The beginning of my Photography domain.

The usings of shadows in my FMP

Recently,  I will be honest, I have come to the decision of incorporating shadows into my photographs. These shadows will carry the representation of the beliefs the person in the photographs has on what happens after death. Whilst still in relevance to my original plan with it having an essence of the avant-garde approach within it.

With this idea of shadows taking form in the variety of shots I want to capture, I made sure I conducted some background research on the concept of shadows, how and why they are used and other photographers that have used them within there work. Reasons being so I could really see the significance they would withhold within my work, what meaning and message they would carry. By looking at artists who use them also, will give inspiration to my work.


So, why use them?

Firstly I started my research by watching a tutorial on how to use shadows within your work on YouTube; by the Photography Guild called, Shadows and Silhouettes.

From watching this video alone it gave me lots of information on the reason for shadows, there hidden meanings and how you can use them to your advantage within your work. They can create a combination of both simplicity and drama, with the use of the ability to add more interest within a photo with the lines they can create. With the effect they can portray in a photo, the video clip informed me that this would vary between the differentiation of subject you would photograph. The audience would need to some what identify what the shape is of the shadow present, especially if I as the photographer decided to make the shadow the subject of the entire photograph. I am photographing people which will be main subject, but then I am combining that with the use of shadows, the shadows will be showcasing the belief that person has a represents when it comes to death. So I will need to make sure its clear on both sides of the spectrum, that the person in the photograph is seen forth frontally, but then the audience will have that essence that the shadow has some form of relationship with the subject in the photograph. I want them to be able to in some way make that connection.


Tips for using Shadows…

– Technical Tips that I have picked up on;

  • Turn off the flash
  • Choose a plain background – with my piece I have chosen to work with either a black or white background
  • Use a low wattage flood light to create your shadows
  • My composition should be distinct and uncluttered, I shouldn’t have too many shadows contained in one photograph – I plan to have one in each photograph I take, to remain on the simplicity level and look I am going for, yet still creating the obscure looking photograph

Furthermore I have been on a number of different sites that I felt necessary to observe there information on reasons as to why shadows can be used in my work. They are such a simplistic element to add to a photograph in order to make it more interesting , whether they are from an object within or one that’s purposely placed for a reason. This is what I will be doing, purposely placing an element of shadow onto the faces of the people I take portraits of. The shadows will represent a variety of objects and beliefs on the research I have done on different cultures and religions beliefs and thoughts as to what happens after death.

Whilst researching the use of shadows further, I came across 5 aspects/reasons as to why they are used within photography;

1: Contrast and Drama – this is considered to be the most powerful of the use, as the element of contrast is what produces the dramatic effect. Attention can be brought forward by the contrast of the shadows inter-playing with the light in the photograph.

2: Focus – Shadows can be used to allow a removing of detail from the less important parts of the photograph, to focus a viewers attention. Although in the photographs I take will be of portraits combined with shadows, I want the attention of the viewers to lapse between both the subject and the shadow. As the shadow is there in the photograph to illustrate a certain belief or thought on the concepts question that was asked, ‘is it a beginning, or an end?’

3: Direct Viewers Attention – It can be used a reinforcement and strengthen as it will be a center of interest. I plan to shadow the object onto the subjects face, to represent that its their own thought and belief (from there own head) This being photographed in this way will direct the viewers attention, as I hope they will first see the shadow of the object then the person in the portrait and be able to make some sort of a connection between the two.

4: Shadows Reveal Form – This is similar to what I have said above. The shadow being subject to the persons face will be ultimately revealing the form of that person.

5: Shadows Used To Reveal Texture – This is has involvement from the sun. This is apparent when I as the photographer moves to further emphasise the texture of the shadow rather than the form of the subject/person. This will come from experimentation on the shoot itself, as this will determine how the overall look I will want to capture.

‘Shadows are spectacular for highlighting emotions and generating some really surreal imagery. Versatility is always a very likeable quality’ – Kent DuFault

Within my piece I want to create the spectacle that is, that these shadows are a voice of representation of what beliefs and opinions I have found from speaking to different people, within different cultures, religions and ones who just withhold their own belief on the subject that frames the meaning behind this project. The shadows I use will be shown upon each of the persons within the portraits face. The shadow on each person will be that representation of the belief I have been told, with the question I have asked and that outlines the title of my project, ‘Is it a beginning, or an end?’ What do people believe happens to them when they die.

Shadows I have found have a common use, of being dimensions in photographs that are created by light. This is partly apparent in my photographs as they are created by a light source being that of particular lighting I will use in the studio. But I want the aspect of them being used in a more uncommon way in my photography, as I want to be able to suggest and put forth that they are indeed the subject of the photographs I take. I will be manipulating the use of shadows by creating the source of them myself. This will be shown in my production folder, as I will showcase them in a future blog post as the what shadows I will be creating on each of the individuals face I photograph for this piece. For example; for the casting call poster I created for find models/people to photograph for this project, I created a mock up of they would look like. With the use of a previous photograph I took of my friend Emily and casting the shadow of a cross on her face. This represent the belief of a Christian, that within their religion they believe in a God.

I hope that by incorporating the use of shadows within my photographs to express the belief of individuals, they will accentuate hidden details. I want to direct the viewers attention to the certain detail that is the shadow, and let them interpret what that shadow meaning is. This will also enable to create a certain mood in the viewer, as they will be able to walk in and around the projections of my exhibition piece.

I hope to have created beautiful and abstract imagery for my piece, and that the combination of them along with the piece I am building captivates the attention of an audience. I chose a very broad and obscure subject, but one I felt could relate to each and every individual in some way.

Sources for information:

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This entry was posted on March 18, 2014 by in Final Media Productions.
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