Who Are You? Final Views

Techniques and Contextual research

During this project I tried many new techniques and one that I have always wanted to do is like a point and shoot but on unsuspecting victims (street photography) but I’ve never really had the guts to try it. You’re probably wondering that this has to do with this project. Well whilst I was out shooting with my subject I would occasionally point and shoot with out giving him any warning. This was interesting as I got some different reactions from him. Some of them were just about in frame and others weren’t in focus, this is because it was dark so even if I wanted to use auto focus I couldn’t so it was all done in manual focus.


Bruce Gilden is a photographer that I think I can relate some of my photos to. He is a street photographer who likes to photograph people whether they like it or not. In the majority of his photos are people, either shocked or angry and I would be to if someone pulled out a camera and took a picture of me. I’ve found his work to be really interesting and I would one day like to have a proper go at it myself. I wish i’d have used him as more of an influence for my work but I only discovered him at the end of the project. For me the best thing about his photos are the natural reactions from his photography subjects (or victims in some cases). That’s what I’ve been doing for my photos, no fake smiles or poses, just me and my subject taking some photos and having a laugh in the process.

If you wish to see his work for yourself then please head to his website – http://www.brucegilden.com/

Also I recommend watching this piece on him called everybody street – https://vimeo.com/33169188

These photos below are just a few on what I was just talking about. I have some serious photos but most of them look like this. I liked to capture his natural reactions even if they where just us having a bit of a laugh.

During this project I have further developed my skills in portraiture photography, I have thoroughly enjoyed this project. I have really enjoyed trying out the adobe software – Lightroom, it was hard to get my grips with because I was so used to Photoshop but it had everything you needed to edit the photos in one convenient area on the right hand side, it also allowed me to layout my photos and design make contact my own contact sheets.

Another thing that I’ve enjoyed using was the lighting studio, this wasn’t too hard to get to grips with but I was a little out of my comfort zone with all the lights and tech to deal with. But then again it was good that I was a little out of my comfort zone as it allowed me to experiment with the lights and flashes to create interesting and dynamic shots of my subject that represent him for who he is.

These photos that I have produced for this project (mostly the lighting studio ones) have been the best photos that I have ever done and I am very proud of myself for them. I will definitely be using the lighting studio again and using all the techniques i have learnt throughout this project on my next one and on any future portrait shoot.

The final 5

I have decided to use these 5 for my final photos for this project. I have chosen these as I think that they best describe my subject and fit the retirements. I have selected a main category a photograph –

The first one Is for Location, the second is for Pose, the third for Props, forth for Clothing and finally the fifth for Face.

Final piece 1

This is one from the first shoot of the project. Straight after the interview with my subject, we jumped straight into the action and went and about around Chester to find a good spot to my subject to be photographed. I chose this photo because it not only shows hi on location but it also shows my subject being himself. I like the fact that he is smiling as in the interview he said that he likes to laugh and smile, this is also a natural smile as every time we where taking photos, I we would talk and have a laugh with him to ease the tension.

Final piece 2

This is one of my favourite photos from the lighting studio series. I think that this is a great photo for hard and soft lighting reflecting off his skin. I chose this for pose because its a strong pose, you can see plenty of his characteristics in this shot, from is tattoos to scars and to the way he’s composed himself. To me this shows us that my subject is brave and strong.

Final piece 3

For this photo, he asked to use my sketchbook to draw in whilst I photographed him, So we decided to use these ones for props. It’s a fair deal he had something to keep himself entertained and I got some photographs done for this category. Two birds and one stone. As it turns out he was drawing something inappropriate in the back of my sketchbook… which is ironic as he looks like he’s working on a work of art in this photo with concentration in himself but it was the opposite. This is apart of who he is, easily entertained, funny ect.. And he is also an excellent artist, illustrator and animator.

Final piece 4

This photo is for clothing, it took a while to round this category down to one photo. In the majority of the photos my subject is fully clothed but it’s finding one that matches his personality and that I feel represents him. We took this one as a joke but it worked out well. He likes to have fun and this photo shows it. The only downfall to this photo is a small editing error, it’s not too obvious but obvious enough for me to notice it. When I was using Lightroom to put the finishing touches to this piece, I used the masking tool to highlight and darken certain areas of the photo. More specifically the right side of the photo as there was too much light coming from the flash, so I highlighted that area and darkened it, but I must have not highlighted the area up to the figure so it left a fain white streak next to his figure. As it was last minute I just printed it along with the others but it didn’t appear on the prints so it all worked out well.

Final piece 5

Finally this print is for face, I only took a few close up shots of his face but this one is by far my favourite. I don’t know about you but I can see many things in this photo that make my subject who he is, I can see compassion and many other things, maybe this is because I know him, I’ve spent time photographing and getting to know him. This is one of my best portraits I have ever taken, the soft light is perfectly balancing out the shaded part of his face. I also like that he’s looking into the distance and isn’t making eye contact with the camera and that his eyes are reflecting the light triggered by the flash.

Its The Final countdown!

I have selected the best photos that I think represent my subjects personality. I gave them another coat of editing and now I have to choose 5 of them to submit as my finals. These 5 final photos that I will have printed have to have one of the 5 categories of a portrait that we were required to take for these photos. They are – Clothing, Pose, Props Face and Location.

