Personal Development

 

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When starting university I had a general idea of what I wanted to be at the end of my course, the goal has always been to become a fashion photographer, but during the year before starting university my interest for photography has diminished and I was unsure of what I was and what I wanted to be in the field. Due to this, I’ve started my journey in this university at the Warrington campus studying a combined honours degree in digital photography and radio production.

Radio was my safe space as it was something I had an abundance of experience in and something I knew I liked, so it was my blanket to fall back on if photography doesn’t work out. However, when starting the photography course it reignited my passion for photography and fashion photography and helped me narrow down what it was exactly that I wanted to do. This realisation influenced my decision to move to the single honours program in Kingsway and put all of my focus into photography.

What I found difficult throughout these three years was to find my place within the courses. I left the digital photography course because my work was too fine art leaning for the commercial nature of the course, but in the single honours photography course, my work is too commercial. These past two years in Kingsway were focused on finding my place within my chosen field and how I can integrate these two parts of my personality. During these three years I have branched out and tried different types of photography like fine art photography, documentary, and still life, however, there was always one project where I tried to focus on creating fashion photography.

The project I started in first year that was aiming towards fashion was a project I named 2020. This is a project I had floating around my head for a while and one that I still want to peruse in the future. I attempted to photograph my models in modern looking poses but attempted to edit them to look vintage as if they were shot on a film camera. This would definitely would have worked better had I had access to a film camera, however as the course was digital photography based we didn’t have access to those from the university.

 

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In the second year in the final project, we were given the option to choose a brief of an external place, competition, magazine, and work towards applying to it. I had chosen the association of photographers student award and focused on the theme of “people” and worked again fashion photography. I photographed one girl dressed in a costume of a demon, and another girl for a more standard beauty portrait photography some of which I had also tried to manipulate using photoshop to make it more engaging.

 

 

This year was meant to be the year where my final project will truly focus on true fashion photography, something that in the past I have not managed to capture just right. However, at the start of the year, I had experienced another drop in my spirit and interests as I was trying to start constructing my project. My project went back to be fine art based and I decided to keep my fashion work in the live projects I had chosen to do throughout the year. The project was dark and gloomy, and I had used masks to create interest and surrealism within my images.

It was only when I started working with the fashion students when my final project became clearer in my head and I’ve adapted my work to fit within that to create my final project: Wonder. This project managed to encompass the surrealism I wanted to express in my images while still staying true to the fashion work I want to produce. I feel that with this project I truly succeeded in expressing my true self and what I want my photos to tell about me as a photographer.

 

When looking at my work across the three years it’s clear that I have definitely developed and improved tremendously. I feel much more confident with the camera, with directing my model, my editing skills have improved, my lighting skills, and most importantly I’ve developed a confidence in on location shoots, something I have tried to stay away from in the years previously because I wasn’t confident in shooting in an environment where I can’t control the lighting with artificial light.

There is so much more for me to learn and so many different things within fashion photography that I am yet to try, but I am happy with the progress I’ve made in my degree and am hopeful for what the future has in store for me.

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Interim exhibition

On the 14th of December the photography students had an interim exhibition of the work we are currently working on for our final exhibition in May. My project this year started with wanting to work on fashion photography, however at the start of the year due to various personal reasons I had become disconnect to the concept.

I then started working on another project, a more fine art based project that represented the feelings I was experiencing at the time.  It was more of a self help experience for me, it allowed me to release all the negative feelings I had at the time, and brought me out  of the difficulties I was experiencing.

The project was very dark, the photos I took were strange and uncanny, to express how lonely and sad I was feeling.

While working on this project I was doing projects with the fashion students which helped bring back the spark to work on fashion again and it gave me ideas on how to integrate fashion and the work of the fashion students in this project, which is still a work in progress and what I will be spending the next couple of terms working on.

For the interim exhibition I have decided on only using one image, as the best image of the ones I’ve taken during the photoshoots I’ve done, to represent the project, as I didn’t want to share too much at this stage, but just tease as what is to come.

I wanted to make a statement with my exhibition so I decided to print it at the largest size I could without compromising the quality of the print, which was A1. I wasn’t 100% happy with how the final exhibition turned out, as I felt the location I had chosen was too large, and it made my print, which was quite big, look small in the big space.

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This interim exhibition was for us to be able to experiment, both with our work, as well as the hanging options and preferences we have. I have many things I would like to improve on moving forward to the final exhibition, and the knowledge I know have based on this experience and I will implement them when creating the final exhibition in May.

The beginning of the end

Third year of university has began. This is the year where we’re expected to start finding our own paths. The assignments are much more broad, a lot more freedom is given to us to find our own way into the world, as people and as practitioners.

One of our modules this year focuses on finding projects and clients to work with, trying to make our mark and create connections, a task that sounds daunting yet exhilarating at the same time.

As a photographer, my aim is to become a fashion photographer and work in the fashion and editorial industry. Whilst this is my goal I do want to try and branch out and take this year as a chance to explore different areas that I feel I did have a chance to in the past two.

So what’s my plan?
I’m hoping to take part in at least one project this year if not more. So far projects I had thought would be of some interest to me were working in promoting, shadowing and assisting a photographer, and work with fashion designers on their photography.

For promoting my good friend Fiona and I have considered contacting a cafe in town we both like and collaborating on a promoting project for them. Fiona and I have collaborated in the past in our second year on an exhibition project and I would love to have the opportunity to work with her again. I was also considering contacting an animal shelter and photograph the animals that are up for adoption.

I have already turned to a professional photographer I know and asked if he has any projects lined up that I could assist him with and we agreed to reconvene when a project comes up.

Lastly I would contact the fashion department in the university and offer my services as a photographer to the fashion design students. At the end of last year I had photographed their final year runway show and enjoyed the experience and felt that it added a lot of value to my growing portfolio. I would like to get the chance to do so again this year.

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This year it is also very important for me to increase my online presence. I already have a professional Facebook page to which I upload my photographs, however after speaking to several people who are closer to the fashion scene it has been recommended to me that an Instagram page is the way to go.

I opened up a new account and would make sure to maintain it during the following year and onwards as an online portfolio of my work.

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My plan of action for the next few weeks is to contact as many people as I can in order to be able to start work as soon as possible.