Project Development - Shoots 3 & 4 / by Lasma Poisa

I had photographed Hannah previously during the Positions & Practice module Micro Project week so I was very excited when she wanted to be part of this project. I was one of the longest shoots I did as we walked around Levenshulme and Highfield Park scouting for locations. The biggest challenge was to get both Greyhounds, Graham and Elsie, to face the camera as they were quite distracted and shy. I also lost quite a few really strong images due to SD card glitch (now only using CF). Despite this, I believe this was one of my strongest shoots and I am very pleased with the images I took. Equipment wise I used Canon 5DSr with a 35mm lens and a fill flash. 

This was the first shoot that I approached with a clear strategy that I used for the rest of the project; I knew what kind of location I was after - urban with elements of nature (quintessentially Manchester when possible) - and how I wanted my sitter to appear. I wanted the pose to be confident and powerful, placing the subject in the centre of the image with the figure large, towering above the horizon. 

‘If photography is essentially about scrutiny and observation, it must also be about the pose, for the pose is the subject’s presentation of his or her identity to the photographer, an act which ensures the preservation of that identity. The old idea that a photograph steals soul dies hard, and not altogether without a cause, because the pose is the subject’s defence is an essential element in the representation of the human figure, the mediating step taken by the sitter to ‘re-present’ his or her interface with the world.’  (Badger, 2010, p. 174)
— The Genius of Photography, Badger, 2010, p. 174

Shoot 4 was a little more challenging due to locations Huw chose as they were quite busy with people, however I am quite pleased with the outcome. After Michelle's suggestion of giving my sitters clearer directions, I asked Huw to consider the clothes he was wearing. He chose a slogan T-shirt of a housing union he is involved in. The red worked really in relation with the Labour party colour scheme. 

These portraits could also be described as performative as I directed the participants to achieve the desired outcome. Through negotiation my sitters performed for the camera, whether they actually felt confident or less so, to convey the message of taking charge, taking ownership of the place and of being in charge of the future.