Pause of Project

Temporarily I will have to place this project on pause. I am having to do so because of personal health implications. These complications mean that I am unable to place my ideas into practice, however, it is not disabling me from developing my ideas upon paper.

I am staying in contact with the individuals that I was shooting, and I will remain so until I am fit enough to proceed with the project. Furthermore, I am not continuing with my studies at the University of Gloucestershire and so this project will be completed within my own terms and will not be set to deadlines. This then means I have more time to pursue this idea and develop from shoot to shoot. I am looking forward to place my ideas into practice when I am well enough to do so.

Practice Flare – Shoot One

This shoot was the first attempt I had at photographing the movement of the practices involved in flaring. I was placed into an environment unfamiliar to me and had to evaluate the lighting conditions and the environment whilst on location. I used my Speedlight flash to compensate for the fading sun. The time of the shoot was when the sun had disappeared, and it meant that the lighting conditions were difficult to adapt to, to ensure that I could use a fast shutter to capture freeze frame images of motion. This however did mean that I could practice the use of a longer exposure to show a motion blur.

Whilst on the shoot I had an issue with the speed light where the flash would not fire when I needed it to. This was because after one fire of the flash the flash itself had to recharge before firing again. This meant that I was limited to the number of images I was able to take with the flash and meant that I had missed a few shots as he was practicing due to the technical issues.

Having said this I was able to adapt to the situations presented. I am not fully happy with the results of the images however with the knowledge of the placement of the shoot and the lighting conditions that I will be facing I can adapt and be more so prepared for further shoots.


It’s clear when I have placed all of my images together when my flash has not fired as I was anticipating the fire of the flash my camera has been set up for the expected added extra light. When the flash has not fired this has meant that my images have turned out close to black or severely under exposed. This has meant that I have missed a few shots which I thought would have worked well, but it has also taught me that the time at which I shoot should be midday, when the natural light is at it’s best. This will then mean that I will not have to reply on the use of a flash to capture the image. Alternatively I may be able to make use of the on camera flash as I do not have to wait for this to recharge after each fire and will give me an extra boost in light that I need for such shots. Alternatively I may trial with a studio shoot as I will have full control over the environment and lighting settings and it will allow me to be more creative within my photography.

This being said I have been able to walk away from my shoot with a few images that I am content with however as this was just an initial shoot and I was trailing new techniques I will be able to develop these skills and learn from this shoot.


What I enjoy about these images is that they also show the transition from evening to night time. It allows the viewer to witness the lengthy practice hours. I am glad that I was able to trial out a few different techniques whilst on location and I will continue to build upon these for my next shoot.



Meeting with the camera.


I was using the time I first met with my contact to establish a relationship with the camera and the individual. Straight away he was comfortable with the presence of the camera (which was positive). He grabbed anything close to him to perform in front of the camera and to trial out new skills. He was explaining whilst he was performing that the bar flare was like juggling so balance and control of the items you have are important. So he would pick up anything he could and focus on the balance of the item and would throw and catch different items.

The subject was okay with me being close up to him as well with the camera, allowing me to photograph him close up. This was good as it allowed me to take some close up portraits. I will have to go back and retake these images, and I may look into using the studio environment for retaking these images. However I am content with the out come of these images even within the context in which I have taken them, spur of the moment.


The portraits I took have been limited to the lighting conditions of where we first met and I have tried to make the most of the lighting available. I feel that the use of the available light and to not use the flash has worked well and has allowed me to show the individual in a natural way. It allows the viewer to see what the individual is like without the stage lights and the uniform whilst he is within the work placement. It creates a personal connection with the individual. I also enjoy how the individual addresses the camera as well, looking straight into the lens allowing the viewer to see into his eyes.

I enjoy how the light works within the images of him balancing the chair, the lighting from only the one side creates an interesting effect and makes the viewer look at what is happening within the image rather than looking at the individual himself.

As this shoot was very much so spur of the moment I will hope to recreate a shoot within a similar context. To do this I will be able to practice my skills of movement photography and will be able to capture more visually interesting images. Photographing as the sun is low helps to create an interesting effect and allows for higher contrast images creating interesting effects with shadows. I think that this will be an optimum time for me to do my shoots.


First Shoot and First Meet – Personal notes to self.

For the first shoot I have been nervous as to how the individual would react to the camera’s presence I did not want the camera to stand in the way of depicting how the individual presented himself. In addition to this I did not want the camera to stand in the way of his skills and to distract him. Therefore before I began shooting him practicing his skills I met up with the individual and used the camera around him to see how he reacted. Straight away he was comfortable around the camera which was positive.

He began to practice his skills with anything he could get his hands on. He told me how he would practice with cartons of orange juice when he was shopping and would choose to practice with anything he thought would test his skills.

I have taken a few individual portraits before he informed me of the place where he would normally practice outside of the work environment. I have been unaware of the placement, and as a photographer I will be adapting my skills accordingly to the lighting situations presented to me. This is going to be a real challenges as I will be looking at placing movement within my photography, which is a skill I am not fully competent with and I will be focusing on the environment that I am placed into as well.


