For my Final Major Project I intend to go back to what I love about photography, the hand-made processes that are involved in creating negatives but also photographic prints and a final bound book that they will be stitched into. I intend to create 6-10 images using black and white large format film and a ‘Cambo’, large format camera. I will focus on portraits, full body and mid shots, within an open space, most likely outside on the street or hopefully inside the subjects own spaces. With more limited access to places and people during this global pandemic I will simply ask people I think will be up for it. I think I want to capture people I have met in the past 3 or 4 years in Cheltenham, people that I look up to, so professional musicians and mostly, artists. I can think of loads of people to photograph, lets just hope that the are fine with restrictions etc… These people are visually quite expressive which is good hopefully it will become layered but also relevant to the situation we find ourselves in today. I want the subjects to express themselves however they want and to play with the idea of a professional photograph. The reason I have chosen to go back to using film and changing my idea is because I simply feel that I enjoy all of the processes that comes with it, as opposed to working with digital. But I also feel that this project is more possible for me to achieve, with a much better physical portfolio/ archive at the end of it.
I intend to create the images on ILFORD MULTIGRADE ART 300, size: 11x14 inches. Which I believe from experience is the real deal. I have already met and arranged to start creating a hard-back-book out of wood and leather with a woodworker in cheltenham (for free), which will have a wooden sleeve that the book slips into. It will be hand stitched using either a Japanese style or one taught to me by the workshop owner. I intend the photographs to be executed well within the given scene, the negatives exposed well for a good print, the prints to look and feel like my best work yet, and a hard back book that respects the material and represents the quality and professionalism that goes into the creation of the work inside. I think the wood for the book will be something that isn’t too expensive but will last, looks nice and is strong. Maybe Mahogany or Pine, not sure yet… I want to engrave a title and make a motif for it too. I’m not sure if there needs to be much writing but I might include notes and documents made along the way.
I aim to create 1 photograph a week from next Tuesday, maybe break for a week over Christmas then finish in January. Print it all in mid Jan. Create the book over 2 weeks and finish it all within a month, ready for submission end of Feb. This will be tough work that requires a lot of planning and consistency But I am committed to it. I just pray the university doesn’t close the darkrooms in January. I am excited and ready to get stuck into some very nice work.
I will write as much as I can on my blog, also research notes, photographs and inspiration, my progression and my whole process along the way. I will try and make the writing relevant, clear, interesting and make sure it is presented well. (nice paper too).
Day One (3 hours 15 mins of filming at pirate studios, cheltenham. 2 hours editing) 5 hours, 15 mins logged.
Today I have been assigned to work with DJ Fallow and Grime and Hip Hop vocalist Griz-O, both from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, UK.
Location: Pirate Studios Cheltenham.
Meet: 15:45 - 19:00
Equipment: Sony A7III + 50mm lens. Canon A1 + 28mm lens, + Ilford HP5 +.
Weather: Sunny all day with strong light.
Aims: Create 10 photographs on Canon and Film 3 minutes of video footage to use towards 30 minute documentary.
Editing: Create folder with all material to be used in documentary. Get Premier Pro again by signing into University account on my laptop. - Create initial file for documentary + save onto laptop and in material folder. (have 2 copies)
Evidence 600 Hours.
Proposal of 500- 800 words by 23rd September.
Main Research Period between September and January.
Deadline Wednesday 3rd March 2021.
Initially I proposed to carry on my current work but go the extra step of shooting colour portraits, on 5x4 sheet film in the streets with recording artists, producers, and music professionals. When the time came, Lockdown happened and the whole world was acting in response to a world-wide pandemic, resulting in countless complexities, one of which is not having access to anymore equipment from uni. This whole situation lead to a lot of doing very little and watching tv for a while, and I had to continue my uni work somehow. So I bought a GoPro Hero 7 to start creating footage of my bike journeys and skates with the other half, I was pleased with the quality but It has me wanting to do better and to be able to use uni's equipment because I know that is what I needed. The audio wasn't great but I used it anyway as this also lead into editing skills and understanding the frame even more in terms of ratio and screen resolution etc etc.
So I have created one film using the GoPro which is where I first test out the interview style with Dave, (JPDL) the footage was flickery and the frame rate was all messed up, this was a result of the wrong frame rate settings and a default as the lights were old yellow tubes and were not giving off the best quality. I used this footage anyway as it was the best I got from the time in the studio.
I arranged a few days ago to create some video work with Grizz-O. We both were unsure what exactly we were going to attempt but I had a vague idea for an interview, straight to camera style short documentary. Something to be creative with and to help each other out.
We met up Sunday 27th July, I had the Sony a7III with a 50mm lens, I was also shooting the odd frame with my Rollei 35S as usual, there will always be some film made from every event of shoot I attend. We met at Cheltenham bus station and talked for a while about recent news and family, we then eventually walked to Sandford park where we started creating footage.
Sandford is a lovely place because it's relatively quiet, it's teaming with wildlife and is well landscaped so it is aesthetic for the footage.
