Week 5 – Three Surfaces

This week we started to look at the surfaces of photographic dissemination. The idea of showcasing work through the mediums of:

  • Workshops
  • Publications – such as Photobooks, magazines and Zines etc.
  • Exhibitions – often seen as the mainstream way of showcasing work

As someone who has never really exhibited or shown work in any real way to the pubic (other than the odd pice of music industry work and events coverage before starting my MA) this part of the module holds a real interest for me.

Working with a curator is something I have not yet done and so a challenge for me will be to allow others to comment, analize and allocate my work as they see fit, rather than myself having full control.

I see this as a test, but a very rewarding one, as sometimes the pressure to produce good work (such as I often do in video production) can be very stressful when you are working to a clients brief. But that stress can actually push your work to the next level.

Also the technique of selecting the best work for exhibition and knowing how to display that work, will be an area I have great interest in, but no real experience of.

Photobooks for me hold a real interest and I shall be exploring subject matter for these over the coming weeks.

Ever since I can remember I have been fascinated by images. As a dyslexic, reading for me was always a challenge growing up, not because I cant read, but because I cant see black on white text at all well. So the book with images in was always a favourite.

Wildlife photobooks and those with aviation and landscape / weather images were always a must. I lost many hours to studying these images in detail, looking to ascertain what the photographer was thinking when they took the images – trying to put myself into their cameras position and working out what result they were aiming for.

I would often write to publicists and producers asking how such images were created and what cameras were used. Often with little success. These were the heady days before social media and the vast library of ‘how to’ workshops now found on platforms like YouTube.

One of the most inspired photobooks for me belong to my grandad –  Daniel Blum’s 1953 A Pictorial History of the Silent Screen  Hardcover (Published 1954 by H. Hamilton, ISBN0448014777) a link to see the book can be found here

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I studied this book for may hours and later it helped me develop filming techniques around composition of interview subjects, when I set up my video production company Flock 92 Productions.

This and others like it have really shown me the importance of using such publication methods to showcase visual image work. It is also true that such work can often have a greater impact on an individual than the creator originally envisaged.

Workshops for me are one of the saving graces of the modern digitised world. As I mentioned above, most of my youth was spent letter writing to professionals, in the vain hope that someone would explain how they achieved a certain look or image. Letters often didn’t get responded too, or when I did get a reply, I was advised simply to keep practicing.

My grandad taught me a-lot about photography, but as I grew in confidence I wanted to learn more, and began experimenting with different methods of capturing the same image. I didn’t know it then, but I was producing a form of re-photography.

In todays digitised  world, information and the concept of the ‘how to do it film’ are very much more in the forefront. It is now, more than ever, far more accessible to find out how to do something.

In photography this is just as prominent. A simple search on youtube will throw up thousands of videos, all giving an opinion on one element of photography or another. Some good, some brilliant and plenty of disasters – the ability to learn your photographic practice though a set of videos has never been greater.

The challenge often found is finding a workshop that works for you. There are many different ways of delivering a workshop on the same subject. With home made videos varying wildly in quality, contextualisation and information.

Actually finding someone who can help teach you in a way that works for you can, as in my younger years, be just as a challenge now. Largely due to the reason of over saturation of willing helpers – rather than the lack of responses to a kids prolific letter writing.

For my own practice I follow a number of practitioners all delivering workshops. A selection of these are:

All three have helped teach me methods of photography that I wish to take forward. The latter two recently added to my list, after being inspired by this MA course to push my work much further.

Whats interesting to me is the almost celebrity appeal many of these practitioners now have. Today you can become just as renowned for your online photographic tutorials and films as you can for your actual practice. Indeed it is possible to earn a good living through delivering such online workshops.

However you just cant beat good old face to face teaching!

I feel that there are a number of possible options to explore regarding the delivery of workshops covering a range of photographic subjects within my own practice. I shall look to develop these further over the coming weeks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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