Assignment 3 – Revisiting the editing section
I responded to the feedback when I received it in February 2018 but decided to leave revisiting the assignment until I had finished all the assignments in the course. It has been twelve months since I started the work for the project and attended the two bodybuilding competitions, and time away has given me more perspective on the running order of the series. My tutor had suggested that my editing of the sequence needed refining as there appeared to be more than one type of narrative at work, and this was detracting from the overall story and presentation of the images to produce a coherent body of work. I must admit that I had found it difficult to narrow down the number of images as in my mind I had a story that I wanted to complete with all its different parts. This did not translate well in the final sequence, and I can see my tutor’s point that there are a few separate strands going on.
As suggested, I removed the food photographs as, with hindsight, they do not add anything extra and do not fit with the more ‘documentary’ style of the whole. Food and diet is very important but it would have been better to have something more personal to her than generic food shots, even though I did with the intention of them not being like that. I also removed the shots of the gym that detracted from the overall theme, while keeping the one that shows the transformation from day to night as I felt that it fitted more with the story in that she does her training around her work life, whether it is at 6am, 2.30pm or 9pm. It is also quite central to the story because it is the work at the gym that is the drive behind body building.
I decided to look again at some of the other shots that I had taken to see if I could rearrange them to make a better running order and a more consistent approach. It seemed that it would be better to concentrate on the flow of what happens leading up to the competition and during the show rather than trying to bring in her life around these. I had been to two shows, the first where Kelley was runner up in her class and the second that she won. I had a disaster in that by mistake I deleted the original image files for the first one and so was dependent on the images from the second show. However, I was lucky that it was the better show as the light was better and I was closer to the stage, even though I wasn’t allowed to get right up close to photograph. Therefore my perspective was from the audience and is also why I wanted to include the audience shot with the phone as there was a sea of mobile phone screens as they captured their family and friends in action on stage.
I narrowed the sequence down from twenty one shots to sixteen and set myself the task of seeing if I could take more out without losing the coherence that I think was beginning to emerge. In the end, I removed two more and left fourteen images that tell the story of Kelley working in the gym towards her goal of keeping her title. Gym work, practising the required poses in her studio after teaching the pilates classes, to being at the show doing her routine and finally posing with her trophy and prizes.
I made two changes in the crops of some images. The two that were originally square, I changed back into oblong formats. The square crop works on some images but to maintain the coherence that I found, it was better to revert to normal perspectives. My tutor had questioned the square crop and I agree that it was unwise in this circumstance. Achievement and Heels do work much better and fit the flow better in the original format.
On reflection, I think my tutor was right in getting me to think more about how I wanted to tell the story. Less is more so taking out the extraneous elements focus more on the narrative. There is now more coherence of gym, studio and show, with fewer distractions from images that do not have the same style or look. I think that time away from it has been good and this is a stronger set of images that tell a story better than the original set.
I am attaching the contact sheets for the assignment that were missing.
There is one other image that I did as another comparison between practice and show that I did not use as it was too similar to the 8 image one that I already had, but I wanted to include it in the other work leading to the final set. It would have been nice to have been able to do a whole set of these but I did not think about it until afterwards when my tutor suggested this as a separate body of work. This also illustrates the difference in her physique made by a couple of weeks extra dieting and gym work. The muscles are more defines and she is leaner. Hard work and dedication to her art. Here is Kelley practising and at show:
I am happy now with the final running order and I believe that the narrative is clearer and more coherent as a result of refining the order.