We began with ideas of complex architectural designs and people working in a machine-like space. The theme then moved to the construction of an extreme environment that would not exist in real life. We wanted to move away from the organic to a more rigid and strict composition.
On the first day of shooting, we brought steel wires and wooden rectangular prisms. We placed the wooden blocks some distance apart in a fashion that resembled totem poles. We then surrounded them with the metal wires in an attempt to find common ground between what we each brought to the project. The final addition of bookstands jumpstarted our idea. We brought more wooden pieces and rubber figures to the next meeting. Through experimentation of different compositions, we ended up with the theme of construction. As we explored the various setups, the idea of cityscapes emerged repeatedly. We eventually narrowed this concept to the abstract reconstruction of a city that has been struck down by a natural disaster (say, a flood or an earthquake). In such an event, the inhabitants would have recycled the rubbles to save money and time. So naturally, we decided to perform our reconstruction using found objects. Since city reconstruction does not only include the reuse of rubbles but also the implementation of new objects, we chose to create new forms as well, namely the assemblage of organic landscapes using small wood squares that served as the background. We also realized that the need to have people in the scene was also eminent to the concept, as a shattered city cannot be rebuilt without the community.
We faced a few technical difficulties in taking the photographs. In particular, finding the right F-stops and shutter speeds after adding the filter proved to be an issue. We showed our biggest strength in handling the cameras. The manipulation of the camera was our most interesting advancement; the camera itself became a composition of sorts as we moved it in all direction to find ways to take the most interesting pictures. At one point, we removed the camera from the tripods, turned it upside down, placed it on the table, and made all the adjustments to the bellows in order to take the necessary shots.
Since we wanted to simulate different day light conditions (morning, noon, sunset, evening) our lighting technique was very interesting. We used cardboard to block light, semi-closed barn-doors to direct light, umbrellas to filter light, and reflectors to project deflected light and channel it onto certain core areas of the setup. We also intentionally chose lighting conditions that would project interesting shadows (a cross) of important structures (skyscraper) of our setup.
Finally, we decided to not only use the objects, but also the platform itself as a material to compose our city. Instead of using a backdrop, we chose the wooden board as the platform because it resembled the theme of the overall construction. Complete with the right lightening angles, we created a triangular shadow just below the platform. This elevated the whole piece, making it float as though defying gravity, creating the illusion of something that is physically impossible.
Working with a partner was very productive. The sharing of ideas was vastly fruitful. The disagreement and agreement of ideas enhanced the production of the work all together. We learned little things about the process of photography from each other that we would have otherwise never learned. The height of the project was when we found our work developing into exactly what we wanted it to be. Photos and videos of laughter and (in some cases) rapping proved that our tireless effort came to a joyful ending.