A1 Development

The Non Familiar

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Research Context and Critical Analysis Development Initial Submission

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My research and analysis yealded the following criteria:

  1. 5 Portraits of people I do not know (Key request from the assignment brief)
  2. Relates in some way to historic portraiture as studied:
    1. Probably a typology to give the project a theme
    2. Using background props and pose to convey the identity of the subjects
  3. Has a theme or subject see typology in point 2

 

In order to get this project underway the first element to tackle is the subject or theme. I have had a number of ideas for this and must confess that most hit stumbling blocks getting to the subjects:

First Idea was to contact 5 vicars I don’t know and get an image of each in their church dressed in their robes, this is a nice idea and flows nicely on from my typology experiment in which it was not possible to convey the identity of Christians just by pose and facial expression, in this project the elements of background and clothing would be added to suggest the genera to the viewer.

I got a long way into this idea contacting a good friend of mine who works for the diocese of Guildford, he obtained a directory for me and suggested people to contact. The problem in this is the shear logistics of completing the assignment in a tight time frame as I am short of time to finish level one due to all the family and personal crises I have been through. Vicars are insanely hard to get time with and the likelihood of being able to shoot even one a week is slim , I have therefore regrettably put this aside for now.

My next Idea was a slight side step but on a similar theme, my wife suggested I go to the local Salvation Army and photograph them as the uniforms would be a great substitute for the dog collars, this too seemed like a good idea, however research into the local Salvation army has so far drawn a blank and I have failed to find a time when there is anyone around to photograph let alone in uniform.

I had two more Ideas the first was to photograph some of the local Nepalese community, who now live in Aldershot, I took my camera out and for the first time I can remember did not see a single person. So that was a bust on  the first attempt.

The second Idea was based on a tv series I have been watching about a group who fix tattoo mistakes which gave me the idea of going to several of the local Tattoo shops and asking the artists if I could capture them, as they would be harder to classify but the location and props may make the job work well.

Mostly through the sheer frustration of not getting anything done I grabbed my camera as I took my wife to work and stopped on my way home in Aldershot to attempt s series of pictures of the Nepalese people on their way to the Sunday morning market. This approach was more in line with the research I had done on street photographers who seemed to have more advice on approaching strangers than anyone else.

I believe that the series I have taken reflects all of the researched points and fits very nicely with the assignment as stated.

This was probably one of the hardest assignments I have done it took me ages to get through the prevarication and angst of actually getting out and doing this assignment.

I took my camera into Aldershot and walked around almost too nervous to ask anyone if I could photograph them, in the end I plucked up the courage to talk to one gentleman sitting on a bench outside the library, his name was Baal (he can be seen in the center of the typology).

I sat and chatted to him, I told him what I was here to do showed him my student card and answered all of his questions about my course, clearly he was initially worried that I had a sinister reason for doing this exercise, which I learned was in part due to the massive wave of racism the Nepalese people in the area experience. Its a strange thing because I have always had a rather healthy respect for the Gurkas, having listened to my Grandfather talk about them with awe recounting stories told to him by my great grandfather who fought alongside the Gurkas. Many of my friends and people I know in and around Aldershot have a very negative stance toward the influx of Nepalese people, however when you sit and chat to them they are really nice and engaging, Baal told me how when they were in the army they were not allowed to learn English due to the racism in the ranks, which shocked me somewhat, Baal very kindly offered top teach me Nepalese, which I may just take him up on.

Once he got to know me a little he was more than happy to let me take his picture and told me how to approach the people around the market who had very little English and ask them respectfully if I may take their picture, the experience was uplifting as the people were so nice and so accommodating, one lady looked so delighted that I had asked her that i think her grin will live with me forever and cheer me up next time I am down, another lady saw me taking everyone else’s picture  and demanded I take hers with a big grin I of course most humbly obliged.

So the worst assignment turned out to be the best and most uplifting I hope you enjoy the images of the Aldershot Nepalese community whom I must thank from the bottom of my heart for their warmth and generosity.