I took a minibus full of students from Coleg Llandrillo to the Focus On Imaging Show at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. It is an annual photography trade show and quick frankly for me as a photographer is like being in a toy shop. It’s a great one stop place to be able to view and try equipment, software etc as well as being a great learning resource. They have various experts who do talks on all manner of subjects.
I particularly enjoyed a talk by David Honl who is a photojournalist who has produced a range of portable light modifiers for speedlights. These include a softbox, a snoot and various diffusers. Great for location lighting. He showed us some of his work which was very inspiring. It just goes to show that with minimal lighting kit you can produce beautifully lit portraits.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the Caravan Gallery which is a is a mobile exhibition venue and visual arts project run by artists Jan Williams and Chris Teasdale who are on a mission to record the ordinary and extraordinary details of life in 21stcentury Britain. I found their images both amusing and so typically British.
In September I was asked to teach the Professional Studies unit of the HND Photography course at Coleg Llandrillo. At first I was somewhat taken aback that they should ask me as I am not a qualified teacher and also I only completed the HND myself in July of last year. However they assured me that they felt I was capable of the task and that it would help me start to gain some experience in teaching. I began the unit in October and it ran for 2 hours weekly until the end of January. My first session was such a nerve racking experience because though I was familiar with the surroundings, knew all the students and was well prepared with my teaching material, I wasn’t prepared for all those faces looking expectantly at me to enthrall them for the next two hours! I am pleased to say though that I got through it and found the next session much easier. All in all the unit delivery went well I feel and I have learnt a lot about methods that work well and those that don’t based on feedback from the group. The preparation for each session took me a full day a week to prepare which I was surprised at but I realise that ‘if’ I am asked to deliver it again next year that most of the preparation is done and that I just need to tweak and update things. I have now received all the report files off the students for assessing and am pleased to say that it looks as though the hard work has paid off as I am really pleased with the results.
When I am not at Glyndwr University I work for Coleg Llandrillo as Photography Technician. I love my job as it gives me the opportunity to be involved in a creative environment where I constantly learn new things and am inspired by others. The bonus is I get paid for doing it!! People often ask me what I do and it is really hard to give a short, concise answer, so here is a list of just some of the things that keep me ‘out of mischief’! (This list is by no means exhaustive as it is an ever changing role and requires you to be very flexible)
- Support and assist the art and photography tutors in their teaching role.
- Support and facilitate the learning of art and photography students in the darkroom, photographic studio and mac suites.
- Manage the photography budget.
- Manage the provision of photography materials to include sourcing, buying and storing.
- Co-ordinate the buying, maintenance and storage of equipment.
- Set-up and management of a loan system for borrowing of equipment.
- Responsibility for health and safety and risks in all photographic areas.
- Induction of students in the use of equipment in photographic areas.
- Maintain qualification in First Aid at work
- Maintain Midas qualification for driving of minibuses.
- Plan and execute educational trips relevant to photography.
- Assist in the planning and setting up of end of year sows and other relevant shows as necessary.
Here is a very good talk/blog that I have come across during my research on the subject, done by David Campbell on narrative in photography.
I have been to Liverpool today to see Otto Franks family photos. He was clearly very fond of his girls Anne and Margo as most of the photographs were of them. This is a rare look at ordinary family life in the 1930’3/40’s as Otto was fortunate to own a camera which was unusual for families such as them at that time. A mother and big sister holding a newborn Anne, the sisters as they are growing, the frank family happily playing on the beach are all images that leave you with a haunting feeling due to the knowledge of the devastation and tragedy that was soon to be bestowed upon them. They took all their photos into the secret annexe with them some of which Anne cut up and put in her diary with commentaries. She obviously found a lot of comfort from looking at them.
I think it’s about time I wrote down some thoughts about Paris. After all I have been back for 3 weeks. Still better late than never. There was so much to see between Paris Photo and the Fringe exhibitions it was mesmerising. Virtually around every corner was a show. Some were in the tiniest of spaces, others were in the open air displayed on a set of railings for instance and others of course were in very grand buildings. It was a real photographic feast. The highlight of the weekend for me was the Andres Kertesz exhibition which I found totally inspiring. The tiny little prints barely bigger than an image on a contact sheet were just exquisite. The gallery provided magnifiers for the observers to use, however it was so busy that there were none left.
I love his eye for composition and use of light and shadow.
His sense of comic timing very much reminds me of Richard Kalvars work, I suspect Kalvar was a fan of Kertesz as well.
Here are a couple of Kalvars images