Negotiating access


This is a small task to do over the summer months, where I shall be testing my skills as a portrait photographer and asking a stranger whom I have never met before and taking an image of them. This will push my confidence and also will allow me to gain experience and knowledge on how to go about taking a strangers portrait.


So I have already begun taking images of strangers. My first portrait shows my nervousness. When we look up to our favourite photographers they make it look so easy to go out into the big world and capture a beautiful image of a random person.

For part of my final assessment I have decided to visit the Black Country Living Museum, and this really helped me out. My first photograph and my final photograph show my growth of confidence within a few hours. I discovered that if you show and interest in their lives, job or hobby, whatever it is, then that removes down the wall and you feel more confidence in asking, ‘Oh, do you mind if I can take a quick picture?’ And luckily no one I asked said no, so it was a real boost of self-esteem. Honestly, just start a conversation with someone, even if you have no interest at all in what they are saying, it really helps you and your chances of gaining that all important portrait.

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Over the weekend I have visited Chatsworth house and the small town of Ashbourne. I decided to get my people watching goggles out and just sit around looking and different peoples traits and it was actually really intriguing. These images are obviously a lot further away then they are aimed to be, but I still consider them to be a portrait as they all tell us about the people and I think they create a nice little series.

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Today I visited Sherwood Forest to attend the Robin Hood Festival. This festival is a week packed full of different events, activities and performances that are all aimed to take the viewer back into the medieval mind-set. I decided to take photographs on my camera and also on my phone. I found the difference between the two really surprising.

DSC_0017 DSC_0020 DSC_0021    So lets start with my camera. Because the place is crammed full of people, it was hard to take images of individual people without anyone in the shot. I’m not the most
confident photographers out there so it was perhaps more difficult for me to take pictures with hundreds of people surrounding me. I found my camera took more time, obviously, to operate and thatmean I missed certain timings and the atmosphere. However the quality is obviously there

My phone camera is an easy point and shoot style, which meant I could focus on the atmosphere and getting a sense of the even as a whole. I felt more
comfortable with the camera and was less of an outsider. I also gained a much better image with myIMG_0009 camera that I wouldn’t possible have got with my camera. It makes me wonder whether a photographer should discard the thought of using there camera phone even though they perhaps will get more of a sense of culture and gain more atmosphere by using apoint and shoot.


The second part to this summer project was to capture a photograph of someone I know. For this I chose my partner as my model. He’s a prime example of someone I feel totally comfortable with, not just because we aretogether, but also because I have photographed him many a times. We actually met in our college photography class, so after many photo shoots together, he should feel comfortable with the camera and me. This is a total opposite.

This first difference is we can go anywhere. I couldn’t really ask a stranger oh lets just travel a couple of hours so I can get the shot. They would think I’m most likely a murderer and call the police. So the location was perfect. Next the pose, which I could directly get what I specifically had in mind. Whereas the reenactors I felt like I could partially move them, maybe just ask if they could look somewhere specific. The images are completely different. I definitely feel like building relationships with people first before photographing them is very important.IMG_4259


So what have I learned? Firstly, people don’t bite. Just ask them something, like there opinion on something (even if your not interested) getting a stranger in a conversation will make them like you more and feel more comfortable so in the end they are more likely to say they don’t mind having their photograph being taking. Secondly, building relationships with people and having them feel more comfortable with me is something that I personally prefer. It’s easier for me and I end up liking the images much more.


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