Saturday 9 February 2013

Frame and fortune

A little while back I posted some examples of my photography for the first time. The project I featured in that post was a series of portraits of my friend Hannah, taken over the course of roughly a year - you can find it here.

I was overjoyed with the response those photos received. Portraits are my favourite pictures to do. It was lovely that people liked them, and - huge sigh of relief - the subject was pleased, too! For an amateur like me, that was something of a major project - a big idea that involved quite a lot of planning and scheming on my part and SUPERNATURAL patience and gusto from Hannah. Another happy outcome is that Hannah - a music teacher - has since been able to use some of the portraits for her new website. Take a look! (Especially if you fancy learning the piano.)

Most of the time, my aims are more 'modest' - I have a few projects on the go (and I will blog about them as I go along), but they are mostly portrait series based on certain themes or locations. I get as many of my friends and willing victims involved as I can - which, by definition, means the overall enterprise spreads itself out over any number of photo outings - and piece together the results over time. Along the way, I enter competitions.

As I gamely submit pictures to all and sundry, I'll start posting them here. Partly, because some of you are kind enough to take an interest and offer support! Also, it means I can write briefly about taking the picture - possibly a way to help me remember any good ideas I have, or avoid repeating mistakes!

This first image, though, was a near-accident and almost didn't happen. I was out taking pictures of my friends Fliss and Tony, who are pretty much the ideal couple to know if you need photographic subjects. You'll be seeing a lot more of them, I'm sure. Amateur dramatists, they ACTUALLY HAVE the fabled chest of costumes hidden away in their house and are quite willing to appear in public in a bewildering variety of guises (the extra picture I've sneaked in at the bottom, to illustrate this, is one of our very earliest - the two of them channeling 'gangster and moll' in Brighton). On this particular day, however, we were going for something lower key, and I was photographing them in black and red outfits. We went into Tate Modern, and Fliss momentarily disappeared to revive and refresh.

I was fiddling with the camera, looked up and saw Tony leaning on the rail staring thoughtfully into the Turbine Hall space. Because F & T act, you can ask them to 'recreate' mood and posture without sounding mad - so after taking a couple of snaps, I got Tony to turn round but keep his meditative expression. He did exactly that. The first of the two black & white pictures is the competition entry (the brief is for portraits taken in artificial light). I hope you like it.

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