So the brief for the photo story was to create a photo story based on anything you wanted, it had to be 15-30 photos, only using natural lighting, it could be in black and white but only if there was a necessary reason for it or it fitted your theme. We had to include the five key elements of a photo story as well in the task and had to submit the final selection of photos in a form of a book/photo book, magazine or fanzine like style.
I really struggled with this brief in the beginning and couldn’t really come up with a good enough idea of what sort of story I could show through a book that would appeal to people.
- I had one main idea which was to photograph my nephew who had near enough just been born at the time, which would evolve around him over the next couple of months which would show him growing and changing. This would then include images of my nephew on his own, family members holding him and playing with him, intimate photos with his mum, close ups of hands and feet, facial expressions. And also images of getting milk ready, toys and his room, basically anything that related to him that didn’t show him in the photo. However, the was too personal for this brief as it was too close to home, so decided to maybe do this as a personal project on the side.
- After thinking hard about what I could produce; I came up with a couple more ideas. My next one was looking at my local pub, this sort of pub is a micro brewery and is quite intimate meeting area for locals around my area. I thought this would be a good idea but didn’t quite get enough ideas for it, it was only until after I started my final idea that I began thinking of ideas for this one. The sorts of things that I thought I could do for this is, getting the owners setting up for the day, serving people, people drinking and talking, close up including, drinks, food, beer barrels, facial expressions of the people in there, clearing away, and just overall creating the atmosphere of the pub.
- My final idea, and the one I chose, was to do something about street performers and buskers. I was looking at mainly, Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square, Borough Market, Southbank, Covent Garden and Piccadilly as these were the main areas for street performers. The whole idea was to capture what they do on a day to day basis, portraits of them, photos of bags they have, instruments, hats or pots with money in them. The whole idea was to capture the street performer lifestyle they live.
I decided to start around Trafalgar Square as I knew there were loads of street performers and buskers everyday up here; the normal performers you get are the people who dress up as Yoda and the guys who paint themselves silver like a tin man and also the Pikachu costumes too. I also knew that you’d get a few buskers here now and then for 15 minute sets, these were the main ones I really wanted to focus on.
I then branched into looking around Leicester Square, Piccadilly, Covent Garden, and Borough Market. I knew from previous experience with looking around Covent Garden that there were nearly always people performing everyday inside and outside Covent Garden from people performing magic shows to classical musicians and singers. So this was a really good area for capturing loads of photos of these sorts of people and getting some really good shots too.
These are my notes of all my ideas, blog posts, articles, photographers websites that inspired me and a plan of where I wanted to go during this project. Some of these places I was going to visit more than others just due to the fact that I knew what sort of performers I would find there from past experience of going here. Other places would be a new experience for me to go to and explore like Camden and Portobello road market if I went to these places during this project.
I began looking at photographers that inspired my project, I began looking at Martin Parr and his work with one of his projects called ‘The Selfie Stick’, this was quite fascinating to look at as his focus was on the selfie stick and how tourists used them in different ways to capture theirselves in their surroundings, but he also captures the people selling them by photographing them in different and interesting ways. I really liked how he captured the sticks from different angles, down low and up high, with them in different sections of the frame. On his website he writes about the trend of the selfie stick and how far it has come and how now in some places it has been banned; he also writes about how the selfie stick has changed tourism with tourists using them to take generic photos of the famous monuments in different countries.
By looking at Parr’s work I also began to think about how I could capture my photos in interesting ways by not only photographing the people face on but thinking about how I could show what they do by photographing their clothes/costumes, or items around them that related to them.
These are some of Parr’s photos from his selfies stick series, as you can see he has thought carefully about the composition of his photos in order to show off the selfies stick in the best light.
I found this photographer online whilst doing my research, this series of photos by Jhy Turley is related more to what my book was going to be based on; this series is of street performers around London which is an on-going series around London based on the performers and their acts they perform. He captures all different sorts of people from buskers and musicians to performing acts to sporting acts. His photos are very simple but capture exactly what the performers are doing and the environment they are doing this in. By looking at Jhy’s work on this project really gave me an insight into how I could stage my images to create an atmosphere within them and to capture the essence of the performers.
I like the composition of his photos, capturing some of the acts on their own or with crowds of people around them watching them is really effective and interesting as you can see the peoples reactions from their performances. I like how he also captures them up close and from far away like the image on the left hand side of the man with the trunk in Covent Garden; this image is quite striking with the bright colours from his trunk and clothing, but also how the image is from far away so he doesn’t know he is taking it but you can tell from the photo that he is waiting to perform and that he is maybe watching another act that is performing before him. I especially like the photo on the far right as well as he is capturing the street performer in the middle of a juggling act, producing an action shot however, I quite like how he has captured him with no one around him watching him he is just in the middle of Covent Garden doing his act.
These are some really interesting articles I found about street performers in London especially Trafalgar Square and also about busking in London too and was it is exactly. In the two first articles it explains what it is like to be a living statue and how many of the statues in Trafalgar Square compete with each other and can be very intimidating to other street performers who just want to earn money. When reading these you can see how difficult it is to be street statue or performer with everyone competing to get spots in the main locations in order to earn money from tourists who come and visit these monuments. I don’t think people realise how difficult it is for these people however, with so much competition who can imagine how difficult it is for them especially with these Romanian ‘Yoda’ statues intimidating other performers and securing their territory in order to get the best space available.
