Charmed by The Light is my documentary project for T&P module. It tells about my partner after working late. He works a week on the morning shift and a week on the evening shift. He’s an engineer and has to be focused when working, basically, he has to indicate, analyse and resolve problems most of his working hours. When he comes home late in the evening his brain is still functioning in the very active mode and it takes some time to calm and relax before he can fall asleep. So these photographs will show how he manages his time to calm after evening shifts.
The topic of my project is charmed by the light, the connection between a person and a source of light. As it turned out, my partner really does spend most of the time between evening shifts and bedtime looking directly to light sources.
Thus, the project is a documentary story about my partner charmed by the lights that actually surround all of us every day.
The fridge. I’ve chosen this image because it’s so usual scene, a person searching for something special in the fridge. We’re always trying to find something hidden and extra-delicious there even though we filled the fridge ourselves.The hand on the door hints at ownership. I like the composition because his arms create a path from the light source to the face. There was a note attached to the side of the fridge and I decided to remove it in Photoshop because it distracted my attention from the subject.
The video game console. I’ve chosen this specific image because it represents the most familiar for me look of my partner when he’s playing video games. The pose isn’t relaxed, mouth slightly opened, so you can conclude that he’s a little bit stressed by the game. There’s a glowing panel on the controller and reflected light on he fingers, so you can understand that there’s a turned on console beyond the frame. The screen was very big and on distance from the subject, so background was lit almost as good as the person. To exaggerate the effect of the lit subject, I darkened the areas around him.
The laptop. I’ve chosen this image because of this bored and immersed face emotion. Still the same old Web and still have to search for some hidden treasures in it. The position of hands confirm the mood, one is placed on the mouse with a slightly lifted finger (that brings to the mind that he’s using the laptop) and the other holds his head (telling us that he’s tired and bored).I also like the angle because you can see a bit of the keyboard and glowing buttons and that makes the image recognizable in terms of everyday life.
The smartphone. I’ve chosen this image mostly because of the perspective. I liked his reflection in the mirror and the position of the reflection in relation to the smartphone. It describes my vision of him when he’s using the phone as addicted. The phone points straight at the blurry reflection, it’s like the smartphone gives a start to a vague and distant version of my partner.I like the way soft lighting and relaxing atmosphere contrasts with the serious and focused face emotion. I slightly cropped the image from top left corner to balance the image and to place the triangle created by the face, the smartphone and the reflection in the middle of the photograph. That supports the significance of these three key details.
The lamp. I’ve chosen this photograph because it captured the moment. It’s bedtime, he’s getting ready to sleep and fits the pillow under his head. That movement makes the scene recognisable. I like the fact that he doesn’t look focused on the light, instead he gives a quick glance at the lamp. You can see light switch in his hand and understand that he is about to switch the light off and fall asleep.
I also decided to convert the final photographs into grayscale because of several reasons. Firstly, the images are so dark, that there’s already little colour. Secondly, bearing in mind that this photographs picture relations between the person and the light sources, it becomes clear that removing colour will draw viewer’s attention towards the light and its influence on the person. And finally, it’s my tribute to the classical documentary photography. After I received my prints they looked far too dark. I know the screen is normally brighter then prints, but the absence of colours made all the dark areas merge together. I also have heard from my colleagues that the printing company I’m using often prints images darker then you would normally expect. So I reduced the brightness of my screen to the minimum and compared prints with the digital images and found that prints are still about 1.4 full stop darker then they appear on the screen. So I corrected the photographs considering this difference and that worked, new prints look as intended.
I believe these photographs show how working late influences the way one spends his time and also will help to understand how much time we use to spend using devices senselessly, especially if you keep in mind that it’s not a proper rest.
I suppose these narrative documentary photography series would fit an art gallery.