Having completed several shoots for this project a process is starting to develop and needs documenting.
- Pre-shoot planning includes:
- Weather, Tides, Sun position, etc.
- Google earth, Street View and Google searches in general if it is a new location.
- Images to re-take from previous visits using Reflective notes made.
- A list of ideas for new images – point of view, composition, theme, etc.
- On location
- The Pre-shoot plan tends to be little more than a guideline as circumstances and other opportunities take over.
- Image composition starts as intuitive but after reviewing the image it becomes more deliberate. However, usually by the 3rd or 4th attempt at a particular subject the ideas dry up. I really struggle to use the viewfinder/screen as a reflective tool. Real reflection only occurs back at home, on the computer.
- Although rarely necessary, I usually bracket all my images with +-1stop of exposure. It is purely a safety measure.
- Selection & Processing
- Once at home I quickly scan all the images and select the few that will be processed.
- All images are processed in Photoshop.
- Often, these days, the processing is minimal – cropping, straightening, sharpening and some contrast correction to accentuate particular elements.
- Reflection & Blog
- This often feels like the most creative part of the process. It is where I deconstruct my images and try to understand what my intuition was telling me whilst on the shoot and determine what needs to be done next time.
- I then write up my thoughts on the Blog, including the resulting ideas for the next shoot.
Philip Harris PhD prompted me to collate this after reading a similar description of his own processes in his thesis, “A Theory of the Experience of Making” (Birmingham City University 2011).
Also I find his comments on his own reflective experiences, versus image making almost exactly match my own. The following is a quote from page 258 of the thesis.
“The comments that I have made above, when I reflect upon photographing, are not in evidence in the voice recordings that I made when I was photographing. I draw out the significance of my decisions and my inclusion and placement of these objects in the process of reflection (the process I am involved in as I write this) when both the image and the annotation of the voice recording are before me. I do not reflect on this when I am photographing since the image is not yet visible to me. But to what extent does this reflection relate to the actual experience of making? Are these reflections authentic to the experience of photographing? My pre-shoot statement sets out a range of themes and objects that I will attend to. This image is only partly related to this…. As is evident in my voice recording taken at the close of making the image I only discuss the spatial organisation of the image through the camera frame. I do not discuss the significance of these objects and the relationship that I find between them (since my attention was arrested by this view it is not so much that the relationship between these objects was much found by me but that is was given to me). The recording shows that I am engaged with formal concerns related to the selection and arrangement of these objects within the image frame of the camera. Nevertheless in arranging the image there are traces where I seem to be aware of how these objects signify; why else would I move the pylon from the centre to the side? But this does not come to the surface in my voice recording. It is as though the conceptual themes related to image making are suppressed during the experience of photographing.”
Unlike Philip Harris, I do not use a voice recorder on my shoots. I would find such a tool very inhibiting rather than useful.