Following feedback from my tutor (see here), I decided to have a second look at the series presented for this assignment and rework some of the shots. My initial idea was to present two set of pictures that were all staged, caricatured versions of life, portraying seemingly opposed attitudes to it. A key comment from my tutor is that the pictures look too staged, and I agree that in the second set, some of the pictures look far too clean for what I wanted to convey. To an extent, this is a limitation of the way I have approached this work, that is to portray imagined situations related to certain activities (eg eating, relaxing, working), as undertaken by each of the two characters. As these activities were pre-conceived to match across both sets, it is possible that some of the resulting pictures were more forced, less spontaneous than others. Having said that, I agree with my tutor’s implied comment that less spontaneity and more detachment in the first set (ie the “city director”) were perhaps desirable to emphasize the stiffness of this character. I have tried to re-work some of the shots for the second set, the “photographer”, to make them less clean and slightly more allegorical. The changes have not been dramatic, though, because I did not want to lose sight of idea of a continuum between the two sets, a sort of dual life within the same person, which is the central theme of my work here: that both sets looked “too clean” in the first place may have been an unconscious consequence of my decision to assume that both characters were essentially the same person.
In addition to re-shoting some of the pictures for the second set, I have re-drafted part of my assignment notes to clarify my intention, following comments from my tutor. The two sets are meant to show two different personas, but not necessarily two different persons. Key to this idea is the way I have chosen to present the work, as a continuum between the two sets, as if one character would take over from the other at a certain time of the day. Setting aside the fact that both are played by the same person, are the attitudes and activities of these characters sufficiently apart so as to create the impression they may not be the same person? Or are there clues to the contrary? I have tried to steer the work towards that ambiguity and I hope that my final submission works better in that respect.
The final submission of pictures is shown below, together with revised assignment notes and PDF booklet (1) showing how I envisaged the work being presented. You can also find revised contact sheets here, and my revised self-assessment here.
(1) For correct viewing, select “two page view” in your preferred PDF reader.