Evaluation of Work Experience
For my work experience I really wanted experience in working with people and gaining skills as a freelancer, as this is where I feel least confident. Many photographers that I e-mailed, however, either did not reply or did not have any events over the work experience period that I specified. I created an online portfolio using Tumblr where I could share some of my images with potential employers using a link via e-mail. It is still in very early stages, but I think that the format that it is in could work really well as I build it up. When my posts are tagged, I can then filter them so that if I am e-mailing a portrait photographer, I can send them my portrait tag so my images are filtered and they have a narrowed down view of my work. With the theme that I have chosen, however, it includes a navigation bar so that the viewer of the site has easy access to my other tags instead of having to try and change the URL every time. I really like this as I think it is important that a website be as accessible as possible, and easy to use. I chose to use Tumblr as a format because it is easy for people to share and reblog work which means that it can be seen by many, (as well as shared on facebook), can be presented in a very professional manner, and it gives you the option to use your own domain name which will certainly come in handy in the future.
During April I was contacted by one of the Freemasons that I photographed when I did my Territories project, as he is also a rugby coach for Aldershot and Fleet Rugby Club, and he asked if I could take some photographs for him. I was more than happy to oblige after the trouble they went to when they helped me out with my project, and I am eager to keep contact in case I wish to pursue taking the project further. Since it was the end of season, the club were having their last training session and my task was to take photographs that they could use to update their website. This included portraits of the coaches and teams, and I thought that this would be perfect practice for my work experience. I am quite shy when it comes to people, as I think I am always too eager to please yet too much of a perfectionist, so I always put myself under too much pressure. The club was perfect for alleviating me of this, as they were very easy going and were not taking the photographs too seriously, but it was still required of me to direct them and set up the photograph. This experience ranged from a little intimidating to a little frustrating as I was working with older rugby players who were perhaps less appreciative of the cliché “say cheese!” to the photographer scenario, but they were mostly compliant and they were eager to make a laugh out of it. I did have to be very firm to begin with, but the promise of a fun photo afterwards kept them still enough for the first shot. It got a little frustrating when photographing the children. A lot of them were toddler age, and it was very difficult to keep them standing still and to have them all looking at me, but again the promise of a fun photo kept them still until they could pull their best face, so I think I will keep this technique stored away for the future, no matter what the age of the client!
I had photographer Scott Kendall with me as assistant. I was perfectly comfortable with taking the portraits, but I thought that taking action shots of the training would be difficult for just one person, so I asked for his assistance so that we could cover more ground and get more photographs. I am very relieved that he was there, because at the end of the morning I was asked to photograph the awards ceremony, and I had a small technical difficulty.
When the ceremony started, the coaches had decided to do it against the door where all of the afternoon light was coming in, and it was very difficult trying to compensate for the amount of light coming in, so I had to cause a bit of mayhem by moving a few tables so that I could take the photographs against the adjacent wall. I was very pleased that I was confident enough to do this, and I took myself by surprise a little bit. I had to bear in mind that I needed to get these photographs, and that was not going to happen in the position that they were in. It worked out well, however, as I then had a blank wall to shoot against and plenty of natural light too.
It went wrong, however, about three-quarters of the way through when my compact flash card failed and I had to call Scott in to take over. It proved to be a bit of a problem, as it was then not possible for me to transfer the files onto my computer afterwards, even after trying this on four different computers. I took the card into the technicians, as I had borrowed the Canon 5D from the university, and lucky they managed to restore most of the files. It is from this, however, that I learn to always have a spare camera, preferably in the form of an assistant, and to not be afraid to do whatever it takes to get the images that you are being employed to get. This experience has really boosted my confidence, and whilst I am a little disappointed that I did not get to shadow someone with a bit more experience, I strongly believe in throwing myself in the deep end and trusting myself to float, and it certainly worked in this instance.
Even though it was not entirely necessary, I filled out a risk assessment form because I think that it is good practice to do so, and I am trying to get in the habit of producing them as often as possible.
I was a little concerned about model release forms, but I was informed that all the parents signed forms giving permission for their children to be photographed when they joined the club, so this meant that the paperwork was already done for me.
I’m heading back home today, and I’ve decided to borrow a 5D from the university in preparation for the weekend. I also borrowed a wide angle lens, just in case there are large numbers in a group when I am taking team photographs. I want to avoid using it, however, in case of distortion, but I think it will be good to have on the day - just in case!
Actively learning from my mistakes, I will be checking the compact flash card (8GB), checking that settings are to take photographs in .RAW, and make sure that the spare battery is charged. The 5D does have a battery pack with it, but it is always good to have a spare charged, just in case.
I have used the 5D many times before, but since I am usually a Nikon user I will spend my train journey re-familiarising myself with the equipment.
After shooting the wedding with my friend and classmate Tory last year, I have realised the importance of having an assistant at hand. I asked Scott Kendall to assist me as whilst I am confident I can handle the portraiture aspects of the day, I know that his work is often dedicated to sports photography and believe that we can both benefit from him being there, especially when it comes to building professional people skills.
Unfortunately I haven’t received any emails in response to my work experience queries, but I have been contacted by one of the Freemasons that I photographed for my Territories project. He is also a rugby coach, and asked me if I could photograph for their rugby club as their website needed updating. I was more than happy to oblige, and offered the jpgs for free as he was kind enough to help me out with my project last year.
I will be photographing the last training session of the season, which includes taking portraits of the coaches, of the teams, and then action shots of the kids during training. At the end of the morning I have been informed that there will be an award ceremony, which they have informed me will be indoors, and I am also to photograph this.
I think this will be great experience as I will have to work on arranging teams for the photographs, which requires a good balance of friendliness as well as being firm and instructive. There will also be a lot of children, so it will be good practice working with them as it isn’t something that I have really done before.
So I am looking for work experience this Easter break and to accompany e-mails I decided to put up an on-line portfolio. I decided to stick with Tumblr because it’s easy to get shared around, and also very easy to customize, with the option to use a domain name which may come in handy when I come round to setting up my own website.
I chose a theme that would work well as a portfolio format; very simplistic and lets the work do that talking, but where all the images are visible together in one place rather than in a list. Another aspect that works really well is the navigation - I can tag my photographs into categories, for example portraiture, still life, text, ect. and then the images can be filtered using a navigation bar.
I can now use this Tumblr portfolio for when I am sending out e-mails and applying for work experience, using a specific tag so that I can narrow down the photographs to the employer/client’s needs.
Fingers crossed that it is successful!
Visit here: http://purnellphotoblog.tumblr.com/
Final Review for Exhibition
So the exhibition turned out to be a total success in the end! Four months of hard work and fundraising definitely paid off. The atmosphere was buzzing the whole night; the room was full for the entire duration and people seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as we were.
We had to set up that morning, which was perhaps a bit more stressful than necessary because of the incident we had with the exhibition boards two days prior because we then had to have the board induction that morning. I arrived at Eldon to have the induction with the others since it was originally planned that Emma and I would be receiving the induction too as the curators but prior to the boards incident we were arranged to be over at Guildhall instead so I was promptly sent over there instead. Because I am also treasurer I was sent over to Wilkinson to buy some paint to touch up the boards. Laura, Emma and Dillinger came with me and we also picked up some sandpaper to try and get the worst of the marks off the boards. We wanted to avoid painting them where possible because we could not put the boards up in Guildhall if the paint is wet.
The others brought the boards over where we sanded them down as best as we could and then painted over the bits that needed retouching. Due to the easels being a last minute addition Luke had to whip up some last-minute risk assessment forms before he could bring them over. Emma and I had worked out that Scott’s, Nathan’s, Emma’s and my own prints would work well on easels so I asked Luke to bring over twenty just in case we needed them. This was a bit of a challenge considering people had gone off to work on tying up loose ends before the evening and we were short of people actually holding down the fort. In the time it took for them to get about twelve over I decided that Scott’s could go on the easels down the side of the room and my own along the back wall as we did not want to clutter up the space and especially did not want to block off the pathway to Russell’s work.
It was difficult to visualise the layout of the boards when they were not in the room. We had a tape measure and we were working out sizes and angles but I found it really stressful not knowing exactly where everything needed to be. We thoroughly planned out whose photos worked well with others and vice versa, but in future I would like to try and get access to the venue beforehand to work out exactly where things need to go as I would have been under much less pressure if this had been the case. Fortunately when we deemed the boards dry enough we brought them upstairs and Emma and I instructed the group who had had the induction on how we had decided the best formation for the boards, and fortunately they were fairly simple to erect with a little bit of advice from some of the technicians at the Guildhall.
Everything went up pretty smoothly from there – personally I felt that my biggest hurdle on the night was erecting the boards and getting those set up because once they were up everybody took charge of hanging their own work, and despite a bit of trouble with how to attach the fishing wire that went fairly smoothly for everybody.
Fortunately it was fairly easy for me to set up my work on the easels, and as we were running out of time we took shifts to go and get ready for the evening. A few people thought that we would be wearing our logo t-shirts for the evening, and I am really glad that we didn’t in the end. Everybody dressed formally and I felt that this worked significantly better considering that our exhibition was being held in the Guildhall and our surroundings were themselves very formal. We also made the decision of just having wine on the night, starting with eight bottles of white wine, eight bottles of red, and two rose instead of putting money behind the bar. This worked really well and even though we had to spend a bit more money to keep the bar topped up it definitely felt more professional and formal to have the glasses out by bar instead of people requesting drinks of various prices. We also had water and orange juice for those who do not drink as we felt it was important to cater to people’s needs as much as we could.
Overall I think the evening was a huge success. If there were any things I could do again it would be to have a chance to clean up the easels a bit more (the paint did not distract from the work which is really fortunate but they worked out really well in the end) and to also find a better place to put my artist statement. With my work being on easels there was very limited space and whilst I had a table next to my work for the statement a lot of people unfortunately missed it, so in future I think I will arrange to have more space for this.
In terms of professional practice I think that I learnt the most about how to work together as a team and how to coalesce my own skills with those of others to make the most of our collective abilities. I have learnt how to compromise and to also not be afraid to speak up when I feel like there could be an alternative to an idea I don’t agree with, and in turn to also be able to accept such criticism to help myself build upon my skills and develop in my endeavour to become a photographer.
There’s always something!
Krista had got in touch with the Fine Art department within the university booked sixteen exhibition boards for the evening, but when we finally got through to the person who had organized this to sort out when we could have our induction on how to assemble them we were told that there were only six available for the evening. I think we handled this turn surprisingly well. As soon as we received the news I phoned Aspex gallery (who unfortunately do not have any portable boards), Scott looked up prices for hiring some boards and Dillinger and Luke organized booking easels just in case we could not get hold of any boards on time. Nathan helped to look at ways of arranging six boards and the rest on easels just in case there was no way we could find more boards in time. We were worried that even if we could get enough easels for everybody, people with small work like Meg (three A4 prints) and Dillinger (a collection of smaller prints) would suffer from this as their layout is important as their sequencing is crucial to the understanding of their work
Fortunately Krista got back in touch with the woman who she had originally spoken to about the boards and we were able to get fourteen for the evening, not as many as we had originally hoped for but the idea of using easels has been brought up and we have decided that we would like to use them anyway, perhaps for people with A2 prints like Scott and Emma.
Emma and I will be reassessing the layouts of peoples work to try and accommodate for the two boards we are missing.