REFLECTION 1, 2, 3 - First Shoots and Thoughts

For the first photo shoot, I chose a location that is close to my heart - Wapping (London). I go there often as I feel like that place feels very quiet and often helps me to recharge my energy from the city buzz. I took my friend Angela to a few particular spots in Wapping that I find myself coming back often and scheduled a photo shoot with an idea of awkward, mystery photographs that have no particular storyline. I knew in my head how I wanted the photographs to look like, but I couldn’t tell why I just knew that is the way it should be. I kept thinking of Gregory Crewdson, Valie Export or Poly Penrose work, where each of the photographs has a different story, but at the same time, it could be the same. It is up to the viewer and I liked that idea. I asked my sitter to lay down on the floor, or just stand awkwardly and do nothing. I liked the response, which was: “just like that?”. I was very happy with the final outcome, I liked the images, but something felt not right. The composition and body postures seemed interesting enough to engage with a photograph. Having a sunny day is very useful as it gives shadows to play with. I had a few tutorials with my tutors and it seems that they all saw different things and not quite correct according to my intentions. After speaking to photographer Tom Hunter I felt very positive about the project, but yet it still didn’t feel 100%. He advised to take a few more photographs at the same location, but to change up the object behind, and call the project done, basically.

I tried to move to a different location with a different person. I went to Epping Forest and asked my sitter to blend in with the grass and “just be there and do nothing”. I used a Pentax camera and 35 mm colour film because I felt like the best results would have been achieved by a 35 mm film camera. I choose 6 best images and decided to show them together to my peers and everyone really liked the outcome. I was happy with the images, but still wasn’t happy with the images and didn’t see them working within the project. Then I thought of reshooting the whole thing using my Hasselblad 120 mm camera in order to fit the images together with the rest. Few weeks went by and I haven’t decided anything and have not progressed, so I took a model from the second shoot and went to Wapping again. Each time felt different and I felt like it was somehow triggering my emotions, but overall I was happy with the images, the model did what I asked and composition seemed interesting. I was trying to place a person as a sculpture in the images as if she was part of some sort of story.

In my previous shoots, I have noticed the following pattern of concrete versus plants. Then I tried to change the location once again. I went to the Thames Barrier Park which has well-designed, wavy concrete benches. I asked my model to stand still or lay down as if she was blending in with the surrounding. At this point, I have made a decision of the medium for the project - Hasselblad. I use Hasselblad for my work because it makes me slow down and carefully compose every shot I take. So far, the project seemed to be about the awkward body poses and the concrete - plant contrast. I didn’t like the final shoot. I couldn’t find the connection between my project idea and images I have made so far. The weather conditions changed quickly and it got dark outside. I felt exhausted and very confused about the whole project. As a final year student, I felt too much pressure and decided to stand back from the project for a couple of weeks.

I also spent a lot of time researching and looking for new artists that are working with similar themes. For that, I use Instagram a lot. I only post photography stuff there as well as follow photographers and galleries. For me, it is important to allow some time to think and reevaluate the project and the message that I am trying to say.

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