David Oates set us a challenge to create our own website which would have the potential to be developed into a professional portfolio. I had never used Tumblr before and only heard of it through friends who used it as an informal blogging platform. It was interesting to discover how to create new pages, change backgrounds and fonts and how to order and arrange images in an aesthetically pleasing way.
Our first week-long challenge was to take 12 street portraits of strangers in and around Manchester. When David was discussing his work, I found it interesting how much he’d thought about his backgrounds for each portrait; I’d never considered it to be such an important factor in a photograph before. Due to this discovery, I chose to take my portraits in the Northern Quarter of Manchester which is known for it’s colourful and quirky graffiti which I could use as my backgrounds and as an aid to theme my images. First, I searched for a striking background, then I waited for a young male to walk by with an atypical dress sense to tie in with the artsy theme.
S T R E E T P O R T R A I T S
Inspired by The Sartorialist and The Mancorialist, these photographs were taken in the Northern Quarter of Manchester. Male subjects were used who had a personality and fashion sense that complemented the edgy location. I searched for backgrounds which were rich in colour and contrast and used natural lighting to create a realistic representation.
We were able to choose the subject for our second week-long assignment, again we were advised to shoot at least 12 images in order to be able to select 3-4 successful photographs for the blog. I have always admired Alexey Titarenko’s ‘City of Shadows’. The series has such at atmospheric and emotional feel to it which I wanted to reproduce. I chose to shoot in the centre of Manchester as it has always baffled me as to why the majority are in such a rush with empty expressions on their faces in big cities, leaving no time to enjoy their surroundings or to speak to others. I think in some ways that individuality is lost in the city; everyone just becomes another passer by – this is why I decided to name this series ‘Anonymous’.
A N O N Y M O U S
Alexey Titarenko’s ‘City of Shadows’ inspired me to take a series of long exposure portraits around Manchester City centre. These images are an observation of identity loss in the city environment. An adjustable, tinted filter was used in order to allow for exposures ranging from 1-2 seconds.
For our third week-long challenge we were asked to focus on collage. That week I visited an exhibition including work from Andy Warhol at The Photographers’ Gallery. I had seen a lot of Warhol’s work before but never really understood the intentions behind it. I was interested in his views towards consumerism, I also wanted to analyse my own buying habits. I got home and opened my cupboard to search for the products that I buy most frequently without even thinking about it. I used repetition show how our brains our flooded by brand recognition every single day. Different saturations and exposures were also experimented with to create a hypnotic effect; reflecting on our subconscious reactions to advertising.
I N T H E P A N T R Y
These photographs focus on the products I buy most frequently. Like Warhol, my images are mass-produced in an attempt to mimic their subjects. I experimented with altering colours and exposure and used repetition to say something about the monotony of routine. I believe that what you purchase has a huge influence on your character, which is worrying considering that we have become so desensitized to the power of advertising.