Oscar Bellerby – Work in progress

As practice for my final piece I wanted to explore the use of lighting in documentary portraiture. My original idea of going along to a local litter pick is no longer possible and I’m instead looking at other subjects that would make interesting photography. As a result I want to explore taking images in different settings.

For the first image I wanted to create a sense of loneliness and isolation. By increasing the contrast in the image and focussing on the subject I hoped to show a clear divide between the inside and out. This was helped by a difference in brightness.

Candid image.

For the second and third images I chose to take them outside. My final project is more likely to be made up of these style of images but I still want to explore as many techniques as possible. With documentary portraiture one idea I have is to tell the story of people who have become parents during the pandemic and the challenges this has brought. Because of this I played around with shot types and my proximity to the subjects. I added a slight vignette to each of the images and continued to increase the contrast and brightness.

One challenge I did face was resizing the images for online and how this changed the image framing. If I was taking these again I would think about this more closely.

Close up shot.

The background of these images are really important for my project as I want them to show some form of personality. I made sure that my phone camera was in portrait mode throughout and that the subject was in focus but that the composition itself still came together. Something I need to consider moving forward is how I ask people to position themselves and how this can make images more powerful.

Mid-shot style.