Over Easter, I had finally accomplished a photo shoot I had been planning a month in advance. After seeing photographer Nicolas Bruno’s work, in which he projects his nightmares in his images in a surrealistic manner, I was heavily inspired, and eager to create a response to his work. The concept I aimed to project from Bruno’s influence was the consummation of our dark conscience, as we attempt to run away and place these thoughts or memories to the back of our mind, they will eventually catch up to us, and can even engulf us. I wanted to project our anxiety we can have from our memories, with the threat and the fear they can cause to be re opened.
Over the time period of a month before Easter, I often pondered about how to project this concept and careful made trial and error plans throughout my mind until I got the ideal photo shoot set in my mind. I decided on the location being in the woods, mainly due to having a specific place near my home town to which I felt would be Ideal, and mainly because I feel the woods would be very atmospheric, and would compliment a sinister, surreal atmosphere. Yet I also felt that the woods project the ideas of both innocence and adventure; When I was young, I would always play in the woods, and have many fond memories, with such complexity and uniqueness wherever you look, it was so easy to lose yourself in. This lead me to want to portray the forest as both your mind, as well as a clash of both horror and innocence. As we grow older, the places we were once fond of can be the places we become scared of when we grow older; maybe due to a bad memory of the place, or perhaps the threat of growing old as you reminisce on your childhood. Then I thought about our protagonist, the victim, who represents ourselves. I decided I wanted them to wear bright clothes, as I felt this portrayed innocence and purity. I then had mascara running down their face to portray them as crying in order to show fear. I then decided to add bandages wrapped around the victim’s eyes, complimenting the make up as it projects the element of fear, as well blindness; The victim not being able to see portrays how we are not able to see our conscience or memories, they are just re imagined in our minds or attempted to be forgotten about. For the “darkness” or immediate threat projected in the images, portraying our dark conscience, I had two figures – I felt outnumbering the victim would not only be seen as a plural for the depicted memories, but would also be more intimidating – of which I had dressed in black to be perceived as dark and sinister and contrast against the purity of the victim. I then wanted them to wear masks – which I decided on being masquerade masks in the end – As I not only wanted to hide their identity and erase their human-like features, but also wanted them to look unique and surreal to depict our mind, as well as creepy and horrifying. For one of the models, the mask did not have a strap, so I wrapped bandages around the mask and their face to keep their identity erased. Although this looked messy at times, I felt this actually complimented the uneasy creeping feeling of the distorted figure. I then decided to add in a gun to the concept; I felt this was a great way of symbolising threat, which is then projected between the relation of the two figures and the victim. The last thing I thought about for the photo shoot was the positioning; I wanted the victim to be on their knees to show hierarchy in power from their dark conscience, as well as portraying them as an immediate threat. I also wanted the victim to have their hand behind their back; they needed to look bound, captured and useless against their fate, with only their faith and will left, this is where the tilt in the victims head being raised up comes in, as if looking out for hope. Overall, this shoot has given a taste of constructive photography, putting the skill sets and knowledge I have learnt to use, as well as giving out a taste of the kind of work I would like to explore and expand on in the future.
For this photo-shoot, I used a Nikon D90 and a tripod, with a great amount of ambient light on a sunny day, I set the DSLR’s ISO to 250 and mainly worked on the F8 aperture. I lowered the whites to give more detail to the victim’s shirt, and lowered the blacks to recover some of the detail from both the sinister figures’ jackets. For the majority of the images in this series, I tampered with the blue RGB path, heightening one end and lowering the over, giving a slight blue tint to the image, which I felt complimented the colours as well as the surrealistic atmosphere. This was the main composition for my photo shoot, which continued in a different location around a pond for a change of scenery to experiment with the surreal atmosphere. Here are the main images form this shoot, I hope you enjoy.
I decided to take a slightly different approach here, aiming to give more of a tense atmosphere, focusing on the victim, placed against a tree with a bandage around their mouth, we can also see one of their eyes is not exposed to the bandage, as we see them intensely glare over their shoulder in search for the figure, of which we see, out of focus in the distance, on the other side of her. The experiment with depth of field and constructive placement in photography, adding more tension and suspense to the image.
This photograph is a bit different to the previous photos, yet stood out to me amongst my other personal pieces. Whilst at a wedding, I found time to explore and take photos of other little things around the places, one of the things I stumbled upon just so happened to be these two young bridesmaids sitting on the stone steps to the entrance of the church. I used an Olympus PEN EPL-3 to take the image, then in post production, I lowered the whites to add more detail to their dresses, as well as heightening the clarity ever so slightly to emphasize the textures of the stone walls. As well as focusing on the textures in this image, I was also drawn in by the innocence of the children and the happiness and the angelic purity they can represent in white whilst outside the church, with their whole lives ahead of them.
These last three images were from a concept in which I aimed to project abstractness, repetition and confusion. I have only briefly touched don this concept, something I aim to expand on in the summer, with the sea being my only subject so far. I chose the sea due to its vast plainness, as well as the tedious repetition of waves we can see. In post production for the first image I raised the clarity slightly, defining the texture as well as the reflection from the sunlight. I then lowered the blacks and the majority of colours, before adjusting the red hue, bringing out the red sea bed beneath the water. The aim was to show some that wasn’t quite as simple as an ordinary sea scape; I wanted the unique blend of colours along with the hypnotic repetition of texture and the lack of detail in the whites to overrule what the viewer already sees the image as, and bring it something similar to an oil painting, with the whites being the untouched pieces of paper. When looking at the last image, after desaturating a lot of the colour from the image, I rotated the photo in an attempt to completely distort our original perspective, aiming for something almost space like.
I hope you enjoyed.