Project nine change

Posted on November 23, 2013


I have been revisiting the contact sheets for my Women and Landscape photographs. I was struck by the subtle differences in the poses of the four women I have photographed so far and I wondered if this arose because of my editing or because how I and my subject interacted on the day.

In project 9 of the YOP course the student is required to shoot a sequence of images without changing viewpoint, lens etc and to observe the changes in the scene. In my case I have decided to review the contact sheet of the images I made of Catherine at Horsell Common. I chose a particular image with Catherine wearing her gilet.  All were shot with my 4×5 camera with a 150mm lens and Kodak Portra 400. I shot 6 images in this sequence. Sadly one image is out of focus (operator error!! I was using a new camera and had not clamped down the front standard properly). So I have five images in my sequence. These are the full length versions:

Catherine, Horsell Common - full length © Keith Greenough 2013

Catherine, Horsell Common – full length
© Keith Greenough 2013

In terms of body language Catherine has remained in the same pose throughout. This was despite the fact that with the view camera I had to change the double dark slide each time. I also checked the focus, exposure and framing each time I had to put in a new double dark slide – after each pair of shot with a single dark slide. This would have taken me a couple of minutes – the process with a view camera is slow and deliberate. In these full length shots it is hard to get a good impression of Catherine’s facial expression. The one thing which hits me though is that in image 5 she has clearly got a warmer smiling expression. What is also striking is how the light on the trees in the background is changing.

In order to look more closely at the facial expressions I made a crop of each of the photographs. These are shown below:

Catherine Horsell Common - Crops of Head and Shoulders © Keith Greenough 2013

Catherine Horsell Common – Crops of Head and Shoulders © Keith Greenough 2013

Here the differences in expression are more clearly seen. As I said above in image 5 Catherine is clearly smiling. In images 3 and 4 she has a rather sad slightly fixed expression and her eyes are not as sparkling. In images 1 and 2 she appears to me to be more focused and less fixed. What is also clear is the way in which the lighting has changed and images 1-4 there is more shadow on the right side of Catherine’s face. This will undoubtedly lead to her expression being interpreted differently with perhaps a more moody feel. Image 5 has more warmth in the image too. As I recall the sun was moving in and out of clouds and for image 5 it was clearly shining.

This analysis confirms what I have informally recognised all along, which is that I need to shoot a series of images so that I have options to select from for the final edit. I also need to slow down the process further and allow the subjects to relax in between to avoid their expressions becoming fixed.

Which one is my favourite. Well number 5 is the warm Catherine I know, but I think number 2 is the determined Catherine that I also know and this fits better I think with the series I am producing. My thanks to Catherine for volunteering to support me in my project and I hope you forgive me for this detailed scrutiny!!