At this week’s meeting Glyn Dewis presented his views on the importance of personal photographic projects. Glyn has substantial experience of this, running his personal project: The World War 2 Portraits Project (www.3945portraits.com). He had arrived here following his first venture into photographic projects – animals, where he had developed and tested his understanding of what is needed. However, Glyn commented he is at heart a ‘people photographer’, with a fascination for the 1940s. Initially he had approached a re-enactment Home Guard group, where he extended his understanding of the content needs of his formative project. This led him to his major project, producing a ‘portrait archive’ of military veterans, particularly World War 2 veterans, a project that became driven by his passion for the subject.
Using Facebook, he broadcast his intentions and project objectives. Once contact with his prospective subject group was established, the ‘central point of engagement’, Glyn got underway. He travelled to the homes of his subjects, frequently arranged through a family member who often attended the shoot. On arriving Glyn left his kit in the car, spending the first period over a cup of tea or coffee establishing a rapport – helping the subject relax. At a suitable point he would suggest collecting his camera kit to begin. It was as important at this point to continue the conversation; drop out in contact here could break the earlier rapport. With the shooting set-up in place and camera on tripod, Glyn underlined the importance of maintaining the discussion and not going ‘behind the camera’ – this breaks the key communication link.
In the case of his WW2 veterans the discussion included their wartime anecdotes, which were a fascinating background, helping inform the content of his portraits. A key lesson for Glyn in his project was the pivotal importance of establishing relaxed and continued communications with the subject throughout the shoot, enabling their natural presentation in front of the camera. The technical set-up and camera settings were a given and, of secondary importance to the subject communications. A hugely valuable object lesson for those engaging in portraiture.
For members who would like follow-up on Glyn’s presentation, please see the links below:
- Veterans Fund Raising Campaign: https://www.virginmoneygiving.com/help-veterans
- Website & Blog: https://www.glyndewis.com
- 39-45 Portraits Project: https://www.3945portraits.com
- Free Creativity Pack download, including a couple of PDF / eBooks, Look Up Table, Actions, Perfect Prints Guide available on my website at https://www.glyndewis.com
- Using, Saving and Creating Look Up Tables video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFPcqIrY2YQ&t=4s
- Timeless Tutorial: https://glyndewis.com/timeless/?v=79cba1185463
- Recent Live Streams and other tutorials are on YouTube, including a number of techniques covered: https://www.youtube.com/user/GlynDewis
- The background used by Glyn is the X-Drop made by Westcott and the material is called the ‘Vintage Grey Canvas by Glyn Dewis’ – see Glyn’s Gear page: https://glyndewis.com/gear/?v=79cba1185463