People and Place on Assignment - Written assessment

For this assignment I am going to use the work that I did for a videographer who was making a documentary on a Norwegian wrestler, who visited Senegal to take part in a traditional Senegalese wrestling game. I had met the videographer the night before the game and asked if I could come along to take photographs, with this assignment in mind. We agreed she could use them for the promotion of the film and the wrestler might buy some images for his personal promotional purposes. The next day, I came along and photographed the entire happening, from the meeting at the home, the dress up, walk to the stadium and the game itself. It was one of the most fun afternoons I have had in Senegal and I was very happy with the photos as well. The images have been used and as well the videographer as the wrestler have been very happy with the images.

However, I know this is not the official way of performing a job, nor is the client very notional, so I'm going to write the brief as if it was a more formal assignment and assigned by a big broadcasting company.

CLIENT BRIEFING

Client: The broadcasting company is going to use these images to accompany a documentary they have made about the wrestler and that is going to be broadcasted on national television. The images might also be used for a broader purpose, to advertise for the series of documentaries they broadcast, on bulletin boards, as well as on the internet. 

Brief: Crucial in building a set of photographs from this event will be that the spirit and textures of the stadium, the event and the journey towards it are captured, together with the characteristics of the game, traditions and cultural aspects of Senegalese wrestling. Since this documentary will be about a Norwegian joining the game and undergoing the traditions and fight, it is important to show the interaction between him and the Senegalese, his own enthusiasm for wrestling and the response of the Senegalese to him.

Each individual image has to be beautiful and show the colours and liveliness of a Senegalese wrestling game and all the traditions that go before it. Even though these elements might be strange to the viewers, there have to be elements through which they can identify with and be drawn in with the Norwegian wrestler's journey.

In order to use the image for different purposes, there has to be a good variety of landscape and portrait size images, as well as close ups and wide angle images. 

PLANNING THE PHOTOGRAPHY

Since the client is asking for a wide variety of photographs, I am bringing two cameras, one with a 28mm - 70mm lens and my good old Canon 350, with a 70mm - 300mm lens. Since I want to tell the story of the Norwegian wrestler, I will stay close to him as much as possible, but in the meantime walk around to get a good idea of the surroundings and the spirit of a Senegalese wrestling game itself. I don't want to be in the way of the documentary maker, so I have to keep a close eye on what she is doing as well, without missing the opportunities of photographing interesting spontaneous things. Since I have no idea what will happen and how long it is going to take, I plan on taking a lot of images and bring extra memory cards, as well as water.

In my post-processing I will try to keep the images as close to reality as possible, but will work on them, like cropping, adjusting blacks and whites, saturation etc, to make better compositions and make sure the images are attractive and compelling. I want all of them to tell a story and be unique on its own, but the set to be connected and showing the journey of the Norwegian wrestler. 

LOOKING BACK ON THE ASSIGNMENT

The afternoon itself was quite challenging. First of all, I had not had any time to prepare or go to the places before hand, nor did I know the exact schedule, so I found myself asking a lot and running from one place to the other. The event itself was even better and more exciting than I had ever thought and I was very fortunate to sit in front of the game and able to be on the wrestling grounds. I did have to deal with harsh sunlight situations, which made me have to consider each photographic angle carefully and be aware of my exposure settings.

Overall, I am very happy with the results and I think they meet the requirements of the client. I do wish I had more photographs of the traditional gri-gris that the wrestlers wear, since these artifacts are quite weird and fun to look at. I think that the images especially show the joy and fun the Senegalese have at these games and how special it was for them and for the Norwegian wrestler to share that joy.