Large format photography with JPDL. (Jean Pierre) - A spoken word performer, rapper, and recently father to a boy.
Jean Pierre (Dave) invited me round when he found out that I was creating photographs using a Large Format Camera. Dave is always someone who gives up his time for me so I make sure I have the time for him as often as I can. He was off work for the whole day so we had plenty of time to talk, think and compose photographs within his house. When I first got to his, he made sure to express how nice his coffee was, and that he had to make me one, it was lovely.
We then talked about what we had been doing during the past 6 months as we last saw each other near the beginning of the first lock down, discussing feelings and the struggles of recent life. Dave's wife has just had a child in November so he was extremely tired but expressed his joy for the new born. (Reginald 3rd) He showed me round his house and suggested we set up the LFC in the spare room with all of his work on the walls and with posters from past events he has been involved with. We discussed quite a bit more before we started to take any photographs. As always, the photograph is a product of interaction, conversation and thought.
We discussed how Covid- 19 has in a way brought people so close together, in that it has brought about arguments and problems, but that has also had a positive effect because it's like we have been able to over-come and adapt to problems much faster than usual. It seemed like the year 2020 was condensed to 3 months. We discussed how artists like himself who work a lot in the event world locally, have had most of their work cancelled because of the 'emergency legislation' put into place to close venues, pubs, and to limit the movement of everyone, ultimately slowing down the work flow of the individual and the independent artist, or the local business and allowing for the more established business and authority to take more control of the world over the ideas of protecting the National Health Service.
Dave discussed how 2020 has also been one of the best years of his life, he managed to stop smoking cigarets after about 20 years, he has just had his first child and has moved into his first house with his wife. So it has been quite different for everyone really.
I would think and compose the photographs whilst he is talking on his sofa in the room with all of his posters on the wall. I would simply look through the glass, and direct his position slightly. I would adjust the light to that it is the right brightness, in the correct place so that there was a catch light in his eye but also not too harsh or too close.
I took Dave through the whole process of the what this type of camera is, how it worked, and what every movement I was doing with each piece of equipment was, testing the light with a metre, testing that the flash would fire when I have cocked the lens and I fire it and focusing etc etc. Doing this created the relationship between Me, Dave and the camera as something to present himself to when the time is right, consequently there is attention between Dave and the camera. He is conscious of what is going on and is just as excited to try and make a nice photograph as I am.
So we had both become comfortable with what the camera is, how long it takes to compose and to take a shot. For the last shot we decided to move his table and stack his speakers on it to create a wall behind his head. This added a nice pattern to the edges of the frame, but more importantly this added the connotation and the denotation of music within his and my own life. When we set the shot up and I composed it I was so excited to take the shot. I did all kinds of tilt shift with the lens and threw the focus in all sorts of layers, but made sure I was still sharp on the front eye.
The results will be posted in a separate article in series. I took 4 exposures. Each one was successful and I felt them as worth taking.