2 examples and 2 tools for documentary shooting projects

2 examples and 2 tools for documentary shooting projects from above   By Sabrina Barbante www.sabrinabarbante.com I was recently amazed by some photographic project focusing on portraits of people… but […]

2 examples and 2 tools for documentary shooting projects from above

 

By Sabrina Barbante

www.sabrinabarbante.com

I was recently amazed by some photographic project focusing on portraits of people… but from above.

My reflection started when I saw and compared an American project by Lee Price[P1] , showing the quite wealthy U.S. female middle-upper class, and the Benny Lam’s project, based in the poor corners of Hong Kong. Despite showing two different corners of the world, different problems and life styles, they both have the same very strong impact on the viewer.

Making a relevant job of this kind implies not only technic abilities, but also anthropological studies and observations.

 

1 – Lee Price’s geometry and scenic ability:

Price portrays her subjects from above, in their daily lives. The other subject was food.

In this project the focus and the attention is not, as usually happens with human and female portraits, on the face and eyes; here the setting and the position of the model is as important and expressive as the protagonist herself. Price’s work with colors, the placement of objects, the choice of costumes and nudity and even the hair color of the models seem to be members of a movie-like direction.

In this series of realistic photographic paintings, the view from above gives an idea of hidden camera, and the fact that the models don’t look at the camera makes it more suggestive. I think this is a very brave project.

2 – Social analysis and anthropologic competences also in Benny Lam:
Another very brave and strong project is the one about Popular housing in Hong Kong, financed and promoted by the Society for Community Organization (SoCO)’. and made by the above mentioned Benny Lam.
Here the subjects are poor people during their daily and most common actions in their very small apartments in the big metropoli more and more crowded by people coming from a starving countryside.

Despite of the different settings and colors’ filters, both projects have a big documentary impact on the viewer. Even if there is no clear and declared denounce intention.

I think in both cases the tool used was a telescopic pole[P2] , and in some shoot – in the shoots of Price – some higher loft (any other idea?).

I think that another tool used in these projects (or quite useful for those who try to make something similar) is a device for high distance shooting. In fact I think that the photographer and ‘director’ of this documentary shootings needs to move the subjects or at least to negotiate with them the best position to be held for a better click. In order to do this, having the same ‘ground-floor’ position of the subjects is better than directing from above, mainly if you are working with non-professional models as in the case of Lam’s project.
Who could give any other suggestions to make shoots and projects like these?

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