I have been looking to assist photographers so that I can get some experience of the real thing, of what photographers do when they are shooting for a project or for a client.
So I have been reading the brixtonblog (http://www.brixtonblog.com/) and I follow them on twitter and in one of their features they were talking about an exhibition at the Photofusion gallery, a centre for photography in Brixton. The exhibition featured four photographers all with their particular types of photography.
The one that caught my eye was the series on Mod couples from italian portrait and documentary photographer Carlotta Cardana. I have to admit that I didn’t know anything about Mod couples or the Mod sub-culture before this exhibition and actually before meeting Carlotta. There is a website about Mod culture for those interested to learn more (http://www.modculture.co.uk/).
What I thought when I first read the piece on the Brixton blog was that these couples look very British and also slightly older for their age.
So it happened that I contacted Carlotta and she accepted that I assist her, for another shoot with a Mod couple on Sunday.
I went along and found it very interesting! Carlotta shoots in film and uses a Zenza Bronica camera which has a very different feel. She also uses a light meter which tells her the values to put in the camera for aperture and shutter speed. I found that very useful as you don’t have to worry a lot about figuring out the exposure settings. What you need to make sure is that you find the right combination in case the light is strong and the values are different on each side of the subject’s face. So generally she was using values between 5.6 and 8 and 125 for shutter speed.
Looking for the right place where to shoot and making sure the subjects were not in the sun was the first thing she did as the day was very bright. She took a few tests using polaroid with me (yeay!!) and then shot a roll of 12 photos in two different locations. In one of them she used a diffuser which I held as where the couple was standing was in the shade.
And that was it. The couple chose themselves the location in Fenton House in Hampstead Heath, a very nice National Trust property with lovely gardens. The whole shooting lasted 30 minutes and preparations before hand about 1 hour. The two Mods were very friendly and we had quite a long chat afterwards about London, how they got into the Mod culture (mainly because of music influences and liking the look of Mods). We even talked about social housing, how can you not talk about that if you live in London?
The whole experience was very positive, I think I learnt quite a bit, not in a technical way but about how to approach things and the session itself and what to be careful about, location, light, put the subjects at ease. There is much more than just photography to this project, there is the human and social side of discovering people.