I’ve set a task for myself to get better at the process of capturing more than one person within the frame for 2021 and over the past month or so I’ve been saying YES to these types of portraits. I’m training my eye to see composition with more people in the frame and It’s not an easy process! Moving away from capturing ‘models’ or ‘talent’ who pose so well to more everyday people has also been a focus for 2021. So now these goals are starting to overlap. I’ve always been intrigued by how different the process is compared to my commercial work, and I’m actually quite excited about this new (steep) learning curve. For this portrait session I made a mood board on Pinterest the night before, and so did my friends, and subjects for the afternoon, Nes and Lucy.
The ‘mood board’ worked well as part of the process and acted as a loose guide for poses and creative direction. We were going to head to the mountains for the shoot, but it was forecast heavy rain, so instead opted for a spot up in the Porthills instead here in Christchurch. The day leading towards the shoot time, was pretty mild and sunny, but as soon as we headed to the hills the weather changed to gusty freezing cold winds. All of us were dressed for Summer of course, and after 4 rolls, we started to show signs of hypothermia, so we pulled the pin.
Thoughts? I’m happy with the results considering I was focussing a camera from the 1950’s, posing and guiding Nes and Lucy in winds that literally punched me in the face. Also timing for Lucys hair, and their garments blowing, was also more critical than usual in the winds. Not one to totally give up on 35mm imagery (yet), I also took a new addition to my collection up for its maiden voyage, a Canon EOS 620 from the 1980’s ($110 Trademe that seems to not have the common battery draining issue) and my favourite L series lens, the 50mm 1.2 to see if I could make some 35mm images that did not suck. The results were good overall and with a better quality negative than all other 35mm images that i’ve captured, this may invite a more positive relationship with using 35mm. The basic auto focus, while nothing like todays modern tech, seemed to work exceptionally well as I warmed up Nes and Lucy with a roll of Ilford HP5 and an expired roll of Fujifilm Reala from the 1990’s (sadly the results were shite), before heading onto the medium format buzz on the Yashica 635. I’ll never tire of ‘that medium format look’ as we managed a roll of Portra and HP5 before heading back.
I feel we don’t celebrate our successes enough as artists, but I’m not buying into that shit. I LOVE the set, and happy with my progress. I never thought that I would enjoy capturing couples too, but hey, here we are, and I love it. Want a portrait of you two? Email me. What could I have done better? Posing. Posing. Posing. I have a whole other set that was literally a hand position, or closed eyes away from being perfect! This is where my energy and observations need to be focussed when capturing multiple subjects as one. We have a second shoot in mind, and this time at the mountains, that will allow further experimentation. Next time we may even wear warmer clothes. Maybe /:
I’m also into the last 4 months of my photography degree at ARA, and I will be switching focus as from now towards the ‘major photographic project’ that will take me to completion come November. I’ll share more of that work in the coming weeks as I bury myself into the new process.