Advanced Studio Practice 2a – update – ”Faith and the Calm before the Storm”


Worksheet 3

Conceptualising Words: ‘Faith & the Quiet before the Storm’

Relates to Outcomes: 1, 2, 3 and 4

(see Outcome 3 in research folder for contact sheets and feature on Ingmar Bergman)


Following on from a lecture based on the idea of conceptualising words, we were asked to individually interpret the above words in a visual/photographic context.  I then revisited this experiment focusing on the concept of showing anger or hurt basing my ideas on Ingmar Bergman’s Film Trilogy.

In order to achieve this and create a series of images, I broke the words down into separate categories so that I could build up the subject matters in a visual context when carrying out the required research. I then played around with some ideas allowing my creativity to flow so that I could discover which idea would work the best aesthetically, visually and practically speaking.


When I think of the word, all manner of images spring to mind. Faith is a general term that can mean many things to many people. Theologically speaking, faith to me personally is easily understood. It is literally my faith and belief in God. However, faith from a general perspective can be a personal thing which would fall into a different context entirely; it could for example,  be your faith and belief in your friends or loved ones. My conceptual thinking processes had to decide which of the two (and there are of course many more varieties) to use in my interpretation of the text.

‘’Quiet before the Storm’’:

The phrase conjures up images of a place of refuge where a storm is raging all around but there is a focal point in this image which embodies peace and calm, as if unaffected by the chaos around the subject.

2806 1

2807 1

Method and Presentation:

Given that there are restrictions to the creative process (budget, time, availability of props, location etc), I have envisaged that I could interpret this in several ways, however, I have revisited this concept to advance my thinking and improving on practice.

The Close Profile Concept:

The close profile concept is a simple and uncomplicated concept. Using depth of field, I would create a photograph with low key lighting with an overhead and side effect as the face would be in profile. Make up and messy hair could portray the chaos the person felt, a side profile would reveal lips making a silent ‘sshh’ in order to convey quiet and calmness and a symbol of a cross could simply hang from the person’s hand.

2806 bw

Ingmar Bergman Trilogy of Faith:

Taking inspiration from a film still of an Ingmar Bergman Movie ‘’A Trilogy of Faith’’ there are two ideas that could be conceptualised.

This second inspiration is again reconceptualised and inspired by Bergman’s style and his affinity with his subjects. If I can convey that in my photography I know I will have achieved my aims. The subject matter for this conceptual idea is leaving. The man, dressed in uniform is facing away from the camera. His shoulder and head are the only things revealed about him. He is clearly going away to war. The girl looks at the camera (subsequently placed over his shoulder in close detail) and her faith and belief that he will return is clearly etched in her face.


What were my aims and have I achieved them?

My aims were to establish a series of shots that highlighted the influence of Ingmar Bergman in my work as they are evocative and full of meaning. Although my technical ability have managed to portray this type of imagery successfully I need to keep practising ‘mood’ photography.

What have I done?

Shooting at a separate location using a mock studio I was able to focus on my subject matter rather than thinking of the location in a hurry. Following the influences of Ingmar Bergman, I decided to base my conceptual photography around the idea of a trilogy of faith in order to create a portrait of two people who are faith conflicted in terms of keeping their relationship alive.

I decided to stay with the low depth of field idea and with an ISO of 100 and an aperture of f/2-2.8 placing the camera on a tripod to enable stability. To illuminate the faces a little from the side I used a manfrotto LED light which cast a glow of light to the face of the subjects (especially the eyes). Additionally; using a light meter reader, enabled an accurate exposure, which left the original test image a little overexposed, therefore I subsequently reduced the depth of field and decreased the shutter speed to allow for additional lighting to 1/60th of a second.

What have I got from it?

As Bergman is such an inspiration to me, I have tried to consider what it would have been like working in the film industry with this classic film maker, I have tried to consider this working with this set of images and working in monochrome to reflect more of a mood of the film noir process.

What is next?

To continue to explore my personal influences so that it may convey and impact further on the success of my photography through describing and interpreting a narrative visually.


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