Step 1: Synopsis
Step 2: Investigate
Tina Barney is a fantastic documentary photographer. Although most of her work is full of colour, this is my portrait. Tina used large format cameras to document people and their surroundings with exceptional attention to detail and still does using digital. She is patient and incredibly focused. Her images are inspiringly playful, without dramatic dynamics.
Step 3: In the Tina Barney’s Style [attempted]
Tina used 5×4 which produced virtually no grain, now she uses low ISOs to achieve similar with digital. Rarely shot closeups as her style demanded to show most of the surrounding that built context for the unposed figures. Everything in her work is considered and nothing is out of place, even though she uses minimal amount of direction. To do that she has to choose and wait, think and observe. Families. Humans in their environment.
Step 4: Complete the Task
For this task I had to slow down and think. Just like Tina Barney – I like to take my time and try my best to pre-shoot or predict what’s going to happen next in order to obtain the image that I want. This practice was usually applied when shooting street photographs on film and although sometimes it means being too late, it makes the process enjoyable and, well, cheaper. To complete this task, I chose environmental setting that was alien to me, a family home of people that I did not know previously. To be able to participate in a process similar to that of Tina Barney, where I would have to observe carefully and try to blend into my surrounding – that was the main goal. Beforehand I thought of what I would like to achieve during my visit and decided to adapt Tina’s style again to try and capture the whole family exactly as they are.
Custom temperature pre-set in the camera, wide angle lens and ISO as low as the situation permitted were used in order for me to be ready and unobtrussive. I picked a spot in the house and sat there, looking silly, trying to imagine the photo that I wanted whilst limiting myself to only 1 press of the shutter per photo and a maximum of 4 photos.
All of the above attracted attention of the youngest family members and soon almost whole family was sharing the corridor with me. Out of 4 photographs I took during my 4-hour long visit I chose this one, because I felt that it was the most complete record of the whole day.
I was impatient at first, but if it wasn’t for the wait with camera at the ready, the image would be lost.