Assignment 1 – Photographing Strangers

My plan is to use a 35mm camera (Pentax K1000) with Ilford HP5+ 400 as well as a light meter in which I will go around and ask strangers if they would allow me to photograph them. I will then ask them a few questions related to my project. My first day photographing did not go as planned as it took me a long time to build up the courage to ask someone. However I noticed a girl who seemed to be with her mother and friend. I knew straight away I wanted to photograph her. So I observed for a little while as she herself was photographing the swans in the pond and I did not want to disturb them. I then got the confidence to walk up to her and asked her if she would mind me taking a photograph for my photography project based on stereotypes and judging someone by the way they look. She was very friendly and said that would be fine. So I asked her a few questions:

1. Her name, so I could put a name to the strangers face.

2. To make it more of a natural and less awkward situation, I started off with a simple question such as – What is your favourite genre of music? – I felt that this fit well with stereotypes as I feel people get judged and put into specific types of groups for the simplest of things.

3. My third question was- Were you put into a stereotypical group whilst at school?

4. If they said they were put into a specific group I then asked them if they still felt that they were apart of that group now?

5. My last question was What is your opinion on judging someone by the way they look?

I found that it took me a good hour and a half to build up some courage to ask permission to take someones photograph, and by the time I had photographed my first person, I had lost a significant amount of light meaning I was not able to photograph any other people in that day. Even though I only photographed one person I felt a sense of achievement as I have never asked a stranger before, and this automatically boosted my confidence. I decided that I will be taking two photographs of the person, one that is portrait and one that is landscape. As I feel a portrait of person does not have to be taken portrait. So I feel two photographs will give me more of a choice when it comes to printing them.

My second day Photographing:

This day was a lot more successful when it came to asking people. The only down side to this day was it was rather dark and miserable meaning the images will probably turn out quite grainy and less detailed. I photographed five more people, I know that does not seem a lot, but I had quite a few ‘NO’s’ today, making me realise that this project is become rather difficult when it comes to the amount of photographs in total I would be able to get.

Weather disasters:

Two days straight it has been raining, cold and windy. This makes people not want to stand around answering question and having their photograph taken. I am hoping for the best on Friday as I only have a week left till the hand in date.

Photographing on Friday:

Finally some nice weather came my way, and it was extremely sunny. Almost too sunny. As I have made my contact sheet from my other photo shoot, I was able to count my possible finals. This meant I needed to get at least 4 more people to get a possible 10 final prints. This day had a great start as I managed to get 4 more people in 2 and a half hours, even though I did get quite a few no’s. However after lunch it became a lot harder to get people as a lot said no and there was not many people around in the places I wanted to photograph, and if I were to change my location dramatically my final prints would lose the consistency that my images had managed to gain. I did manage to photograph one more person, meaning I only have one extra person to fall back on if someone else doesn’t seem to work out. however this is the reason I decided to take two photographs, because if one did not work out I likely have the other image to fall back on. One thing I have learned whilst photographing strangers is that you need a massive amount of patience and I feel this is something I gained during these photo shoots.

My next step is to process this film, and then make a contact sheet in which I will then scan them both in to upload.

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