Tola covered in paint

I have done a few more of these goo portrait sessions now. I like the blood and mud ones I did though my main reaction was that I wanted to see some done in everyday settings.

My next step then was to photograph my friend Tola with some paint on top his head in the middle of my local park. I’m showing a load of them here.

I’ve got mixed reactions to these ones. The wider ones have more of a documentary feel. Tola’s in the park surrounded by dogs chasing each other. He’s standing by the edge of the road as cars rush past. I quite like these pictures in their own right but they’re not what I’m trying to do. Those pictures are about too many things for my liking. I find myself looking at the flat in the background, or the dogs, and thinking about social context. I think these photographs should have quite a singular focus. They’re portraits first and foremost.

The closer ones somehow don’t tap into the right conventions of portraiture for me. There’s something missing from them. I don’t know what it is.

Another issue is my own photographic skills. I feel a bit like I got let down by my tripod in some of these pictures and they’re softer than I’d like them to be. I have a new tripod and a cable release now so I can deal with that. The exposure on most of them is not as good as it could be. These problems taught me a lot. I’m bracketing my pictures now, as I should have been anyway. Generally I just want to get more professional in the way I approach my photographs.

PS – I had another look at this folder of pictures the other day and noticed that a few of them which I haven’t posted here yet were much better on second looking. Tola’s a pretty phenomenal model. There’s something about the blank way he’s standing there in some of the other pictures that works well. I’ll post those as well when I get a sec.

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