New Statement of Intent and Research for Photo Essay

For my photography essay, I was going to focus on street photography. However I’ve now decided to focus on photography to do with music, such as gig photography. I have decided to change my field of work because I would rather show Hull in a positive light rather than portray the rough areas. Also, I have experience in doing this field of photography because I have a music blog which makes me feel more confident in doing this type of work.

My plan is to take 30 different images, portraying the music scene in Hull. In order to do this, I will go to different places and events and take as many photographs as possible, of musicians from different genres. By doing so, I will be able to pick out the photographs that I think are the best for making an impact on viewers. My aim for the photographs is to influence and inspire people, make them want to be more involved in the music scene and to portray how cultured the city of Hull is.

From my experience, I know it is important to use high shutter speeds within this field of work to capture every little moment. This is because when people are performing, they are constantly moving around. If low shutter speeds were used for gig photography, it wouldn’t work because the images would be blurry. It also helps having the flash on when using a camera, because venues are usually dimly lit. To help this, the exposure also needs to be a little high so that everything shows up in the photographs. However if the exposure is really high, the picture quality ends up being just as bad because people’s faces usually come out really white and you cannot see their facial expressions.

Embedding compositional techniques into gig photography can often be very difficult, because you always have to quick on your feet. In my opinion, the best way of embedding compositional techniques into gig photographs is to move around and capture the people from all different angles and distances. I also think it is important to always have your camera ready to capture those rare moments when musicians are in perfect positions for a photograph.

To help me understand gig photography more, I did some research on the photographer Ami Barwell. At an exhibition of Barwell’s work, I noticed that her photographs are very dark and they have no colour to them. As an audience, the lack of colour made me focus more on the detail within the photographs, drawing my attention to the musicians. Her photographs are all very iconic and they focus on the musicians and their instruments with close ups and medium shots. I also noticed that there wasn’t any backgrounds or depth in Ami Barwell’s photography, which makes you only focus on the people in the images.

I also looked at Kevin Westenberg’s photography, who takes photographs of musicians. I noticed that he uses very similar techniques to Ami Barwell. In the photographs, the people all seem to be in iconic positions which makes the audience look at them as if they are significant and important. Westenberg also uses dark colours in a lot of his photography. However some of his photographs have very bright, prime, pop colours which makes the musicians stand out. Personally I think when you are deciding whether to use colour or not in these type of photographs it all depends on the setting, the genre of the musicians and what message is aimed to be passed to audiences.

Hopefully, in my photography I will be able to create similar work to Ami Barwell and Kevin Westenberg. To do this, I will take into account all the different techniques used in gig photography. I will also use similar colouring when I edit my photographs, to send out the right message to audiences about the musicians in Hull.


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