Assignment Three: Similar But Different

Produce a series of 12 portraits that give insight into the character and nature of four individual sitters chosen from a particular group. Choose an organisation or group that has a broad membership in terms of age and appearance, e.g. a Pilates or Zumba group, a ramblers’ association, a local political party, charity or pressure group.

Interview your four chosen subjects and make a written record of how they see themselves and how they feel about their involvement in the organisation or pastime.

As a photographer you may have your own ideas about how you would like to portray them. Make a written record of this and analyse the areas of commonality and difference between each subject’s view and your own.

Decide on some possible locations. These may be indoor or outdoor settings but photograph each sitter in one location only. The locations you choose and the composition of the images must reflect the group’s common interest in some way but also reflect the differences between each sitter within this overall area of interest. You may work in colour or black and white.

Offer each sitter/client a choice from your three best images of them. You should end up with 12 images, three of each sitter.

Before you start shooting, produce a statement of intent of up to 250 words.

Statement of Intent

The first consideration when approaching this brief was whether or not there was sufficient time to engage with a new group of people to be able to understand their aims and characters sufficiently to produce meaningful images to meet the brief, particularly as the ‘group’ I have normally portrayed on such occasions has been the friends and neighbours in a community setting which has unfortunately changed members substantially over recent months and the grouping is not yet ready to co-operate.  Another group which has very close associations with the artist was therefore substituted.

Using the family as the ‘group’, in particular three brothers, as they do meet the criteria of a group, have a reasonably broad age range and appearance, 32 – 42, and have differing views on their membership of this group.

Family group relationships are prejudiced by the years of interaction that have occurred, the challenge is to capture their ideas of their inter-personal relationships, as expressed in their own words, in the subtlety of their poses and facial expressions.

The images show that physically they are similar but different, they pursue interests which are different but they do belong to the same ‘family group’, although they can be seen to be similar but different, and to record their personal views on membership of that group.

As there are only three subjects, as opposed to the four the brief requires, the shortage of images of individuals is compensated by the inclusion of group images portraying their group interaction, similarities and differences.


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