Assignment 1 – Encountering Culture

Encountering Culture

culture [noun]

  1. The arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively.
  2. The ideas, customs and social behaviour of a particular people or society.

stereotype [noun]

  1. A widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.

The pressure to look good in society has been growing and becoming a bigger issue every day over the last few years. We are all under pressure however often the issue focuses mainly on females. Despite more people becoming aware of it, and a number of news articles raising awareness and various campaigns, is the problem too big to ever resolve?

It’s nothing new to see the perfect women plastered over magazines, television, and adverts making women desire everything that they have. Not only this, but the number of airbrushed images which we see everyday has also been increasing, with some unable to distinguish the difference between the original and the one which has been digitally manipulated. This has given women a false sense of security and what is ‘beauty’. There are a number aspects in which we have been lead to believe contribute to the perfect image. From a young age we are influenced by the doll ‘Barbie’ with her long blonde hair and petite, thin frame. A flat stomach, clear skin, big eyes and pearly white teeth are just a few of the things which we long for to look ‘perfect’.

It may be all well and good to portray these sort of ideas in magazines and adverts to sell the perfect image however these are starting to have a negative effect. There are so many ways in which we are now able to change our appearance but often it isn’t the healthy approaches that people will take. A simple solution would be a gym routine and a healthy diet along with confidence and enough sleep however there are the extreme options of obsessive exercise, smoking, drugs, diet pills, plastic surgery, even going as far as starving ourselves. We are judged so much by our image that this can lead to bullying, depression, self-harm and eating disorders – a clear sign that the pressure we are under to look good has been taken too far.

Despite this, there have been a number of efforts to raise awareness of the great problem of the pressure we feel we are under. In 2004, The Dove Campaign for Real Beuty was launched. A variety of advertisements, billboards and articles allowed the public to contribute their opinion of the picture. The video created Evolution in 2006 has been seen by many, where a woman is digitally manipulated which completely transforms her image with the slogan “no wonder our perception of beauty is distorted”.  Campaigns such as these are so important in order to make women realize its not all about being size zero to be perfect. The question is, will the pressure ever not be there as its become such a big part of our lives? This is part of our social structure.

I will use my research from the photographers that I have looked at along with my ideas and stereotype of pressure to look good in society to conduct a number of photo-shoots. These will reflect whether we are in harmony or conflict with our social structure.

Photoshoots

Shoot 1.

For my first shoot, I wanted to work with the stereotype of how women are under pressure to look good in society. However rather than focusing solely on this, I incorporated the pressure to look good in society in the reality of the world we live in. In order to achieve this, I decided to dress up my model with the ideas of a fashion shoot, however the locations in which I have used are more run down with graffiti, rubbish, ect. By doing so, this reflects what the world we live in is actually like whilst contrasting to how we are pressured to look good. All the fashion photographers I have looked at including the way they dress their models, position them and influence the way they behave have inspired the ideas in this shoot. Before conducting the shoot, I looked around my local area in order to find ideal locations for the shots I wanted to achieve. By planning ahead I was able to visualize how my images would look and whether they would be successful. I also worked with my model in order to put together the correct outfits for the shoot whilst thinking of the different poses the model could use. By doing so, this meant I was fairly organized to do my shoot and had a good idea of how I wanted my images to appear. I also decided to shoot with the Mamiya 7 being the first time I have used one.

Negatives scanned with Nikon 900ED Medium Format Scanning Tray & Flatbed Scanner:

Image 1

Image 2

Image 3

Image 4

I decided to do 4 prints in the dark room from this shoot. Due to my own error when loading the film with the Mamiya 7, I lost one or two of my photos. Visually, image 1 is the best dark room print with everything well in focus and a good crop. However the print is overall quite dark therefore it may have worked slightly better if it hadn’t been exposed for so long. By keeping the subject to the left of the image and breaking the rule of thirds, it works effectively in order to focus on the model whilst also being drawn to notice the graffiti and industrial surroundings to the right. The model’s hair and clothes add a soft texture to the image, which is overall quite gritty and hard. Her surroundings are also mostly made up of geometric shape so she contrasts well to setting – this works well because it reflects the conflict between the pressure to look good and the reality of the world we live in.

