Documentary Hangout 5 

4 attendees: Me, Bryn, Maurice, Anne

Maurice: 

Now moved to level 3 – asked us to look at two ideas he has for Body of Work.

1. Heads

Inspiration:

Antoine Schneck – portraits focussing solely on the head of the subject with a completely black background. These had a slightly off-putting feel – it looked to me like the head was cut out in post-production.

 

Series ‘Close up’ by Martin Schoeller – portraits focused solely on the heads of the subject. The effect is startling – extreme detail visible.

Gives the feeling of a scientific collection due to lack of context. Associations with physiognomy, entomology, hunting trophies. The large format presentation encourages the viewer to study the details, differences and similarities of the faces.

Approach:

Even light and contrast, catch lights that do not fill the whole of the eyes. 50mm lens to accentuate asymmetry of the face – not clear whether the subject is looking at the viewer or not. Big pupils add subtle alienating feel. Aim is that viewers look at the portraits for a long time.

The model sits in front of the camera with a black cloth – wrinkles are removed in post-production which gives the sensation of a ‘floating head.’

Made me think of Lorna Simpson – some work presents images that appear to be very similar which encourages close and long viewing.

2. Enforcement officers

Portraits of parking enforcement officers presented as diptychs – one in civilian clothes, one in uniform with the aim of showing the officers as individuals rather than some anonymous authority on the street accompanied by text quotes from the officers about how they feel and different reactions of the public.

Maurice currently works in this department at The Hague and the intention is that the project will create a body of work that will be both OCA course work and displayed in the town hall in the city of The Hague.

Personally, I felt that both of these projects were suitable to pursue and Maurice said he intended to work on both and see where they lead. The commission and display aspects of the enforcement officers series along with the increased possibilities for style and presentation this allows could potentially be the project that has the most room for development.

Bryn: 

Working on assignment 3, visual strategy notes here.

Bryn is observing certain aspects of Ramadan, not in a religious sense but in a way of exploring how the process of fasting and refrain from sinful behaviour promotes the cleansing of both body and mind encouraging self-reflection.

Two possible approaches:

Reflective gazing at certain moments of the day. Could lead to a lot of symbolism and would be dependent on captioning for context e.g. lines from the Quran or about Ramadan.

Performance of the day recorded from a first-person viewpoint. Could take a citizen journalism approach working with smartphones rather than cameras.

Discussed Edward Burtynsky and ideas about how a photographer can remain socially committed and also maintain a living. Another example would be Sebastiao Salgado.

Anne: 

Assignment 3 submitted – had been difficult to complete this assignment so pleased it is completed and happy with the outcome. Ended up submitting more images than was asked for following a discussion on the OCA student forum and advice given by a tutor.

Me: 

Discussed personal issues with asking for feedback – what is the point if ideas are not taken on board? My view is that it is the process of sharing that is key and for me NOT taking on board suggestions can be as important as acting upon them.

Next hangout scheduled 2/7/17.

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