photography, Western Michigan University

Mandy Hess



Mandy Hess
ART 3470 Digital Photography I
digital print
20 Image total


[v. ahy-suh-leyt; n., adj. ahy-suh-lit, -leyt]
-to set or place apart; detach or separate so as to be alone.

In an attempt to express different womens experience of isolation, I asked 10 different models to talk with me and explain places or situations in which they feel isolated. The common thread was hearing experiences of being afraid, unaccepted, or uncomfortable in the places they were in. As women in a patriarchal society, we are constantly told where we belong, how we should look and feel, and what will happen to us if we do not follow these given limitations. The series “In Isolation” attempts to take back the places each of these women felt most vulnerable and isolated in by placing them into the given spaces by choice.

14 thoughts on “Mandy Hess”

  1. Conceptually, “In Isolation” is a great project that brings that voices of women in the forefront. The two prints shown above bring light to the feelings of isolation. This can be seen through the subject putting their hands in their pockets, and the expression on their face. The wide shot image also emphasizes that feeling.

  2. Taking each of these women back to the place that they felt most vulnerable is a great way to capture genuine emotion from your models, as I’m sure they reflect upon their experience in that place. So happy to see more of your series!

    The model’s face in the second image has a strong glow that does not feel like it fits your concept – the left side of her face is too bright, making it appear a bit airbrushed – the shadows in the first image fit much better with your theme of isolation, as it feels more natural and vulnerable. If there were shadows on her face in originally in the first image, I’d suggest leaving them there!

  3. In terms of exposure I think you really nailed these images. The light spreads so smoothly across all areas of both photographs. Compositionally, however, I feel that paying attention to the background of the images could make for stronger end results. This is mostly the case with the top image; I find the top light to be too distracting and my eye goes there first.

  4. Isolation is a great way to start a dialogue between models and their feelings. While we may look up to them, they may have other issues that we don’t see.

    Formally, I like the way the three bulbs in the top photo point to her head, but I don’t like the placement of the one right next to her head. It’s a little too bright and close, which distracts from the actual focus. However, I do like the emptiness in both images and the feeling of isolation

  5. I really enjoy your take on this concept of isolation. I think that you successfully executed the concept both technically and aesthetically. First off, I love how there is confidence in her eyes but her hands (hidden away in her pockets) show her insecurities. I also think the use of composition, which forces you too realize the emptiness of the place around her, mimics the feelings of someone who is isolated. Honestly, everything about these pictures screams isolation but somehow also the confidence she had to beat it.

  6. These images are strong as a portrait series but seem to not agree with your statement with isolation. They feel to placed, and stiff for it to be part of statement that you have for your images. I agree with others about the lightening and maybe going for something a little more dramatic especially if your dealing with a subject as intense as isolation. Overall these images are great in it self but I feel that you can achieve more through the composition of the photographs.

  7. Beautiful depth of field in that first image. Great lighting, although her face seems to be glowing a bit too much in that second image. As far as the feelings of isolation you are trying to portray, very well done.

  8. Hi Amanda,

    Great concept for a project. The first image is really stunning. I saw it before I read your description. At first I thought I didn’t want the woman to look at the camera/viewer so directly. The I read the project description and realized how important it is for her to be looking/confronting/taking back the feel of the space.

    The (telephoto?) lens works well. I was thinking the background could even be softer in the first image. More cinematographic with a very extreme close up and blurred out background, contrasted with the longer shot format.

    Nice job! Keep up the great work. Look forward to seeing what you do next.

    Best Regards,

  9. I love the placement of the figure. The way she almost replicates one of the street lamps. You do a nice job of directing the viewers eye through the photo.

  10. I think the concept your dealing with here, isolation, is really tricky to capture, but you did a great job here! You captured the feelings of the woman really well in each photograph by making her the only subject we focus on. I also really enjoy that she looks right at the camera, because it makes it more personal between the audience and the piece.

  11. i think this is a really interesting concept and i would love to see more of it. on the top photograph be careful with your composition, i feel that the light is too close to her head, which is distracting. i personally prefer the bottom image’s composition.

  12. These images so real emotion in a simplistic manner. Her expression, especially in the first image, goes along with your theme well. It portrays a sense of isolation and the fear and, oftentimes, sadness that goes along with it. The lighting is done really well. I especially like the way the light is reflecting off of the puddle in the second image. The shadowing in the second image also is captured really well.

  13. I love the concept behind this project! Great lighting and exposure. The composition is well done in the 1st photo, but in the 2nd photo it could be a bit better. Other than that, these are really effective images!

  14. It’s a very good concept. I do, however wish there was a little more variation in pose. I like the up close and far away shots, but I think it would be nice if a little more had changed with her body positioning. Nice Work!

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