Keith Lovegrove- Pageant: The beauty contest.

This work looks at the behind the scenes at all varieties of pageants, he has collected work from all around to create this book. It is almost his the good, the bad and the ugly. He shows us the world we hear so much about but don’t really see as much as we think we do. From the tears to the backstage horrors.

He shows us the world of vanity and backwards morals an opinions. But leads it into the alternative pageants, the best lady boy or drag queen!

So focusing on the whole book and looking at every one’s different definitions of idealistic beauty, he shows how everyone’s ideals are different from others. He wanted a well rounded view on this world of glam and glitz in all it’s forms.

We live in a world that is based on who looks best, and pageants are an extension of that. He has captured this idea of beauty in it’s most exaggerated form and how women strive to be Miss Universe for example. But why is it we only ever pay attention to the big end pageants, why do all the others get so ignored. And he shows all sides of it he doesn’t want any of them going unnoticed.

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Project Re-Write…

After my recent tutorial my project has been thrown out. And now am left confused as to what my project is really about now. My tutor after seeing my work for many months and knowing what it is about decided he did not like what the work was about anymore.

The idea of who she was, who she wants to be and who she really is now isn’t the basis for the work. But rather now I am to play with the ideas of too many photos of Jess like capturing her in every way. Or break it down into images she both likes and hates and then ones I like and hate. Which to me is going to get repetitive as we have very similar taste in the images.

So going to my second tutorial with my other tutor I spoke about the problems I was having. And had narrowed down my Images with approximately 5 images from shoots I have done so far. This brought my images down to 64.. Not the ideal amount. And then to be told to get rid of half of them again.

To me I feel like I am wasting my images, which I know isn’t the case as even I would not want to look at a 400 page edit. That would be mad, I just realise I have to be critical and get rid of images that won’t help me in anyway. Just because I like the image does not mean it will fit into the sequence.

Wrapping up with Jess

Now coming up to my last shoot for this project and Uni I feel totally mixed. On one hand I feel I could easily shoot for another couple of years and continue with the Uni life not ready for it to be over and responsibilities to start. But on the other hand it has been great being able to pull all my work together and show how much she has changed. And finally get uni over with as much fun as it has been. I feel ready to see it go now.

And in a way I have. I feel like You see this timid little girl at the start of my work when I was a scared fresher myself just learning to live on my own without my mum! And as the work progresses can see how Jess grows and how my work has also changed with it.

No longer are we the people from first year. Which is leaving me nostalgic and sad to see both this project and both the people we have been go with it. It has been a tough project and shooting with Jess over the last few years. From one problem to another we have slowly always managed to get the work done. Though this year I like how much more confident she has become and that has allowed us to push the boat out on what we can do. Also that we have collaborated a lot more so this project is as much hers and mine.

But now a handful of weeks from the end, it really is hitting home that my degree is pretty much at an end. Making me dread this final upcoming shoot with Jess. Although one last studio session with her now she is so confident and daring with so many of her own ideas seems like a great way to end it. Will be sad to never get her into a studio again where she thrives so naturally now.

After this point, then the last hard part is up to me. To narrow down all the photos I have been collecting. And show Jessica’s almost full circle during my time at Uni now as this young beautiful women she has turned into.

Dummy books in the making.

As I am still in my testing phase of what images I want to include. I have very few definite images that I am fully dedicated to at this stage. So I have been testing different images and sequences to slowly work down my images.

I started off with a 42 image edit then down to a 20 just to see how it worked. My trouble is at the moment is that i have more images in some sections than in others which is creating a bit of a problem when it comes to balance. And for this book I feel I will need a balance or at least my non-idealistic sections to bare the same weight. With the idealistic section smaller but more complex.

In the next few weeks I am aiming to make more dummy books and narrow my images down to a final 60 then work from there on what will make the final print. I realise this will be difficult decision as there are images that I am attached too but do not fit in the sequence I am wanting to make.

However this exercise of putting my books together gave me an insight to the work coming together. For months I have been worried about joining the dots. And seeing the work in the book format did give me clarity that it really is coming together after all.

Ideal me.