I feel image 2 works well because again it has the contrast of the model looking fragile and precious in contrast to the harsh surroundings covered in graffiti. Here I like what the model is wearing and how she is posed because she looks vulnerable and charming – almost angelic. Again the soft textures of the clothes contrast to the hard floor and walls. The model also creates an interesting difference by contributing to the range of tones in the image, herself being the lightest tone in contrast to the darkest being the wall. Image 3 is very similar to image 2, but I decided to do this dark room print in order to view it properly. By positioning the model in the middle, she acts as the first focal point then leads the eye to notice her surroundings. Although her stance is more dominant in this photo, due to the fairly wide crop that features more background, it again makes her look small and vulnerable which I feel works well. However, referring to the contact sheet there is another photo similar to this where the model is actually smiling – I am unsure as to whether I prefer that image instead of image 3, or image 3 works better because her emotionless expression reflects the harshness of reality.

Finally the fourth print is definitely my favourite of the shoot. I am disappointed with the dark room print because it isn’t focused properly however looking at the photo on the contact sheet I can see that the image does work really well. Again, the photo has been exposed for too long so the range of tones are all fairly dark therefore if I were to print the image again I would need to be aware of this. What works well in this photo is the contrast of the model to the surroundings like the graffiti and overgrown plants. The area looks neglected which shows the reality of our world, whilst the model looks attractive and appealing – ‘looking good’. The different shapes present work well by adding various visual elements to the image and making it more interesting – the hard wall behind contrasts to the organic shape and soft texture from the model, whilst the plants act as various lines leading the eye throughout the image. By positioning the model in the center the image appears balanced which works effectively as she acts as the first focal point however it does not distract away from the importance and relevance of the surroundings.

I was fairly pleased with the outcome of this shoot however I feel there is a lot of room for both development and improvement. As a first attempt with the Mamiya 7, I was pleased with the results although I did lose one image through loading the film incorrectly, however this mistake is a lesson learnt for future use. Secondly, I found it took a lot of time to make sure the image was focused correctly and I was quite limited with only 10 frames to shoot but overall I enjoyed using the Mamiya 7 and definitely will again. I felt this shoot required a lot of preparation with the outfit changes, the appropriate location and the way the model posed. These were all small elements that added to the overall outcome of the shoot however all equally important to achieve the images I wanted. Some photos were more successful than others however after experimenting with these ideas I am now able to take this further and develop what worked well and move on positively from what didn’t.

I think this shoot also worked well because it addressed my initial idea of capturing the pressure to look good in society in contrast to the reality of the world we live in. I feel the locations I chose to use were ideal and I have further ones in mind if I were to take this shoot further. Along with this, the shoot reflects how we are in conflict with society. It works with harmony in the sense that we address the stereotype of the pressure to look good simply because most females feel they need to fit into the idea of perfection. However it represents conflict through how the pressure we are under to look good is completely wrong when the world we live in is neither perfect nor harmonious.

Shoot 2.

For my second shoot, I decided to in corporate genuine peoples thoughts and feelings on the pressure to look good. This shoot investigates how the pressure to look good in society affects how we see ourselves, what we don’t like about ourselves and what we do like. My main target for the shoot is girls as they are generally stereotyped more to be the ones to look good. I asked various girls if they wished to participate in my shoot and to do so I needed them to write something they did and didn’t like about themselves on a piece of paper, hold it up and let me photograph them. By doing so they were able to express themselves freely and the images capture a unique moment to that girl in how she wants herself to be portrayed through her body language and her facial expression as well as her thoughts upon herself. The setting I wanted for this photo-shoot was a plain background because this keeps the image simple and focuses solely on the subject and their emotion. This shoot was influenced by the idea of self-portrait and how many photographers turn the camera on themselves to capture their own personality and lifestyle. This shoot in a sense does this because it captures how the girls see themselves. This shoot did not need so much planning as it was mainly dependent upon my subjects – they also did not need much preparation because the shoot captures them naturally and relaxed in casual clothes however I did need them to think about how they perceived themselves. For this shoot I again used the Mamiya 7.

