For senior thesis in the media and communications department at Arcadia University, thesis is split into two parts: the critical analysis and the creative project. In my previous post, Constructing The Perfect Survey, I detailed my experience constructing a survey for the critical analysis part of thesis. In this post, I’ll be documenting the start of the creative project part of thesis.
Creating A Vision
I’ve been brainstorming for this photo shoot for about four or five months now. I had a fantastic vision of how I wanted everything to look and how I wanted to present my participants. I was so excited for this project, and then, about a week or two ago, my vision completely changed. This change happened for multiple reasons. Firstly, I realized my original vision would probably be too expensive to execute. Secondly, my aesthetics shifted, and I felt comfortable taking my vision in a different direction.
In order to find people to participate in the photo shoots, I reached out to everyone who reached out to me about participating in the project. I asked them if they would be interesting in not only being a part of the critical analysis, but also part of the creative project. So far, I’ve only have had half of those participating in the survey agree to participate in the photo shoots. I tried my best to let them know that even if they didn’t want to show their faces, they could still be a part of the creative project. Though no one changed their minds at the time, I hope to follow up with them soon and see if they feel differently later.
I was very excited for the photo shoots, but also very nervous. I was interacting with people in a very intimate fashion that I had never met before. All of the participants have been very nice, which was a major relief to me, but I still had to do my absolute best to make them feel as comfortable as possible. I tried to keep conversation up by asking them about themselves and what they’re doing in their lives. Photo shoots are very personal and intimate events, as normally I need to touch people to guide them to the specific positions I want. In order to try and keep everyone comfortable, I ask them if it’s okay to touch them every time I go to change their position. I also try to move myself and the camera as much as possible so the participant doesn’t have to move or be touched too much.
My major take-away’s from this experience was, firstly, to be flexible. My vision for the photo shoots had to shift after such a long time having my heart set on it, and though I was disappointed my vision had to change, I’m happy with the next idea I came up with. Secondly, during the photo shoots, it’s so important to make your participant feel completely comfortable. As this project is for a college thesis, thesis participants are not paid models, they’re nice people doing me a favor and helping me out. With this, I need to do my absolute best to make sure these people feel comfortable with me and with the project.