Sunday, 24 January 2016

Test Shoot Two - Reflection

Originally I had planned to do a pin up style shoot and do my hair and make up like the images you'd usually see, as well as dressing like the image, a little bit more sexualised than my other photographs. But this didn't happen. It felt too over the top and foreign to me and also I felt as if I was objectifying myself which is just totally defeating the object of the project.

I decided to just turn it into an experimental shoot where I was just myself, I dressed exactly how I would dress with make up on that I would do if I were going out somewhere and wanted to look nice with a bit more drama added to my face. It just made it more personal.

I actually do really like the images that came out, they were fun to shoot and I think that shows in the images. I feel like you can feel my confidence in them which is good because I used to be a very shy and awkward person that got very uncomfortable in front of the camera. Especially when my wheelchair was in the images. On social media it is very rare to find a photograph of me where you can see my wheelchair, I hated it being in the photos and I never wanted to be defined by it. Unfortunately when people are in wheelchairs sometimes they become their identifiers and that is just how people see them 'the girl in the wheelchair'. I personally also find it very rare for images of disabled people to be seen as pretty. Usually disabled people are portrayed as the villain.

Test Shoot Two - Wheelchair - Experimentation

I had a go at changing the backgrounds on the images. I really had no clue how to do it. I tried to follow a tutorial on YouTube but it just did not work. So I did it my own way, and it was awful...well I like the colouring, I find it really interesting and I love the purple image. The issue is that I missed spots (around my wheels and my legs) so if I do this again I really need to be taught how to do it, I am sure if I asked Beytan he would be able to help me.

I really like the purple background, I think the colouring just goes well with my hair and wheelchair.

I wish I had tried this shoot with gels but I still just really do not understand them!

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Test Shoot Two - Wheelchair - Edits

I went through the images taken from the shoot and these were the eight images I felt looked best. 

I opened them in Photoshop and played around with the exposure as I wanted to try and get the background as white as possible. Unfortunately the lighting was slightly off meaning that once side is almost pure white and the other is a bit darker. I feel like there is a way to change this because its a RAW file, but I am not sure how so I plan on going to see Beytan or David to ask them for help. I think I remember seeing Beytan once select and area he wanted to change and lightened only that part which is what I wanted to do.

I actually really enjoyed this shoot. I normally get really awkward in front of the camera but I was fine for this shoot. I did start running out of things to do. I wasn't sure how to position myself but I just played around. This sounds odd but I know that when I take photos of myself on my phone I am quite posey when people aren't watching me, so I used that mentality, I just pretended I was taking photos of myself without anyone looking.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Test Shoot Two - Wheelchair - Contact Sheet

Once I had seen the photographs of Ali in her wheelchair I wanted to have a go with that concept myself. I asked Emily to take some photos for me but with my direction. I had control of how I looked and the settings.

I chose a plain background because I eventually want to edit it in Photoshop and  have a go at making the background coloured instead of using gels. I want to see if it looks better and more seamless than the gels did on the shoot with Sophie.

Here is the contact sheet for the shoot. We used the Digital Hasselblad and two large soft-boxes on a white background. I also filmed a time-lapse on my iPad, one while I was putting my make up on for the shoot and then one when I was taking it off at the end of the shoot. I wanted to go for dramatic make up, the type of make up I wear on a night out. (videos after contact sheet)



Pin Up Research

After having the idea about doing some pin up style photographs I first looked at normal pin up photographs just from google images. I don't like the overly sexy images and that is definitely not the look I am going for.

I guess really what I thought about doing was taking photographs of myself in situations that pin up photographs are staged but instead incorporate my disability some way.

So a few examples, the first image on the left I could sit in my wheelchair pulling that pose with the props around me.

Or the second image, I could do myself but I could be sat on the floor and have my back turned more towards the camera so you could see it.

In a way I want to make pictures that show the audience that even with a disability you can be 'sexy' (I am I'm no way saying I'm sexy *hate that word* but if I can create images to defy the norm thats good)

There is also the option of creating a kind of jokey piece. For example I could take the mickey out of pin up style photographs, because I actually do not really like them. I don't like the fakeness in them. So for example, the bottom left photo from the series, I could have the tree up higher and I could be in my wheelchair, dressed similarly to the lady in the image but I could be reaching up high trying to grab the apple but not being successful. 

