A number of events, comments and some reading over the past few months have changed my thinking about not just models but anyone that gets in front of my lens. They opened my eyes to a different reality like Neo taking the red pill offered up by Morpheus and waking to find himself in another world. Thankfully not a grim “Welcome to the real world” of the Matrix, just different. It probably started further back at a subconscious level with things like watching Drummy putting his Endworld photoseries together.
Thoughts of putting a blog post together started forming a couple of weeks ago after a conversation with my 12 year old daughter. She was saying how some people are a lot more reserved in real life than they appear in front of the camera or in the studio. A Flickr profile I read told its readers pretty much the same. The photographer, who was also the subject of a lot of their own photos describing themselves as “shy in real life”. Ideas from a number of blog posts from other photographers added to the mix.
Watching the BBC2 documentary tonight on Rankin recreating famous Hollywood images, I got to see Michael Sheen go through the process of getting into character, giving a great performance as Charlie Chaplin. The blog post idea resurfaced.
As a younger man I’d often hear sayings like “they really played up to the camera”, and would think play as in games, the person having fun, just showing another side of their personality. I now interpret the saying very differently, thinking of “play” as in performers, acting out scenes of a story, often being in character, someone they are not or only dream of becoming. The studio floor or shoot location is their stage, their modelling a wordless play like in the black and white silent movies of old, scenes broken up by costume and lighting changes.
There are always exceptions to rules, so for some the performance will just be an extension of their own extrovert flamboyant selves. Working out which is the case is the challenge, act or reality? At times capturing an image of the true person is what’s really wanted.
Myself? I’ve started the 365 project for the third time. I’ve no idea if I’ll get to the end of it, having failed twice before due to time pressures. Will I be acting more? You betcha!