2.4 Same background, different models

E 2.4 Same background, different model

Brief: This exercise is essentially the same as the previous one, but instead of taking photographs of the same person, here you must make portraits of three different subjects, but keep the background to the image consistent (see Irving Penn and Clare Strand, above). There are many ways of exploring this exercise. You could either select an interesting backdrop to use inside (studio) or perhaps select an interesting backdrop on location (street). Whichever you choose, try to be as creative as you can and be prepared to justify your decisions through your supporting notes.

Again, present all three images together as a series and, in around 500 words, reflect upon how successful this exercise was in your learning log or blog.

1. Initial thoughts and development

I wanted to step outside my familiar territory of health and social care. I have been interested in the notion of hero’s for some time. My 4-year-old grandson is obsessed by Batman, Spiderman and The Hulk – I blame his father. My favourite is Superman, perhaps because he as strength and vulnerabilities. I have also created a character called ‘Ordinary Hero’ who like other hero’s has special powers, such as the ability to listen, care and do the little things in life that help other; there are millions of him or her out there. My wife made me a costume for him which I will get out of my cupboard. I might photograph other people’s ‘anti-heroes’ against the backdrop of the skyscrapers of New York or a plain background, probably in the studio.

That got me thinking about the duality of people’s lives where they have special powers or skills that are hidden in day-to-day life. Maybe for Assignment 2 I could move out of the studio to their normal background at work or home; I have someone in mind who is a director at a law firm and I have seen him dressed as a super hero.  Les Monaghan springs to mind as an influence; I saw his work in Doncaster recently and have written a review in my blog. I am moving that idea to A2 Preparation and where I will continue with this exploration of the duality of people’s lives – inner and exterior.

Back to this exercise. There are several issues;

  • Being clear about my intention – I am not yet
  • Selecting the right people
  • Choosing the right background
  • My studio or another studio or some other place
  • Consistency of theme but variability in the series

That last entry was 8 weeks ago. I decided to incorporate this exercise into my final assignment. All the development work is in A2. I decided to have my studio images with a plain background which isolates the figure.

Here are my three images with a common background. They are all ant-superheroes which were developed in A2 where all the preparation and theory is contained.

Image 1: Visio-spatial




Image 2: Mrs Green


Image 2: The Listener


The subtle background emphasises the person in the frame. This is very much a contrast to a more complex background which you can also see in A2.

I have decided not to reflect on this exercise a great deal as I have taken this much further in the prep and final submission for A2.