Guest Lecture-Laura Robertson

Laura’s lecture was about writing artist statements. This lecture was right on time, as later on in the same week all photography students had to submit their artist statements for our interim exhibitions. I was struggling writing mine because it’s difficult talking about your own work, and it’s even more difficult talking about art without stating the obvious.

Laura showed us various different statements by artists and analysed them with us, which helped us understand the inner workings of writing a statement, and how to make a successful one.

She also gave us different approaches when writing a statement, the most interesting one for me was to write a manifesto. The idea for this was so we can let out everything we wanted to say about our work in an an restrained way. I was considering doing this however due to the time constraint I have decided to just focus on writing a standard statement.

I have used Laura’s advice regarding asking ourselves questions about the work to help us write it.

This was my final statement:

Yam Kovatch

Control

Digital A1 print in lustre.

“I’m not crazy, my reality is just different than yours”-Lewis Carol

Every person has their own reality, their own thoughts, wishes, struggles, and ways they perceive life.  We walk the earth in our own minds, searching for the likeminded, people who will understand, who would make us feel we are not alone, and that will be ok in the end.

My project was inspired by mental health and in particular anxiety. I have dealt with anxiety my whole life and it is something I have learnt to live with. It comes and goes in in waves, some are stronger than others.

When I have an especially anxious period of time life seems odd, everything continues as normal however things just don’t feel right. It is this sense of unreality, foreign, uncanny.

In my project I have chosen to explore the idea of the uncanny, to bring in the strange into the normal. Using objects like masks and photographing in eery environments I have attempted to create a narrative presented without words or facial expressions.

My work was inspired by photographers such as Hannah Starkey, Cindy Sherman, and Ralph Eugene Meatyard, who’s work explores ideas of manipulating the self in order to create different moods, atmospheres, and characters.

 

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Callum Peters; Guest Lecture

Yesterday we had a talk from Callum Peters, a UX designer for the BBC and a university of Chester graduate.

Callum’s talk focused on how he got to where he is now, from his work placement in second year to his current job at the BBC. Callum’s work placement in second year, from how he described it, seems to be an important moment in his career, it was when he had started realising where he is headed and what he wants to do, and where he was exposed to digital design.

When I first heard Callum speak of his work placement I felt a bit uneasy, as I did not really enjoy my work placement and that made me feel like I had missed out. I worked in a commercial photography company in Chester, and I felt like it wasn’t at all what I expected it to be. When choosing my placement I felt a bit pushed to it, with the worry of “if you don’t take this now, you will lose it”. I felt like had I had gone to a different company and a different placement I might have had a better experience and I always felt I was missing out due to it.

However Callum’s placement was not his biggest moment in the lecture, he then went on to tell us about how he got his first job out of university when he spoke to a guest lecturer who came to speak to his class in third year. After he got made redundant from that job he applied to the BBC where he still works to this day.

Callum’s lecture focused on taking risks, he was not shy about going far and getting a placement in London, or approaching a guest lecturer and ask about a job, or even applying to a big organisation like the BBC.

I feel that I am in a good place with networking, as I am a very open and approachable person, and I’m not shy about offering my photography services to anyone I come across, and have done so throughout the year. I don’t mind approaching people to have a chat and give my details in, event if nothing comes out of it in the end, you never know what could happen if you don’t try.

Guest Lecture: Fig Taylor creating a portfolio

Today we had a lecture regarding building a portfolio by portfolio consultant Fig Taylor.

Fig’s lecture was very informative regarding building a portfolio. Many of her tips were relevant to all faculties, the biggest tip that came from her lecture was regarding what we should and shouldn’t include in the portfolio.

Taylor has spoken of how to fit portfolios to a different amount of clients, how to make sure we show flexibility and how to modify your work and make it relevant to the marketplace.

When discussing the format a portfolio should be in she discussed the print format and the digital format. She said that if we were to have a printed portfolio not to have it as a very big portfolio, “keep it small and portable”. She also added that there is no need to mount our work on anything. When we have landscape images we need to make sure they are all facing the same direction as each other and the same for portrait.

She also mentioned that when using print is to make sure to protect our work even if it’s only a printout and we have a digital copy, it’s important to make sure that it is laminated or protected in another way to avoid it being ruined by water/dirt/etc.

On the subject of a digital portfolio she has made a point to make sure that it is always up to date and to only include the images that are relevant, and ones that we like and enjoy. The advantages for a digital can be related to the fact that some work cannot shown to it’s full potential on a print medium. It also gives potential employers the options to bookmark the work or save it so they can refer to it later.

I feel that for the start of my work I will use a digital portfolio using a website and social media, however once I have a bit more of commissioned and professional work I could have a printed book with a selection of work. However, I am considering an option of having an iPad in order to showcase my work instead as it is an easy way to have something physical to show clients and to take to job interviews, while still being a multiple use and there is no printing required which would make it cheaper in the long run.

Despite all this I felt that her lecture was mostly irrelevant to me as the lecture was very heavily focused on how to build a portfolio as an illustrator, which is very different than a photography portfolio.