After carefully observing all of my photos to find ones best suited to my subjects personality and ones that match these requirements. These are the ones that I have rounded them down to –

Further edited

For this selection of photos, I took a handful from my lighting studio photos and edited and developed them further.

I like to play around with the, brightness, exposure and contrast as It can make the difference between an over exposed photo to a darkened photo with the light reflecting off his skin. For some of these photos I made one of each, a black and white version and a coloured version so you could see the difference between them.

After observing and comparing the photos between the edited colour photos vs the edited black and white photos I have realised that I prefer the coloured photos. This is unusual as I usually side with black and white photography. Think that the contrast of the hard light on the black and white photos are great but I think that there is something very unique about skin tones, it just doesn’t look as real than it does in colour.



Lighting Studio

As part of my current photography project I booked time in the light studio with my subject. This went really well, I planned to take hundreds whilst I had the space but I didn’t feel the need to. I’m really proud of the photos I got as few as they may be. They’re probably the best portraits iv’e ever taken. Quality over Quantity.

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I really enjoyed photographing my subject in the lighting studio. As you can tell some photos are better than others but I think that they’re all pretty good. Much like the ones from the location shoot, I wanted him to feel relaxed and comfortable and to be as natural as possible. Obviously some of them are more serious than others but I like that most of them are of us having a laugh. It’s like fine art with a smile. I took all of these photos in RAW so they have all had one dose of editing but I intend on selecting some from this group to edited further. Using the equipment was easier than I thought it would be, I had fun experimenting with the power of the lights and the arrangement of where I could place them. I used the black background as I thought it would suit the style I was going for. I also liked playing with the lights, spot lights and flashes, I think that the contrast of soft light and hard light worked really well.

I personally think that I have created some dynamic photographs that not only look good as fine art portraits but also tell us more about my subject and also show many sides to his personality. You can start to understand him and who he is just by observing these photographs that I have taken for this project.

First Shoot

Right after my interview with my photography subject, we went for a walk around Chester to start taking photos. It was dark, cold and raining… so just a normal British evening. Luckily I booked out a flashgun from the university earlier that day, so lighting up my subject would not be a problem.

For my first shoot of this project, I think it went very well considering the weather conditions and the time of day we started taking photos. Unfortunately I was forced to use a Nikon flash gun as there were no others available to loan from the university. As a proud Canon user, its safe to say I wasn’t too pleased with this but it did the job, lighting up my subject and the area during the dark and damp shoot.

My subject and I decided that these photos were going to be used for the location shoot. as he said in the interview –

“where is your favourite place? Where do you most feel comfortable?
– Anywhere outdoors and with friends and family”.

We thought that being out and about taking photos covered that part of the requirement.

I have chosen my best photos of the ones I took and edited them, I plan to select several of the photos and edit them further. See photos below –

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You might be wondering why I included loads of him being silly? Well that’s because he is easily amused and he loves to laugh and smile. It’s who he is, so who am I to say act differently or pretend for the photo. That wouldn’t be real and it certainly wouldn’t show the us these genuine reactions. And I think that these photos show more about my subject than the more serious ones. I am again quite pleased with these photos as they show us a bit more about my subject and what he’s like. I enjoyed taking them as well, even though I was using a Nikon flashgun, I enjoyed bouncing light of walls and finding new ways and techniques to light up my subject.

Interview with my photography Subject

For my current photography project I conducted an Interview my friend and model for my photos. I tried to make the questions as open as possible to get the best possible answers.

1. What is your main character trait?

– Humour and making people laugh.

– A good friend who likes to listen

– Creative and open minded

2. where is your favourite place? Where do you most feel comfortable?

– Anywhere outdoors and with friends and family.

3. What inspires you?

“people bigger and more successful than me, it inspires me to make myself better”.

4. What is your earliest memory?

“Being stuck in a thunder and lightning storm with my sister”.

“riding mattresses down the stairs”.

5. What makes you laugh?

– Memes, spongebob, almost anything.
“life is too short not to smile and laugh a lot”

6. What are your favourite films, games, TV shows, songs and types of music?

Films – Armageddon, Pulp fiction and sci-fi/fantasy films.

Games – Red dead redemption, last of us and GTA V.

TV shows – Westworld, Game of thrones, Lost and Sons of anarchy.

Songs – “vary on what mood I’m in”.

Types of music – Metal, Rock and Grime.

7. What are you passionate about?

– Art (Illustration and Animation)

– Music

8. How do you like others to see you?

” I want people to look at me and think that i’m approachable, trustworthy and interactive. But I also don’t care about what people think of my looks or my clothing”.

9. What would be your perfect day or night out?

– Nice meal and a couple drinks with friends or just chilling with friends.

– Gigs and festivals

10. If you where to choose an object that would represent your personality. What would it be?

“Pencil and paper as i’m an artist and an Illustrator”

“bass guitar as when i’m not doing art and with friends i’m in youth theatre practising with my band”.

In conclusion
the interview went well, there is a lot of stuff that I can work with and hopefully create some interesting photos based on my subjects answers and his personality. I was Originally thinking about focusing on more of a fine art approach to my photos but I think that would be contradictory to his personality based on this interview. Perhaps I could still incorporate a fine art approach to some of the photos especially the ones i’ll be doing in the lighting studio.