Identity; Shoot 1

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Studio Practice – Identity

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In my project I will explore the issue of identity and the representation of identity among people, concentrating specifically on musicians and how they express and represent their identities. I will explore the idea of self-image and how people’s identities are revealed through onstage personas, and how musicians alter their identities for different purposes. I will also explore the differences in each person’s different identities in my project, and how identities differ from person to person within the same band.

The genre for my project will be people, specifically portraiture, but it could also fall into the editorial genre as my photos will be relevant for an editorial to show a study of identity.

I intend my work to be used in an editorial piece to show representations of identity. This could be either a publication editorial or online editorial, which would alter my target audience. If it my photos are used in a paper publication the target audience would be people in their twenties to thirties who specifically read magazines or newspapers.

However if it my photos are used in an online editorial the target audience would most likely be younger, as young people are more likely to read online than paper. My target audience also differs because the issue of identity would appeal to older people, however the photos themselves would appeal to younger people who have an interest in music and musicians.

I will complete my project digitally and in colour. I intend to use flash as the main light source as I have done this before and found it to be successful but want to explore this further with using other light sources as ambient lighting and other fill in flash. I will take my photos mostly on location, however I will also experiment with taking some in a studio setting.

Musical Theatre #4

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Since the photos I took in the theatre bar were more successful than the ones taken in both the theatre auditorium I went back to the theatre bar and took photos there again. I liked the photos I took using chairs as props so I reinvestigated that and took individual musician portraits in chairs that represented their personalities. I let them each choose their own chairs so as to reflect them, rather than having been told which to choose and found that their choices reflected them and this worked in my photos.

I started off my bouncing flash off of a wall to illuminate the subject, however I found that the ambient lighting in the room gave a warm colour caste. To correct this I pointed my flash directly at the subject and found that this improved my photos. I think that these photos are successful and achieve my aim of capturing the bands personalities.

No Daylight #5

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I took photos following my new direction of band photos, only this time found a local venue that allowed use of flash. These photos were a lot more successful than my previous photos because using the flash allowed me to use a faster shutter speed, and a lower ISO, reducing noise and grain in my photos and making them perfectly exposed and not dark as my previous photos have been. I also think these photos are successful because they accurately show the atmosphere of the gig as the crowd or fans would see it.

Critical Report

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Studio Practise 2A

For my proposal I intended to take a series of portraits of bands/musicians in different theatre locations. I needed to obtain permission from the theatres to be able to photograph in them.  I intended to experiment with using different props to show their personalities in my photos.

The genre for my project was people, and in particular musicians, however as well as this some of my photos could fall into the portraiture genre, because I took single musician portraits as well as full band photos.

I started my testing by experimenting with flash as I planned to use a flashgun in my project, and couldn’t get admission to the location for a few weeks to begin my actual testing. First I took photos outdoors with flash, and then indoors with flash which was more relevant to my project. I found these photos to be successful.

I then took photos in a theatre bar, as the theatre couldn’t allow me access to the main stage because of rehearsals and productions being put on for the next fortnight. However I was allowed to use the theatre bar and took advantage of that to take band portraits in that location and further experiment with flash in portraits. At first I found it difficult to work out what setting to have my flashgun on to get a perfectly exposed photo, however I found that after a while I got used to it and found it easier to combine flash with the little ambient lighting in the location. I used props that were in the area, such as the bar, and chairs to capture the personalities of the musicians and found that these were successful, and that I liked the outcome of my photos.

I then took photos of musicians in the theatre auditorium once I was allowed access, and found that the lighting on the stage helped me to create different effects in my photos, for example the stage had a background that could be made to change different colours according to lighting. Because of this I could control the background of my photos instead of just having white, and I found that because of the coloured lighting it made the band stand out more in my photos. Also the front and back of stage lighting could be changed to how I wanted it, meaning I could experiment with silhouetting the band. As well as this having the band on the stage made them react more in my photos, and made them ‘play up’ to the camera; showing their personalities more. I had intended to use props such as the bands instruments in my photos, however the band weren’t able to bring their own instruments and didn’t make me aware of this until it was too late for me to bring my own. I think that these photos were successful.