After gathering all my research and ideas I began to plan and go out and shoot for my book.
Contact sheets (1st):
This was my first lot of contact sheets for this shoot, with this shoot I was looking around Trafalgar Square mainly. It was just a rough shoot so I was just getting a feel of the sorts of things that there were to photograph there and the sorts of interesting ways I could photograph them as well as capturing any details with like money in pots/hats or details in their costumes etc. It wasn’t a big shoot this one as it was just a starting shoot so didn’t have much to work with in these photos, maybe the odd one or two but not many.
This shoot was a one off shoot, I happened to be finishing another shoot around Borough Market and happened to find a couple of buskers in the market itself. One of them I didn’t manage to capture as I was on the way to another shoot but should’ve as this would’ve been a good opportunity to photograph some buskers in a different area other than the most popular ones for street performers. However, after finishing my other shoot I caught another guy setting up to do his busking set, I asked him if he didn’t mind if I took some photos of him and he agreed it was fine, I managed to capture some interesting shots of his guitar and speaker with the intimate details of the tape, wires and his phone which is what he put him music onto. I found that focusing on buskers was probably a much more interesting photo story rather than all the Yoda performers in Trafalgar Square etc however, this would still be part of my shoot.
My third shoot was again focusing on buskers around London, I managed to find more buskers this time especially around Trafalgar Square and Leicester Square and also Piccadilly. However, as it was raining there wasn’t many people out especially by the time I got to Piccadilly and managed to get the guy with all the pots like he was drumming on them which was interesting. I think if I had more time here or the weather was better I could’ve spent longer photographing this guy maybe getting some better shots of the pots that he was using or asking him if I could take a portrait of him with his pots surrounding him or something like that.
This was my 4th and final shoot. I decided to do this shoot as I was doing my layout for my book and found that I didn’t really have a enough photos or the ones I had weren’t all interesting so I quickly went up to London again to do this one last shoot for my book and glad that I did as there were people busking and street performing in Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, Piccadilly etc which is what I need to just complete the final pages of my book.
Once I had got down to my final few images I decided to start creating some story boards with my images and showing different ways of how I could present these. I hadn’t really thought about the layout of my book that much in the early stages of doing this however, I knew that for this hand in I wanted it ring bound and in an A5 landscape form, I didn’t want it really big I just wanted it as a small feature that people could just flip through.
I began to think about how I wanted to place my images when creating these story boards, whether I wanted it to be simple and just have one photo per page or whether I wanted more of a busy book. I decided on keeping it simple and just having one photo per page.
This was one of my ideas for my storyboard, having the one photo per page. I didn’t want to have loads of photos in this book so settled on having between 15-20 altogether to keep it simple yet hopefully effective. This storyboard would be 15 images with a mixture of landscape and portrait images, so all in all would be 32 pages.
This was another idea for a storyboard, slightly different but still sticking to the one image per page but this time had a theme going through it of one image per double page then two then one and so on. I tried to use images that weren’t overly similar to other ones but also tried to incorporate the 5 key elements too by using detailed photos as well as photos from a distance and close up ones as well.
This is my final storyboard that I produced with my final images; with this one I decided to produce the story board on A4 paper to show how it would look in book form on a double page. For this storyboard I liked the theme idea of the previous one with one image on a double page then two per double page etc however, what I did different with this one was start with a landscape as the single image then two portrait ones then continue that theme throughout the book so that it would look clean and not have loads of photos all over the place, all images would be the same size so the landscape would all be the same size photos and the portrait would all be the same size photos as well. I stuck to my 16 images as it wasn’t going to be a big book, all together it was 24 pages, just something very simple.
I didn’t really encounter many problems during this project, if there were any problems it would only be not finding enough people busking around the areas I was going to on the days that I visited them but this couldn’t be helped as the main days when they are out especially in Covent Garden were Thursday through to Sunday. Thursday’s and Friday’s were especially popular in the Covent Garden area and had people performing their acts throughout the day.
Final PDF and evaluation:
This is my final PDF version of my book, as you can see this is what it would look like when it was printed but with a ring bind in the middle. I think all the images I have created have related well to my chosen subject and have shown what it is that these people do exactly even within the detailed photos of the instruments and bags etc.
I think overall the project was good, I wouldn’t say it was brilliant due to the fact that I really struggled in the beginning to come up with an idea for it but eventually when stuck into it got the images that I need. I would say that as a shy person who doesn’t majorly like going up to people to ask to take their photos it has definitely put me out of my comfort zone and made me do something that has pushed me to my limit.
I’m quite happy with my finished product, I think if I’d have had more photos I could’ve added more photos and more ages into my book itself to bulk it up a bit. I also think if I had more time and pages in my book I would’ve got it as a hard back to make it look a bit more professional if I was presenting it to people but overall I’m happy.
What would I do again:
If I was to do this again I would definitely come up with an idea sooner that I did and would also start shooting sooner that I did as I think this was what let me down when it came to producing my layout as I felt I didn’t really have enough good photos to show. i think next time I would definitely go to more different places like Portobello Road market and Camden market if I had more time to do this;, I would also spend time going on some tube lines to see if I could find any buskers on the underground. I would also get closer to my subjects to have more interesting photos and to get more detail in them but again that is pushing me out of my comfort zone which is what I need to do more.
This is my final product from this project, I have just shown a few pages from it, I had an issue with printing as they didn’t print it right but on the second go at it it turned out really well.