Use your camera as a measuring device. This doesn’t refer to the distance scale on the focus ring(!). Rather, find a subject that you have an empathy with and take a sequence of shots to ‘explore the distance between you’. Add the sequence to your learning log, indicating which is your ‘select’ – your best shot.
When you review the set to decide upon a ‘select’, don’t evaluate the shots just according to the idea you had when you took the photographs; instead evaluate it by what you discover within the frame (you’ve already done this in Exercise 1.4). In other words, be open to the unexpected. In conversation with the author, the photographer Alexia Clorinda expressed this idea in the following way:
Look critically at the work you did by including what you didn’t mean to do. Include the mistake, or your unconscious, or whatever you want to call it, and analyse it not from the point of view of your intention, but because it is there.
The Distance Between Us
I pondered for some time about the subject for this exercise when in fact it was in front of me for much of the time. So, the sequence I shot was of my wife and daughter on a recent overnight excursion to take in the coast in winter. I made a number of images when we were together in a restaurant and in our hotel room. I was struck by the notion of ‘the distance between us‘ not only being about the relationship between the photographer and the subject, but also between the relationship between subjects too.
I do understand and recognise the concept that a final image is created by the interplay between the photographer and the subject, but in this work there also the interplay between the subjects too. My daughter rarely like to be photographed an some encouragement was required to produce the sequence.
In the image above I was trying to capture my daughters face and did not think enough about the background and the surroundings, given my daughters reluctance to be photographed I paid little attention to the rest of the scene. ~The lights from the christmas tree and the items on the table, all to some extent distractions, were all unintentional.
In this image, taken with the camera held a little higher I manage to record and image while my daughter was distracted by social media! Again the background elements have had little thought. The distracting shadow of the chair in the top right was not intended although I have mixed views about it. Also given my motives for these images, the background is perhaps for me less of an issue than a more clinical and less involved viewer?
Below are some further image from the sequence
Of the whole set it is the image above that is my ‘select’. In analysing the picture as suggested in the exercise brief , the thing that stands out is the awful hotel room wall paper! Although I had concentrated on facial expressions, this thing that stands out about the image is that in this image my wife and daughter come a single subject. In an un posed, captured moment there is something between them as well as between the photographer too.
I am uncertain about whether I have captured what was intended in the exercise but I have learned something about both unintended pictorial elements in an image and also how the presence of the photographer does in many instances change the nature of what is being photographed. A topic that warrants further exploration.
As a footnote to the exercise, I was also left considering does the presence of the photographer change the image even in a candid image? Some food for thought!
Research Point: Context can be found here