Further Developed Projects: ‘Sanctuary’ Revisited

For my further developed projects I have chosen to continue from my sixth and seventh project in which both explore themes of ‘Sanctuary’.  I choose these two projects because I find they represent staged/narrative aspects on a more advanced level in comparison to other works.  I find the theme also fits well my style of shooting and it is also flexible with where and what I am working with as a sanctuary can be in any location.  To develop this concept further, I have intended to photograph a place that strongly associates with the theme and the location I have chosen for this is a church.  I find this type of location is very suitable as the church is a place of peace and refuge for the individual.  I have also decided to photograph a male for this shoot along with a more fragile prop; the white lily.   Other materials and equipment used for this shoot included a TTL flashgun.

The symbolic meaning of the White Lily

The White Lily is a flower of six petals.  In history, the White Lily is representative of purity and innocence and has strong association with Christianity.  The lily is symbolic of the Virgin Mary in the Christian religion and also relates to Greek Mythology.

All Images

Series 1

Series 2

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Post Production

To develop the images for series 1, my main adjustment was hue in colour.  The original image appears quite warm so by using the curves tool, I decreased the Red channel to have the images appear more cold. I also used the spot healing tool to remove unwanted clutter in the images.

With all images, I used the crop tool to further define the framing.  I also adjusted the straightness of some images.

Other adjustments made include using curves to adjust the brightness and shadows of the images.

 

Final Images Series 1

For my first final series of this development project, I have produced a set of three images that look down the aisle of the church interior with the individual and the lily in the centre.  The idea for this concept was to create a solemn atmosphere in which we see a man alone in the church in search of solace and the lily accompanies him as a symbolic gesture meant for the loss of a loved one.  This first series sees the individual in the entirety of the space as he holds the lily in respect. However the first image (fig 1) sees the lily lying on the floor as the man draws a distant gaze;  I find this pose the most dramatic as both the individual and the lily stand independently in the scene.  I also find this image the most emotionally connected of this series as the expression and posture of the individual is more evocative.  However, the other images also bring interesting character to the scene in a more simplistic sense.  I find the tonal value in these images are very strong and the atmosphere is stirring an engaging narrative.  I do find improvements for these images would be more defined costuming but nevertheless, the images pose an effective message.

Final Images Series 2

For my second series of final images, I photographed within a lighter setting that presents portraits of the individual.  This series sees the individual within the alter of the church with the lily flower.  For this series, I wanted to experiment with bringing the subject closer to the audience and I intended to portray more intimacy here.  I think this scene presents a stronger contrast between the subject and the space in comparison to Series 1 and this emphasises the relationship between black and white.  This potentially represents how the individual may be in a dark place but his surroundings are actually brighter than he is, including the white lily. The expression, although somewhat blank conveys quite a powerful sentiment and further initiates a bonding moment.  I do find the scenes appear as if they were a still from a film and the composition of objects in the background contributes nicely by filling blank areas of the images.  I find there is strong intensity in these images and also more ‘acting’ as we see the individual perform more with flower (particularly in Fig 2).  The contrasting colours of objects in the background gives character to the surroundings despite the bleak mood of the images.

Other Images

In this image, I am experimenting more with contrast in lighting.  My intention to have the individual hold the lily close to the chest was to resonate more fragility to the character and I find this comes across strongly.

Here, we see the individual without the flower as he prays alone; I do find this image looks particularly sad and somewhat darker.

This image sees the individual holding the lily flower.  I think the exposure in this is very clean and crisp.  I also find the composition is strong and the expression of the individual is striking.

 

In conclusion to this project, I find I have reached a peak in my experimentations with staged photography.  This project was very successful as the final outcomes express a lot of depth and connectivity with the audience.  I find this project also presents a nice variety of interpretations that builds a relationship between subject and prop.  I also find the location and the prop used for this series compliments the theme in many ways.  I did find it challenging to balance the lighting from the flash for these images when shooting, however I am more confident with using flash to photograph a scene at an expanded distance.

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