Thursday, May 26, 2011

More than just a pretty picture...

Turned in my photo assignment. We were given two weeks take a portrait of someone. But it couldn't just be a pretty picture of someone. And it couldn't be a family member. The directions were...

"When you are taking your portraits I want you to think about the person that you are photographing. Ask them, as well as yourself, what defines them. Is it their job, where they live, their hobbies, etc."

"I’m not just looking for a pretty photograph of someone. Your portrait should have a strong message as to what defines your subject. You can put your subject in an environment that defines them, use props, etc."

So...of course I did what I always do. I thought about it. And thought about it. And thought about it. I came up with grand visions of who I was going to photograph. And then two days before the assignment was due I asked my neighbor if I could photograph her while she was working.

It was hot. It was muggy. Everything in the background was interfering with my vision. And after much fiddling and cropping I was stuck with these.


Now I know what she's doing. And I know what message I was trying to get across. But I'm pretty sure those of you who don't know her won't. But it's what I had. And class was two days away.

I had no one else in mind. I was going to suck it up and just use these. Until I got to the gym on Tuesday morning and it hit me. 

The gym is really just a warehouse. Totally devoid of frills. And windows. Or the glimmer of any decent light. But it has grit. And dirt. And "M." Perfect.

This is "M." 


She's our trainer. 

She is the nicest, most down-to-earth girl you've ever met. 


She was willing to do anything I asked her. Why wouldn't she looking like that?
There were so many good ones. I had a hard time choosing. But in the end, I had one clear favorite. And a close runner-up. What about you? Which one would you have chosen for the assignment?

Oh. And to set the record straight. When I sent BSD the last photo and asked him, "What message do you get about her when you see this photo." His response was really...
The only thing I can think of is I want a picture of you like that cause it's sexy. Sorry.
Not your usual gym.

Not quite what I was looking for. But OK. I'll take it.

17 comments:

karren said...

Actually, I like the second one of your neighbor. She is just a woman, with a talent, doing the work she loves...I like that her hand shows the rubbing motion. I like the paints next to her, and the mood. I believe she is easier to focus on, and it's easier to appreciate the work she is involved in, than the photos of the beauty in the gym. Just my unprofessional opinion.

Kim said...

Karren...I love that you shared your opinion. And perhaps my sarcasm didn't go over well. I certainly didn't mean to imply that I was stuck w/pix of "an unattractive woman." (She is actually gorgeous also.) Quite the opposite. I love the top pix of my friend. And the 2nd one of her is my favorite too. I guess b/c I KNOW her, though. And what her art is. These didn't really portray enough of what I wanted it to about her. It's hard when you KNOW the person.

I actually turned all of these in and the teacher agreed that the top pix don't show enough. She wanted me to pull out more. To make it clearer that she is an artist. Or perhaps just take a pix of her hands working on a piece.

I didn't choose M b/c she's beautiful. I chose those pix b/c I felt like they portrayed more of who M is. I felt they showed "strength" and "confidence." And that is what defines her. Does that make sense?

Thanks so much for sharing your opinion. :)

karren said...

Hi Kim... I did read your comment om my blog. I do understand why you picked the girl in the gym. She does display strength and confidence. I get what the teacher said about the photos too. Out of the gym pictures... I like the first and the third ones. Maybe partial to the third one. Well, I think it's a toss up. Which one did you pick?

Andrea said...

What great photos. Totally different but the same in that they're doing what they love. I like the concentrated look on your neighbours face and also the honesty of your hubby!

Sheryl said...

Kim I liked all your photos but the last is the one I would have chosen for yur assignment be ause it shows something about M but in a not too obvious way. She looks healthy, relaxed, confident and strong. All those things that can be achieved by looking after your health and wellbeing through exercise. Great photos though! Xx

Jen said...

I like the first one of M the best...because it as if you caught her working when she didnt know you were looking.
I am hoping that the artist is the friend that your little ballerina told me about. She looks soulful.
All of the pics are great.

sloan said...

The first and the last on 'M' are my faves ...now i'm dying to know which you chose - and what the teacher said too!! btw, LOOOOVE the 2nd one of your artist friend!

vanessa said...

I love the tips. The 2nd one of your friend is my fav and a photo that I am sure her family would cherish of her "working". The trainer has an amazing body and it shows how she got there.

Amy said...

I like the first and last of "M" best but they're all great.

Diana said...

I love the girl at the gym. In the last photo you cannot even tell she is in a gym. She just looks young, sweet and innocent. Yet the first photo shows someone strong and invincible. You have captured the dichotomy beautifully. If you ever exhibit the photos I would put just the first and last ones up, in that order. What makes her even more beautiful is that she doesn't appear the least bit vain, just satisfied and proud.

Mitzi said...

Great photos! I like the 2nd photo of your friend & the 1st and 3rd photos of "M".

Oh how I wish I had M's legs & flat tummy! ~~sigh~~

Kristin said...

I love how you shared your thought process and teacher feedback in this series. I feel like I'm learning right along with you. I too have a tendency to crop in too close when shooting and have to remember to step back and take in the whole picture sometimes, but, none the less, I was intrigued by your first set as I loved what she was doing. But the second set is much more artistic. I love the graffiti feel to it with the big red numbers in the background. I like the last shot because it is the most portrait like, but my favorite artistically is the first shot you took with her bending down to pick up the weights. I love the composition on it and that it tells a story, right down to the curl of her toes!

Cathy M~(checkitoff) said...

Kim, I love all of these!! You are awesome!! I love the first set because it is intimate being in someone's artistic space and you get the vibe that your friend trusts you..she doesn't even look at the camera for a posed look. I love her hands, bracelets, the furrow of her brows in the 1st pic and the paint on her thumb. The 2nd pic is cool too because you can tell that she is lost in her art.

I also love the 2nd set because it conveys womanly strength and beauty in a stark environment...also a bit intimate because you don't often have photographers in the gym! What I like about the last one in the 2nd series is that you can tell it is her passion, as she is one with the stacks of weights.

I love your photography and love the fact that you are learning so much about who you are as a photographer!! I give you an A+!! hugs, cathy

Dani said...

I like the first artist picture and the first M picture.

I can really see your photography evolving. Great work, Kim.

serialswooper.com said...

DEFINITELY the last is my preference. But they are all amazing. Congrats!

btw, your neighbor looks ultra-cool, too.

my neighbor is a verizon shack.

my other neighbor is about 124 and i forgot to send my kids to trick or treat at her house this year. i'm awesome.

Pam said...

Why can't I look like that? I like all of them...

Nicolle said...

Kim, I love all of these photos.

Sorry somehow I had a brain fart and didn't comment on any of these posts. Sorry!

I think both women are equally beautiful, and you captured both of them so well.