People to research:
Stephen Gill Unseen
Alejandra Cata Gena
Philip Lorca Dicorsa
Robert Adams K Mart carpark
This is a rough edited mixture of 3 shoots worth of photos, I have categorised these only for my own benefit at this stage so I can see how they might work later as part of a series or book.
The photos were taken experimentally with a few objectives to try and establish a. the best combination of equipment and settings and b. to see how I would feel about different styles of shooting and c. to see which combo feels stronger in review.
These shots were taken whilst sat in my car. I use a Nikon d810 camera and have trialled both a sigma 24-70mm f2.8 aperture and a 120-400mm f4.5 lens. For these shots, I favoured the larger 120-400mm lens because of its physical size - more about that below. What I like about these shots in the purposeful inclusion of the interior frame of my car, it changes the narrative of the shots from street to surveillance. With this in mind, I tried experimenting with shooting empty windows, however I feel this may be somewhat cliche and weaken the overall strengths of the other work.
I particularly like the shots where the person is almost obscured by the car, it gives the impression of the shots being taken in a hurry or that I am trying to conceal myself in taking them - which of course I am.
These shots I have for now categorised as Irony - in the final edit, I don't think I will isolate these shots or give them a title but in doing so on here it gives me a better insight into what I have and more importantly what I haven't got.
These are some of my favourite photos, I love the metaphors and humour that these present to me. In order to take these shots, I tried a different approach. I stood outside a prominent corner in the centre of Cheltenham with my camera hanging around my neck whilst i subtly shot from the waist without looking at what I was doing. Because it is important to me that people do not know I am taking their photo - I want to capture them as natural as I can and for them to not be influenced into posing or changing their expressions or appearance in anyway. I tried not to be obvious and make it look like I was merely stood there - but evidently to no avail as I shortly encountered the police demanding to know what I was doing and why!
I definitely know I want to make more images like these. They have a very different feel to them than the more obvious surveillance work, but I like the implied narratives and assumptions that may be made by the viewer because of my choice of framing, cropping and angles.
These shots I think I am most ambivalent about, at the time of shooting I was quite pleased with these, but on review in my opinion they are weak and just 'so what'! i wont be persuing this type of image in future.
I was very pleased with these shots, I particularly like the dog shots and the dynamics between the dog, the air freshener and the viewer. I also liked the experience of taking these shots, it got my adrenaline going because I had to be more obvious in taking them. I think there is something quite interesting and confrontational about looking at people in their cars as a private space, I need to shoot more of these to try and gain a clearer understanding of this.
These shots were taken with the big 120-400mm lens and I felt I was taking more of a risk with them in the sense I was more obvious and it would have been easier for the subjects to catch me in the act as it were. I do feel quite happy with these shots, i like the framing and the narrative.
These are the ones I have selected in the 'so far' edit, but I cant decide at this stage where they belong.
I did enjoy taking these photos as the risk of being caught was heightened, however I am aware there may be legalities regarding shooting in this style so its sadly not an option I will pursue in future.
I am going to use my time studying for an MA by pursuing my interest in the accidental foibles of everyday life. I have 2 lines of pursuit I am considering:
1. Street photography: Catching people unawares
2. Secret stalker/surveillance
This is my opinion: In todays society, we have cultivated a deep sense of paranoia which has come about not only because of the ongoing threat of the terror crisis but also and perhaps less obviously, because people now have more access to Technology. CCTV and the internet have become prolific in their existence. This has enabled people to witness and be more aware of life threatening situations. The public speak more, read more and become more concerned with political correctness and moral issues than ever before. Our own British society has become more litigious in recent years, everyone seems more aware of their rights in all areas of life.
I have always been fascinated by people, what they do, how they appear, how they interact etc. Being an avid people watcher, I naturally love street photography and I have become interested in the notion of owning something that some would say doesn't belong to me – for example, a photo of a private person in a public space. It is the moral and ethical considerations that interest me and I want to take candid photos that are provocative and that challenge my sense of 'appropriate' within the realms of the law.
My other idea – is surveillance. My point at this stage being, that even the most private person has a public identity whether they like it or not. Although the images I capture would be no different from those captured by CCTV, the process of compiling all this footage into one document/piece, would inevitably change the way in which these images were viewed and considered.
In the past, I have made projects on self harm, body image and domestic violence. I have explored the impact that the media has on this. I now want to explore the more private side of the human condition, that even when someone is doing the most mundane task, they are still being scrutinised, documented and their image is being owned by a person or persons completely unknown to themselves.
Most of the time people do not even think about this. Surveillance has become so ingrained into our society that we take it for granted, mostly, without question. Examples range from the extreme of daily news reports where images of the general public are included in backgrounds and subsequently broadcast to millions of viewers on televisions, to just walking through our local towns and being recorded on CCTV. There is a growing trend for members of the public to also record images where uninvolved bystanders could be recorded using mobile phones, home security and even car dashboard cameras. Such devices and recording practices are rarely challenged or even considered, but think about who actually might be looking at your image! The obvious potential dangers of our 'big brother' society extend to us all. We imagine ourselves as relatively safe and private but in reality, our images are open to exploitation nearly all day everyday and there is no escape.
I hope to capture images that explore this notion. Images that challenge my own ethics and those of the law. I want to try and create moments in time where complete and utter strangers and I become involved together to create an abstract narrative – all without their knowledge or consent. Because I can.