Project Evaluation | Portraiture

I really liked having portraiture as the first project theme, I feel like it gave me a lot of structure to begin finding my photographic style which I was very unsure about to begin with. But having researched the photographers I’ve looked at and learning about photographic techniques, I feel like a have a lot more sense of my preferences and style in photography. 

I enjoyed learning about film photography and developing my film photos which I found really interesting, but most of all I enjoyed arranging and doing my own little photo shoots which gave me a lot of independence and control, which I liked as it gave me a chance to experiment and get the feel of what it is like to be a professional photographer. The most I have experienced in terms of new techniques when doing this project is the use of artificial lighting through using flash in my photography and using, and developing film which I have never done before. I would like to develop both of these techniques in the future especially with how to use studio lighting and to get better and be more creative with film photography. 

Throughout this project I have researched photographers and learnt a lot in terms of my preferences in photography and developed my own techniques through observing their work and the techniques they use in their photography. The main technique I took from a lot of the photographers I looked at was how to use natural lighting and make the most of it in my photographs. For example Alessio Albi used low naturally lit settings to add mood and atmosphere to his photos and Marta Bevacqua used the nature around her subjects to create shapes with sunlight. Other than the use of light the photographers I’ve researched have also influenced my photographs through composition, framing and the use of natural surroundings to compliment and add to the representation of the subject.

The parts of my project I feel were the most successful, was the photos I took inspired by Helen Van Meene and Marta Bevacqua. This is because I feel I took inspiration from them and inputted my own photographic style, but did not try to copy them directly, and I do think for photos I’ve produced very early on the course they look quite professional.

I didn’t encounter a great deal of problems during this project however I did struggle at first to create my test strips for my film photos, especially with my first one as I didn’t fully understand the technique at that point. I also struggled in my final images to find similar colours and natural surroundings to those in the paintings I referenced, and I do feel they are a little disconnected from the paintings and not as easy to make the links between like in Tom Hunter’s work. If given the chance to do this project again I would plan out my film photos more in terms of how I was going to set up my shot, and the expression, and position I wanted my subject to take. I would also do more work inspired by Rineke Dijkstra, as I wanted to improve the photos I took of strangers by setting up my camera on a tripod in one place, in my college and asking passing strangers to pose for a photo, like in Dijkstra’s beach series.

The work I have done in this project will influence my future work in terms of the skills and techniques I have learned and developed, for example I would like to do more film photography now that I have tried it because I like the effect it has on photos, and now that I can use a 35mm SLR camera and develop film, I can use it in my future work . Things like my photographic style that I have developed will influence my future work in terms of how I like to edit my photos and the compositions and lighting I will use. 

Overall I have really enjoyed doing portraiture as my first project, and now feel more confident going on to do future work in this course as I feel I have a good understanding of basic photographic techniques, and have a feeling of my style as a photographer. 

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