While I was looking at the google images for pin up photography I came across this image. There was no indication as to where it came from or who took it or who was in the photo or even the reason for the photograph but it fit in with the brief so I have included it.

As I continued to look through the images I came across this article. It talks about a photography company called Shameless Photography and it turns out the image from before is also part of the website! 

Their site reads 

"Our mission is to help you to feel more empowered and embodied – and to see femininity as a space of play and possibility rather than shame,"

They have a variety of people in their images but there were three girls in wheelchairs which was really nice to see.


While scrolling through Instagram one day, an image came up on my timeline. As someone with a disability I do follow a lot of other people in wheelchairs, mainly from America. There was a series on TV called ‘Push Girls’ where it followed the lives of a group of girls in wheelchairs and showed how they managed day to day life. I was obsessed, it was like Made In Chelsea for disabled people really. As I started following the girls from the show on social media, I came across other people with disabilities. One girl, Ali Stroker I had actually known about for some time but never really followed her career. Originally I saw her on ‘The Glee Project’ (no judging, I was a bit of a glee fan a few years ago) She was one of the first girls I’d seen in a wheelchair, with a talent for singing, its very rare to see disabled actresses and singers so I was so happy to see this! She did not win the show unfortunately but she recently was cast on Broadway in a show called Spring Awakening and is the first actress on Broadway in a wheelchair.

Now I had seen a video of Ali recently because paparazzi had asked her for her opinion on the recent image of Kylie Jenner in a wheelchair (below)

A few weeks later and the first image from the series (below) was on Instagram leading to this article, this article led to this project, and this project lead to this photographer.

I then came across the rest of the images (below)

I really like these images and it was actually something I had thought about trying myself but I didn’t necessarily think about doing it in my wheelchair or with the coloured backgrounds. I had just thought that I would like to do a shoot where my back was showing but the images were more fashion styled. In a way mocking the way that people are portrayed in the media. This is something I want to explore.

I do really like the images of Ali but I am still not 100% sure about the backgrounds or angles. I think if I were to do it I would play around with lighting and make it a little less harsh and a bit more seamless if possible. 

Looking at these images has made me think of the pin up style photographs and I am now wondering if that is something I could explore possibly but with disabilities. So taking the conventional poses they do but with myself and my disability on show, maybe even do some in my wheelchair.

My next step is to have a look at some pin up style photographs and maybe work with that to start with. There is something about this idea that I’m not entirely sure about though, I feel like there is more that can be done. I don’t want my pictures to be too gimmicky.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Book Idea

Since I started my second year at this University and was introduced to the world of zines and photographic books, I have been obsessed with them. I just think the designs are so pretty on some of them and its something that I still really want to explore. I am not sure if I want to actually do this as my final piece but I wanted to research some different designs to use as a reference if I do decide to do it. One idea I was toying with for my last project was either creating a little zine, or a magazine/newspaper style piece. 
I found a newspaper while staying with a friend in Bournemouth that was A3 sized and it had prints in as well as text and it was really interesting. I actually loved the way the images looked on newspaper.

Something I got into recently and have loved doing is more graphic design based, with typography and I had a look on Pinterest for zines and these are some of the more visually aesthetic types I'd found that were my style.

This first booklet I love. I usually like minimalistic things but some how, although this is quite busy its also just delicate and nice to look at. There are a lot of images in this booklet but the way the text has been used gives it a graphic type feel also. The typography and the layout of the photos is what drew me to it. Every page is totally different and I just love the diversity of it. I wonder if it is a bit too much for what I am doing but its something to possibly think about.

This second one was something a little different. I think the thing that attracted me to it was because it was a real merge of graphic design and photography. I also really like that its all monochrome. I think the images of myself that I took for independent study would actually look really interesting in this sort of style. I might have a go at making a mock sheet based on these images just to see how my next lot of photos could look. I want to also have a go at working with text in a way that can be seen in the first image below. I like the idea of creating a little news article type thing about my condition or about someone elses condition depending on who is in the photograph.

