Brief:– Take a look around the place you live. In what ways does the place and the objects in it say something about you? You may not have built it, but you probably chose most of its contents, painted walls, carpeted floors, etc. You placed every item in that space. This is personal miseen-scène. In staged photography you’re telling a story, a fiction that may have a connection to something real or true, however staged it is. All movies, plays and fictions, however far they depart from everyday reality, have a kernel of truth in them.
This series of photos is an exploration of personal property and ‘props’ that signify part of my life and personality. Although the brief here is directing me to consider the importance of props in staged photography, this is equally as important when making formal portraits. Items that are around my house must have some relevance to me because they would not be here if they had little value to me. When I am in a position to make a formal portrait of somebody, I can see that there is a need to speak with them, get to know their personality, ask them what items would enhance a photograph made of them, and maybe even explore their home. A good example of this is ‘Interiors’ by Jayne Taylor.
Fig. 1. Dawn, Tufnell Park, london (2009)
Taylor photographed her subjects within their home environment using a 3D stereoscopic camera. Taylors portraits use a lot of props and appear staged managed. Her subjects are relaxed in their natural environment and surrounded by the objects that express their personality.
I have included my six photos for the mosaic from the photographs I took this morning, but all twenty four are in the slide show. These were made using my Huawei P10 smart phone. Only three were developed in Lightroom using auto tone and the rest I have left as shot.
What is immediately obvious to me is that I value colour, crystals and books. Of course I am naturally aware of these things, but to see it so clearly in the photographs of my ‘props’ property drives this home. There are many times when I doubt my creativity, but I have to say that this exercise has shown me how important creativity is to me, and how creative I am.
Taylor, J; 2009; Dawn, Tufnell Park, London [steroscopic light box]; AT: http://www.jayne-taylor.co.uk/interiors/ (accessed on 04/06/2018)