Choose one of the following:
- Choose a community that you’re already a part of. Something that takes up a substantial amount go your interest and time. Create a photographic response to how this group informs who you are as a person. What aspects of this group or community reflect on you? What do you share? How does it function as a mirror reflection of who you are?
- Use this opportunity to find out about a community that you don’t know much about and tell their story. Get to know them and talk to them; learn by listening and understanding. Your aim here is to become an insider. You’re beginning as an outsider so it is important to choose a group that you can spend a lot of time with. Negotiation skills and respect are intrinsic to working well with our subjects and are invaluable skills for your development as a photographer. Be clear about you intentions and involve your subjects in the process in order to obtain the best results. What wind into this world can you access through your role as photographer?
In either case you can create as many pictures as you like but, in your reflective commentary, explain how you arrived at the final edit. The set should be concise and not include repetitive or unnecessary images. Be attentive to this aspect of production. Spend some time researching how other photographers seem to edit series of works.
When I first looked at this assignment, I made a list of communities that I belonged to and those of which I didn’t. I then narrowed down the list by looking at each and thinking of the possible images I could capture to represent that community. Some I found would be difficult to represent but then this is the sort of challenge I wanted to overcome.
The problem I found with the majority of communities was the availability and diversity of the images, for example if I were to photograph a gym community there are only so many images that can be shown, I found this was a problem with the majority of communities.
I got my list down to three possible communities. The first being a baking club that I am apart of, and also a poker club. Another idea was to photograph a monastic community near where I live, as the community I am not apart of. I decided to visit the monastic community first, and I was disappointed with the images I got. The monks were not around in the public areas much, there mainly stayed in the private areas, and photography was not allowed there or in any of the buildings. Which I felt was fair as it respects their privacy but did represent a huge challenge for photographing this community. So I decided to choose another community, I choose the baking club.
I photographed the club over a couple of weeks to get a diversity of images. I took hundreds of images and then had to narrow them down. The problem I found with my images was the cramped spaces. Being in a kitchen environment, meant I couldn’t get wider shots with a lot of people in it. Whilst I believe my images do represent the baking club community, the images I found are more individual portraits or images with a few people in.
I wanted to show the people working and actively participating to show the workings of the community. I believe this represents me as a person as it shows a sense of community made up of family and friends. We all share an interest in baking and we are all more like family than friends. It represents me as it shows my interests and my community.
I used manual mode, on my Olympus EM-1 and my Nikon D610. I wanted the shutter speed higher than I would usually have it, in order to capture minuscule moments showing emotions and actions, so I raised the ISO to compensate. I used natural lighting from windows, overhead lighting and also a flash to provide enough lighting. I did have problems with the flash images, which I corrected in post-production.
Nikki S. Lee inspired me, for this assignment as she immersed herself in various communities and got to know the people and adopted their traditions in order to photograph them successfully. I was also inspired by Josef Koudelka and his work ‘Gypsies’, where he lived with a gypsies community in order to become one of them, he stated how he got images that an outsider couldn’t have got but as he lived with them and became one of them he was able to capture certain images.
In post-production, I changed the images to black and white. I did this as I find black and white images convey emotion better and I wanted to show the actions and emotions and interactions of the people.
I used various angles to capture the people, but also reflections, which can be seen in the images with the mixer, you can see the reflection of the people in the bowl. I wanted to try this to be creative.