documentary photography, dummy book, immigration, photobook, photography, portfolio review

Portfolio Review by photographers Richard Kelly and Garry Clarkson

Following the talk by our latest guest speaker Richard Kelly, we’ve had an opportunity to share with him our work and get feedback. Garry Clarkson also joined us, and we’ve had a chance to hear what he has to say about our work.

I showed my latest dummy book.

Feedback form Richard Kelly

According to Kelly, my project looks very good and I have some strong portraiture with very good lighting. His favourite was the first and second portraiture in the top raw, middle image in the third raw and the bottom left. The middle image on the top reminds him of Richard Billingham’s Ray’s a Laugh. He likes the photographs, as they show real people and emotions, as there is a story, people are thinking, imagining the future, appear hopeful, the viewer feels a connection to them. He also advised me to add more images of their personal stuff or something connected to them, as those little motives, symbolic photographs says a lot about the owner.

Both Kelly and Clarkson agreed that the images with dead pan face expression made in the subjects’ work environment are slightly emotionless and that I should get rid of them. As they don’t fit to the flow of the book, they appear as visual statistics, editorial work, from tabloids, photojournalism, newspapers or magazines when I am trying to show the opposite.

Feedback from Garry Clarkson

Clarkson said that my book shows the everyday beauty and experience, the positive representation of immigration and humanising them. He stated that the last image in the top raw is too commercial, without the contexts and with missing metaphor, so the viewer moves away. He said that I have good environmental portraits around subjects’ homes and works; with subtle light and contrast of different gazes. Similarly to Kelly, Clarkson likes the emotive images with subtle, window light best, so as the one with dog next to the person, as he claims it signifies “when the space become the place” and the identity. Garry Clarkson adds that those images elevate away from statistical and news photographs, crates emotional connections and good feelings when looking at them. He told me to add images of more personalised items, or to add something symbolic that portrays the struggle people went through.

We spoke about the title, Bloody Foreigners? according to Clarkson “reinforcing the prejudice”. He said that the title shouldn’t be too descriptive, “don’t reveal everything, don’t reveal the magic”, let the viewer interpret and make their own story, the more you hold back the more people will invest. He then said, “I am jealous, a lot of work in here”. Wow, thanks Garry!

With only 7 weeks left to the deadlines, I need to take the advice in consideration when completing my final project. Within 7 weeks I must design and print a book, choose prints for the exhibition in April and for the final exhibition, also prepare final presentation, write critical research summary for my major project and professional practice. Is this even possible?

I will carry on writing the blog and share with you all I’ve done, and the meetings/portfolio reviews I attended until the end of uni. Then I will have some other stories…