artist talk, documentary photography, fashion, guest speaker, photography, Richard Kelly, Rick Kelly

Richard Kelly, our latest guest speaker

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.

rkellyphoto.com

Alex Beldea, artist talk, documentary photography, final year, photography, university

Working in Photography by Alex Beldea

University of Huddersfield careers and employability service offer a range of guest speakers and workshops to attend. I recently joined “Working in Photography” by Alex Beldea.

Alex Beldea studying PhD in our university and we’ve had a few tutorials with him last year. However, this time he talked about his career in photography, his experience as professional photographer, his clients and job opportunities. I will mention a few of those:

Back in his country, Romania, he worked as a sport photographer. He came to the UK over 7 years ago to study photography. While studying, he volunteered for 3 years where he photographed musicians for HCMF. He claimed that both jobs improved his technical skills.

He volunteered as events photographer for University International Office. His volunteer job lead to many paid job opportunities.

He then took a placement year and worked at photo studio Hylton Photography in Leeds. It taught him how to deal with clients, see real photography work and improved his technical skills. This job opportunity lead to many collaborations, as Beldea is still working with Hylton and until now both photographers help each other.

Through university he gets many opportunities to cover events, in one of those he had a pleasure to photograph a royal family visit. He stated that it was stressful and challenging, as he only had 5 minutes for the shoot however, he claimed that it was a very good experience.

He worked for the University gym Team Hud.

He photographed York chocolate story museum Treat or Trick walking tour.

He photographed DJs, celebrities, food photography – still and moving image for Epicure.

Photographed Wander-clothing collection.

Discover Magazine-researchers within university.

Every summer for about two weeks he shoots Graduation ceremonies at the university, he works from 8am to 5pm, then edits at night.

Photographed costumes for final project costume departments.

Commissioned for Manchester Gallery as international photographer to exhibit his work about Manchester- Second Home

He worked on many personal projects. The Last Shift is about coal mining in Romania which is planned to be closed. He photographed coal mining workers who will soon become redundant.

In Tunisia, Beldea is making a project about a refugee camp. He is photographing and raising money for 35 refugees who are struggle financially.

Alex Beldea’s tips are: to be patience; work hard and find a way to show your work; work in many photography fields, as you will gain new skills and it could lead to more job opportunities; look for places to get feedback; join portfolio reviews, for example Red Eye in Manchester, Photo Meet in London; attend conferences as you may end up having exhibitions and this is the best way to show your work; alongside professional photographer’s jobs do internships or assisting jobs, as again you will improve your technical skills…

What a brilliant talk, one of best I ever attended. In my opinion Beldea is a very talented photographer and I love his commercial work, so as documentary; especially Valid for Travel. I always look at his photographs when looking for inspiration. Thank you, Alex, for sharing your story and giving us very useful advice.

If you would like to see some more work by Beldea, I will recommend you visit his website

alexbeldea.com

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Talk and portfolio review by our Guest speaker Theo Simpson

Yesterday, Theo Simpson visited our university and gave us a fantastic talk about his practise.

Firstly, Simpson talked about another photographers’ work who influenced his practise. William Christenberry’s Green Warehouse, 1978 was one of the first image which made Simpson realise that he wants to become a photographer. To be able to use his visual language in communication. According to Simpson this image isn’t just a depiction of a green house, but the photographer’s dedication to the subject matter, as he became friend with the owner and for 25 years, he returned to the place every year to photograph it again and again and again. John Smith’s photographs inspired Simpson in a way that he realised that the photographer doesn’t have to travel the world to create amazing work. As Smith made his work in his door step, no further that 3 miles away for his house. Paul Graham’s Beyond Caring, 1986 gave Simpson the idea of how powerful the photography could be within communication in the world. Graham couldn’t photograph in job centre, but somehow, he manages to use his large format to make a very powerful photograph which carries historical context of high unemployment in the UK.

When Simpson finished university, he became one of those unemployed, it made him think why did he studied? Why does he want to make photographs? Are his photographs enough to talk about his thoughts? He started to make photobooks. He was always interested in consumerism, technologies, news feed but also what’s under his feet-as landscapes. He thinks that the life we are living in are completely manipulated by all the above.

