As we are getting closer to completing the final year, we are not going to have any more tutorials, only individual meetings with our tutors. Last Wednesday, Richard Kelly was our latest guest speaker.
Richard Kelly worked with us in the studio in the first year of our studies. Recently, we also had a lighting workshop with him. However, this time he talked about his photographic career and experience of working with many clients, in many photography fields and doing his personal projects.
He started his photographic career as music bands photographer. He moved on to fashion and was commissioned for Dazed magazine, Elle magazine and shot covers for many other.
His advice was to be flexible and work very fast, as often we don’t get to dictate the rules and will have to work to client’s time scale. For example: when Kelly photographed Amy Whinehouse, he had about 5 to 10 minutes for the shoot; when he photographed a band, he had to shoot in the middle of a night etc. This is one of the reasons why he enjoyed working in fashion best, as he had control of the shoot, the lighting and posing in opposition to bands where he could not choose much, as the client is the one who always dictates the rules.
He was commissioned by Cadbury and claimed that client-based work funds his personal work, as commercial work often pays well.
Fred Perry Way – Ping-Pong and tennis player asked him to create artistic work and payed for it, so according to Kelly this kind of work is always best, as you do what you love, you can shoot what you want, you can be the artist and get payed for it all at the same time.
Kelly has made a few personal projects and his latest one involves a group of young men living in Manchester. He told us that is very difficult to create documentary work, as those people aren’t used to be photographed. That it takes time to get to know the subjects and to negotiate their trust. Similarly, it takes time to make them look relaxed. He recommended to always explain the project, to tell the subject what we want from the shot, ask them what they want from the shot and clarify where we will use the photographs. While photographing people he advised to always talk to them, as it relaxes them, and the more relaxed they look the better the image. When doing commercial work, he also recommended to do something we want, not only what the client is asking for. For example, if we have different ideas how to make the photographs that we should go for it, as we will have something for our portfolio or a new exhibition. To try to think about the bigger picture. I must agree about talking to the subjects, about the difficulty of creating documentary work, so as building subject’s trust.
Kelly also advised us to do the job that pays well even if that it doesn’t interest us. He also told us to get in touch with him after university if we need any help or advice on starting to work in the photography industry, or assisting jobs as he could recommended somebody.
Have a look at Richard Kelly’s website where you will find many other interesting work.