Create a series of between six and ten photographs from one of the following options: Crowds, Views or Heads. Or a subject of your own choosing.
I started off by researching a variety of portrait photographers and their different approaches.
I was fascinated by the Heads of Philip-Lorca diCorcia. These people were photographed from afar and were unaware that their image was being captured. This meant their expressions were completely genuine and unposed.
I also loved the idea of taking a series of photographs all from the same viewpoint, possibly all of the same person, only changing some detail about them each time as in Lorna Simpson’s Stereo Styles:
and Bettina von Zwehl’s miniatures:
However, my understanding of this exercise was that it should demonstrate a range of lens techniques, so I felt this approach might be too restrictive.
Owing to a busy schedule and the frustration of the people whose heads I wanted to photograph never being available when I needed them to be, I decided that I would photograph myself instead.
I really love the work of Elina Brotherus and was inspired by her work Les Femmes de la Maison Carré. This series involved her taking portraits of herself in different rooms of a house.
I decided to base my project loosely on this, with me photographing myself going about my daily tasks around the home. For one thing it meant I would be able to reshoot time and time again until I was satisfied with my pictures. The logistics of the self-portrait though, were a nightmare. I spent countless hours setting up my scenes, the tripod, the lights, the remote timer and carefully getting myself into position for the shot. However, time and time again, the images just didn’t work. The focus was wrong, my position was wrong, it was all extremely frustrating. And so I decided to make a series of Self-Reflections instead. This meant I had the freedom to move around with my camera either in my hand, or within reach on a tripod, meaning I was able to capture moments more spontaneously. Elina Brotherus and Vivian Maier have both used this technique to great effect.
I really like the shallow depth of field used by Mona Kuhn in her Evidence Series shown below, and also the mainly neutral colour palette she employed. I felt I would like to incorporate some elements of this in my series of photographs too.