Technically this was the most difficult assignment despite the title ‘ Photography is simple’ as most areas of the flat were so dark it was difficult to see if I had maintained focus. Auto focus was not an option as without a flash (which would change the light as I saw it) the auto focus failed to focus. Resorting to manual mode was fine but it did mean that I had difficulty seeing through the viewfinder to check that I had in fact captured a crisp image, this meant that a number of images were not as sharp as I would have liked.
I think this subject tested the development of my technical skills I had learnt throughout EYV and really did make me consider the use of the modes of my camera to portray what I intended which was the property as I saw it. Prior to this course my camera was set to auto by default and I didn’t venture any further. In this exercise I had to use manual mode but also in some of my contact sheet images I explored slow shutter speeds, proving that photography really can be simple if you understand how to use the modes and functions of the camera and how they work.
The images are well composed and are presented in a way to draw your attention to certain elements and to question what you are seeing in some instances as I had done. Hopefully I have communicated what I felt through the series of images. When I posted these to peer review I was delighted that mental health issues were picked up and the person that resided here came through strongly.
I have explored a number of ways in which I could develop this further creatively in terms of presentation and I feel that this assignment has really touched me on a personal level. I am hoping I have told this man’s story in a way that not only highlights his loneliness but also celebrates the person he is and his individuality.
It also goes to show that you never quite know what lies behind a simple white door!
I sequenced the images as if I was walking through the flat but I also looked to tie a colour in the final presentation from image to image to attempt to carry the viewer through.
In this image wanted to show the simple plain door, it had in fact already been replaced. The previous door had apparently been thick with paint, so much so that the letter box had been painted closed and the lock no longer operated. But still no one walking past knew what was beyond the front door and how this man was living alone, shut off from the world. The cartoon image was a piece of a poster found in the toilet room directly as you entered the flat. It feels like a warning to keep away, it represents the man who was shutting himself away.
The blue appears in the next image.
The dark flat is a stark contrast to the bright colours painted in the flat, the hall was the brightest space due to the new door, and I wonder how dark it would have seemed with the old painted door. The tenant’s jacket still hangs in the hall despite taking all the belongings he wanted, it represents him shedding away his old life. On the right these cards were taken from the wall, they also seem to relate to his story of hiding away like an animal / beast only to now be free and euphoric like the footballer to the right.
The yellow appears in the next image.
The jacket is reflected in the dark toilet room, you can even see that it had previously been painted red (including the sink and toilet) and was now painted in thick black gloss paint. But the tenant has painstakingly painted this, including the patterns on the wall. The image on the right is off his collection of paint pots, the only evidence found was of model paints which make me wonder if this is actually what he used considering he had hidden away here for quite some time.
Again yellow and in fact army green are carried to the next image.
The coffee table in his lounge appears to look like the patterns found on fossils, the pattern was created by paints when he obviously painted his soldier figures like the one on the right. On the table sits a remote (he had an extensive DVD collection), a lighter (he clearly smoked judging by the smell), a paint brush and a comb which I presume he used to comb his cat. A cat which he looked after better than I imagine he looked after himself; he only agreed to be moved on the promise that his cat could come too.
The colours from the remote buttons are all mirrored in the next image.
The cargo nets on the left block out the light, in fact I did lift the blinds as it was impossible to see. The walls covered in model making instructions of things I presume he had already built and painted. A dartboard took centre stage on the wall.
Blue is carried through to the next image.
The hole in the sofa is where I presume his cat slept and I imagine that he slept on the cushion next to him, he had no actual bed in the flat. A collection of football cards had been glued to the wall over yet more thick paint painted in patterns. A row of playing cards were also glued in a pattern to the wall, and an odd pop poster of one direction? Does this demonstrate his innocence / mental age?
Blue again is carried through to the next image.
There was no evidence of family or people throughout the flat, the image of only fools and horses seemed to take the place of a family photo, TV and DVDs taking on the role of family and human interaction. The models of public buses gathering dust on the shelf, did he in fact ever leave his flat to interact with others?
Yellow carries through to the next image.
The kitchen, a place to cook and sometimes eat was again in darkness; cupboards were painted inside and out yet were empty. The only items in the kitchen were dirty dishes and again more models. A plane hung from the ceiling like a mobile. Even the toilet was found painted black and shoved in the cupboard under the sink! I wondered where it had gone.
Again yellow carries through to the next image.
The darkness in the kitchen was broken by a flash of yellow, oddly this was a bottle of toilet cleaner? The toilet was no longer fitted and was under the sink and cleanliness did not exist anywhere yet here was this bottle standing proud in the darkness. His cutlery drawer housed paintbrushes instead of utensils.
The final colour carried through to the next image is black.
The bathroom was the darkest space, there were cargo nets on the windows, a blackout blind AND the glass had been painted with gloss black paint. This was the hardest room to photograph. There was a small sliver of light trying to get in which cast odd shapes on the mirrored tiles and created this diagonal effect which revealed the colour that was otherwise hidden by darkness. The bath and sink had again been painted red at some point and were now painted thick black. This bathroom did not appear to have been used for a very long time. The paint was so thick it is like cardboard as pictured on the right.