“I’ve worked out of a series of no’s. No to exquisite light, no to apparent compositions, no to the seduction of poses or narrative. And all these no’s force me to the “yes.” I have a white background. I have the person I’m interested in and the thing that happens between us,” Richard Avedon, 1994.
In sticking with the Elephant and Castle regeneration theme, we photographed people at the East Street Market. Our hope was to create an honest representation of the market population, yet still maintain a resemblance of Avedon’s style. We were happy with our results, but we realized that by not controlling the subjects as much as Avedon would have, we lost some of the artistic power in Avedon’s images. We learned a lot by working with a large format camera, and that technique will almost certainly be helpful for our future documentary projects.
We learned we needed to slow down and that means feeling comfortable with the camera and making sure the people know that this is a slow process. We needed to be a bit more selective with our subjects and we needed a larger white backdrop so we could have had flexibility to move the camera and to work with people who were taller or shorter (kids and giants).