Saturday, 30 March 2013

Development - Sixth Photoshoot the final one and Depression

The sixth and final shoot of the photograph series and is based on the conclusion of all anxieties depression. This image was planned near the start of the project and I knew were to get most of the props from. This is a digital media image of the original storyboard drawing as I have did with all the storyboards. I will put more and expand on these ideas more in my development sketchbook. Doing these media tests were useful for me to get to grips with Photoshop again and refresh my memory as well as editing the photographs.

Anxiety conclusion - Depression

This shoot is based on Depression which myself and almost everyone I have known has suffered from it. Depression can effect people in a lot of different ways but it can be an everyday illness that effects the persons life. It effects our mood, thoughts, behavior, physical and mental well being and our world views. It makes us feel helpless, worried, worthless, guilty, hurt, restless, makes us loose interest in enjoyable activities. We eat less or over eat, lack of concentration, aches and pains, digestive problems, decision making, fatigue, insomnia, over sleeping, and can make us suicidal or attempt it. It's not exactly a disorder it self but it usually is the result of anxieties and mental illness. It can be a natural reaction to negative life events and changes and a normal response before we can become happier again. But for some it is a nightmare and talking about it with others almost makes it indescribable tying to communicate the subject.
Since it is the result state of us and a common illness I felt it was appropriate to have it finish off the photo series.

Prop Making

For the shoot I needed a bed, figure, and some chains, getting a bed was easy since we had a spare one in our flat and it could be moved easily since it had wheels and could fold up. We tried it out in the flat first to see how it would turn out. I also got covers and a pillow for the shoot but the chains were a lot more difficult to obtain. I went around a few hardware stores and tried online shops but either the chains were to large and heavy or to expensive. I eventually found a seller on Esty who had chains and would let you pick the length you wanted. Which is what I needed cause wasn't exactly sure how chains are measured. But I had to wait for them to come in the post before the shoot could be ready.

It fit around quite well and what I wanted then it was just a case of moving it all to a studio.

Setting up

We got the bed set up with the covers and blanket as I said in the previous post my last model couldn't make the shoot that day. So me and Alastair improvised and used the space to our advantage for another shoot in the same day.


We did a lot of test shots and tests for the lighting as well as to get as much of the bed into the frame as possible and to play around with composition and angles. We used Soft boxes and an strobe light and switched between the two and used them at the same time for certain shots.

We also tried the tripod above Alastair to get different perspectives and close up shots.

During my many trips to the recycling center I found a very old rusty looking key on a path and thought it was quite beautiful. I incorporated it into this shoot cause my original idea was to have key in the shoot but wasn't sure how I was going to do that so we improvised yet again. Believe it or not I tied the key with a blue string to a broom and held it away in front of the camera to get the shots. It was very difficult since I had to work the camera and balance the broom from falling and wobbling. It took a lot of attempts to get the images I wanted.

When it came to the last few images above I taped the string to a light reflector and it made things a little easier.

Meaning Behind The Image

The symbolism behind this shoot is to represent depression and picked a bed as my main prop for various reasons. A bed represents parts of us that are intimate and is a bridge of our unconscious and conscious. Bed's give us security and comfort and if we visualize them subconsciously we are searching for that security in our lives. Myself and others I have spoken to about depression do discuss how difficult it is to get out of bed in the morning. It appears lazy but it is really that facing a day is to much sometime to bare and facing other people and responsibilities our depression makes us feel a burden that their to much to handle. That everyday simple things are to difficult to deal with because their appears to be no joy in them or we have no purpose.

Chains often mean restriction, limitation, and slavery they are confiding and represent being trapped and controlled. The chains are there because we feel trapped and helpless within ourselves and could represent this by our own doing or outside forces. I wanted the chains to be wrapped in zigzag pattern to represent conflict of the individuals inner struggle instead of the lines being straight or organized. Also subconsciously the zigzag pattern also can look like the letter Z which is last letter of the alphabet and this is also the last photo session.

Keys in symbolism mean opening and closing doors and also knowledge which is what the depressed needs to learn to be happier. The knowledge and security keys can give to be able to get on with their daily lives and not feel trapped or worthless. Obtaining a key gives the user power and control in this sense to take control and not to be confined by depression. This image I hope can convey that struggle and the effects depression can have on the human condition.

Possible Final Images

The pictures below are in the set to be the final ones they have been edited and cropped.

Doing these photo shoots were challenging but a great experience it was good to work with different people and try out the spaces and equipment. Now I just need to set up the pictures with frames and arrange my assessment space. Will be finishing off sketchbook and organizing things better for the final push within the next couple of weeks.

