Women and Landscape – Update

Posted on November 22, 2013


The portraits I  have made so far are shown below. From top left clockwise, Catherine Banks at Horsell Common Surrey, Gill Golding at Woolwich Arsenal London, Paddy Howe in the Blackdown Hills Devon and Rebecca Hughes at Loch Maree Wester Ross Scotland.

All of these photographs were made with a Ebony SW45, 150mm lens and Kodak Portra 400. The photographs below are all scans with an Epson V700 flatbed. The final versions will be 24×20 inch chromogenic hand prints, which I will get done at Rapid Eye in Shoreditch. I plan to start getting the prints made very soon, so that I avoid a last minute rush when it comes to assessment time.

The project is progressing slowly but I am happy with this as my genuine aim is to make the portraits at a location of the photographer’s choice. I want there to be a psychological connection between the subject and the place where the portrait is made. In this way the portrait provides some other information about the subject apart from how they look. I also plan to show each portrait alongside a text and possibly photographs by the subject. This will contextualise the portraits further.

I have a few other volunteers and hope to be travelling to Scotland again (maybe twice), Hayes on the outskirts of London, the Midlands and the South coast…. I have some travelling to do!! With the winter approaching this might slow things down a bit as the landscape will not be very photogenic. In urban settings this may not matter and I am hoping that there may be some snow in Scotland!!

©Keith Greenough 2013

©Keith Greenough 2013

A few observations so far:

I have yet to re-examine the contact sheets for these photographs. I want to make sure that there is consistency across the portraits. At the moment I am not sure I have achieved this. I don’t for example want one person to be grinning and the rest to be serious. Actually I have been asking my subjects not to smile as I want them to present themselves as a serious artist. At least one of my subjects have remarked that to not smile feels un-natural.

I shot one of these images in landscape aspect ratio (I have now cropped it to portrait) and the rest in portrait. I think that portrait works best and will settle on this for consistency. At the moment only Gill is seated. I am ok with this as in the place we selected it would have been odd to try to stand in front of the blocks. I am happy for other subjects to be seated if this fits with the place. All are full length portraits. Again I am happy that this is the way to go. It enables me to show the subject pictured in their location of choice. A move to 3/4 length or closer would cut out too much of the background.

I have yet to discuss with my subjects what we will present by way of caption information. My preference is to use a text constructed by the subject herself. I have not finally decided whether I will also ask them if I can show the portrait alongside some of their work. When I discussed this with Sharon who is now my tutor, she felt that this might confuse the conceptual basis of the work.

So far I have really enjoyed the portrait sittings and I hope that my subjects have too. I am very thankful to them for helping me move this project forward. I plan to continue with this throughout YOP and I hope to have 10-15 portraits by the time my work is eventually assessed which will be in early 2015.