I have opted for showing work from my project. My reasons are that this is the work that I want to continue with so this is where I really need to work out how to improve technically within the limitations I face.
The work continues from last year. I am photographing those around Kings Cross who have issues with alcohol, drugs and mental problems. Most stay in hostels. Some are transient and live on the street, this second group I may only see once. Those that stay in the hostels can only do so for a maximum of two years. Depending on where they are in that cycle will govern how long I get to follow them. It has taken me several months to earn the trust that enables me to take most of these pictures. I always give a good quality copy of the image to everyone I take a picture of. (with exception of those I don't see again to be able to do this).
This assignment required the same person taken in various type, style and sessions. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to do this with one person. I cannot control when I will see those that I am photographing or if I do if they will be willing to have their picture taken that day.
Debbie is one of the people I have been photographing. The images below were taken between November and two days ago.
Consider each portrait, Identify what has worked and what hasn't and why.
- The first image was taken in the middle of the day. I got her to stand in a doorway with the black door behind her to deal with the strong light and to avoid any other distractions around us. I think this one would have been better if I had got her to look directly at me. Although I do like her expression. She was concerned about her boyfriend this day.
- The second picture is of Debbie with Deano, they were worried about the outcome of breaking their asbo. I took several pictures and I did improve the cropping in others, but I liked the expressions in this image as it captures just how they felt that day. Fill in flash would improve the shadows in their faces but I never use flash for these portraits. A big camera is intrusive enough for this work.
- The third image gives a sense of place as well as person, which the previous two don't. I would have liked stronger and sharper eyes. It's a bit soft.
- I was trying to get a picture that captured her not posing, the way she is when she tells me her stories. I was happy I captured that. However the lens is two wide and has distorted her face. It would have also been better if she was angled a little bit further to her right to have utilised the side window light better.
- If only I had used a different lens!
How can I improve my own skills?
In the past couple of days I have tried using a small reflector for some of these portraits. Where I am sitting with them and can ask them to hold it, it makes a big difference. There will be situations where this is just not possible. I am going to change to a fixed lens over the next few weeks as it is too easy with a zoom lens to zoom in too wide.
I need to be more aware of how people are posed, take a bit more time before I click that shutter.
I'm still missing something, I'm not sure what but the pictures lack that special something that makes them stand out. I hope this course will help me resolve this.