For my final project, I will be doing a photo essay called A Morning at the Market, which will display photographs from a morning at the farmers’ market located in Dupont Circle. My essay will focus on the interactions between the customers and the farmers at the market, as well as the beautiful fresh fruits and vegetables that are being showcased and sold there. The idea for my photo essay came from my current college writing class. The topic of my writing class is food in America, and we often read about and discuss the industrial food system of America and the disconnect Americans have with their food. Personally, I believe it is extremely important to be aware of the food one eats and to eat as less as possible from the industrial food system; I am, therefore, a huge fan of eating locally grown food and buying directly from farmers. I believe eating locally is important not only because it connects us to the land, but also because it boosts local economies and relationships.
In my photo essay, I thought it would be great to capture everyday Americans buying locally grown food. I hope that this will display that not all Americans buy their food from the large industrial supermarket chains, such as Wal-Mart or Whole Foods, and that some Americans do care about their food sources. I hope that my photo essay will also show the relationships Americans can have with their food suppliers, or in other words, with the farmers. We, as Americans, often forget that our food actually comes from the earth, but through my photographs of people buying food directly from farmers, I hope to display that people can in fact have a connection with their food. I also hope that I will be able to capture the true beauty of the locally grown food, as well as the added healthfulness and connection to the Earth it possesses.
Now that the concept of my essay is developed, I can move on to my production plans. I know I will have seven images total, with a wide variety of angles and different shots of the people, food, and market in general. I am going to try to have wide angled shots of the market (and perhaps contrast it with the busyness of the city), closer shots of the customers and farmers, and then extreme close-up shots to show the detail of the fruits and vegetables. I know my location as well (the Dupont Circle farmers’ market). And since the market is open from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm I will shoot the photographs in the morning, which is perfect because the lighting is very beautiful and bright during those early hours. The only problem I may run into is the weather, but surely my photo essay would have the same effect even if it were raining or cloudy. Also, the date I plan to go and photograph might pose a small problem. I plan to go on April 24th, which so happens to be Easter Sunday. The market is only open on Sundays, and that is the best Sunday for me to shoot my photographs. I plan to contact someone at the market just to make sure they will be open that Sunday.
Hopefully everything will go as planned and I will be able to take my photographs on Sunday the 24th. And after I shoot my photographs, I plan to edit them slightly on Photoshop. I do not want to edit my photographs so much that they look completely different or distorted, but I will probably enhance the quality of the photographs slightly. This enhancement would include tweaking the contrast, brightness, and saturation of the photographs, as well as cropping some of the images to create a certain affect (if I believe the images need it). I do not want to edit my photographs much more than that, as I want them to be true to what I see at the market. Also, all of my photographs will be kept in color to portray the liveliness and beauty of the farmers’ market.
This concludes the plans for my photo essay. But there is one aspect still left to discuss: my audience. My photo essay will be directed towards many people: everyday Americans, college students interested in food ethics, Americans who do not buy locally grown food, as well as Americans who do buy locally grown food. As far as the Americans who do not buy locally, I hope that my essay will show them that they can have meaningful relationships with their food suppliers. I want to show them that they can be more involved with what they eat, rather than simply buying food products from a grocery store and never learning the true identity of their supplier. Also, by seeing the food I hope that my audience will be inspired to buy more locally grown food. And as for the audience who already buys locally grown food, I hope that they will be able to appreciate my essay and that their beliefs about locally grown food will become even stronger.
Overall, I am extremely excited to create my final project. And since I am not using any artist or piece of artwork as an inspiration, I am very anxious to see how the farmers’ market will inspire me, and therefore inspire my photography. I feel prepared to began my final project, and I believe that everything should go as planned. I truly hope to capture the essence of eating locally and responsibly in my essay, as well as the relationships between people and farmers and the freshness of the locally grown food.