In my day job this week I have been training people about how communication can be affected by prejudice, that is to say once we have made an assumption about the content of a message we tend to focus more on finding evidence to confirm our assumption than keeping an open mind and listening to the full story (which may confirm or confound that assumption).
Of course that doesn’t make me any less guilty of pre-judging, but I think I probably recognise it in myself more immediately.
Sunday’s shoot was a case in point. Of the five models present, I had shot two before. Jemma, who featured in yesterday’s post was working the first time I visited “The world-famous Bananastudio” when erotic photographer John Tisbury was the guest running the workshop. Shortly after that I returned, this time to learn from fashion photographer John Barone. Both of the Johns had brought the same model to work with, the never-ending pose machine that is Iveta Niklova, but she was joined on each occasion by more local girls.
One of those working the Barone shoot was Jenny, and I have to say I was disappointed with the results I achieved shooting her that day. Not through any fault on her part I’m sure. She took direction well. It’s just a shame that I don’t give direction well!
On Sunday I struggled again with Jenny, still not really sure how to get the best from her. Part of the challenge of course was the white dress she was wearing in the extremely dirty environment, but something else was at play. Subconsciously I was recreating the difficulties of the first shoot.
What made it worse was that because I had shot other models in the morning, there wasn’t really much time to work with Jenny, particularly as she had a train to catch mid-afternoon which added to the pressure. I think I shot less than a dozen poses with her. Very disciplined of me. I knew I had nailed on shot, but didn’t expect much more.
My preconceptions were shattered then when I came to process the results. Shame we didn’t have more time.