working process

Behind the pose

I sometimes think it is interesting to read how photographers went about photographing someone. I like looking at other's contact sheets because you see a story unfold of the relationship between photographer and subject. You see at what point the photo happened and what preceded and what came after. In the digital era, some photographers might check their shots one after another, but when shooting with film I would see the roll out. That's kind of the beauty of it all. The excitement of developing a film: first relief that the exposure is good, followed by getting a contact which shows that one (hopefully) image that works. Not always, sometimes there's a few good ones, sometimes it's just been missed, but if it's there, it stands out. It is one thing to have a photograph in your head and yet another to realise it. Sometimes intervention is sweet and the person does something unexpected and the image is made.This is what happened to me on Tiree.

Margaret Mitchell Tiree

So, to the story behind this little girl's pose. We were a group a students spending a week on the island of Tiree with the idea of  exhibiting the work that we managed to do during our stay. Being a people photographer, I approached the local school who helped out enormously in co-ordinating parental approval for the children. One child from every year was photographed. I also left film with them to photograph the island, which the art teacher facilitated and kindly sent to me for the exhibition. I liked the idea of involving the children in this project, for them to represent their island rather than me who had only been there one week.

This little girl went for a walk with me in the beautiful sand dunes beside the school. I found a location and asked her to stand in a certain place. I like to see how people react to the camera and as I started to photograph she struck a pose. Pulling out her jogging trouser pockets into a feminised curtsy stance.

When the film the kids shot came down from the school, this little girl had photographed a triangle of sheep which reflected beautifully the triangular sand of the dune.