Title: From One Home To Another
Description of subject to be investigated:
The project From One Home To Another is a documentary photo film piece that focuses on the journey of Jean, who goes by the name of Gypsy. In the photo film it will tell Gypsy’s story from beginning to end. We first start with the story of Jamaica and then travel into the story of Africa. In this photo film Gypsy explains how she sold everything she owned to move from England. She gave up everything she had because she knew she could give everything she could to help. Her heart was set and to move she had to, there was no other choice. It was time for her lifestyle to change. The story tells of her bringing up of 38 street boys from the rehabilitation centre, explaining how she improved their lives. To me, she is a Mother Teresa. During her time in both countries she reflects on the living conditions she had experienced. The photo film tells a wide and varied range of stories that all reflect on her life and the journey of it all. The most shocking experiences of what she had seen, the risky situations she put herself in to try and stop these terrible experiences from happening. At the end of this photo film Gypsy tells her story of why she had to come back to England after falling ill. The very end of the film expresses her feelings on what it was like coming back to England. She tells of her feelings about living in England after being away from home for such a time.
In the photo film there are a series of images that accompany the audio piece, which tell the story. I will be using photographs that are owned by Jean (aka Gypsy) that reflect to these specific parts of the stories. When Jean reflects on herself and her being in England I will be using photographs that I have taken myself.
From the research I have looked into Nan Goldin’s work and the way she had presented Ballad of Sexual Dependency. She shows images with music, which reflects the content of the images in a fascinating way. I looked at this because I am thinking of how I can present my own images. In Nan Goldin’s work I felt fixed to watching the photographs in the slide because the music made me remember the pictures more. I suppose the rhythm went well with the way the images travelled. I am also looking at the documentary filmmakers Molly Dineen, and Nick Broomfield. I feel that from researching their work I can look into how they structure their documentaries and then reflect this on to my own structure of how I want to show my story of Jean and her life in Africa and Jamaica. From doing the research I can see each of the filmmaker’s techniques, from the introduction to the end of the documentaries. What kind of audio is used in the documentary that does not contain the subject talking and what kind of background noise is used; also the way the subjects are introduced in the documentaries and how the documentaries end. By researching and seeing each of the documentaries I can compare the three filmmakers and see which of their techniques of structure I like and create my own to go with the story for the audio.
I wanted to research into a range of photographers who capture their subjects in their “home” environments. By capturing the subjects in the home I wanted to see how the photographers below portray their subjects and how they position their own subject. I also want to look into how they show the context that surrounds the subjects in each of the photographs. I will look at the photographers Tom Hunter, Jim Goldberg, Molly Law, Tina Barney and Richard Billingham because I feel they are successful at showing the context.
The series of photographs called Persons Unknown by Tom Hunter is another piece of work that I am going to research. Tom Hunter produced photographs that helped to save a community from being torn down by local authorities. In the media the area was said to be rough, giving the community in Hackney, London, a bad name. The local people were given notices but squatted in their homes. Tom shows these people for who they really are, not druggies and rough like they were made out to be. I like how Tom looks at pre-Raphaelite paintings to get ideas on how to photograph. I am looking into his work as he photographs them in their home as they do their daily tasks. It is as if the photographer is non-existent; these are the style of photographs I am aiming to create when I am photographing Jean in her home. I want them to be as natural and honest as they can be. For instance, I photograph her lifestyle, her daily activities. An example of this would be capturing her daily activity of making a cup of tea. I feel when looking at Tom’s work, it inspires me by giving me ideas for what kind of places I can photograph my subject in her home but in my own style.
Jim Goldberg is another photographer that photographs his subjects in their home environment. This work is called Rich and Poor. I find that Jim’s work is very intimate. He captures American people in the environment in which they live in but he gets the subjects to write their feelings, fears and thoughts. All of these comments from the subjects are hand written which makes the piece of work even more special as is shows more of the subject. It makes me think that even the subject’s handwriting can display the character of that person. These people open up and write about their lives. They talk about their lives as they are each captured in their own envionment, their home. The home is the place they live in, their personal area where they take out daily activities. It is the place they may be most familiar with.
Molly Low is a photographer who gets her inspiration for her own work from Jim Goldberg’s Rich and Poor. I feel she produces the same style of work as Jims, the same layout of the work and also she gets her own subjects to write comments of their own personal experience. Similar to Jim, she captures her subjects in their home environment, the place where the subject is and can be him self or her self. The project is based on the community called La Jolla, which is a place in San Diego. The project by Molly Low is called Portraits of Black San Diegans. The comments that are wrote by the subjects are their feelings towards the property tax increases and fears of rezoning. These affect the people because it could lead to a decline in property value, which mean many black families have to sell their La Jolla homes.
Tina Barney was another photographer that I had concentrated on looking at. This is because she also shows her subjects in their home environments, showing context around the subjects that she captures. I was looking at the context around the subjects, the ways in which she places her subjects and how they are posed in the images, or how in different images the subjects look un-posed but relaxed. To me, the context was the main thing and how this context was captured in the photographs. Tina captures large-scale images of her friends and family in their homes. I like how in each photograph she is able to show her subjects in different ways and how well she portrays the context of their homes in each image. What I also love about her work is that it is like she is not there in some of the photographs. She is able to capture people being their natural self even when they are not focused in on the camera. In a home the environment is what portrays the person and their personality. I love how Tina portrays each of the individual’s personalities.
I have always enjoyed the work by Richard Billingham, which is why I looked into his work. I like the work he produced called Rays A Laugh. I saw his work in the photo book that he had done for this project. Richard documents his father who is an alcoholic and his over weight mother, of whom is heavily tattooed. I love all of the images that he captures because I believe he documents them so closely. He manages to show his parents real characters, this makes their personalites comes across very strong in each image. What I also find interesting is how each image is different. To sum, the main reason that I have looked at this photographer is because he documents subjects in their home environment showing a varied of contexts of the subjects around them. I need ways to show my subject and the context around her. This is why I have found looking at the work by Richard Billingham has helped my own documentation work on Jean, the ways in which I can capture her in her home.
For the portrait research I am going to look at the photographer Brett Walker. I have always enjoyed Brett’s portraits, as the photographs are so prominent. In the work I also like how the subjects are positioned and how close up Brett photographs people. Another thing I like about Brett’s work is how the subjects do not always focus on looking into the lens of the camera, but you can still get a feel for the emotion that is expressed from each person in the portraits.
I have listened to interviews by Ruby Wax, along with interviews from Radio 4 Women’s Hour. I found that listening to these interviews has made me gain more knowledge on how to produce an interview process that is both informal and formal. Listening to the interviews gives me a clear understanding on how to structure my own interview process. I found it easier to structure my own questions for an interview with Gypsy, with the objective to get the best answers and information from her. I fully feel my questions are working in a clear timeline that travel well with my audio and images. They are set in a natural flow to fit the importance of the home environment, its naturalness.