Monthly Archives: February 2015

Landscape: Social and Environmental – Evaluation

I was excited to start this module after visiting several galleries and exhibitions over the summer, all of which inspired me to start shooting my own work. I’m extremely pleased I started shooting this early on for the project as I felt engaged from the start, whilst my ideas were not finalised it meant that my preliminary proposal was constantly developing, resulting in a strong, well thought out and researched final piece. By choosing to shoot my project at home in Devon also meant that I had a personal connection with my subject, which I have discovered over the years at university results in my best work. Shooting a subject I feel compelled to ‘do justice to’ and can identify with drives me to work hard and continually develop and improve my photography, never wanting to settle for “ok”.

As well as shooting early on in the module, I found that keeping up to date with my online research was a massive help! I much prefer using an online method than a sketchbook, I’ve never really engaged with sketchbooks and feel since working online my work has improved as my ideas have flourished (for rather than last minute cramming ideas down into a sketchbook, I continually blog as the module runs, thus my ideas mature as my research continues!) This module in particular has made me aware how important it is to “copy from the masters”, there is nothing wrong in trying ideas that others have done before – it must have been successful for myself to be copying it! Looking at exhibitions was the best research I did for this module. Over the summer and throughout this module I continually went to look at other photographer’s work and how they displayed their photos. This was invaluable for my personal development and meant that I was constantly visualising how my images would look in exhibition, knowing that was the best way for viewing images.

Having an exhibition as the end goal for this module was great motivation for doing well. I could not hide my work or any errors and if I was not 100% happy with it I would still have to show people it! Therefore, I endeavoured to produce a body of work I was proud of and wanted to show off. With such a large print as the end output size, I knew I could not afford to make any mistakes, at that size its very obvious if something isn’t right. For example the sharpness of the image or accurateness of my re-photography would be the most pronounced mistakes at that size and I would not be able to hide them. This has taught me an invaluable lesson – get it right when shooting. Don’t be sloppy or rush it or lose sight of the end goal, for any slip-ups on location will make post-production far more difficult than it need be. Personally I feel I concentrated more on my re-photography than camera settings, as I did not appreciate how crucial they were when outputting at a large size. In future I cannot afford to focus on one thing more than another, they are all as important as the next and need the utmost level of care and consideration if I want to produce a strong final image. I will take these lessons learnt into my final major project and work beyond university; I’m extremely pleased I have learnt this lesson now and have had the opportunity to experiment and develop in a “safe” environment with only myself as a client.

This module has also taught me how to prepare my images for outputting work at a large scale, not simply how crucial the shooting process is. I have had the opportunity to visit a professional printer’s and see how they operate and now know what is required of me for when I next need work outputted. My laptop has also been calibrated and has The Print Space colour profiles downloaded onto it so I shall not have to go to London next time I want prints. Having said that, I really enjoyed my day there and being able to speak to the professionals whilst editing and preparing for print was extremely useful and interesting – I’m glad I went! I can now also appreciate and get excited by different paper types – a nerdy sentence to say but a truthful one! I had never really acknowledged how much of a difference choosing the right paper for your work can make to the final outcome. Getting a test print on Matt paper and then opting for Pearl paper really highlighted to me the importance of getting the right material for your work, something I would have overlooked or taken for granted before. I have a new found enjoyment from picking paper types now! This module could never have prepared me for the feeling of complete pride as you look at your large final print on high quality materials. The difference of seeing your work on screen to on a wall is enormous – something I had not valued before. This module has taught me that printing your images is fundamental to producing a successful body of work and developing ideas and techniques. An image is for viewing on screen and does not become a photograph until it is printed.

I’m extremely glad that I volunteered to curate this show with one other volunteer (Jordan King). Together we have worked hard to pull this off and make it success for our classmates and ourselves. Organising a group exhibition has been challenging but so rewarding at the same time. I’ve learnt a lot from the experience that shall improve my work (and CV) for I now know more about the process of exhibiting than I ever would have without curating one. I feel that it will now be easier for me to produce work for an exhibition as I know what goes on to make one a success. This experience has also made me realise how much I enjoyed being a curator and shall definitely get involved with our final degree show. Making the catalogue has also taught me a lot about the industry and what information should be available at an exhibition. My InDesign skills have improved and I feel extremely proud of what I have produced, not only of my own work but also seeing everyone else excited at seeing their own work in a printed catalogue.

