Micro-Project 3: Building a Photographic Identity for a Band
Gabriel Camelin Reflective Practice MA Visual Communication Birmingham City University May 2010
Bang Sue Train Station
If bands are remembered for
where speed, mobility, good sense of
something else than there music, they
composition and mastering the decisive
are remembered for their appearance.
moment make a good picture.
As much an influence than influenced,
Iâ€™ve always been interested in CD
musician, especially pop, rock and
covers and felt that I should try to take
electronica ones are often associated
pictures myself, finding a location or a
to fashion, design and films. The band
studio, plan each shot on paper. This is
identity, the building of idols, has
what I tried to achieve here.
always been a good opportunity for photographers and designers alike.
I still think I will need more practice in this field especially in term of art
In my case, I do not consider
direction and directing model. This was
myself as a fashion photographer nor a
still a valuable experience that will help
specialist of studio photography. I am not
me beyond the field of photography. Art
foreign to the field either as I have been
direction, and directing are also a key
working for promos for the last 2 years
of Music Video promotion.
and I have been teaching photography to my students for around the same time. My closest experience is stage photographer, where band members are not fully aware of the camera and
Between two tracks.
Having troubles to travel around Bangkok,
waiting for Bangkok to push them further away. In
because of availability, lack of transportation,
the middle of this, trains and a flock of voyagers are
political instability and of course weather, I thought
in constant motion.
that I would need to use a familiar location.
The poetry of the location would not suit with
Bang Sue station, in the north of Bangkok
every bands, but I thought that Slowreverse was a
was perfect. Close to my home, I could explore
perfect match. Bangkok based electronica band,
it easily. It is also accessible by subway, which in
Slowreverseâ€™s music is ethereal and calls for
riot time was probably a good thing. But the real
travelling. This world of soft green, brownish and
reason for the choice of this location is the mood,
pastel colour also match their colour code.
the feeling it propagates. Very urban with several
I chose to shoot at sunrise to have a hotter colour
skyscraper in the horizon, iron tracks rusting and
tone, and to make it a bit more dramatic. It might not
old buildings from early XX
century mixed with
be the perfect match, but I felt that the location and
dirty concrete construction. This is contrasted by
the band was talking to each other better than other
the strong but silent presence of nature. Trees and
places I have seen in this town.
dense vegetation are growing on a no-manâ€™s land
Oil, Pang and Uze from Slowreverse.
Waiting for the Train.
Individual Band Member Portrait
Uze, the guitar man. Slowreverse is an indie band. They do not like to
one of my lesson learned for this project.
talk loud, are quite polite and shy in the same time.
Concerning the individual portrait session,
Such personality is golden on some occasion as it
I chose a long bridge over the tracks. I felt that it
is easy to befriend them, however I found it really
offers an interesting composition and could allow
hard to direct them, because they were waiting for
me to focus more on the visage of my talents. I used
me to tell them what to do. What I like when I am a
a Nikon 105 mm lens to flatten the background, get
stage photographer is that I do not have to ask or
better proportion for the face and still reaching a
direct talents. They usually forget the camera or
shallow depth -of-field allowing each talent to stand
when they are aware of it, perform some amazing
out from the background.
egocentricities that makes what most of the photographers are looking for.
I spent also a certain amount of time on photoshop to remove unwanted hairs, brightening
However, in this case, I felt that I needed more
the foreground while underexposing the background.
directing skills. I can not just blame the stiffness of
I feel that my work could be improved a lot more with
my models... as a photographer we need to work
more knowledge on the use of shoe flash.
and direct our models to get the best shot. This is
Pang, the angelic singer.
Oil, the singer behind the keys.
Photo for CD Cover
On board... While all the previous shots would be mostly used
My second serie is more experimental: before
for web, press and flyers. I wanted to experiment a
the shoot, I felt a strong connection between
few shots for album cover. These are usually the
chronophotography and slow motion. Even if the
most difficult one, as they must attract the eye of
exact name of the band is â€œslowreverseâ€? (and not
the viewer, represent the musical content and of
slow motion), i still believed it could be a promising
course tell us about the band members.
visual representation of the band.
I thought that a basic portrait with a sunset will
I could forget the traditional technique of
not be good enough, as it lacks of impact. This why I
chronophotography that request a stroboscope and
came up with the train serie. The first shot above has
a black background and opted for the photoshop
a strong impact because of the colour and texture,
solution favourited by skaters and snowboarders...
it allows our imagination to work on a narrative and
Despite an interesting result, I think that I
of course show each band member clearly. Despite
would need more time to reach a better result.
that, it leaves a considerable space and possibilities
A better setting would have helped too, as I spent
for a graphic designer to put the band logotype and
considerable time on photoshop removing/motion
bluring the grass...
Uzeâ€™s choronophotograhy before cropping for CD cover
Pangâ€™s choronophotograhy before cropping for CD cover
Oilâ€™s Chronophotography blending each layer, before cropping for cd cover
Various experiment of CD covers.
Second idea for a CD cover
This was the first time I took pictures of a band
busy carrying my equipment... I feel that directing
knowing what result or scene I expected. I felt that
is probably a difficult step as well, but I want to
I learned a lot on this and I could see what I could
overcome it too, so when running small project I
improve or where I need help next time I do a similar
could put more presence in my work.
In term of editing my pictures, I usually spend
A better planning and sketching would improved
no more than 20 minutes, mostly adjusting colour,
my work considerably. I believe that I rely too much
brightness and contrast, but for this type of
on the location to do the work for me when I need
work I spent up to one day per picture (on the the
to control more the elements. This is where some
chononophotography) and still feel that I could work
basic art direction could be handy, and not only for
even more on it. I might need more time to learn
editing and specially colour calibrating for printing
I also spent nowadays most of my time behind
these pictures doesn’t look the same on the different
my computer in post and forgot how important it is
computers I am using, and I didn’t print test them
to interact with people, especially during shooting!
During a video shoot, I am maybe more involved
As the Nowhere Man said: “So little time, so
as there is music and a team behind, while here,
much to know!”. At one point, I will have to make
I relied mostly on myself and my assistants were
A portfolio containing photographs I took and edited for the Band Slowreverse. This was done for my thesis project with Birmingham City Univ...