Before going on the shoot I considered the different ways I could initially photograph my subject and considered the different works of photographers to capture the different effects also.

Confirming Contacts

I have been in contact with a barman who is practicing and learning new skills and flare tricks and he has confirmed that he will allow me to photograph him. In addition to this his place of work TGI Friday’s where the barman’s flare is encouraged has allowed me to photograph the bar men on site. However I am limited to the times I am allowed to shoot within this facility this is because of the respected privacy of the guests. I have been told that I will be allowed to photograph the barman during the morning when they are setting up for the day. Additionally I have spoken to another member of bar staff and they have also agreed for me to photograph them. This other individual is more accomplished with his bar flare as he has been practicing and performing for a longer period of time.

Through contacting TGI Friday’s directly I have also been told that this is one of the only places within Gloucestershire that allows performance flare and encourages the bar staff not only to learn how to performance flare but to become mixologists within their own right. They are encouraged to become multi talented within their work, covering all bases of the skill sets needed for being a successful performance bar man. In addition to this they use the film “Cocktail” starring Tom Cruise as inspiration for the bar staff. This is because it was members of the TGI family that taught him the skills needed for the film.

Through making these contacts I have had my knowledge widened on the subject matter and it is presenting further pathways within the narrative that I will be able to explore.

Nan Goldin

Through briefly looking into the techniques used by Nan Goldin I have become extremely intrigued by the narratives of her images and the messages she conveys within each narrative. She has chosen to depict very pressing issues, issues that surround debate and each narrative shows the opinion of the photographer and allows an argument to form around the subject matter.

One particular photographic essay has captured my attention as it is based upon a similar narrative to that I have initially thought of photographing and that is the LGBT community.

Philippe H. and Suzanne Kissing at Euthanasia, New York City

Nan Goldin

Philippe H. and Suzanne Kissing at Euthanasia, New York City, 1981

“Nan Goldin: The Ballad of Sexual Dependency” at Museum of Modern Art, New York


“Nan Goldin’s richly colored snapshots capture a world that is universally human yet highly personal. The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, a filmic slideshow, presents hundreds of intense, intimate moments from Goldin’s life in New York during the 1970s and ‘80s—the artist in bed with her lover, drag queens kissing in bars, a man suffering from HIV. While Goldin, now recognized as a pioneer of diaristic photography, documents with unflinching candor a society ravaged by AIDS, drug addiction, and abuse, it is the empathy reflected in these images that imbue them with a remarkable lyricism. Unlike the cool detachment of documentary photography, taking pictures for Goldin is “a way of touching someone—a form of tenderness.”

American, b. 1953, Washington, D.C.

The portraits taken within this body of work are extremely personal, almost invasive. The images allow the audience an in depth insight to the way that this culture is. At the time images such as these would be viewed as shocking as people were far less open to the idea of experimentations within sexuality. To have images depicting the obvious leaves nothing to the imagination and the frame clearly documents the facts that the culture does in fact exist and it is very much so real. In addition to this as the images are very personal they hold a lot of emotion and allows the viewer an emotional connection to the subject matter within the frame of the image.

The narrative of the images is not so clear and they are more set out as to depict a broad spectrum of a sub culture within society. The captions do not give too much away about the individuals and the images become very much so matter-of-fact. The contrast within the factual and emotional creates an interesting effect and the narrative of the images becomes more compelling to the viewer.

If I am to explore the LGBT community further, if the possibility to create a narrative around a singular individual does not work within my favour, I have been opened to the idea of an open narrative whereby it is possible to create a narrative photographic essay depicting a broad spectrum within a single community.


Possible New Techniques

I have thought about new and interesting ways in which I can use my photography to capture a narrative and create visually interesting images.

I have thought about different compositional skills when looking into portraiture, different lenses and different ways to use flash.

I have thought about trialling the use of a fish eye lens. I have not used this lens before so will be stepping out of my comfort zone but I feel that the effect it can create visually will help my narrative. I think that this will help my narrative as the effect that it creates corresponds to the nature of the individual that I will be photographing. Whilst exploring the idea of the bar flare, I will be stepping out my comfort zone testing my skills with capturing motion within a frame. But through knowing the individual and the way he is presented I feel that the use of a fish eye lens will help to make any portrait taken appeal more to the nature of the individual giving a more personal insight to the way that he is as a person.

I will not be relying solely on the effects created by the camera to help depict the individual and the context of the image will in turn correspond to the narrative. However I feel that through the visual aspect of the techniques used to display the subject will boost a visual connection.


Movement Within Photography

With my idea to take images involving motion I thought that I would look into different photography techniques that I could use within my own work to create and capture interesting view points of the practices involved in bar flare.

