FMP - Taking photos

So apart from some test shots I decided I really ought to start thinking about photos.

I have chosen my models, between us we have designed and discussed costumes. I ordered some plain masks and other props like flags. And agreed locations with models.

I wanted urban shots so chose a housing estate. It is full of a various selection of people. Some are immigrants and others are poverty stricken, in between are people who just wanted to buy a cheap house to retire to.

I was inspired by Clémentine Schniedermann through out my course and have constantly referred back to her performative work whist she has been documenting local communities in Wales.

Peter Mitchell looks at Leeds Peter’s series A New Refutation of the Viking 4 Space Mission displays the photographer’s affection and care towards capturing a city he holds dear with a unique narrative. The series follows the concept that “an alien has landed from Mars and is wandering around Leeds with a degree of surprise and puzzlement”. Featuring both landscape and portrait photography, the images first shown in 1979 act as essential documentation of not only Leeds but colour photography. “In the Earthly vernacular these photographs are of Nowheresville. Yet, for some people they are the centre of the universe. Usually they call it home.”Describing A New Refutation of the Viking 4 Space Mission, Martin Parr says: “The full charm of Mitchell’s work is embodied in images of shops and factories with owners or work force standing proudly in front of their businesses. Quite why our alien visitors to Leeds never stayed, we’ll never know.”

Mitchell’s series documents backstreets, corner shops, factories, churches and cemeteries in Leeds and Sheffield, as well as other locations in Cumbria and London, building a compelling picture of these cities during the late 1970s. Many of the portraits show the city inhabitants standing outside their homes or places of work. Equal attention is paid to the entirety of the setting, the figures often appearing dwarfed in the composition by their surroundings. The majority of the subjects gaze directly at the camera adopting stiff, frontal poses giving the images a formal impression and sense of stillness. Describing the distinctive style and subject matter of the photographs, historian David Mellor has commented, ‘it is as if Alan Bennett had met Diane Arbus in an urban picaresque’ (Mellor 2005, accessed 12 June 2017).

With these in mind I have taken photos in urban settings and all with people. It is not just about the people but the environment.

©Gail Timms 2019

taken from accessed October 2019

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© 2018 by Gail Timms