Wednesday, 11 November 2015

My First Photoshoot Since 2014

When I had Depression in 2012, one of the unfortunate side effects was that I completely lost my passion for taking photographs. Even more unfortunate was that I was doing a Master's Degree in Photography at the time. I was determined not to let my illness hold me back, and spent two years forcing myself to make work. As I was too anxious to go out most of the time and even more anxious about hiring models, I focused on self-portraits. I made some work that I'm quite proud of and earned a Distinction, but by the end I had burned myself out, and had no desire to continue my practice. 

Of course I've been taking personal photographs, photographs for this blog, and I've poured a lot of energy into my Youtube channel, so it's not like I stopped being creative entirely... but my makeup tutorials are not art. And I've truly missed that part of my identity. 

Last week I had a sudden urge to step in front of the camera again. Maybe it was visiting my old university for the MA Degree Show, or maybe it was all the exhibitions I'd visited over October, I don't know, but I had an idea for the first time since my last photoshoot, which was in June 2014.

I had 35mm slides of clouds taken in 2012, and a slide projector. I projected the slides onto the plain white wall in my studio when it was starting to get dark, that I'd taken when I was on the last year of my Bachelor's Degree and still had time to figure everything out. I wanted to be interacting with the slides in some way in the photographs, but of course when I stood in front of them I became a shadow, so I had to turn on one of my softbox lights. This made me visible, but made the projected image disappear slightly, but I managed to work with it.

Back in 2012 when I created the slides, I had a vision of what my life would be like at this point, and I don't think it looked like what it actually turned out to be. I'm not unhappy with how my life has turned out but there are a few things that I thought I'd have by now - like a driver's license or my own flat/house - and I wonder how I would have felt, aged 22, if I had known that these things were so hard to get.

In a nutshell, I did a photoshoot inspired by my current quarter-life crisis.

I knew that I was a little rusty and that it probably wouldn't be the best shoot I'd ever done, but I still felt like there was something missing when I came to edit the images. It just didn't feel like there was enough variety in the shoot. I might try this idea again but be a bit more adventurous and move the lights around more, or experiment with the poses. 

The funny thing is, I filmed most of the shoot for my monthly vlog, clips where I was just moving around looking for the best light, focusing the camera and doing the uninteresting bit that's normally left out of the image. But when I edited some of that footage to put in Notes From October, I felt like that conveyed my ideas better than the still images. 

So maybe I haven't lost my passion for Photography after all. Maybe I've just gained a passion for the moving image. Which would make a lot of sense, given that I also worked with stop motion animation while I was studying.

I'm working on a video for my channel soon where I'll talk about my past work in more detail, let me know if there's anything in particular you'd like me to discuss.

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