Phase 2 Practice: ‘Freedom To Fly’

Part 1

My practice this week explores the theme of ‘Freedom’ as a potential final theme for the final major outcome.  I have chosen to explore this theme as a developed conceptual idea that brings both ‘Sanctuary’ and ‘Acceptance’ together as both these elements fit in well with the narrative possibilities behind this subject.  For this photo shoot, I have chosen to use feathers and a cage to represent the element of ‘Air’ as these objects are able to refer to aspects of flight while the individual is intended to represent the ‘bird’.  The narrative for this series is intended to show the individual’s personal development where her dream is to be free from the cage as the cage represents how the individual feels trapped but is also anxious to leave.

Post Production

During the post production process, I used the crop tool to improve the composition of the images with the subject matter at the centre area.

I also used the curves and colour balance tool to correct the temperature and lighting in the images.  Aspects such as the model’s skin appeared slightly too warm and so I adjusted the blue and red channels to give a paler appearance.


Portrait Outcomes

This image sees the individual directly addressing the audience while holding the cage in a sitting position surrounded by the feathers.  This composition in this image represents the individual’s close bond with the cage where she feels safe.

This image sees the individual sitting beside the cage holding some feathers in her hand.  This image shows how the individual is curious of the feathers and develops a new bond.

In this image, the individual becomes more curious of where the feathers are coming from and peeks inside the cage where more have appeared.  This image is intended to represent the individual’s wonder at  the feathers where she is seeking an answer to this new experience of being able to fly.

In this image, the individual sits contently beside the cage and holding feathers while addressing the viewer once again.  This image represent show the individual is uncertain of choice between staying safe with the cage or to follow the feathers to freedom.


This image sees the individual embracing the cage as she is uncertain of leaving her home behind to be free. This image represents how the individual is struggling to let go and follow a different path.

This image sees a turn of events as the individual finds the cage knocked over and open.  In this image, the individual does not know what to do as her cage is now damaged.

This final image of the series shows the individual holding a single feather as she looks above, still intrigued by the idea of freedom.  She has no where else to go.

Part 2

As well as experimenting with portraiture and featured objects, I also decided to continue my experimentation with still life alone to create more intensity with the lighting.  To progress with this photo shoot further, I tried moving the lights to positions behind the subject matter as well as from the side and front positions.  This resulted in more intense direction of light onto the cage particularly which brought harsh shadow and deeper contrast.  During the post production process, I used the curves tool to further enhance the lighting bringing emphasis on these particular aspects. I also played with different colour temperatures to compare image saturations such as transferring the images to black and white or saturating the image to a certain degree.

Still Life Cage Outcomes

This image sees the cage cropped to reveal the high point of the cage where the image is slightly saturated in colour.

As the lightly was quite intense on this image, I found transferring this to black and white gave it a greater appearance, especially with shadows.  However, this image is still rather soft in comparison to other images.

This image sees a perspective of the cage at its lower area.  As the light shines from behind to the left, this has created a strong shadow of the cage’s individual bars. The composition of the feathers is also quite effective.

This image shows the cage standing at full height where once again, light directly hits the shape of the cage to create a strongly contrasting shadow.


This photo shoot has broadened my ideas further in still life and portraiture both technically and conceptually.  However, despite achieving my intended look for the portrait series for this practice, the images are distanced from my original concept plan.  The images lack emotional drive and there is no serious personal development in the character of the individual where there is also only a slight shift in narrative.  Nevertheless, the way in which the subject matter has been captured is too simplistic to form a suspenseful story as there is not a lot happening in the image content.  The portrait series is more reminiscent of a fashion photography style which is was not my intention.  Despite this series taking a drastic turn away from my project ambitions, my extended practice with photographing the still life alone has drawn new potential in creating visuals that are more intense.

My later experimentation brings a vast difference to the earlier shoot.  When photographing the cage object, I brought in poly boards and moved the lights to a farther distance behind the subject matter to create striking lighting effects.  This brought out more effective results as the lighting enhanced the shape of the cage and this proved to be more visually intriguing.  Overall, I have found this practice has given me more awareness of lighting in how I shoot my subjects and I intend to explore this further in my forthcoming practices with portraiture and still life.


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