5 March: Finalising the Video – The Others

As a result of the films I have been researching I was able to weed out the film clips I had taken and have now decided which ones not to use.  I have now been in a position to put the film together, although I appreciated that a lot of fine-tuning would be needed.  It was only when this was started that I was able to see the film developing and to make decisions.  These were as follows:

  • To decided on which clips were to follow each other, so that the events would be present in such a way as to flow together logically.
  • To carefully consider the length of the clip and whether or not the speed needed to be adjusted.  The slower more contemplative scenes such as the water fountain needed to be slowed down, whereas the shoppers walking in the High Street did not.  I had thought about speeding them up as a sharp contrast but it resulted in actions such as the man busking on the steps of the library, strumming his guitar too quickly.
  • I was also very conscious on the time restrictions which had been placed on the project, and when I had finished adding the clips together with the additional  transitions, I still needed to go back and trim a little off some of them.
  • One of the frustrations of using Adobe Premiere Pro CC was when I adjusted a clip it moved others around and it resulted in my having to move and re-add transitions.  It maybe however that there is something inbuilt within the programme to prevent this happening of which I was not aware.
  • After all the clips were added to the timeline, I then spent some considerable time putting the audio tracks together and realised how important the audio was to the overall effect I was endeavouring to create.  I found it easier to load the clips and audio tracks on to the timeline independently and this then enabled me to have two audio lines, one containing the ambient sounds of the street and traffic etc. and another with instrumental music.
  • Originally I had four music tracks such as ‘I want to come home’ by Tom Jones which I wanted to run under the ambient sounds audio line but released that instrumental music would be more appropriate; as it did not give the viewer any guidance as to what I was endeavouring to say within the video.  I wanted the end result to be very much up to the viewer to draw his or her own conclusions.

Once the video was completed it was exported to Vimeo, but at this stage the privacy settings have been set so that it is not available to be viewed by anyone except myself.  I will then be able to go back and scrutinise everything very carefully at a later date before it is available to be viewed by other people.

22 Feb: Amendments to Storyboard

It was pointed out to me that the first storyboard I had created for the proposed video would result in a film which would be far longer than what I was expected to produce.  So this was extremely helpful as it made me step back and look closely at what I had done so far,  and to fine tune it to create a more satisfactory end result.

The final story board that I have now worked on has been reduced from 19 pages down to 9.  Of those there is one scene filmed of the river at ‘The Weavers’ in Canterbury High Street, which I am undecided at this point whether or not to include in the final video.  It maybe that it in fact detracts from the other scenes and would only serve to extend the length of the video.  However I am endeavouring to present a contrast both between those people who are begging and living rough and the general public, together with a comparison of peaceful areas within the city as opposed to the busy shopping area.

The final storyboard can be viewed by clicking on the link below:

http://blog.jenniferdeakinphotography.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Mixed-Media-Video-Storyboard-Final-Version.pdf

15 Feb: Reflections on my research and plans for my video

REFLECTIONS

By having spent time looking at very diverse examples of film work it has emphasised certain points that I feel to be important at this stage:

  • To take into account the reasons for the film having been made and the anticipated audience.
  • The importance of audio, as not merely being supplementary to the visuals but perhaps more so.
  • The practicalities of making the film and having been able to take the desired shots
  • The influence that photography brings to bear as regards composition, in respect of those films that have been made by people who are also photographers
  • The beauty that has been found within the works despite the content depicted, such as the Zarina Bhimji and the contemplative work of Zineb Sedira
  • Simple humour such as can be seen in the work of John Smith
  • Despite Terence Davies being primarily a filmmaker, the influence his work must have exerted over burgeoning filmmakers and photographers.

FUTURE PLANS 

I now need to spend time putting my video clips and audio into an acceptable format.  I need to slow everything down and be more contemplative in what I am depicting.  This will involve paring the clips down, so that I am giving minimal information but using the audio to tell what may not be being shown.  It may be necessary to completely rethink certain areas and re-shoot some of the scenes, but time restrictions prevent too much time being spent in this area, if I am going to be able to stick to my anticipated original  timetable.

