Using my brother as a model, I decided to go ahead and try out body art. As I had a solid idea in my head, I had gathered images and resources and I was eager to explore my capabilities in this medium. From the beginning I knew the most important part for me would be how well my design had an impact as a photo and how well it could tell the story that I wanted to portray.
After all my experimenting, I felt confident and ready to start bringing my design to life. This task was not only a challenge medium wise but for me it was also the first time I have used a live model in one of my projects. Working with a live model is very demanding but rewarding, you need to incorporate their needs as well as knowing exactly what you need to create and you have to have a good balance to be able to succeed. In itself, working with my brother was another challenge purely because he is related to me and that is a totally different dynamic to working with someone you do not know.He is not a real model therefore I could not make him dress in tights as I had thought as an original idea. However my main priority was making him feel comfortable and giving him more liberty during the painting process.Being related to him it made it a lot easier for me to tell him what he needed to do which I don’t think would be as easy with a model you do not know. I know now that to achieve a positive outcome, knowing your model is highly important.
From my experimentation I had learnt what brushstrokes and overall colour palette I would require. It took in total around an hour and a half to create my design. Although I enjoyed creating my design, my favourite part was photographing it. Taking into account the photography skills I have acquired over summer: primarily exposure, I set about placing my model in an appropriate setting to highlight my idea. I experimented with several settings including ones that relate to my brother as he is the centre and reality of the idea I am exploring.
I started by taking pictures of him in his natural habitat: his bedroom. However I soon came across various problems with this. His colour of his room is not his own choice so he felt firstly very detached from the setting which made it difficult to photograph him, also I felt the space was quite enclosed and it did not appeal to me. It also did not help that I wanted to show off his back but when I put it as the main subject of the photo it turned out he was looking directly at a wall which did not make the picture alluring but discouraged the viewer. Next I tried to encompass a hobby to make him feel more at ease. I had a go at taking him showing his back whilst playing table tennis to attract movement and present a certain depth to the photo. Again though the photo appeared unprepared and sombre which is not at all what I wanted to portray.
I had to then think back to what I actually wanted to achieve in this photo. So I took my brother into the garden to see if the nature setting could bring my design slightly more to life. We tried doing lots of changing in his body positions, seeing if sitting or standing looked better, or curled up in a ball just like a shell. However I think the point where it started to get interesting is where we looked in a typically French setting of a vineyard. I felt his body position reflected my theme really well and he started to feel a lot more comfortable. Seeing this I decided to take a couple of shots in the nature to see how he would interact with them. The outcome was very positive, the photos looked great but I did not think they portrayed my idea as well as those where we could situate the setting.
The photo which I think looks aesthetically the strongest and also looks natural is this one.
I can see how comfortable my brother is in his surroundings and how well he seems to fit. He looks happy and content with his life even if we cannot see his face. I am slightly disappointed that the lines I drew on the shell in red, white and blue that would show his origins did not come out in my photo but I think this is something I can add in with Photoshop.
Although it was hard work to achieve something I am completely happy with, I am pleased with how well I worked with my model and the outcome I have. However I do not feel this is the end of the process, I’d like to go on and enhance and explore my photo even further and see what I can come out with for a final piece. I feel this is the beginning.