Student mentor opportunity

In April I was asked by my tutor Caroline Molloy to assist her in the lighting sessions she was doing for the first year’s module, Working With Light. I find this a very interesting opportunity as I know how the studio works and always enjoy teaching. We agreed upon 4 dates, once a week, commencing on the 16th of April till the 7th of May where photographer Michael Collins would come in to give a lecture and workshop on large format cameras. Unfortunately I working at Media Loan Shop during the lecture but I had the chance to be at the workshop. He gave me some great tips, as I consider using one for a long term project.

First session with Caroline and first year students, we did an induction to the studio and went through all the health and safety procedures. I explained how one is meant to power on and off the light heads and all their key features. Caroline had booked all the necessary equipment so as to demonstrate the creative control you can have in a studio. After I went through the basic steps in order to change a light shaper, such as light box, snoot or an umbrella the students used the studios on a brief set by Caroline.

Second session, on the 23rd of April, I was assigned with a group of students and Paul Smith to go on location and make use of the different conditions you can find outdoors. Outdoors can be harder to master as the lighting conditions are not 100% under your control. Paul split the students in two groups and gave them a brief.

Third session I took part in was with George Rippon, on the 26th April on location. This time the brief was different as the students had already done some work on their own. I helped the students to practice more with mixed lighting and more than one subjects.

On the 30th of April, the fourth session, I helped the students to make a task that involved personal objects , while making use of the practices learned so far in the studio. I was available to assist with any technical difficulties they might have. The students seem to have picked up the information quite fast. Light is the most important principle of photography. Understanding the ways it works and how you can control it creatively will certainly change the way one photographs.

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Final Task – Crime Scene

The three tasks so far have focussed on technical skills and application thereof. We have focussed this week on storytelling through bodies of work (the books and the movie) through technical application (the lighting workshops that turned into scene setting with actors and scripts) and by discussing “Why?” in tutorial.

Your final task is to build on this and make it your own. You will re-visit the “Human Presence” theme using all of the skills and techniques discussed and explored. You will previsualise your images and tell a story, that narrative will include an environment both populated and empty, detail studies and images of people, it will have a beginning a middle and an end, you will consider pace and flow, tension and resolution. 
The amount and nature of the piece will reflect one month’s work (a significant chunk of time we expect a significant piece of work).

For the final task I decided to build up on what I did on Task 2 and 3. I started building more complex stories on the person who lives in that storage room. Finally I decided to recreate a crime scene. What came out this story is as I was thinking initially, but I am more than happy with the outcome.

The story builds up without much information intentionally in order to let your imagination take part in my story. It is open to interpretation. I am portraying a story around a space instead of a character and that is why I am telling it from two different points of views. The first one being our point of view, introducing tragic irony, while the second one being the characters point of view. You are aware what is probably going on. But for him, the character it’s a surprise. The character is probably an investigator or a police officer and that is why some pictures look more like taken by the forensics team. I shot most of it with low key lighting and low angled shots to give a more dark and sinister feeling to the story.

For this shooting I used:

  • 2x Bowens Esprit 500 watts
  • a snoot with a honeycomb
  • a wafer strip light box
  • 2x Pulsar radio triggers
  • a Canon 5D Mark II (24-105mm, 50mm lens)
  • a tripod and a low backlite stand, extension pole
  • a light meter
  • a laptop tethered to the camera

(click on the first one to start the gallery show)

I will also like to thank Hollie Woodward and Siobhian Palmer for their ideas!

Task 3 – Human Presence Portrait

For the third task build around the theme of Human Presence I had to make portraits of the people that populate my chosen location.

Your focus of photographic interest in task three is to make images of the people that populate your chosen location. Your approach may be that of a documentary practitioner or you may choose to develop your practical approach to portraiture. Whichever; your decisions, experiments and practical research should be detailed in throughout and supported by your sketchbook/diary/blog. 

Your images can be made in situ or away from the site (whichever you prefer), naturally/ artificially lit or a combination thereof. 

You should again apply the knowledge garnered throughout Level One, drawing on inspiration from the range of artists and practitioners so far covered as well as your own research and investigations. You should continue to develop your own practice within the module and communicate your unique vision of the world.

I got attracted by a particular space in the house I live in. The garage; which is our landlord’s storage room is filled with old furniture and tools. I thought of this place and start imagining stories I could around it. I imagined that it could be a cabin in the woods and the person who occupies it. Then I thought of murder stories and crime. I decided then to start applying my imagination into this space.

With great help and inspiration from fellow photographer Ioana Bultoc we started the project. It’s really great working with other creative people because you can share your vision or help them out in theirs. Ioana helped a lot giving ideas and of course taking the photographs. I mostly operated the light meter and the lights, as well as act. My imaginations were built around a male personality, which would either leave isolated in the woods or capable to murder someone. Because my planning wasn’t thorough and I didn’t have a story board my ideas were spread everywhere in the room, without any actual goal. So we ended up having a hybrid of those two ideas.
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