Identity Project / Studio Portraits

“Steve” by Matt Hoyle, from his book “Comic Genius”
“Tina” by Matt Hoyle, from the book “Comic Genius”

Essential Questions:

  • What defines you as a person? Is it: Culture? Personality? History? Gender? Your interests or activities?
  • How can the visual medium of photography be used to represent these aspects of identity?
  • What do you wish to share about yourself? What do you wish to keep private? How much can a photographic portrait show about a person?

Directions for Shooting this Assignment:

  • With a partner, shoot one portrait in the studio (our classroom). You will photograph them, and they will photograph you. Others can join in and help, but you and your partner will have a plan and will direct the crew.
  • For this image, think about one specific theme in your life (rather than every aspect of your life–that might be impossible to capture in one image!) You need to bring one prop or clothing item that shows a theme in your life. The quality of the light (direction, intensity, hardness or softness, color) can also help express your personality.
  • You are trying to get one great shot to print large that defines you (or apart of your life). Work until you get it!
  • You will spend 15 or 20 minutes setting up, 20 or so minutes shooting, and the remaining time in class putting the equipment (lights, backdrop, camera, tripod) away.

Directions for your Identity blog post:

  1. Include three images from your photo shoot. You may have a main image and two alternates… 
  2. Write about your identity, and how you expressed it through these images. One 5-7 sentence paragraph minimum. Look back at the essential questions, at the top of this assignment. In your paragraph, answer the following:
    1. What are you showing about yourself in this image?
    2. Why did you make the decisions you did as a photographer for these images?
    3. What was the experience of making these images like for you?
    4. What did you learn about photography and yourself through this project?
    5. Do you like studio portraiture? If so why?
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    Zach by Matt Hoyle, from the book “Comic Genius” (130 portraits of comedians)

Production Packet

Greta Gerwig directs Timothee Chalamet and Saoirse Ronan on the set of “Ladybird”

For your production to be successful, you need to plan the whole production, as well as each shoot. The more questions you answer before you start, the more organized and efficient you will be. For example, do you know exactly what equipment you need? Can all of your crew members and actors make it to your shoot dates? Do you have all important props or costume items with you for each shoot? Which scenes and which shots do you need to get on which days? By writing it all down, you, your crew, and your teacher will be confident that your production will go as well as it possibly can. 

Writer/Director Greta Gerwig working with her cinematographer on the set of “Ladybird”

The film’s Producer turns in bulk of the the information listed below, and is in charge of gathering and writing up all the production information in it. The Writer/Director turns in the treatment and screenplay. The Director of Photography turns in the shot list (written in collaboration with the Director) and storyboard. All of these elements are combined to create the production packet. 

The packet must be bound in a binder or organized in a folder. The production packet itself needs to be typed, clean and professional. 

Your production packet should include:

  • Treatment: a paragraph or two describing your film from start to end. Your treatment should describe the theme, subjects (and their motivations), the story (place, time frame, events), and style. *

  • The most current draft of your screenplay. *
  • List of locations (with any relevant information: transportation to and from, hours you can shoot there, permissions needed or granted, and so on)

  • List of actors (cast, and to be cast)

  • List of props and costumes (be as specific as possible)

  • Equipment list (be as specific as possible–camera, sound, camera mounts, special rigs)

  • Shooting schedule (which scenes are you shooting when; start by breaking down your script into scenes–each new location is a scene)

  • Contact information for all cast and crew; also include their availability (ie “Abby, Director of Photography, available all weekends except first weekend in March, no after school”)

  • Complete shot list for each scene. *

  • Storyboards for at least three scenes (choose the scenes that are the most complex visually and show the style of the film).*

* The writer can add the treatment and current draft of the screenplay to the packet on the due date. The DP  can add the shot list and storyboard to the packet on the due date.

Wes Anderson directing Moonage Kingdom
Writer / Director Wes Anderson shooting a scene from “Moonrise Kingdom”