Another busy two weeks has been and gone, soaked up largely by delivering workshops and documenting workshop activity taking place. As a result documentary photography has been on my mind of late. I’m busy planning approaches to take during my new project whilst documenting the communities/groups I’m interested in. Speaking of which I’ve made contact with a local football club and made test shots. I’m just in the throws of organising days to go and shoot…thankfully gaps in my diary are starting to appear.
Also I’ve made contact with a local artist (after working on a contract together) who will hopefully act as a mentor as I move forward. This is hugely exciting as I had told myself to network more this year as I begin to build up to a masters application for the 2019/2020 academic year. I’m interested to see how we may benefit each other’s practice going forward and I’m also looking forward to being pushed a little more!
So to projects, as I mentioned earlier documentary styles have dominated my interest over the last two weeks and the following articles have provided some good visual research material. I’m building a catalogue of approaches and hoping to incorporate these types of styles in my own work until the series begins to find its own voice.
‘Documentary photography stars in the Distinctly show’ found at BJP Online.
'One Season at the Emirates’ found on the Guardian website.
'Bill Stephenson’s photographs of Hyde Park, Sheffield’ featured on Huck.
I’ve had a long break from newsletters/blogging/journal writing (call it what you will), largely due to a family holiday away in France, a holiday that turned out to feel long overdue. I’m creaking the researching part of my brain back into life in between freelance work. My interest has been pulled in the direction of articles detailing more project work by other photographers. Mainly this is an attempt to gather a catalogue of approaches and styles to experiment with during my new body of work.
The first project was featured on the Huck Magazinewebsite and is concerned with people and their personal passions.
The passion in the case of Robin Mellor’s project is Cliff Richard, and the series of portraits details the clothing and fans found awaiting a concert in the UK. I’m drawn here mainly to the repeated way of capturing the subjects, a cataloguing of both the person and their garments (hand made in some cases).
I saw another portrait project on the Guardian website which whilst photographed beautifully struck a chord with me in that it also details testimony from its sitters.
“What is Love?” is a simple (or not) question posed by photojournalist Stefania Rousselle and the resulting images and responses are a fascinating insight into the lives and thoughts of strangers on the subject of love and the part it has played in their lives. I’m very interested in the ways I can supplement images with text or sound in order to deepen the connection that a viewer has to an image. This is something I intend to experiment with during the creation of my new series.
I’d rather not say too much about the work, I really feel though that through the interview and looking at the images the approach, style and standard of Nicholas’ work is where I am aiming to get to. I love this work, I can not praise it enough.
The final word goes to Lenscratch who for the month of August have begun a series 'Photographers on Photographers’. It features biographies, images and interviews by photographers with “photographers–image makers who have inspired them, who they are curious about, whose work has impacted them in some way.” It’s definitely worth a glance as I’m sure there is and will be something for everybody’s tastes.
That’s all for this week, in a fortnight I’ll hopefully be using this as a space to share some work in progress from the new project and invite some feedback. For now if you want to connect please feel free to get in touch.
Thanks to a combination of friends living in France, good timing and the fortunate position of being able to afford the trip I was lucky enough to take in the sights of two stages of this years Tour de France. As the race comes to it’s conclusion this weekend I thought it might be a good time to reflect on the experience.
I’ve photographed at cycling events/tours in Britain before but the sheer size and scale of le Tour is amazing! It was such a buzz to photograph the top riders in the world and the intensity of such a short period of time to capture images as the groups pass is like no other type of photography I’ve experienced. I’d love to get out and photograph at another grand tour in the future if the opportunity arose.
I also managed to shave off around three seconds of my fifteen minutes of fame by popping up on Eurosport’s coverage (Well famous in my household at least!).
This is a small selection of some of my favourites from the days shooting, I’ll be uploading more over the next few days.
A very short post this week as I wind down for a family holiday and busy myself with finishing some freelance contracts so I can lay off the emails for a few weeks! I’ve begun shooting new project work and made some progress in terms of getting in touch with new groups and people to photograph. I’ll no doubt include some of this work in progress in future posts. For now a couple of projects for you to browse that caught my eye on Huck magazine’s website.
The first, ‘Remains of a Soviet Utopia’, a project by Piepke and Nolting documents a housing estate that was once a Soviet utopia. The series features a range of portraits of inhabitants of the settlement and also images of the environment that they find themselves in. Interestingly for me at least is the inclusion of the stories of the inhabitants that caption some of the portraits. Is photographing a group of people’s situation and surrounding locations simply enough? This is something I am starting to investigate in my own practice.
