Work in Progress

November 18, 2009

My project is all about the Girls’ Brigade and the sort of young women who choose to join such a youth organisation.  We live in a society where such choices are often mocked.  The idea of a ‘brigade’ suggests a cohesive group, matching uniforms, discipline and drilling.  It perhaps suggests leaving aside one’s individuality and embracing ‘the group’, being part of a unit.  The fact that the Girls’ Brigade is Church based – a Christian organisation – adds yet another level of potential division to the mix.  Does choosing to be a member of the Girls’ Brigade mean that you are set apart from the rest of teenage society?

I have chosen to work digitally and to involved the girls in the making of the images.  A camera is tethered to a laptop so that we can see each shot as it is made.  I am in control of when to fire the shutter some of the time; some of the images are the result of a teenage finger on the button.

Originally, I wanted to present pairs of images – one being a formal portrait shot by yours truly, and the second one being made by one of their peers.  It was suggested that this wasn’t a good nor an interesting strategy, so I am now having to rethink.  The girls will be going home with disposable cameras next week and making pictures which say something about their lives and who they are.  Yes, this is not a new idea but it adds another dimension to the project for the girls.  Whether or not these more ‘personal’ images will make it into my final submission remains to be seen!

This is very much the beginning of the portraiture project.  It has taken A LONG TIME to get access and I hope that eventually my patience will bear fruit.