Development - Fifth Photoshoot and Post Traumatic stress disorder

The fifth photo shoot is based on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which has a lot more deeper symbolism for this shoots imagery. For the setting of this shoot I was unsure if it was best to do it in a forest or type of rural area. But for consistency with the other images I felt a studio setting was better and that I could just bring the elements to it. I had this image in my head for quite a while maybe before what I was sure of doing the project about.

Anxiety - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post Traumatic stress disorder can be a severe anxiety disorder after a traumatic or very negative experience that results in psychological trauma. The event can involve either the individual seeing or being part of the incident. As some examples it could be the threat of death, rape, war, accidents or sever incidents such as abuse. This can cause the person effected to have an inability to cope with the stress. PTSD can cause flashbacks, nightmares, avoidance of stimuli relating to the trauma, increased heart beat and breathing as well as difficultly sleeping even anger and hyper vigilance. It can be an on going illness and can last for long periods of time after the event. It has various degrees of sub-forms such as acute, chronic, and delayed-onset.

Prop Making

The props for this shoot were a little trickier to obtain especially the deer antlers. I tried contacting the The Scottish Deer Centre across the Tay to see if they would have any I could use or borrow. But after trying to contact them various times through emails, the inquiry page on their site and their Facebook page which they update regularly their was no reply. I kept an eye out for antlers everywhere I went from all the charity shops to karboot's, antique stores but not much luck. A classmate then suggested they had a pair of antlers they found hiking and had been in their cupboard for years and I was so lucky that she let me use them. Their so beautiful and more than I could of hoped for the shoot thank you for Lorraine.

With her permission I was allowed to alter them to make them to a degree wearable. I did some tests of trying to wear them laying down but they are a bit difficult to get the right angles with on their own. So I had to create a type hair band for them to be supported better and to be shot at the right angles. For better support modroc was used to keep them in place and to help them stay on the hair band. It worked out well enough since the antlers were quite light in weight.

As for the rest of the props for the shoot I had to obtain natural materials such as moss, grass, leaves, twigs. I collected this a couple of days before the shoot so the materials would stay fresh and not rot or grow mold. The only other prop was the arrow but I created that nearer the start of the project with just a light weight piece of wood and some blue feathers.

Setting Up The Studio

In the studio I placed the materials in a shape that would outline the body of the model and also on spare paper so the backdrop didn't get dirty. My last two models for the this shoot and the last shoot  ended up finding it to difficult to make the shoots. I thought I wouldn't be able to complete the photo set and also in time to be sent away to be printed.

But with the help of Alastair we shot the two last shoots in one day. Both the models were going to be male and his face is hidden in this shoot so their is no repetition of the same person. Different people and equal gender count for the images was in place because of the themes in this work. I wanted the images to represent how anxiety can relate to everyone, male and female no matter what our identity. Other age groups weren't included because the project has been quite personal of the age I am just now and the people around me. But that it can effect anyone and we could have one or more of these disorders but in personal symbolic visual ways. Wanted to create these negative anxieties into hopefully beautiful imagery creating something positive out of the negativity of the illness's.

Lighting Tests

We did some lighting tests with the Soft boxes and the Strobe lights and some tests of laying in the space.

We also did some tests bringing in the props gradually to see how it would look and also for the framing the shot cause of the antlers.

 Some of these shots I practiced taking the paper out of the image using Photoshop and some lighting.

We then went ahead and added the rest of the visuals such as the marks on Alastair's back and being tricky placing the arrow upright on his back.

Meaning Behind the Image

I have chosen the props and the type of scene for this shoot in ways I feel it relates to post traumatic stress disorder. For instance Deers in symbolism represent our fragile but resilient nature and spirituality. They are representations of our creativity and rural psyche and how it wanders and how they are secret like our thoughts. Having antlers relates to masculinity and having none relates to our femininity. I felt it was fitting to use a male model because of the masculine presence but also because antlers can refer to strength. But in this scene because this form has been struck down by an arrow that their are powerless. This adds to something that once was proud and strong but now their helpless. 
The arrow is a representation of the traumatic experience the individual has witnessed or been apart of. That the arrow is marking them with the disorder as it stays and can mark us and is effecting our mental and physical health. Arrows in symbolism can mean 'thought' and are associated with being quick and deadly. That the arrow in this image is pointing downwards and struck the form has negative sub conscious meanings. Since it means 'thought' this is also a representation of the mental state of the person effected and with the feathers being blue adds to the melancholy. 
The fauna that has been placed around the figure is a small representation of nature or a rural landscape. Forests represent the journeys within ourselves especially large dark forests with trees. This represents our minds and the subconscious since it is deep and things can be hidden like in our psyches.
I felt bringing all these elements together symbolically represents PTSD and that the scene portrays the disorder and its effects.

Possible Edited Final Pieces

These are part of the selection for final pieces these have been edited and toned, composition and lighting was experimented with.

The prints for everything are on their way now on the to next blog of the final shoot of the project.