Behind The Photo: My Own Company

I made this photo when I was angry. I am so sick of tired of relying on people and getting cancelled on, spending way too much of my time disappointing. So in an attempt to gain some control, I guess, I lost is and booked a trip to Oxford for February. I’ve caught the travelling bug recently, especially after going to a Rosie Hardy workshop alone in October this year. I found such a sense of independence and strength after struggling through train journeys, having to speak to strangers and dealing with uncomfortable situations. It was a huge shift to how I travel with someone else, where I definitely take the back seat and hide behind whoever I’m with. So this Oxford trip is a ‘screw you’ of sorts to being weak and relying on someone who lets me down.

Aaron was kind enough to take me to a vintage fair near me a few weeks ago, where I found this little miner’s lamp. I’d been looking for a photo to shoot it with, and thought it would make a lovely prop for this solo photo. So today I walked to my favourite place in the world (thankfully free of silly boys smoking weed for the first time in ages!), set my tripod up at a dangerous angle on a tree trunk and shuffled along this tree trunk.

I love self portraiture - but it’s hard. It’s fab mainly for what I mentioned above - most of the time I don’t have to rely on other people. I got sick of models constantly letting me down last minute or getting stressed out with never ending retouching, so self portraits are my escape for me. If it doesn’t work, it’s only me I can blame. I edit for fun and make one or two photos, and more importantly if I get no photos I can put it down to experience and leave it.

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A discussion with a model where we arranged to maybe do some conceptual photos has inspired by love of photography lately. And to be frank, I’d quite like to practice editing so I know I can definitely do it on the day. So,, in the spirit of being independent, I have decided to task myself a challenge of creating a photo every day I’m not working all day, for the foreseeable future. Suppose this was a good start.

Perhaps Becoming A Self Portrait Photographer

I feel as though November may have completely changed the type of photography I want to do. I am in a limbo at the moment, of thinking of possibly changing the subject of my work, and backing down and talking myself out of it.

I suppose this all began when I decided to set myself a challenge. I have become more and more inspired by Rosie Hardy lately, and something about her self portraits began to speak to me. I think it was her dedication, but more how she incorporates her personal life into her art work. How she uses it as her therapy. Photography has always been something I’ve enjoyed, but I always felt as though taking photographs of models didn’t really ‘do’ it for me. It was never anything less than skin deep. I hate retouching and find myself torn between the feeling in my gut that this is wrong, and ‘but this is what everyone does. This is the only way to succeed.’ I am tired of doing that.

So after going through Rosie’s 365 project a few times, and becoming more and more inspired - I decided to begin setting myself challenges. I feel so bogged down whilst sitting down editing, it kills my creativity, I decided to begin the first month making a photograph a day. I started with creepy portraits because it’s so far from what I create now, and it would be nothing but fun. No model waiting for the photos to look good or the disappointment of a photo I’m not happy with. If it didn’t work out, who cares? I could put it down to experience and move onto the next day.

I figured out one thing on my first day - I was shit at editing. I put a zip dress on back to front, lay down in my living room and tried to get Dominic to take a series of photos I could piece together in Photoshop. A few months ago I had felt so much sadness that it felt as though there was a hole in my chest that wouldn’t close. And though circumstances had changed and I didn’t feel so sad anymore, I still felt that hole in the centre of my chest. As though I was on an operating table and someone had forgotten to stitch me back up. I loved that feeling, it made me feel as though I was connected to something much deeper than myself. Instead of the shallow and dead feelings of feeling ok, being angry and being stressed I had been feeling before.(I have since lost this feeling again and I miss it so much).

So I attempted to put that feeling into an image - and failed epically. I went a bit overboard with the editing, and erased too much which made one of my arms see through. And I did not feel proud of myself, or as though I had accurately represented what I wanted to - but it was fun. And easy. And I was laughing next to Dominic as I edited instead of nearly in tears because I was retouching I couldn’t stand to look at it anymore. And I failed, accepted it, and moved on to my next idea.

