Assignment 1 – Photographic process

Once the main idea was set, I though about what I wanted to show in each set. The brief mentioned about producing 5 to 7 photographs per set. I decided in the end to have 5 clearly distinct images for each set, with only two images being similar in content, and representing a “joint” between the two sets. From the outset I decided that I wanted these two pictures to be about shaving, as this is an aspect from my life that separates my work life from my leisure time: I do not normally shave during weekends or while on holidays. As photography is primarily about the exterior (link to some personal observations on this point), I though this was an important visual clue to equally separate and join the two sets.

For the remaining five pair of pictures I wanted to show myself doing similar activities under the guise of each persona: eating, working, relaxing, sleeping and traveling, and to try to separate them as much as possible. In addition to having separation in terms of the activities or the content of such activities, I also wanted the personas to dress differently, to accessorize differently (spectacles and watches are different) and to wear wedding rings in different places. A lot of what the images portray may be considered stereotypes, but they are not necessarily true or false with respect to the subject, or real for that matter, and I have left clues in some of the pictures to hint that all of this may be staged (as it effectively was). Some of the clues (like a text written in the computer screen in one of the pictures, or the use of a purple cloth to cover my jeans in one of the shots in which I wear a jacket and tie) were deliberately put there, while others were genuine mistakes that I decided not to correct (for example, in the picture showing myself as a darkroom worker, the trays shown in the background are simply too small for the size of paper I have under the enlarger, something that would be easily spotted as odd by those looking carefully).

Nearly all the shots were taken indoors, the only two exceptions being the taxi and bus scenes. All the shots were taken with a 28mm lens, as I wanted to include as much of the background as possible while still having relatively close-up shots. Because I took the pictures all by myself, nearly all done by setting the camera on a tripod and using a remote trigger application with a timer set to 10 seconds, in order to allow myself to recompose after pressing the trigger. The bus picture was taken with hand stretched as if I was taking a selfie, as it was not practical to set up a tripod there.

In total, 193 pictures were taken for this assignment, over a period of 6 days. Some of the scenes were re-shot to compare alternative looks. The final images had basic post-processing adjustments, such as light / shadows adjustment, color balance and selective burning / dodging. Cloning was only used twice to remove extraneous spots, but otherwise, images were cropped to remove unwanted elements. In only one set of images, the ones about shaving, the transform tool of Lightroom was used to align certain elements (as these pictures will be shown side by side in the final presentation). All the final images were cropped on a 3:2 aspect ratio and presented on a landscape orientation. Annotated contact sheets can be found here.

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