Negatives scanned with Nikon 900ED Medium Format Scanning Tray:

Image 1

Image 2

Image 3

All 3 images I have printed in the dark room appear fairly similar however very different in terms of the girl. Her personality is what defines each image. For example in image 1, the model is expressing something she does like about herself, which is reflected by the happy expression and lively body language. In contrast to this, in image 2 she is holding the piece of paper over her face. On it she has written ‘chubby’ as something she doesn’t like about herself and with her holding it in front of her face it suggests embarrassment or that she is trying to hide her feelings. In image 3, the girl has written ‘four-eyes’ as something she doesn’t like about herself, something she used to be called. With this, I also asked her to wear her glasses in the picture as I think this makes a good connection and tells more of a story to the viewer.

As all photos are pretty similar, they all have the same kind of visual elements. As the model is the only thing present in the image, overall the shapes are organic apart from the piece of paper that is rectangle and geometric.  With the model central in the image, the rule of thirds has been applied and the visual weight is equal. The hair and clothes of the model give the images a soft texture and the tonal range varies upon the colour of their clothes. Therefore overall there is little contrast in the image, which causes the viewer to focus more upon what they have written, their emotion and body language.

I am undecided as to whether this shoot was successful – firstly, it did achieve what I wanted to by capturing the girls and the various things they liked and disliked about themselves. However, I feel the idea was slightly too simple and my images were quite repetitive. It was interesting to explore how the girls would see themselves but not enough to be a really successful shoot. There are areas in which the shoot could be improved such as using a wider range of models, maybe working with general members of the public. Along with this, more public settings and backgrounds for the image may have worked better rather than using the plain background.

Again there were problems with the Mamiya 7 as this time some images were out of focus. Interestingly I did not seem to have this problem so much when I used the Mamiya 7 for the first time however here it happened a few times – this may be due to carelessness and not checking enough times that I had the focus perfect therefore I will be sure to cover this in the future. One photo I would of liked to have printed but couldn’t because it is too out of focus is the image where there are 2 girls together and they have written positive things that they like about each other. This in a sense creates a bond between the two girls and shows how we can be judgmental of each other in the world full of stereotypes we are expected to fit.

The shoot may have needed more preparation in the sense that a greater number of models were definitely available to be photographed – initially I had more models however when it came to doing the shoot some were unable to take part however this was only really a minor problem as it allowed me to explore more with the models I did have. It was interesting from a photographer’s point of view as it was important to detract away from knowing the model and how they felt about themselves and not letting this affect the way in which I photographed them.

I think this shoot again addressed both whether we are harmony and conflict within the social structure we are part of. The pressure to look good acts as the social structure in which we have become part of – this shoot addresses harmony to this because the girls did find things that they don’t like about themselves which shows how they don’t fit into the stereotype of what they have been taught is ‘perfect’. It also represents conflict in how we are able address that it is wrong that we feel the need to be perfect and also exploring the things they do like about themselves, which shows they do not always feel they have to fit the stereotype of ‘perfect’.

Shoot 3.

For my third shoot, I decided to focus the shoot on the reality of the ‘modeling’ world.  This shoot explored how we are in conflict with our social structure, because the harmony would be the perfect models we see on our magazines without giving it a second thought. Behind the scenes is the harsh reality of what we don’t see, the conflict to our ‘standard’ social structure. This allowed me to question and explore through my images whether models are trapped in society and whether they have their own say. Is this perfection? The idea of this shoot was inspired by the work of Nan Goldin and Peter Lindbergh who explore aspects of behind the scenes of modeling. As well as this, Martin Parr’s blog of the modeling industry was interesting to note when planning this shoot.

