Documentary Photography: Hidden Places.

For this assignment, an essential aspect was to negotiate a way in to somewhere which would usually not be open to the general public. The idea was to help us to gain confidence when talking to strangers and also exercise the usual duties of a photojournalist. As an underground music fan, I decided that I would try and negotiate a time in which I could photograph them in a kind of “behind the scenes” approach. I suggested I could come along to their practise session in the studio, which they luckily agreed to.

I tried to focus my angle of this photoshoot with the idea that I would stay true to the “hidden places” title, and so felt that it was obvious that I should try and make the band and instruments the main focus in an almost “fly on the wall” fashion. As the room itself was relatively dark, I had to use the flash on my camera on all the shots below, I had to have a high shutterspeed setting as well as these were technically action shots as the band members would move quickly while playing songs and so I also needed to be quick at taking the shots.

The image above is of the band setting up, the main focus of this image is the guitarist closest to the camera who’s guitar head is only visible. I feel that although taken at quite an intrusive angle, it does not feel voyeuristic as their expressions are relaxed.

Another image of the band setting up, although this shot is a little overexposed I feel that the angle again shows a more intimate situation however it does not seem intrusive. I used a macro lens for this shot as I was quite far away during this part of their rehearsal.

This is a shot taken while they were practising a song. I thought that it would be good to have the drummer as the main focus on this image as drummers tend to have a lot of energy which is always fun to photograph. I chose to use a high shutterspeed on this image so that it would not come out blurry, there is also a middle range of aperture in the shot as well which has the cymbal as its main focus. This shot is a little more intrusive than the other two, as I had to get pretty close to take the shot, which was probably slightly distracting for the drummer which can be seen in his expression.

Another shot taken while playing one of their songs. I think that having the drumkit looking slightly blurred actually adds more to the focus of the band members playing; again it is a shot that looks natural and having it at this angle makes it seem like a hidden shot.

It is evident that in this shot the aperture chooses to focus on the mic instead of the bassplayer, although I feel that in a way both compete for main focus of the shot. The lighting brings out the rust of the mic, showing that the studio and its equipment are pretty old.

While they were packing up, I still felt that I should try and take advantage of the situation and take as many shots as possible. Its quite a dark shot as it does not give any idea as to what the rest of the room looks like, but I think that this only adds more focus to the guitar player on the left as he is in the light the most.

I chose to use my macro lens again for this shot as it was the last image I could take before we had to leave the studio. I feel that although the image looks slightly grainy in places, the macro lens creates a greater sense of the camera being hidden in an almost key-hole like manner. Once again, the natural and relaxed expressions also capture the idea of being somewhere the camera wouldn’t usually be.

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