Jenny Lewis is an editorial photographer who’s work has been published in The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times amongst others. However, she continues to pursue her own projects. Much of her personal work is based on her experience of living and working in London. Recently, she had her first book published; One Day Young. The book captures mothers within the first 24 hours of having their baby.
Jenny Lewis uses natural lighting in her images which give them all a sense of purity and innocence, particularly in the One Day Young series. Although the women and babies featured in the collection, the lighting makes them seem less staged and more natural. I also like how the colours in the images are generally neutral, and often there is repetition of the same colour within the image (as in the two photographs above).
I would like to experiment with using natural lighting in my photo story because I feel like with sensitive topics such as dealing with the disabled, it can make the images seem more raw and real. Although I like the distances of these portraits, I think for my project it would be nice to get a combination of mid and close up shots. I am more likely to start with more mid shot portraits as I don’t want to be intimidating and intrusive of my subjects.
I think shots such as the one above would be good to start with in this project as they are less intrusive, but often images of shoes can say a lot about the person wearing them. Equally, the floor they are standing in may say something about the person. I would like to try this kind of photograph with the subjects when I go to the Butterfly Garden. I would also like to try and get some close up shots of areas of the Garden. This may include memorials, plaques or anything small of significance there. I feel like these kinds of shot would help the audience to get a feel of the kind of place the Butterfly Garden is.
Madeleine Waller is a photojournalist who focuses primarily on portraiture and is developing her own identity through photography. Her work has been published in several national publications as well as being displayed in The National Portrait Gallery. Hoxton Mini Press published her collection of East London Swimmers in 2017.
Her portraits of East London Swimmers show her subjects before and after getting changed into their swimwear (as seen above). I personally like the style and framing of this style of images. I think the distance would usually make the audience feel more detached from the subject, however as the second image in each set exposes them more, I think this set of images is an exception. The photographs are seemingly taken using natural, light. I think this because the lighting is even in both images. There are no hot spots or particularly highlighted areas in the second set. This may also be due to the time of year and day they are shot. The images appear to be shot throughout the year as the lighting varies. In the first set of pictures, there is a shadow being cast on the wall which indicates that the sun is out. This contrasts the second set which are evidently taken in the winter.
These portraits were taken from 2 different series’ on her website. The first was from a series entitled ‘Stockwell Bus Garage’ and the second from a series called ‘Mothers and Teenage Daughters’ . I liked the first image as I think it provides context in the portrait. I would like to be able to produce a portrait similar to this in the sense that I’d like the audience have a clear idea of the kind of location the portrait is shot in. I chose the second image because I like how a relationship between two people (in this case, mother and daughter) is clearly conveyed. I think I would be able to do something similar to this in the Butterfly Garden but maybe between two friends or colleagues.
The first image potentially uses ambient lighting which would likely have come from strip lights within the depot. I think this because of the hot spot that has been created on the left side of the subjects’ face. In comparison, the second image has used window light to illuminate the subjects’ faces.
Brandon Stanton became known through his ‘Humans of New York’ project which he started in 2010. It involved taking pictures of New Yorkers on the street and having a quick interview with the subjects which gave a lot of images more context. The first (of 2) books was published in 2013. The Facebook page Brandon made now has over twenty million followers worldwide which provide the world with a small glimpse into the lives of strangers in NYC.
“I hate being a kid because my video games are too hard.”
“My mom and I have always been close. But we had to learn how to communicate again after my dad died. It took therapy. We’d stopped being honest with each other. My dad’s illness had been so stressful that we didn’t want to create any additional worries. So we tried to protect each other. Neither of us would admit if we were having a bad day. Or if we were feeling depressed. The answer to everything was always: ‘I’m fine.’ But we weren’t fine. And it was obvious. So we worried about each other all the time. It caused a lot of stress and arguments. We had to relearn how to admit when we were having a bad day. Because you can never truly know if someone’s ‘fine’ unless you trust them to tell you when something’s wrong.”
I like that in the first portrait, Brandon has dropped down to the same level as it doesn’t make the photographer look superior to the subjects. I think this is important for me to do when I shoot at The Butterfly Garden as I don’t want to appear superior to my subjects. I also don’t want them to be intimidated by me or my camera and so I will try to do this where I think appropriate.
I chose the second image because I think it is a good standalone portrait. I think that the background plays a lot into this image as it has almost disappeared. However, it also informs the audience on the time of year. I would like to shoot a portrait in on of the outdoor areas of the Garden as this may indicate the time of year, but if nothing else it should put the subject in context.
“My father wants me to come home to Botswana. He tells me that he’s getting older and he needs me to come home. I miss my family, but I want to stay here. Life is different for me here. I’ve met so many people from so many cultures. I’ve done half marathons. I even did a triathlon. It’s different back in Botswana. I was completely dependent on my father. Women don’t leave home until they get married. So I’d like to stay here. But my sister is the only family that I have in America. And last week she told me that she’s moving back to Botswana. So now I’ll be on my own. And I’m worried. Because I don’t like to ask for help. But I never had a problem asking her for help. And now I won’t have that anymore. But a few months ago I joined something at my church called a ‘connect group.’ And now I have so many friends. They are like my sisters. We have brunches, and dinners, and go hiking. I feel very loved by them. So I’m hoping they will be like my family.”
“We’ve been together for twenty years. I’ve never dated anyone else. But there’s no intimacy. There’s no ring on the finger. He doesn’t even want his family to know we’re together. Maybe it’s my weight. Maybe it’s a status thing. But he keeps me away from his family. I accidentally sat by his sister at a basketball game, and his jaw nearly dropped to the floor. We’ve only made love once. That was twelve years ago. He won’t kiss me or touch me. I’ve just stopped asking. But he insists that we’re in a relationship. He got mad when I tried to change my relationship status to ‘single.’ He got on my computer and changed it back. I didn’t even know that he knew my password. I told myself that I was OK with it. I told myself that I’m OK with not being touched. But I don’t think I am. I recently went to a therapist for the first time. I was so scared he’d find out that I parked my car next door. But maybe it would be good if he found out. Maybe he’d leave me and give me a chance.”
I like the above two images as they are non intrusive on the subject, and the captions for them provide the context and allows the audience to make up their own mind about the subjects featured. I think this would be a good way to photograph the disabled students at The Butterfly Garden as they may not realise that they’re being photographed.
I own all of the above books, all of which I have talked about on this blog post. This was where I first saw these artists. Looking back, it appears that they are all shot in a similar style as they mainly use natural lighting. I hope that having looked at these books in detail, I can take inspiration from them for my shoots at The Butterfly Garden.