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Unit 3 Evaluation Jacob Benfield

My Unit 3 experience has truly been a great experience. Before this Unit in my AS level year
my work was very confined, my ideas didnt allow me to explore the realms of photography
physically. I really dont enjoy studio photography and studio shoots, they feel to personal
and being given a set time within a studio applies pressure to the work your creating. With
my current project all such pressures and confinements have been relieved and Ive been
able not only to enjoy my photography but enjoy my life.
My project is based on capturing people in their drunken element; I became deadly
interested in this idea when I came across a blog that had very similar contextual ideas. The
blog was created by Vice a magazine and website I personally cherish and the blog is called
Your Town Is a Paradise. The blogs aim is to collate an array of images from a city at a
time depicting the grim truths behind nightlife in a comedic manor.
What I loved about these images was the way they captured
not only the personality of a person, but a night and as city.
The photos werent just about people they were about
environment and contrasting cities through photography.
I wasnt only attracted to the contextual and sociological
aspect of the blogs basis but also the stylistic features. Every
image I came across seemed to just be taken without thought,
it seemed as if photographers saw a moment and captured it
as quick as possible to ensure nothing was lost. I struggled to
pin point a name for such style of photography but eventually
my tutor introduced me to the word vernacular. This word
means almost instinct photography; the kind of photos your
parents take on holiday. This introduced a whole new aspect
to my view on the blog and its images as it made me realise
on a night out no ones truly going to want to be trying to take
the best photo they can as whats the fun in that? Its about
capturing a moment and cherishing it.
This blog became the real basis of my idea, I became strongly
obsessed with the idea of environment but soon realised my
ability to explore environments was limited due to age,
therefore I scaled down my ideas and decided to begin
contrasting different nights out, from house parties to club
nights and work dos to simply hanging out with some friends.
The aspect of environment became very interesting, but I also
wanted to ensure the aspect of alcohol and its effects were still

Work from Vices Your

Town is a Paradise blog

I began my project at a house party, one of which I

wasnt invited to. I was using a disposable camera to
avoid damage to any expensive equipment, and it
soon became apparent this was an intelligent idea.
At this point in the project my ideas was very strongly
suited to the work presented within the Your Town is
a Paradise blog and I set out with strong intentions
during the night to truly capture people in the drunken
downfall. I wanted to capture embarrassment and
within this shoot I certainly succeeded.
What I found so interesting about this shoot was the
array of emotions induced by alcohol I managed to
capture. From happiness to anger and stupidity to
disrespect this shoot on a whole was a realistic
collation of the ways of which teenagers abuse
alcohol in the modern day and it certainly applied to
the work of Vice.

My work

To gain a more professional aspect within my project

I decided to research and introduce a photographer
of high regard who I felt applied to my project in
some sense. This photographer was Martin Parr.
Having previously researched Parr as a
photographer I was really interested in his style of
human documentation. His work is about making
social commentary, he presents contrasts between
social class within people; I wanted to do the same
but within environment. His work makes wild
exploitations of people and I wanted my work to do the same.

Work of Martin Parr

I also became interested in the work of Nan Goldin. Goldins work applied much more
directly to my project. Her photography seemed to be about capturing life as it went on, the
photography I focused on was shoots where she would simply photograph her friends
getting ready or on nights out in a vernacular style, yet despite the simplistic basis there was
something special about her work.

Work of Nan Goldin

It seemed to me her photos were about telling a

story. By pulling focus away from the stylistic
features of her work, Goldin depicts a simplistic life
contextually and stylistically. Her work is very similar
to the styles presented within the Your Town is a
Paradise blog except the comedic sensibility has
been diminished totally. I found this interesting and
decided to depict a more direct reference to my
personal life through my photography and decided
to focus more on close friends within my next shoot.

With my second shoot unfortunately I wasnt able to

progress with my focus on environment in a full sense,
the shoot was completed at another house party, but
despite this drawback I was able to home in my focus
on Goldins work with focus on a more simplistic night
with friends.
What I found interesting about this shoot was the way
of which my depiction of embarrassment had
disappeared; it seemed by focusing on just a small
group of friends the shoot became about depicting
happiness within teenage life. Sure there was abuse
of alcohol but it didnt generate stupidity, anger or
disrespect, just happiness.

My work

From this realisation I wanted to introduce a stronger sense of community within the alcohol
based context, but I wasnt sure how to go about this. Eventually in class an experiment was
introduced and this was to apply text to our images.
I came across a photographer named Jim Goldberg; his work as displayed allows the
subjects to write on the image to depict their views on the situation at large. I thought this
would be interesting as it would allow me to gain a perspective from the subject rather than
just posing my own opinions on the nights and my photography, and not only this but also
give my images a stronger sense of character.
For my original piece got a close friend of mine, Dylan, to give me his views on an image he
was depicted in. I found his words hilarious and this made me realise that this application of
text and other peoples views and opinions could be very interesting.

Work of Jim Goldberg

My work

Before continuing with this idea I wanted to refocus on my contextual basis of environment.
Luckily I was presented with age, I turned eighteen on the 18th of October and this posed me
with much stronger capabilities not only in life but of course within my project.
Me and my friends attended a Halloween party in town, having only just turned 18 this was
something I hadnt truly experienced before and I wasnt sure what to expect. Me and my
friends had a generally good night but in all honesty we werent sure whether we genuinely
enjoyed ourselves or had just forced it upon us. This allowed me to pose the question of
whether as a teenager is it more enjoyable to attend a house party or a night out in town.
The two environments I had captured so far presented very strong contrasts between each
other and I found this very interesting. The strongest point that derived from the comparisons
was the element of caring, in town it seemed people cared too much, whilst at a house party
theres an element of surprise that diminishes care; such things as dressing smart and
making sure you dont get too drunk.
Still interested in applying text I ventured further into the idea. I came across Sophie Calle, a
photographer who tells the story of her images in a more formal manner than Jim Goldberg. I
enjoyed the formality of her work and decided to recreate it.

Work of Sophie Calle

My work

What I took from this recreation was certainly the stylistic features of Calles work. It seemed
the formal composition of Calles style suited my work, and it also allowed me to present the
shoots on a whole. I not only enjoyed this but I also enjoyed the diary like entry applied to my
piece. It allowed me to depict my opinions on the night in a formal manor, free for anyone to
view alongside the images, almost as if my sketchbook annotations had become one with
my images.
Despite this I was still extremely interested in the interview aspect derived from Jim
Goldbergs style of work and I set out to combine the style of Sophie Calle and the
contextual style of Jim Golberg.

From this combination this piece of work and many others were generated. I decided to
combine all aspects of my research
into one piece. I applied the
comedic sense of Vices Your Town
is a Paradise blog within the
images, the formal layout of Sophie
Calles work within the composition,
the interview basis of Jim
Goldbergs work and all contextual
points within my interview.
I was and still am extremely happy
with this piece. It poses questions
on environment, the consumption of
alcohol and the type of people
youre with. For me this is very
personal piece, every time I read
the interview it generated laughter
and happiness as it not only depicts
my friends and social life but also
depicts success within my project

My work

Overall I feel my project has truly progressed in a strong manor. Ive posed many questions
and so far I feel Ive answered all of them in a relatively strong sense. I feel Im headed in the
right direction and cant wait to generate what can be deemed as a final piece.

Jacob Benfield

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