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.