Sensory Photography

by rachelcherry11

Final workshop (week three) with Forefront Dance Company, UCS

We have now done quite a lot of work photographing and working with improvisation. In this workshop environment students (photographers) were encouraged to get up close to, and move in relation to the performer they were following. However when you look though the camera you see and relate to your subject differently, and in the beginning stages  photographic technique plays a dominant role in how you see things. Therefore a divide was beginning to happen between the two art forms, which I was hoping to integrate. To develop this, and to challenge how they composed their images, we did some ‘blind’ work.

Sensory photography is something that charity Photovoice have been developing working with blind and partially sighted people. On their website, they offer an information pack, with a series of exercises to do in a workshop environment. It is these which we began to follow in the workshop.

Gary Waite, a blind photographer and student at Photovoice recently appeared in a nokia advert.  Click on the link to hear Gary Waite talk about his experience of being a blind photographer.

We started off dividing the group in half. One half sat and closed their eyes, whilst the others moved around the space. At this stage we used walking, but played around with the different ‘textures’ and rhythms of footsteps from heavy to sliding, fast and slow. The ‘listeners’ would then start to draw this.

      

Once they were used to using their hearing as the primary sense, using the camera they began to photograph people moving in space. The movement by the ‘sighted’ people was instigated by a clap which directed the photographers to their location in space.

      

In pairs, the students worked on photographing portraits and hand shots (two of the body parts we will be using for our final installation piece) Again they weren’t allowed to use their sight, so touch became important in finding and understanding the content of their photograph. They also used touch to mould their subject into shape.

    

Overall, the students were quite surprised with how their images came out. In compositions they wouldn’t have considered. Most of the students suggested this is something they would like to develop working with in the future.