With a number of ideas that I had for this shoot, I decided to plan my shots in order to give me a wide range of images to print from and explore a number of different aspects. This allowed me to visualize how my images would be and whether they were successful. This also included different poses, props and outfits. I used things from my own knowledge of the world of modeling such as the relation to drugs and smoking, as well as how they eat tissues to dismiss hunger. I decided to shoot with the Pentax K1000 35mm camera; being the second time I have used one. This allowed me to experiment with a number of shots in comparison to the Mamiya 7, which is limited to only 10.

Negatives scanned with Flatbed Scanner:

Image 1

Image 2

Image 3

I decided to do 3 prints in the dark room from this shoot to get an idea of how they looked as proper prints. Image 1 captures the model smoking, a stereotype or reality of a models life as often many of them have this habit along with drug use. I like the shadows in this image and the tonal range in this image as overall it is quite dark which reflects the darkness of their lifestyle, while the lighter she is using to light the cigarette contrasts to this holding the lightest value in the image. I like how the photo has been cropped quite tight and the aperture used has really defined all the detail of the photo such as the texture in the hair and softness of her hands. The model is positioned slightly off the center therefore breaking the rule of thirds however this works effectively making the image more interesting. By shooting it on the side of the face it also captures the make up all run down her face, which again reminds us of the harshness and hurt of the reality of a models lifestyle.

I really like this image because of how dominant the models eyes are. They act as the first focal point in the image as they are dark and almost threatening, however the make up down her face almost makes us feel her fear. The dark eyes also contrast greatly to her pale skin on her hand which I think works really interestingly. The tight crop also works effectively here as it makes the photo more intimate. With ‘PERFECT’ written on her hand, this gives the viewer more of a story behind the image. She is holding her hand across her mouth, which immediately addresses the approach I wanted to take as to whether they have their own say. This image suggests how the way she has been ‘made’ as a model makes her perfect and she has little to say different. I also like how the texture is defined in her hair and the volume of her hair to the right of the image balances the visual weight against the left side because this is a lot darker with shadows.

I also really like this image because the various visual elements work together well to create what I feel is a good image. Firstly, the models body language is important here because her stance is very solid whilst she is holding her arms up indicating they are in hand cuffs. This acts as one of the main focal points because it addresses my second area of interest of how they are trapped in society – the handcuffs represent this. The models facial expression is also important here because her face is empty yet threatening. Her dark eyes again work well here by acting as the first focal point and from the angle this has been shot we can see the make up down her face, in reality she is a mess – this is the reality of the modeling world. The model is central in the photo creating a balanced and effective image. The tonal range is quite varied here, which makes the image more interesting such as the plain, bright wall which contrasts again her dark eyes and hair. By looking at these 3 images together I feel they are all successful in portraying the idea I initially intended and feel my series of 10 will work really well.

I was really pleased with the outcome of this shoot and really enjoyed doing it. I also feel I had a good experience with the Pentax K1000 and feel more confident about using it in the future. By planning the outfits and shots before hand, I had a good visualization of what I wanted to achieve and this allowed the shoot to flow smoothly and effectively.

Some shoots were more effective than others however there is only a couple that I’m not happy with. Saying this there is always room for improvement, for example if I were to undergo the shoot again I would try different locations for a wider variation, as for some images this became quite repetitive. Despite this, I do feel the plain background worked effectively in some shots to focus more on the model, and props such as the mirror and bed were where I needed them to be. The amount of exposures on the film was just right, if anything I would have liked to experimented further with my later shots such as with smoking ones as I could have got some interesting shots with the model actually smoking and try to incorporate this effectively.

I think this shoot worked really well because it captured exactly what I wanted it to. I feel it explored all areas that I initially addressed before under going the shoot like whether they have their own say and if they’re trapped in society. It reflects conflict to our social structure as it captures reality and harshness of a models life. It was exciting to work with something different with the model having holes in her clothes and messed up make up which reflected her stress and dismay. The model herself also worked really well with incredible facial expressions and body language.  By printing a couple of images this allowed me to see what they looked like as proper prints and whether they looked good enough for finals. As I am very pleased with the results of the few I printed I would further like to use these for my final 10 images as there are others, which I would like to use. I will select a specific 10 from my 34 shots, which reflect best “are you in harmony or in conflict within the social structure that you are a part of?”

