'Identity' Photography?

Sotographi

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Sophie
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#1
I have applied for a photography course and I am required to bring with me to an interview a portfolio containing 10 photographs that explore the 'theme of identity'. Does anybody have any ideas as to what I could actually take pictures of for it? My brother gave me the idea of getting a few flags such as British, Scottish, Wales and Ireland and getting people close to me eg. family and friends, to stand in a line and have them hold the flags up and photograph it. but what else could I do that is unusual and stands out? I am trying to think out of the box but I am struggling! I only have 2 weeks to complete this project. Please help! :arghh:
 

robhooley167

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Rob
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#2
At the risk of being too forward, it's your interview, it has to be your work. It would hardly be fair to display someone else's creative ideas as your own, even if you took the image, it's not a true representation of your own style/ability.
 
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#4
Research other photographers and look at their ideas.
Ones that I can immediately think of having seen them recently are Trent bell and his convict letters to themselves, look at some of the recent rankin stuff, death masks etc, lee cracker and his portraits from Iraq, you could look back through the Taylor wessing portrait competitions.
Hitchem driss and Laura El tantawy work is interesting. Hitchem took portraits then displayed them in the local neighbourhood, Laura took portraits showing passion during the protests in Cairo.
If you are thinking of attending a course then visiting exhibitions is a must.
 
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#5
Adam lee and his series identity documents took photos of people's bookcases as a way of identifying people.
 
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David
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#6
I have applied for a photography course and I am required to bring with me to an interview a portfolio containing 10 photographs that explore the 'theme of identity'. Does anybody have any ideas as to what I could actually take pictures of for it? My brother gave me the idea of getting a few flags such as British, Scottish, Wales and Ireland and getting people close to me eg. family and friends, to stand in a line and have them hold the flags up and photograph it. but what else could I do that is unusual and stands out? I am trying to think out of the box but I am struggling! I only have 2 weeks to complete this project. Please help! :arghh:

I can only add to what's already been said. They have set this brief to see how you interpret the theme creatively. Asking others to come up with ideas for you is basically cheating, and if you did that in order to get on the course because you can't think of how to interpret the theme, how are you going to cope with teh rest of the course? You going to cheat all the way through?

This is a test to see what you do about it. Why not go and research the idea of identity. My advice is NOT to type that into Google and then click "images" as you'll just discover a load of trite, unimaginative images, or stock stuff. Look at stuff like Byker suggests a few posts up. El Tantawny's work is a great example. Also older stuff like Cindy Sherman. Another good example is the French artist and photographer JR's project in Isreal.

Look at how these people are thinking about identity.

Now.. don't just copy what you see.... get an idea of how others "see" identity. What does it mean to YOU? Is identity just your country? There's so much to explore here... race, religion, culture, social class, politics, gender... the list is almost as endless as the variations in our cultures themselves.

This is the test.


Asking for ideas on what to shoot is simply cheating. If YOU can't think of a way to interpret that theme, then maybe you're not right for the course. There's more to photography than taking photographs. Go and do some research... broaden your horizons a little. You're taking your first steps away from hobbyist recording, and attempting to become a critically thinking visual creative - it's hard... go and do some work and EARN your place on the course.

Incidentally.. what course is it?
 
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#7
I think to be fair we all struggle at times to think of the right idea and sometimes a little push in the right direction is good.
Research some of the photographers mentioned, take a look at the BJP website. You'll find links to other photgraphers mentioned which takes you on a bit of a journey, especially if read reviews, blogs etc discussing the work, or look at the themes of exhibitions they've been part of.

Then plan what you are going to do and how you are going to achieve it. I'd expect about a week of research and planning then another week to produce the images and write up. Document the process you went through and reflect afterwards on what you achieved, what was good and bad and what could be improved. These extras will be expected on the course so to show that now will be a bonus.

Good luck and come back here and show the results :)
 
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#8
I think to be fair we all struggle at times to think of the right idea and sometimes a little push in the right direction is good.

We've given several "pushes" already I think :)..but yeah... good luck!

You'll feel so much better about it if the ideas were researched and developed by yourself than just shooting what others suggest you shoot.
 
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Paul
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#9
David and Byker make some very good points and suggestions.

What do you want to convey about identity? Is it your sense of identity or you capturing others' senses of identity? If the former then only you can answer your own question. If the latter, think about where people are particularly passionate about identity - supporting representative sports, for example. Rather than ask people what to take photos of, ask people what identity means to them. Really try to get to the bottom of their emotion on the subject. Think about when identity becomes more or less important to people - when they're lost, when they're found, when they're feeling threatened etc.

If you go into the interview with someone else's take on the photographic representation of identity I'm going to be as bold as to suggest you won't get very far - the interviewer will likely see through that it's not your own take on the theme.

Two weeks is a long enough time to (a) think about the theme; (b) plan some shots; (c) get out there and take them; and (d) review and if necessary reshoot.

You'll be fine if you approach it in a structured way.
 
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Dave
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#10
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Jean
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#11
I see that you are 17 and guess that you are applying for a college course, or similar. I agree that looking at how other photographers would approach the task is useful and all part of the learning curve, but at your age the interviewers will not expect you to have fund your photographic 'style' or voice. I used to teach your age group (not photography) and I would approach the task from a subject you know well - yourself. Your identity is expressed in your relationships with family, your friends, your pets, though your hobbies and interests. I think the course tutors will be looking at getting to know you and assessing if you have the qualities, determination and ambition to do well on the course. Think about what it is about you, Sotographi, that will make the interviews think 'we've got to give this student a place on the course'. Approach the task with integrity. Good luck. :)
 
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Frank
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#12
Try an internet search like "photography theme identity" or similar. Quite a bit seems to come up to give ideas.
 
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