Out of all the topics covered in this course, which felt most comfortable to you?
If I am totally honest, the area I found most ‘comfortable’ was researching and writing the essay for assignment four. I guess this is because I’ve been using this form of written communication for a long time, where as visual communication is still a relatively new thing for me and I’m still learning about it. I find writing comes quite naturally, however if I were asked to give a speech, that would be a totally different thing altogether!
Did you discover anything completely new to you? What was it?
The idea of exploring the self and self portraiture was something I have never done before and I found that really interesting; to turn the camera around on myself and reflect on the self. At points I feel I may have taken it a little bit further than I would have liked, maybe said too much with out keeping a safe distance from my work. I guess what I’m saying is I am learning about personal boundaries and having some degree of detachment or separation from my work, if that makes sense?
I have learnt to be humble, especially when learning. I know I’m not the best photographer in the world and I have so very much to learn with theory, practice and technique. There will always be something new to learn. The more I learn the more I want to find out and I think that passion is what keeps me going in the tough times of self doubt.
Learning more about staged photography and ‘constructed realities’ in part 5 of the unit has been enlightening. I love it. There have been a couple of times where I wasn’t sure I could do this, some contemporary art photography really isn’t my cup of tea. Then you see some work by a photographer and you immediately connect with it, this then reignites your flame and your interest. I think the whole degree is a voyage of discovery.
I have liked getting suggestions from my tutor about photographers to check out.
Which area enabled you to come closest to finding your personal voice?
I would probably say assignment three. I felt I really started to explore something bigger than snapshots. I felt I was digging deep into something inside. I wouldn’t say I perfected it but I learnt a lot from getting out there and just trying out something new.
I found the 2 week diary was fascinating. Having researched some other photographers and artists I know when they do their own projects they keep journals or diaries. I can see how this can give more depth to your photographic work. I like the idea of further exploring the idea of connecting my photography with the written word.
Which area seemed furthest away from who you want to be as a photographer?
With out a doubt the part of the course I really wasn’t keen on was Street photography. Even now it makes me feel uncomfortable thinking about it. Having said that I gave it a good go and I think I did it in my own way. I just don’t like the idea of getting in someones grill with a camera or taking photographs of people in the street covertly. It just feels weird to me. I appreciate it maybe other photographers ‘thing’ and that’s totally fine, it’s just not for me. I have seen some amazing street photography in my research. I watched a great documentary/movie called ‘Everybody Street’. Some amazing street photography and I definitely get it a lot more than I did before, there is a bit of a buzz to street photography. Linking it back into my music studies it reminds me a little bit of improvisation or ad-lib in theatre studies. However, I always preferred a well prepared, practised set or a well rehearsed performance. Having said that it can be different if I’m photographing animals. Landscape photography its a similar deal for me, preparation is key, you can however be pleasantly surprised. Maybe this is why I have enjoyed the staged photography so much.
There were a couple of other moments where I saw some photographs or photographers work and I just thought…nope this isn’t for me, it doesn’t resonate with my soul. I think that’s totally fine though and I’m learning to take more of a balanced and objective view about art that I’m not that keen on.
What were the main things you learnt? Were there any epiphany moments?
Its ok to admit you don’t like something but you need to question why so you can learn from it.
Storytelling and documentary photograph was a massive new thing for me. I have so much to learn about storytelling I appreciate that but I love the possibilities, whether that’s from a fictional or non-fictional storytelling perspective. A lot of the photography I have done in the past has been single images but over the past couple of years I have enjoyed pulling together stories through my photography, even on just a personal basis sharing images on Facebook with friends, I think how can I tell the story to my viewers/friends of my adventures and the treks I go on.
Will you return to any of the assignments from this course at a later date? Did you
feel as if you were on the cusp of anything?
I really enjoyed the aspects of exploring the self and psychology, psychological tension either in my own work or observations of other photographers work.
I liked the idea I was exploring in assignment three with thinking of the woods like the mind. I would like to explore this more in the future and come back to it. The woods, nature and the environment are a massive part of who I am and something I am really passionate about so I want to explore this a lot more in the future.
I have really enjoyed Context and Narrative. I would say more than the first unit I studied with the OCA. Part of this is down to the first year being a real shell-shock to the system. I have thoroughly enjoyed learning about different photographers, storytelling and learning to read photographs. I feel I have made mistakes along the way but I have learnt from them, it’s all part of developing as an artist.
The unit has been as much about developing as an individual, as it has been about photography, maybe more so. I have made some massive personal achievements, which may seem insignificant to others but it has helped me grow as a person which I think will in turn help me develop as a photographer. I have seen some amazing exhibitions over the past year in London and I’m so happy that I managed to get along to these, overcoming some personal barriers in the process. I have done a lot of reading over the unit as well and viewing as much photography as I possibly can.
I have some apprehension and anxieties about my next unit ‘Identity and Place’ in particular about photographing people/portraits but I’m sure with the help and support of my next tutor and the OCA I will be in good hands.