The second project, ‘The First Time’ sees photographer Matteo de Maydacapture Icelandic footballers and fans as they prepare for one of the biggest sporting events in their country’s history.
As I begin to make plans to photograph my own series around local football in my local area it’s strange to see a project that quite literally depicts the sort of imagery that I had in my mind when considering my photographic approach. I think that if I can incorporate personal story telling or interviews from the subjects of my images I can ensure my work is slightly different in its outcome.
So as I mentioned, a short post this week but I’m sure that there is enough in these two fabulous series for you to mull over during your Sunday morning. I’ll be taking a little time off from posting during my aforementioned family holiday but I’ll be back with more projects and articles soon, hopefully with some work in progress material of my own too!
The last two weeks have flown by, not a lot of time to devote to my own personal work but here are a few articles that caught my eye that will go some way to contribute to my research.
My Twitter app buzzed me this week saying that ’Mull it Over’ had uploaded new content.
This blog run by Jonathan Cherry delivers insightful articles with contemporary photographers and is an absolute treasure trove of wonderful projects and responses that give a real insight into the practices of fine art photographers from many backgrounds. It’s well worth looking through the posts, although I’d advise making sure you have time set aside as it’s easy to lose a lot of time reading.
Next a couple of posts over at Lens Culture, the first looks at the importance of portfolio reviews and why they should be a part of a photographers practice. I’m still a little undecided on the whole discussion of portfolio reviews. On the one hand I see the obvious benefit of having someone unconnected to you give opinions on your work. I am however slightly dubious as to how much can be gleamed in such a short space of time and some of the prices for the service are also a lot higher than I would expect for emerging/student photographers to have to pay. I certainly feel that I benefit more from mentor style guidance. The chance to ‘check in’ over a period of time as a project develops, that way I think both parties are more invested in the practice and will have more of an opportunity to reap the rewards of the mentor/mentee relationship.
The second article presents 'Wilted’ a series by photographer Dylan Hausthor. Inspired by the subject of storytelling the images “question and bring to light the frenetic nature of visual memory.”
The images are still and at times feel quite empty allowing for the viewer to piece together the narrative elements of the series. The accompanying essay does give some context to the story being told and the images reflect the events whilst not too explicitly so.
Storytelling or narrative in photography is the subject of an article on the UN of Photography website.
Often a difficult approach to work with Grant Scott discusses the pitfalls of making work with a narrative approach and the ways they can be avoided. The overriding message being not to overcomplicate things as this can contribute to a loss of structure and direction. Advice for life too you could say!
A fairly project heavy series of articles that have caught my eye over the last fortnight. As I start the first steps of actually getting out and shooting my new project work I’ve been drawn more to imagery that I want to absorb and inspire my own practice. The first two projects come via Creative Boom and deal with portraiture and landscape. Charlie Clift’s ‘Brixton’ depicts a multitude of people from all walks of life that are connected by a location. I was interested in the use of a mobile backdrop within the images.
Consistent throughout the whole series it frames the sitter whilst we are still allowed a glimpse of the busy environment behind, a moment of stillness amongst the rush of the world around them. Stillness is evident in the landscapes of Brando Ghinzelli. ’Lost in La Bassa’ traces his childhood memories and the landscapes connected to them. Devoid of people the scenes have an emptiness but still offer us evidence of human involvement in the landscape.
Both of these projects are interesting to me as I intend to capture portraits of various groups of people that are connected by place but it would be interesting to approach the images of those places with the people removed as well as images that see them interacting within the space. That kind of mix, more documentary in approach could be achieved in a similar vein as these portraits taken during Ireland’s recent abortion referendum that were featured over on the Huck Magazine website.
I enjoyed the mixture of portraiture approaches/ compositions and also the establishing shots of the surrounding details of the location. I think I’m starting to realise that if I try a number of approaches in each of my chosen scenarios over an extended period of time I’ll have enough material to start to shape the final output in which ever combination suits the series best.
I’m still busy sourcing potential venues for a pop up gallery to exhibit my recent landscape project (whilst working on the accompanying prints and publication). As a result articles relating to exhibitions continue to interest me lately.
