I have decided to make what seems will be a pretty boring post concerning the logistics of my composite making and the selection of location from which to photograph from. I feel this is necessary because it is useful firstly as a reference point to remind myself of why I’m making the choices I’ve arrived at. Some of these reasons are practical while others are more thought out. The other use for making this post is that I might arrive at realisations I hadn’t conceived before writing this down.
To achieve sharpness throughout the image, a small enough aperture has to be used. Combining this with a fast enough shutter speed to freeze people’s motion requires either bright lighting or a relatively high ISO. Because I have used a composite approach to photographing people, cloudy weather is preferable as the factor of shadows being cast by the people is minimised. The reason for this is processing of the composites is easier when there are little or no shadows cast. Therefore I have been using relatively high ISO numbers. I have discovered that light cloud cover is preferable to heavily overcast days because more light is present; reducing the need for high ISO numbers. All of this means I have become quite particular about the weather I shoot in; light cloud cover is optimal but is hard to predict consistently. Incidentally I also prefer the aesthetics of light-cloudy days as the colours seem to stand out more to me.
To juxtapose the old and new in a single frame I have to be very selective within my chosen area of Deptford. There are also additional factors to take into consideration as I am constructing the project. These include the purposeful lack of cars within the frames – I don’t necessarily want to make my images idealistic but I feel the inclusion of motor vehicles ruins most types of photographs unless they are the subject. Also I have decided to include people within the frames and have chosen a composite approach to incorporating them. While this inclusion and its implementation is not obligatory, they add to the local feel of the place which has always been one of Deptford’s strong points; its character. People’s response to change and specifically regeneration is mixed in Deptford and indeed all across Britain. By grouping the people in certain ways within the composites I can start to suggest positive or negative reactions to the developments which help shape their lives.
While the larger face of Deptford might be changing, the people tend to stay resolute to most of the changes. Change doesn’t happen all the time or at least at drastically different rates. However, it does further limit me in terms of potential locations and make me more selective over which I choose. Furthermore I am limited by there being too many people; crowds of people tend to make the composites harder to make. This is because of the inevitable overlap of people crossing paths. All of this means I have to choose carefully my locations for making composites. Therefore I wouldn’t call my project an accurate depiction of Deptford in general. I wouldn’t even call it an accurate depiction of the changes. It is my own subjective depiction of change in Deptford, also influenced by constraints of composite-making, available vantage points, traffic and weather. However, I am starting to develop ways I can incorporate my own views on the regeneration (as explored in WiP #8). My own views incidentally seem rather objective: some of the change is positive and some negative but the way land is procured to be developed is of interest to me (see Research into Deptford’s Regeneration post and my Literature Review).
People facing towards the camera is generally better for the aesthetics of the image. I discovered this during my Documentary module and subsequently I somewhat forgot it at the beginning of Body of Work! For some reason I’m more comfortable photographing people facing towards the camera when it is mounted on a tripod. There is something about raising the camera to my eye in street photography that makes both me and my subject uncomfortable. Mounted on a tripod the camera seems obvious to both me and the people passing by so there is less sneaking and more opportunity to capture interesting postures.
The time between each composite made for each location varies. On the whole so far I’ve made the diptychs roughly 6 months apart but the project is weather-dependent (light-cloudy weather is preferable). Also the project isn’t meant to be scientific but rather show change in a thought-provoking way. The way I aim to demonstrate change is based on my own subjective views as well as an element of chance. Chance arises from me never being certain what will have developed at each location 2, 4 or 6 months apart (Deptford is always changing!) Not to mention the people in my images are always changing so I don’t know what they’ll appear like, even though I can position them within the composite as I wish.
I am glad I made this post. There are parts which I would consider boring (Paragraph 2 for instance) but other parts include writing down my reasoning for using such a selective sample of Deptford’s locations. These parts weren’t so boring and helped clear up in my mind why and how I’d chosen such locations. These type of choices reminds me a bit of the difficult choices the developers and planners have to make when changing places like Deptford for better or worse.