Final Major Project Task 1

So, my 2 years as a HNC photography student is coming to an end and I am now required at first to, present 3 FMP ideas to my peers via this blog so that they can give me critical feedback to help decide on the final outcomes so here goes…….

Idea 1.

Capturing images of workers from the police, fire, ambulance and night truck drivers all of the 40-50 age group. All on location and close up showing great detail in their faces and trying to tap into their emotions to compare the toll their jobs may have made on their lives. These images will be shot without asking the subjects to pose or anything, they will be the natural smile or frown and it will will interesting to see the results, it would be natural because nothing will be forced, I will fire the shutter quite a few times to capture candid images.

Based mainly around portraits I have had an idea of shooting images of people close up and from the front of them in the traditional way either on location or in the studio with various lighting setups. If in the studio, I will probably be using hard direct light as this is my preferred style although I will be experimenting with other light too, such as diffused lighting and using gels.

On location I will have to see when I am shooting and decide about lighting from there. Obviously I will take a flash gun and reflector or two with me. Talking about the shot of the person composed in the traditional way, I will then proceed to capture an image of the same person from below looking up (the way nobody wants there photo to be taken) and then adjust the lighting to make the image as captivating as possible. This is to see if I can at all make the images look captivating and to explore why shots of faces taken from this angle are so rare.

I had the idea after reading a quote from Liz Wells in 2011 that read, “Just as it is the responsibility of philosophers to think about how we think, artists, including photographers, along with art theorists, have the responsibility to consider how we picture, to reflect upon the implications of thinking through the visual.”

Most images of people are shot from the front, back and side. Not so many from below. I just felt like I wanted to explore this idea and draw some sort of conclusions from it.

All of these portrait ideas will link into the fact that I want to become a sports photojournalist and shooting in this manor can be used in future shoots in the industry I wish to become a part of.

I will research work by Steve McCurry, Lee Jeffries, August Sander and Irving Penn to name a few and I will go to the National Portrait Gallery and the Mac in Birmingham for some inspiration and research.

Screen Shot 2019-04-29 at 12.02.07.pngHere is an image by Steve McCurry of a miner. I find McCurry’s work very inspirational and I like very much the way he shoots with a wide open aperture creating the focus point around the eyes and then you get the falloff of focus as you go deeper into the image, this makes the persons face and character more accentuated.


Idea 2.

Based mainly on the street; this idea is inspired by the ‘Cardiff after dark’ series by Maciej Dakowicz, although I will be adding some Bruce Gilden style ‘in your face’ flash shots too. I can research the likes of Weegee, Brassai and Shelby Alexander also for inspiration and to develop the idea further. The fact that I will be shooting subjects moving about naturally in the street is good practice to develop my photojournalist camera skills and typically, newspapers could be interested in this work or maybe even news camera crews who use stills too.

The equipment I would need for the street shoots is also not an exhaustive list. While walking the streets you want to travel light and all I would need is the DSLR and a couple of portrait lenses. I should also take my film camera with me to get some portrait shots, this is so that I can use another method to capture images. Film tends to be more grainy if you use higher ISO film and would give a timeless effect to the images if they are shot in black and white. Colour film is also an option and there are various film types to choose from with some films displaying vivid colours when developed, or higher contrast.

Below is an image from the ‘Cardiff after dark’ series and is a typical street image ‘moment’ captured brilliantly. This image was a small moment in time otherwise known in photography as ‘the decisive moment’ but as a photojournalist you usually only get a fleeting moment to get the shot.

Screen Shot 2019-04-29 at 12.06.21.png

Idea 3.

This idea is born from advertising and is based around food and drink photography. The idea is to come up with some sort of billboard advertising for the afore mentioned subject. I am inspired by the work of Karl Taylor and Ray Massey amongst others. The idea is to produce an original (as possible) image for advertising by using my photography skills and and composites in Photoshop.

This composite idea is a must have skill in my arsenal if I am going to progress into the world of advertising and editorial work. I know what is possible but; I need to learn how to do it, and once I have learnt how, I will be able to continue with this idea and expand on it to further my portfolio so that potential commissioners can look at my work.

The images will be shot in the studio environment and I will need an array of lighting equipment and speedlights for this, maybe even a tank to put water or milk in for some of the shots! This composite idea is well out of my comfort zone in a photography sense so I am extremely keen if not to do this for the FMP, I will certainly be doing this at some point.


Screen Shot 2019-04-29 at 12.11.11.png     Screen Shot 2019-04-29 at 12.11.39.png

The two images above by Karl Taylor are the type of images that I am talking about. These images speak a thousand words about what they are showing and as you can see they a very good quality. It will be a real task to try and produce something as stunning as this.


6 thoughts on “Final Major Project Task 1

  1. I think all of your ideas a great James! I personally believe idea 1 will be brilliant for you portfolio and I think it will be great to give an insight into the lives of people who protect out country. It also comes across how passionate you are about portraiture so I this will influence your outcome in a positive way. I think you could look at The humans of New York series and bring this element into you project.


  2. I feel idea 1 will work really to your strengths as a photographer and also someone who can relate to the models. Check out Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton (in the library and on Facebook) as this is a very similar style to how you would be shooting. Really well described Jim, can’t wait to see the outcome!


  3. i like all three of you ideas but i think the idea you will get the most interesting and eye catching images from is capturing the emergency services at work as you could get some really nitty and gritty images with loads of different textures


  4. You have a great range of ideas James and i look forward to seeing what you come up with i think the advertising shoot would be great to see as i feel this is something that would work really well for you but the other 2 ideas are certainly out there and less of a safe option i think you’d get some really interesting and unusual images with lots of different characters so if you feel this is something you could achieve in the given timescale i say go for it as they’d definitely be interesting.


  5. I really like idea 2, as i know you would create some amazing work. I already like your street photography images, i would love to see street images you could produce at night. I also like idea 3 as you could get really creative and could add to your portfolio.


  6. I really like your first idea as you will be able to capture many different faces, i also feel that its something you can fit into the time frame as you wont have to travel far to get these images.


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