or Asians quite frequently used to refuse or even not to understand what I wanted from them. This led me to focus more on British people and looking from the photographs this tendency is quite clear. 

Straight from the beginning I showed and still show interest in capturing slightly older individuals and it is probably because I feel that they have greater or more interesting stories.

These portraits are most recent ones and quite soon I will upload some more.

During tutorial this week, tutor Greg noticed that in couple of my photographs it is quite hard to say in which period they were being taken and this made me to think for a while.  We agreed that various modern logos on the windows and lights distracts viewers attention from a subject and it would be better to avoid adding such objects in the pictures. So now, I have decided to add slightly more attention into composition and try to capture people in timeless location.

In my previous post I did mention that I will write about some my new found inspirations and here they are: 

London based photographer Jim Rice had extremely interesting project in London years ago. According to 20thcenturylondon, between 1990 and 1993 Rice explored an extensive documentary project, recording the industrial area around Deptford Creek. Several businesses and Deptford Power Station were among buildings being demolished to make way for riverside redevelopment. Rice’s award-winning project resulted in a book, an exhibition at the Museum of London and widespread coverage.  

Unfortunately, there isn’t any photographs online, so I had to take some on phone. 

Despite the fact that I love urban, industrial landscape between those pictures I found many portraits of man who used to work there, I suppose. While looking at them I saw how well Jim composed the photographs and how high contrast perfectly reflects working conditions. 

Between many books in our library I accidentally found a book about world wide famous portrait photographer Yousuf Karsh (1908 – 2002). He mainly worked in the studio and it is quite different from what I do now, however I really like how he made some of his subjects to look just a slightly over the lens and not straight to it. Perhaps to avoid same compositions in my images I could try to take couple shots with the same person. For example: a close up and medium shot. In opinion, when subject is looking just over the lens, pictures is even more bizarre  and interesting.

According to Peter Granser, project “Sun City” is a series about a retirement colony in the American southwest, where you are only allowed to live, if you are over 55 years of age. In this book, Peter captured the true daily life of real Americans and despite of urban landscape shots, withing his portraits he perfectly revealed subject personalities. Maybe it is because everyone knew that there is a photographer between them and inhabitants felt just relaxed about that. Leicester is not a small city, and such type of shooting wouldn’t work I guess. 

Quite by accident in Flickr I found one photographer who does similar thing as me and Brandon (author of Humans of New York ). His name is William Hoiles and he shoots on film as well. As far as I can see from the pictures, photographer only snaps the photograph and doesn’t speak much with the subjects. However, that doesn’t make pictures boring. I have decided to shoot on black and white because I can develope it by myself and it is cheaper, but looking at William’s pictures I tend to say colour may be even better for such type of photography. Pictures are definitely more vivid and has more visual information in the background because on B&W we cannot see and understand it.
Here is the link for more of his photographs on flickr.

My last inspiration for this time is going to be a book called The Forgotten Ones by Milton Rogovin. Unfortunately there isn’t many photographs online as well, so will photo copy them and talk about in my following post. Here is the link on Amazon.

In the last tutorial I did mention that my portraits becomes boring from my point of view, however after looking through so many artists I came up with a couple of new ideas. I will try to show them in the next post 🙂 

 

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Raymond Depardon – Manhattan Out

Last I week I went to my University Library and I took a huge bunch of various photo albums for a deeper investigation I really didn’t mind the author because for me it’s more interesting to find something new which I haven’t heard about before. So, this Wednesday I am dedicating to still living French photographer, photojournalist and documentary film maker Raymond Depardon. I don’t want to expand very biographically but I will mention that Raymond belongs to Magnum Photographers community and has won Pulitzer Prize in 1977 as a photo-journalist.

The book which I found in library has quite interesting story. Raymond has never been a street photographer but at 1980 winter he came to the New York with his friend. While she worked, Depardon used to walk around the city and take photos of random people. He was terrified of New York, because couldn’t speak in English etc..  He decided to never look through viewfinder and take pictures from the waist level.

Despite the fact of those photographs, Raymond didn’t felt quite confident somehow and even had a fear to develop the films.  When he saw pictures for the first time, Depardon was disappointed of bad compositions and similar things and put all those photographs away for 27 years. After such long period of time, Raymond  with the help of another friend had a chance to see and enlarge them again and eventually noticed something very unique. A lot of Americans were looking straight at the camera lens!

Personally, after seeing this photo album which you can purchase from Amazon for quite reasonable price, I came up with conclusion that taking photographs from the waist level is really good technique because people have no idea  if someone is taking a photographs of them and sometimes wrong composition just makes image more stronger.

Here is some images from the photo album.