Finals

This image reflects both harmony and conflict of our social structure. The harmony is shown through the model in her natural form, she is posing for the image and doing what she does best. However it represents conflict through the reality of the image. Her clothes are ripped and her make up is messed up – in reality the life of a model is not glamorous and this image shows how through it all she is still trying to represent herself well. Her body language is posed yet dominant which is enhanced through the angle the image has been shot – looking up at the model. The model looks hurt yet still so strong through her stance, they try to hide the reality. The shapes of the image are all organic and the textures soft, contrasting to the hard plain wall which makes the model the main focus and makes her stand out more. The downside to this image is when the photo was shot; the focus isn’t perfect whilst the heavy shadows to the left make the image quite dark. This detracts attention away from the model and loses some detail slightly – I will remember this for future shooting as getting this right is key.

With this photo, I wanted to make the model look lifeless. To do so, the model has posed lying down with relaxed body language therefore her facial expression speaks her emotions. The photo reflects vulnerability, as again her eyes are very dominant in the image. Both the eyes and the make up running down her face make her look troubled and alone, allowing the viewer to imagine her thoughts and feelings. I also cropped the photo tight to concentrate and focus more on her facial features and emotions. I decided to print this shot quite dark as it gives it a gothic feel which works effectively within this photo. The shadows in the background add a sense of mystery and deep space as the viewer is unaware as to what is there, as well as adding to her loneliness, whilst the right amount of light was present to light up the right side of her face. This photo shows conflict with our social structure in the sense that modeling sucks the personality and life from a female; her perception to be perfect forms the basis of her life.

This is one of my favourite images from the shoot as I feel it is composed effectively and works with both reflection and how the model perceives herself. Whilst her make up is still a mess all down her face, she applies more – I wanted to capture this moment to reflect how she still feels the pressure to look good, she is still trying to make herself beautiful. I chose to shoot from this angle because it works effectively in a number of ways. Firstly the viewer sees both the model in reality to the right whilst focusing mainly on her reflection in the mirror – this acts as the main focal point in the image. Secondly, by focusing the purpose of the photo on her reflection we see through her eyes how she visualizes herself. I like this effect because it captures how the model sees it all as normal whereas we as viewers see it as the conflict to our social structure. Repetition with the model appearing twice in the photo creates a sense that holds the work together and reminds the viewer that although she perceives herself in a different way, in the way of perfection – that she is still one person.

In this photo again the eyes are very dominant and certainly in this case, speak for the model. Her eyes tell the story and define her emotion whilst the tape over her mouth reflects the idea I wanted to achieve of whether models have their own say. With the tape over her mouth, this defines how she doesn’t have a say – and her eyes speak for her. They look hurt but determined to continue. The tape hides her opinion and her identity. I again cropped the photo quite tight here and framed the image closely to focus solely on the model. As well as this the background is plain therefore it doesn’t distract attention away from the model and also creates an interesting contrast to the darker tones held in her eyes, hair and tape.  The aperture defines her facial features well which makes the image more interesting and highlights the various textures that are present. Overall the image is kept quite simple but that makes the context of the photo speak more and tell the story, which I feel, works effectively. In a sense this photo can be viewed as different to the others because it could represent harmony with our social structure – as the model has no voice, she is unable to fight for herself and abides to her social structure of the modeling lifestyle therefore not causing conflict.

I like this photo because it captures the model in a more natural sense. Smoking is a habit often associated with models as it helps them keep such a slim figure and the image suggests the desperation with their addiction. Her body language is interesting here because it reflects the models careless attitude whilst smoking which again highlights how she is more natural. It represents normality and the photo captures this kind of moment. What I like visually about the composition of this image is how I shot it slightly off a straight on angle therefore capturing her hair falling down the right side of the photo in contrast to the left which is empty – this shows how the rule of thirds has been broken and the visual weight of the image is heavier to the left and I feel this works effectively. The cigarette acts as the main focal point, which is important as it tells the story of the image. The eyes are drawn here first followed by the other various focal points such as the eyes and her shirt collar, making us notice her clothes and necklace reminding us of the fashionable element.  This photo could also be seen in the sense that it represents harmony in our social structure because this behavior is normal to behavior however it could also show conflict as outsiders we see this as wrong.

