Assignment One – Main ideas and test shots

As my project focuses on youth culture I have decided to start off by taking some test shots to give me an idea of what I want to present in my images and  what I want them to communicate . As my project focuses mainly on the pressures that young people go through I needed a way to illustrate this.

My main inspiration for this project was reading this article:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/personal-view/3636629/Youth-culture-is-the-death-of-the-old.html

This article, to me, was extremely insensitive, and when thinking of people that I know I couldn’t think of anyone that fit into the stereotypes that the writer was describing. There seems to be a kind of ignorance – particularly from the media – towards young people/ teenagers. From looking at a variety of articles about youth and young people I have noticed that the main themes presented in the media are obsession (particularly in the fashion industry) with youth culture or being young , and disgust (triggered by headlines of young people being involved in crimes). Young people are seen either as trouble makers, or, mainly in fashion, this idea of perfection, the innocence and youth of models are often exploited. I believe that the media stereotype of youth is that young people are troublemakers and lazy and arrogant. However young people are not always portrayed in a negative light, in some new stories/ articles we see portray young people as exceptional and successful (often from a very young age) but stories like these are rare, and often put pressure on young readers to live up to this. The media’s obsession with celebrity is also something that puts pressure on young people, more and more often we see lots of young people in the film and music industry, and this gives young people and enormous amount of pressure – to look, act or dress like the people they see in magazines. I think that society today is extremely obsessed with image, which is why young people are so concerned with the way they look.

In my project I aim to look at how pressures from society have affected young people, I will look closely at my own social circle and look at their lives and the pressures they have faced growing up. The people I will use as subjects for my images have all dealt with different kinds of pressure, pressure to look a certain way affects most people, but as the article above proves, most people don’t know the struggles that young people go through. Many people assume that young people are ignorant and careless, but most of the people who I will focus my project on have dealt with a lot, which has made them group up quite quickly. The issues I will look at include the pressure around of body image, sexuality, financial issues, family issues, education and social groups.

As the people I will use a subjects are people that I am close to, and I know that the things they have dealt with don’t define who they are, so I wanted my images to show who they are as people and not make what they have been through in their lives obvious through the images. I want my images to be energetic and I want my subject in each image to seem carefree and happy as that is how I see them and how they present themselves.

Below are some of my first test shots:

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At the start of my project the works of Steve Johnston ( http://i-donline.com/2013/05/steve-johnston-on-punk/) had influenced how I wanted my own images to look, I wanted my images to focus only on the subject so had the idea to take images of each subject standing next to a blank wall like in the first image above. However I have now decided that I want the images to look more energetic – both of the images above show my subject just standing still, I felt that this looked quite boring, they didn’t really strike me as images a viewer could look at and think about, I want my images to represent my subject as I see them, and I didn’t really think that these images did the subject much justice as they don’t really show any kind of personality.

As I had more time photographing the subject in the second image I tried photographing her doing something different:

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Although these images are slightly out of focus, I liked how they show movement, they captured more of an energy than in the first two images – both the subjects clothing and the location had a grunge feel to it, so I felt that her actions communicated much more of an ‘attitude’ than the first images. I chose to take long shots so that a viewer could concentrate on whole of the subject, I felt that the subjects personal style was an important part of the images.

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