journey #2 – foureyes

Ok, so journey number two was more about me being a flaneur really, and trying out a toy camera I picked up recently. I never got into the Holga/Lomo craze and shooting film almost completely passed me by because I’ve only got into photography in the past two or three years. But I’ve recently picked up a couple of low-fi film camreas (including an underwater one in the pound store yesterday…I’m sure that one will work well) and am also planning to start shooting a bit of medium format here and there, where money allows. I’m interested to see the effect of mixing it up a bit on my photography and also I’m hoping that shooting film once in a while will help me become more thoughtful about what I do. That’s the theory, anyhow.

Anyway, so these are just some rather random snaps from a walk yesterday from the city centre up the A6 to Levenshulme, the area of Manchester where I live. It’s a gimmicky little camera and won’t be to everyone’s taste. Not having a viewfinder at all means lots of shooting from the hip, guesswork and crooked horizons. I don’t think Homer (tutor) would approve.

portraits 3

I have to say that despite being slow out of the blocks this fortnight, I’ve really got into this portrait assignment, and have ended up doing more people than I originally planned. I still have the self-portrait to do, and have a work photo job booked in on Thursday, so hopefully I’ll get a few more done before Friday’s tutorial. Anyway, on the suggestion of a photo mentor I wanted to make sure that at least one of my portraits was of a Big Issue in the North vendor, seeing as though I work closely with the magazine and sometimes fill in as editor. I ended up getting two (plus dog) for the price of one when I turned up to the vendor breakfast club this morning and Paul and Shaun agreed to help me. I’d found a couple of interesting-looking walls on my way to the office, so knew exactly where I wanted to take them for a backdrop.

portraits 2

Each portrait session brings its own challenges, I’m discovering. In the past my own self-consciousness has been my biggest handicap. This is something I am now trying to mask as far as possible – essential if I’m going to help others feel at ease. Living in Manchester – known as the Rainy City for good reason – presents obvious challenges. Even when the weather’s fine, wind causes me problems when I want to use my simple set-up of an off-camera strobe, lightstand and brolly. Today’s attempt at a portrait shoot was hard in another way. It was beyond quick – I got maybe five minutes before my subjects’ attention was gone, so the lights couldn’t even come out of the bag. My volunteers – users of a street drop-in centre where I have just been given the go-ahead to do some work as this course enters its next phase – were a bit all over the place in terms of following directions, but I managed to get a few pleasing shots which I hope at least show a bit of personality. Compositionally, they could probably be better, and I didn’t manage to tick all the required shot types off the list, but you have to work with what (or who) you’ve got…

Portraits 1

I’ve got off to a very slow start with this uni portrait assignment. I got a few nice shots of my good friend Rozie this morning and now have four days to find two strangers willing to let me photograph them and to do a set of self-portraits. Will it happen? Fingers crossed as I think this is a really great assignment and I need all the portrait practice I can get. Must get more confident and get better at directing people….

bingo wings

I spent a couple of hours today at a weekly pensioner’s group in Manchester run by volunteers from Irish Community Care. I didn’t really know what to expect but hadn’t thought through the fact that bingo – which takes up part of the session – isn’t exactly rife with human interaction. There were of course moments of connection during the afternoon and some of the images are okay. But in terms of the brief I was trying to fulfil, I’m not convinced I really nailed it. Of the three shoots I’ve done I think the family definitely worked best for the brief.

family politics

Two down, one to go….

I spent this morning at a friend’s house, trying to capture some family dynamics photographically for my current assignment on human relationships.  Cath, her little boy Zaki, her baby daughter and her mum were all very relaxed about me taking pictures. It probably helped that I know them so maybe that’s a bit of a cheat. Either way, I’m pleased with how the best of the photos turned out.