A SENSE OF PLACE
For this project I started off by looking at the brief title ‘A Sense of Place’ literally and by taking photos of the environment, scenery and buildings and how they are the place themselves. I visited Amsterdam and whilst there I took images of famous landmarks, traditional items related to that culture; clogs and bikes were the two most prominent. These items then created the ‘sense of place’.
I also went home to York and looked at a sense of place within the ancient city walls. I photographed in churches as well, which I think created a very good sense of place and you can almost feel the calming atmosphere inside a church within the images. I started looking at depth of field as well, and looking at how blurring out sections of the photographs (objects far or close to the lens) this could completely change what is being shown and portrayed in the images.
Not being great at remembering all the settings and controls on cameras I decided to mainly use automatic settings. Changing them just in the surroundings, for example, using the landscape setting outdoors would automatically set it to a small aperture and a large depth of field, ensuring that everything was in focus and also enhancing greens and blues.
After looking at the more structural and atmospheric side I decided to focus more emotionally on the ‘sense of place’ and how, not taking the briefings wording so literally. I looked at the sense of place within a person. Looking at existing photographers helped me understand how emotion can be portrayed through a photograph. I researched Oliver Vander Heyden, a fashion photographer who liked his work to show a story though the use of emotion, set, and great lighting. His work is very fake and, like the fashion business, made to look beautiful. I don’t really like the idea of knowing that the emotion is fake.
I also stumbled across a website called ‘Phatz Photography’ who, among a wide range of projects, have a large set of raw emotional photos. Real emotion as it happens, which I think creates a much more enjoyable image and an all round more interesting and believable image. This work I have interpreted by trying to capture raw emotion giving the images depth.
The work of Inez Van Lamsweerde intrigued and inspired me the most and in particular their collection ‘ expose bodies yet hide true feelings’. This work showed images of naked bodies where the subject had covered their face with their hands. Faces are painted on their hands expressing artificial emotions. I find it is a weird mix of styles, looking at the openness of how they are exposing their bodies and on the other hand suppressing their true emotions behind their hands. Why are they so free to expose their bodies, which is seen as very daring, yet hide their face, the focal point of all emotion?
I wanted to recreate an image of questionable emotion. Making people question weather the emotion is real or fake for the camera. Photographers such as, Joseph Nicephore Niepce and Frances Frith used to be thought of as an ‘invisible eye’ capturing events exactly as they happened and recording the truth. However photography can distort reality and document a moment in time never to be captured again with the potential to be absolutely fake.
The images a took I wanted to be portrait like from a passport photograph and so I chose a plain white background and plain clothing. I used the portrait setting on the camera which would give a wide aperture, focus on the foreground and enhance skin tones.
For my final piece ‘sense of place’ I have decided to focus on one persons emotions. Inspired from Inez Van Lamsweerde I want to pose the question, ‘Is emotion real?’ and create a sense of knowledge of the place in that persons life. I chose to photograph portraits of a friend Simon because I though he would feel at ease and project real emotions, but also these could be overshadowed by the fact there is a camera in front of him; enhancing the meaning of the final piece, weather his emotions are real or not, and capturing his place in time. My final piece was landscape. I chose to do this because I thought it would be visually more stimulating as the eye reads across. I am happy with my final piece. It captures what I wished to capture; emotions huddled together posing questions of truth and place in someone life.