#Picbod – Negotiation

On Thursday 30th January 2014, I went into university to attend some lectures and workshops regarding this weeks #Picbod of “Negotiation”. During this day, we were split into two groups where I began the day with a Toning workshop before heading off to the feedback session for last weeks Nude and Naked task. After lunch, we then attended a lecture taken by Jonathan Worth. (However, this lecture surrounded some portraits he has created through his career that all have very sensitive back-stories that he doesn’t want us to publish. I have therefore only included notes that I can use for advise for this weeks project.) All of the other notes from today can also be found below:


You should precipitate a live encounter with a stranger and make a series of images with that subject. During this process you should both depict the subject in the environment and at some point venture into the subjects personal space, you should do this and come away with at least one personal story from them

Do this exercise once without showing the subject the images, then share the work with them and make another set. Consider how this affects the power-relationship.


Additional task: Negotiation (optional)

With your portrait and personal story in mind, set up a contrived portrait session with a friend or peer, the portrait you create should convey the personal story of your original subject.

Consider whether something is gained or lost in this translation from one individual to another. Are you cheating your audience or using artistic license? Do your answers from these questions tell you something about your image making?

Look at Taryn Simon’s ‘The Innocents’ and Joel Sternfeld’s ‘On this Site’. How would our reading of these works change if we were to learn they were untrue?


Toning Workshop:

  • Don’t have to be in a darkroom to do toning
  • Post-production
  • Can add another dimension to prints
  • Will not improve poor quality prints
  • Not all toners are colour toners
  • Selenium toner – preserves prints better and richens the blacks
  • Todays examples:
    • Sepia
    • Blue
    • Gold
    • Tea – low budget
  • Tone after we’ve processed washed and dried our prints
  • Prints have to be fixed and washed well – especially fibre based
  • If doing fibre based prints, need to wash it twice for over an hour
  • Not that toxic – apart from the selenium toner
  • Sepia
    • Dilution ratio is 1:9
    • First bleach then tone (photographic bleach)
    • See that the image will start to disappear
    • Emphasises grain and rough detailing
    • Can carry on bleaching it until it completely disappears – this will make it look more sepia as if the image is till slightly there, the sepia tone will mix with the blacks, lessening the effect
    • The faster the image disappears is due to the strength of the bleach
    • Put it in the toner and leave in as long as desired
    • Sepia has three stages of brown
    • (If you put sepia toned print into gold toner after wash, it will go an orange/red/pink colour
  • Blue
    • Just need to place it in until it achieves the desired tone
    • Once you’ve toned them, leave them to wash in running water for 5 minutes
  • Gold
    • Don’t need to dilute it
  • Tea
    • Very weak tea, not your standard brew strength
    • Putting brown stain over the print
    • Doesn’t do it proportionately
    • It is quite subtle

Nude and Naked Feedback:

Window Sill Image:

  • Something nice working with the smooth and slightly out of focus skin next to the rigid and structured building across the way, some kind of modernism meets romanticism/classic painting
  • The window sill image is definitely the more successful of the images
  • Perhaps moving back to get the whole of the window in would improve the image – add to the voyeuristic feel of the image

Shower Image

  • Seems compelling in an Edward Hopper way
  • Strong creative aspect of the image but can be improved technically through more creative lighting

Jonathan Worth Lecture:

  • We’re going to be invading someone’s personal space – it’s a very scary thing
  • Often see images of people from far away
  • Asking people to photograph them is the watershed moment
  • The next thing then is to realize that it’s your currency – it separates you from people that just observe things – we become an active photographer
  • Start to build our frames from the outside in
  • Grandma
    • Didn’t like having her photograph taken
    • Especially with a cigarette
    • Taken in his second year at university
    • Although he was making images, he was also reading philosophy, allowing him to understand his stranger subjects better
  • Philosophers” by Steve Pyke

Steve Pyke Philosophers

Steve Pyke Philosophers 2

Steve Pyke Philosophers 3 

  • He was the reason he was taking images
  • Began assisting Steve about 6 months later
  • Still assists him now
  • Steve works with a rolleiflex
  • Photographs heads – he has to photograph them incredibly close
  • Had to learn how to make people feel incredibly comfortable as they have only met them a couple of minutes ago
  • He would photograph very passively due to the type of camera he uses
  • He has to photograph – has to record things
  • One of Jonathans favourite subjects of Steve’s is the Soles of his shoes
  • Jack and Duncan collections


Steve Pyke's jack and Duncan series

  • Nicholas NixonThe Brown Sisters

The Brown Sisters

  • There’s no excuse for us not to be doing this stuff
  • Advise on working with strangers
    • Speak to them, get to know them
    • Look like you know what you’re doing to give the subject confidence
    • Introduce yourself
    • Smile – it’s very difficult not to smile back at them
    • Talk to them like they’re a human being
    • Put people at ease
    • Have something with you that can start a conversation – your camera for example

Image of a Woman…

  • This was the point where he became a mature photographer
  • Different publications have hired him for very different jobs
  • Telegraph – sensitive jobs
  • Guardian – have hired him for very similar jobs there
  • Need three types of images then two options for these images
  • Very personal story behind this image – this is the first time that this story has gone public but she is using it to find someone
  • It was a massive responsibility – once this story is run, it isn’t going to run again, he has on chance
  • Should go into different worlds visually literate
  • How can you get them to trust you to tell their story?
  • Graeme ObreeThe Flying Scotsman

Graeme Obree “The Flying Scotsman”

Graeme Obree “The Flying Scotsman” 2

  • Inspiration book called “The Flying Scotsman
  • Gets really invested in these subjects
  • Wanted to do a piece on Workers
    • When you take your portfolio to see publishers, they don’t want to see the portfolio, they want to see the sketchbook, the process
    • Commissioned by Levi’s
    • Started to get paid for work he wanted to do
  • Meet the parents
    • One is blind
    • One is deaf
    • Children are neither
  • Eating disorders
    • Spent a lot of time talking about his lunch box – photographed his lunchbox
  • How do you tell these stories?
  • There’s no answer
  • We have to work out what our approach is
  • Went on tour with Enrique Iglesias
  • Photographed Kobe Bryant
  • Epileptic Open Ocean Rower
  • Hillsborough disaster
  • Jonathan doesn’t want us to create these images – they are not his best images in his opinion, but they are the ones that were chosen by the publisher
  • How do you tell another persons story?
  • How do you tell it in only one image?

How to approach people

  • I’m a photographer
  • You look great standing there
  • Can I take a photo of you in it? – NOT Can I take your photo
  • Don’t pose them – tell them where you want to photograph them then say “can you just move…”, and wait for them to relax – that time will come