Week 7 - Strategic Choices

After having week 6 just to work on our oral presentations, this week we were asked to question the strategic choices we make when taking photographs. Both artistic/creative, and practical.

We were asked to set someone else a brief to work towards as a micro-project this week. We looked at the choices we make when taking photographs, whether relying on chance to find subjects of photos or by restricting the circumstances or technical elements under which a photographer operates.

So I set Gemma a task to spend an hour with her daughters whilst they played, and take 5 photos of them – only 5, without deleting any, and then print them out and stick them up on her fridge. As a working parent I know she doesn’t have a lot of free time so I thought this would be a feasible task for her to do, and I thought it would be an exercise in thinking about how family photographs used to be taken and displayed, in keeping with her interests in what people do with pictures they take.

For me, Gemma asked me to make a series of images documenting my travels, 3 of which needed to be portraits of local people. Gemma knew as I was in San Francisco this week it would begood opportunity for me to take photos whilst thinking about my interests of documenting travel and trying to find ways to show the sameness of people around the world, rather than focusing on differences.

At first, although enthused by Gemma’s brief I was also quite daunted. I wasn’t sure whether I would be able to take the kinds of images I want to take of people with only a short amount of time to make a connection. As I was on holiday with friends I didn’t feel I was able to “work” as such. I was aware of being with my friends on holiday rather than being in the mindset of making images. I did struggle to find a way to balance working with being on holiday. However, having the micro-project challenge did keep me focused on trying to take photos that were more than just a holiday snap, and it did make me look for more than touristy sites or touristy shots. I feel that it did make me look at the city as a photographer and maybe more in depth than looking at it just as a tourist. I felt I was looking beyond just the surface of the city, or at least trying to.

Having the brief of taking portraits of locals was again quite daunting as I didn’t feel I could spend time talking with someone to get to place where I felt I could take a meaningful portrait of them. However, it did also push me to try to make that connection, whereas otherwise I might have avoided that thinking I wouldn’t have time.

I feel although I would have like to spend more time with the locals I did speak with, I was able to get a small connection that I hope comes through in my images. The push to make images of people in this way did make me realise that it is something I can do, but also something I need to work on as I do feel there is a lot of room for improvement.

These are the images I made in a documentary style to record some of my travels, and the portraits of local people that I made.