Looking towards the middle section of my work I am wanting to show my sister as her ideal self. Incorporating what she wants to look like with ideas from what we see everyday. This section of my project is very influenced by her, she can be in control of the studio based practice.

We have been focusing a lot on body image and how she thinks she should look from lighting to poses we have considered many angles. I have been setting Jess tasks for the upcoming studio session to create mood boards and pick her own theme for the shoot. I want her to have the control over how she wants to look.

If she has control over the shoot then it really is about how she wants to look. It will shape to her body ideals, and how she wants to be seen and presented. Although this is a photo of Jess this isn’t her identity it is of her not about her.

She can put herself into whatever identity she wishes to have and it doesn’t matter she creates her own narrative of the idealistic self she chooses to portray. In this situation she can be vain  and all about her body image. It’s her desires for herself she chooses to share with the audience which adds to my idea of every changing stages of her life.

Who she is…

I have been looking at Jess outside of the studio as another way of incorporating the real her into my work.  As my studio work was turning into an idealistic form of who she wants to be, not who she is. So I have categorised my work down to who she was, and she wants to be and who she really is. This development has helped my work a lot as now I can see a clearer structure to the work.

So this work I did in her home and my own. I wanted to capture her as she is in the comfort of her own environment. And now that she is in her first flat with her partner it gave me an opportunity to show the change she is going through. Now with her own sense of Independence and the maturity of her living situation coming through in my photographs.

I handed the camera over to her a couple of times to see what she would take, and she liked to focus on little things around her flat. But through that she caught time and death as a symbol. The idea her life at this stage is ever changing as one chapter ends another begins instantly, time is of little consequence to her everything is moving at a thousand miles an hour.

When I compare her now to how she has been the similarities are getting fewer. Although she is the same person she looks more grown up and confident than ever.

Guest speaker- Bronia Stewart.

This week we just had another guest speaker Bronia Stewart. 

She started of doing a 6 month course that was primarily practical based. Then went on to assist for 2 years. She said how you have to mainly work free at this stage or with people who aren’t that great, but it all makes great experience. At this point she would be working full time whilst studying part-time.

Her first work that got exhibited was Babe Station, at this point she talked about access. Throughout all her projects access to the subject can be hard. And with this one it was that it was a very taboo subject. She started it online asking for participants and a couple of times got dangerous to her. Have to think about your location and ethnic considerations as well.

Because of the type of people she is photographing she knows not all can be emailed images or look online. She always gives them prints to have of the work she has done of them. She fully explains what she is wanting to do. Clarity and openness is how she goes about her relationships to the people she works with. She had to also be empathetic with her subject matter, as close as she would get to the people she worked with she had a project to complete. But you also can’t be judgemental about who you work with, they have their own reasons as to why they are in these situations or like they are and have to respect that.

she also spoke about the way in which she shoots. She very rarely does digital that is for her commercial work. She uses film and a basic flash. Bronia spoke about how she doesn’t have time for intricate lighting systems.she likes the exposed raw style of her images, she is capturing more often than not raw subjects why try and cover them up with pretty lighting and Photoshop.  What you see is what you get.

With her Pepe work she would be looking at gang members, and had quite a surprising outcome given how much they relish the violence and during her time there was shooting between gangs. She captured how much family is everything to them, they are completely family orientated.

Essex she had the problem she didn’t put a timeline on it really. She liked Essex so much she kept going back for almost a year. She also couldn’t get into the big clubs she wanted to as didn’t fit the criteria but she liked the link it set up to Babe Station. How women are influenced by media and expectations. How they have been shaping themselves in relation to the media.

She then went on to talk about commercial work, and how a lot of photographers don’t put their name to it. As they can receive a lot of backlash about how it doesn’t relate to their own practice. But needs must commercial pays for the projects. It doesn’t flow with their work that is already out there. And how it helps her to put deadlines on work. As even own projects need a deadline or will never be happy with the outcome of the work.

I think having her talk to us was really good. She has worked with a wide variety of people and works in many formats.  She is almost an opposite to our last guest speaker Sophie Abbott but I think that made it better as well. We are getting a well rounded variety of work to talk about and take from.