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
Of all the exercises in EYV I found this one the most troubling – I just couldn’t decide on the right subject matter. I went through (and photographed for)
~ Ideas about the sea, having had a pretty close relationship with it for the past five years
~ about my immediate surroundings, but that was a bit too much like Assignment 5
~ visitors to the seaside town where I live
I couldn’t raise much enthusiasm for any of them , except perhaps the first, but I have a feeling I will use that idea elsewhere. Then I was reading an article about diptychs and Sergei Eisenstein and his ideas around juxtaposing imagery. It was a groundbreaking notion at the time, that cutting one shot against another could elicit a response in the audience which each shot individually could not.
Eisenstein applied Marxist historical perspective to his developing theory of montage, whereby a historical action or event precipitates another event with resulting consequence – in his terms, thesis, antithesis and synthesis.
I thought I could play around with this to make something interesting so I enlisted some local talent to produce the following photographs.
People are talking and they’re somewhat concerned…. they’re talking to each other but they are not talking to you. So are they talking about you? Or someone else and they’ve noticed you listening? What do the direct gazes suggest – suspicion? Or have they really been talking about you – they certainly seem to be looking knowingly your way. Or perhaps it’s someone else entirely who’s the subject of their earnest discussion. Do you know them?
And so on…….
The diptych presentation is intended to produce synthesis from two disparate images, leading the viewer to form conclusions of their own making.
Reflection and learning
This was simple to set up but tricky to edit. We used a seafront shelter and a couple of speedlights in the failing light (getting the talent together at the same time restricted my options). All shot from a locked-off tripod to try to keep the image size the same. The problem in editing was keeping the eyelines at the same (almost) level and the head sizes similar.
It worked pretty well. I’m pleased to have got something from idea to print (oh yes, there are prints) in a record short time for me, just a couple of days. I spend too much time cogitating and need to concentrate on producing more work rather than better work. Not that it shouldn’t be as good as I can make it but I must stop allowing perfect to be the enemy of good!
Unfortunately in following this idea I have indulged in a bit of ‘brief-battering’ and part of the direction has not been fulfilled – I haven’t made just one select and nor have I chosen a single image with unexpected content. There is such material in the contacts, a rather nice moment occurring between the offspring as I was faffing with lights. Here it is: