Hi everyone!

As part of my photography course, I have to track my development on a blog. The posts from September 2011 until January 2012 are part of a module called Project Management, for which I was required to work in a group of eight students to create an exhibition. The blog followed every step we took in order to create a successful gallery. The blog posts starting from September 2012 follow my final year on the course. I'll be documenting my research and analysis of my final year projects, as well as include notes of my Professional Practice unit - which prepares us for a range of post graduate options. Finally it also looks at a project called New Creatives, where I'll be working alongside an artists to help college students get more involved with art.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Matt vs glossy


 The images to the left came in the post today, they are the 15x10’’ glossy and matt test prints. Unfortunately they came out incredibly dark and a lot of the detail was gone. I got in contact with photobox to see whether they could do anything about it and the scheduled the photos to be reprinted.

Elaine de Vries: yes they are both very dark
 EN - Mohamed Ali Hassan: ok I will pass this on to the tech team to adjust and then we will arrange a redo for you at no extra cost can you please give a few days and I will get back to you via e-mail
 EN - Mohamed Ali Hassan: can you just confirm the file is set for an sRGB colour code
 Elaine de Vries: I just checked, they are both set for an sRGB colour code
 Elaine de Vries: Thank you for getting them reprinted at no extra cost
 EN - Mohamed Ali Hassan: at Photobox we aim to provide both excellent products as well as service and have failed to do so on this occasion. 

They were incredibly kind and offered to reprint them at no extra cost. Hopefully when I receive the newly printed images they turn out a lot better. As for the quality of the images, they look fantastic printed! It’s nice to see them like that rather than on a laptop screen. The large format print is definitely better as the sky is similar in every photo, whereas the digital file has a cloudy sky in one of them. I like the matt finish, you can really come right up to the image and see all the detail, whereas with glossy it reflects a lot of the light and it’s a bit distracting. However, I think the glossy print looks more expensive. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Proposal For Next Semester

Along with the practical project, workbook, blog and the dissertation, we also need to write a practical proposal for our project in the second semester. Although it doesn't seem like we have that much to do, it's a ridiculous amount of work. Both my practical project workbook and my research workbook have over 180 pages in Microsoft word!
Anyway, I have already started to work on my proposal for next semester because I don't want to have a last minute panic during my deadlines. It isn't finished yet but I've already got a concept:

I want to combine photography with a time lapse video. Before my first semester project I never thought about making a time lapse, but now I can’t stop thinking about it. I want to shoot in the same location as my set brief project. However, instead of only looking at landscapes, I want to go into more detail about the plant life. I want to make use of macro photography in order to create an abstract photograph of the plants. Alongside these abstract photographs, I want to have a time lapse looking at the landscape. This will convey the context of the photos. The time lapse I created for the first semester project was straight to the point, with landscape shots similar to my final piece. For this project I’d like to look at some more interesting angles, as well as use a camera slider to introduce movement.
For my set brief I started off using digital and later went into large format. I plan to do the same thing for this project. I bought myself a new Canon 7D camera over the summer and I have a 90m macro lens that goes does to f/2.8, and I have a 50mm lens that has an aperture of 1.8. Both of these would be great to use. At the same time, the large format camera will capture an incredible amount of detail which will be key if I want to print off my images large. For the time lapse, I used a gopro at first. The images came out with a massive wide angle effect and I had to edit every picture to get rid of that effect. Therefore, I will be using either my Canon 7D or my Canon 1000D. I already have an intervalometer for my Canon 1000D, and if I end up using that camera it means I can work on both the time lapse as well as the macro photography in one day. I will want to play around with both cameras in order to decide what gives me the best result. Finally, I will want to purchase a DSLR camera slider. I have found a couple on eBay and Amazon for £100.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Order Prints



This is the order confirmation. I ordered one canvas and used a digital woodland photograph. I also used two credits on 15x10 prints. I used the circular panorama images (digital and large format) so they are in the middle of the page. One of them is printed on glossy paper and the other on matt to test out the quality of each. 
I found a website called White Wall. It prints aluminium and acrylic prints for a very low price if you print a small size. I wanted to print my two circular panorama images off, one on acrylic (large format) and one of aluminium (digital). I’m very excited to see the results of all of the prints. 

Editing


I watched a video on youtube on how to make photo look better and got some useful tips from that. I brightened up the woodland in the back and made the heath a nicer colour of purple.

I did similar things to this image. I felt it was still too green, so reduced that. I made the heath within this area a nicer shade of purple and finally I edited the sky so that it doesn’t have such a strange colour. 

The woodland looked a bit odd to me as well. The trees were too green, but when trying to edit it how I usually do it reduced the green colour of the grass. In the second photo you can see that I made the tree trunk brown but kept the leaves and grass a good colour of green.
Finally, I put the new images in a circular panorama, and I think it looks a lot nicer. I left the clearing photo alone because I liked that the way it was. The woodland photo looks much better and the purple in the overgrown and heathland stage are a lot more defined, like how it was in real life. I’m very happy with this new outcome and this is probably the image I’ll use as my final. I also made sure that the circle matched up better from the clearing stage and the heathland stage. 






Friday, October 26, 2012

CV writing

After Paul Barnes came in to speak to us about CV's, I decided I should update my CV and make it more interesting. I handed out CV's about two months ago so it's still reasonably up to date, however since then I managed to get a job and I was selected for new creatives. The first image to the right is a comparison between my old CV (left) and my new CV (right). My old one looks really boring, whereas my new one is a lot more interesting looking. 
My boyfriends' brother sent a copy of his CV and that's where I got the layout from. 
The second image shows how long my CV is. It's a page and a half so it isn't too long, and all the information is relevant. It starts off with a little introductory paragraph about me and then goes into my education and qualifications. That's followed by a section on experience and employment. After that I've added some personal achievements (eg. most improved softball player award, academic excellence in french award). And finally it finishes off with my skills. For that section I specifically look at my creative skills (eg. I can use digital, 35mm, medium format and large format, I can use the studio etc), communication and teamwork, organisation and self discipline, and what languages I speak. I'm really happy with my new and improved CV. 

New Creatives

Here is some general information about new creatives:


New Creatives is an annual project led by the University of Portsmouth’s Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries (CCI) that showcases the creative work of young people from further education and sixth-form colleges in the Portsmouth region.  The project is launched at the beginning of each academic year culminating in a joint exhibition at the leading contemporary art gallery, Aspex in Gunwharf Quays. 

In this project, FE and HE students will experience the external influence of working with a professional artist, gallery, university, fellow students and to showcase their work in a wider cultural context by exhibiting outside of the FE environment.  The project has a proven track record of building confidence and broadening young people’s experience.  The objective of this exhibition is to inspire FE students, supporting their studies at college, giving them an added experience to develop their creative practice further and to encourage them to be more ambitious.  The experience of working with an artist and gaining professional practice experience is as important as the opportunity to showcase their work.

The exhibition can feature creative work in a variety of disciplines, for example, visual arts, installation, design such as fashion, graphics, 3d modelling or sculpture, digital media such as film, animation and photography, performance such as music, poetry, drama and live art.  There is no admission charge for taking part, for entry to the exhibition or to attend the preview event.

The New Creatives project has proven its value since its birth in the academic year 2009/10 and is now entering its fourth year bringing a wealth of experience that delivers creative engagement year on year in a responsible and safe manner, ensuring the well being of participants.  It has generated relationships, collaborations and a range of materials and interventions that are shown or performed as part of a work in progress, producing a legacy of creative partnership in the city of Portsmouth enhancing the region’s cultural position.  New Creatives encourages an exchange of ideas and 'visual correspondence' between the university, Aspex and the colleges which has resulted in providing a platform for a variety of projects, including the Cultural Olympiad and Creative Campus Initiative.

Role of the University of Portsmouth student ‘buddy’

University of Portsmouth students from the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries will be selected to work as a ‘buddy’ alongside each of the commissioned artists in order to develop their professional practice skills, enriching their CVs. The work of the selected ‘buddies’ begins at the Autumn 2012 launch of the project, continuing at the artist workshop visits to your college, carrying on through to the exhibition Preview event in the Spring 2013 at Aspex.  The selected HE students will shadow and assist the artist, making a record of the experience, in their chosen form, for example, photography and/or blog.

28 September 2012
Commissioned artists appointed by UoP/Aspex
8 October 2012
University of Portsmouth student ‘buddies’ selected by UoP
22 October 2012
4pm
New Creatives Launch at Aspex Gallery – for college tutors, artists, buddies, University of Portsmouth & Aspex staff
October–March 2013 
Artists makes visits to colleges/Aspex, accompanied by UoP ‘buddy’ -(Visits 1, 2 &4)  (Artists to arrange mutually convenient times with colleges and buddies)
December 2012

Aspex host a visit for participating students, artists, technicians and tutors (Visit 3)  (Date to be coordinated by each college & their artist with Aspex)
Monday 11 February 2013
Each College provides Aspex with Appendix 1 – Final list of 20 artworks for exhibition
Friday 1 March 2013
Last day for colleges to deliver artworks to Aspex
4-6 March 2013
Curation & Installation at Aspex (Visit 5) (Specific times to be agreed by artists, FE students and Aspex on one of these days)  
Friday 8 March 2013
6-8pm
Preview Event of New Creatives – Celebration attended by parents, friends, general public and VIPs invited
9 March – 14 April 2013
Exhibition – opening hours 11am – 4pm daily (5 weeks)
Friday 19 April 2013
Colleges collect work from Aspex

Looking Beyond Your Degree


Paul Barnes came in to speak to us about CV writing and what we need to do in order to secure a job when we’re finished with the course.

He started off by explaining that there is a small number of large companies that look for photographers, but there are a lot of smaller companies (SME small to medium sized enterprise) who are looking for photographers. Research shows that only 25% of graduates sought SME opportunities (5/1/12)

First Steps
·         Lateral thinking and back up plans
o   Very useful as it may take time to find a job
·         Work experience
o   Really important to gain experience of a commercial industry
·         Speculative applications
o   Gamble application
o   Opportunities that aren’t advertised
o   Could lead to work experience
·         Likely need for a good CV

Need for CV
·         A vital sales pitch – not narrating a story
·         Relevant to role and organization
·         Stand out and show added value
o   What can you bring to the organization
·         Appropriate evidence, use positive language

CV Writing in 2 Minutes
·         Concise
o   Generally 2 sides max a4
·         Clear sections
·         Introductory profile, objective, personal statement
·         Choose style
o   Chronological, skill based, academic
·         Reverse chronological order
·         Bullet points
o   Brief ‘bites’ of information
·         Good font and letter size
·         Positive vocabulary, excellent presentation
·         Must provide evidence of skills and achievements
·         Needs to be adapted
·         Outside interests
o   Significant or especially relevant ones only
·         Referees – references available on request
·         Creative styles are popular and can work well but images must add something

Different Styles
·         Chronological
o   Events are the main part of the sales pitch
·         Skill based
o   Relevant skill types are the key here
·         Creative styles
o   Using images of work to convey message
·         Academic styles
o   Specific details of specialised learning and research

Creative Styles of CV
·         Very common
·         Watermark of border can be effective
·         Landscape shaped CVs harder to format correctly but can work well
·         Care needed for content
o   Need for clarity
o   Relevance
o   Originality
o   Avoid overcrowding
o   Remember copyright
·         Lots of freedom
·         More suited to many roles and employers

What skills and qualities do recruiters require?
·         Technical skills
·         Design skills
·         Ability to work in teams
·         Customer service skills
·         Flexibility
·         Capacity for attention to detail
·         Able to manage own workload
·         Strong communication
·         Problem solving

Key tasks in CV writing
·         Linking skills, achievements qualifications and so on
·         Possible use for records of achievement of portfolio


Speculative application
·         Taking a gamble
·         Applying for a job might lead to work experience
·         Need a good CV and covering letter
·         Might need samples of work
Other considerations
·         Personal website
·         E-portfolio


Agency
·         Aswift.com
·         Opmjobs.com
·         Associatesgroup.co.uk
·         Profilescreative.com
·         Agencycentral.co.uk
·         Rec.uk.com

Networking
·         Sedf.org.uk
·         Applecart.org
·         Cib.as
·         Cafeculture.org.uk
·         Everycreative.com
·         Creativeboom.co.uk
·         Mediavolt.co.uk
·         Linkedin.com
·         Facebook.com

Showcasing
·         Allourbestwork.com
·         Artsthread.com
·         Behance.net

Where are the opportunities
·         Prospects.ac.uk
·         Ccskills.org.uk
·         Local and national press
·         Bipp.com
·         Rps.org
·         Bapla.org.uk
·         Region based resources
o   Graduatejobsouth.co.uk

Postgraduate
·         Art therapy
·         Medical illustration
·         Journalism
·         Law
·         Human resources
·         Teaching
·         Findamasters.com

Self employment
·         Seek early accurate advice
·         Lot of preparation
·         Networking is important

Alumni Session


On the 18th of October we had an Alumni session where some past students came in to talk to us about the things they’ve been up to since finishing the course.

Tim Bowditch
·         Independent photographer, London
·         Graduated in 2008
·         www.timbowditch.com
Tim graduated in 2008 and went home for one month, but felt like you couldn’t go back to Guernsey so he soon moved to London. The majority of his work at University was documentary, however when he finished he found it really hard to decide what he wanted to do. He went on to do an internship in a commercial gallery and at a contemporary gallery and became an assist curator. However, he was still quite confused and started to assist a few editorial photographers.
He ended up being part of a project called Roof Unit. Him, Chris Littlewood and Tony Smith set up a pool of 7 or 8 photographers looking for an assistant. He explained this was the best decision he’s ever made. Through this project he gained lots of contacts and had to juggle a lot of things at the same time.
He went on to talk a little bit about his website. He doesn’t have any of his commercial work on there, or any Uni work (natural progression). He get the majority of his work through other photographers or clients passing his name on to other clients. He also talked about his experience assisting photographers, and explained it was really good experience anyone should have. Now he doesn’t do any assisting anymore, unless he could travel for it.
Vicky Chiswell
·         Aspex Gallery Participation programme manager
·         Graduated in 2010
Aspex is a contemporary art gallery which features a lot of new and upcoming artists. She works with toddlers to adults and helps get people more involved with art. She gets young kids to interact with artists and feel comfortable about and around art.
While still studying, Vicky applied to volunteer at Aspex gallery in order to get some experience. She was asked to go along as a photographer for educational trips. After working there for a while, asked for a part time job.
She also managed to get an internship full time and paid – but she was already working at aspex part time. She accepted the internship and explained she had to do a lot of juggling. It was really valuable experience.
She is still working at Aspex now, and is busy with all sorts of events – including New Creatives.
Chris Butler
·         Director of The Photography Lounge in Chichester
·         Graduated in 2004
Chris did a prediploma where he had to do a different type of art every couple of weeks (sculpture, graphics etc) but in the end he decided he wanted to go into photography. He explained that less than half of his year is still in photography. It took Chris about one year to get a full time paid photography job after he graduated. He applied to all types of photography jobs and eventually got the chance to photograph a wedding. He had never done a wedding before so had no idea what he was doing. He ended up doing a good job and managed to get a portrait photography job. At Uni he did a lot of landscape work, so originally he wasn’t interested in portraiture and he explained that he didn’t pay any attention to his classes so he had to relearn everything about portraiture.
The listed a few of the positives and negatives about working for someone and later in his talk he explained that he set up his own portraiture business and listed the positives and negatives of that. He got the portraiture job in order to learn about the world of photography and it was much needed experience. But once he was done, he set up his own independent business. He searched for assistant, and explained to us how important it is to have a professional email address and studio name in order to be taken seriously.
At the moment he doesn’t take as many photos as he used to, but is now more concerned with marketing. He explained a bit about branding and how important it is to stick to the same brand so people can recognize you.
Georgie Gillard
·         Staff photographer for the Daily Mail
·         Graduated in 2011
Georgie was my favourite speaker of the day, she was so enthusiastic about her job and the things she’s been up to that it was really inspirational. She worked as a sport photographer for the Daily Mail and worked with the 541 Olympic sports athletes. She helped to come up with a plan of how to photographer everyone as part of a group shot. The athletes were put into smaller groups and photographed and then small thumbnails were put on a board allocating where they would be in the group shot.
She also shot all the medal winners of the Olympics and Paralympics a well as the opening ceremony of the Paralympics and managed to get the front page and the second, third and fifth page of the Daily Mail.
Since being at uni, she knew she wanted to be a press photographer and got a interview and a week of work experience at the Times. In her third year she expanded her portfolio to get on the press circuit and did work experience with various photographers.
Georgie submitted her images for her final year project to source magazine competition and won. This opened many doors for her and because of that she managed to get an interview at the Daily Mail.
Nick Adams
·         Independent photographer, London
·         Graduated in 2009
Nick had a different journey as he wasn’t initially interested in photography. He studied languages and then ended up changing his course. He was able to start in the second year of photography so had to teach himself how to use the darkroom and film.
He managed to win an award for his final year images, but unfortunately he was trespassing so didn’t receive the reward in the end.
When he left Uni he didn’t have a clue what he wanted to do, but he knew he wanted to be a photographer. He literally did every single job that he could and got a lot of experience from that. He worked with esquire magazine and photographed for Kurt Geiger. Because he had such a popular name on his CV it made it easier for him to approach anyone. He ended up becoming really interested in interior photography and started working for architects.
He explained that the most important part of being a photographer is being able to network, having a website, facebook, twitter and a blog made it easy for people to find him on a search engine. Now, most of the work he gets is from clients approaching him, rather than him approaching clients. 

New Creatives

This is my second post regarding New Creatives. On Monday the 22nd of October I went to Aspex Gallery in Portsmouth and got the chance to meet the other buddies, the three artists and some members of the participating colleges. There was a brief talk by all of the artists and the rest of the time we were there we could just chat with the artists and buddies and really get to know what New Creatives is all about.

The three buddies are:
Myself
Lauren Scott-Smith (BA (Hons) Illustrator)
Matthew Jackson (MSc Digital Media)
If you click on their names, you will be linked to their blogs.

The three artists are:
Eileen White (craft based visual artist)
Oliver Merkin (murals and large scale artworks)
Chris Jenkins (crafts man and fine artist)
If you click on their names, it will link you to their personal websites.

The participating colleges are:
Highbury
St Vincent
Portsmouth
Havant
Fareham
Chichester
South Downs

After meeting everyone we got the chance to choose who we wanted to work with, and I'll be working with Oliver Merkin! We will be working with Portsmouth college and Havant college. I've just contacted Oliver to see whether he was able to set up any dates on Monday and we will be discussing who we are visiting when. I'm really excited to get started.

I'll continue to blog about the whole experience, and try to include photos as often as possible. For more information you can visit the other students' blogs and the new creatives website: http://newcreatives.org.uk/



Thursday, October 25, 2012

Digital vs Film


This snapshot is a quick comparison between the digital file and the large format file. The large format is on the left and the digital is on the right. I like the colour of the heathland in the digital file, but the sky is much better in the large format file. Every photo has a blue sky (and the woodland has sun, so obviously the same sky), whereas the digital file has a different sky in every photo. For the large format, I used a clearing photo with a lot of grass in it, so that in matches better with the other three photos. 

Large Format Testing


After researching circular panorama’s on Flickr, I found a couple that looked like an inverted globe. I decided to try out something similar with the large format photographs.
I quite like the result of it. The panorama isn’t perfect as there is a white dot in the middle where some of the photo is missing. But I do like the outcome of the panorama. You can see a lot more of the landscape, rather than the sky. Although I do like it, I prefer the globe-like panorama. I decided to go for these four photos because they were all taken on the same day, therefore the sky was similar in each of them. I also much preferred the composition of these four rather than the other 5. 

This is a snapshot of the globe panorama. I wasn’t quite sure if it was going to work with the large format photos, but it looks great! The photos look much better in this format than they do lined next to each other.




Timelapse Distortion


Judy spoke about the lens distortion in my time lapse video and how that could potentially be quite bad. I used a gopro for my time lapse and therefore there was quite a bit of wide angle distortion. Because of the amount of photographs within the time lapse I didn’t want to really fix the distortion in every single photo. In total I took about 1000 time lapse photos in one day, and sitting there editing everything single photo individually would be such a pain! Therefore, I started to do some research into how you can edit multiple photos at once. I looked into photoshop first and there is a way you can “batch” the photos and do the same edit to multiple photos. When I tried it though, lens correction wasn’t one of the options I could choose, so I kept looking. I later found out that in lightroom you can create a certain profile, and that is how you can do the same edit on multiple photos.
I decided to download the free trial of Adobe Lightroom to see how it works. I managed to create my own profile and did the same edit on each of the photos in the first scene of the time lapse. When finished editing you have to export them, rather than in photoshop where you just save the new file.

As you can see from the snapshot above, Lightroom has made a massive difference to the photograph. The photo to the right is the original with the fisheye effect, and the photo to the left is the edited version. I much prefer the look of the photo to the left, especially became my whole project focuses on the idea of having geometrical shapes. Although it does take a long time to edit, and it is very tedious, I will try to edit the whole movie in order to make it match with the rest of my photos.


Link:
Change quality to 1080p for best results. 

Large Format Shoot


For some reason I was unable to create a contact sheet in Bridge, so I just took a snapshot of the photos. The first four pictures were taken on the first shoot and the last 5 were taken on the second shoot. As you can see one of them is messed up. This is because I didn’t close the film holder properly, I didn’t think that light had come in, but obviously it did. Luckily I took 3 woodland photos, so it’s not that big of a problem. I scanned the images in on 2040ppi.

Scanning was quite difficult because the last time I used to scanner was in the first year for the workshop. I tried to get the colours right, but it was quite tricky for some of them. I have had to do little edits to some of the photos, but luckily most of them turned out fine.

I am incredibly happy having done a large format shoot, but I’m not too happy with all of the photos. I like the chopped down areas and the woodland, and the final photo, but I don’t like the heathland photos or the first overgrown photo. I think for my final project I’d like to combine both digital and large format in order to get the best result. 

Group Tutorial 3


For this tutorial we did a quick version of the 6 thinking hats and reduced it to three major points of discussion. We did look at all of the 5 we looked at last time, but only recorded three of them and added further research.

Information:
·         Project on succession
·         Time, endless process
·         Woodland to heathland
·         Time lapse – landscape changing

Positive
·         Time lapse – positive
·         Figure walking – interesting
·         Music – brother composes
·         Add text
·         Circle image works
·         Think of size and scale
·         Produce text on a leaflet
·         Speak to volunteers, think about having them in the project
·         Look at more scientific work
·         The circle images looks like a clock – representing time
·         The people in the time lapse shows that it isn’t a natural process
·         Divided opinions of whether to have people in time lapse or not

Critical/Move forward
·         Circle shape – do test prints
·         Experiment with scale
·         Look at the converging lines (fish eye)
·         Move the time lapse slower
·         Make the time lapse into a continual loop
·         Test prints – especially acrylic
·         Analyse large format images
·         Do more time lapse videos and make them more fluid

Research
·         Malcolm Andrews
·         Landscape into Western Art
·         Andy Goldworthy