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Over the next few days I had a lot of fun making creepy portraits. I told my parents and put my photos on here so my best friend and my boyfriend could see them. Ideas popped into my head as I was doing something else and it felt amazing to actually exercise my creativity. I didn’t try to add any emotional value to the photos because the first time was a failure, but I had fun nonetheless. I spent time alone running back and forth to my camera, leaning it on furniture as I didn’t have a tripod. I used myself in a lot of the photos because I have long hair I can drape over my face to create that ‘the ring’ effect, and fell in love with self portraiture. Because it was one less person to rely on, one less person to please.

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One of the pivotal moments of this month was when I was in the car and drove past some woods that I had visited previously with Dominic. Instead of the rich green I had loved about them previously - autumn had suddenly changed the leaves to all different shades of orange and yellow, and they looked captivating. It caught my eye and I promised myself I would go back there and make the most of it. I had tried to arrange two photo shoots in there in summer, with both of the models letting me down. I was tired of being let down and just wanted to do something.

I convinced Dominic to go back with me the next day in the pouring rain. This is hard to write about, because I know you’ll read this - and I don’t know if I’m telling the story right. But from what I can remember I felt so happy, so alive and so excited about being there. Sitting on slimy abandoned baths and trying to squeeze into a dress without flashing with 15 minutes before we were about to get picked up felt exhilarating. I came out of the woods, covered in leaves with the bottom of my favourite dress soaking wet, feeling on top of the world. I got home and edited my favourite photo I have ever created. I feel like a bit of fraud there, because I didn’t technically click the button.

Chloe Price Photography Forest Fairytale Little Red Riding Hood Latern

So I’ve been in limbo after that day, really. I’m tired of constantly putting my creativity on hold because I need someone to take a photo of. I’m tired of taking photos of models in pretty dresses and not having any real emotional connection to the photographs I take. I want to create art rather than a simple photograph. I want to tell a story. I want something deeper. The photo shoots with models since then have felt like a chore, and I am heartbroken by the amount of editing I’ve got to do for them now. I want to give up and take photos of myself all day.

But I’m scared that I’ll appear self centred. I’m scared to be honest online in case people judge me for it. I feel like a closed book in a lot of ways, always shying away from acquaintances because I don’t want them to know too much. It’s always been embarrassing. I don’t want to be judged for that. I don’t know what I’m going to do - but I know I want to take a break from models for a while (She says, with a model shoot set up for in a week’s time).

2018 Vogue Talent Contest Entry

Name: Chloe Price

14 Orchard Lane, Bilbrook, Wolverhampton, WV8 1NE

07545563701 

10/3/18 

Apprentice Receptionist

 

Hello! 

My name is Chloe, I'm a student portrait photographer from Wolverhampton - and this is my Vogue Talent Entry. 

Before I begin, here's a little bit about myself. I first began photography, in which I mean mindfully creating a photograph instead of taking photos of my dog, when I was around 10 or 11 years old. Back in 2007, my cousin Ali and I were inspired by Lara Jade's self portraits and sent our days scrolling through Flickr and Deviantart, thinking of ideas on how we could create similar looking images ourselves. Whilst Ali was always better in front of the camera, I always preferred to be the one pressing the button. So Ali would do her make up, and borrow my clothes, and we would brave the great outdoors (my back garden) in the middle of Winter, creating cringe worthy photos and music videos that we'd later upload to the internet. Not before over editing the photos on an online website called Picnic (with the contrast pushed way up, and adding bold, dark vignettes around every picture). Thankfully, most of the photos have been removed from the Internet, but I've added a couple that I've managed to find below.

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Over the years, my interest in photography was on and off at best. When my niece was born I absolutely loved taking photographs and creating home made videos of her, but I had no real passion to pursue photography. It was on a whim that at 20 years old I decided to spontaneously enrol in my local college (about 3 days before the course actually started), as I realised I had a camera I still didn't know how to use. I knew that if I enrolled in college, I would turn up every week and learn the basics, rather than being overwhelmed with the information on the internet and never really learning anything. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. 

