Sunday, 20 March 2011

Portraits

Well hey guys, it's been ages. Many apologies. Today I bring you something a little more mainstream (Argh! I burns my hispter eyes!) in the form of a bunch of photos from my recent photo-taking sessions. After that bunch of black-and-white photos, I've returned to the usual, more flexible format of colour film. And, even better, I've found a developer who won't fuck up every roll I give them - Bonusprint - who may take a while to send your films back to you but it's cheaper than Jessops and the results are perfect. Thanks, Bonusprint people!

Before we get onto two colour rolls of pure awesomeness, I have one final black and white to show you. I don't think I showed you the others, but never mind - you can find them all on my photostream a page or so back. This photo is the second in a long-running photography project of mine, Skylines. It's basically just Intersections, but in the sky. The idea is that grounded and flying objects interact with each other and with the frame, creating unique and unusual compositions with telegraph wires, planes and birds. The first photo was simple some pylons and a moody cloudy sky, and now I've started interacting the pylons with planes:


It may seem empty and basic, but it's a simple composition and that's what I wanted to achieve. The two lines (pylon wires) give the idea of a runway, something extending out and creating thrust to the top-left of the frame. The plane accentuates this and gives it purpose and a vague meaning (runway? The aim of the plane? Something along those lines). That's the general idea. I hope to extend and continue the series in further rolls, but all in good time! It's a long-scale project.

Next up is the first of my portraits. For my current GCSE art project (which sadly fuels most of my photography nowadays), I have decided to take a break from grungy urban architecture and Skylines. I'm moving into a much more emotive artform, the portrait. Unlike blocks of flats, people give off distinct, passionate and sometimes disturbingly clear emotions in their expressions and poses, and we can use photography to enhance that. I read somewhere that in Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy uses the descriptions of the background, setting and other people as a sort of mirror for Tess' emotions. What she feels and what she thinks echoes in the world around her, for she is the centre of the whole novel and everything eventually leads back to her. This is an idea I really want to explore in my photography over the course of this gosh-darned art project - reflecting emotions of the subject in the background so that the emotion is both clear and deeply set into the photo.

But, before I get into that, I need to get used to taking portraits. The only portraits I've taken of any note were a bunch of cast photographs for my youth theatre group's production of Alice in Wonderland back in the Summer, a bunch of digital photos against a shitty backdrop with shitty lighting and me not doing much work to make it look less shitty. I'm not including those in my portfolio; they're behind me now and portraits with film is a whole new start.

Thus behold, my friend Rob. In our school hall. In front of a projector. With the focus a bit off and a bit wobbly. Imperfect but perfectly so. Or something like that. I like the imperfection of it, despite my perfectionist ways. Sure, the motion blur doesn't help, but the softness of the photo and warmness of its colours seems to make this a good pic for me. Not a proper portrait - none of these are - but more a photo-of-a-person portrait.


Also on my second roll is this photo of Tim, a guy in my art class, sitting in my art classroom and generally looking moody and very cool. I reiterate what I said earlier; these photos don't necessarily show the personalities of the person in them. They're just emotions, not the genuine people. Because though Tim may have one heck of a badass fringe, he's a really nice guy and is rarely moody. And Rob doesn't always have a rainbow on his hair.



In the half term I did my first photoshoot, with my photography friend Olly, my not-so-photography-but-she's-actually-very-good-at-it friend Zoë, and her friend Maria. Yes, it was freezing cold, and it rained half the time, and my jeans got muddy (ooh sissy me). But I got some goddamn good shots out of it, if I don't say so myself. Here are the four best ones that I put on my Flickr:

Zoë, the first location thingy we did.
Maria, Zoë, bokeh.
Same angle, better pose, better light. Mmmm, glowy.
Maria by a tree
I'm only two rolls into this project (will probably be six by the end), but it's already had a dramatic effect on my photography. I see photo opportunities that I would beforehand have loved, but in the absence of someone to pose for me in front of it, it seems lifeless and emotionless. Sure, there are still good personless photos, but photos such as a nice shot of the blossom on a tree on my road don't entice me like they used to. Have I moved up? No, probably not, I've just moved away. Into a different field of photography. And I really love it. All I need is more people to pose for me, but there seems to be no shortage of that, whether it's people who want to model like Zoë or Maria or people who get told to stand, whether they like it or not, in my photos, like Rob and Tim. Thanks to you all.

And, before we go, here's a non-portrait, a shot of Zoë's awesomely retro suitcase:


Mmmmm, short DoF. How I love you. I'm just perfecting my portfolio right now, kids, so expect more posts about my creative projects very soon - including furniture! Proper furniture! Oh the exictement!

~John

ps. It's been so long. I hope you didn't all judge me on that dimensions post; I had to indulge.

pps. Dammit, I'm reading Kafka again. I'm formulating a Kafka post in my mind, I'll try and get that done for you guys.

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