Shoot 29&29.5 – Where no-one else sits

Scrolling through old browser tabs on my phone I stumbled upon Bill Hayes “The chair pictures“, a photographer and a writer, “a frequent contributor to the New York Times and the author of four books: Sleep DemonsFive QuartsThe Anatomist; and Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and Me.” His casual portraits of people on chairs sparked my imagination: how could I subvert his concept?

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This lead me on string of thought to the quite opposite: the presence of no-one. To empathise this I sought to break with the flat background and bring the chair where nobody sits outside.

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I find that this picture in particular conveys the devoid presence of people: through composition and perspective.

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Coming to the end of the first of the two shoots on chairs, I thought the black background would further empathise the emptiness by washing out the contrast between the chair and background: showing more clearly how people are missing in the presence of the viewer and of myself. In this way the observer might project someone on the chair, filling the void.

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In the second attempt, I further explored the properties of the chair in the same environment. I developed from the first shoot by contrasting even further to Bill Haye’s photographs. By utilising endlessness of the ocean. The striking contrast to the one-dimensional background in Bill Haye’s pictures (which puts more focus on the subject matter) I think makes for a different expression of the same message: longing. While in the first shoot I utilised distance from the actual subject matter to convey longing, the second shoot put more focus on the endless emptiness by putting the ocean in the background, showing just how empty the chair is.

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