After my talk with Yan, I started thinking about ways I could portray my Scottish culture within the context of my new home here in Yorkshire. One of the main things Yan asked me to do was to look around my house and become aware of the Scottish traits found within my home.
My first photo shoot demonstrates a very basic introduction into this process of exploring my Scottish heritage, through a brief glimpse of a Scottish tartan and my general appearance of fair skin and red hair. Although tartan can be seen as stereotypical and representing the typical perceptions many people have of Scotland, tartan is deeply rooted in Scottish history and is a very true representation to me. Growing up my parents always had tartan throws in our living room and my grandparents currently have tartan curtains, cushions and throws in their house. At weddings and special events my dad would always wear a kilt too. I felt using a tartan scarf I already had at home was a good prop to use to represent one of my memories.
Photographer and friend Chloe Masters took this photo of me as I have yet to experiment with self-portraiture. I found working with Chloe very helpful as she made me feel at ease and helped me overcome my fear of having my photo taken. As a commercial photographer, I am the one photographing other people and making sure they are comfortable, relaxed and happy during the photo shoot. However, it is a very different story being the photographed subject. During this experience I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and tried a new way of working, which in turn I think has resulted in a successful photo shoot that uses the outdoor land, props and specific poses to portray my perception of home.
The realisation of how the Yorkshire landscape makes me feel and my association of it with Scotland was ignited during the many walks I have found myself venturing on over this last year of the pandemic. This time has prompted a great deal of thinking and opened my eyes to both the similarities and differences of the Yorkshire landscape compared to Scotland. The barren fields up on the Moors, the tall mountain sides and wild flowers growing aimlessly for miles almost made me feel like I was back home exploring the highlands. These walks have been a sense of comfort in these difficult times, bringing this longing for home and distant feeling into such a close and clear proximity. I chose this location setting as it is a walk I have found myself going on frequently over the past few months. For this shoot we decided to experiment with natural lighting. This is something I don’t usually do as I much prefer to use artificial lighting as I think it is much easier to control the light, especially outdoors when you are trying to combat the sun’s powerful light source. However, after watching Jamie’s workflow lab on using natural light, Chloe and I thought we would give it a go. Using just a camera and a white reflector, we balanced it against a big rock ensuring it was facing towards my face. This enabled us to bounce light onto the side of my face furthest away from the sun. As well as this, I reflected on Alex Cole’s lecture on Transdisciplinary Studios and decided I wanted to try using the landscape as my studio. I thought this was a great way to adapt to the current restrictions of the pandemic, using a space that I could create work whilst it still holding some personal meaning.
Something I think went well with the photograph below is my direct eye contact with the camera, as this helps engage the viewer with the photo and encourages them to think more about what is being represented. Something I would like to improve for next time is to have more props I can use to add variation to my images. To develop this project, I also plan to experiment with self-portraiture and capture portraits of my siblings, along with venturing out of my comfort zone to take photographs in a more documentary style, capturing natural moments of my siblings within our home environment. I also plan to experiment more with product photography, as I would like to focus on specific items that represent the two cultures.
Masters, C. (2021) Walks along the moors. [Photograph]. Huddersfield