I have completed all my testing, and my project is almost finished. I intend to complete another photoshoot in a theatre, but this time make sure the band can bring their instruments, or bring some of my own, and set the portraits up as if they were playing a gig.

Critical Report

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Techniques and Processes 2A

My idea for the ‘No Daylight’ brief was to take photos in music venues using artificial lighting and flash. I intended to take photos to show the atmosphere of the show and to put emphasis on the crowd and the fans to show live music from a different perspective. My idea, however, changed slightly throughout my testing as I found that my original idea didn’t turn out as I had wanted it to. Because of this I am now photographing the atmosphere of the show by taking photos of the musicians instead of the crowd, as I thought my initial photos were unsuccessful, and my musician photos were more successful in conveying the ‘feel’ of the gig.

The genre for my project was people, and in particular fans of music, however it changed to musicians due to the results of my testing. Because I am photographing musicians my photos could also fall into the lifestyle genre, as I am photographing a main part of their lifestyle.

For my project I investigated and researched different areas, such as photographers that work with the same subject and photograph in live music settings. I initially researched photographers who took photos of the fans at gigs, but when my project developed I then researched photographers whose subject is musicians. This inspired me and helped me develop my project.

I identified my aims for the project by compiling a structure/plan of what I wanted to accomplish, such as a timeline for completing photoshoots. This helped me to assign a particular week or day to filling a specific aim. My main aims were getting as much testing and photoshoots carried out as possible, and the plan helped me to be able to accomplish this. My goals are to take photos that are successful in conveying the atmosphere of the show, using no daylight and all artificial lighting. Another goal is to successfully use flash in my photos and take a series of photos that are successful in filling my initial brief.

I started my testing by taking photos in a live music setting to test the feasibility of my project, and found that my idea wasn’t unrealistic and was achievable, but that I needed to experiment more with taking crowd photos as this was something I was unfamiliar with.

I then experimented with flash, as I intended to use a flashgun in my project and wasn’t entirely familiar with my flashgun or the different ways it could be used. I took some portrait shots in daylight so I could get used to the settings, and after a while found that I could successfully use flash to enhance my photos. I then went on to use flash in a no daylight setting once I had become familiar with how to use it successfully. This helped my project because I intended to use flash in low light conditions, and experimenting with flash in the dark helped me understand what settings to use with my camera and with my flash to create a perfectly exposed image.

As well as this I made experiments with light trail and light painting as I intended to experiment with creating these effects in my project photos to create unusual looking photos and to show how the colours and scenes sometimes blur together at a gig.

Once I had done this initial testing I then took photos in a live music setting of the fans and because I was focusing on the crowd there wasn’t enough light to fully expose my photos, as the lighting in the room was focused on the musician and the venue prohibited the use of flash. This caused many problems with focusing and my photos being too dark. These photos were unsuccessful, so I decided to take more crowd photos in a different location.

The next gig I was due to photograph at, however, cancelled the gig so instead I took photos at a smaller and more local venue, which posed problems because there was a little crowd, and not enough fans to call a crowd. Because of this I focused on taking photos of the musicians instead, and took the opportunity to experiment with using flash when taking photos of a band. I found that although my photos were colour casted that these photos were successful.

Next I took photos of fans and found that again I had issues with lighting and a lack of it falling on the crowd. My photos were again underexposed and too dark, some even too dark to see the subject. I tried to rectify this by using a high ISO however this made my photos really grainy and they suffered from noise. These photos were again unsuccessful, and as my band photos were successful and still conveyed the atmosphere of the gig, as my crowd photos were intended to, I decided to change the focus of my photos and my subject to take photos of musicians instead of fans.

My project is near to being fully completed. I have finished my testing and have a definite direction for my photos, and have successfully used flash to take musician photos in no daylight settings. I have met both of my goals, but intend to take more photos so that I have a range of photos to select the best from. I aim to complete one or two more photoshoots for my project.