Photography for Simpson is the experience of exploration of the world and the communication to people. He thinks that good work come from original thoughts and expressions. Very useful advice, as he told us to think what makes us different than the others. Book making process taught him the understanding of materials, the discipline and the level of sacrifice. He used multiple visual languages in his work; different materials, variation of printing technics, scans of the objects, photographs of surrounding, objects etc. He believes that photographers toolset become limited, as there is a lot to consider when making photographs; like the lighting, location, time of the day, what camera do you use, what lens, what point of view, angle…

Fallowing the talk, I had a chance to show Simpson my work. He told me that the dept to the story is visible through my dummy book and that I engage with a lot of people. That my portraitures are strong, intimate and quiet. That I should ask myself question if the additional images doing their job. If I really need them. I told him that I am planning to add a text to my book. His advice was to be very careful and to consider what text will I add, as text could be literal, and I could gain something but also lost something. He told me to consider text as French folded, pull outs or hidden. About the introduction for my book, his advice was not to add the text at the beginning but at the end. So, each viewer will go through the book, then read the text which could mean totally differ things that what they thought of photographs. He advised me to look at other practitioners who added text in their work, like for example Sophie Cale-Blind, and to read Working from Memory.

It was a pleasure to meet you Theo and thanks for your advice.

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Studio lighting and retouching workshop with Sophie Traynor

This week’s workshop was about studio lighting and the retouching process.

Sophie Traynor specialises in food, fashion, hair and beauty photography.

In the beginning she explained the way she photographs people and the lighting she uses. When photographing in the studio she always sets up her camera to ISO 100, f.8 and 1/125s to start with. The lighting is always position on the side of the model, and the model very close to the light (image 1). At first light is always set up to half of the power. When the lighting isn’t as she planned, she moves the light towards the front of a model. If the lighting still isn’t as desire, she move the lighting and/or adds the reflector on the other side of model’s face until she have the desire results (Image 2). Next, she adds one light towards the background, so it doesn’t look flat and has more tones. To make the background white, she adds two lights positioned towards the background (Image 4). This setting just proves that we don’t need to have many lights to created beautiful images.

If something aren’t going right, Traynor’s advice was to always check if things are plugged in. We, the photographers must agree, as perhaps everyone had some problems when shooting in the studio; stressing as something broke, but thankfully it was only unplugged.

However, in the fashion and beauty standards, photo shoot is only the begging as each photographs requires a lot of retouching. Traynor showed us the way she edits her beauty images. To start with she is using healing brush to get rid of unwanted stuff like for example hair. She is editing pictures in black and white, as she thinks that some stuff are more visible than in colour. She uses non destructive editing and always keeps the original file. Next she uses curves to make the image slightly lighter and uses brush, or dodge and burn tools to darken or brighten the area on the skin. She also uses selective colour if some colours doesn’t look as it meant to.

Treynor suggested that if we are thinking about this business is very important to have a team of people who together create a great shot. To consider fashion stylist, make-up artist, hair stylist. It will make your work easier and pictures wont required as much retouching.

Treynor told us to always learn new stuff within retouching, but even we knew more, we should do less. As the less we do for an image the better for the image.

Within food photography, similar to fashion or beauty Traynore mostly uses simple lighting. Soft box right up to the edge of a table and if needed she adds reflector on the other side of the product. According to Treynor, the closest we get to the light, the better shadows and contrast it will create.

The fallowing day, Sophie Traynor gave us a talk about her few years adventure as a freelance photographer. She told us to always be prepared for the photo shoot and to practise the lighting even on a friends or family. She said that we don’t need to move to London to have clients, as well as we don’t have to work as photography assistant. She build her own photographic kit, however she encouraged us to rent stuff, as we could charge client for it and won’t have to spend thousand pound for a new lens for example. She uses two lenses 100 mm for hair, beauty and food photography and 24-70 mm for fashion. She said that having anxiety before each shoot is totally normal, as when you stressing it means that you care. Additionally, facing difficulties is part of this job, but we get to do what we love. She said that “it feels as jingle fire sometimes, but you need to learn how to jingle the fire.”

Her biggest advice was to be nice, reasonable and communicate well, be honest even about the problems which appears to have returned clients. Off course there are other stuff, you need to prove yourself that they can trust you and build the relationship with a client. I really enjoyed this talk so as the workshop. Another guest speaker who deliver very useful talk and was pleasure to meet, for her honestly, great sense of humour and a lovely personality.

Check some more of the amazing work at sophietraynor.com

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Lewis Chaplin from Loose Joints publications guest speaker

Last Friday I had a pleasure to attend Lewis Chaplin’s talk.

