For this exercise set-up a portrait session and plan for your subject to adopt different limb positions, facial expressions and possibly standing, sitting leaning etc. Make at least 3 images and then review how effective/attractive they are.
I chose to make my first ever self-portrait and to make it fit within a theme I’ve adopted of my community. This theme will now extend from the images I made earlier for the portrait sequence, into this project and on to the final assignment where I will making images of some of my neighbours in their own accommodation.
I have also attempted with the images for this project to break the stereotypical familial dynamic where tasks within the home and relationship are performed according to gender, i.e. cleaning, cooking, washing & ironing are normally associated with the woman of the house whilst the man has always been seen as the bread-winner and takes on the tasks of car mechanics, house repairs & decoration, heavy gardening etc.
When both members of the relationship come to retirement age I, and some of my friends, have found that the dynamic changes between the spouses. The man no longer goes out to work every day and the amount of work within the home might well have decreased, particularly if down-sizing has taken place at or around retirement. The division of labour can then becomes a source of tension between partners if the balance isn’t apparently equal anymore and so this has to be redressed for the sake of harmony. I now find that I’m taking on tasks I wouldn’t have expected to do even 10 years ago and find that provided I do my ‘fair share’ of the household chores the relationship between my wife and myself is a lot smoother. I initially expected to be embarrassed by appearing in public doing things that the older generation of men in our community still refuse to attempt as either beneath them or because they firmly believe in the traditional family dynamic. I now find there’s no embarrassment and to be honest find it therapeutic and it relieves my wife of the problem of undertaking tasks she now dislikes intensely. On the other hand she finds that the work I dislike doing is something that she can tolerate much more easily.
Yes I genuinely do the ironing each time and I take and collect most of the washing from the community laundry every week.
These images have very different feelings to them; Image 1 is totally disconnected from engagement with the camera and therefore the viewer of the image and as such I personally can’t engage properly with it, whilst the right arm seems to be disengaging with the iron. The clothing which has been finished appears as a prop to the tableaux rather than as a finished product to the activity which has been performed.
Image 2 is fully engaged with the camera and the viewer, but the facial expression has a belligerence to it which makes me want to look away and not engage whilst I am not engaged with the act of ironing in any way other than to lean on the board. The clothing on the settee is in no way connected to the subject with that antagonistic look on the face.
Image 3 has a much more appealing appearance to the visage and makes me want to engage with the subject and the image and almost seems to be beginning to smile whilst the right hand is definitely engaged with the iron and purports to have been responsible for the finished articles of clothing in front of the board which fits into the activity having been performed.
The direction one can give a subject as to pose, position and visage has a great deal of impact on the way an image looks, feels and integrates and it’s worth noting that the photographer has all this control and makes or breaks his own images. It will be worth working at the rapport one has to have with a subject to ensure that the meaning that is intended is finally portrayed to the photographers satisfaction and could mean an extended shoot to obtain this. As a consequence of this possible extension to shooting time it is more imperative to have a good relationship established with the model so that they remain engaged with the work.