Project Journal 27/08/09

The Last Day of Training

So its our last day, but we don’t have time to hang about and dwell. Our first task of the day is to think once again about the type of shots we want to get to reflect the themes of the project and how we are going to get them. We refer back to Task 4 on Wednesday and the questions we set out to ask models:

  1. Can you show me how you feel about your body?
  2. What is your favourite part of your body and why?
  3. What is the bit of your body you like the least and why?
  4. If you would change one part of your body what would you change and why?

They also agree that they need to take a head shot and a long body shot of each person they interview.

It’s felt that these are still the questions they want to look at and will use them for guidance when out looking for models. So to practice I make the group use each other as guinea-pigs, everyone must interview and capture everyone else. Then they have to pick their favourite shot for each person and present it to the group with an explanation to the group as to why they chose it.

They get some really good shots that not only answer the questions but do so in inventive and exciting ways, view their selection here.

The exercise has two purposes one is to use each other as guinea-pigs but the other slightly more sneaky purpose its to highlight just how easy it is to get lots of shots. In just over an hour they take 400+ shots just using themselves and I use this information to cushion the blow of the bombshell…

Putting The Pieces Together

The group is all aware of the outdoor exhibition and know exactly what is happening and what they have to do. But they are a little unclear on just how many shots we are going to need to make the photographic mosaic work.

Have a look at this page to see how it works.

So here it comes, the big number, they each need to collect 500 + pictures each. The aim is to make the mosaic as clear as possible so we need around 7000 individual shots. At first some are a little shocked but they soon realise that it is easily achievable and they only need to get around 80 models each and they have over 6 weeks to do it.

The blow is even easier to take when we discuss the photo shoot day we are going to hold in the Forum space at Wellcome Collection on Saturday 2nd October 2010. More to follow on this soon, but keep your diary free because we need real people to be our models and we want all of you there.

We discuss the day, the exercises we want the models to do, extra questions we want to ask them and how we will order the shoots. Then we break for lunch, all feeling very positive and excited about the next step in the project.

A Special Treat

After lunch we are very lucky to have a guest speaker, Stephanie Ifill from the AnyBody Campaign.

Stephanie is a young film maker and graphic design artist who has been working very closely with respected author and psychotherapist Susie Orbach on the AnyBody Campaign. Susie has been working with us to develop a play around the subject of body image with playwright Rachel Wagstaff.

At present Stephanie is deeply involved in generating material and creating films for the Endangered Species international summit to be held in 2011.

Check out Stephanie’s latest film here.

Stephanie has come to talk to us about her work and highlight just how important this project could be. We talk at length about the media and how it is destroying self-esteem and ruining young people’s lives as they struggle to cope with their body confidence issues.

We go through a series of exercises that highlight just what is happening in the media and the manipulation of images.  We watch the Dove Evolution video once more

as we discuss how we feel about it Stephanie prepares the next clip. This time we are looking at a news report about Heidi Montag star of MTV’s The Hills, I have absolutely no idea who she is,  but everyone else does so it’s ok.

I am absolutely horrified by the report, Montag a naturally beautiful woman, has undergone 10 cosmetic surgeries in one day to look in her words “more like Barbie”. Her is a before and after, you decide which you prefer.

We don’t have the original clip but here’s another one detailing the story.

We also look at the role of other celebrities in adverts ranging from Cheryl Cole’s fake hair extension in adverts L’Oreal shampoo to the skin lightening of stars like Beyoncé and Frieda Pinto.

Our attention is then turned on ourselves and we look at all of the things we use to make ourselves look better and therefore feel better about ourselves. Stephanie talks to us about the unnecessary length people go to and how little things can lead to serious consequences like eating disorders and worse. We then look at our work to wind down on a positive note.

The session isn’t heavy but very enlightening and very powerful, leaving everyone with a sense of how this project could highlight some of the problems and open up conversation around a subject that needs our attention. All of the group thank Stephanie and continue on talking with her after the session has finished, always a good sign.

We go through a few details of the project over then next few weeks, we loan out a few cameras and they are off, out into the world to capture how the public feel about their bodies.

Who knows they could even pick you!

It has been a great week in my opinion I have enjoyed working with all of the group who were a wonderful bunch of people with so much to offer. We have learnt new skills, made new friends and been given plenty of food for thought. Time to put it all into action and create the exhibition.

This entry was posted in AnyBody Campaign, Final Exhibition, Project Journal, The Mosaic, Young photographers and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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