Chaplin talked about his adventure with photography, as well as publications, book making and designing process. He made his first book when he was a teenager, printed in numerous examples and sent it to many publishing companies. Someone got back to him and this was his first step towards his carrier. He then introduced us to his publishing company Loose Joints he created together with his partner. As well as speaking about the books he published, he brought many physical examples of them, so we could have a chance to look through. One which catches my eyes was about fetish and called 2041. Book isn’t as interesting, but the way Chaplin talked about his relationship with the photographer and how they become friend and shared their interest in dressing up, was very interesting and really funny. The book contains self-portraiture, where the artist performs in his own house, but as he covers his own body in a various textiles, he always remains anonymous.

The most interesting for me was a book called Homes by Harley Weir. Weir created his body of work in refugees camp in Calais in 2016. I love the context of the book and the way she photographed the camp, which shows migrants’ struggle and the conditions they get to live in. She doesn’t’ just raised the awareness of the migrants situation in the camp, but also raised the money for human rights charities in the area.

After the guest speaker, we went to our base room and was able to show our work to Lewis Chaplin. He was very useful and gave me some good ideas. He said that I have a lot of strong portraits, but as a viewer he can not get the message I am trying to say to the viewers. Therefore, he advised me to add a lot of text, like essay, subject’s stories, facts, statistics etc. He suggested to talk to each photographed people and ask about their feelings, if they feel frustrated, or as they are working too hard, or are they under valued?… I told him that I am planning to mix the subjects with their belongings, so as their stories and he said that this is a good idea, as I shouldn’t give the viewers every answer, as it may changes their perception.

If you would like to see some more Loose Joins publications, check their website

http://www.loosejoints.biz

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Portfolio review by Karina Lax and Sian Bonnell

As part of our Friday mornings group portfolio reviews this time we were joined by Karina Lax. Firstly, Lax said that I have a interesting name for a photographer. It may sound exciting, but she doesn’t know the real meaning of my surname and I didn’t tell her (exactly it means an “orphan”, but it also used to call somebody “walking disaster” and I truly hate it). Coming back to my portfolio, Lax was impressed with my work and picked up a few of my best portraiture. However, she pointed out a few which aren’t best. She added that I should always think about the context, subjects face expressions, their hand gestures and keep an eye on the composition, so there won’t be any distractions (she said it as one of my subject is dressed in dirty clothing and has his hand in his pocked, what means that he is insecure or somehow distress and that I should edit it to look clean; however, I replied that he is a farmer and that’s the message I want to communicate). Lax suggested that I have a lot of portraiture and should add more conceptual images to create the narrative about the subjects and their story. She recommended to experiment with the edit and mixed up subject’s stuff and pair them up with the person they don’t belong to (this is the second person who suggested this, and I must say I like the idea). She recommended to look at some photographer’s work: Liz Hingley for lighting and narratives and Tom Hunter for his staged narratives

If you would like to see Karina Lax’s work check out her website: http://www.karinalax.com

On Friday afternoon Sian Bonnell was our guest speaker. She talked about her photographic journey right from the university, until now, 40 years as a practitioner. She shared her story about going back to photography when she became mother; she paid a child minder to look after her children and went out to create her artistic images. Mainly juxtaposed household item in the landscape (biscuits cutters, jellies etc), or used food and domestic items to recreate landscapes for example: ham on the wall. She plays with boundaries and mixing reality with fantasy. This kind of photography has not much to do with mine however, I am glad to be part of this talk; as Bonnell has a great personality, made us laugh all the way and gave us an important lesson. She suggested that we should not take it personally when people criticize our work (she said that the older she gets, the less care she became about what other people say). That we should love our work as if we don’t, it won’t be any good, but if we do, that’s when best work will arise. She believes that the camera is her partner in crime and makes her behave badly. Photography for Bonnell isn’t a subject but a tool for translation, it has philosophy. Bonnell also tried self-portraiture, where she reperformed painting’s gesture or her state of mind. The funniest story she told us was where she got commissioned for children surrealism and when she created a scene of crime, she got rejected. I am glad to have a pleasure to meet her for her creativity and lovely personality.  

After the guest speaker, some students and I met Sian in our base room. We’ve had a chance to talk to her and to show our works. According to Sian my work is good and interesting. Bonnell suggested that I need to add a lot of text for my photo book, as pictures can’t express everything what I am trying to communicate to the audience. Bonnell recommended to add newspapers articles, headings about Brexit or other fictional headlines. She also gave me a few photographers to consider researching Rosie Martin, Tom Duffield, Jo Spence, Sian Davey, Mathew Finn and Guy Martin-Syria.

If you interested to see Sian Bonnell’s work have a look at her website: http://www.sianbonnel.com/