Who Am I?

This task was to introduce us to working in the studio and using the photographic lighting to achieve a particular aesthetic. We had to think of a lighting set up which would benefit what we were trying to portray, those in costume had to consider how they would arrange the lighting to create an effective character based on the costume they were wearing. I was absent in this session and therefore used the studio an alternative time, I had no specific costume however I did have an idea of what atmosphere I wanted to create in my images. Previous shoots I have done in the studio have been very high-key lighting with a white background and using lots of the lights available to me. Therefore this time I wanted to create a dark, serious atmosphere using as little lighting as I could and a dark background. My ‘character’ should be emerging from the dark, looking slightly sinister or deep in thought; perhaps reflective of the parts of my personality that leave me feeling unsure in some situations. The images below are the ones from the shoot which I feel were the most effective:

Final 1

This first image was one of the very early ones in the shoot, proof that sometimes you can over do a photo shoot and not get nearly as good as you did at the beginning. All through this shoot I kept the same lighting set up, one single light with a snoot which focused all the light into a spot. Instead of using flash, I decided just to use the available light from the lamp as I still wanted to keep the image quite soft, I felt perhaps using a flash would mean the shadows were harsh. Here I am looking just to the right of the light, which is basically in front of me, side on to the camera, which meant the front of my face was light, but everywhere else was in shadow.

Final 02

In this second image, I have my back to the camera and I’m turning my head over my shoulder to look just to the right of the light again, just as in the first one. Because I am slightly further forward, the light captures more of my body, starting to pick out more of my hair and the shoulder that is closest to the light.

When editing the images I did very little except up the exposure a tiny bit and change the images to black and white. The reason for this was that I didn’t feel the colour added to the image at all, it was all about the shadows and the highlights, which are strengthened when an image is changed to black and white. In addition to this, the available light from the lamp cast a very yellow glow and without further editing to the photos that I wanted to avoid, I wouldn’t have been able to get rid of this colour temperature, changing it to black and white took any emphasis on the yellow colour tone away. I feel these images are effective in what I was trying to achieve; the meaning behind them, it that sometimes I feel a bit overwhelmed by unfamiliar or seemingly worrying situations. Sometimes I feel surrounded by uncertainty and it leaves me feeling a bit lost about where I should go and what I should do. In the photo I am lit however there are shadows all around me, and some of them have an influence on my appearance, representing how uncertainty and the unknown can affect me and perhaps make me seem a little strange from an outside perspective.

I was really happy with the way these images came out in the studio, this lighting set up is definitely one I will remember and it was really constructive for me to be happy with an image of myself. Usually when I am the one being photographed, there is rarely a photograph that I will be happy with. Therefore feeling happy with these images has made me feel a bit more confident about perhaps photographing myself more in the future. In terms of our self portraiture project, this is very beneficial of course, because we are meant to be considering and representing the self in our images. Although I am not leaning towards including a portrait of my face or figure in the project, this task has encouraged me to consider myself and how I can represent this in a photograph.


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