Illustrating a Song With Photographs

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January 29, 2015 at 10:30 am  •  Posted in Inspiration, Seneca Spotlight by  •  0 Comments

© Milan Surdi

© Milan Surdi

Photo Life is proud to partner with Seneca students to document their journey through the school curriculum. This week Milan Surd shares about illustrating a song with photographs.

Class: Photography I
Assignment: Illustrate a Song with Pictures
Student: Milan Surdi
Professor: Ray Steinke
Assignment guidelines: Choose a song that is 2 to 3 minutes long and illustrate it with images.

Background: The purpose of this assignment was to encompass everything we learned during our first semester and incorporate it creatively into a presentation with music. During the 11 weeks of class, we covered exposure; depth of field; motion control using shutter speed; attenuating natural light with reflected fill, diffusion, and subtractive fill; colour/white balance; and composition. We were also required to submit the RAW files we used in the film with proper naming conventions.

© Milan Surdi

© Milan Surdi

Process: One of the challenges of the assignment was that we could not use our classmates as models. This was a great way for us to learn the importance of planning ahead. Fortunately my boyfriend was willing to help me. After determining my model, ideas began to flow through my head. I think the hardest part of this assignment was choosing the song that I wanted to use for my presentation. It had to be a song that I could use to creatively illustrate a story or convey a message. I began looking for songs that had a strong male vocal in them so that I could relate the singer to my subject. In the end I decided to go with “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers. I planned to illustrate the lyrics of the song by shooting in locations that symbolized loneliness.

I shot about 600 images over the course of two days to ensure I had enough images to work with. Together my subject and I bundled up for the cold, as it was the middle of winter, and we set out to begin shooting. I decided to shoot my subject in different locations including on a playground, along train tacks, over a bridge and near an old fence covered in graffiti. The dullness of winter worked to my advantage as it added to the lonely, depressing look I was going for. The idea was to display my images in such a way that would look like my subject was moving from one location to the next, and have images from each location repeated throughout the presentation similar to the style of a music video.

Conclusion: I was able to capture a variety of images in each location, which I then used to create my final presentation. This assignment was a great way to demonstrate everything that was learned throughout our first semester. It was also a great way to show how powerful an image can be when paired with the right music.

The Seneca @ York Independent Digital Photography Program is a two-year diploma course that prepares students for a freelance career and provides them with the necessary skill set to work in a multidisciplinary studio.

© Milan Surdi

© Milan Surdi

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