Submission Assignment two ‘Vice versa’

Submission Assignment two ‘Vice versa’

My ‘Assignment two’ learning blog address:

The five Assignment images are show in ‘Gallery 1 submission’ below. There are several themes: portraits of a single subject; this subject as an art practitioner photographed at sites indoors and outdoors both of which emphasise their identity as an artist; additional portraits use the background to de-personalise (decontextualise) the individual and place emphasis on the person independent of their art practice.

How the Assignment meets the Assessment Criteria Points is discussed in my Assignment 2 learning blog:

This Assignment is about taking what has worked from previous Exercises and then trying to develop this further in terms of interchanging the use of portraits taken on location (street) with portraits taken inside (studio). The aim was to develop a series of five final images to present to the viewer as a themed body of work.

For the Assignment I sought to identify an individual or group of individuals who would allow me to photograph them both on location and inside, however, and this was crucial, such that they would be engaged (broadly) in the same activity in both the indoor and outside photographs. I successfully got the assistance of artists (painters) who frequently exhibited their work in an Outdoor Gallery. In addition to photographing these artists in their workspace (indoor) and at the Outdoor Gallery, I attempted to explore the use of plain backgrounds, that is, to photograph the artist in their working space, at the Outdoor Gallery and also include an image of them in front of a plain background. Plain decontextualizing backgrounds have been used often in portrait photography – discussed in my learning blog at: .

In contrast to the examples above I wanted, over the five Assignment images, to attempt to place the emphasis on the personal, individual portrait in relation to the three differing backgrounds i.e. there was no ethnographic or dramatic element to my employment of backgrounds.

In the course of the Assignment I photographed six subjects. The reason for photographing more than one subject as detailed in my learning blog at

were validated by events:

The final five Assignment images are of Subject B (see ‘Gallery 1 submission’ below). Other candidate images for the final set were those from Subject C where the mask as a surrealist object provided visually strong images.

In her book entitled ‘On the Portrait and the Moment’ (Mark, 2015) Mary Ellen Mark writes: ‘Let things happen. There is a fine line between having control of the shoot and overcontrolling it to the point that the subject looks forced’ (Mark, 2015: 62). I successfully followed this advice in the case of Subject C where elements were added during the shoot (see However, on other occasions mainly related to the use of the plain decontextualizing background I found another piece of Mark’s advice more difficult, namely:

Take Control. As a photographer, you have to understand how to gauge people. You have to read their signals and know how far you can push and when you need to back off. But I also think it’s very important to get strong and intimate photographs, and for those you have to push (Mark, 2015: 52).

In this regard the white background in the series of Subject C had to be heavily post-processed in an attempt to achieve the envisaged result, the attempt at the actual shoot having only partially succeeded. Although the mask makes the images rich with allusive complexity I rejected their use as the final series because to do so would have diluted the main theme (indoor/outdoor) by too great an amount.

Another strong candidate series for the final selection was that of Subject F in which the indoor shoot I felt was successful (

The photographs shown in ‘Gallery I submission’ (below) best fulfil the Assignment’s broad objectives as described at the outset of the Assignment (see my learning blog at ).

‘Gallery 1 submission’ Final five images for Assignment two ‘Vice versa’

Contact sheets (click to enlarge) Photographs from the final image series are marked in red, and others in blue


Mark, Mary Ellen (2015) On the Portrait and the Moment. New York: Aperture



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