FMP Conceptual Research & Shoot Plan (Experimental Shoot 1)

As part of our Final Major Project it is important that we show development of our idea throughout the project to show that we understand the project and that we also understand the concepts of our ideas and we know how to develop them.

To show development in our ideas we have been asked to plan a conceptual shoot as part influenced by an artist that we have researched. This shoot isn’t used to develop our skills it is develop our idea and the concept of our project/idea further.

When choosing artist as a base for my shoot it was important that I kept it as close to my idea as possible to make sure that I didn’t go off topic too much and that I stayed well in the region of my idea and my topic. This is so I could sufficiently conceptually develop my idea further.

As I am focusing on news stories and the news for my project along with Joiners I decided that I needed to choose an artist that works closely with the news and represents news stories and headlines in a way that not only is slightly abstract, but they represent them in a way that is clear to the audience along with getting their creative aspect of the project across too. Throughout the artists I have already researched I haven’t found someone that meets this criteria so I went on to do some further research and analysing to try and find someone that would meet the criteria and be suitable as research for my conceptual shoot plan. The professional term for someone who works both in the news and photography is a photojournalist.

As part of research for this shoot I looked through a variety of different photojournalists work to see which photographers work stood out to me the most and which persons work approaches the subject well and represents it well. The reason I chose to look for work this way is because it was some of the criteria given to us as a brief for this research and shoot plan. The photojournalist that I chose to study for this part of the project is called Tyler Hicks.

Artist Research

Tyler Hicks

Tyler Hicks is a Photojournalist who works shooting for the ‘New York Times’, which over in the states is one of the most popular newspapers to date. He began working for the newspaper back in 1999 as a contract photographer where he shot multiple news stories in East and West Africa. After doing this for just over 2 and a half years he moved on from shooting news stories in Africa and began shooting and documenting the war which at the time was so hard hitting in Afghanistan. He did this for many years documenting the wars and the Taliban control for the ‘New York Times’ and ever since he has left he has returned every year and documented the changes and the development in the situation since he moved to there back in 2001. Compared to other photojournalists that I researched I found Tyler Hicks to be the most influential as the work that he does within the news and the press focuses more on the hard hitting news stories and the stories that have been happening and continuing for many years. Where as other photojournalists I found focus on the more conventional news stories that everyone knows about and always seem to be covered daily in the media. These are things like Politics, The EU, Brexit and also local news like murders, attacks and police related topics. However the work that Tyler Hicks covers and works on is more hard hitting and he creates really meaningful images that show the true reality of the wars happening in Afghanistan and Syria and also shows the effect it has on the people living in those sort of places for example he has documented the happenings and the development of the migrant crisis between Syria and The U.K/France. In terms of photojournalism not many photojournalists that I found cover stories this hard hitting and they focus more on the conventional news broadcasted. The way he shoots his images is what drew me into his work further than others that I looked at, some photojournalists that I found did cover subjects similar to Tyler Hicks, but however the way they shot them was completely different to his and I felt that they made the subjects look a lot less worse than they actually are. From the news coverage that we have seen we know that things like the Afghanistan war and the migrant crisis are serious issues that are always developing and at this point in time they don’t seem to be getting better. However the way that they are shot in the media don’t represent this very well and the images don’t hit you as hard as the news coverage does. But the work of Tyler Hicks shows these news stories in just a hard hitting way as the news stories do. Sometimes in the news they shows video clips of the developments in Syria and the surrounding areas affected by the war and these are the types of things that hit the people hardest and it can really effect some people, his images are very similar to the video clips that they play and you know that some photographers wouldn’t get as close to that position as others as they want to stay safe. The key thing to becoming a photojournalist is that in order to get the most effective images that people will be interested in you have to take risks which is something that Tyler Hicks does very well. In some of his work it is almost like he has gone into a video clip they have shown on the news and photographed everything happening there. A piece of work that really interested me was one of his images documented from the migrant crisis currently happening in Syria this is the image.


This image shows a number of migrant refugees making there to the shore of Lesbos in Greece. The concept and the purpose of this image are to show the emotions and situations of the people going through this crisis. The thing that stood out to me most about this image is the person that he has focused on in the image. The person his has focused on in the image is the young looking boy in the foreground of the image who looks very distressed and upset that he is in this position. Even though you don’t actually know what he is thinking you can take a good guess that he may have lost his family, that he many be scared or that he may be worried for his life and how he is going to get himself to safety. The way the image is shot is also key too and the way that he has taken the image shows the amount of emotion on his face that you don’t normally get from a video clip on the news it also shows the people around him and the fact that he has chosen this one person out of the possible hundreds in the same situation shows that he may have thought that this one person stood out to him and his emotions may have struck him in comparison to others around him. This image is a prime example of how he approaches his subjects and his shoot locations with an creative mind and his creativeness during these shoots is what makes his images so hard hitting compared to those of other photographers that have covered the same or similar subjects. I will take this as influence for my project and my idea as it has shown me a different approach to photojournalism, in the way of showing the true story behind the news. As I am focusing on news stories for my project I think that this is a key thing for me to take influence from as it can help me make the news stories that I choose to study as real as possible and not add anything to them that could make them look ‘fake’ in any way. This part of my research has shown me to take the right approach towards a news story.

