Market Town : Julie
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04-11-11, 11:06 PM
J A Mortram
Join Date: Apr 2011
Firstly, thanks for the critique, much appreciated.
Maybe a brief explanation of conditions might hand you some perspective for your observations and this is merely an explanation, not an excuse.
I was shooting in very cramped conditions for the portrait of Julie with her birds, a box room and only a chair to sit on in very low light, to compensate for this I was using a hand held flash with a D200, and the flash was not compatible with the camera, no iTTL so I was shooting somewhat blind, having to guess the exposure, flash speed and shutter speed all at once. (For example, the light area in the shot you refer to Cathus is bounced flash from the adjacent wall, bounced to soften the flash upon subject.)
Shooting in low light with a D200 is nigh impossible (Very poor ISO, very poor sensor, very poor tonal control and capture), coupled with a very slow f3.5 lens makes for a hard time every shoot I have, as I seem addicted to shooting within those conditions!... but it's always a chance to solve problems and not just switch the camera onto the idiot button and have it do it for me, which it seldom can while shooting in such tricky situations.
One thing I never do is attempt to flatter (Nor the alternative) during shoots, nor do I ever pose shots, compose yes but never pose, pauses in conversation become an opportunity, such as the portrait of Julie with her bird, I liked and waited for the look of defiance and also the shapes within the composition, also waiting for the bird to be in profile was a challenge, as was getting the white of the feathers exposed and not blown out. Shooting with a D200 in any ISO over 200 is almost impossible, it handles dark/light very poorly indeed.
Also, I'm using a really poor monitor, terrible backlight issues, just a fact, which in no way aids in working on images, however I would say as I've just had an exhibition none of the shots printed seemed to have suffered, in fact the range of tonality seemed spot on to me, it's why (usually) I spend a lot of time shooting ambient light and spot metering everything to ensure this. Lights a real passion of mine. A flash with iTTL compatibility is for sure a must as shooting without that is a real headache!. This shoot was very fast, maybe 15 mins and only our second together and were both looking forwards to more.
Do bear in mind, as with all my shoots the shots you see are part of a series and part of a much larger body of work, though for me, they work as stand alone shots too, that they may not for you is cool with me, if everyone agreed what a dull world it would be. I like my images to be divisive and in turn provocative and at the least to make people pause and think, I don't want to make chocolate box covers, I want to record live as I see it, just a lens and the truth is all I am for. Narrative is an intention of mine but never manufactured, I often record interviews and there are a hell of a lot more shots than I have time to post her to fully place these 2 images in context with the whole story, in time that will happen and be on my new website, when I can fund it!
One thing I am happy about is Julie loves the shots, loves our time shooting and were I to need any ones validation, hers or any subjects would be the sole one I'd seek.
Lastly, thanks for the comments
Photography for me is not looking, it's feeling.
If you can't feel what you're looking at, then you're never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.
Don McCullin : Nuff said!
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