Now having finished my first year, not only do I know what the exposure triangle means, I have found my true passion for photography. I am motivated every single day, and am constantly thinking about shoots, contacting models, looking up inspiration and ordering outfits online. I have never been consistently excited about something for so long, eventually my enthuisiasm for every hobby I've aquired has fizzled before long. I've also found that my course, and my final project, gave me an excuse to share my work. Instead of being uncomfortable, shy and a little bit ashamed of taking photos - I now have a reason to. I have a reason to contact people to help me for my project, rather than just going off my own back. 

I am still a beginner. I still have so many doubts about my photographs and wonder if I should change what I do to get more likes or feedback. But ultimately I've found that I would invest in photography without hoping to gain anything in return to be in full control and to create beautiful images. I have no intention of actually winning this contest but the process of creating an entry has been so much fun, and I feel as though has improved my photography.


Now if we move in to the actual photo shoots that I've done for this entry. I decided to take photographs of three different people (not related to me) and documented these through different social media accounts. 

I begin with Aaron in Bridgnorth, I've known Aaron since school and he actually told me about this contest, and is the only reason I've entered. He was kind enough to drive my partner and I to Bridgnorth and let me take photos of him even though he'd had no previous experience being really in front of the camera. 

For this photo shoot I wanted a very classic and fashion forward shoot. Thankfully for me, Aaron adores fashion and had a huge wardrobe for me to choose from. In the end we chose a formal attire style.

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We both used social media in order to share these photos. As well as this, my partner was kind enough to film behind the scenes and I edited the clips together to create a short video on Youtube.


The next photo shoot I did was with Sophie Pearson, a model I found on Purple Port. I had been admiring her look and photographs for a while, and was so excited to be able to have full control over the shoot. Before meeting, Sophie and I communicated and I asked her to come in natural make up and hair, with feminine and bright clothing. I brought my own dresses as well (after forgetting my most favourite one, of course. It was easily creased so I put it on my banister instead of shoving it in my bag - and it stayed there throughout the duration of the photo shoot). I was also able to choose the location, a church in Wolverhampton centre, and created the theme I initially intended to. 

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Again, my partner attended this shoot with me and shot behind the scenes video. I am currently in the process of putting those clips together and will upload them to Youtube shortly. I also used Instagram to show my editing process in post production and put a story up on the photos on the back of the camera. Sophie and I began following each other on Instagram and tagged each other in the relevant posts to show our collaboration. 


The third photo shoot I did was with Kelsey.. I knew her from school but despite knowing each other, we'd never actually spoke before. I thought her look was really interesting and as she's an aspiring make up artist, I was so excited to try taking some photos. 

She'd had zero experience being in front of the camera except for selfies so we she asked me what I wanted her to do, I had no idea. A lot of the time people leave it up to the photographer, but I am still in the beginning stages of my work. I am not a model and have no idea how to pose in front of the camera. In the end she settled for her selfie face, and I think she did pretty spectacular for a complete beginner. We spent the hour giggling awkwardly and talking about school while sitting in a field getting covered in nature. 

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As with all of my photos, I shared and tagged her on my Instagram. Instagram is my social media channel of choice because it is picture centred, and it make sense to share photography on there. It is also so easy to tag and share your work using hashtags in order to reach more people, and I love the stories that also accompany the main photographs I take. This allows me to show the little behind the scenes like location hunting, outfit/styling sneak peaks, before and afters and selfies that I wouldn't necessarily want on my main feed. 

As well as Instagram, I also heavily rely on this website in order to show my work. This is where my main portfolio is, and I am currently in the process of creating this blog. While I use a couple of photos on my portfolio and Instagram, that leaves about 98% of the photos I take sitting on my hard drive. By using a blog I can post a lot more of the photos I take with written behind the scenes as well. 

The process of creating this entry has been amazing. As I said, I am not expecting to win, but I want to thank whoever is reading all of this for taking the time to do so. Thanks to this contest I had a reason to create an Instagram and to shoot behind the scenes video, which I know will allow me to share my work with so many people. It has also pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I think improved my photography.

Again, thank you.

Chloe