This project has been very illuminating for me. Working with two of my closest friends, I was able to get some insight into how they perceived their own mental health and challenges with representing themselves. I listened to what they wanted to show about themselves while taking creative liberty to make my own shots. The images that I made of myself proved to be a challenge in itself. Luckily I had a remote shutter so that I could focus and take these images from a distance. That shoot became a test for what I wanted to show and getting the technical aspect of the setup perfect.
All of these images were taken in my small room with a sheet over the window and a single off camera flash. At the start of each shoot I had to adjust the flash power for each individual. We all had varying skin tones and textures that required slightly different settings to get the desired effect. I used a 50mm prime lens because I needed a shallow depth of field and an overall very sharp image. This produced incredible detail in the skin and hair on the subjects.
Originally I was going to focus more on the eyes and less on the actual figure of the individual. As I continued the shoot however, I found the form of the body more intriguing than the eyes. These forms were created with very strong lights and darks (achieved by backlighting or side lighting the subject) and I believe communicate a beautiful sense of fragility. This is what I decided to focus on:
Through light and shadow, so much can be conveyed. Simple shapes can convey the deepest meaning while being beautiful in their simplicity. Emotions seem to just lay beneath the surface with no way of finding their way out. Maybe this is the crux of being a man in today’s world. I find this to be true of myself and I hope that others can relate to my sentiment. Through this series I wanted to connect with the unspoken, the ones who struggle to find their voices and the ones whose voices need to be heard.