Assignment 3 – Initial Idea

The trickiest part of each assignment is getting a good idea to work with. I have had a few options in mind that are of documentary character, but my tutor suggested to focus on something completely different:

With Assignment Three, there is not much of a shift, in terms of documenting your surroundings, only that it is to be in colour, which you have been doing very well. Even though the assignment asks for you convey a narrative at a local level, like you did for assignment one, I would aim to make it very distinct.

Really push the boundaries with this midway assignment, experiment further and explore other options, perhaps it could be on a compositional level or you could explore alternative shooting methodologies. I noticed that you studied Vivien Maier, maybe as part of your documentary approach, you could explore the notion of ‘putting yourself in the frame’ through shadow play and reflections. One of the main elements of this assignment is about constructing a mock book/PDF document. The function of this is for you to consider how layout governs the narrative, which in turn informs and controls the viewer.

From what I read he challenges me to go beyond my typical way of photographing, which is quite straightforward when it comes to composition and framing. There are a few photographers that really stand out to me when it comes to putting yourself in the frame, Vivian Maier, Lee Friedlander and Rafael Minkinnen. Of course, there are other examples of photographers adapting to the social community they are photographing and taking photos of themselves in this community, but I don’t really feel like I’m up for that and don’t have enough time to integrate myself. Friedlander and Maier have quite a similar way of photographing themselves, mainly seeing random opportunities while they are photographing in the street or during their daily lives. I actually wonder if Maier was quite deliberate in getting the same kind of effects as Friedlander in his images, since some are very similar and almost seem to have been photographed on the spot. Minkinnen however, is very deliberate in choosing his location and stretches all the possibilities of immersing himself in the environment, becoming one with the lines and elements of the landscape he is photographing.

Besides that, I feel inspired by the articles and images that I researched on constructed documentary photography. I would like to experiment with photographing in the style of Hannah Starkey or Jeff Wall, that show a narrative in the photograph and use rich colours.

I love experimenting with light and different angles and think it is going to be a lot of fun working on this. My only issue here is that after I have listened to Campbell’s talk on the elements and research of narrative photography, I’m not really sure how to get these narrative elements in my work. However, Campbell already mentioned that he focused on the elements of a classic narrative, I assume that in less traditional narratives there are other ways of telling a story, which I will have to explore.

I want my end result to be very diverse in imagery and I really want to stretch myself to make it look different than any other work I have done up till now, especially regarding the presentation and layout of the PDF. I have been thinking for a long time that I should explore other techniques and be more creative, so this is a good opportunity to do that.

So, here is my way to go ahead:

March 23 – 29

  • Do initial research on Maier, Friedlander, Minkinnen and other photographers I find interesting in relation to this subject
  • Read about the ideas of self portraiture, notion of self, self image, self and environment and the impact of seeing oneself in relation to others
  • Read and watch videos on book design and think of ways on how to add a sense of self in the design itself
  • Photograph in the street and try to make self portraits in a street photography style
  • Photograph at home in order to explore the possibilities in my living environment
  • Photograph in the park, or other natural area to explore possibilities a la Minkinnen

First week of April

  • Selection and edit of images
  • Design book
  • Write text
  • Submit

I think this should work!


2 thoughts on “Assignment 3 – Initial Idea”

  1. Hi, have only just read this so don’t know how far you have gone into taking shots yet…but have you thought about putting yourself in the frame in a different way? Take some staged self-portraits that you could insert in the picture…for example a fake ‘missing person’ poster attached to a lamp post… or a photograph of you holding a loaf as a fake advert you could put in a shop window?

    Or personal items of yours that you associate with that place that could be the focal point? For example a special to you mug on a coffee shop table? Feel free to ignore these ideas but they may spark another direction for you or at least a talking point to say I also considered this but discarded it because….

    Good luck with it…am leading up to this assignment too….


    1. Hi Jan, thanks for your ideas! I have been experimenting with a lot of different angles, reflections and it has been quite interesting. Now I’m putting everything together and the writing/reflecting starts! Good luck with your studies!

      Liked by 1 person

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