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…

documentary photography, final year, major project, photography, portfolio review, portraiture, uni work, university

Group and individual tutorial

Each Friday morning, we have group tutorials with one of our tutors or guests, where we talk about our new work. Additionally, every two weeks we have individual tutorials. I had my first meeting with Liam last Thursday.

Feedback form Liam Devlin: Your pictures became a lot better and the lighting is more interesting (thanks Liam). You freed yourself, instead of photographing the same way and you responded to the location. Devlin asked whats the parameters of the project? I replied that is a positive impact of the immigration from West Yorkshire. What drives you to make this project? Showing these people as my own mirror. Having not an easy life as an immigrant, we have to work a lot harder. I am showing that immigrants are also a humans, not just hard workers who contribute to British economy. Devlin adds that it is normal to feel frustrated, as Prime Minister claims that we “jump the queue”. Foreground a humanity in a face of dehumanising process. We have to live our lives through being stereotyped and labelled as the others, outsiders. Those stereotypes breaks down when counted the individuals, as individuals are way more complex. Part of humans condition is not who we are, but who we are not. To present the complexity and the humanity. You kind of getting there. You need to give a working title. I’ve been asked what my relationship to this country? I answer that its my home, I have family and friends here, but I love Poland and I feel Polish. Devlin said that: ” it is complex, very stable relationship between where you from and where you live”. He advised me to play with the pictures when sequencing them. Not to place them besides the people that are exposed to be for, necessarily. Mix them up, make the viewer work and peace together. In this process they will recognise the complexity of it. Add little phrases but don’t placed them next to the person who said it. Surprise the viewer and play with people expectations. Look at Jitka Hanzlova and Tom Duffield’s work.

Friday’s feedback from Yan Preston: your photographs gone better (wow, thanks Yan). I’ve been asked how my experience as immigrant makes me think and feel. I replied that I feel displaced, especially after Brexit I feel uncomfortable, unwanted and blamed (the same as each of the subject I photographed). As many people believes what the media or Theresa May says about immigration, therefore we became blamed for everything. Which is all lie and perhaps May knows this, but she won’t tell the public that European Union Immigrants brings positive impact to UK’s economy. Life as immigrants isn’t easy but we still try to build our homes. Preston advised me to add facts and statistics. To let the viewer know ho claims benefits or to write an essay about it. Additionally, to combine text in my photo-book, to ask each subject for their story, as text is more accessible and not everything could be said through photographs. Guide them, reach deeper into yours and their stories. Reflect on your story, write the story you want to tell. I told her that I came to the UK as fully trained Security Guard able to work as Police Officer. I was trained in self defence and held a gun licence; however, my qualifications wasn’t recognised here and I had to work in the factory. This is one of the main reasons why I went back to University, as I didn’t want to work as a factory worker forever. Similar story applies to many immigrants.

I’ve  been told to consider Self portrait, “no way” I replied. I hate being photographed, that why I became a photographer. However, each of the subject’s story is similar to mine, so the viewer could see me through other photographs, as they became my mirror reflection.

One of the student said that one of the subject seams to be interesting person with worn look, as he went through a lot in his life but, he wants to know more about him. As I explained what is immigrant life experience, I’ve been told to add subject’s stories, to ask them to write a paragraph about their story. What is home? Where is it? What is ideal country you would like to live in? Tell me about you. What is love? Where is homeland? whats your biggest dreams?

I am always responding to my feedback and portfolio reviews and will try my best to deliver it.

artist talk, documentary photography, final year, major project, photography, portfolio review, university

Rachel Brown Talk and portfolio review

Rachel Brown is Harper’s Bazaar photographic director and fine art photographer. It was a pleasure to meet her and to hear the story about her journey with photography.

Firstly, Rachel told us about her art collage in Huddersfield and BA studies in London. Then she applied for residency in NYC and received a place and how she creates her cinematic photographs and questions the reality.

She imagined fearful situation to then create her fictional narrative work. She wonders around at night to find new place and often put herself in dangerous situations. She works with long exposure and medium format camera. She works with strangers and landscapes. Approaches strangers by creating a casting exchange for prints. Brown also uses self-portraiture in her work, which she comments that it could influence our own practise.

Later, she told us how she approaches the photographer Steven Klein and starts working for him. When she was back to UK, she got a job as Vogue internship, then works with Tim Walker. Finally, to became Harper’s Bazaar photographic director. Where she works with big names, both celebrities and photographers. Wow what a career.

Rachel encourage us to apply for residencies. She has been in few of them and told us that they could format our photographic career. Also, it is a great way to travel, to see new places, meet interesting people and create contacts. What I get from her talk, was to try different things, to build range of skills and technics within many photography fields to then apply in our professional practise.

Portfolio Review

Rachel Brown told me that my subject is very important today and that this political theme is very interesting especially valid right now with Brexit approaching. That my voice should be heard, and I need to humanize the subjects, therefore I need to give more context to each photographed person. That I need to show that migrants are humans and they deserves to be treated as humans. That I should interview people, ask about their experiences as immigrants, their life stories, how long they’ve been here and what job they are doing to show that they are contributing to the country. Additionally, her advice was to start the book with the essay, with very hard-hitting words like facts and statistics what people believe about immigration. Her advise was to ask somebody important to write the essay for me, however I am not sure if I could afford this, but I will definitely try. Brown’s other advice was to print my work as newspaper, with red heading, statistics and to give away to viewers on our final year exhibition. As this theme is going opposite the media, but migration is normally showed in newspapers.

 

documentary photography, final year, major project, photography, portfolio review, portraiture, uni work, university

Alumni portfolio review

It was an honour to show my work to photographers who once were Students of University of Huddersfield as I am now. Each of them works in different photography field however, it was great to hear what they think about my work and how they are doing as practitioners. I am really appreciated for all the great feedback.