During the lecture she often would mentioned one thing that is relevant to illustrators, then mentioned how it is not the case for graphic designers. As a photography portfolio is completely different than any of those portfolio it has left me very confused and in the same position I was in when the lecture started as there was not much information that was relevant to me in the lecture.

I will consult my tutors and research photographer’s portfolios online to get a better idea of what I need to have in my portfolio.

 

Wendy Mason-Guest Lecutre

Today we had a guest lecture by Wendy Mason from AA2A.

AA2A is a program that helps artists after graduation. It offers a way to connect to other artists, work in universities and colleges across the country and be able to access things like libraries, workshops, and anything you need to continue to have your creativity flowing.

The second part of AA2A Wendy spoke to us about is the option of becoming an ambassador for them and organise visits with artists or other projects in order to promote the organisation. This sounded really interesting to me, however as at the moment I have quite a lot going on between uni work and having a part time job, I feel that signing up for that might add in too much pressure to myself, however I might register to is after I graduate and have a bit more free time on my hands.

The rest of the lecture consisted of mainly discussing the benefits and possibilities of self employment.

At the start of the lecture Wendy asked the class who is considering self employment to which I had raised my hand. I grew up as a daughter of a self employed mother, seeing her work and build her own business over the years made me realise that that is something I want to do in my life. Part of the reason I wanted to work in media and the arts is the freedom that that allows you, which is one of the main points Wendy made regarding the benefits of self employment, freedom and flexibility.

Wendy’s lecture was especially beneficial for me as she spoke a lot about the actual practicality of self employment, rather than the concept of doing it. She explained about how to register as self employed, how taxes work when you register, different benefits you are entitled to and can claim and more.

Because my mother is self employed herself, I know quite a bit about the issues with taxes and about claiming expenses etc, however due to the fact that I come from a different country, I am not as well versed on how taxes work in the UK, and so far I’ve only been employed by companies, so I didn’t really have to think about that, but this lecture helped me wrap my head around how the system works and things I need to think about when I graduate.

My hopes for after graduating is to continue to be employed by my current employer, whilst trying to get freelance photography work. I thought about this in quite a calculated way, it will take me a while to start making profit from photography work and so it’s best to have a job that can sustain me, and as the job I currently have is a job in which I see many viable options for the future and future employment, it’ll be good to keep it and see to where each path leads me.

My concern with the plan I had was is it worth while and is it preferable to have another job. Of course I have my own personal circumstances to consider that might differ than of some of my other course mates, however Wendy repeated several times during her talk that many artists due actually have other jobs while they are self employed, and that is a completely reasonable thing to do which made me feel more comfortable with the choices I want to make in the future after my graduation.

Overall I really enjoyed this lecture, it was extremely beneficial for me and I have saved many notes regarding the technicalities of self employment to refer to once it is time for me to register as that.

 

Henry Pulp-Guest lecture

On November 6th we had a guest lecture by international brand manager and graphic designer Henry Pulp.

His lecture focused on two aspects that he felt led to his success:

The first aspect was collaboration, since he finished university he tried to work with a variety of artists from different fields, musicians, fine artists, photographers and more. He created a studio and welcomed whoever needed space. Over time they started creating parties in the studio and made a name for himself.

Eventually his parties and studio were shut down, but because of the name he made for himself through this he managed to hop from one job to the next and continue to work in what he loved. Throughout this he continued to work with different artists where appropriate.

He made a point during his lecture reminding us that we all need each other, a photographer needs a graphic designer and vice versa. He encouraged us to collaborate and create connections with other creators in order to grow our work circle.

The second thing Henry spoke of was on creating a brand that is well known and recognisable. He spoke of how he created a recognisable logo that he started integrating in different art works and tried to subliminally introduce it to people. He focused on repetition, he said that this a way to create a brand.

I thought that what he did would be a great way for us to promote our final degree show, once the design team create a logo and name for the show, us in the promotion team can take that logo and create different photos and posters with the logo on them and share it wherever we can, to get people talking.

He spoke of having his own brand’s logo tattooed as something that creates interest with people and get them to ask questions where he can introduce his brand. As extreme as this sound to some, I actually have done a similar thing. I have a logo for my company that was designed by a friend of mine who is a graphic designer. I had my logo tattooed on my leg, not in order to publish my brand but as it is important to me, however I had not considered that it can actually be used as essentially promotion for myself whenever anyone asks me about it.

I took a lot from this lecture, it was clear how enthusiastic Henry was about his work and how much he cares about what he does. He worked hard and he got to where he wanted to be. During the lecture I got called on as he asked us “who has big dreams?” when no one raised their hand he asked again, to which i raised my hand slowly, he caught me and told me that there is no need to be so shy about it. This resonated with me as I am very serious about what I want to do and where I want to be, however I don’t always speak out loudly about it, and maybe I should.

After the lecture I turned to henry and asked him if he needs any photographers for the events and shows he does. He took my email and said he’ll get back to me. He hasn’t so far, and I am contemplating getting his email and emailing him myself, however even if nothing comes out of it, at least I feel like I’m coming out of my shell and taking charge on my career and what I want to do.