As I have not practiced capturing movement within my photography, working mainly with still of people and places I will be testing my abilities and I will also be learning new ways to capturing an image. I have discovered that there are different ways for me to capture the movement of the practices involved in bar flare. I am mainly wanting to capture the bottles within a freeze frame, however as I begin to work with the idea of motion I may experiment further looking at possible longer exposures to capture motion blur possibly in the style of Nan Goldin

Nan Goldin ‘Greer and Robert on the bed, NYC’, 1982
© Nan Goldin

Nan Goldin
Greer and Robert on the bed, NYC 1982

I love the atmosphere the camera’s movement has on the image. The blur of the individuals creates a dream state atmosphere. Using this technique within my work will help create an interesting effect as it will allow me to better depict how an audience feels when watching the act of flaring. The audience is put into a trance as they watch the skills of the performance and I think that if I can recreate the technique used by Nan Goldin I will be able depict a more visually enticing set of images surrounding my subject matter. In addition to this to learn a new skill set and working in a different way to that which I am comfortable with will expand my technological skill set of the camera. Furthermore the conditions in which I am going to be working will be set where the lighting is limited. I will use this to my advantage to experiment working in the style of Nan Goldin.

Furthermore looking deeper into the works of Nan Goldin, she has successfully used colour and flash to fully expose her subjects. I enjoy the gritty atmosphere within her images and I think that this transpired into my own work will work well to help further depict the hardship of practice. How the skill set of the performer is dependent on hours of practice and how the audience does not see the effort gone into learning the skills needed to keep them entertained.

Nan Goldin. Trixie on the Cot, New York City. 1979

Nan Goldin

Trixie on the Cot, New York City


I love the way the image is lit, the use of flash allows for the subject matter to be at the forefront of the image. The contents of the image does not distract away from what we as the viewer are meant to be focused on. I will transpire this technique of the use of flash and adapt it to my circumstances, working with the flash to bring the action of the flare to the forefront of my images and to allow the rest of the surrounding image to place the individual into context but to not be the full focus of the image.

I have looked into the different techniques of how to set up the camera for capturing motion.

Through looking at this site and how to use the longer exposures to my advantage, creating different and interesting effects I will experiment when with my subject, linking the techniques talked about to help me to display the full effect of the individuals skills.


Initial Ideas

I am confined with my shooting within the county of Gloucestershire. I have thought of different ways of life within the area that interest me and that I could photograph so that others may have an insight to the way others live their lives.

I have thought about photographing the LGBT community. To do this I would start by working within different societies and to build contacts of individuals who have different sexual orientations. This body of work would have to be approached with caution as to not depict the individuals wrongly and to portray them in a fashion that they do not see fit. The project would be mainly portrait based, which would not be testing my skills fully as a photographer as I feel confident with portraiture. However, this being said it will allow me to develop my skills at portraiture and allow me to explore a more diverse and creative way to use portraiture within photography. For this photographic essay I would not be able to focus the narrative until the connections are made. I would like to focus the narrative towards how having a different sexual orientation effects relationships. Be that with family relations, friendship groups and sexual relationships.

Another idea that I have thought about exploring is the barman’s flare. Cheltenham is home to TGI Friday’s where the barmen are encouraged not only to become talented within mixology but to learn the art of performance flare. This skill set has been widely performed and it is developing as an art form, having barmen to hire who have learnt the art of flaring and can keep an audience captivated. The skill set and training process is intense and it is only if you are willing to keep trying that the skills can be perfected until it is stage and performance worthy. For this photographic story I would be following one individual as they learn the new skills, places the skills into practice within the work environment, and to show the dedication to his work. I have already formed a contact for this narrative and so the challenge presented within this story for me is the art of capturing movement within my photography. I have not put into practice the skills needed for movement photography and so I would be learning a new creative skill. In addition to this knowing the individual taking portraits I would enjoy to explore the use of a fish eye lens as I think that this effect created by the camera fits the personality of the subject. Furthermore when photographing within the work environment I will have to gather consent from the working managers and I will have to learn to adapt my skills to the lighting, which is mostly indoors and florescent.

I will explore both ideas initiailly to then further decide which I think will work best.

Photo Stories – Portrait of Britian: BJP

“We asked you to reflect on Britians unique heritage and diversity through images of its people. Here we present a selection of the 100 portraits picked for our nation wide exhibition, showing on JCDecaux’s digital network of screens in railway stations, shopping centres, high streets and bus stops throughout the land”

BJP, 2016, pg.50

This photographic story is not focused on a particular subject matter but instead is celebrating the diversity of it’s images. The images are linked by a set theme however they are very much so different within their asthetics.

The presentation of the images allows the viewer to experience a full range of photographic techniques and the layout on the page means that each image compliments one another and keeps the same sytles of photography across a double page spread. The Story itself is very visually led and gives a broad understanding of a theme, rather than a set narrative.

The use of narrative text is not used until the images have been shown this then makes the images more interactive as the viewer can make their own assuptions of the images first before discovering the captions for each image and the full text and fact of the images. Having the text to conclude the photograohic story allows the viewer to flick back over the images and have a better appreciation of the images with a widened knowledge of what image is truly depicting.


British Journal of Photography, issue 7852, October 2016.