This is my last project before Christmas now for PEP110. Before starting at the University, my classmates and I were sent an email and in it we were asked to take a photograph of the thing we love the most about where we live. It could be a person, a pet, a place, an object or even the weather. And now that first little project has become the last proper project of the term.
The brief for the project is to upload the image that we took in the form of a blog post and to write a reflection about how you feel looking back at it now that we have completed a whole term at Falmouth.
Here it goes. The image that I chose to take was of my one of my dogs. I would often do photoshoots in my garden with my dogs when the weather was nice just for myself but this time I set out to do one with an aim in mind, to capture an image to take with me to University. The image I settled on was one of my chihuahua Coco (full name: Coco Pops Farrugia Staples). Coco is dog number 10 out of the 11 that I have (yes, I have 11 dogs) and we got her on my 16th birthday, although my birthday is not the reason that we got her, the day we went to get her just happened to fall on that day. Coco is related to three of my other dogs, dog number 1: Sebastian, dog number 3: Princess and dog number 8: Lexi. Coco is Lexi’s cousin and Sebastian and Princess’ niece. We don’t breed any of my dogs, we are merely weak under the power of a cute little face, and two of my dogs are rescues.
Anyway, my dogs are very important to me. The oldest is almost eight years old and the youngest is nearly one year, and the 11 of them are more than just pets, they’re family. Some of my dogs behave differently around me when I pull out a camera. Some refuse to look at me and others can’t get enough attention from the lens. Coco falls into the latter category. I had taken several images of her lounging on an old, wonky bench in my garden that we keep around for the dogs to relax on, then I got closer and decided to call her name. She sat up, ready to pose for her photo to be taken. As I usually do when photographing animals, a genre of photography I am particularly fond of and have had a lot of practice in, I called her name as I took the shot to keep her looking down the lens and she dropped her ears and wagged her tail in excitement at the attention as she stayed sitting on the bench while I did what I wanted to do. As soon as the image was shot, she leapt off the bench and onto me. It’s the little things, like the excitement I read in their body language when I call them, that make them so important to me.
Looking back on the image, and knowing what I’ve learnt as a Press and Editorial Photography student at Falmouth I can see how I would’ve improved the image as I was taking it. I’ve learnt much more about depth of field now and I would’ve made sure that her ears were in focus in the image as well as the bit of her body in the shot possibly as the only her face in in focus as the rest of the background is muted. In a resent image I was taking I paid more attention to depth of field, ensuring that everything that I wanted to be in focus was actually in focus rather than just the section closest to the lens.
Having to reflect on this picture is a bit of a shame, as it reminds me of their absence and my dogs are the only real thing that I miss about being here and not there and it does get lonely without them all around. I have visited back in Kent but only briefly and haven’t had much time to spend with them as my visits have been purposeful and not just because I’ve wanted to. My journey into becoming a photographer has also been heavily based on photographing them, practicing skills and testing out functions with them as my subjects which I haven’t been able to do since coming to Falmouth (instead my Jack Skeleton cookie jar has been my test subject, which hasn’t been as much of a challenge as a hyperactive little dog running all over the place). However the reflection is a good thing, as it has given me a chance to see my progress as the photographer I am now verses how I was back then, as I now know a lot more about my chosen field. I’m looking forward to visiting them for a longer period of time over the Winter break and will enjoy putting my newly learnt skills to use when photographing them.