It’s been quite interesting thinking back to the end of the last module, the break between then and now, and then having to summarise my work/project in this week’s forum.
I had fallen quite out of love with my project and photography for a while there. I found last module was so busy and there was so much to do that I couldn’t take any time to actually think about and process what I was doing, or where I wanted my project to go. I needed to take some time to actually process it, get some perspective, and get away for some ocean time – which always helps me to think and process. I also wanted to just try and take some photos again, without over analysing what they were for or whether they were going to fit with the project, or whether it was even worth taking them. So I took some much needed time to do this in Sri Lanka – spent some time exploring somewhere new, taking photos just because, and surfing and being in the ocean. And whilst doing all of that I found myself naturally thinking about how much better I feel in nature rather than surrounded by buildings all the time, and how that is still what I want I want to show through my project – perhaps more so than focusing specifically on a sport.
I do think I still want to have comparison images of inland and nature/costal, to compare/contrast these two worlds that humans have/have developed, and to ask the viewers to question the two environments, and to think about how we live and interact with our surroundings.
Reading through other people’s posts about their projects, especially those I hadn’t heard about before, is fascinating as they are all so different, and everyone does seem to be approaching their work in different ways. It did also make me wonder about what other people are planning to do after the course as this week has started to touch on the different areas within the photography industry – and where my project and interests would fit in. The interview with Will Hartley whilst interesting, did highlight the amount of work he went through to get to where he is now, a lot of which I feel is only feasible at a certain time of life. When approaching these areas slightly later on in life there are so many other things to have to consider and for me I feel I would need to find an alternate route into the industry.
Discussions about different roles and jobs within photography this week has made me question what it is I’m looking for after this course. Being told, from our tutor’s first-hand perspective, about how commercial photography shoots are set up and the different factors involved has made me hesitant to pursue that world. I should note that this was of course only one person’s perspective, and comes from a world of luxury high-end product commercial photography, and therefore other experiences, other areas of commercial photography, may be different. However, for me the overwhelming takeaway was that, (perhaps unsurprisingly), it is all so money driven. The planning and set-up and ultimate aim for the shoot is about money; where to get it from, how it will be spent, how much the resulting advertisement or feature will generate in revenue - just trying to sell to get people to buy. I can’t pretend I’m not a part of this consumer culture of modern society, and I don’t pretend to be judging it from the outside. But to have so much emphasis placed on product and money seems so sad to me, and so limiting for what living can really be about. I am aware that to generate income from photography does require aspects of this world; thinking about and planning for costs/expenses and how to generate profit. But to do so solely for such commercial reasons is not something I think I would want to do.
I have been reading “Setting Up a Successful Photography Business” (Pritchard, 2016) this week. Which as well as providing a lot of useful information and tips for doing just that, it also provided me with an insight into the world of running a commercial photography business and dealing with clients and staff, writing contracts, dealing with the legal aspects of photography as a business, etc. There are so many aspects to photography as a business that I wonder does it become more about the money rather than the art or the content of a photograph? Is one of the hardest parts of photography as a business just trying to find the balance between the two? From reading the book and starting to develop an understanding of some of those aspects, I have found myself questioning whether that world is for me. Questioning whether running a commercial photography business and creating work to a client’s brief is something I would be happy doing, rather than trying to generate income from creating work of my choosing, work that I want to create. I think I need to look further into how photographers sell their own work and whether that is something I would want to try to do. If I do then there are still parts of “Setting Up a Successful Photography Business” that would be useful, including pricing work and writing terms & conditions of sale etc.
This week we were tasked with taking one photo a day, for a week. To only take a photograph of what is necessary, what would be 7 photos that define your week and define you. Well to be quite honest I only managed 5 days as life got in the way and I forgot to take a photo the last two days of the exercise. Is that telling, perhaps, of how this week was for me….that so much was going on two days of my life are just unrecorded?
These are the five photos I took that define my week/me:
- My cat
- My dinner
- Autumn leaves
- Blue skies
- Coffee on the train
I wanted to do the task as “naturally” as I could, without overthinking what I was taking a photo of, without planning them in advance, just wanting to capture a moment of my day where I felt a particularly strong emotion. Looking back at these images now, it is clear that my strongest feelings are when I’m at home, or outside – with the exception of the last picture, taken on my delayed train to work; I was frustrated and angry but grateful for the coffee and a window seat! I feel my home, pet, and being able to feed myself are quite simple pleasures and necessities but important to me nonetheless, and much more so than the hours I spend in an office. Likewise it is clear that the time outdoors that I do have, again time away from the office, matter to me. And just a few moments to enjoy the autumn leaves and the sunshine are always happy moments, and the moment of day I want to savour and record. The picture of my coffee I think nicely represents my coffee addiction! As one of those people that struggles to get through the day without coffee it seems fitting that it made an appearance in this task!
I did at times find it difficult to only take one photo each day. Living with the commonality of smart phones and having a camera constantly at my fingertips and then not being able to take photos of everything made me think that I sometimes take too many photos. The subject matter of my photos, and the importance of what I take photos of is dilated by the constant ability to take as many photos as I want, of whatever I want, without really considering what I am capturing. Without the limit of the number of frames on a roll of film, or the cost implication of that, taking photos is now so easy and frequent that I much more lean towards quantity of photo over quality. I think translating this to my project, I feel that I need to consider a lot more what I want to say with my photographs. What exactly is it that I want to capture and record? I do feel my project would be more effective if I think more about what I want to say with the subject I am taking a photo of, before taking the photo.
PRITCHARD, Lisa. 2016. Setting Up a Successful Photography Business. London & New York: Bloomsbury