This is another one of my favourite images from the shoot because although it is kept quite simple, it speaks a number of messages.  Here we see the model in a different light and by capturing her with less clothes on it makes the photo more intimate. Her body language suggests that she is strong and dominant however it also suggests the pressure she is under by the way she is holding her waist in – although she looks strong on the outside, the reality is harsh. The direction of her arms also act as lines that lead us through the image to notice the shape of her body. On her stomach she has written “I must be thin” – this again reflects pressure and we see conflict to our social structure as an outsider as this is wrong yet to the model it is normality. The photo is almost alarming as it draws the viewer to how thin they really are yet to them this is harmony in their social structure. With the model situated in the center of the image and the photo shot straight on this creates a balance and effective image by focusing solely her and her appearance. By doing so, this also focuses on the shapes in the image, which causes the viewer to notice the organic shapes of her body, making her look fragile. There is an interesting contrast of light and dark such as her pale skin against her dark clothing, while her face is heavily hidden by shadow, which adds a sense of mystery suggesting she is hiding who she really is to fit in the modeling world.

This is another one of my favourites because I feel it all works well together. The most important aspect of the image is her body language and facial expression. The pose in which I wanted the model hold means she is holding her arms up and we notice how she is in handcuffs. The handcuffs capture one of my main focuses of how models are trapped in society; they represent how they cannot escape what is heir reality.  Whilst she is trapped, her eyes here again speak her emotions. She looks threatening yet lost, as there is little that she can do.  I also feel her make up works effectively here because with it running down her face she looks a mess – it shows reality and how modeling isn’t all glam. I framed the image from the waist upwards to focus mainly on the body language and facial expression with little distraction away from her. Along with this, the plain background does the same whilst creating a strong contrast between the lightest and darkest values. I did also really like the other images I shot where the model is in the handcuffs however I felt this was the most effective.

At a first attempt this print wasn’t so successful with a possible splash of chemical on the image at the wrong stage therefore I had to reprint however I’m glad I did as I feel this image is quite strong, despite there being another problem with the photo which is possibly due to something on the negative. The angle at which the photo has been shot makes the photo more effective – the rule of thirds have been broken causing the visual weight of the image to appear heavier to the right. It makes her dominant eyes one of the main focal points in the image, which is important here as we read her emotions through her eyes, whilst capturing her hair tumbling down to the right. Her hand over her throat is another main focal point here of great importance – she has ‘PERFECTION’ written on it and the message this addresses is the pressure to look perfect trapping her like her hand around her throat stopping her from breathing. In a sense, she is putting her own life under threat in order to be perfect, reflecting the conflict to our social structure. The aperture used has created a shallow depth of field however it defines the textures and organic shapes present in the image – again the angle at which the image was shot compliments the shapes as I feel it causes the viewer to focus more on the shapes of her mouthy and nose which is interesting. The range of tones are interesting in this image, as her pale skin contrasts greatly to the darker surroundings on the left – however this does draw the eye to a fault in the photo where there is unwanted detail.

I feel this is the weakest image of my final 10, however I wanted to include it as did decide to explore and experiment with the shots and it also suits the theme well. With the pressure of models to look so good and keep their figure slim, it is known that they eat tissues in order to sustain hunger. This idea in itself immediately defines how we are in conflict with our social structure as for herself this is normality however to us this is wrong. This image captures the model with tissues in her mouth to portray this idea, however I feel this could have been composed better as the shot appears quite staged with how she is holding her hair and looking directly into the camera. However this does work as a positive also because it once again draws the viewer to the dark, dominating eyes. Here she looks quite threatening rather than afraid, however the soft textures of her clothes and hair still suggest an angelic character. The range of tones is restricted here in contrast to most of my other finals which are printed quite dark with a gothic feel, therefore the darkest values are held within the make up on her eyes whereas the lightest is in her skin.