Overall this module has been invaluable to my own personal development and the lessons I have learnt from it will be carried forward into my photographic life. I’m extremely pleased with my final prints and shall look at continuing this work after university and will enter competitions and gallery shows with it. I could definitely improve it and now know for next time how important the shooting process is and that patience and repetition will result in accurate re-photography, something I did not have enough of this time round! I have never experienced this level of pride in my own work, having shot it, produced it, printed it and then curated it – the entire process has been a rewarding journey that I shall take forward and learn from, constantly improving and developing and above all, enjoying photography and the art of exhibition.

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Exhibition Set Up and Catalogues

This morning Jordan and I collected the classes mounted prints from Squirty Ink and took them up to the gallery where fine art photography met us with their prints also. We then spent the next 2 hours with lecturers Andy and Tony, deciding where each piece of work should go and who’s looked best together etc.

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This was a challenging but enjoyable process, one that I am glad I have experienced with the help of two very knowledgeable photographers alongside! I’m glad it was only Jordan and I there for it would have been extremely stressful having everyone offering their opinions and demands. It was also useful learning how to hang our work and teaching everyone else only meant the technique is now cemented in my head and shall be useful in the future! Having to deal with everyones issues and objections or requests was a huge learning curve that Jordan and I were expecting but could not plan for, its been an extremely beneficial experience! I’m looking forward to seeing the gallery in all its glory Thursday night.

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I designed and made the class catalogue for the show which was also an extremely testing yet beneficial experience. Having a deadline for people to send me their information, images, text etc meant I could collate all the pieces together systematically and to a standard I wanted, but it taught that I have to be firm with people and set strict guidelines that people must follow in order for it to run smoothly. I initially looked on the internet for ideas on how to make a catalogue in InDesign and borrowed ideas from different websites (http://www2.rgu.ac.uk/subj/ats/teachingweb/teaching/t27/t27-3-4a.htm) which kickstarted the process and gave me confidence in what I was doing! A classmate (Les) offered to make an online catalogue which I would include a link to in the hard copy – https://wearepjd.wordpress.com – this worked really well as people could have less guidelines online than in the printed version. I also made a price list for all of our works which felt weird but exciting! A real sense of achievement comes over you as you see your work listed for sale in a gallery!

The class catalogue I designed:

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Accompanying Proposal for Final Work

I am going to document the land usage of the estate (through old photos and my own modern-day pictures) to show the changing uses overtime of the rural land used for leisure, agriculture and environmental purposes.” This is a line taken from my original proposal at the beginning of this module. I have developed my ideas a considerable amount since then, arguably the most development happening with my brackets; (through old photos and my own modern-day pictures). The use of archival images has gone from a secondary idea to the primary feature of the entire project with the combination of modern-day images happening within the same frame rather than a piece of supporting work.

‘Transience’ intended to look at the landscape of memory with an element of loss featuring within the frame – the landscape of loss, the archival images trapped in the past as I document the landscape around them blossoming with age, a constant fabric within society. Ownership doesn’t endure; the landscape is the constant, the fragility of human existence apparent in every re-photograph. By using re-photography, ‘Transience’ aims to highlight how people come and go, each generation sculpting the British landscape to suit their needs and desires, for it only to be changed again once they depart this earth. They are a memory upon a land they once deemed their own, the endurance of the environment emphasising the temporary existence and fragility of humanity.

This project shall be shot at a country estate in Devon seeped in history – Escot Park. The Kennaway family have been shaping the land of the estate for generations to suit the requirements of the day, be it for entertaining the royals, keeping up with fashions, entertaining and impressing guests, making farm produce, accommodating evacuees or in its currents state, open to the public as an award-winning family attraction. Each current owner has had to alter this “natural” environment to accommodate their lifestyle, knowing that the landscape shall endure beyond their years. Yet, for their fleeting existence in this extraordinary environment, they make it their home for as long as they live and leave their mark upon the land.

‘Transience’ alludes to the fragility and temporary existence of human presence on the landscape and the environment’s ability to endure as a constant fabric upon the earth’s surface. As generations come and go, people mould the land to suit their needs and create their own stories upon it, only for them to become a distant memory and later an archival piece of history.

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PALOMA AL AIRE

http://www.dalpine.com/en/book/paloma-al-aire

I have fallen in love.

