Week 11 – reflection

The talk given by photographer Felicity McCabe as part of this week’s work was quite an interesting one; it reminded me a little of my younger self.

McCabe, who was advised by her tutor that “you’ll learn more there” following her continued work experience with Nadav Kander during her course, seemed to find it difficult to reconnect to her studies and was particularly dismissive of people working in the darkrooms at the college. When Kander suggested she didn’t top up her HND to a BA saying ‘no one’s ever going to ask you what your dissertation is about, you might as well leave” that’s what she did.

I didn’t even get that far as I left my HND early to take up work with a commercial photographer in the place I wanted to live (not London)..

My experience of doing this gave me the best grounding for my future photographic work. And it was one of my happiest times working as a photographer.

However, it seemed at odds to hint that perhaps a photographic education is not necessarily worthwhile when your audience is MA-level students paying a considerable amount to study.

Photography has always been a profession where self-taught and qualified have rubbed alongside each other, and for me neither is better or worse. Each person’s route to what they want to achieve visually is theirs alone.

What did seem quite apparent was the awards mentioned that Felicity had either been nominated for or awarded.

Competitions are not something I have been particularly drawn to. This is something I will review in the coming weeks. For my style it will probably be more alternative photography competitions.

I also liked to her about how she puts together her portfolio, that’s she quite contradictory and that fact that she said “when it’s your own work, you are allowed to make up your own rules”.

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©Felicity McCabe. Blue flower in clamp. The Arrow

McCabe also spoke about how some of the sparks for her projects come from random sources such as her experience of dating exes and a quote she heard Professor Brian Cox make. She seemed to be quite fluid in her approach to her work, not afraid to make mistakes (on her own time), and uses other disciplines to influence her own style.

There was much discussion about being authentic and genuine and to avoid simply trying to mimic others work in the hope that you will then be commissioned to do the same thing.

I think the main thing I took from this interview is that how it’s okay to be yourself. McCabe seems pretty down to earth and doesn’t have a slick patter to explain her work, which is so refreshing.

For the main part this week I have been finalising my oral presentation film, which has taxed me a little as it wasn’t exporting correctly. Ideas for my WIP portfolio have been played with and I have a few more articles for the CRJ to add.

I didn’t get chance to join the webinar with Amy Simmons, or finish the treatment brief she set. I did have a skim through of the recording of it and have to say that my fellow student Rita Rodner’s work stood out for me. Rita has a fabulous ‘graphic eye’ and I love what she did.

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©Rita Rodner. 2017

I got so far as to make a dummy image (as below) that I intended to use the words “This idea is mine”. The brief asked participants to insert the word of the item they used in their image in the sentence “This XXX is mine” but I decided that the feeling of a lightbulb moment may connect to an emotional response in the potential buyer, making them go on to purchase as if they had thought to do so themselves; some sort of subliminal messaging. I know it’s not what my final image would probably look like but at least I managed something.

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It has been reassuring to have positive comments from fellow students regarding my CRJ.

One said, “The theme you have chosen for your CRJ suits your practice very well. The CRJ is easily navigable and the content accessible. Looking beyond the practicalities of the CRJ, your posts are comprehensive, clear and concise yet thorough. Content is interesting and informative with a good mix of theory discussion, critical analysis and individual reflection” while another added, “I really enjoy reading your posts as I find the information interesting and clearly presented. I have to admit to being fascinated by your current experiments with sand and sea water – I love the unpredictability of the results.” Thank you Philip M and Jo respectively.

I have to note that of all the students CRJs I have had time to peek at, there is a pretty great standard overall. And the range of projects and interests is fascinating.

This week has been a challenge overall; it’s one of the busiest times at my day job and other personal changes have had a bit of an impact but hopefully I’m on the home straight now.

References

Online.

McCabe, Felicity. Felicity McCabe. Available at: http://www.felicitymccabe.com/ [accessed Dec 5, 2017]

Falmouth Flexible. Week 11. Available at: https://flex.falmouth.ac.uk/courses/84/pages/week-11-introduction?module_item_id=6567 [accessed Dec 5]