Week 13: Assessment break challenge
The (Photographer’s) Apprentice
During the assessment break, you are invited to work with another photographer or creative practitioner. This could just be for a day or even half a day, or it might be longer if you are able to arrange this.
You should research photographers whose work you admire, and who you feel like you could learn from, and – if at all possible – lives somewhere near to you. Contact him or her and offer your services. This can be in whatever shape or form you like: you could be asking to assist them, shadow them, help them in the office or with their archive. Whatever seems appropriate, and whatever you feel comfortable with.
Think carefully about each step. Consider who you are writing to and why, and the way you contact them. Document the process from beginning to end.
Depending on your location and circumstances, some will find this a lot more difficult a task to organise than others, and we do not wish for this challenge to be a distraction from getting on your own work. But time will be allocated at the beginning of week 1 of the next semester to share your experiences.
I wondered how I was going to achieve this task as I had several activities including visitors planned for the break. Three opportunities emerged and an additional one is to be considered for the future:
I had already booked onto a product photography day workshop at Plymouth College of Art and Design on 25th August. There were 8 attendees and one tutor. Most attendees in were producers ( e.g. three jewellers and an interior designer) or in retail and wanted to know how to better photograph and present their wares on line. One was a tutor and fashion photographer at the college. I was there to learn more about the photographic techniques in relation to taking images of debris I have been photographing for my project. Ultimately the prop I had taken along (a rusty Jeyes cleaning fluid can with its’ danger poison sign) was used by the tutor for demonstration purposes and then one of the two groups we were split into used it in their depiction of sugared doughnuts and how bad the sugar is for you. In addition no one else had a DSLR camera with them so I set up mine and adjusted settings according to what the second group wanted. We had been asked to show doughnuts as delicious and inviting. So although I was an attendee I was also contributing in a small unplanned and nonarranged way. Photo courtesy of the group and tutor:
One attendee on the workshop worked at the college and agreed to let me assist with a fashion shoot she had planned the following week. Unfortunately this was cancelled as the model was unwell and although promised a rescheduled opportunity did not emerge. I did not pursue this either as I did not want to push the arrangement in case the person had changed their mind about having me alongside. I may contact her again in a more general way without asking directly for her time at some point in the future.
I contacted the Leader of Yealm U3A Photography Project, Sue Brown. Sue is a well known and respected photographer who specialises in fine art landscapes and seascapes. http://www.susanbrownphotography.co.uk . My initial email enquiring about the possibility of time with Sue was not received. Having corrected the email address I sent it again. Sue was very generous and offered me three opportunities: to spend a few hours on office based tasks, to have time accompanying her on an image taking outing to the beach and to assist in mounting an exhibition. I replied asking if to experience all three would be acceptable and although Sue has known me for a little while, I included the link to the Adobe Spark video I had made for the first module to show where I was coming from and a little about my project. Sue responded with a link to a togcast in which she was interviewed which informed me about her photographic career www.thetogcast.com .
4th October 2017 10:30am to 13:30pm. I was found myself keen to be on time, to be prepared (boots, coat, cameras, water, notebook, pens etc all packed into car boot) and to make sure I thanked Sue for her time (bottle of wine). My first task was attaching backings to already mounted images and placing them in cellophane wrappers to be displayed for purchase. My second was to hand write luggage labels with the names of framed images and the prices ready to be attached to and hang down from the frames. We then loaded the car and went to the location (Chicken Shed) for the Arts Trail which features 60 artists in 18 workshops, galleries and exhibition halls organised by the South Hams Arts Forum 14th -29th October 2017 http://www.shaf.org.uk/the-arts-trail.html. Sue exhibits as one of a group of 6 local artists who specialise in sculpture, ceramics, paintings, vintage materials and wearable art. I organised the display of Sue’s cards for purchase and assisted with labels on frames and discussed plans for arranging locations for the rest of Sue’s contributions. I enjoyed all the activities, learning some of the tasks I will need to be familiar with as I develop my own photography. I am very grateful for Sue being able to spare time for me. Sue is away for a while now but we have arranged to meet again on 6th December when I will be assisting her with her exhibition organised by the Devon Guild of Craftsmen at Bovey Tracey 9th December 2017 to 15th January 2018. http://arenaphotographers.com/news/exhibition-news-susan-brown-at-showcase-gallery/ . Hopefully when weather permits we may be able to fit in an outing to the beach.
I have thought about contacting an artist and photographer I met at an arts fair locally some time ago Nigel Grist http://www.theunseenview.com. I then saw his images displayed in an exhibition space. He is a member of the Creative Collective and his interests are natural history and landscapes https://creativecollectivesouthhams.co.uk/nigel-grist/. I think he would be a very useful contact for my project.