Another Piece of his work that is really hard-hitting and really interested me is;


The reason that I found this image hard hitting is because of what is happening in the image. As you can see there is a person who has been killed lying in his or her own pool of blood on the floor and this is the person that the photographer has focused on. The things that are happening around this person and the fact of where they are makes the situation that all of the people living there are in like a normal thing and the death of someone and the fact that they have been left lying dead in the middle of a shop floor makes it seem like they have got used to the fact that lots of people are being killed because of the war. The way the person looks too also shows that he hasn’t been given any medical attention or has been seen by anyone. You can tell this because the blood on the floor is quite dry and his body is already starting to rot and turn black. Another thing that stuck out to me in this image is the other man standing in the front of the image. The fact that he is going to walk straight past the person dead on the floor shows the difference between the two enemies. In some photojournalism images you don’t really get to see the enemies together in the same image and in this sort of situation either it becomes very hard hitting that they are in this position. I think that the content and the concept of this image I can take in and use as influence for my project. For example if I was to focus on a news story where there was a victim and an enemy involved then I can take influence from this image and try and represent there hate and the divide as best as I can like Tyler Hicks has done in this image.


This is another image of Tyler Hicks that really stood out to me because of the subject and also the way that it is shot shows a powerful message. I like the way that the three men in the image are grouped together behind what seems to be a big wall. Two of the men you can clearly see have guns in there hand which makes it seem like they are a part of some form or war or fight were they are. The way that they photographer has shot these people together makes it seem that they are alone where ever they are and its just them that are there. Also something else that is really interesting about the image is what they are doing and where they are looking. The way the sunlight and the mountains have been shot on the other side of the wall makes it seem that over the wall is like an escape from them and the light makes it seem that where they are looking out to is a happy place and it can be completely different to the problems they are facing and the lives that are living at the moment in time. All of these things in this image the photographer has used to create a really powerful image with a really deep and meaningful hidden message that you may not be able to tell at first sight but as you go through the image and analyze it, this message becomes really clear. This image has really inspired me to use the same sort of concept in my own work. For example if I focused on a news story that the media portray to be all bad I could create and image like this to show that there is another side to the story and that there is good over the bad.


This image I found during an image search online for Tyler Hicks. When I found this image I didn’t know what the situation with the people in the image was. When I looked further into the image and the story behind it I found that he had done a documentary series on the families who had their houses destroyed dying the Israeli Airstrikes. Once I had read this story the image became clear to me and what the meaning behind it was. The two people in the image look like a farther and son sitting in the remains of their house that has been destroyed. I think the simplicity of this image is what makes it powerful and meaningful. You don’t need to add anything to this image to add to the emotion because the situation their in and there surroundings adds to the emotion of the image. Like the house remains in the image they feel destroyed and their emotions are probably very raw at the time the image is being taken. From initially looking at their emotions they look very lost and empty like all of the life has been sucked out of their bodies. I think that the way they are sat and positioned obviously stood out to the photographer for him to choose them. Obviously at that time there was a lot of people that were in the same situation as them so them themselves must have stood out to him a lot for him to choose them as his subject. This image has show me that even in terms of news photography and news stories you can still make the whole image minimalistic and take a good image. I will definitely be taking this into consideration for my final major project and shoot.

Shoot Plan

For my conceptual shoot based on my artist research I am going to try and choose a few different news stories that are currently the most popular and use the aspects of photography and photojournalism that I have found from my research have a shoot based around it. I will be working on two different news stories and using these news stories I will use the four aspects I have found from these images and incorporate them together to create my target of 36 images.

The news story that I will be focusing on is, Murder&Violence.

For this news story I would like to incorporate the headlines and also some key images from the news stories and the papers. I will display these in a variety of different ways to show develop meant throughout my shoot and I can then include this in my shoot evaluation to show how I have used my initiative throughout my shoot to change the way I have positioned my work and experimented different ways of doing so. I will get my materials from newspapers that I have myself and also images and news headlines printed from the Internet that I can use.

As I am working using magazines for my final shoot I will also be incorporating this into this experimental shoot in order to make it as relative to my project as possible. I will use different scenarios of the stories along with the different aspects I have found from the images. The equipment that I will need to use for this shoot will be;

  • Camera with 18-55mm lens
  • Tripod
  • Magazines and Newspapers

As I am just using magazines and newspapers in my images I won’t need to use a model for my images and the content of the newspapers and magazines will be the sole subject of my image.

The way that I will lay my images it will be in a collage/Joiner style format as I need to be able to practice how to make a joiner and how to set one up. This will also help to develop my technical skills also as a technique that I really need to learn for this shoot is how to set up a Joiner. I think that it is good for me to practice this skill and learn this skill so that when it comes to my final shoot I will know exactly how to set my different shots up

After I have taken my images for my shoot I will then put them onto a contact sheet and evaluate them. After evaluating them I will then state how I can move forward from this part of my project and how my shoot has helped to develop my idea and also my skills.

From this shoot I hope to learn the different ways I can play around with news stories and newspapers. Also how I can use different aspects from other photojournalists work to help me. From this shoot I hope to be able to plan other experimental shoots that not only focus on the concept side of things but the technical side of things and how I can develop my technical skills. I think that doing this will help to make my images a whole lot better and I all know how to technically set up my images before I go shoot them.

I think that the research that I have done will really help me to develop my idea as a key part of development in this project is to show that you are experimenting and going others things and practicing things in order to make sure that you have the best chances in your final shoot as possible. Even though this isn’t the only part of research that I have done/will do I still feel that this part has really helped me to develop my idea further as I was able to plan an experimental shoot as a result of it.


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