Cameras are commonplace in today’s society, but photographing people tends to illicit a standard pose or facial expression that the subject believes represents their best side. This is prevalent in the use of “selfies” to capture moments and facial expressions.
Everyday Face examines this phenomenon by approaching strangers in the street and asking them to relax and keep their face neutral. By doing so, they reveal themselves at their most natural, as if the camera is not on them. Generally, we do not think about the emotion our expression is conveying unless posing for images, so Everyday Face seeks to examine the faces that people wear when unobserved.
On our neutral faces, we wear the signs of life – tiredness, stress, happiness, worry. By capturing subjects using black and white film, I also hope to take a snapshot of their feelings in that moment.
Below are a selection of the images captured so far on this project.
Everyday Face is the first of a planned series of “One Film, One Subject” – a project concept that works on the principle of shooting an entire roll of film (this first batch was shot on Ilford HP5 Plus 400) and getting 36 keeper shots based around a single theme, topic or idea. This is a way of me stretching my photographic abilities, learning how to shoot film more confidently, and trying out interesting new things.
The concept behind Everyday Face started out life as a portrait practice exercise. Approaching strangers in the street can be a challenge, and asking people “Would you mind if I took your photo?” produced a huge range of responses, ranging from absolute rejection to surprised enthusiasm. It was a hugely beneficial process – not least for the photographs I created whilst doing it, but for the confidence it gave me to approach subjects and be bold. Aside from some physical creases on the tail end of the film, this project was a success – I’ll be posting more of the images in the weeks to come.