24 Jan: Final Reflections on the project

As I approached this project it made me think about trying to capture something that is generally not looked at in-depth, and the subject of ageing and the elderly has been in my mind for some time.  There was much discussion within the lectures at to the difference between photographs exhibited as art and art photography.    Roland Barthes stated in his book, The Semiotic Challenge (1994, p.4) that, “… no one in the world can represent an idea.” This suggests that the photographer is always facing a challenge to produce original work, but as a student one realises that this must be near impossible; although faced with the same subject everyone will produce work which differs in some way, and represents their own viewpoint and artistic sensibilities.  Since the first images were made and the minute photographers were not dictated to by the demands of commercialism, was the time they worked and experimented to produce projects they were interested in and felt compelled to investigate.  The research into this project has revealed the huge amount of interesting, inspiring and imaginative work produced by photographers  and that is continuing to be produced.

Many elderly people feel lonely and are often ignored as being past their usefulness. These are the ones who have lived through great moments in history and changes within our society.  Even in my lifetime I have lived through having television introduced into the home, decimalisation, computers, the internet and digital cameras amongst others.  I have been fortunate in that as a starting point I have several elderly neighbours, making it easy to gain their cooperation to take part.  This in turn led to other people also wanting to participate and I had to ensure that it did not become unmanageable.  I had to therefore diplomatically advise them that due to time constraints I could not include everyone.  I was looking for ‘characters’ and this is something I can possibly take further in the future.  I also endeavoured to include people of at least 70 years of age and more, although there is one women I included, as initially I thought she was older, but was an interesting character.

All the images (with the exception of the front cover of the resulting book) were taken in their own homes, as I felt they would be more relaxed in familiar surroundings and it would also provided some clues as to their personalities.  The images were all taken using natural light, although when faced with a very dark room with little natural light I used a desk lamp to provide a supplementary light source.  I also asked them to include an object that they felt was a representation of themselves or was an object to be treasured in some way.  I felt this would be of more interest than just taking a portrait shot, and it was also useful as a talking point when I interviewed them. It also worked better to record the interview and take the images at the same time, rather than treating each separately.  The subjects seemed happier to participate as the images were not going to be published, and most were more than happy to talk about the paths their lives had taken. It also showed how careful interviews of this nature need to be, to keep everything as relaxed and low-key as possible so that the person is at ease with what is taking place.

I have always felt that it is important to give something back to the people who have taken part, as they have given up their time and in this instance invited me into their homes.  So everyone who took part was given a copy of the image I took of them and which I included in the book.  On a sad note, my oldest participant who was an inspirational, lively 93-year-old  died suddenly about 10 days after I took the images of her.  This made them more precious particularly to the surviving members of her family.

Over time the projects I have undertaken have very much taken me out of my comfort zone on occasion, but given me the confidence to approach anyone,  to see if they will take part in what I am doing; and this has generally proved to be the case.  It has also opened the possibilities of subjects to pursue in greater depth at a later date when time constraints have not been imposed, and also to experiment with different techniques which I have been introduced to as part of my studies.

13 Jan: Research for Submission Essay

I have already made written notes for the main points I want to include within the essay and want to cover ‘The Portrait’,  but with special reference to images of the elderly.  I realised that soon after starting my practical project, that this is something not well covered within photography.  People are almost uncomfortable with confronting issues of ageing, although within the confines of the family it is wonderful to be able to capture that precious moment with an elderly relative who may not be there for much longer.

I previously came across the work of Phillip Toledano (b.1968)  in my course research for another module, and whilst this is an emotional coverage of time he spent with his dying father; it shows the special loving relationship they both shared.  I personally feel that it must have been very challenging for him to take the images at times.

Phillip Toledano

This YouTube film shows more of the images taken from his book Days with my Father (2010).

Whilst this is a serious study of the elderly looking towards at the end of life, as I want to investigate and discuss ‘The Portrait’ and faces in particular, I also need to look at work that has been covered in different photographic genres to ascertain how the treatment of the face has changed over time.

6 Jan 2015: White Horse Inn

My husband and I visited the Inn to see if the landlord would be agreeable to my setting up and taking some pictures using his fireplace, either when the pub is shut or during a quiet period.  With the help of a member of the staff Carla, she said that the landlord Justin was happy for me to take some images and suggested Friday 9 January at 11.30 before the pub opens to the public.