We decided to basically sit under a huge Wisteria where we had a nice natural woodland-green reflected into scene from all the plants around. The sun was trying to push through the clouds but was fluctuating a little. But this did not mean the colour was hard to edit in post.
The lighting was spot on for me, Grizz-O was comfortable and he could be very open with me even with the camera. So I just let him speak for 5 minutes and filmed a couple of takes, I chose the best one where he doesn't mess up and he says his points clearly.
I spent about 10 hours editing this new video on Premier Pro, I managed to source an unreleased track from Grizz-O himself after we created the initial footage which has been used to create a beginning to the video.
I am very happy with this interview attempt and it has really given me hope to buy my own Sony A7III becasue I know this is what I need to start creating long term documentaries. Thank God I've managed to get hold of something to use, lockdown has holted so much of my flow it's been really annoying.
The Visual quality if way beyond my expectation, as well as the sound quality, it is amazingly clear and there is not much background noise, to be honest it is nice to hear the birds and card going past every now and then, it gives it that bit more grounding.
Under the mask: episode 1
Today I left my house with my camera and Rode Mic in my bag, I was cycling through the HoneyBourne Line and I stumbled across Graffiti artists Farai and Slazz. I hadn't seen Slazz in a while and we caught up for a few minutes. I am always in relatively close contact with Farai so it was great to see them both doing some new Graff pieces on the walls.
When I got there they were pretty much finished for the day, Farai was putting on the last bits, and I started getting some video footage of what was going on. Thinking of B roll and possible background shots that can be overlaid over interview footage and audio, cutting in-between. I love the smell and the colours of the tunnels, these people really give you an experience when it all happens.
I was using the Sony A7III with a standard 50mm F/1.8 with a Rode Mic for good audio quality and reach.
There wasn't much background noise so you can hear the clanging of the cans and the spray paint leaving the nozzle, its is quite immersive when captured right. The lighting in the tunnel was probably the brightest I have seen it, the sun was blaring down from both sides, creating a nice soft light all the way through resulting in minimal shadows.
I have uploaded a few shots I took and some raw footage that is completely unedited.
The intention of this footage is to add to my large long term documentary video project on Artists in cheltenham. Graffiti will definitely be a chapter.
"We common mortals can see neither our own eyebrows, which are so close, nor heaven in the distance. Likewise, we do not see that the Buddha exists in our own hearts".
Now that I have a short edit put together (my editing skills are shoddy at the moment) I can start to see information that is missing, how the first parts are starting to build up and possible narratives. I need to focus on Dave a lot more, get some proper interview footage, (good quality sound and visuals) this could be him explaining in more depth his work, the people behind the scenes, to big up people who don't usually get heard. Connect the whole picture, and show it how it is. Because for me life is magic and these films i'm going to make through out my life will explain this.
I have known many many people for quite some time in Cheltenham and have made amazing friends here. I have the opportunity everyday to meet up and to create work with these people, they are all happen to be creative somehow. But the question is; as always, what is important enough to create work on, together?
Lockdown is obviously the talk of the town right now and it will be for a while. So how are people coping? well many are enjoying their time out of work, many are picking up new hobbies, (cycling, photography, skateboarding, growing plants etc) people have more time to get their creative work outputted, and more time to themselves and family. This is very beneficial for the people who are motivated, who have access to places that allow them to create quality material and work.
So, my next focus for the documentary will be to interview people with a concentrated focus on voices of people, to find the power in each individual, simply through the voice and simple imagery. For me this is a nice place to start because it abstracts the world to the quality and cancels out the background noise of life.
I want to create powerful work. I want to use Dave (JPDL), Victor, DJ Fade, and a few others to create some high quality sound and visuals. I feel that I can do really well if I spend a few weeks on each person, one at a time. I will use the people in life that are powerful to me. Griz-O. Dave, Beth (Grove) etc etc. I know who they are.
From the first little bit of footage I have been capturing, I already see possible narratives. I feel I should focus on refining the interview techniques, I need quality sound and visual equipment, the GoPro just isn't enough, so i'm going to buy myself a good microphone/ zoom mic/ Rhode etc.
Zoom Microphones are cool, they are a bit too much for me for what I need to do. I need something that is simple, relatively cheap and strong.
Rhode Mic's seem perfect, I have used them a few times and they do an amazing job, the quality it pretty dam good for interviews even outside in a bit of wind. They are £50 or so which is nice. Lightweight, durable and it looks good.
The camera I need would have to be digital, full frame, predominantly made for filming. Sony seems best for me, I've used them, they are easy, lightweight and amazing sensor quality. The best combination I have used is Sony A7 with a Voightlander 28mm F/1.9, the depth is just right - wide open.
Ill have to get this kind of set up soon if I want to progress into digital after university. (ill have to get it anyway as they are closed).
So during The time with Pav and Dave, I filmed on my GoPro throughout a couple of days. I then used Premier Pro to put together the clips so that the main interview footage would run throughout the background, and used B roll to bring in context and to build it up and slow it down.
