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ba digital photography london south bank university

Dom Dawkins’ Review of Youth Cultures project

Production Analysis for youth Cultures;
By Dominic Dawkins
The concept of; ‘Youth cultures’ and ‘tribes’ is very broad and can be defined in many different ways, this project demanded a sophisticated overview of the topic and a creative approach. From the beginning of the project, the ideas contributed to project looked beyond an obvious suggestion of how to describe ‘Youth cultures’. At times during the early stages of the project, me and my colleagues struggled for directions to take the project in, and looked into numerous different ideas.
I think that the main problem was that rather trying to visualize how the pictures would look aesthetically; we were focusing on the concept and trying to find solid meanings for youth cultures. After a while working on the pre-production stages of the project, my colleagues and I made a collective decision to allow the project to flow naturally and try to have as much fun as possible with it, while still trying to convey a message about youth cultures, I found this to be the best method to work with and some very interesting images were produced in the first few sessions.
The idea of working with a director of a scene was something that I found to be very productive and gave the work structure, which was reflected in the images.
I was pleased by the amount of input from my colleagues who regularly attended and I feel that we were able to compensate for when some people may not have been available. Obviously the dedication and research made away from our meetings was going to be important to the finished product and being able to communicate with my colleagues away from the meetings was very helpful for the pre-production stages.
When I reflect on the project as a whole I think that the individual concepts look really inventive and produced some quality images.
The week working in the digital gallery was an interesting experience, being the first week working away from our classroom I thought we were all able to cooperate with each other fairly well and the idea of using someone to direct the scene was most notable in this week’s project and the manipulation done on the Mac being streamed onto the projector made for some very interesting looking pictures and added some surrealism to the scene. I think everyone enjoyed this particular week and although at times the purpose was a bit confusing, the ends justified the means with the quality of the work.

The re-enactment of the Napoleonic war was the next scene that we experimented with, this required much more research and planning than the previous scene but was potentially the most successful week. Working in highly populated public areas is always tricky due to a limited amount of space and time, and especially when you are dressed in a strange outfit pretending to be dead on the floor this can attract a lot of attention, my colleagues coped with this really well and got into character to the point that they weren’t aware of the attention of others, this made it easier for the photographers of the scene to work more confidently.

The next scene that myself and my colleagues worked on was in the ‘mock hospital’ room, the amount of props in this room allowed a lot of scope for creativity and there was much planning applied to the content of the scenes which included sketches detailing the positions of individuals and props in the scene. We had fun with this re-enactment although there were some scenes which were a little uncomfortable and tedious. Ultimately the pictures reflected out initial vision of what to produce so it was obviously pleasing to have the results we did.
Working on the ‘Party’ was an interesting experience, there was a very laid back atmosphere and I how wonder productive this week was towards the eventual project. There were some really interesting costumes coupled by once again working in the digital gallery, which has a unique lighting system. I feel that this week suffered slightly from having a few less colleagues to work with than usual and less planning into the content of the work.
Of all of the scenes that I worked on this semester, my personal favorite was the fancy dress week which included shooting in the garage. This was a really surreal project and once again the group responded well to working in the public. Those of us taking photos were all able to produce some real quality images because of the strange environments we chose to shoot in, the shots of my colleagues coming out of the Black Taxi were my favourites.
To summarise, although I had early scepticisms about the eventual quality of this project and how the work would look, I think on reflection, it looks really interesting and the hard work applied by a few of my colleagues contributed heavily to the eventual quality of the project and an interesting view on youth cultures.

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blog for Photographic Index, BA (Hons) in Digital Photography at the London South Bank University.

Key words: youth (sub) cultures, archives, performance, art, photography

youth cultures

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