Western Michigan University

Kirsten Book-Anthony

Kirsten Book-Anthony
Art 5480: Photography Workshop
Digital Print; 11″ x 17″
Series of 8 Images

My current work socially studies human behavior and how others really live as opposed to their public persona. We may see someone on the street, and think they live a certain way, but if given the chance to glimpse into their private world, most would be surprised at how they live. By keeping the work as anonymous as possible, the viewer can draw his or her own conclusions as to who the person inhabiting it might be.

I enter the space with a few ideas about what I want the picture to look like compositionally, but a lot of times, it is just spontaneous. I don’t move things around in the room, because I think it would ruin the whole point of my concept. I am just documenting how that person exists in the space, and if I moved anything in that room, it would detract from the point that I am trying to make.

We judge others so much from face value and first impressions, but really have no idea who they are, until we can get a look at how they live behind closed doors.

7 thoughts on “Kirsten Book-Anthony”

  1. I really like your concept behind these photos. The idea of what we show to the world and our personal space is very strong. I think it is a good decision to not change the space when you enter it. My only criticism would be that the compositions are a little static. I think you could try experimenting with different perspectives or angles. I’d also like to see them in black and white but that might just be personal preference.

  2. Haha! It’s funny that you said that, because all of your suggestions that you offered, I have been told that this way is better. I was shooting with angles and perspective, but with this documentary sort of concept, I don’t want to give one thing more importance then something else. I want it to be flat like that, and color is important because it gives the image authenticity. You can get a glimpse of someone’s color choices in their homes. I have some black and white posted further down, if you want to take a look at those. I don’t think they work as successfully as color.

  3. Your photos remind me of where I started out 2 years ago on my MFA project. Apparently midwesterners think alike!

    I haven’t looked at your other work but I can say that lighting is key. Night vs. Day light can create very different effects and change the concept completely. I’m sure you’ve received advice about this already but it’s paramount. Especially given that many houses have light sources that create high contrast.

    With risk of being completely cliche, as I get this question all the time, what made you choose to photograph without people if you are documenting how they exist in their space?

  4. I thought the same thing when I posted your images! Ha! Lighting is a big problem for me currently. It’s hard to not bring in my own light source to get cohesive lighting, but I stand by my decision to not leave my fingerprint in the scene. I choose to not have the people in them, because I want it to be anonymous from the viewers standpoint. I know who lives there, and I like being the only one who does; in other words, I want the viewer to try and figure it out instead of me telling them. I hope that makes sense! 🙂

  5. Good use of natural lighting and good job on getting your message across.
    In regard to keepin it anonymous, I think that perhaps if you had just shown a part of of human, such as the legs, that it would have been able to remain anonymous but still allowed the viewer as though they could place themselves in the portrait as well.
    Also, as stated earlier by Evan, I would have liked to have seen different angles or perspectives rather than the straight-on point of view.

  6. I think everyone should take pictures of their piles of crap. They’re beautiful. Or maybe you could be that person for everyone.

  7. I really love the concept behind these pieces. You never can judge a book by its cover! I like the natural almost candid look to these photographs, but I do think there could be an improvement on the lighting. I also appreciate that you do not stage these photographs or move things around. I agree that the straight-on perspective helps to covey a sense of portraiture instead of focusing on any one item as more important than the other.

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