No Daylight #4

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I took band photos in a music venue with no daylight, following on from the new direction my project has taken. Even though there was little lighting in the venue, and I wasn’t allowed to use my flashgun I found these photos were better and better exposed than the crowd photos I had taken previously. This was because the stage lighting in the venue was directed towards the band. I think these photos are successful and an improvement on my last photo shoot. Next I will find a venue in which I can use flash so that my photos are perfectly exposed.

Musical Theatre #3

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I took photos of musicians in a theatre auditorium, and found that the lighting on the stage helped me to create different effects in my photos, for example the stage had a background that could be made to change different colours according to lighting. Because of this I could control the background of my photos instead of just having white, and I found that because of the coloured lighting it almost framed the subject and made them stand out more in my photos. Also the front and back of stage lighting could be changed to how I wanted it, meaning I could experiment with silhouetting the band. As well as this having the band on the stage made them react more in my photos, and made them ‘play up’ to the camera; showing their personalities more, as they were more comfortable with this situation than being in a studio type area. I had intended to use props such as the bands instruments in my photos, however the band weren’t able to bring their own instruments and didn’t make me aware of this until it was too late for me to bring my own. I think that these photos were successful. Next time I will bring my own instruments and props to ensure that I have access to them should I want to use them.

These photos were part of a paid job for the band I photographed, and were published in the Halifax Courier.

Musical Theatre #2

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I then took photos in a theatre bar, as the theatre couldn’t allow me access to the main stage because of rehearsals and productions being put on for the next fortnight. However I was allowed to use the theatre bar and took advantage of that to take band portraits in that location and further experiment with flash in portraits. At first I found it difficult to work out what setting to have my flashgun on to get a perfectly exposed photo, however I found that after a while I got used to it and found it easier to combine flash with the little ambient lighting in the location. I used props that were in the area, such as chairs to capture the personalities of the musicians and found that these were successful, and that I liked the outcome of my photos. I took both band portraits, and single musician portraits to show the personalities of each member whilst singled out and part of a group.

No Daylight #3

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I again took photos of a crowd in a live music setting. I took photos from within the crowd, rather than in front of it because I wanted to show through my photos what it was like to be in the middle of a crowd at a gig. There was a little improvement on my last set of photos as there was more light, however I still needed a high ISO and a slow shutter speed, and because of this my photos suffered from blur and camera shake. I decided that this would be a common problem in all photos of this kind, and that my photos were unsuccessful, and that the photos I took of the band was more successful so I decided to take photos of musicians instead.

No Daylight #2

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I intended to take crowd photos at a gig, however the day before the gig was due to happen it was cancelled. Because of this I took photos at a smaller and more local venue instead, however because it was a smaller venue there was a smaller and near-nonexistent crowd. As I couldn’t take photos of the crowd, because of a lack of it, I took photos of the band instead and took this opportunity to experiment with using flash in a live setting, as there were no camera or flash restrictions in the venue. I found that my photos were successful and that I liked the result of them, however because I was bouncing flash off of a red brick ceiling a red colour caste occurred. I remedied this by turning my flash output down and by pointing my flash directly at the subject.

No Daylight #1

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I took photos for my no daylight brief in a live music setting, and found that because I was taking photos of the crowd instead of the band there was not enough lighting to correctly expose a photo, as the lighting in the venue was focused on the musicians. This could have been rectified had I been allowed to use flash, but the rules of the venue say that flash is prohibited. I used the highest ISO my camera had (6400) to be able to capture the subject, but found that my photos were still too dark and that noise became a problem. Another problem was that because it was so dark and because I could hardly see the subject I found it hard to focus because I couldn’t see what I was focusing on. Because of this I decided to take photos in another setting which I knew to have better lighting.

