Sunday, September 22, 2013

Major Study

So right now I'm in the final semester of my final year at RMIT.  After two years of study it is time to put together my "Major Study" the final folio that I take from my time at RMIT and show the world what is that I learned and where I want to go as a photographer.  It's no surprise that what I have chosen to do is a series that borders on documentary and fine art and I hope has a social conscience as well.

At this stage I am at, I guess, the midway point and it's been quite a frustrating process with stopping and starting, technical problems, feeling like I've hit massive walls and very nearly giving up at several points.

Initially I wanted to do a hard cover book of 40-60 images along the theme of gentrification in Melbourne's inner city.  I shot with this concept in mind for about 5 weeks.

I shot roll after roll of urban landscapes (above)

An artist who works out of The Brunswick Community Centre a studio in Brunswick that has recently drawn the attention of developers who want to turn it into industrial chic apartments.

Squatter living in "The Scout Hall" squat in Fairfield

and I experimented with portraiture (above)

After a while I came to the conclusion that I really don't have enough time to complete such an ambitious concept.  To do the idea of the slow and alienating process of gentrification justice I would probably have to spend years shooting, editing and refining.  When I decided that I kinda freaked out, I had no other concepts that I wanted to pursue, I wanted to drop out and start all over again next year.  This feeling hung in the air for about a week then I finally got up off my sorry ass and decided to narrow my idea down and really focus on a smaller part of that story.  

This is when I decided to focus in on people who are being pushed out by the process of gentrification, people who's homes or studios are being threatened to make way for new developments.

So far I have about 4 portraits that I'm pretty happy with, including the two above of Clare and Mikee.

I set my mind on this concept and went at it shooting as much as I could.  Then I experienced some major technical problems.  My Hasselblad all of the sudden was shooting everything way out of focus and my Mamiya was returning blank film.  I'm sure any film photographers out there can relate to feeling of despair that flushes over you when the medium that you love bites you in the ass like that.  And I freaked out again. 

Luckily a friend of mine from school had a spare Mamiya that he lent me and I immediately put a test roll through (below) to test the focus.  And they came out really damn well.

 fuck yeah, so sharp

So from there I went about reshooting some of the portraits that didn't turn out so well.

At this stage I plan on pairing two images together.  A portrait of the subject and a still life, enterior or exterior that gives context to their story. 

Peter (above) in his bedroom.  Peter lives in government housing in Fitzroy and has seen the area progressively thrive, become more wealthy. 

Holly (above) lived in house in Richmond that was ear-marked to be torn down and redeveloped into apartments.  Her's was the only house left in the area.

I'm still struggling with Mikee's (above) Portrait and image to alongside it because I've gone back and reshot his squat several time now, but that's not such a bad possition to be in really.

So that pretty much brings you up to speed with where I'm at now.  I have 8 weeks to shoot and print this folio so there pressure is on.  

Fingers crossed I get it done in time.

1 comment:

  1. It's funny how you start off with a big, broad, ambitious concept and end up shooting a more modest, detail oriented one. I think that process is actually very useful for us photographers. Especially here - your portrait and interior combinations seem much more intimate and poignant to me, and I connect with the story when there is a person involved. I love your project and your sensibility is lovely as always. Good luck! You are killing it.