Where I've Come From | Work in Progress Part 2

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.

 "Prioritizing my time in order to be with my kids is an important aspect of being a father."  -Michael

"Prioritizing my time in order to be with my kids is an important aspect of being a father."

-Michael

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.

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 "As fathers we should focus on our children's hearts, not the disobedience. Why are they responding like they are? How do you build up rather than tear down?"  -Peter

"As fathers we should focus on our children's hearts, not the disobedience. Why are they responding like they are? How do you build up rather than tear down?"

-Peter

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:

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 "The challenge of being a good father is your own immaturity. You're never the dad you want to be and there's always a longing to be better."  -Cory

"The challenge of being a good father is your own immaturity. You're never the dad you want to be and there's always a longing to be better."

-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.

 "My greatest moment was the first day--I remember everything about it. My wife gave birth in another city, so on my way to her I was anxious to see my daughter for the first time, but when I saw her, I felt so happy. I will never forget this moment."  -Piyush

"My greatest moment was the first day--I remember everything about it. My wife gave birth in another city, so on my way to her I was anxious to see my daughter for the first time, but when I saw her, I felt so happy. I will never forget this moment."

-Piyush

 “I’ve learned to get out of my comfort zone when playing with my daughter. I enjoy myself, get animated, and have fun with her. Our kids won’t always be this age, so we should enjoy it.”  -Aaron

“I’ve learned to get out of my comfort zone when playing with my daughter. I enjoy myself, get animated, and have fun with her. Our kids won’t always be this age, so we should enjoy it.”

-Aaron

 "Having three small children is pretty challenging. As much joy as it is, it's hard work. It's humbling because you think you have it all together, and then you get married, and then you have kids. It's a constant reminder of how much you have to learn and grow in life."  -Wade

"Having three small children is pretty challenging. As much joy as it is, it's hard work. It's humbling because you think you have it all together, and then you get married, and then you have kids. It's a constant reminder of how much you have to learn and grow in life."

-Wade

 “The role of fatherhood has changed for me over the years drastically. I went from the one who gave advice, to being the one who’s receiving advice. This is a welcome change, as I’m proud of my children and who they’ve become.”  -Ken

“The role of fatherhood has changed for me over the years drastically. I went from the one who gave advice, to being the one who’s receiving advice. This is a welcome change, as I’m proud of my children and who they’ve become.”

-Ken

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!

-Ashley