I've given the structure of the images a lot of thought and after completing my most recent portrait project, Count Me In, I realized how I want the images to look. I'm hoping to combine the usage of a chair or stool, couch and maybe a table with the backdrop in an interesting way. I've taken a nod from two of my favorite photographers, E.J. Bellocq and Annie Leibovitz, and decided to use a compositional tool of stepping back to reveal the backdrop...sort of a "man behind the green curtain" reference. I'll use seated positions, showing the sitters' full body or most of their body and showcasing the furniture with which they've been paired.
We'll see how it all comes out, but here are some of my inspirations...
Image by E.J. Bellocq,
Note the visible edges of the backdrop.
Portrait of Diane Keaton by Annie Leibovitz
I have high hopes for this project and I know that it can be successful...I just need to be patient and hope that my community wants to participate.
Besides making wet plates, I'll probably be creating photographic art with an abundance of alternative processes and a little traditional image making thrown in for good measure. I am hoping to keep a few photographic balls in the air so that I'm always shooting, always creating and always making. My plan is to just immerse myself in image making and art creation--something I haven't been able to do for a while.
I'm also hoping to talk to people, learn about their lives, catch up with old friends, make new ones and just get to know Selma again. It's been a long time since I've been back home for more than a few days.
I'm committed to photographing between 35 and 40 participants. In a perfect world, I would like to photograph people from all different age groups and cultures, exhibiting the diversity that has become Selma and at this point I'm confident that I can achieve my goal. I will also be recording the portrait process that will allow me to create a video documentary of the experience.
The next few weeks I know will be a blurred flurry of preparations and packing--I have been waiting a very long time to do this project and feel as though I am embarking on a new adventure...a new beginning.
My packing list so far:
How this will all fit into the Mini is beyond me...
Gum Sandarac Varnish*
Large Format Cameras
Film and Plate Holders and adapters
Century Stand (broken down)
C Stand (broken down)
Digital and film photography gear (cards, batteries, tripod, etc)
Glassware and graduates
A wide variety of clothes and shoes for Alabama weather from January to late April.
*some of this I will pack up and ship to AL, some I will order and ship directly to AL
heavy on the photography...I know!