This book by Ricardo Cases is simply beautiful; I have never seen anything like it. The format, layout, colours, content… all are so unusual and enchanting and compliment each other superbly. I want to produce a book on red squirrels with this same level of energy and captivating content. I’d never in my wildest dreams considered ring bind as a way of presenting a photo book but here it works so well. However, I think done well its fantastic but if you do it wrong, it could be disastrous. I’m not confident enough that my balance of images and facts/figures will work well in this style. However I do like the portrait layout and hadn’t considered that for my own work; now I’m strongly leaning that way. 

I enjoy photographing human interaction with animals and this body of work has struck a cord for me. The love of pigeon racing resonates throughout these images and want my images of the red squirrels to have the same appeal and passion within them. I just need to find my angle and have an end goal to focus my efforts. Without a specific audience it will be hard to impact on anyone, as it wont find its gap in the market. I need to seriously think about who I am trying to get my message across to and whether I want ‘pretty pictures’ or hard hitting facts. It will be hard to find a balance between coffee table book and science book but I need to try! Without any direction, I will not shoot to the best of my ability and I don’t have time to waste opportunities. My photos weren’t strong enough from the Squirrel Accord and I can’t afford to return from a one off event again without any photos. I must be more disciplined with my shooting and try to engage more with the technical side of photography, not just with my subjects!

This book has given me something to imagine and work towards as I shoot, but I still haven’t found my own angle to attack.

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Familiar British Wildlife

“There is heavy irony in the familiarity of Clive Landen’s birds and animals in Familiar British Wildlife. They don’t exist in a state of natural grace, in an untroubled habitat. Instead the hard shoulder and the gravel verge is the real site of their existence as we have come to know it. The subjects in Clive Landen’s photographs are ‘road-kills’. His tableaux reveal death; not just the literal death of the creatures themselves but the metaphoric death of the picturesque countryside vision of Britain: a death of the imagination. From the Nineteenth Century onwards, the countryside – and the animals that inhabit it – have played a cherished part in British culture. It is a Britain where wildlife is taken to exemplify the qualities of the natural, the unspoiled and the trouble-free. The realities of the late 20th century are somewhat different; culturally, politically and, more specifically, ecologically. Landen’s graphic photographs in Familiar British Wildlife address this radically altered environment with adroitness and clinical precision.”

http://www.ffotogallery.org/familiar-british-wildlife-–-clive-landen

We can all relate to these images – in most car journeys you are likely to see some form of animal road kill, a carcass just left on the side of a road, rotting, forgotten and dismissed. Landen has not ignored them. He has brought the fates of these animals to the attention of their killers – humans. We as a race have used and exploited the environment for our own selfish needs, referring to it as “progress”, and if our developments towards convenience happen to end the life of an animal it is referred to as an accident. For generations we have been interfering with eco-systems for our own selfish entertainment. When the grey squirrel was brought over from America to the UK in 1878 as a “novelty”, not much consideration was given to the consequences. Now, with the threat of extinction for our native red squirrels due to the existence of grey squirrels in their environment, culling of the greys is necessary to ensure the survival of the red for future generations to enjoy on British soil. Yet that is deemed as cruel, barbaric or inhumane. Why? Because its not an accident. Because its conservation that has a person in the limelight to blame. You can’t drive past this.

I want to educate people on the importance of conservation. It is not the greys fault they were brought over here and I am not encouraging or supporting any form of unnecessary harm to come to them; but something must be done to control grey squirrel numbers if we want the reds to survive. Whilst I will not approach my photography in the same way as Landen, the simplicity of his work and content has encouraged me to stick with my topic and carry it through. It is not an easy task changing public opinion, especially when animals are involved, but in this modern day we have the platforms to. I need to exploit those means of communication and technology and use my photography to make a real change in this society we call the United Kingdom.

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Exhibition Curator

As one of the two curators of this group exhibition, I have had to not only organise myself, but 17 other people from two different university courses as well as sorting out logistics and timings for the show. I am also creating a paper catalogue for PJD students to give out for free at the exhibition. I took this role on for I felt it would be extremely beneficial to learn these skills before graduating, not to mention looking great on my CV. The role will also give me better understanding of what is required to make a successful show, which I will be able to take forward into my final major project and life after university.

