Sunday 16 December 2012

Focus on Hannah

I mentioned back when I started this blog that I was into photography, although I realise I haven't really touched on the subject at all so far. I try my hand at as many different genres as I can (entering the Amateur Photographer monthly competition is like getting a brand new assignment every few weekends), but the one I get most excited about is portraiture.

For an amateur this is normally an interesting and rewarding experience. As willing as Mrs Specs is to have her photo taken, she shows signs of getting fed up after the first 2,184 shots. And also you can't learn about photographing different people unless you photograph different people. So ... and this can take a little bit of psyching up ... you ask friends and colleagues. If they say yes, it's a bit of a 'punch the air' moment, and a creative collaboration is born. I will post pictures featuring other members of my 'photo army' in future but this time I'll feature just the one.

About a year ago, my friend Hannah was making some huge changes - new look, new place, new start. H is a technical whizz, Photoshop included, and was already in the habit of putting together yearbooks/annuals as a regular record of her life. Possibly after some alcohol (or at the very least, high on H's cooking), I suggested I could do some of the photography, and pitched a plan based on a notional calendar. I surmised that we could do a series of 12+ pictures, in a year, that could all take their theme either from something in H's life, or from the month itself. Or, in some cases, if we were firing on all cylinders, both.

It was an epic project. Great fun, but at the same time, it took a lot of planning, industry and improvisation. H was up for it, and to her enormous credit, remained committed to the enterprise, trouper-style, throughout. Here is a 'first draft' sequence of photographs. 'December' is missing as it's a picture with other family members, and I've added a couple of alternatives/out-takes. H of course will have all the pictures taken at each session to choose from, and for anyone who's friends with us on Facebook, a wider-ranging set will go up there before long. I'm very proud of H, and these pictures, and I hope you like them.

Intro pictures: moving in.

January's theme is cookery (birth month of Nigella Lawson).

February was the month the late Word magazine started (in 2003). The reader community surrounding the mag and its website was and is a major feature of H's (and my) life. This picture was taken on its patch.

March: first day of spring. Or sun on the shed, anyway.

April 1923 is the first appearance we can find of the ukulele (H's 'other' instrument) on film. We used the uke on two different occasions...

H asked for a South Bank picture, so we went for May, when Tate Modern opened in 2000.

June 1968: release date of H fave Randy Newman's first album.

H is a keen lover/collector of Tube maps and lore. July 1933 marked the completion of 'her' line, the Piccadilly, where this shot was taken.

H's main instrument is the piano. One of her favourite composers is Debussy, born August 1862.

This outfit was first created when H improvised a 'pirate' look by accident. 19 September is National Talk Like A Pirate Day. (Arrr, etc.)

'Breakfast at Tiffany's' was released in October 1961.

An October 'out-take'. You may spot the Halloween reference.

We wanted a 'retro' studio style picture, so allocated one to November (Jean Shrimpton's birth month).

A happy product of the sessions - not part of the sequence (at least not at the moment), but still a favourite.

1 comment:

  1. I'm really taken by the piano shot. She's a very photogenic young woman. More please.