A1 - Two sides to a story, A1: Research, planning & ideas

A1 – Two sides to a story: Research, planning and ideas


This assignment is designed to give your tutor a feel for your work and won’t count
towards your final grade if you decide to have your work assessed. However, the assessors
may wish to see it so that they can gauge your progress across the course.
Create at least two sets of photographs telling different versions of the same story. The
aim of the assignment is to help you explore the convincing nature of documentary,
even though what the viewer thinks they see may not in fact be true. Try to make both
sets equally convincing so that it’s impossible to tell which version of the images is ‘true’.
It might be interesting to consider the project as evidence for a court case. What
conflicting stories can you make your images convincingly tell? Would it stand up in

Choose a theme and aim for 5–7 images for each set, depending on your idea. Discuss
this with your tutor.
Here are a few ideas:
• You could interpret this brief by showing the same scenario from two different
angles. Does this alter how we read the situation?
• You may wish to create an alter ego by using snapshots of yourself or a friend. This
could involve photographing them in two very different and potentially conflicting
• You could make a parody of a dating website profile picture. Create different versions
of the same person looking completely different in each one. Which one represents
them best and how can we know?

Or you may prefer to use your own take on the theme. However you choose to interpret
the brief, ensure the images are candid and ‘taken from real life’. Be experimental and
take some risks. Perhaps you could make a list of ideas and choose the most challenging
or absurd option to stretch yourself.
Send your sets of images to your tutor by the method you’ve agreed. Include an
introduction of 300 words outlining what you set out to do and how you went about it.
Also send to your tutor the relevant pages of your learning log or your blog url.
It’s good to get in the habit of printing your work so try to send prints to your tutor where
possible. This is not obligatory but will help when it comes to assessment. Developing
your prints in order to achieve the best results is a long process so it’s best to start now.

Initial thoughts

I have a habit of reading the assignment briefs, thinking of a subject and going with it, instead of coming up with numerous ideas first. For now on, I will start thinking a lot more beforehand. I also change my mind a lot which can be really frustrating.

Initially, I wanted to capture two sides of my daughter. She has additional need’s and is currently on the ASD pathway. I wanted to capture the very rare calm side of her and then the second side showing her difficult behaviour. I thought this would be a really good idea with regards to the images taken from real life. It is impossible to pose my daughter or give her direction.

Then however, I had the chance of being my sisters birthing partner. Like many photographers I like to take my camera everywhere so of course I took my camera to the hospital. I began documenting her birth story, at the time, purely for her personal use.


It wasn’t until I was viewing the photos in Lightroom that got me thinking about using them for this assignment. I believe the planning stages is where I lack the most. I seem to get an idea for an assignment and just go with it without proper planning. This is something I need to improve on with further assignments.


Knowing I was my sisters birthing partner and the chance of me taking my camera, I researched into different birth photographers beforehand. I wanted to capture good angles and lighting. I could not find any famous birth photographers so I ended up looking for inspirations on Social Media sites.

I enjoyed looking at the work of Lennart Nilsson. Although not relating to birth photography specifically, I found it fascinating how he captured the foetus before birth.

I also looked at Anne Geddes who’s most famous for her baby photography. I wanted to look at the emotions she captured within her images. I also took note on her editing. However, her work is portraiture and I wanted a more documentary approach.

From here, I decided to look into photojournalism photographer Sally Mann. She is known for taking black and white images of her children in real situations without censors. I really like the intimacy and the realism of her images. This is the approach I wanted to take.


http://www.annegeddes.com [Accessed 01/04/2020]

http://www.lennartnilsson.com/en [Accessed 01/04/2020]

http://www.sallymann.com/ [Accessed 01/04/2020]

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