The idea for my 'Important Places' was inspired by the work of Barbara Peacock and Lizzie Coombes. Peacocks series 'American Bedroom', showed a variety of people in their bedrooms which were captioned using quotes from the people in the photographs about their lives. I liked the concept of photographing people in an intimate, personal environment. I wanted to create something similar where I could use the environment to tell a story as well as the subject themselves. I also liked how the people in the photographs could express themselves further by telling the photographer something about them that you can't see from the photo. Peacocks photographs are well framed and the busy background gives the photograph a more in depth meaning. 'Important Places' was inspired by this as I wanted to create a set of photographs that told their own stories through the location of the photograph alongside the captions of the photographs that explain the photographs meaning. I was also inspired by the style of Commbes' photography. The style of the portraits are well framed and add something extra to the photographs. The use of lighting in the photographs was something I tried to incorporate into my own work. To try and incorporate the style of these two photographers I used a 50mm lens so my final images would show off as much background as possible. Whilst I want the focus of my photograph to be my subjects it is also important for me to show off the location.
"Sunderland doesn't really have many places to go so when you find somewhere you really like it kinda becomes a part of you and your life. This is one of those places for me. It's really chill here, there always playing Charlie Chaplin on the tv and the music sheets for wallpaper is cool. I just like being here. Theres nothing particularly important about it, its just special to me." - James Boak
"I found Pop Recs when I was 16, and it instantly became my favourite place. It was chill and artistic and musical, and acted as an escape for all the shit I was dealing with at the time. When I was in the worst places mentally that I've ever been, and struggling with my family issues, Pop Recs almost became my home. I remember fondly working at gigs and getting to talk to people I would have never crossed paths with otherwise. It's eye opening and wonderful to have had that opportunity. I've made some of my most important friendships there, and as much as I'm no longer in touch with those I worked with, I'm eternally thankful for how Pop Recs, and it's people, have shaped me into a more confident and caring woman. I genuinely wouldn't still be here if not for the time and support of Dave and Michael, my co-workers. I can never thank them enough" - Olivia Johnson
"The summer house in my garden is an important place for me, as is the garden in general. It's where I go to smoke, to read, to think. My mother has always been proud of her garden and its the first place I think of when I think of home, especially since I moved abroad. My own little place of reflection." - Isaac Collinson
"I love the beach because it is soothing, and refreshing, and helps when I need to clear my head. Most days I struggle to turn my thoughts off but going to the beach just fixes that. It's always changing - and yet still the same, which is something I can find comfort in when things change in my own life." - Sarah King
"The Winter Gardens Museum in Sunderland is a place I hold very dear to my heart. I have hundreds of fond memories visiting as a child with my grandparents, sparkling multiple curiosities in nature, art and culture which I have carried with me throughout my life." - Tom Large
"The amusements is where my partner and I spend time together frequently. Just to be together and enjoy each other. It's where we met and it's where we can go and it feel like our own place. We spent our first anniversary here, it was accidental but its all unparalleled." - Hollie Mullally
"When I started working at Vesta Tilleys I was just a glass collector. I spent most of my nights running around, cleaning up and moving kegs about. I can remember a lot of my nights being spent in this cellar. I've worked hard for this job and I love being the manager of a pub with so much character and sense of community. I still spend a lot of my nights down in the cellar but its worth it now." - Keiron Rayne
"My family use to own this bar and I lived above it for 18 years. I use to love being younger and coming down into the pub to meet all the oldies, made me feel dead grown up. When I started getting older it was pretty cool telling people I lived above a pub, everyone would want to come round. I made the attic my own little space with my drum kit and a snug corner with pillows and blankets, I would go there to chill out. I miss living here, I never really come back because it's strange for me being back here and not living here. This is the first time I've been back in three years. It''s a shame nobody lives here anymore they just use the flat for storage space now." - Dan Alldis
"This is where I first met my boyfriend, it was a night just like this. Cold, windy but romantic." - Kirsty Lilley
"My and my mam use to come here a lot to hang out and talk. We never really talk about stuff in the house or spend time together because of her job and how much I have to travel around for gigs. Whenever I've been off on tour and I come back she brings me here to ask about how everything went. I guess when I'm missing her or feeling a bit down I come here with her with my friends too, the food is great and it's nice to feel like your in a home outside of home." - Lydia Balaban
"The ski slope is a really important place to me. It's where my love for the sport developed. I like coming back here every now and then, not just to practice but for the nostalgia. It's crazy to think I started off as a little kid on these little slopes and now I get to travel the world skiing. It's such a freeing sport and I'm proud that I started off here." - Ollie Wilson
"I really struggled to think of a place that was really important to me. I guess I picked this place because I spent most of my time here. Theres always somebody here I don't even have to check with my friends because I know no matter what time of day there is always someone here to talk to if I want to get out the house. Some of the best and worst things have happened here and as of recently It's been quite difficult for me to be here. I recently broke up with my boyfriend and this was 'our' place so I didn't really want to come back here but this is where all of my friends always are, I guess forcing myself to come here has helped me get over the relationship." - Holly Thompson
Task 1: A reflection on having my photograph taken.
Although I love photography, I hate having my photograph taken. When a camera is pointed at me and I am told to smile, I stiffen up and become uncomfortable; often leading to some very awkward looking portraits. Even in group photographs I hide myself at the back of the group to avoid being the focus of the photograph as I always criticize and find faults in myself when looking at photographs of myself. Candid photos of myself however, I do not mind as much. If the photographer acts as ‘a fly on the wall’ and I am unaware my photograph is being taken I am often more relaxed and the photograph turns out better as it depicts the real me rather than a frigid, anxious version of myself.
I often struggle knowing what expression to pull, what to do with my hands and where to look when having my photograph taken so when given the task to have my photograph taken in the workshop I was smoking and drinking coffee; this distracted myself from the photographer and allowed me to feel more relaxed, resulting in a more natural, candid photo. I realised that when taking my photographs of Nichole, that she also found it very difficult to place her hands. It took a lot longer to get a photograph that we were both happy with because she had no prop, unlike me, and so a number of the photographs had an awkwardness about them.
I feel that as a someone who dislikes having their photograph taken, when working as a photographer I have to be aware that it can make people feel uncomfortable and to be conscience to help your subject feel more relaxed. In doing this the outcome of the photograph will be something not only I am happy with but that shows the subject as who they really are and is something they are happy to look at. In the words of portraiture photographer Sean Tucker, “it’s a good idea for any photographer to put yourself in the position of the subject regularly.” (Tucker, 2016) I feel that this will also help me to become more comfortable having my own photograph taken if I am to regularly exercise my role in being a subject in a photograph.
Tucker, S. (2016, July 1). Photographing People: The War in every Portrait. You Tube .