This image is quite similar to the photo where she has her hand over her throat however I think this image works well through a number of elements. With such a close crop this makes the photo intimate and although the viewer feels so close, the model appears as if she is hiding behind her hand and behind the image of ‘perfection’.  The pressure to be perfect represents conflict with our social structure, as the stereotype of looking good has become part of our everyday lives. This photo along with my other prints reveal the harsh reality of what we see as beauty and the conflict it causes. By holding it over her mouth, it suggests that models do not have their say and being perfect is what dictates their lifestyle. Her eyes seem quite hidden in this image behind her hair and fingers as well as being in the shadows however they are important in the image because they speak the emotions she cannot express herself – lonely and afraid. The aperture used here defines the textures nicely in her hair whilst the smoothness of her skin.  I feel these various visual elements such as the defined textures, contrasts of light and dark and the organic shapes present in the photo all work together to create a visually pleasing image and completes my set of 10.

Evaluation

The aim of the assignment was to explore “are you in harmony or in conflict within the social structure that you are a part of?” In order to do this, I looked into the meanings of both culture and stereotype. The idea of working with stereotype sparked from how outsides of a culture often have pre made perceptions of the people in them, of their behavior and attitudes. This brought me onto the stereotype of females and how they are under great pressure today to look good in society – this has adapted to our social structure. Therefore for my assignment I decided to explore into whether we are in harmony or conflict with this, which has become so typical of everyday.

By conducting research I was able to gain a greater inside to the thoughts and feelings on the pressure on women to look good. There are many things that put pressure on women such as celebrities and magazines. More recently these have been brought to peoples attention through news articles, magazines and even television programmes. By being able to see the effect it has had on various females through various statistics, comments and procedures to reduce the amount of pressure this gave me ideas for my photoshoots. Along with this by looking at photographers I was able to see the techniques and styles of fashion photographers and how they make their models look good. As they are able to do this, the world perceives this as the way we should look. Often the pressure is found more in magazines, however the photographers helped work the ideas for my shoots.

I feel my 3 shoots were fairly successful and I enjoyed experimenting with the different ideas. Working with fashion was one of my favourites as it allowed me to use the style and techniques and adapt these in my own ways of the photographers I researched. I also liked the idea of the pressure to look good in the reality of the world we live in and I feel the images I produced suited this well. My second shoot was not so successful as although I think the idea had potential, the images were quite repetitive and not so visually pleasing, as well as not addressing the theme as well as my other two shoots. My third shoot was the most successful as there were a number of prints that I feel worked well. I liked how it captured the harshness of behind the scenes of what we perceive as beautiful.

What I can take away from this shoot practically is greater confidence to work with film cameras, especially the Mamiya 7. I have also further developed my dark room skills, which can always be improved upon. I feel printing my 10 finals was fairly successful however there were a few imperfections, which meant there were a couple that needed printing. Although dark room printing can be quite time consuming, I feel the results are definitely worth it. If I was able to develop the project further, I would have liked to of experimented with the Mamiya RB – this may have worked better for shoot 2 where I was photographing portraits. If I had more time I would have liked to have presented my images on a large canvas. I would cover the canvas in a number of magazine cuttings considering beauty and perfection, with the images placed on top. If I were to do the project again, I would manage my time better in order to manage complications better and develop my ideas even further.

As a whole I really enjoyed the project, especially the aspect of shooting in film. It was interesting to take the idea of culture and explore all the different areas and the huge number of stereotypes that we face each day. The pressure to look good will possibly forever be a problem in the world we live in however more is being done to address it each day. It was an interesting experience to be able to express my own thoughts and feelings through the visual element of photography, and as a whole I feel there we are conflict with the social structure we are part of.

References

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Belfast Telegraph. (2010). Girls tell of pressure to look good. Available: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/uk/girls-tell-of-pressure-to-look-good-14935170.html.

Swinson, J. (2011). False beauty in advertising and the pressure to look ‘good’. Available: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/08/08/swinson.airbrushing.ads/index.html

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~ by victoriasimkissphotography on November 29, 2012.

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