Week 7 Peer commissioned micro projects

We were asked to commission and in turn be commissioned by another with photographic projects. The shooting should last no more than 2 hours.

“Week 7 Activity: Peer Commissioned Micro Project

Taking inspiration from the practitioners discussed during this topic, use this forum to form pairs and set each other a short brief to work on throughout the week. You should be sympathetic to each other’s locations, circumstances, resources, commitments and current practice. The shoot should not exceed a couple of hours at most, and you may be as prescriptive as you like.

When your partner sends you their brief for you to consider and then fulfill, try to keep track of your creative thought process.

You will need to compile your edited project and post this in your CRJ.”

I sent this project to another student:

“MA Photography

Week 7 Peer commissioned project

Please prepare 7 images to represent 7 emotional states in colour:

Happiness

Enthusiasm

Contentment

Indifference

Sadness

Anger

Fear

The images must feature or be dominated by the colour and do not need to include humans or animals.

Thank you,

Sarah Newton”

My colleague replied with images of a teddy bear and used light (colour gels on a two channel speed light so achieve various colours and shadows) supported by small props to complete the brief successfully. By having the same subject to focus on in each image the viewer could concentrate on the mood and expression conveyed.

 I replied:
“Thank you …so clever to use one object and the colour and lighting really conveyed mood! Also I could quite believe the bear changed facial expression and how his eyes looked for some of the emotions!
Job well done!
Thank you again
Sarah”
I linked into a group of three students and was commissioned by one:
“Shoot Brief
1.) Using food items create flowers, trees (nature).
2.) The message/call to action conveyed is you want people to eat healthy
3.) The mood of the images must be fun and artistic
a.) Energy
b.) fun”
My thoughts immediately turned to the imaginative and attractive ways chefs present food as well as the health promotion publicity for eating ‘5 a day’ referring to fruit and vegetables (which has in recent times been updated to 10 a day!). As I was due to go shopping I added fruit and vegetables beyond my usual requirements in order to have sufficient to try out for the shoot. On the way I recalled having some items relating to miniatures for dolls houses and other toys at home that could be used as props if I were to try to relate to children rather than adults.
“Fun and artistic” filled me with some anxiety as it made me feel that I needed to be a sort of creative genius, which I do not consider myself to be at all. I googled food art and found some inspirational ideas, mainly focussed on individual items. Later with the kitchen table covered in fruit vegetables, cocktail sticks, marker pens etc I attempted to make cauliflower florets look like sheep with raisin eyes and broccoli like trees. I even had a piece of ginger that looked like a rabbit already that I had found in the supermarket. With a circle of bananas, a sliced and fanned out tomato in a patch of daisies and a fanned raddish on a strawberry plant I tried and failed to create something that did not seem infantile and ridiculous.
In my frustration I remembered having to support my children building miniature gardens in seed trays for local annual garden shows.
So out came a mirror (used as a lake in seed trays) and on went some fruit, vegetables and props. First shots were indoors but in natural light with much rearranging of the scenes and the start of creating  stories that one might tell children to encourage them to eat healthily. Not convinced that I had hit the mark I waited a couple of days and early one morning felt inspired to try shooting outside in the garden.
I ended up running two storylines, one about a family of bears having a tea party with mushroom stools and table and one about two children reading by a lake with an option to add in postman pat at one end of the lake. I was most proud of the grapes I sliced and opened up to make lily flowers on the lake. I liked their reflections, as if on water. The pontoon onto the lake was a late addition of carrot and cheese sticks.
Hopefully I achieved 1. food items as flowers and trees 2. healthy food items (although I might have inadvertently encouraged playing with food) 3. a little fun and artistry 4. some energy (mainly mine in setting it up!) as reading as an activity was not the best choice but I was constrained by the toys available 5. energy in that things were happening in the scenes…ducks swimming on the lake as well as reading and postman pat delivering….teddy bears laying a table and giving presents and reading the guardian…. and 6. fun…this specification will depend on feedback from others!
Ultimately I had fun and got carried away….spending quite a long time with shopping and experimenting and setting up scenes but I think only a little more than a couple of hours taking the pictures. However in retrospect I failed the brief with the complexity I added to the production and the time it took especially when processing and late delivery are taken into account. The processing and delivery were delayed by other course deadlines and personal activities which took priority. Lessons well learned for future assignments during the course in addition to commissions I might be lucky enough to be given outside the course.
In processing the images I worked in Lightroom and moved onto Photoshop to try out recently acquired skills in masking out the background. This worked better for the mushroom and broccoli tree images but appeared odd for the others so they were left as they were with background grass and patio table included. My aim in trying this was to present the images as if floating on the white page of this post as one might see an image in a book for young children. Feedback and advice are welcome!

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