As it’s coming towards the end of the module I have been reviewing the work created these last few weeks and revising my work-in-progress (WIP) portfolio.
It’s so interesting to see how my work has changed and developed since the start of the module. Firstly the project completely changed from inland/costal work to going back to photographing female surfers in the UK. But also since the beginning of the change over the work has developed, going from wider shots to doing some closer up work, and more detailed shots as well. I think this is partly because I’ve become more comfortable with my project and as it’s gone on I’ve started to develop a clearer idea of the shape I want it to take.
I want my WIP portfolio to show the different women I’ve photographed in some different ways – some close ups / straight portrait shots of their faces, as well as including wider shots showing the environment; the beaches and the weather they surf in. I hope that by showing more than just one aspect of them, the portfolio will show a more balanced view, and a more dimensional look at who these women are.
In coming to the end of the module and starting to reflect on the past few weeks I have been thinking more about how I’ve conducted the shoots for my project, and how much I’ve enjoyed the portrait photo process because of the way I had kept the shoots so minimal. I didn’t want to involve lots of lights or staged studio sets, I don’t think it would suit the project or me. So I kept the shoots very low key, just the surfer and me, with a camera. No intricate lighting set ups etc. I had started to wonder whether this is a way of working that could transfer to commissioned work or whether without lighting set ups you wouldn’t be taken seriously. However after speaking with Cat Garcia during her Leica workshop the other week, and hearing how her personal and commissioned work is all done with natural/available light I felt inspired to push forward with this way of working.
Also inspiring regarding working in this way, are the photographs taken by Mario Sorrenti of Kate Moss, that he took in the 90’s for the Calvin Klein Obsession perfume campaign. Although taken decades ago, previously unused photographs from that series are being used now for perfume “Obsessed” – also by Calvin Klein. These photographs were taken by Sorrenti when he and Moss were alone, just the two of them, in the Virgin Islands. There was no production crew with them, no hair or make-up stylists or wardrobe department. There are no elaborate hairstyles or make-up trends, in fact I don’t think Moss had any make up on in the photographs. It was just them, and a camera. What I love about these images is how natural they look, and how striking the images are, as well as how timeless they look. Part of the beauty of these photographs is of course Kate Moss herself, but for me the beauty also comes from the simplicity of the images. How the clean lines not only ensure the focus is on her but also that there is nothing competing for the viewers attention in the images. This all helps the timeless quality of the images, as well as because the images are in black and white. Without colour there is less to identify the era or year the images were taken, they were taken in the 90’s but could just as easily been taken this year. The black & white helps the images to endure over time.
For me these images are a great example of not needing a lot of production to create a great photograph, and not needing a lot of technology, to create a great portrait of someone. I also love how the images do just show her, not her make-up or clothes, just who she is. Which is also something I am trying to show in my project work – who the surfers are that I am photographing, they aren’t wearing make-up and didn’t have their hair styled any particular way and I hope to also convey their natural beauty in the same low-key, low-production aspect way.
These images are again making me wonder whether to re-visit black and white images for my project. I love how the black & white photographs seem softer, and focus the attention on the subject of the image and who that person is, rather than the surroundings in the photograph. However I don’t think this is something to explore at this point in time, but perhaps in the future.
ADORANTE, M. 2017. Why Everyone Is Obsessed with Nostalgia, According to Photographer Mario Sorrenti. W Magazine. Available at: https://www.wmagazine.com/story/mario-sorrenti-kate-moss-obsessed-calvin-klein Last Accessed: 09Dec2017
ALEXANDER, E. 2017. Kate Moss and Mario Sorrenti: Why and how we fell in love. Harpers Bazaar. Available at: http://www.harpersbazaar.com/uk/fashion/fashion-news/a43691/kate-moss-and-mario-sorrenti-why-we-fell-in-love/ Last Accessed: 09Dec2017