Tilted Tripod 

Wedding & Events 


       

     

Image One

TiltedTripod

Image One is introduces the audience to the me, the subject, in an easy-going and unencumbered way. Doing so allows the visual journey through the heavy emotions portrayed to begin in such a way that avoids requiring too much from viewers. The idea that they should 'know' the character before their demise is powerful, as they are more likely to empathise with them or feel some sort of response to my work.

On the whole, this image is less demanding of attention than the other images to be submitted. Despite this, I feel this image offers a realistic interpretation of grief. Through viewing Andrew May's series, researching the stages of grief as

defined by Kübler-Ross and my own experiences, it is apparent that grief shapeshifts and is oftentimes outwardly presented as being composed. For the most part, there is little suggesting that the subject is suffering in any way yet, upon closer examination, all the signs are there.

Firstly, the subject's positioning leans towards a deteriorating state of wellbeing with their shoulders collapsed in on themselves and their head loosely hung back in an uncaring fashion. The positioning is not dramatic, nor is it overly emotive. This tired stature offers insight towards the physical and mental torment of grief. Had this image been captured in an intimate setting, perhaps the subject's own bedroom, the atmosphere would be totally altered and we would gain an idea to her shedding her composed façade for the outside world and being comfortable with her own feelings and isolation. Instead, here, she is isolated within a studio-style setting. With the flash positioned directly behind the body, facing the wall, a crisp white background is produced that has a natural vignette towards the edge of the frame. Using the lighting in this way allowed for the flash hotspot to diffuse from the focal point of the image, offering a natural darkening at the edges. This vignette effect draws further attention towards the subject, as well as suggesting that the seeds of grief are present in this frame despite being less obvious than my other work. 

Another way in which the subject's suffering can be inferred is through their closed eyes with heavy, unblended eyeshadow. Eyes are typically used to emote and speak an unspoken language of truth, by having my eyes closed I shut off any connection with my inner psyche and present viewers with an outward projection of feeling shut off from the world whilst remaining tactful in my approach. In his podcast, May talked of how he felt he was alone 'on an island' through parts of his grieving process and I could empathise with such a feeling. I did not necessarily feel isolated but rather that I could not articulate what I felt and, for that, felt irrelevant. This irrelevance fuelled my decision in choosing this image. If what I felt did not matter, an image that is unassuming and holds little obvious emotion felt fitting. Also, by lacking blatant emotion the image becomes curious and almost enigmatic to its context.

The eyeshadow, whilst it may seem unintentional, was a deliberate choice from myself to add to the complementary palette formed between my hair and skin tone as well as solidify an intended harshness about the image being captured. I did not set out to incorporate an image alike to this, in fact this image was taken in the early stages of experimentation for the honey shoot. In figuring out the techniques and settings for that image, I created a still that stood out to me as raw and truthful. The harshness of the eyeshadow heightens that honesty, elevating it to an artful level. 

Another way that the raw mood was amplified was through the implied nudity. Being nude, as I have found with previous projects, is a profound way to make a scene come across as unfiltered. Honesty and truth are at the heart of this submission having set out to visually gratify myself with a means of understanding my own feelings. Would clothes have made that much of a difference here? I think so. Having a clothed body would have made the image bland and unenticing. Studies have shown how sex sells; my implied nudity will attract the attention of gallery-goers. 

At the time of shooting for the submission, I was at my lowest. There was very little I could do to make the sense of sinking distance itself from me. I found everything that usually lifted my spirits lost that ability as I spent my time sitting around listening to music, paying little to no attention to the song lyrics or melody. Why? I felt lonely and the voices singing in my ear provided a small sense of comfort; I did not know this at the time. With this knowledge, I can look 

back on this image and gain a sense of importance from the fact that I am still wearing my Airpod for the photo. Granted, it would have been more impactful if the Airpod had been made more noticeable by tucking my hair behind my ear. When receiving critique on this image, it was said that there was nothing to reason the inclusion of the earpiece, alluding that its inclusion derails the success of the image. Though I acknowledge a more intentional image could have been captured to signify that the music was the main thing keeping me afloat in this difficult period, I don't agree that the image becomes any less impressive. In fact, I feel that the almost fleeting inclusion of the single thing maintaining my composure speaks a great deal about the loss and dissociation I was experiencing. A more blatant inclusion of that element would have been exaggerated for the purpose of the photo and would not have been a fair representation. 

Another critique I received conveyed how the messy hair made the image unbalanced, throwing off the calming aesthetic. It was important to capture a sense of imbalance within my work, after all my life felt thrown off course and disrupted. Unbalance and change go hand in hand. Whilst a balanced image is more visually pleasing, it would not have visualised the changes being navigated. Upon discussing the feedback given, it was suggested that I try reshooting with my hair tied back in a ponytail to heighten the stripped back nature of the piece. This may be a valid way to do so and had I the opportunity, I would trial the effects and access the appropriateness of such. 

