P.356 Bertien Van Manen and Lucy Turner

Task 5

Blending In

Step 1, Synopsis:

Step 2, Visual Portrait:

Bertien Van Manen believes there is magic behind photography, particularly film photography. She sees it as a form full of surprises, the out of focus and light leaked images that come from accidental mistakes. This reflects a lot on her way of thinking in general, not just photography. To represent this I used film, as this is still quite a new style for me, to see what ‘unexpected surprises’ I would find after processing it to help represent Bertien Van Manen’s thoughts. I felt this image did just that.

Step 3, In the style of:

Manen views photographs as objects, she views her work as ‘a study of interior photography’. Taking particular inspiration from her body of work Give me your Image (2006), I have photographed a picture of my Great Grandparents at my Grandparents house. I took the photograph exactly how I found it in the same place it always is, surrounded by past and modern elements of our families life framing the photograph that’s always in centre stage of their bookshelf.

Step 4, Task:

Step 5, Critical Rationale:

For this task I focused on a community of people I’ve never thought about photographing before, the street cleaners within Coventry City Centre. This is through the influence of Chris Porsz Reunions (2016) photo book. A particular set of images stood out to me when viewing this book, a black and white photograph of a bin man taken in the 1980’s, compared to an image of a bin man within 2010. The overall aesthetic of these images intrigued me, which led me to think about them as a community. However I wanted to present the work in a more relevant and emblematic manner outside of a photo book to engage the audience into the world of the street cleaners .

I spent some time with four different street cleaners, talking to them and photographing them as they worked. I used a black and white film disposable camera, to ensure I was in the moment when communicating with the subjects rather than constantly flicking through photographs and checking them. Although this was hard for me, as I always normally work with digital so I can ensure I photograph the perfect image. This did help me create very honest and natural photographs, as the subjects all felt at ease as I spent a lot of time talking to them before beginning to photograph. This task has made me reflect and adapt my way of working with a subject, and how communication is key to make them feel at ease in front of the camera.

After developing the camera, I placed the prints back within where they were taken. This was to make the photographs objects, which has been influenced by Bertin Van Manen’s work. Giving a permanent place to the disposable, in relation to the method used to capture the images as well as the disposable content within them.

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