Further Experimenting With Light

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I experimented further with painting light and how it can be used to create different effects in a photo. I used a slow shutter speed of between 10 to 20 seconds to capture the light, and created the effect by moving a small torch in different ways. I gave directions to the subject as to what to do with the torch so I could control where the light went. I found this was successful and that I liked the result of this technique, and that I could use it in my Studio Practise project.

Musical Theatre #1

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After obtaining permission I took photos in a theatre bar of a band. Due to the dark lighting conditions my photos were turning out very under exposed, however I moved some of the moveable lighting in the bar such as uplighters and used my flash to make sure the subject was fully exposed. I think that these photos are successful in fulfilling my initial aim; to use props to capture the personality of the muscians, and I like how they turned out.

Experimenting with light

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I went out and took some test shots experimenting with light and the different effects I can get while using a torch in low light situations. I did this because I wanted to become more familiar with the light sources I will be using in my proposal project. I experimented with light trail and light painting and after experimenting and figuring out what aperture, speed and ISO worked best with the conditions, found that the results were successful and that I liked them.

I had some initial problems working out what speed to set my camera on to capture light trail, but not to overexpose my subject. I came across a few problems with my subject moving, which caused them to blur because I had to use a slower shutter speed, however I tried different speeds and apertures and found settings that worked for both subject and light trail in the background.

I found it easy, however, to paint the light on my subject and used a small torch to light them. I like the overall effect of it and intend to go and experiment further with it.

Studio Proposal; Musical Theatre

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For the location/concept brief I intend to take a series of musician portraits in a theatre location, for which I’d need permission to photograph in. I will take photos using props such as the artist’s instruments to create a series of photos that captures their personalities. I intend to experiment with lighting and colour to do this.

First I researched potential locations, and narrowed them down by accessibility and availability. I then contacted each location about the feasibility of a photo shoot in their venue and found three that would allow me to photograph there.

I will produce all my photos on digital, and experiment with colour and black and white according to which looks the best for each photo. I will take my photos on location in theatres; therefore I will need access to a theatre more than once for reshoots and using different musicians. I intend to use a speedlight along with theatre lighting to light my photos.

I will aim my photos to be used for publication use by magazines and newspapers, and they could be part of an editorial for music magazines, and online magazines, as well as having the potential to be sold to the band for use in things such as websites, flyers, and album covers. The audience would be people aged 13 up that have an interest in music, and would buy alternative magazines, or they could be fans of the particular musician.

Flash

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I took the following photos to experiment with using flash outdoors and to see the effects it had on my photos. I found it a little difficult to work out what settings to use with the flash, because I had difficulty working out the flash to subject distance. But once I had taken a few photos I found it easier to work out the distance and then to work out the settings.

Techniques and Processes proposal

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For the brief of no daylight I am intending to take a set of photos in a live music setting without the use of any daylight. I intend to do this using fill in flash, and by making use of the lighting that will already be in place in the music venue.

I will be working within the people genre, however it could also be part of the lifestyle genre because instead of putting the focus of the photos on the musician I will photograph the crowd and people attending the show and try to capture the atmosphere in my photographs.

For this project I researched photographers who work within similar genres and with the same subject, such as Mark Latham, Danny Payne, Marcus Maschwitz and Tom Horton. Looking at these photographers inspired me to sway from my original idea of photographing the bands to photographing the crowd, as I liked the photos that these photographers had produced.

I also found articles on the internet which give advice on how to get the best photos from low lighting situations, and what kind of equipment works best in these circumstances.

I will be taking photos on both digital and film to see which works best in these situations, and will use a variety of coloured and monochrome film to see the different results that can be achieved. I will be taking the photos on location in a number of different music venues, which I will get permission from in advance, meaning I will have access to many gigs and many opportunities to take photographs and reshoot if I need to.

My target audience will be people aged 16-30 who have an avid interest in music and live music, and my photographs would be used in a newspaper or alternative music magazine such as Kerrang!, Rock Sound, NME etc. However it could also be used for online magazines such as Ourzone magazine, which would widen my audience, and chances of publication.