It is clear after showing this image to several people that my themes of grief, loss and dissociation aren't the only takeaway. Some perused the image with a sense of isolation, whilst others felt simply nothing. I am undecided as to how this impacts the success of this piece. Yes, I can argue that it remains a triumph due to the variance of emotion across viewers and how that makes the piece impactful to anyone whether they have experience with my subject matter or not. However, that doesn't feel entirely fair. If a sense of the themes I set out to portray isn't conveyed, have I truly created an image that portrays grief, loss and dissociation? No. 

The process of capturing this image was relatively straightforward and offered very few challenges. The lighting set up was simplistic, making use of the Vision 4 monolight flash as outlined and a single LED panel. Having the LED panel positioned 45 degrees to the left allowed for dark shadows on the back whilst ensuring the face was illuminated. This 'no fuss' set up meant the content of the image could really be highlighted with no distraction from other photographic elements. I did not intend on capturing the highlight on the cheek, though chose to not retouch or reshoot the image to omit it as I felt it added a degree of femininity to an otherwise unsexed image. In my plan I stated my concern for completing my work as self portraits as female focussed work is often seen to be emotionally charged. It goes unsaid that my work is driven by emotion, but I wanted to avoid coming across as overly emotional. Despite physically presenting a female body, I wanted to include imagery that was androgynous to alleviate the sexist tones that could be alluded to with my work. I don't completely commend the androgyny within this image but, given the style of the 

image, I think it is as close to androgynous as it could possibly be considering the pool of models available to me was reduced to my lone self. Had this project fallen outside of the COVID-19 lockdown I would have worked with a model with a more fluid appearance to better achieve unsexed work.


Simplicity is at the heart of this image. Alike to the lighting, it is fair to say that the composition here is very straightforward utilising rule of thirds (left) and diagonal lines (right) to provide balance and direct the eye about the frame. 

Rule of thirds, a form of golden ratio, is a commonly used composition across art types. It is renowned for its simplicity and effectiveness. Using thirds in this image helps to create points of interest for the viewer. As shown in the diagram the image can be split into three distinctive rows. The bottom row is heavy and grounds the image being mostly filled with my body and darker shadows. The middle row hosts the main section of the image with my face placed evenly in the centre balanced by the white space around me. The top row is completely empty, juxtaposing the bottom row and offering balance and stability. Aligning the image in this way allows for easy legibility and a centralised focal point. 

Rule of thirds also allows for the image to be split into 9 sections; the central section would usually contain the main subject matter. I chose to shoot with my head angled, forcing it to be positioned across the centre and middle-left sections. 

Structuring the image in this way leads to a natural pyramidal gaze to be formed (see diagram below, left). The pyramid structure made from the heavy base row, the two middle sections and top left section provides a fluid route for the viewer's gaze, following the upward direction of the subject's head. By providing an alternative route for the viewer's eye, control over the viewer's perception is maintained. It is important to control the way in which the viewer surveys the image, by doing so the likelihood of them taking away what is intended is increased. 

This pyramidal flow is the first instance of diagonal lines within this piece. Additionally, there are more diagonals formed between the downward gaze of the model and Airpod, and the subject's body. These diagonals oppose each other as shown in the diagram to the right. Typically, this opposition would create tension, however, that is not the case here. This is an example of opposing diagonal tensions creating balance. The angle of the subject's head, with the nasal structure, pulls diagonally down to the left. Meanwhile the subject's body, through the stretched neck, arms and back, 

pulls diagonally down towards the right. As the 'pull' is even, the image is equally balanced. It should be noted that the whole image is grounded, with both 'pulls' being in a downward direction and the hair flowing downward rather than being tied back or plaited. 

The negative space surrounding the subject was very intentional. With the image being heavily 'pulled' downward, I knew there needed to be space above the head to act as breathing room for viewers, as well as aid the overall balance within frame. If the image was cropped more tightly (see right) it seems less impressive and loses the dynamicity produced by the thirds and diagonals in the original crop. The negative space is necessary to allow the compositional elements to flourish and guide viewers. In reverse, had this image have been shot with more space about the subject, the subject matter would seem insignificant. This could have been an interesting concept to toy with during the experimentation stage, however, for this image the subject must remain a key element for the subtleties to be impressed upon viewers.

The shutter speed for this image was directly impacted by the Vision 4 monolight synchronisation, having never used this piece of equipment I found the initial use confusing. At 1/25 seconds the flash was synchronised best compared to faster speeds; I also wished to avoid longer shutter speeds to minimise any movement from my body that could have been captured. I had the ISO set at 400, having worked in my home studio before, I knew this was the optimal setting for use with the studio lights to produce clear, grain-free images. I needn't worry about depth of field for this image and chose to shoot at f16, a mid-range aperture that offered a reasonable amount of light to enter the camera for well exposed work.


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Image Two

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aperture that offered a reasonable amount of light to enter the camera for well exposed work.

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Image Three

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Image Two

TiltedTripod

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aperture that offered a reasonable amount of light to enter the camera for well exposed work.

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The Submission on a Whole

TiltedTripod

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