Tom Duffield – Freelance, Editorial

Tom was impressed that I found so many people and told me that my subject is very interesting and valid. He likes the images which have quiet surrounding, and the one which have additional picture related to person’s work.

I spoke with Tom that I would like to try different approaches, so he told me that is good idea to try to photograph them on white background, to isolate the subject from their surroundings, so the viewer concentrates on each individual person and the person become the most important. However, he told me that the editorial portraiture which I did are good enough. Additionally, he advised me to take some pictures around subject’s house to portray important stuff for them and to ask each person to hand write something about themselves. To ask them how long they have been here? What is their experience as migrants? That it will add their voice and their authorship to the project and the project would become more personal.

Laura Patric – Freelance Studio, Digital Assistant

Laura likes the idea of my project and was impressed that I have a mixture of men and women, wide range of careers and variation of ethnicities. She advised me to work on white balance, colour cast and to use grey card so the images fits together and have similar colours and consistency. I am absolutely going to do this, I told her that I already bought grey card and will start to use it.

Ryan Fitzpatric – Freelance Food Stylist, Studio Photographer

Another commercial practitioner who points out white balance in my work. Thanks guys, it would be fixed. Ryan’s advice was to write a story about each subject, what they did in their own country, if they worked in the same field etc. Additionally, to create more of their story I should add images related to them or their archive images from their country.

Silvana Trevale – Freelance Editorial, Fashion, Portraiture

Silvana advised me to look at Katy Granan and Lewis Khan’s work with white background. She told me to spend time with each of the subject, to get to know them, to fallow them in their daily basis. Not to be worry if they won’t let me in their house. But if they agree I should have their prints for them. Great idea, I will definitively try this.

 

documentary photography, final year, photography, portfolio review, portraiture, uni work, university

Portfolio review

I’ve had a pleasure to show my work to two very interesting photographers, Pablo Antoli and Mario Popham.

Artists told that some of my photographs are better than others however, are good technically and that I am concentrating on very important subject and current political issue. I told them that I would like to change something within this project however, they told me not to look for any ideas as I already have a good one. Their advice was to build connection with my subjects, to investigate their lives, interview them and asked them to write something about themselves. They advised me to look at Gim Golberg’s work Rich and Poor and Open See where artist applied hand writing on the image. I am really appreciated about the feedback and some great ideas. I will definitely try them in my new work.

 

artist talk, final year, major project, photography, portfolio review, portraiture, uni work, university

Artist talk-Pablo Antoli

Pablo is another great photographer who as part of creative exchange week came to uni and talked to students about his practise.

Each of Pablo’s work is different than other, he breaks the boundaries within his creativity. As a commercial practitioner he creates artistic images of food. His travel images are documentary about the place, people, culture, food… His MA work contains found images which he placed into wooden wall and explored what time and decay does to the images. Other work was created by folding images of mountains, rocks, stones into landscapes, then faking sunsets, skies and photograph models as they are landscapes. His recent Sleepers work is an installation created with the mixture of film archives and the landscapes he created in Mexico. The project is about Mexican Revolution and combines projections, risographs and prints on glass.

He shared with us very interesting way of approaching the clients. While travelling, he creates the images about the place, their culture, food then edits them down so photographs creates the story. Then he writes a brief and approach client by sending his work to magazines, restaurants…as part of his professional practice and to gain new customers.

He clarified that his assisting and commercial work fund his living, while money from Mexico allows him to travel and pays for the equipment. Very interesting how he was honest with us and told us that is not easy to make money within photography. That we must always work hard within the field that interest us but also commercially to be able to fund our travel or artistic work.

He advised us to approach photographers and to work with them as photography assistants, as we will gain new skills, get to test new equipment and learn new Technics. Also, to systematically sending our work to clients and photography awards to get our works seen, to gain clients and to receive awards.

If you’re interested in Pablo Antoli’s work, have a look at his websites:

http://anto.li/

http://www.antolistudio.com/

 

 

 

artist talk, Bella West, documentary photography, final year, major project, photography, portfolio review, portraiture, university

Bella West’s talk, workshop and portfolio review

Last week I’ve had a pleasure to attend Bella West’s talk, to have workshop with the artist and to watch her working in the location.

The artist talked about her work, how mostly she uses natural light or adding reflector if needed and how she uses the space and simplicity in her photographs. She advised us (students) that to be a good photographer we need to be more than just to catch a moment; that we need to create colour harmony in our images. That we need to consider the light, time of the day, place where we photograph, how much shape and space do we use. That the composition is very important to create cohesion between the location and the subject. To not be afraid of playing with dept of field, movement and being creative. Additionally, artist explained that as portrait photographer is very important to make a connection with the subject. To let them be themselves and to bring their own personality into our work. She also told us to get away from our comfort zone and to try to photograph other stuff, different subject, styles, events etc. As each time we gain new skills, experiences and build our confidence within something new to us what makes us stronger as a photographer. Furthermore, West told us that is important to show our work and to enter photography competitions, as it’s always good to be seen and we may land ourselves an award or an exhibition etc.

Portfolio review:

I presented my Bloody Foreigners? work and I received a very good feedback. Bella West said that I am photographing very interesting subject, that the design of my photobook is very good and some of my portraits are strong. She recommended that I should go wider and use more space in my photographs. Also, that I shouldn’t concentrate on the subject directly looking at the camera but could be more playful and portray the subjects while they do their jobs, and through location I could tell more of their story. Additionally, I’ve been told to use colour passport or grey card when I photograph inside. I’ve been also advised that I look at the work of Anastasia Taylor Lind and Gales Duley. Both artists are a real story teller, but I am going to try my best to add this useful advice in my new photographs. I have some new ideas.