#Picbod Week 4 Task – Negotiation

Task:

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?

Taryn Simon’s ‘The Innocents’

Taryn Simon’s ‘The Innocents’

Taryn Simon’s ‘The Innocents’ 2

Taryn Simon’s ‘The Innocents’ 3

Joel Sternfeld’s ‘On this Site’

Joel Sternfeld’s ‘On this Site’

Joel Sternfeld’s ‘On this Site’ 2

My Response:

After reading through this weeks #Picbod task of negotiation, I decided that I was going to focus solely on the first task. This is because, as an individual, I know that this task in itself will challenge me and so I want to put all of my effort into this task in order to receive a set of images that I am happy with.

Now, as this task is based on photographing a stranger, I can’t really plan the images I wish to take. I have, however, thought about how I am going to approach each subject and the process of image making that I will take with them. (Please note, some of these ideas were given as advise during Jonathan Worth’s lecture previously this week).

How I plan to approach people:

  • SMILE
  • Introduce myself as a photographer
  • Give them a compliment; not necessarily about them but something like “You look great standing there
  • Once we’ve started a little bit of a conversation and have exchanged words, ask them “Can I take a photo with you in it?” (NOT Can I take your photo – they may feel like they have to give you something and this could put them off)

Planning my image making process:

  • For the first set of images, it is asked that I do not show the viewer the results until the end – during this set, I will photograph them in their natural position
  • After I have shown them the results of the first set of images, it will then be more of a collaboration in order to achieve the second set of images – this is where I could make suggestions like, “Do you want to try standing like this?”
  • During this second set of images, it is also asked that we try to venture into the subjects personal space – I think it is important to say, “Do you mind if I take some closer images of you?
  • Through capturing all of these types of images, I will also be giving them compliments like “That looks great” as well as asking more about themselves and trying to find a story – CONVERSATION IS KEY, I will also talk about myself as this will relax them and they will feel like they can open up more

Favourite Photos:

Lady at the bus stop:

  • First subject of the day
  • Engaged in a little bit of conversation where she told me she didn’t think she photographed particularly well and that she was catching the bus in a couple of minutes
  • After showing her some images, I asked if she wanted me to take some more and she politely declined

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Girl at the bus station:

  • Engaged in slightly less conversation but seemed more willing to have her photograph taken
  • Asked if the photographs would be taken on location or elsewhere
  • Took first set of images closer to her
  • After showing her the images, I took some further away photographs in order to capture her surroundings as well

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Justine:

  • Justine was one of the more confident subjects I photographed and answered my first question by telling me that she was a model
  • She then followed by asking if it was okay for her to continue eating, suggesting she was confident in being herself in front of the camera
  • After taking the first set of images, I asked more about her modeling career where she told me that she had been modeling for a couple of years for “Roxanne Alternative Models”

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Skaters:

  • Seemed slightly nervous upon approach and so I decided to take some “action” images in order to relax them as they seemed more confident when skating
  • After having a small conversation with them where I found that they were 15 and 16 and had both been skating for nearly 2 years, I then decided to suggest a more simple portrait where I posed them slightly

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Singers:

  • Didn’t actually approach these subjects as they were busy singing and so did not really adhere to the task but still thought that some interesting portraits could come out of it

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Yvette:

  • I approached Yvette using my standard introduction where she asked how to act and I replied: “as natural as possible”, and began taking slightly closer images of her
  • After taking a set of images, I then started a conversation by asking about the leaflets she was handing out
  • This soon turned into a friendly religious debate where she shared with me her stories about being spoken to by god and her Christian upbringing whereas I told here about my non dramatic atheist views and that I feel people shouldn’t knock it before they tried it
  • We shared some rather personal stories which made me feel like I had accomplished the task but also shocked me as I told her things that some of my friends don’t even know about me
  • After this long and enlightening conversation, I then asked if it was possible to take some more photographs of her where I decided to shoot from slightly further away
  • This was because it seemed as though we created a silent collaboration: she needed to do her job and hand out leaflets so I gave her space, but she made sure she didn’t stray too far from me so that I could get the shots

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Patrick aka The Great Alfredo, Coventry:

  • As Patrick was a performer, I silently gestured if it was okay to take photographs whilst he was singing
  • After his first song, I then went up to him and introduced myself and asked him how long he had been playing and where he learnt to play
  • He soon told me that he had incurred an asbestos injury from work, which actually lead to his leaving from the company, that it was a dramatic lifestyle change, something he wanted to do and that he learnt it all through YouTube videos!
  • After this interaction, he then asked if I wanted him to play anything in particular and allowed me to create another set of images during this song
  • After this song was finished, he then asked where he could find these images and I departed after feeling like I had achieved some more successful and creative portraits

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After capturing these street portraits, I then automatically started reflecting on the process of the image making. I decided that the better relationships and conversations that I had with the subjects resulted in better images but that this task all boils down to the confidence shown not only by the subject but by the photographer.

Photos:

Below you can find the images that I am considering to present as my final piece. As I am not 100% sure as to my favourite, I will ask for the opinion of my peers:

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