Mad March musing

Here is the monthly look back, look forward (look out!) round up.

First looking back. I was able to finish off some long-term editing that I had to get out of the way, and I was also able to take a short time without any photography, which I used to clear my mind. You can just go from shoot to shoot and then it’s very easy to lose your way, so every now and then you should stop, look around and just check that you’re heading in the right direction.

I took an afternoon for myself to photograph the blossom on the fruit trees which surround the city (cover shot). It was a bit early to get the most spectacular images but it was the only opportunity I had. I really enjoy being out with a camera and not slaving over a hot graphics tablet.

On Saturday 9th I did a set of photos for Plec women. Six years ago with a friend we started a magazine because we were tired of the ‘old white men’ cultural hegemony. We wanted to introduce youth, women, LGBTQIA and people of colour, or BAME. We also wanted to take the focus away from painting as the only valid cultural art. As a photographer, I consider photography to be art (not all photography is art, but not all painting/sculpture/etc is art). We also wanted not to be constrained by language. We live in a city where the most frequently spoken language is Catalan, but we didn’t want to put a limit on either Catalan or Spanish or any other language that the contributor wanted to use (we have a blog where we upload translations), we also wanted a fairly even mix of words and pictures.

Anyway, back to the point! Over the years, many women have formed part of, and have contributed to, the magazine and we thought it was about time that they were on the cover of it. So we set off for a local landmark with as many of the contributors as could attend and we did a short photo session to remember all the women who have contributed so far.

Some of the ‘Women of Plec’

On Monday 11th and Wednesday 20th I did a photo session for the hairdressing Academy. I covered the cutting, colouring and also nail art classes that were being given. In a short time the students’ confidence has clearly grown.

A sample of nail art

On 21st March the body painting festival inaugurated an exhibition in a local venue. Four photographers chose five images each, but none of us knew what the others had chosen. All that really influenced my choice was that the images gelled, that they weren’t just unrelated photos. I already knew that I wanted the viewer to concentrate on the art, not only the body. The first two images and the final one were head and shoulder shots, the remaining two were body only – the first of these contained a topless, and headless, portrait. I’m not against nudity at all, I love shooting my subjects nude (them not me!), but as the painting of the models takes place outdoors, I don’t want to depict body painting as some kind of cheap thrill for voyeurs. While I’m on the topic, I’d like to say how infantile I find the female nipple censorship on social media. The image of a naked body should not be disturbing, nor should it be used to body shame. In the festival we have a full range of models: male and female, skinny to large, young and not so young. It’s high time we, as human beings, started to be more inclusive, not only regarding body shape but also gender identity and sexual orientation. If you would like to see some of my images from last year, they are here.

I’m first from the left – photo Sacriel

I have a new long-term photography student on Mondays. She is a mature student and she has a great eye for photography, so we are beginning by familiarising her with her camera and also going over the basic exposure triangle so that she can correct any simple problems she might come across while she’s out shooting. I’m also encouraging her to photograph anything and everything – you don’t have to go anywhere special to practice photography as long as you have a light source then you’re good to go. One thing I’ve noticed is that she, and other students, is obsessed with the technical details of exposure, she wants to know the ISO, the shutter speed and aperture. I’m gradually getting her to realise that it’s not that complicated, you just need to concentrate on shutter speed if you want to avoid camera shake or if you want movement in the photo, or aperture if you want to control the depth of field, the camera will sort out the rest for the time being. Only if there is a problem should you start worrying about the other things. I’ll probably write a short blog about this because it’s something that can hold people back unnecessarily.

Now looking ahead to April (although April is already here).

On Saturday 6th, in the afternoon, I have an outside session planned but maybe with the weather as it is we will have to do an indoor session instead. We have some abandoned building and gnarly tree photography to do, however, the weather was warmer when we planned things and we will have to wait and see how it turns out. We also have some water shooting planned but, definitely, that will be happening in June, July or maybe even August. I have too much empathy for my models to make them get into freezing cold water when we can wait a couple of months and shoot without the risk of hypothermia.

On Tuesday 9th I have an indoor session in the client’s flat. This is part of my body project project (but just one project called body project). The idea of this project is to remove the fear or the embarrassment surrounding your body, basically fighting back against body shaming. Ideally, the shoot would be done in your own home because that is a familiar location to you and should give you more confidence. Hopefully during the shoot your confidence will grow and you will realise that there is nothing wrong with your body, it may well be different from the modern idea of what is beautiful but that does not mean that your body is not beautiful and in no way should it mean that you should be embarrassed about yourself.

In the past on Maunday Thursday, I have photographed a silent procession around the old quarter here in Lleida. I don’t feel I can offer anything new to this subject so this year, either Thursday or Friday (which is Good Friday), I will be out and about hopefully getting the full moon photo shoot done. At the moment the weather is very cold but by the time Easter comes around I’m hoping it will be warmer. Eventually we will get those photos!

There is also a woodland shoot to be done but that hasn’t been programmed yet and I would imagine May would be a good time to go for that – let’s see if it’s in the next look forward!

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