I revisited the same two locations as found in WIP #2. The reasoning behind this was so I could experiment with how I place people within the scene. I plan to return to these locations perhaps once more while trying out different placements. My strategy to accomplish this was to shoot lots of images so I had more choice when compositing the images. As well as this I remained aware while taking the images in the field of how the people in the scene might relate to the scene and indeed each other once composited.
In the first location I immediately got distracted by a feature of the scene that had changed since the previous two times I’d photographed there. An art gallery to the far left of the frame was open that had been closed the two prior times. It made sense once I thought about it; it was a weekend and I was sure I’d read something about an art festival called Deptford Fringe! I thought it was a good chance to show change occurring in the everyday (the gallery being open) as well as a bigger shift (new art galleries opening is surely a sign of regeneration in an area). Instead of trying out the technique I had set out to play around with, I concentrated on making the gallery and the people peering into the gallery prominent.
The technique I had set out to try was to make the composite technique stand out by introducing a subtle (yet obvious if you think about it) addition in terms of which people I include in the final composite. That addition was only people facing a certain way would be included in the composite. In the end I shot so many images that I could make the composite I thought would work better as well as a composite with only people facing the same way. Interestingly, I felt the composite with only people facing the same way worked just as well and importantly it made the viewer (or at least me) look at it again because something was not quite right.
I decided to go through the same process as the first location with the second. I shot many images so I had lots to choose from with regards to people walking away from the camera or coming towards it. I created two composites like with the first location. With the first composite I just concentrated on making the balance of people within the scene work well and people could face either way. Then in the second composite I selected images where people were facing away to make up the composite. Again, I was surprised to find I quite liked this image and there was the added edge of there being something not quite right with the image which might make the viewer look twice.
I learnt a lot from the shooting of the images making up the composites and also from the subsequent processing. Firstly I learnt that there are nice surprises sometimes which you might not be expecting when out photographing. I tried to take advantage of the nice surprise of the art gallery being open by shooting lots of images. Secondly I learnt that in making the composites, sometimes unusual combinations of how the people are placed (in this case all facing away from or towards the camera) can work well.
I’m not sure whether I’ll end up using these composites eventually when I present my edited work. For me, having all the figures in the composite facing the same way introduces new narratives to each composite. In this case all the people seemed to be headed either towards the art gallery (the 1st composite) or over Deptford Creek from Creekside towards Norman Road (the 2nd composite).
The first narrative of everybody heading for an art gallery is logical whereas the second narrative of everybody heading one way over Deptford Creek is not likely and so introduces an unwanted narrative. The 2nd composite did work well and I could see myself using this technique for one or two composites in the series but not for the whole series. I feel the work would begin to take on unintended meanings. For example one meaning I could envisage would be ‘people in Deptford are all moving in one direction’. This is not true as although Deptford is the focus of a lot of regeneration and influx of new people, there are still a lot of local people around which is what gives the area a lot of character.