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Experiment: Photo shoot #1 – horse protest

An idea came to mind to combine all my streams of experimentation into a series of photographs with each image representing a single, powerfully significant phrase. The photographs would contain a single female in a landscape, face hidden by a mask, showing the phase in German on a handmade placard. A retro game font was used for the text which offered a bitmap contrast to the surrounding natural landscape. Body language would be chosen to suit the words shown but there was clearly much twisting of meaning and humour to be played with. So props were obtained we waited for the perfect weather conditions.

I’ve studied a lot of fine art photography and learnt much from my past efforts and my impression is that great photography is more about what is left out than what is shown. In setting up the scene I chose a limited palette of materials (i.e. browns and yellows) but struggled to think of a landscape that would not offer too much distraction. But when an extremely foggy morning arrived we headed out.

The best of the photographs are shown in the slider below. The blandness of the landscape is superb in how it gives no sense of place or dimension. The absurdity of the situation is very appealing. What is this protest and who is it against? Even if we translate the words we are none the wiser. I introduced some words on sticks as an extra experiment but the placard is the clear winner. A placard is instantly confrontational and invites a reaction, care has been taken to create it so this person is passionate about what they are doing, it’s just that we don’t know exactly what their gripe is.

I’ve picked out what I think are the two most successful images. The image below has a gentleness that I quite enjoy. The coat being held closed adds an awkward shyness to the pose and the leg being slightly bent makes me think this is not a comfortable position to be found in.

The image below is the winner. I pushed the colour saturation slightly in PhotoShop and straightened the horizon. Compositionally it is balanced and looks authentic. The legs being slightly bent are threatening and reactive and the V sign is very purposeful. The legs being open have opened the coat but reveal nothing so we ask what lies beneath the coat. The anonymity of the model is nicely confusing as we are asked to consider who is speaking to who. My only consideration is whether the T-shirt and cuffs of clothes underneath detract from the quality of the image. Would it be enhanced if we thought the figure was naked underneath? In one sense the hint of clothing frames this as a protestor rather than a model. I enjoy the absurdity and brazen humour of this result but more significantly it appeals to how I feel about that whole period of my life.

Next steps

I’m very pleased with this result so more props will be obtained to carry out another photoshoot.

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