Sian Davey’s work is ultimately an investigation into the physiological, social and political aspects of her subjects’ lives. In one of her most recent series’, ‘Looking for Alice’, she focuses around a young girl with downs syndrome and how both she and her family cope with it. The series is shot using natural lighting which in my opinion emphasises facial expressions and the relationships shown. The series is the first of her work to be published.
The majority of portraits shot during this project are 3/4 length. Usually her feet and bottom half of her legs aren’t on show. I think the slightly closer framing used creates a level of intimacy with the series. I think this is what Davey intended, particularly with such sensitive topic as downs syndrome. Although I like this style, my intention with the street photography brief is to show diversity and patriotism . I feel that the best way to document this is to include the whole person. I do not intend on making the series intimate as I think this would be less effective at showing the people that I photograph and their style.
Similarly to the ‘Looking for Alice’ series, this set of images is shot using natural light. Again, the closer zoom on the portraits make them seem more intimate. This is somewhat emphasised by the lack of clothing in some of the photographs. Although this is not the style of image that I intend on re-creating, there are some key factors that I would like to include in my own work. I like the use of colour as the green tones seem vibrant but there is a level of de-saturation to the images on a whole. The use of colour is similar to that of Iain McKell’s work on Gypsies. I also like the use of aperture and focus in these portraits. This is something I’d like to recreate in my portraits in Cardiff. I would say that an F stop of around 5 was used for these as the background is sufficiently out of focus, but the exposeure on both the background and the subjects is correct.
Richard Renaldi’s series ‘See America by Bus’ features several portraits which are a similar style to what I intend to do when I’m in Cardiff. The series documents subjects waiting for busses as well as the people that work in varying stations and drivers. I think it captures the diversity of people who take the bus well. One of the images below (left) features a woman who looks well off and that kind of woman is often stereotyped. The image comes with the caption ‘Sabrina, Philadelphia, PA 2005 (Los Angeles, CA to New York ,NY)’ . This caption provides the audience with a little information about the subject as well as where it was taken and the date. This lack of information may cause the audience to stereotype the subjects featured.
I personally like this style of portraits. Unlike other artists I have researched, many of Renaldi’s portraits are full length. This enables more of the background to be seen which provides context for the viewer. For example, in both images above the location is important. The image on the left looks like it could be a an airport which is why the captioning is particularly important. The image on the right differs in that it states the location within the image. Because of that, the audience doesn’t necessarily need a caption, although it is helpful to provide additional information. I hope that when I go to Cardiff I will be able to position myself with something significant to Wales in the background to inform the audience of the location.
I think Renaldi is using a high aperture and a speed light or LED ring flash to take these images. I think this for a few reasons. Firstly, the image appears separated from the background. This is mainly because of the contrast in bright subject and dark background. I expect an F stop of around 14 was used for this image as the background is both dark and out of focus. This means the main focus of the image is the subject who is completely sharp. I think flash has been used with a high aperture because the subject is too bright in comparison to the background to be naturally lit. As well as that, there are some hot spots on the subject (primarily on her head and neck) which suggest flash has been used.