Crit Notes: 17th of October

On the 17th and 18th we had our first crit to review work in progress so far for the Person at Work Project. I decided to bring in A4 prints of photographs that I was struggling to edit down for three of my Eden workers. They were Riyah Snow, Mike Greer and Carl Homan as I feel I have the best variety of shots for these subjects. I brought around 30 images combined of all these workers and asked the group and lecturers for feedback on my photographs and what would work best for each worker as a set of three. 

Below are some of the notes I took based on feedback that I received myself and other members of the group received:

  • Need to step back and establish space in images to give viewer context of where we are

  • Try photographs in black and white, think Salgados detail shots full of texture. Images should be either all black and white or colour as a mixture of the two rarely works well together

  • Lights distracting in Mike Greer portraits

  • Series of three images should not all be one orientation and should ideally contain 3 types of photographs...

  • Wider Shot (showing context/environment of worker) - 

    Portrait (showing the person themselves ) - 

    Detail (close up shot of what the person does, usually showing their hands)

  • Window facing north will produce good light in portraits (random note but important to consider when photographing someone who works inside with less light)

  • Above are the three images that I have managed to narrow down of Riyah the gardener. A lot of the group felt that some of my closer shots of the wheel barrow and Riyah planting the coreopsis were too similar, so I have chosen three photographs where I was stood in different places, capturing three completely different angles. With the help of the group I decided on the third wide shot early on as it is one of the only shots that shows Riyah's front and her whole face and it also shows more of the environment. Which would not have been as obvious to the viewer without this image, as it shows the side of the biome behind her and the section she works in. 

    I chose the first image as it shows quite of lot of Riyah and it also shows her with the coreopsis, also behind her we can see where she is going to be planting it. This image is more effective visually then some of the shots of her actually planting the coreopsis, as I feel it is harder to see what exactly she is doing in those photographs and I didn't get round her as well as I could have to show more of how she is working with the plant.

    The detail shot I have gone with ended up being this wheel barrow which a lot of people seemed to prefer because it shows a lot of the tools she works with and we can also see Riyah in the top of the image interacting with the tools and plants she needs.

    I was really considering using this photograph as my detail shot but after discussing it with the group, the out of focus arm in the foreground was too distracting. I do think this image would have have been perfect for my detail shot if her left arm had not been in the photograph. 

    In deciding on the images of Mike that I should use in my final three, as a room we came to the conclusion that non of the portraits of Mike featuring the row of bright lights should be used as they are too distracting for a viewer, as it makes it easier to focus on the room behind Mike rather than what he is doing. Which is of course the most important part of the photograph. So in the end with the help of the group and lecturers I decided to use this first photograph of Mike kneading pizza dough as my portrait photograph. Although Mike is slightly cropped by the frame I do agree that this is a good portrait of him showing his environment behind him and also one of his roles as a sous chef there. 

    For my detail shot we agreed on this image of Mike serving some paella onto a dish. The lighting isn't great in this photograph however a lot of what Mike does is serving and dressing dishes, so this is a good example of tasks he does all the time and I like that we can see this shrimp pointing upwards as well. 

    My final image in my set of three that I have decided on is this portrait photograph of Mike handing plates of food onto the counter for one of the waitresses to collect. I like this photograph as the third shot as the three photographs together show food preparation, plating up and then serving, which I think is a nice narrative to have as I have photographed inside a restaurant, and the images together also showcase the variety of dishes Mike oversees as the sous chef. I also like that this photograph illustrates the view the chefs have whilst cooking as it is quite unique how the restaurant is placed in Eden's Mediterranean Biome. 

      As discussed previously, for my three photographs of Carl I was definitely going to keep the detail photograph of the antipasti in middle, as I feel it is a really strong image showing one of the larger platters that Carl prepares all the time. My classmates also expressed that they felt this way which confirmed for me that this image should be my detail shot.

      I didn't manage to get any photographs that showed all of Carl's face fully, however we all agreed that this first photograph is fine for my portrait image as it does show most of Carl from the front focusing on his task. Also nothing in the background is particularly distracting and I have managed to work around the grey tubs mostly, without needing them to be cropped out of the photograph, which of course I cannot do in this brief. Therefore this image does show Carl well and I am quite happy with it. 

      For my final photograph I am stuck between two photographs showing Carl placing these peppers onto the platter. In this photograph on the far right that I have shown we can see what Carl is doing really clearly however another chef is next to his hands in the image which is quite distracting. I do have another shot without the other chef in the frame however Carl's hands are hiding a lot of what he is doing so I am still quite torn about this and will have to look back through my contacts to see what other photographs I could possibly use instead. 

      Overall I found the crit really useful and it has given me plenty more to think about in terms of how I can put together a series of photographs of this nature and also how I can make my photographs more informative and visually interesting. Seeing some of my class mate's photographs has made me think about the photographs I took of Lucie Oldale and how some of those would work together, and also if maybe they would be better than my three photographs of Riyah. Because of this I have decided to print some of my photographs of her and take them to my next tutorial to get some feedback from my lecturers and classmates. 

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