The Leah Berry Project

September 7, 2009

2 weeks ago (?) I was asked to pull a name out of a hat in my alternative processes class. I was to photograph this person for two weeks .

Leah Berry was the name I pulled.

Leah and I werent ‘B.F.F.’S’ but we were just acquaintances either.  We were somewhere in the middle. I’ve gotten to know Leah a bit better with every photo session I’ve had with her.


Our first photo sessions were a bit ‘dry’ . Everytime I would attempt to take a photo my subject would ask ‘what I was doing?’ or often times I would hear “Courtttt! Why are you taking my picture?” as if she didnt know. I think It just took us some time to get acclimated to taking pictures of one another. I attempted to catch my subject when she didnt notice, but she always caught me, maybe I just wasnt as sneaky as I had thought.

Leah Berry

Got to love those water marks that I have yet to make magically disapear.

I shot Leah using mainly my ‘new’ and trusty Nikon FM2 ( which I found this summer on craigslist in buffalo for a steal , and was worth 2 hour trip up there) I also took some digital pictures using both my handy digital camera and cell phone ( when I would attempt to be coy and shoot leah while she wasnt looking) But in an unfortunate turn of events I lost a good 30 some pictures of Leah, while I was without much sleep, attempting to delete photos off my flash drive, and accidentaly deleted them off my SD card instead, without having uploaded them to my computer. I am almost glad , now, that I made this mistake. I dont think I was very satisified with any of those pictures anyway.

The morning I woke her up.

The morning I woke her up.



I’ve asked Leah a few questions like:

Whats the most awkward situation you’ve ever been in?

Best and worst childhood memories ?

Whats the best peice of ‘art’ you’ve ever created? ( could be interpreted loosely of course)

What is something that most people wouldnt know about you?

But I found all of these questions to be extremely cliche. I felt some of hers were too ( except the “what kind of animal would you be” I had fun with that one) . Were we not asking questions that would yeild good answers because we were afraid that they would be posted for the world to see? I feel comfortable with Leah, enough so that the questions we did ask , we mutually decided to keep confidential from the world wide web( or at least the juciy ones) .

I also found she wasnt asking me questions that I wanted to be asked, I deeply wanted to tell her all the quirky things about me, such as my mild obsession with type II vw vans and volvo wagons, my ability to cut off my whole pinky toe nail, Or how my friends will often times refer to me as a ‘magpie’ or ‘bag lady’ ( I seem to be a magnet for a vast array of ‘useful’ objects , they just seem to pop up everywhere I go). So I asked Leah…

What question would you want me to ask you?

I felt that our responses to each others ‘questions’ didnt really matter, but instead it was the casual questions, the ones that I didnt document such as ” what did you do last night” or “what are you making for dinner?” that really made me learn about Leah. It was through these that we became closer as friends and more open to each other . It was also through the tangets we got caught up while trying to ask each other questions , that our true personalities were discovered.



In front of Leah's stomping ground: Bartlett

In front of Leah's stomping ground: Bartlett

Also on one one occasion I dragged one of my roommates along on the ‘photo shoot’. I found this was helpful in a few ways. For one , it introduced someone new in the mix and created a different dynamic, and two it distrated Leah enough for me to capture her without her giving me a look to kill behind my camera. (above) A few other times we had ‘visitors’ and I enjoyed the more ‘playful’ outcomes.

Dana attacks a defenseless Leah

Dana attacks a defenseless Leah

I would love to shoot leah in some Fuji film peel apart instant film. especially since I have yet to test out my polaroid big shot ( a fix focal lens polaroid camera that Andy Warhol was said to use often) But money and time always seem to be issues. Maybe I’ll order some tomorrow from B&H photo, or maybe I’ll choose tobuy some food with my money instead…

Im going off on a tanget and I have yet to do my art history so I leave you all with one last image of Leah.

That double exposure button is just too tempting at times...

That double exposure button is just too tempting at times...


8 Responses to “The Leah Berry Project”

  1. michaelchernoff said

    Hey Courtney are the double vision photos you took of Leah done on the computer or did you rewind a role of film and reshoot so you have layered negatives? I wana know please?

  2. courtneywilcox said

    Mike, I have a double exposure ‘button’ ( its more like a tab) on my camera. if you push it while you go to advance the film it tricks the camera into thinking it did advance, but the film does not move..thus allowing you to take another shot. Its handy because you dont have to shoot a whole roll and then reshoot.

  3. margotj8 said

    I like your double exposures and the one where Leah’s in front of that bush, it’s just very dynamic ha ha ha. Nice work, you had a lot of good things to say and some good advice!

  4. I can tell you are looking for something with your pictures now, that’s what counts the most. Some nice ones here too…..

  5. danapastusec said

    ………I had no idea you took a picture of me attacking Leah… I guess that’s a trick of a good photographer, eh?! 😉

  6. Don’t forget that your blog is a weekly assignment. Even if I don’t mention it in class, you can always be working on documenting your processes.

  7. Ben said

    so i think you have thought out your connection to your subject a lot which is great in connecting but i need to see it more. the top one seems to be the most meaningful, something in her expression comes thru to create an emotion more then the others which are captured scenes. also double exposers are great but with a person they mean a lot consider that, they can imply a range from double personality to just a fun camera trick.

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