This last one is probably the most photography based one that I found, although the first one I found had a lot of images, I felt that it was a more graphic style one because it used a lot of typography. This one uses images but it shows different layouts on each page. I really like the four page where its on a double page spread. I experimented with this in my last project with an image of myself and I actually really liked it. I do think though that if I were to make a book, id want some more text in it that what this one has. I like simplistic books with text and image so its not too intense but I also don't really like just all images. I do like having something to read.(Just not a novel)

Test Shoot One - Sophie - Experimentation

Although I honestly don't feel that I will use these images, I decided to have a go at experimenting with them. 
I really love using colour at the moment so I played around with colour swatches on the side of the image. Realistically, I just did this for fun, not really something I want to incorporate in my photos but I think its nice to see the range of colours in the image down the side.

I took the colours from the background, starting at the bottom right corner and making me way up to the top left. The pink colours are the ones that change the most. There is a very dark shadow at the bottom meaning that the gradient starts from a dark red, to a deep magenta  then in the centre of the image it is very peach and then just past sophist head the colours turns to a neutral pink colour.

Colour gels have officially confused me, I would really like to work with them again but I kind of want someone to teach me how they work, because they can honestly do so much, even just moving one of the lights slightly meant that colouring changed and it was confusing!!

The next swatch I did was of the blue gel which was lighting Sophie's face. Although it was a blue gel, it made the colours a purple colour, maybe the red and the blues were starting to merge more to create light pinks and purples.
The purple (blue) was a lot more gradient, there weren't huge changes in the colouring. It starts off at a mid-deep purple and gradually makes its way down to a light blue. 

The second idea I played around with was using text and image. This is something I have always wanted to incorporate in my work somehow. I have never really known how I wanted to but I spoke about it in my last project too. I wanted to have text in my project of things that are said to me quite a lot when it comes to my disability. I thought that a good place to start would be to ask Sophie about her condition because as I always say, 'just because I have a disability, does not by any means, mean I understand them all'.

I put the text in my previous blog post which was the statement Sophie sent me about her condition. I then placed it on a page next to this image.

I spaced out the wording so that it was easier to read and it makes it look less of a chunk of 'boring' text to read.

I like this, because its simple, and in a way it is what I was after. The image is colourful, it's a bit more fashion themed rather than just a straight headshot of someone with a black or white background and natural lighting. It has more to it. I quite like the text too, it is simple but I think its got a bit of fun to it where Sophie says "...always thought it was normal to not be able to feel the bottom of your spine, but apparently not." To me, this is good, because a lot of people assume, if you have a disability you cannot joke about it. But you can, almost everyone I know with some kind of disability knows how to laugh about it (as long as you don't do it to others! It's only acceptable to joke about your own disability unless you're really close to the person with a disability).

Monday, 18 January 2016

Test Shoot One - Sophie - Edit

I had a look at my images from the shoot and decided what images I liked. I actually really struggled with using the gels, I think I got a bit cocky and thought “it’ll be fine, i’ll look at some lighting plans online and mimic them with the colour scheme I want” no, it does not work like that. It ended up taking me ages to even take any photos. I didn’t like that the gels were so harshly split on Sophie’s face, the red was just so overpowering and made her look evil and that’s not what I wanted to portray at all. I wanted the images to be a bit more fashion like but I wanted them to be soft and just a lot less harsh. 
The blue was too cold and the red was too harsh. It just wasn't working in my eyes. 

I chose three images that I felt were the most acceptable from all the photographs I had taken. I opened them into Photoshop and decided to have a play around. After all, I always find with my work that if I experiment, something happens, either accidentally or on purpose where I suddenly have a huge rush of inspiration leading onto a new idea.

The first image I edited was the one seen above. I really like the vibrant background but the blue on her face just makes her look so cold and I don't like that at all. I wanted her make up to be dark so that her features stand out but they're just getting totally washed away with the blue. 
I had a go at retouching too, I used a trick I was taught recently by Emily Clark on our course on how to give someone 'flawless' skin. I wanted to try retouching the images to maybe give off a more 'fashion' like feel or even to make it look like an image you'd have on the front cover of a magazine.

