Photographer Kate Woodman Creates A Narrative Story Using Photography | PRO EDU Tutorial

– So War Widow is a project I worked on a couple years ago now, and it’s probably the
first conscious attempt on my part to create an actual narrative. So a set of images that goes together in a particular order and
tells an actual story. The story basically
follows this woman’s life after she finds out that her
husband dies during the war, so I started off with kind of this image of this guy walking to the door. He’s knocking on the door,
about to give the news. I have him facing away. He’s just kind of this
ominous presence here. I really like center compositions, so that’s something that I’ve
played around with in this. This is just kind of
a reverse shot of him, give you some context of
what’s happening here. So he’s coming to deliver the bad news. And this is where she gets the news. So she’s opening the door. It’s kind of this decisive moment. You know, we don’t see her reaction but you can kind of see
in her body language how she’s gonna respond to this. And we’ll see through the
remainder of the images what she feels and kind
of what she goes through. So this was shot in an Airbnb in Portland, so I wanted to have that
timeless classic feel to it, make it feel like it was
kind of set in the era. So a lot of rich, earthy colors, a lot of reds, a lot of
yellows, a lot of greens. I didn’t really go into this with a particular color scheme in mind. This was a little bit before I started getting really into color. The color grade, I tried to
keep it pretty cohesive here and bring a lot of blues
in to those shadows. So this her initial response
after she gets the message. She’s in this yellow space. You know, it’s supposed
to be sunny and bright, but juxtaposing that against
the emotion of this scene where she’s just kind
of stunned and fazed. And she is overpouring her tea kettle, and, you know, this is kind
of my way of introducing those little details
that, again, are small and you may not see them right away but the longer you look at the image, you start at her face,
kind of see her expression, you work your way down and you’re like, oh, okay, she’s kind of losing it. She’s overpouring that tea and
she’s in a bad way right now. In this image, she’s setting the table and basically putting
a shot of her husband onto the chair to emulate
that he’s still there. So she’s trying to
pretend this didn’t happen and she’s in denial about the situation. All right, she is on her way
to her funeral at this point, having a spare moment in her room. You can see the flag behind her. And, again, I just like
the center composition, this moment of solitude to herself. And, again, we got the
blue in the shadows, and the orange in the wall here, so playing with that nice
complimentary color scheme. This is probably my
favorite shot of the series. I love the top down view. I love the context of
everything that’s in the room. His suit is in the bottom corner. We have his tie in the hanger
there, the whole shebang, and she’s just kind of cradling that flag, that last reminder of him. And I really like the perspective on this. The top down approach gives
it a sense of vulnerability. And just another tighter shot of her. I was honestly a little bit inspired by this particular model to do this shoot, because she just looks
like she belongs in the 40s and she was just really
great at being expressive. She had these amazing blue eyes and I think she really nailed this. So this section was shot
on a second day, actually. We went out and filmed the funeral scene. It did happen to be raining that day, which was a nice little detail there. This is just to give some context, so we’re at the church
where the service is held. We have the American flag, it’s dark gray, blue, ominous looking. And I like to kind of
throw in a couple shots in a series if I have time for it that aren’t including characters, just to give a little bit more context that helps break up the story a bit. And now we’re introducing the kids. They’re kind of on their own in this shot, which I wanted to introduce
before our next shot here, which is where our widow is with the kids, so she’s trying to hold it together, but she’s got a tear coming down her face and it’s just a real kind of
vulnerable, emotional moment. And I think the biggest
thing with these shoots is really just trying to
get all of that emotion out there and expressed in the shot. So again, she’s back in her house. She’s having this quiet moment and she’s just falling apart even more. Again, that top down view to kind of give that
sense of vulnerability. I love the blue tones in this. Obviously, blue is a color
we associate with sadness and grief and loss. Just the little detail of
her wearing the nightgown in the tub and just being like,
I don’t even care right now, really kind of drives home
the sadness and the concept. This is her at his grave. It’s kind of open-ended. Is she gonna go more crazy? Is she gonna lose it even more or is this her making her peace and finally going to his grave and coping with the situation? But again, obviously, a very
emotional moment for her. So, yeah, that’s War Widow. It’s a story that’s set
in a certain time period and it’s about coping with
loss in a certain way, but at the same time, it still deals with these kind of
overarching themes of loss, of how you cope with that,
how you deal with that. How you hold it together for your family but also kind lose your shit in moments of solitude to yourself. And I think that’s something that resonates with a ton of people.

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