I also used a sound track that was made during the project I was filming. The soundtrack and the sound in general are not great, I was only using the GoPro mic and no external aid. I am still editing this video visually and acustically.
As you can see below the editing bar is not looking that complex just yet, I am already feeling happy about how it feels and looks, but I am going to create some more footage, I might re take the interview so that I have some better audio and better footage as there is an interlaced flicker because of the lighting in the room and becasue my Frame Rate was too fast, I should be using 30FPS inside from now on.
I've recently been recording interactions on a GoPro Hero 7 White, to try and piece together something (rather than nothing) during lockdown. I have attended two shoots with JPDL and Heron MC at Barley Field Music on the lower end of the high street and on the streets whilst looking for locations for photographs.
A couple of weeks ago, my good friend Dave Leongson AKA. JPDL. Told me about a collaboration between himself and a Polish rapper Pav AKA. Heron, in which they are combining forces and bringing back the old school HipHop beats of the 90's and 2000's to create an album in just two weeks at Barleyfield Music on the lower end of the High Street in Cheltenham. They invited me along with my love Jussara, where we got to meet Pav and producers of the studio, Kingsley and Sa. We all got on perfectly well, the producers/ owners of the studio showed us around and talked about the history of how they got the studio and the building.
So we went along for three shoots across a couple of weeks, each time we took a Sony A7 with a Voightlander 28mm lens, a Canon A1 with a 35-70 loaded with Portra 400 colour negative film, a GoPro Hero 7 White with a selfie stick to get those angles and a polaroid 600 with colour film.
I shot with the digital initially to capture the promotional shots to be used for their album and for social media coverage and also to see here for my blog and to submit as work for university projects. When I was satisfied I had captured enough digital imagery I would switch to my Canon A1 with colour film in, to capture those really nice portraits, which I could piece together during the time i'm shooting and testing with the digital. Every now and then I would use the GoPro to get some wide angle video segments to piece together a moving image that they could possibly use for something or just so I can get to grips with videography and editing a bit more personally. But Jussara would film on the GoPro most of the time so I didn't have to think too much at once. If I was on the other side of the camera in the situations I find myself id be a fking one man band. Id also pull out the Polaroid every now and then so that I can give them something in the moment.
The whole time we were laughing and telling stories and drinking Polish vodka, which was nice :)
The ethos of this collaboration (to which I made sure to ask) was about language, Obviously. Two different languages coming together under the understanding of music, and HipHop specifically. Dave and Pav talked about the title of the project called "International Flow". They explained through both of their understandings that "music is the only way out of chaos" and that the flow of music runs through everybody and that there will be at least one song on their album that everybody should like because of the variation in the whole thing.
What I learned from these few days of meeting, chatting, learning and getting back into photographing again was that Dave really is so fking passionate about life, his music, other people and me, and that the world is a lot bigger than the problems we are faced with as a pussyclart society. As for me I had to go against the 'advice' from the government to meet up with these people to photograph something quite important to us all locally. I'm glad I have made this work and I will end on a quote I remember my girlfriend saying whilst listening back to the music they just recorded in the studio.
Jussara - "This music is good because it talks about struggle and perseverance, and it needed to come out during lockdown as perseverance comes from struggle. This music is good as the energy from it flows through your body you simply cant stop dancing, even though you can't understand the lyrics, you understand the flow".
She began her career shooting musicians Moby, Lauryn Hill, and Maxwell, as well as personalities like Debi Mazar and Spike Lee. She worked for British Vogue and for VIBE, where she was a contributing photographer and columnist for two years. While shooting stills on a music video the director asked Lisa to shoot B roll; so began her career as a cinematographer. - https://minormattersbooks.com/pages/lisa-leone
She has recently made a book called 'HERE I AM', I really want it!
BEST SELLER! Featured by The New York Times, Juxtapoz, Visionaire online, Rolling Stone online, Jet magazine, Time Out Dubai, NPR, and more; with photographs recently featured in Netflix's series Hip-Hip Evolution!
10 x 9 horizontal hardcover; 104 pages; $50.00
ISBN: 978-0-9906036-03 - https://minormattersbooks.com/products/here-i-am-photographs-by-lisa-leone
Any way I was looking at her work because her style and subject matter is very relevant to the work I am currently producing, I have always known about her photography and it was only until recently that I came across her videography which can all be found on her Vimeo page - https://vimeo.com/lisaleone . I love how she is using these mediums to tell the stories of young individuals, this video specifically (above). When watching these videos I am thinking of the documentary to create back in my home town at some point, so I'm thinking, camera position, lighting, audio clarity, music, transitions, voice over points, B roll, Titles. as much as I can take from it i'm evaluating.
Firstly she is close to the subjects,
Borut peterlin also known as Top shit photography - absolute master at printing all types image; carbon prints from negative to albumen to liquid light and wet plate, he covers it all. topshit quality.