This essay was completed for TV and Film (Extended Diploma)
I proposed to create a selection of promotion based art like website fashion photographs for upcoming Nottingham t-shirt screen printers Prisma Clothing, whilst experimenting with natural light from the unfurnished floors of Nottingham Lace Market’s store 51. I believe I fully achieved my goal, having planned out every photo I aspired to take and managed to take them all within my time limit.
Many photographers and cinematographers have inspired me in general. However for this particular album of photographs, I have taken inspiration from Phil Borges, a US born photographer and filmmaker who took many travel portraiture photographs, most commonly showcasing sadness and culture. Although the genre of what I have photographed may be in complete contrast, his use of lowing image saturation and colouring the photo to portray a mood inspired me to create the photograph of model Morris Findley wearing the blue Prisma t-shirt.
I am completely inspired by travel, wether that be in any form. So most of my photography related inspirations come from travel photographers (as proven above) another one of mine, which intact inspired the majority of the other photographs I took, including the portrait black and white photo of model Tai Greaves is renowned world famous photographer Steve McCurry. His National Geographic cover appearing award winning photograph ‘Afghan Girl’ taught me the importance of eyes in film and photography, connecting directly with the viewer/onlooker and immediately capturing their attention. I decided to use this as part of my collection.
After taking and editing the photographs, I asked peers and friends their opinions on the photographs. The first and most important critic I asked was the client of the photos himself, James Thomas (Prisma Clothing owner). He quoted “The photographs reflect the companies alternative vibe, I like how you have put a spin on the bog standard promo photograph.”
After asking the happy client, I asked close friend Kyle Smith how the black and white selection made him feel. He told me “It makes me feel a bit gloomy, but at the same time very serious, like the model and/or clothing wearer doesn’t mess around.” I adored the way Kyle felt about the photographs, I like the fact that people may want to buy the clothing because of the ‘awesomeness’ factor from the website photographs. The final person I asked was local neighbour and wildlife photographer Karen Seaton, who responded with “I love the photo of the girl (Tai) by the window, I like the way half of the image is dark yet the other side has a positive naturalistic feel.” That was the feel I was going for with that photograph.
For every photograph I took, I portrayed a mood or a feeling, and made sure the model understood the vision that I wanted to portray. I was fortunate enough in that James Thomas wanted his fashion promo photographs to be different and contain an indie/alternative vibe to match the companies aesthetic. In terms of framing, the decision of wether to shoot portrait or landscape depended on the light being covered in the image. For example. with the black and white rule of thirds shot of Tai, I decided to take this picture in portrait to make sure I covered all the windows to create a leading lines/symmetry/repetitive effect, and took the picture as a rule of thirds shot to obey the photographs conventions, keep the whole jumper in frame and at the same time showcase the natural light pouring from the windows.
On the topic of the windows, I feel that my choice of location helped massively when creating these photographs. Store 51’s empty unfinished floor helped me gain the simplistic look that I wanted, helping the onlooker/viewer focus on the t-shirt rather than the background but sticking with a rustic feel, as if the subject wearing the t-shirt was wearing the photos for daily use rather than in front of a white background. The fact that I had access to this fantastic vast space enabled me to experiment with space and how I could use different levels of depth of field on my camera to focus on the t-shirt and the windows/brick walls behind it, depending on the mood. For the landscape shots, I used a large amount of space behind the subject to create an isolated feel, in contrast to the portrait shots where I made sure the background wasn’t the key focus of the image.
Gaining correct exposure was not an issue, as I had access to many LED lights and fantastic natural lights from the large factory sized windows. My ISO was set to 400 most of the time, allowing me to take crisp photographs with hardly any noise. Although all my images were correctly exposed and I had the right lens on for every photograph, I wanted to change the saturation of some of my photograph’s backgrounds (as planned) to enhance the portrayal of the dark, urban tone of the Prisma t-shirts and jumpers. I love experimenting with colour, therefore on the more vibrant and positive shots I decided to enhance the green mid-tones on the outside of the windows, enabling a more naturalistic outcome (as proven through feedback).
If I were to have changed anything, I would have made even more use of the space, experimenting with different angles before the models arrived on the shoot. Time management is incredibly important in any industry, and I feel as though I spent the first 15 minutes of the shoot worrying about time rather than zoning out and letting creativity take control. Another aspect of my photography that I reckon I stumbled upon is getting correct exposure with minimal effort. Although I feel confident with gaining correct exposure and using manual mode and my photographs were exposed, I spent a lot of time fiddling with settings whereas if I was more confident with the DSLR camera the camera settings would have been the least of my worries and I would have been able to focus more on the model’s expression and focus on what is going on in front of the camera. After all, the camera is just the tool for the photograph, the real photograph is what is happening in front of the lens.
In conclusion, I am incredibly happy and intact overwhelmed with the photographs I took. They are a fantastic representation of my photographic style and cover many different moods and subjects whilst tackling what would seem like a simple subject, model t-shirt promo photos. these photographs are heading straight to the top of my photography portfolio.