As all the chairs appeared to be bar style chairs or dining chairs in the restaurant, I will need to bring in an armchair from home and set up a mock scene.  Whilst there I took some shots of the fireplace and also the outside of the building.

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It may be that during the day there will be too much ambient light coming through the window, so I may need to close the curtains and try to create the suggestion of an evening shot  with the face of the subject being lit by the glow from the fire , whilst he is reading a book.  There is also a large menu board firmly fixed to the area above the fireplace, so I will need to try to ensure  that this does not feature in the shot as it will detract from the realism of what I am trying to achieve.

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29 Dec: Looking for a fireplace

On thinking further about the photo book, as I have included a poem by W.B. Yeats which begins, ” When you are old and grey and full of sleep, and nodding by the fire…”. I decided that to tie this in with the images that are to be shown in the book; I need an image of someone sitting by a fire on the cover.

As most people I know nowadays, even if they have a fireplace, tend to have wood burning stoves and I need to take an image of a traditional open fire.  So in the end we investigated local pubs which are known to have open fireplaces so see if they would be suitable.  I ended up with two possibilities, one in Chilham and the White Horse Inn, at Bridge near Canterbury.  The White Horse Inn is better for this purpose as it is lighter inside the building with natural light coming in from a window to the left of the fireplace, and there is more space in front of the fire to position an armchair. The only drawback is the fact that I will not showing an actual event, but a constructed shot  for the purposes of the book cover, but in this instance felt the exercise was justified.  I will revisit the White Horse Inn when it is open to see if the landlord is agreeable for me to take some images.

14 Dec: Organising Audio Files

Whilst I have found that having the Zoom H1 handheld recording device to be successful, if I was going to develop this area of work further I would investigate in having a better quality machine.  The memory card is very small and it did not work when I tried to upload recordings directly from the machine on to the computer.  So the card had to be removed (very flimsy case) and inserted into a micro adapter and then into a card reader.

Once uploaded the audio files are numbered according to how many recordings were made on that occasion e.g Zoom 001.wav.  The problem arises when the next audio files that are recorded are uploaded, as Zoom then restarts the numbering at 001 and if I go into each one individually on the computer, it will not let me overwrite it with a new file name.  So as I have been using the recorder to record both interviews for the video and my Independent Art and Photography project, they are now uploaded onto the computer with similar file numbers.  It is to be hoped that once I start editing the film clips and add the audio on to the video it will let me save as a file name of my choice.

So at this stage I am transcribing the interviews for Independent art and as soon as I have the information I need the files these can be deleted.  This will then leave me with the video audio files which it is imperative that I keep safely.

11 Dec: Portrait Shoot with Maggi & Ken

MAGGI

Maggi and Ken lived in a very small thatched cottage so space was very limited.  As I wanted to use the ambient light as far as possible I was restricted to taking the images in the small living room.  I began with Maggi who did not seem too happy to be photographed despite them being neighbours and my knowing them well.  I was suffering from a bad back and under normal circumstances would have rescheduled the shoot, but it has taken several weeks to arrange so I felt that if I had postponed then it might not have happened.   This is when having an assistant would be great and so that nothing is left to chance and no bending down is involved.

So I kept things as brief as I could and under different circumstances would perhaps have spent longer with her. She wanted to wear a hat as her signature object,  and I found it worked better when I moved her chair so that I was able to use the mirror on the wall to show her reflected back view.  This also prevented the images being too over exposed.

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I rejected the above image as although her face is sharp, it has lost the definition on her top and collar.  I also felt that although I wanted the background to be out of focus he need to be more defined and to reduce the exposure in the patch of green to the right of her reflected image.

KEN

When it came to working with Ken he spent most of his time with his eyes looking at His wife, so I had to work to get him to engage with the camera.  He was very happy to talk about what he done during his working life and again gave me stories which will possibly be able to be utilised for the proposed book.

I rejected the following image as Ken was not looking at the camera but talking and engaging with Maggi.  I also feel that he is taking up too much space in the frame.

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I have now taken images and interviewed nine people, but planned to do one more and use these for the book.  However my last subject John is ill with gout, so if he does not make a speedy recovery I will need to find one more man to fit the bill.