Self Directed Project: Painting For Inspiration

Sunday, 20 May 2012


My Final Photo

4 Other's I Wish to Include in the Collection

EVALUATION: Paintings for Inspiration

When the options were given for the vast array of different Self Directed Projects available there were a few that struck my interest. However, the one project that I knew instantly that I wanted to do was Paintings for Inspiration. My main interests (outside of Costume) are History and Art History and this project encompassed both in a way that I would never have dream could be a project for me to work on.
The brief we were given split the project into two, the styling and the filming which allowed me to split my time up quite effectively right from the beginning as the filming section was a very chaotic but in a  short space of time. The styling element however was spread across the entire term and called for much better individual time management, otherwise it would never have got done. I have always kept a diary, however I found that by pre-planning my life during this project as much as possible at the beginning on a Excel spreadsheet I could plan in my free time as well as working time much more effectively. I will use this method again in the future to plan my time.
What I was not anticipating from this project was just how much I would enjoy the filming unit. I was looking forward to it a lot as I wanted to try a new pathway from theatre designing as i felt that the work dynamics would be very different and I was right! I found that working on a film was almost exactly as I expected but unlike anything I have experienced. There was a chaotic feeling the whole way through and I learnt that scripts can change sporadically along with periods in which the film may be set, actors that are used and even crew members. While this was frustrating at times and daunting, I found that this part of the project went incredibly fast. I feel that I achieve more when under, a healthy amount of, pressure and that filming provides this! I feel that I have learnt many valuable lessons about working in a team as part of the two film crews especially that being patient is possibly the best trait to have. Another element of the filming unit that I enjoyed a lot but was not expecting was the networking and how many people I would meet, I feel that going into working on films next year with the film students has been made far more relaxed now that I have already had the chance to meet and get to know them.
I feel that before this project, my confidence was an issue both in my work and in myself, however since taking part in both the filming and the styling units, it has grown considerably and I feel ready to move on into level 6 next year!
One element within this project which I would criticise myself is how late I left it to sort out a suitable location for my styling photograph. I had been so good with planning my time and getting costumes and models sorted but had taken it for granted that I would find a location. It had not occurred to me that certain locations may cost money or not allow photography of this kind. I had just a week to prepare for the shoot once I had booked it, which, in retrospect, was a great deal of time and I did feel ready but not having a location booked until then way weighing on my mind. In the future I would sort this out a lot earlier.
With regards to what I will take forward from the self directed project, I would have to say the main things I have learnt are, time management, the importance of working in a team but also keeping your individuality and standing you ground with crew members and also how researching and planning at a steady rate is far better than rushing everything. I feel that this has been my favourite project so far at uni and that I have gained a great deal of valuable knowledge.


The styling unit of the SDP was initially the main reason that I chose this project. I wanted to be able to put into practice my passion for History and Art in a practical way as well as being able to research theoretically. I was, however, very pleasantly surprised at how much I have enjoyed all the aspects of this unit. I particularly enjoyed location hunting. It seemed too good to be true that I was HAVING to go visit my favourite National Trust homes and posh hotels to find a suitable bedroom. I also really enjoyed the 'administration' side of it, being in contact with he hotel staff etc. I feel that I have learnt a great deal more about how to be professional in the industry. The help I got from others was invaluable and while the vast majority of this unit was done individually, for the photo shoot where I had a 'crew' of 4 others to help I felt the same sense of security that I felt on the two film sets. Having a team around you is so helpful and I appreciated their input greatly.
I will defiantly consider doing something similar to this unit again in the future as I found the entire process from initial gallery research and in depth research to location hunting/ costume sourcing and the final shoot very enjoyable and interesting!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Reflection: Final Photo

My final image came out very well and I am very happy with it. While I did chose a different era and one that was not contemporary to now, to be the period in which I set this remake, I feel that I have managed to encompass the mood and all the themes from the original into it. From this I have learnt a lot about the trails of a photo shoot for a period piece including settings and sourcing the costumes, however, it was all worth it for the final outcome.
The final photo, while not identical has achieved what I set out for it to and that is to present an alternate story in a different era but based fairly closely upon the original.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Styling: 'Post Production'

After the photoshoot I was left with a massive amount of images to chose from to have as my final remake photo!
The original, unedited photo I chose to use:

I love the natural lighting streaming in for the window as it emulates the original portrait perfectly so I really want to work with this. What was evident from early on was how, to ensure the window and the bed were in shot, it would have to be a landscape photo. This would prove problematic as it is a 'Portrait'! Therefore I chose to edit the image in Photoshop to change colours add certain objects that could not have been placed for real and to adjust the brightness.


Process of taking away the cushion used to elevate the model
Using the eyedropper and stamp tools.

I really enjoyed using Photoshop (with a helping hand from my housemate) to make my image closer to the original as I feel that witht the correct colouring and added objects it is far more successful!

Final presentation:
I wanted to create an old fashioned photo album for the 5 images I have chosen to include in my final hand in. I am really happy with how this has turned out!

Reflection: Styling Setting

When I first started out on this unit of Paintings for Inspiration I was so excited by the overall prospect of the final image that I almost overlooked the technicalities of setting a photo in a non-contemporary period. I also overestimated the amount of locations I had to choose from when deciding on a Victorian era remake. From this I have learnt the challenge behind finding a suitable location as well as one that is actually available for hire! I now know that National Trust houses (while they may be more than willing to open their doors for big feature films) aren't so accommodating to University students with very little funds!
While my minor setback,(my request being rejected from Kingston Lacy National Trust) was frustrating, I feel that it allowed me to do what I planned to do all along with this project, to extend my researching skills. Therefore by visiting other types of property, the Hotels for instance, I got a much larger cross section of options for the bedroom which resulted in me finding the perfect room at the Lillie Langtry Manor Hotel!
One thing that I was not anticipating was how much I enjoyed the location hunting. I have always had a love of Historic buildings and stately homes and to be able to use this knowledge and passion for my photo was really exciting.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

STYLINGDIARY: Photoshoot day

Today was the big day! We picked up the two models and the photographer from their respective houses around 12.30 and arrived at the hotel shortly before 1pm, my alloted time.
Once we got in there it was all about getting the models dressed and hair and accessories sorted. For the woman, Abbey, the hair was quite challenging as we did not have a hair/make-up artist. However I did take a lot of examples of Victorian hair styles of the period for instance:

For the hair in the photo I chose to copy the style of the second drawing down from the top in the image, but the added my own twist by clipping in a hair decoration I had made. I feel that this linked it back to the Arnolfini as in the original there was a white veil on the head of the woman.
For my man, Ryan, hair was not an issue as it was to be hidden underneath his top hat in the image.
Both of their costumes worked so well for the feel of the image, the setting and their link to the original.
My fantastic Photographer, Charlotte Dart ( understood exactly what I wanted out of the shoot and took such brilliant photo's for me to work with.
Here are just a few of the unedited images from the day:

The King's Room

The Models and my wonderful Assistant Charlie Bestwick

This has to be my favourite shot.
It really looks like a still from a film!

I thoroughly enjoyed today and I found it very exciting to be in charge of a historical shoot, even if it was for only a few photographs!
After we had finished and I had settled up the £25 for the room hire:

We moved onto the second location for Charlie's photo, on which I assisted. At the Miramar Hotel on the sea front. The setting was in the hotel lounge and was so perfect for her remake photograph!


Her chosen image and her final edited photo!

Charlie Bestwick (

It's absolutely incredible! I just hope I get get mine to such a high standard!

I really enjoyed the whole process today and the planning that went into it. Organising the shoot was really fun and I hope to do it again sometime even if it is just in my spare time.