People and Place on Assignment - selection process part 1

With building a set of photographs, the selection process is almost as important as taking the photographing and post editing itself. In this set, I want to focus on the brief that I have in mind, but also try to create the idea of a suspended narrative, of which I wrote in a former post. In this concept composition plays a big role, as it guides the eye through the image to only conclude that there is an open-endedness or mystery in the story it shows. Apart from that, I want the image to not look staged and that really shows the atmosphere that has been in our house ever since we moved in. It's our home, but we don't feel at home yet, because we have temporary furniture and miss our personal belongings. I want the pictures to show a bit of the escapism my family finds in reading books, being on the computer and interacting with each other. 

The first set of images are of my daughters reading a book together. They often do this and I really like the way they can be engaged in an individual activity at the same time. They don't talk, they just read. Choosing from this set, I have doubted between the 3rd and 4th one. I like both of them, because their faces seem closest to each other and show the tension on their faces. I choose the final one, because this image has the best balance, with a little space between Eva and Michelle's faces and you can see a little part of the book they're reading, which says: "Why didn't you say she would be poisoned, how do we find a cure?", explaining the tension on the girls' faces and at the same time adding suspense to this image as well. Here is the original one and the post processed one.

I have decided to put all the images in black and white for a few reasons. First of all, the light in the room was absolutely awful and had really messed up the colours. It would be difficult to maintain a similar look in all the images, because there are different lights in every corner of the room. Secondly, I want to focus mostly on the composition and expression in the children's faces. With black and white the compositional features stand out stronger and I am able to dodge and burn at the places I want, without making the faces of the the children wash out or look strange. I have cropped the image as well, to keep the background the same everywhere, so that the focus is more on the eyes of the girl. Besides that, I have lightened and sharpened the page on the book where you can read the line about the poisoning. I have added grain and left the image quite dark, because I want to get the images the feel of taken on a analog camera and give it a bit of a dirtier look.

In the overview of the images I took, you can find quite a number of images taken in this corner of the room where the girls are reading and Julian on his computer. To keep some diversity, I decided to continue with this scene. As you can see in these images, my son did everything to hide himself for the camera. I doubted whether I should continue to photograph him, but then I thought that the way he was hiding was very typical for who he is, making it a bit funny and weird. Actually, he could have taken on this pose even if I hadn't been taking photographs, being the little Houdini he is. 

As you can see, as I was photographing, I was walking around and changing my position till I had the angle and distance I liked best. At first I wanted to incorporate the drinks and table, but soon realised that the chair and table and computer make a clean composition in itself. I want the viewer to see the toe sticking out and wondering what it is. This is the final image and post processed version:

As you can see, I've kept the same black and white, grainy look. the image didn't need a lot of cropping and I have only retouched a little thread on the chair because I found it distracting. I added some clarity to the vase, to emphasise the contrast between the shape and pattern of the lamp and square, grey computer. I added overall clarity to emphasise the round shapes and lines, just so that Julian's hands and little toe would stand out even more. In general, I think this image does make you look and wonder and it accumulates enough curiosity to look for more clues, but on the other hand has kept the sterile and empty feel of the room.