Jordan (second curator) and I delivered everyone’s large prints to be mounted by ‘Squirty Ink’ in Cheltenham and shall be collecting them the morning of the show. I have also been in touch with the university education officer who has put the exhibition on the university website and shall send out to SU staff. So far, this role is teaching me a lot and testing my patience when dealing with a large group of photographers (!) but I am confident my plan in place shall pull through and the exhibition will be a success.

squirtyink

Hi All,

Heres a plan for the exhibition “Hinterland” running for a week from Tuesday 24th Feb. The gallery will be open to the public and manned by students 11am-6pm every day excluding Thursday 26th (opening night) which we are now sharing with Fine Art Photography. Overall there will be 18 people displaying work. Please invite family and friends to the Facebook page ASAP: https://www.facebook.com/events/663301363779684/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

http://gardensgallery.co.uk.109-109-130-53.server20.ourlinuxnetwork.com/how-to-find-us/ <<< a link to where the gallery is

Tuesday 24th – Myself, Jordan and Andy shall pick mounts up from squirty ink 9:30/10am and take them all to the gallery to meet Hannah, Gemma and Tony from fine art. We shall arrange where images will go and need EVERYONE at the gallery at 12 midday SHARP to hang their own prints. We need to have some equipment ready to hang the prints up, Jordan is in the process of finding out exactly what we need! So check your emails again! Victoria Kettlewell to remain till 6pm close. 

Wednesday 25th – Gallery to be manned 11am-2:30pm by Craig Simmonds and Issac Brown then 2:30pm-6pm by Kate Dainton and Iona Berry.

Thursday 26th​ – EVERYONE to meet at the gallery at 9:30am SHARP with all prints/blog/cover sheets etc for hand in and class critique. All bring £5 with you (cash) to contribute to buying food and drink for the show which Ellie RM (plus help) shall buy from Tesco (remember bin liners, napkins etc). Abbie will see if her boyfriend can get us glasses to use, if not we shall buy plastic ones from Tesco. Everyone shall spend the day making the exhibition look professional (with 10×8 prints on display etc) in time for the show opening at 5pm running until 8:30pm (please note later time to suit fine art photography).ALL MUST BE AVAILABLE FOR ENTIRE DAY. Dress smartly for the evening and please remember that we all need to stay to help tidy up at the end.

Friday 27th – Fine Art Photography meeting for their critique. Alex Cicric to man until 6pm close. 

Saturday 28th – Gallery to be manned 11am-2:30pm by Les Curle and Hannah Buckley then 2:30pm-6pm by Phil Ryan and Ellie Reed-Mumford (Ellie arriving at 3pm).

Sunday 1st – Gallery to be manned 11am-2:30pm by Claire Carpenter and Victoria Roberts then 2:30pm-6pm by Abbie Dosell and Conor Pitchers.

Monday 2nd – Gallery to be manned 11am-2:30pm by Ellie Roberts and Lauren Bridges then 2:30pm-6pm by Olivia Kennaway and Jordan King. From 6:05pm you may come and remove prints if you CANNOT make Tuesday morning. Please let myself or Jordan know if you will be doing this.

Tuesday 3rd – EVERYONE to arrive at 10am to take down prints and clear gallery. Keys to be handed back.

What to do now

– ​Check you have sent 3 images (between 2-3MB) to myself with a bio explaining your work in no more than 80 words by Sunday night latest (Sorry Craig please may you cut yours down). Andy and Gemma/Tony shall be writing introductions for the catalogue (Fine Art Photography shall be included also) and I shall be sending out a PDF proof on Monday. It is YOUR responsibility to check that your images, name, number and bio etc are correct, I shall not be responsible for them after print. 

– Everyone send your one MAIN image and bio to Les for the online catalogue. Image to be 72dpi and 1000 pixels on the longest edge.

– Email your full name to Kate plus the title of your work.

– As suggested by Fine Art Photography, we are having a price list for all works on display. Please send me the price you would like your piece to be listed as. Remember to cover your cost and list for slightly higher than you would sell for, this will give you some “haggling” room to reduce to without loosing money if someone is interested.

– Invite people to the opening night and promote the show for the entire week it is running.

Hope I’ve covered everything! Any issues/questions get in touch. 

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‘Transience’

‘Transience’ alludes to the fragility and temporary existence of human presence on the landscape and the environment’s ability to endure as a constant fabric upon the earth’s surface. As generations come and go, people mold the land to suit their needs and create their own stories upon it, only for them to become a distant memory and later an archival piece of history. ​

The Meet, 1950

The Meet, 1950

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