The second image I edited was the one just above here. I really like this photo of Sophie, I think she looks really good in it, and although it is a very staged photo, I feel she gives off a really natural vibe. It doesn't look awkward or uncomfortable. I maayyyy have gone a little over the top with the editing on this one though. I tried to bring out the colour in her eyes but instead she just looks like a mythical creature with her piercing eyes. (Maybe thats a good thing, she's staring right into the audiences eyes and forcing them to look at her)
I also used the trick to make skin smoother with less blemishes on this one.

The last photo was this one. I did nothing to this photo other than doing the skin smoothening again. I do like this photo but I don't like the red on her nose. If it was a bit less sharp around that area it might have been a really interesting image with interesting colouring. But I just don't like how harsh it is at all.

Test Shoot One - Sophie - Contact Sheet

After I posted about wanting to experiment with coloured gels in the studio and also possibly working with other people with disabilities I experimented with both.
Sophie has a condition called hyper-mobility, it isn’t something that is visible but it is something that effects her. I asked her to tell me about her condition so that I could experiment with image and text at a later date.
“So, I have Hypermobility Syndrome, which effects the joints mainly knees, fingers, elbows and hips. Apparently its mainly inherited, but no one in my family has it, and it’s most likely from over use as a kid doing sports and stuuuuff. I was diagnosed with hyper mobility when I was about 15, and being 8/9 on the ‘scale’ (9 being the most/worst). I also found that I have two vertebrae in my spine that are 'punched in’, just meaning that they are not in line with the rest of them. But this puts more strain on my lower back. I was born with this, and always thought it was normal to not be able to feel the bottom of your spine, but apparently not.”

I did my first test shoot with Sophie. This shoot was to mainly experiment with coloured gels. 

Here is the contact sheet from the shoot.

I think that my next step is to edit some of the images and experiment with putting text and image together.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Alexa Wright - 'Skin Images'

The second series I am looking at by Alexa Wright (second of many I will explore) is this series of four images. Each photo is of an individual person with different skin diseases.
People might look at this and think “well this isn’t a disability” it is. These conditions effect these peoples everyday lives and that is a disability. This is something I want to explore also, the prejudice of what is classed as a disability and what isn’t. People are judged so much on how they look and when a disability isn’t a physical impairment, others judge and say ‘you’re not disabled’
I love the anonymously of this project. The photos do not show faces at all. The only thing that is given is a piece of text with the images. The text explains about their conditions and how it effects them on a day to day life. This is an idea I had thought about doing in the beginning of my project and as part of my previous project. I like reading different peoples stories because they’re all so different and they’re all different from an average everyday person without a disability. It also raises so much awareness because people don’t always realise how severe some things can be to a person when it isn’t ridiculously visual. 
I really like the unusual colouring of these images. The colours to me just seem so odd together but I think it works! The use of textures in the background of some of the images kind of relfects the textures on the skin of the people being photographed.
The composition for most of the images are central from either the top or the sides, I like that not all the focus is on the skin and that they’re made to look beautiful.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Fashion Collab Behind The Scenes

Here are some of the photos I took from the day. As I was live tweeting I took photos on my iPhone rather than an actual camera. I recently brought iPhone lens' and being someone very anti 'iPhone photography' I felt a little bit ashamed when I ended up loving the lenses. It consisted of a wide angle, fish eye and macro, I used the wide angle throughout and it actually made it a big difference, I was able to capture a lot more of the surroundings which is perfect for this sort of set up. 

For example this first image, I love that I not only get the main set up in the image with the backdrop, lights and model but we get to see the room and the photographer, so you can see how the lights are suspended from the ceiling and you can also see the photographer at work.

I took a few short clips on the day to upload to the twitter just to show some of the more interactive shoots in action. The clips were incredibly short so instead of uploading here I made a couple of gifs from them to show the mechanisms for the shoot.