Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Project 02: Thinking about location

The first stage of this Project is to research potential locations for interesting 'whole body or torso' portraits.  I have been carrying the compact camera with me on a few walks in and around Holmfirth, and keeping a watchful eye has proved fruitful. Reference images have been taken of a number of possibilities for suture use, but here are the six selected for the project - looking to demonstrate some variety in the selection.
Location 1

Situated on a footpath by the River Holme, this is the back of a derelict mill.  There are a number of these peeling drainpipes, which as well as providing colour and interest in their own right have the potential for marked textural contrast with human skin.  The area is shaded, so light might be a problem, and there are tall trees on a hillside opposite, so whatever sunlight does get through will be 'dappled'.  The river is behind the camera position, so stepping back to get a full length portrait might require care (or a diving suit), but torso to head and shoulders will work OK.

Location 2

This is further along the footpath from the first location and offers a good possibility for full length or torso level images.  The 'platform' is steel and solid, so safe for the subject, despite being right by the river.  This shot is taken from some steps that lead up from the river bank, offering an interesting camera angle, either for a subject looking upwards or for a view down onto a subject standing, looking into the water, for example.  There is also space to the right of this view, for a more level camera angle.  Light might again be an issue, but there is likely to be direct sun at some times of day.

Location 3

This location is close to the centre of Holmfirth and offers a number of possibilities - the corner between wall and building; the window or the wall as background; looking down at camera from the metal rail above the wall; and even some steps in the background.  Light is likely to be consistently shaded, so soft for portrait making, and there are firm surfaces where a tripod could be used, if required.

Location 4

I saw this location as having the potential for something a bit different - walking towards camera down the cobbled slope, for example, or leaning moodily against the wall on the left.  This is definitely a shady spot (by which I mean it lacks light, not that it is dangerous!), so some flash might be necessary to get light into the subject's face.

Location 5

Located in a small park close to the town centre, this location is potentially quite complex, in terms of the background, but at the right time of year, could offer good colour and framing for either ful mength or torso length images.  The light is generally good (this shot having been taken with the camera facing more or less due South), with possibiltities for shooting from either side of the archway.

Location 6

This park/play area, a little way up the valley side and overlooking Holmfirth, provides interesting possibilities for scenic background, with the metal railings on the right providing somewhere for the subject to stand, but also for sitting and even lying on the metal seats (at the right time of year!).  It might also work well for group shots.  Probably the main problem with this and the previous location is that this is a popular area at weekends and the the previous is something of a thoroughfare.  It would be important to pick the right time of day to avoid continual interruption, or creating a nuisance for other users.

I have chosen to present some images at Location 2 for this project.

The location has worked well for both full length and torso images, and has provided two different camera angles.  The background works successfully in providing context, contrast and interest, without detracting from the main focus of the portrait.  We also tried a few variations of stance, hand positions etc.

Thanks to Isobel for modelling so well.

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