I rather hopefully stated at the end of my last catch up that I hoped to have something out by Christmas, well, Christmas is still relatively recent. I’m always over optimistic with time. I am always trying to fit something else into a spare moment and then not doing the things I’m supposed to.
This is a look back at the last three months and a look forward to the new year ahead. I did another body positive/bodyscape session in October some photos from that can be seen in this blog post.
At the end of October we re-visited the local cathedral and did another re-enactment morning. More people than last year as the restrictions for coronavirus were not so strict, however, things are not back to normal yet.
In November I did a baby photo shoot which had been given as a gift from mother to daughter. I photographed the parents and the newborn in their home, and I still find it quite surprising how traditional people regard family photographs. My style of shooting is to capture moments of interaction rather than staged, or posed, photos. In my photography world it seems like everyone and their dog are doing this now (and I think it’s a wonderful thing, we are supposed to be capturing emotions not documenting on Ellis island), but there are still a majority of clients who look back to the photos they, and in some cases their parents, had taken when they were young and want to emulate them (perhaps they are just not aware of the alternatives). Once clients realise that they can simply be themselves in the images, and in that way they appear more natural, with more realistic smiles, they relax and enjoy the session much more.
I also did photos for a friend of mine’s 65th birthday. We were supposed to go to the old cathedral and climb the belltower like we had five years ago. Unfortunately, due to Covid restrictions this was not possible and we had a day out instead. We went to a local village where there is a signposted route for Robert Capa. My friend and her husband were the ones who started the research for this project, so it was something very personal for them. It was a beautiful sunny day, quite warm for late November, and we were able to retrace the steps, with the original photos, of the great photographer.
On the final weekend of the month, I photographed the same woman I had photographed for the magazine back in July. She was in the city with a friend to perform a play about the meaning of love and the treatment of women over the last hundred or so years. I really love capturing actors or dancers when they are working (especially in rehearsal as I have more freedom of movement), and in this case my friend is both an actor and a dancer so I had the best of both worlds.
The very next day, Monday, I went to the Costa Brava with Sacriel and we did a kimono shoot on the beach. First I managed to get my feet wet, then she got her feet wet, only one of us had the foresight to bring a spare pair of shoes and socks (it wasn’t me, I had wet feet for about eight hours). There were seven and a half hours of driving, an hour and a half of hair and make up, and about an hour and a half of shooting (there was also half an hour of coffee and brownies which was the highlight of both of our days).
People often imagine that photo shoots are easy. You just turn up with a model, take some photos, go home. However there’s a lot of planning that goes into the shoot before (location, wardrobe, feel, time of year, weather, direction of the Sun, et cetera), and then there’s all the work on the day, and then, there is the not inconsiderable task of editing all the images (even though you always try to get it right in camera, you still have to go through and select the images you want and do some basic adjustments. I tend to shoot my images slightly dark when I am not in control the light because if the highlights are blown usually the image is lost).
December was relatively quiet (If you don’t include all the processing that I needed to get through from the final week of November!). I did my second bodyscape (body positive) shoot just after Christmas. We concentrated on flash photography with different gels on the lights to give us different colours on the body. We had a meeting the day before to decide what we would, and more importantly would not, be shooting because we have so many ideas about what we want to do it’s very easy to get sidetracked. During the shoot itself we came up with enough ideas to fill about another twelve hours of shooting.
With the local fine arts photography group we have covered editing with Snapseed and an introduction to black-and-white photography, composition and a continuation of black-and-white photography, and in December, night photography (we couldn’t do this last year because there was a curfew set). I also photographed some artworks from the painting group for a catalogue for an exhibition.
Quite a busy three months, and while some things did get left unfinished (I’m only halfway through editing my photo session in an abandoned village that we did on the 11th of September), a lot was accomplished and seeds planted for the future. That future will include more rope work with two models, a ‘then and now’ exhibition for a local cultural organisation, and I have an exhibition coming up in February for my bodyscape project. This project is growing in importance and is also finding its form, I’m hoping to progress much more with it this year to include other people. My idea is that this will be the form of my body project where I take ordinary people and show them how good they look to help them feel comfortable with their bodies. There’s a lot of body dysmorphia and body shaming because of social media, I would like to help people realise that how you expect your body to look and how your body can look are quite often very different. Personally, there are parts of my body that I really dislike, but short of cosmetic surgery, there is very little I can do about this. In reality it doesn’t make any difference to my ability as a photographer or as a member of society. In fact, I think it helps me as a photographer because it’s easier to understand the insecurities that we all suffer. If you would like to feature in the body scape project, or even just talk about it, feel free to get in touch.