Sunday, 8 May 2011

The Frame Ex 3 - A sequence of compostion

I learned a few practical lessons on this exercise. I decided to take my camera to Cirencester on a rather overcast Market day to try to get some interesting sequences and thought I'd use my 70-200mm long lens to avoid getting in people's faces. Practical lesson 1 was that people are instantly suspicious of a long lens. I certainly got to know some of the traders quite well but first impressions weren't good as they were all very hostile to me taking pictures of them. I have my theories on why this is but won't discuss them here. Anyway, here are my efforts at a sequence of compositions.

The first sequence is based around the hat stall. The owner of this was happy to let me take photos but the stall was a bit messy. I got a sequence of a chap buying a cap to keep his (rather hair free) head warm then closed in on some detail of the hats for sale.

Next came the seafood stall which was rather lacking in produce but again, tight images with shallow depth of field produced some interesting images.  

The fruit and veg stall was quite colourful despite the dull day. I have to say the owner was particularly hostile when he first saw me but relented when I said I was a photography student rather than with the Revenue. The wider shots were too busy and uninteresting, but as with the other sequences, got better when I focussed in on the produce. Overall, I think this is my best sequence although there are better individual images elsewhere. The spelling on the description boards make these images more interesting!

My final sequence was of a stall selling local produce and ends with my favourite image of the day. The rest of the sequence was pretty uninteresting to be honest, but I like the final image of the stall holder, who was a very friendly local farmer and having spoken to him at length I think the image captures his personality well.

Learning outcomes
This was my first try at 'reportage' style photography and I did learn some valuable lessons about taking photos of people here. Next time I do this I will definitely NOT take my large professional 70-200mmm f/2.8 lens as this really seemed to upset people. A smaller 'travel' lens would have been more subtle even if the image quality isn't as good in theory. I would also engage with the people I am photographing much earlier. Once they knew what I was doing, most people were very friendly and willing to let me take images of them but there was initial hostility and I should have done more to dispel people's fears earlier. With lots going on, wide images tend to look very messy so I felt the more detailed images worked better here. However, the wider images in the sequence give context and tell more of the story so they are still important. A very interesting exercise!

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