Michelle Sank Lecture | Personal Reflection

I found the lecture with Michelle Sank informative and and very useful in trying to decode the issues that I am trying to address with my own project. In terms of my approach to portraits, It was useful to learn that Michelle used flash as a fill light to compose her work. This is hugely relevant to my approach as I always felt that using an on camera flash was was unhelpful. Having previously attended wedding photography workshops with the likes of York Place Studios who profess to never using flash within their work. 

In reviewing some of the images Michelle has produced, I really like the way that she uses artificial light in order to expose skin tones and control the light which is something I was advised to do in my last set of feedback. I will definately be experimenting with this approach more as my portrait photography develops. I am taken back to one of the first shoots I did back in the positions and practice module where I photographed an evening football match. I was unsure whether to use flash as I was aware that I would probably be firing the speedlight into the air and felt the effect would probably be quite poor. However, revisiting these images I now feel that it was quite a successful approach. And I feel that some of my best work thus far was made at this shoot. 

Another aspect that I felt is impressive about Michelle’s work is the arrangement of her photographs and the relationship between the subjects and the background. This is something that I don’t feel I have addressed within my own work to a large degree. Listening to Michelle’s approach I was stuck by how careful she is and how thought provoking her work is. I was recently struck by a portrait I saw in the front garden of a local family I saw during on Instagram. The way that the frame was divided in addition to the human presence and secondary narrative between the child and who I assume to be mother serves to enhance the interest and raising questions beyond the visual. In my quest in search of the poetic, I found that this image really helped in trying to understand narrative. It strikes that the narrative and the poetic isn’t defined by the subject matter alone. The consideration of the photographer in terms of vantage point, in a personal sense is represented perfectly in this image with regards to the context of reflecting on how I may improve my creative choices. I understand that these considerations are nothing new and we have considered similar types of questions before but this image was helpful in illustrating such questions in a way that I identify with.

In keeping with my personal development. I have previously blogged about the importance of themes such as vantage point and the use of light. I have engaged with the selection of vantage points in previous shoots within this module. However the key focus here was in relation to photographing landscapes and structures. As a result  of recent reflections I feel that I should and will apply further emphasis to vantage within my portrait work. Combined with experimenting with flash in order to use as a fill light. At this stage, I feel the result of viewing the Michelle sank lecture will enable me to navigate a personal road map to improving my work.

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