For my micro project I will be photographing addiction. To do this I will be using the studio in college. I will using props such as cigarettes, alcohol and ‘drugs’ to show off addition and the consequences of it. I will use portraiture to show this off; this will make my photography more effective as it will show addiction in action.
Photographer Inspiration –
Eric Pickersgill did an experiment by taking away people phones to show how addicted people have become. He them photographed without their phones in a black and white fashion to show how addicted people are to their mobile phones.
As you can see in this photograph, the subjects are staring into their hands where their phone would be. The image is photographed in black and white, which gives the image a depressing feel to it. These images send a message of addiction by showing that people are relying on their mobile devices to have a good time, therefore making them antisocial. I really enjoy Pickersgill’s images because they send a meaningful message about the addictions of the 21st century.
Lee Jeffries is another photographer who has used addiction as a key theme in his photography, He is a portrait photographer, using tone to reveal the human face of addiction, the reality of homelessness and the real face of poverty through his work. For his latest project he spent two weeks in Miami, where he met former porn star Margo Stevens. Through his photography, Jeffries uncovers stories of survival, whereby women driven to sell their bodies to feed their drug addictions.
In the photograph above, you can see the real struggles of addiction, and how tragic her life has become. His photography is very interesting because it uses real people in their everyday life. Jeffries images are traditionally black and white to show off the detail in his portraits. I really enjoy his work because it is very raw and the meaning behind it is a very common problem in contemporary society. Jeffries states the after the two weeks ‘he looked past the ‘prostitute’, the ‘homeless down and out’ and instead reveals Ms Stevens to be a mother-figure who reaches out to the younger women around her’.
Graham MacIndoe was a successful photographer, working for the Guardian’s Weekend magazine among others. He began a destructive journey into heroin addiction – and turned the camera on himself. He and his partner Susan Stellin recall the road to recovery.
In the photograph above, addiction is subtly shown through facial expression and the mess that surrounds him. He photographed himself on a cheap digital camera on a table or bookshelf, set the self-timer to take a photo every so often. Overtime, he became more deliberate on his lighting and composition, but was in no way trying to glamorise his addiction. His lighting is very dark and dreary to suggest the struggles and to make his addiction look as unappealing as possible. Luckily, MacIndoe overcome his addiction, he states ‘these photographs are a painful reminder of a dark, difficult era, but they also exhibit signs of hope.’
As I am going to shoot my images using a vast amount of tone, I am researching the works of David Bailey; he is a famous portrait photographer, using tone in his work to give his images more detail and texture. My shoot is going to be in black and white to give the same affect. His work is very inspiring as you can see the detailed facial expressions of the subject, where it be a neutral face or a happy one. As you can see in the photograph above, his portraits are usually very close up to his subjects; this can make the images more personal to the subject and the viewer as you can see every bit of the subjects face.
Technical Research –
Composition – I am going to use both central and off-centre composition in my shoot. Composition is basically what makes up a photograph, there are many different ways to use composition to show of the focal point of the image. Central composition will be good for my shoot because it will clearly show off the subject of my image; as I am also using props around the subject, a central composition will be good as the props will not stand out over the focus of the image, yet they will still be noticeable.In the photograph above, central composition is used to show off the subject of the image. This is very effective, as the viewer can clearly see the focal point of the image, and also take in the background of the image.
Off-centre composition is also incredibly effective, it is also referred to as the rule-of-thirds. It can make the photograph more dynamic and nicely balanced.
In the photograph above, the rule of thirds is used; this is a good was of composition because you can still clearly see the focal point of the image whilst still admiring the background of the image.
Illustrated Ideas –
Shoot Plan –
For my shoot, I would like to show off the idea of addiction; to do this I will be using a variety of props, such as, cigarettes, alcohol bottles and pills. I will also using a person to be the subject of my images, using these props to show off how they are used in an addiction. Bright lighting will be used to expose the idea of addiction, to do this I will use a flash, but shadowing will also be used to show depth in my images. I will also experiment with composition in my images, from central to rule of thirds.
The objective off my shoot is to show the affects of addiction, so they main factor is that I won’t be glamorising the props in my images that show off addiction, instead after the shoot I will edit my final images in black and white to make the addictive items boring and dull, I will also ask my subjects to have neutral expressions when I am photographing them.
These are the contact sheets from my shoot. I believe that most of them came pout very well, especially when the lighting and composition went right. The first couple of images were just tests to ensure that the aperture, shutter speed and iso were set correctly. After that the photographs turned out very well, except for the few which are completely dark due to the flash cable falling out of my camera and not realising it.
I also tried to experiment with different compositions, mostly central but also a few using the rule of thirds, depending on the content of the image, I used the composition that best suited.
I also experimented with the brightness of the image, as you can see, some of the images have a shadow whilst others are very light. Shadowing was used to create some depth, whilst the bright lighting was to expose the idea of addiction.
10 Years Lost
For our micro project we had to blend two of the formal elements that we had previously learned into a final set of four photographs. Our images also had to emphasise an idea and express a meaning. For my micro project, I chose the idea of addiction, I chose this because I got inspired by an image I saw on the internet; it took my quite a while to come up with an idea but I am happy with the idea I chose.
In coming up with a short plan, I researched many photographer that also did a series of photographs with the theme of addiction, all the photographers I researched took a different take on the idea of addiction, each of them equally as interesting. I took a lot of inspiration from these photographers because all of them projected addicted in a negative way, which was something that I wanted to do.
Afterward I did some technical research to give myself some ideas of the way I wanted my photographs to look like, I researched different compositions and different lightings; this research inspired me to experiment with different ways to set out my images, from central composition to the rule of thirds. The lighting research also inspired some of my ideas, as I wanted bright lighting to exaggerate the idea of addiction, but I also wanted some shadowing to give the images some depth.
Overall, the shoot I did went very well, I got all the images I was looking to take, all whilst experimenting with different formal elements and technical elements (lighting, composition, ect.). The only problem that I faced during my shoot was that the light cable that connected my camera to the flash kept falling out but that was very easily fixable so it didn’t effect my shoot too much.
I was incredibly happy with my final outcomes, I edited them to be black and white, to make the concept of addiction look unappealing and dull. Te final four that I chose real represented what I wanted to portray. They way I named them I also thought was a clever idea. I named the images on the way the addictive prop would effect a persons life. For example, the image of the person smoking, is named ‘13.8 Minutes’ because it is how many minutes a cigarette takes from your life spam, the other images are also named in that way.
If I could improve on my shoot, I would have brought more props with the theme of addiction to show off more items you could get addicted too. I would also would have like to do a shoot in a more natural location, so my photography looked more realistic.