Exercise 2.3 – Same model, different background.

I have approached this an an archive exercise, inspired by Harry Callahan’s images of Eleanor in a variety of landscapes over a period of five years. Many of these pictures appear to be figure-in-landscape rather than portrait images, therefore more ‘place’ than ‘identity’ but Eleanor’s presence is essential to the images.

From my archive I have extracted images of my wife, Jan, in landscape settings from three recent trips: the West Country (mainly Dartmoor) in 2016, northern Iceland and the Lake District in 2018. Thumbnail indexes are below, showing the 84 images in my long-list. I have pre-edited by omitting all landscape images where Jan is either not present or too small in frame, and also those which are ‘holiday snap’ direct-address poses with no reference to the landscape.

All of these images contain elements of both ‘identity’ and ‘place’. The ‘place’ is usually obvious; identity perhaps less so. Simply putting Jan into an image might be considered a contrivance. However, these are landscapes that we have positively chosen to visit and I see those choices as part of Jan’s identity. Her position and pose are usually her own choice, and I have selected camera positions that make the compositions work. My posing instructions, if given at all, are limited to ‘open the map a bit more’ or ‘look that way’.

In reviewing similar images, it is interesting to see how the ‘look and feel’ is affected by Jan’s relative size in the frame

… and by whether she is interacting with the landscape or facing the camera in a direct approach.

My selection of five images is based partly on objective and partly on subjective criteria. I omitted the direct approach images and those with Jan’s head turned fully away from the camera. I wanted at least one image from each set (there are three from the Lakes and one each from the other locations) and it was important to see grass and rock for colour and thematic coordination across the final set. Some favourite individual images were omitted, such as this one (which has been successful in camera club competitions when cropped and tweaked)

_img6585

In the final selection, there are thematic links: all show Jan interacting with rugged landscape; the purple jacket links four of them; the other is linked into the set by the device of reading a map. If the set were to be seen as a single panel, I would display it like this.

composite

The first image is the most contrived, using differential focus to separate Jan from the background, which can still be clearly seen as a snowy fellside on a stormy day. With the correct clothing and equipment, she is able to contemplate, rather than hide from, the weather. This image is primarily about ‘identity’.

_img3162

The second image is more about ‘place’: the bleak and empty landscape of Iceland in late autumn, with Jan’s role as a small figure-in-landscape being to show the scale and convey a sense of emptiness.

_img8163

The third image shows the form and size of Ashness Bridge and the force of the stream running through it. In other images taken at the same time, Jan is gazing into the distance toward Derwent Water. In this one, she leans over the parapet to view the water; making a more intimate connection with the landscape and neatly combining ‘identity’ (expressed as her curiosity and interest) with ‘place’.

_img3450

The fourth image is an interaction between Jan and the wider landscape, through the medium of reading a map.

_img3978

The fifth image was selected to tie the overall panel together. Jan is a similar size in frame to the first image and is looking to the left, into the panel. By combining a map and the purple jacket in one image, it links the fourth image with the overall panel.

_img2972

The technical details are standard. The camera is a full-frame DSLR, using a 24-70mm ‘standard zoom’ for four of the images and a 70-200mm (at 115mm) for the Iceland image. All images were cropped slightly for tidiness, retaining a 3:2 aspect ratio and some basic processing was carried out in Adobe Camera Raw. I made global and local adjustments to exposure, contrast and colour vibrance, and some global adjustments to colour temperature in order to better coordinate the images when viewed together.

Advertisements

One thought on “Exercise 2.3 – Same model, different background.

Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

Learning Log for BA(hons) in Photography

Photography 1 - Identity and Place

David Leverett

One day at a time.....

ThreeLanternsPhotos

OCA Level 1 Identity and Place

Identity and place

OCA student Karen Jeffery 516909

Barry Howie's Identity and Place OCA learning log

A blog for my Identity and Place module with the Open College of the Arts

Barry's I&P

Identity and Place learning blog

BA (Hons) Photography : A Different Perspective C&N

This is my OCA learning Log for Photography 1 - Context & Narrative... Elisabeth Smith

CRAIG SINCLAIR

IDENTITY AND PLACE - OCA PHOTOGRAPHY BLOG

Photography 1: Identity and Place

Niki South's learning log for the Open college of the Arts BA Photography

David Fletcher at OCA: Identity and Place

This is my learning blog for Photography 1: Identity and Place

%d bloggers like this: