Sunday, 28 March 2010

It's all part of the learning process...

What an incredible week!

I think when I look back on my time at college, this week will be among the most memorable for all the things that happened, and how fantastic it has been.

The week started with a selection of photographs by my class being shown on a giant electronic billboard above Central Station in Glasgow. This included one of my photographs from last year, of a friend, inspired by vintage portraiture from Vogue in the 1940s. The purpose was to raise awareness of our website, but also to advertise our upcoming photo auction.

The billboard was shown on a webcam which refreshes every five seconds. However I managed to see the image on the street, which was perhaps more exciting and pleasing. 

On Thursday, Martin Parr came to our college to give a talk, as described in a previous post. It was good to listen to him deliver his talk, very informative, but also very humourous as you might expect from a man who has (possibly) the world's biggest collection of Saddam Hussain watches. He was very straight with his advice and thoughts to us about life as a photographer and our chances in the outside world. There was absolutely no sugar coating, which I think some people weren't comfortable with. I quite liked it - I enjoyed the idea of being challenged and I felt it helped a lot. Afterwards, my tutor introduced me to him, and asked him to pose for a photograph with me. I admit I felt like a rabbit caught in the headlights meeting one of my photographic heroes, particularly when he signed a book which my tutor gave me as a gift to say thank you.

In the afternoon, I went to the Kings Theatre in Edinburgh to help a friend take photographs of vintage make up and costumes. I have to admit, I was still buzzing, even when she pointed out that I'd had my shirt on inside out all day.

On Friday, we had our college auction. A lot of hard work had gone into it, by a selection of my classmates, but it worked. The auction was a success. All of the photographs were sold (over fifty in total), and included work by students, ex-students, tutors, and professionals. Our auctioneer was a great guy who normally does cattle auctions, but agreed to help us for a reduced fee. Having a professional made all the difference - he knew exactly how to encourage people to part with their cash, how to get their attention, they all laughed and listened to him talking, and he made everything feel so exciting. However, the top sale wasn't by a professional, or one of our star prizes, but one of my fellow students Laura. The price for her print stunned everyone, but it helped raise a lot of money for us to spend on our end of year exhibition. In total, we raised nearly £5000. This year, we're getting the Lighthouse in Glasgow for our show, and the money from the auction will help us pay for that.

This week has definitely been a good one. It's also been good for me, mentally. Sometimes I feel as if I have so many ideas, that pinpointing one single one is impossible. Trying to work out what sort of photography I really want to do, what really drives me... I find that difficult. I know what work I don't want to do, which at least rules those areas out of my list. But trying to distill my thoughts is not easy, and sometimes I feel that my results are muddied because of this. I feel this week a step closer to being able to concentrate on what I want to achieve. The thing I want to do now is to be realistic about what I want to achieve and what I genuinely find interesting to pursue. It's a bit like listening to music, trying to listen to the music you really genuinely like and filter out all the things that you listen to but possibly don't care for so much. Perhaps about trying to filter out the other opinions from your mind and listen to what you think first and foremost. Hopefully the coming weeks should produce more fruitful results with that in mind.

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