Portrait and sequencing

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by MiKaLa119, Feb 8, 2007.

  1. MiKaLa119

    MiKaLa119 TPF Noob!

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    Hello! I haven't posted in a VERY long time. Well I'm taking a beginners photography class at college and we're doing a sequencing and portrait project. I need help! I have a few ideas, but none seem to go very far and I think they might be a bit cliche. So I'm looking for some insight...PLEASE! Here are the ideas...let me know what you think:

    1. seven deadly sins - I was going to focus on the eyes or mouth each depicting a different sin. I told the class my idea and it didn't go very well. they didnt seem to like the idea and i think its a bit too cliche also.

    2. Sign language - I was going to have a friend signing a story, but it seemed a bit too plain. So in attempt to "take it to the next level" I plan on taking one emotion, such as anger, and take separate pictures of someone signing the letters. In the final project I would have the letters set up and in between a series of photographs depicting an action of anger. I just don't feel like this is "enough." I'm stuck....

    3. Veterans - I plan on going to a VA hospital and photographing veterans. I was thinking of having each veteran holding a sign of a number that represents the number of people killed during their war era. In the final picture I plan on showing my own uniform with a number and then "still counting..." Does this seem too cliche?

    4. Story of 2 - This idea is a simple story. Basically, two people sitting on a bench in the rain. One person has an umbrella and moves over to share it with the other person. I guess I can try to take it to the next level and make some sort of political statement... but I'm having some sort of "writers block." Plus - how can I make it look like it's raining.

    Sooo there are my ideas... My biggest concern is not doing a cliche theme and have some sort of artistic or political statement. I want to do most of the project this weekend so I can get some good contact sheets by Monday, but I'm in desperate need of help.... soo any comments? or better ideas to expand my project. PLEASE! thanks!!!...oh yeah sorry for long post
     
  2. Peanuts

    Peanuts TPF Noob!

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    Looks like you have it all set up - and honestly, I think it is pretty hard these days to avoid cliche. If for instance they said the theme was 'light' and you did a lighbulb, now that would defintely edge into an overly done cliche.

    Regarding the sign language - neat idea! I don't know whether you have to do a series/emotion, but one idea that quickly popped into my head, is perhaps just one image/emotion. Each with the same dramatic lighting, which would probably work better in study. If you can have a drama student do the 'acting' I am sure it will look extremely realistic. There was probably a year ago an article in NG regarding reading facial expressions and they had a gallery with a proffesional (no joke) and a specialist in the police department analyzing the face to determine signs of certian feelings or the likes. I wonder if I would be able to find that article. Anyways, having the signed letters of the emotion in my opinion is fantastic.

    Veterans - another interesting idea, I am a shy person, and I don't know if I could personally ask a veteran to pose in that manner - but if you ahve contact with several who are willing. Go for it. One quick obstacle that popped into my mind is that you may have some trouble locating veterans outside of the WWII or Vietnam War, which would probably hinder a few ideas. I can't remember what medium you are capturing these on, but for some reason the idea of a stark black and white medium/large format size ratio with heavy vignette and narrow depth of field comes to mind for this one. I don't think your uniform at the end would at all be cliche.

    Oh, looks like my creative juices jsut stopped and I can't think for the other two, but I personally think you will be very successful with these ideas. Looking forward to seeign the results :thumbup: (and my apologies about the ramblings)
     
  3. dgs

    dgs TPF Noob!

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    Had you approached my father when he was in a VA hospital with your concept you and I would have had very strong words. I find the notion offensive. That's ok. You have no obligation to avoid offending me. I do think you have an obligation to your subjects if you wish to use their likeness for a political statement.

    Switching to hopefully helpful mode, I'll offer a suggestion. How about finding a theatre major on campus. Buy a cup of coffee and listen to all the complex things an actor does to communicate through a role on stage. Ask how the actor conveys emotion. Then ask if the actor can convey that emotion without dialog, without movement in a tiny fraction of a second. Ask if they can demonstrate that. Then properly light it and capture the images.

    Seeking collaboration and discovery instead of trying to depict a political slogan just might work. Crazier ideas have.
     
  4. Jazz

    Jazz TPF Noob!

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    A portrait sequence project is a great idea. But if you have to do it this weekend, then I think the VA Hospital deserves more time and respect than you can afford in just two days. I like dgs's idea of getting a theatre person and working with them. Brainstorm with them for a few minutes and then try a couple of different ideas. Keep it simple.

    One idea: maybe a subtle gradation of expressions beginning with the subject feeling bluesy (low key lighting) to melancholy (add an out of focus bkgrnd light) to neutral (even lighting now) to hopeful (high key) to gleeful (high key with motion blur). Once you get started shooting, don't hesitate to change your plans and go with what's working.

    Regarding the cliche, I'd suggest not worrying about it. Everything's been done before, but not by you. Good luck.

    (There are seven deadly sins? Do I wanna know what ... nah.) :D

    :thumbup:
     
  5. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    One thing that I would like to captured in a series are the diffences of human interaction between cultures.... as such hand gestures and their different meanings around the world.

    I thought about getting a collection of "portraits" of people doing derogatory gestures from different cultures... not sure if your teacher would high appreciation for it though...

    I like the veterans idea... a lot... especially in today's political climate.
     
  6. castrol

    castrol TPF Noob!

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    1. Greed
    2. Sloth
    3. Envy
    4. Gluttony
    5. Pride
    6. Lust
    7. Wrath

    :D :hug::
     
  7. MiKaLa119

    MiKaLa119 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks so much for all your replies... I think I do need more time than a weekend for the VA hospital. I might try to take some of the photographs of the other projects so that I can have something by monday. I really like the ideas that were thrown out... Ill try to do a little bit of each and see what I can get. Thanks again for the comments! please feel free to comment some more. ...Also I plan on taking photographs of my grandmother getting ready in the morning. Shes over 80 years old and still does the lipstick and pearls thing every single day. Can you guys think of a word for that? And old woman pretending to be young... I was thinking youth or something along those lines.... okay thanks!!!
     

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