Brief One – Fly on The Wall

BRIEF 1: Portraiture – Taking – Fly On The Wall

For my first brief as I decided to focus more towards the ‘Fly on the Wall’ approach, looking into documentary photography. I like the idea of being able to research and understand a persons character by looking into their natural habits and features, and so felt a good idea may be to ghost a person, and focus close up on the subject. Originally I felt it would be interesting to use film photography, however through use of digital, I felt i’d be able to explore the technique of long exposure more easily. My main idea was to compile portraits of various subjects through creating separate close up images of their feature, and then arranging them together with a main portrait that used long exposure. Within the main portrait the face would then be blurred, allowing the viewer to then assume the identity of the subject from the close ups captured. I also wanted to play around with the use of black and white as i felt the contrast would help to really highlight the subjects separate features. For inspiration within my work I chose to look into four artist that I felt illustrated interesting photography techniques or styles within their work; Alexey Titarenko, Diane Arbus, WeAreNotYou and Petra Collins. 

Alexy Titarenko

Member of the well-known Leningrad photographic club Zerkalo, Alexy Titarenko was a successful photographer, known best for his eerie and interesting long exposure images. Having attended Leningrad’s Institute of Culture, Titarenko received a Masters in 1983 within the Department of Cinematic and Photographic Art thus enabling him to begin his career having gained a tremendous amount of expertise, all of which he used to enhance his skills and images created. Though the peak of his success came in the 90’s when many of his photographic series enabled him to gain international recognition within the art world, Titarenko maintained a strong success through the majority of his career, receiving a vast amount of awards and recognitions, with his collections such as Nomenklatura of Signs- 1986-1991, City of Shadows-1992-1994, and Time Standing Still-1998-1999, amongst many others.

I Like that within this image there is a main subject that captures the focus, however the surrounding areas are blurred and creating a sense of movement, additionally allowing the subject to maintain focus, and highlighting her as the main feature. It creatively captures the hustle and bustle of the city, whilst simultaneously creating this eerie sense of stillness and silence.

Within this image I find the way the ghost like image of a person incredibly strange, but interesting. I like the way in which it looks almost as though it has been printed onto the wall, as though it is acting as some what of a memory.

Within this image i really liked the way in which the faces of the subjects were blurred. This helped act as one of my main inspirations for my work. Its interesting because it makes the viewers mind wonder as to what the subjects actually look like, who they are, what they’re doing there?

Diane Arbus 

New York born artist Diane Arbus is one of todays highly recognized and respected documentary photographers of her time. Having found herself to be a creative from a young age, Arbus has always been interested in the art of photography, and was taught about the profession by her actor husban Allan Arubs. Once she developed a great love for photography and found success in fashion photography, Arbus decided to broaden the spectrum within which she worked, on her own, and soon began to work more towards documentary photography, first beginning by photographing those that lived in and around New York.  Once having firmly gotten he foot in the door of documentary with her raw and beautiful New York images, Arubs then began challenging the social barriers and expectaions of people, chosing to photograph unique members of society such as transvestites, twins, dwarfs and other uniquely beautiful people, allowing the public to have a further inside view of who these people were and those of which Arbus encountered during her short but successful career.

One of the main features within this image that I like is the composition. I love the way in which the subjects of the image are very nonchalantly sat, enjoying their daily activity. It gives the view a sense of a story behind their characters, and makes them wonder what they may be discussing, or why they may be there. Both subjects look as though they have been stopped mid stream of conversation, which i think adds a certain element to the image, you really understand that this is documentary photography I believe, as it emulates this idea of a continual story that will go on as soon as the image has been captured.

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Within this image I believe one of my favourite things is the expression on the subects face, it gives off this ‘why should i care’ attitude. I feel its important that this feature of the image was captured as it highlights the way in which each of Arbus’ characters were so uniquely different. As a viewer you’re really able to understand that each portrait does have its own person, with their own story, and their own life experiences behind them.


Petra Collins 

Young and experimental Petra Collins is a new, somewhat controversial photographer, starting to make her way into the photography world. Having recently worked with American Apparel, designing a T-shirt with a bleeding vagina print, its safe to say that some of her work may be slightly overt. However, the 20 year old, Toronto born photographer has, within some of her works, aimed to explore the teenage world of young girls, capturing images of them in their adolescents, originally starting by shooting her high school friends at the age of 15. She has since furthered her workings trying to capture young women who are expressing their sexuality, and hopes of freedom, furthermore, looking into the idea of the censorship of women, and the way in which its boundaries are continually being pushed and disregarded.

Here I like the way in which a teenage girl has been captured during her seemingly daily routine. I feel this is a strong image that highlight the element of documentary within Collins’ works, as this tends to be something of a personal daily activity to a young girl, and often very few are there to see it. I like the way in which the subject of the image gives off this almost yearning feeling for maturity, in the sense that it may seem as though she is innocently checking her reflection, in some senses the way in which she is looking at herself could suggest she is checking skin or about to do her makeup.


For this image I feel the main feeling being projected is the sense of innocence. Though she may be biting her lip, you’re able to understand there is not provocative message to be seen here, the way in which the young girl is biting her lip is seemingly in a nervous fashion, something that an inquisitive young girl may do, not a confident older woman. Too further add to this innocence I feel the fact that the girl seemingly has quite young, soft features such as a young persons mouth, and almost pubescent spots sends out this idea of her being a young innocent teen.



Though a much lesser known creative than many of the others I have researched, designer Jarred Eberhardt, otherwise known as ‘WeAreNotYou’, creates beautiful and interesting depictions of people, using still images and his graphic skills to give the illusion of capturing movement within his photography. The Los Angeles based artist works within a broad spectrum of design areas, creating a vast amount of uniquely original works, however I find his photographic work to be exciting and different to a lot of what I have seen before, and feel it works well to stimulate the viewers mind.

Within these two images I feel the technique used is very strong, and fully creates the sense of movement. I like the way in which the the artist has used a singular image in each, continually, overlapping and overlaying to give the image movement, instead of going with the traditional use of long exposure. I feel the way in which the images are black and white again strengthens them, as it creates an almost bold statement, and everything seems very definite.



Here I like that again the artist hasn’t used long exposure and yet has captured movement. Though it seems more similar to long exposure than the last images did, I feel the softness, and very clean cut and neat way in which the images show movement works well. Here very contrasting to the images above, they give a very ghost like effect, and use a very desaturated colouring, however regardless of this, they are still very strong images, that give off a very definite final image. Furthermore, though they show movement there is also this almost cut up effect to the images, however they still maintain the softness i spoke of regardless of this.

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