Peter Drench – Alcohol & England
“The English have turned drinking into a national obsession, nearly an art form.” This is how Dench describes some of the sights he saw while shooting his series ‘Alcohol and England’. The series shows English people in varying locations; from horse race festivals to clubs and pubs, all of his images showing how the UK obsesses and possibly relies on alcohol to have a good time.
I decided to look at the street images produced from this project as I feel that they are most relevant to my project.
The above images were shot using flash. This reduces noise in them, and allows movement to be frozen. I think in the photographs above in particular, freezing of movement was important as it shows the police at work. I think this would be effective for my shoots too as I could freeze the Guardians in action. For one of these pictures, Dench seems to have crouched down to show the scenario more clearly. I think I need to consider this when shooting as the subjects are likely to be at different levels in the street. As well as this, a fast shutter speed would have been used in order to capture the movement. I would assume a relatively high aperture has been used to get these shots as the background is considerably darker. This enables the flash to be the main source of light in the image.
Both of the above images show Dench shooting down onto the subjects, unlike the two previous images. However, they have been shot with a high aperture (F 20/22) which makes the surrounding area and background dark. The main source of light (like in the previous images) is the flash. I particularly like that the police officer is easily identified although you cannot see his whole body. During my shoot with the Guardians, I hope to try different angles to achieve a different ‘look’ on the work they do. This may also be a way around photographing subjects’ faces which may prevent confrontation.
This series was shot in Blackpool in 2014. It documents the drunken antics of the British Stag and Hen parties. I decided to look at this for research as I will be dealing with drunk people when I go out with the Guardians.
‘What motivates my pictures is human behaviour. People’s interactions and emotions fascinate me. My stories are thematic; they have similarities of expressions running through them. My work is informed by societies trends and incongruities and translating what I see into wit, criticism and humorous vignettes. I’d like to think that my photos convey a personalised point of view that believable and absurd.’
I like the idea of shooting through the window of a shop to get a different perspective of the drunk people, although I’m not sure I will have the opportunity to shoot like this while out with the Guardians as I’m not sure how quickly they work. Similarly to Dench’s work, flash and a relatively high aperture have been used in these pictures because they are so saturated and there are clear hot spots. As well as this, a fast shutter speed has been used to capture movement.
The same camera settings and flash have been used int the two above images. Again, this is obvious because of the frozen movement, particularly in the image of the man vomiting. The high contrast is another giveaway factor of use of flash. I like how the flash has lit these images, however I don’t like the effect on the contrast in the image of the man vomiting in particular. The image of the ‘superheroes’ works well because it’s balanced by the two couples as well as the colour scheme of red and blue. I also like the facial expression on the ‘maid’, as I think this really adds to the moment. I think the flash has enabled the image to be bright enough without using a high ISO which would make the images considerably more noisy.