Prior to my first shoot and meeting at the church in Cheltenham, I have filled out my Risk Assessment Form and sent it to my course leader so they are aware of where I will be and any dangers or problems can be addressed beforehand. The map above shows the google maps location of where the location for majority of my shoots will be. It is about a 20 minute drive away from where I currently situated. I will be driving to majority of my shoots due to having lots of kit with me, and because this gives me greater freedom of movement in terms of time management. Also being able to drive to location gives me greater ease of access because I can get to my location as and when I need to without worrying about being late.
Once at the location, my plan is to meet up with the Minister of the Church, Richard, and discuss with him what my options are for shooting during services and what restrictions may be in place. I am also hoping to be able to get to know members of the congregation on this first trip so they are more comfortable with me and my presence. This will allow me to develop a rapport and make it easier to get more natural shots without making people feel uncomfortable. It may be a good idea to introduce myself in the first instance so that everyone is aware of the project.
During the service, depending on the restrictions, I would like to get some establishing shots as overviews, so I can see what I am working with in terms of lighting, location and also subjects. I would also like to start getting some photographs and portraits depending on whether people are comfortable with me doing so. I think the main purpose of this first excursion will be to make sure people are comfortable with me and don’t see me as a threat because I want to be able to convey the narrative of the place as best I can. Also I think that people’s backgrounds and stories will be key to the telling of the narrative in this place and so developing a rapport with them is important.
This primary shoot will give me an idea of what I’m working with and subsequent shoots I conduct will be more informed and I will be able to adapt my travel itinerary depending on what I want to get on the day, for example video or certain shots depending on feedback and what I am missing from the sequences. This will inform whether I just attend church services or if I can attend other events too.
At the moment I understand there are services at 10:30am on Sundays and also at 6:30 Sunday evening, so I’d like to attend both and see what the differences are, photographically in terms of light and otherwise in terms of what differences are between the two services. I’ve also been informed that there is a ‘Messy Church’ every four weeks that takes place on a Tuesday at 5:30 which would be good to attend to see people outside of the Church itself but still engaging with religion. This would also be a good way to get people used to me as a photographer and seeing me around.