Over on the BJPwebsite there were some ideas relating to exhibition promotion. Whilst largely focussing on the use of social media to promote a show it did also have some interesting ideas on ways to deliver a private view which I may take on board. Finally, and in keeping with the gallery theme an interesting interview with Catherine Edelman was featured on Lensculturegiving an insight into what she looks for in art photographers work when selecting for exhibitions.
There’s a wealth of interesting responses but this one really struck a chord with me:
“I look for people who are passionate, who make work because they have to, not because they’re thinking about sales. Sometimes, I think, the sales mentality gets in the way. If you’re too focused on the money, it dilutes the core of what makes your art powerful.”
I’m back! I’ve been away for a while, not fancy holidays or anything like that just a lot of photography/videography commissions that have kept me busy which is not a bad place to be in at all. So I’ve had a few weeks of articles/ posts to look back on and I’ve included here what I considered to be the most interesting.
Firstly an article from the British Journal of Photography’s website which discusses considerations when looking for gallery representation. My landscape project taken in Scotland over the last two years has been my main point of focus over the last few months. I’ve been editing the work and creating book layouts, looking at sequencing and thinking about the ways in which I’d like the work to be seen. An exhibition is my desired output with large scale prints and an accompanying book, that would be my ideal.
A couple of weeks ago I thought about adding more to the project. There is a lack of people in the images, and I thought about returning one last time to photograph the inhabitants of the peninsula but I think that would be applying my new project ideas to a series that is finished, I have to let the work go now. I’ve considered approaching galleries to get the work exhibited but I’ve saved some money and decided that I’m going to seek out an empty retail unit and rent it for a few weeks and create a pop up gallery, staff it myself and invite people to come and visit.
Speaking of new project ideas, I’m still finding a lot of inspiration in the work of other photographers. I like to look at the way they are structuring their images and series, and see how I could apply those approaches to my own work. Two articles caught my eye on the Guardian website recently. One featured the work of James Bugg who’s work has recently won the Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize.
The other features winners of the Lens Culture Portrait Awards. Both articles contain striking images which are worth your time. The most interesting take away for me when looking and reading the articles was that I should make more time to enter my own work in competitions, exhibition open calls etc. This should be my aim alongside the creation of the current/new project work and I really should make more of an effort to put my work in front of people.
Grant touches on lots of topics and raises interesting discussion points for photographers to consider. The most pleasing aspect of the Podcast though is that it’s not just another photography Podcast that focusses on tech/equipment reviews, techniques, how to use your DSLR etc. Whilst those types of show are undoubtably helpful to a lot of people and rightfully have a place I’ve craved a photography podcast that looks to create a discourse around photographic practice that is intelligent and thought provoking, I really recommend subscribing.
Podcast aside, an article on the United Nations of Photography caught my eye which looks at considerations practicing photographers face when archiving their work in a digital age. As an owner of an increasing collection of external hard drives this definitely gave me some food for thought. Maybe I should devote a bit of energy to looking at ways I can properly safeguard my digital (and analogue) work?…
Thank you for reading, and if you think that others may be interested in the articles that I’ve pointed to in this or past editions feel free to share the archive link with them tinyletter.com/deanleivers
A fairly short list this week, it’s been a busy week on the freelance front, lots of editing and a little trip out to photograph the BSB over the bank holiday kept me quite busy!
The largest portion of this weeks links come from the British Journal of Photography website. They are useful as are not only helping me to consider the ways I can show work but also the locations I might be able to create it too.
‘Hit the North’ gives a brief account of the early project work of Daniel Meadows. Setting up make shift studios in empty shops in Manchester and photographing people for free seems to me to be a great way to begin making work. With a high proportion of units empty in the UK it would still be a completely viable approach today. I have always loved Meadow’s approach to creating situations to make portrait work. His 'Photobus’ series/project is a particular favourite of mine.
The BJP also featured 'A Guide to Exhibiting Your Work’ in which three prominent curators discuss and offer insights on the process of creating exhibitions and what you may need to consider before putting your work out into the public realm. There are also interesting responses regarding the use of online spaces to exhibit work as well as the importance of physical exhibitions.
One final link this week goes to a Podcast. The 'She Does’ podcast “features creative minds working in media. Each episode centres around an intimate conversation yet digs deeper into each woman’s background, philosophy and process through artful audio documentaries soundtracked by music made by women.” It’s been a varied and interesting listen as I’ve started to make my way through the archive which features creatives from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines.
That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading, more in a fortnight.