As promised, here is part two of "Where I've Come From" in regards to my master's project over fatherhood. If you missed part one, go here and you can read about where I was about 10 months ago.
The next term I decided to keep going in the direction I ended with--portrait-like scenes of father's interacting with their kids. As I began shooting though, the feedback I received was that my images were competent for editorial work, the kind of images seen in an advertisement or something similar, but for this project it wasn't suitable. It was flattering to me that editorial work was/is a possibility (and one I'd like to consider in the future), but for this project I didn't understand why an editorial look was bad.
And so I remained confused for a good while (and honestly frustrated) and didn't want to photograph anyone out of fear that I'd do the wrong style. And then, for whatever reason, it clicked. One of my professors met with me one-on-one and told me to try to capture images of the entire scene, not just the fathers themselves, up close.
Many of the images, like Michael and Peter above, I was photographing in what is called the "middle ground". There are three parts to an image--the foreground, the middle ground and the background. Many editorial images focus on the middle ground space because they want the message to be caught immediately without much thought. Most editorial shots are for products or services, so it needs to be well composed and lighted to create an eye-catching image that shares a singular message. Michael's images are very much editorial-looking, with first shot having space for text even with the wall I used on the lefthand side.
Once I realized this, I tried to change up my composition and shooting methodology and finally understood what he was talking about. Look at these images of Cory:
The kind of images my professors were trying to pull out of me were more complicated, rich images that had lot to look at and much to interpret about the subject of fatherhood. To be honest, shooting this way was quite difficult. I felt like I was missing something since I positioned myself so far away from my subjects.
I remember leaving Cory and thinking to myself, geez, I think I might have to redo that. The way I shot felt so uncomfortable and foreign to me. However, when I loaded the images and saw them on my screen, I just knew this is what I needed to go for. There was much more depth to these images--a richness that I wasn't getting when I got in close. You could observe the family's surroundings and the interactions within those surroundings. What were the relationships between the surroundings and the family? How did that add to their relationship/family bond? Why were they together in that space and why was it important to them? Those kinds of questions didn't have a chance to be posed in my previous up-close work.
After Cory's shoot I did a few more and I really feel like things started coming together.
This is where I ended in my third module (in August 2017) and where I just picked up--and I'm taking it even further now though. I've been encouraged to go even more in depth, which I'll explain in my final work in progress series next week!
What do you think about my progress? Do you agree with my tutors and my conclusions? Let me know in the comment section below!