An intelligent, articulate and very easy going subject made this photoshoot an enjoyable afternoon. My main problem however was trying to find objects that reflected his character. Unfortunately for my purposes his house was not packed full of the usual object d’art or knick-knacks that you may expect to find in someone’s home.
(Fig. 1) Initially I rather liked hits shot; these little jellies make your mouth water and speak of his sweet tooth (something I suffer from myself). But considering connotations later I realised this could be read in an entirely inappropriate way with the implication of children being spirited away with the promise of sweets. We have been subjected to the reputation of being perverts and paedophiles through the media for many years so this spoils the innocence of this shot. But also reminds me that I have to be careful in analysing all possible connotations within contexts for the chance of my images being misread.
(Fig. 2) The model for the day was a very interesting guy and shared his interests as being sport and gardening. Among the few things that dotted his home were some specimen plants which speak of his caring nature. I seem to usually capture at least one plant in each of the shoots I do so whether that speaks of my interest or our general desire to bring mother nature into our homes.
(Fig. 3) He was particularly proud of an unusual antique armchair that was a family heirloom. My attempts to create a poetic serene composition fell very short of my desires. I feel I have not done this object justice so if there were the chance to revisit I would hope to capture something better next time.
(Fig. 4) The leafs and heart shapes of this eiderdown speak of an old-fashioned and feminine nature. This is something that contrasts with the man himself whose masculinity is evident. I find this interesting as the project itself questions the stereotype of our masculinity.
(Fig. 5) On the whole I am pleased with this shot. The geometric composition and retro colour tones make for a pleasing image. Unfortunately the pose of the model is not as complimentary as I would wish. I am aiming to use mirrors to combat our tendency to fixate on our flaws when we regard our mirror self; and I am not happy this image flatters the model.
(Fig. 6) I like the voyeuristic aspect of this shot. Where we, the viewers, are hidden outside sneaking a look at the naked male within. The composition and lighting are not the best so this would probably have been disregarded except for the fact it reminds me of one of Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills. Part of my aim for the project is in creating a cinematic aesthetic as if the images were cropped from some greater movie and the models its star; another way to compliment the model. The thought of recreating stills from actual or fictional films much in the way Sherman did is an idea that appeals, although there is the chance that the subjects then just become actors in my theatre production when I am searching for something more truthful that portrays an extended portrait of the man.
(Fig. 7) It has been mentioned about the tradition in Western Art of the reclining female nude and how my work contrasts and subverts this tradition in placing the naked male in similar style. This shot was not directed by me and the angle of the result was necessitated by the lack of space. The result therefore is not the innocent naked portrait I envisaged, but something more sexually charged. This could be down to the passive pose and his prominent genitals and his hidden face that allows us to regard his naked form without his eyes challenging us in return. The muted colour palette helps to tone down the worst of the explicitness, but I still feel it is less subtle than I could have initially hoped for.
(Fig. 7) Both myself and the model agreed this is by far the strongest shot of the afternoon. The composition in thirds and the muted colour cast make for an intriguing shot. The lighting makes his nakedness more subtle yet still highlights and compliments his musculature. Even the casually discarded spectacles do not detract but add to the composition. My only slight concern is that it doesn’t appear totally natural. I keep returning to the question I ask with every one of these portraits “why is the model naked in this space” and this shot seems a little too setup. I may have to return to it with fresh eyes in a couple of weeks to see if it still worries me in this way, which could be a shame as I am very fond of the shot just as it is.