Saturday, March 7, 2009

Fashion + Figure Ground?

For my Figure/Ground assignment, we were supposed to establish some sort of relationship between the figure in the photograph and the environment that we were in. So... I went with that as the basic idea, naturally, and tried to find little bits and pieces that meshed together to create a strong photograph. Also, I didn't approach this project as a series, but rather produced each image as if it were to stand on its own. In that regard, I believe I succeeded.

Ultimately, I wanted to take a more personal approach to these photos. I worked with my subjects to find areas that they thought were interesting or related to them (although I would steer them away from crappy or cliched areas, like Starbucks). Then I'd have them move around until I thought I found an angle or framework that was visually interesting, and started shooting from there. I'd be looking to match colors, play on scale, work with linear elements, etc. I ended up with photos that look somewhat staged, but are the product of pure improvisation.

Reach for the Sky, digital print, 11x16", 2009

I really liked this photo because of how Surreal it looks. The cloud cover allowed for some interesting atmospheric haze. I like the angle of the dead tree and its branches/trunks, and how the subject is both pushing against them and being constrained by them while looking like its all so effortless. It's also an interesting play between age and vitality, with the subject being a young, hip-looking male vs. the tree which is dead and decaying. Finally, I thought the colors really matched with the clothes. The sky played off of his jeans, while his jacket worked well with the natural surroundings.

Waiting..., digital print, 11x16", 2009

This is probably my favorite photo of the bunch. Kind of ironic, since it started with me directing the subject where to go based on my view of his personality. We ended up downtown at One London Place, and it was really uninspiring. So we started walking around, and he suggested a bus shelter beside the building - and it was fantastic. I love the vibrant blues, the diagonal lines, and the translucency of the glass. The strong shadows and utilitarian bench work great with the angles created by the pose of his legs as well as the linear designs on the glass. I like how his legs are so large with the angle of the shot, as well. He's a pretty tall guy, and I think that's one of the stronger aspects of this photograph. Finally, I thought his clothing worked well with the bus shelter environment. He looked like he belonged, but the clothes were crisp enough to make him seem out of place.

Escaping, digital print, 16X11", 2009

Let it never be said I don't suffer for my art. I literally stepped in shit taking this photograph, and my subject here complained a lot about the smell. Another story goes along with this photo: My friend is something of a pyro, so we were going to build a giant bonfire to take a photo of him with. However, nature had other plans since it had just rained, and everything was soaking wet. So, we found his friend's garage to be pretty interesting with all of the clutter. The frantic clutter seems to mesh with the personality displayed at first glance. The flame of the lighter is that hint of pyromania - of freedom - and the substance behind the flame the escape from the clutter. I really liked how the window created a sense of divided space - why is he in this dingy environment? What keeps him in here when the outside is so close behind him?

Big Man, digital print, 11x16", 2009

Another nature photo. At first I was attracted to the varying patterns of the nature 'path' we were on, and how he seemed to blend into his environment with his clothing. It was all pretty boring, in retrospect. So, with about 5 minutes to spare, we tried to work with the ledge hanging over the river and the results speak for themselves. We started playing with his proximity with the ledge and the angle of the shot to create a slight telephoto effect so that it looks like he's about to step into the water. Also, it was great to play with the sense of scale by using the trees in the background. He's almost haloed by the trees behind him. I also like the pensive look beside the water... seems appropriately deep. ... Okay, that was a bad pun, sorry. Again, I like how his clothes worked with nature. Kind of like an urban camouflage.

In the end, they look a little fashion-y - and I'm fine with that. I try to exert a sort of technical mastery in all of my photos, and I personally like the photos that turn out like this, like a professional photographer would take. I loathe people that avoid photos that look like this because they think it's too 'commercial', or they mess up the quality of their prints on purpose because they think it's more 'authentic'. I'm sorry, but if you can't stand up with your work because you think it needs to fit in with the whole 'art' thing, it's not the work that's holding you down, it's you - 'cause it's hard to stand without a spine. In the end, I only worry about one thing: Do I like what I'm producing? If the answer is no, then I'm doing something wrong and should start over or change the project.

1 comment:

  1. too bad im not around anymore, i coulda been a hot model for you.