Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The White Suit

I had meant to supply some context for these pictures earlier on, but have been a bit torn between that and processing the huge amount of stuff I have in the bag on my return from Wales.

These pictures are part of a small project I'm hoping to shoot on an ongoing basis. The idea is to take portraits of people whose job, or chosen sport means that they wear white (I have an email on its way to the local cricket club even now). The idea is from a thread in the UK film group (of which I'm a member) inviting people to take pictures of people in white suits to illustrate the group name (The Man in the White Suit).

The gentleman pictured above, and his colleague (directly below) represent the first two portraits in the series.

Ian Morris Butchers, Heald Green

These were taken as they were setting up for the day, and are the only pictures I took of them. Although they were very pleasant, and happy to help me out with the project, I was a little self conscious and didn't want to take too much of their time.

The two shots above crystalised the parameters of the project for me - the rules I've set myself are;

1) All portraits will be taken only with the consent of the person in them (no stealth portraiture)

2) No directed portraits (i.e. I don't stand on the other side of the counter saying "Do this"), but rather let people decide how they want to be shown themselves.

Fishmonger, Aberaeron

The reactions have been interesting - the Aberaeron fishmonger above (I constantly forget to ask people's names, I'm afraid) took the request entirely in his stride, only seeming surprised when I offered to send a print!

Owain's Butchers, Aberaeron

The gentleman pictured above gave permission, but told me he wouldn't do anything photogenic (I disagree with his definition, as I like this photograph a lot). I thought he seemed slightly uneasy at being the centre of attention, and so composed with him to the side, and with the focus on the shop sign at the back to try and convey some of that.

So far, the experience has been a very pleasant one for me (and I hope for the people I've met and spoken to, all of whom have been splendid). I owe a large debt of gratitude to everyone who's agreed to take part, and to those who've heard me out as I asked for their picture.

For anyone who's interested, so far no butcher or fishmonger has said no - both chefs I've asked have refused (politely). And it seems bakers no longer wear white.

I should also add that If you'd like to take part, or know someone who would, you (or they) need to wear white as a requirement of your work or sport, and be working/playing your sport fairly locally to Manchester City Centre or Stockport. You can contact me via Flickrmail, or at the email address on this blog.

I can't promise you fame and riches, but I will print a 7x5 for you of every shot I take of you, and won't take up a lot of your time taking the portrait.

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