Work placement – Photo Meet Open Call feature

My latest work with Photo Meet was helping in the preparation of a feature entitled The Rural consisting of work submitted by a number of photographers to the Photo Meet / Northern Narratives Open Call.

This was to be a group feature contrasting with an earlier feature entitled The Urban.

The photographers and selected images were chosen by Mimi Mollica – I will write separately about working on this process with him – and he supplied me with a list of questions he wished me to put to the photographers. I proof-read the questions and then suggested some minor alterations.

The main work was to contact all the photographers, send them the questions and edit their replies before submitting them to Mimi for the feature. Of course, there was some chasing up required, but most came back to me very quickly.

I also wrote the introduction to the feature, starting with Mimi’s brief for the feature and synthesising the themes as described by the photographers in their submissions.

The feature was announced on Facebook and Mimi kindly credited me for my assistance with the project.

 

 

Assignment 2 – tutor feedback

This is the formative feedback from my tutor following my tutorial on Assignment 1:

The feedback is positive and encouraging. There are two main points to consider:

  1. Going forward, I should be pitching my work as a photographer, not as a student. The artist’s statement I wrote frames my body of work as part of a BA, but at this stage I need to forget about that context and try to promote my work on its own merits.
  2. Although this assignment included a draft publication plan based on production of a book from scratch, I should not ignore the work I have already done on producing a book.

Work placement – interview with Ilias Georgiadis

This morning I interviewed Greek photographer Ilias Georgiadis via Zoom about his series Over.State (Georgiadis, 2019) as part of my work experience with Mimi Mollica and Photo Meet.

I prepared a list of questions and then talked to Ilias for about an hour, recording the conversation with his permission. The questions served as a starting point for our conversation, but I revised and annotated them during our discussion so as to bring out what seemed important ate Ilias about the work, and ensure that the interview included aspects that he wanted to talk about or the opposite. This was my brief from Mimi.

Questions for Ilias Georgiadis -revised

 

After the interview I spent some time going through he recording and creating a concise written record of the interview. I then sen this to Ilias for his approval and he made some minor changes. Then I submitted this to Mimi and he created his layout for the article around the interview.

Interview with Ilias Georgiadis 10 June 2020 reviewed

The interview was published on the Photo Meet website today (Photo Meet, 2020).

References

Georgiadis, I (2019) Over.State Warsaw: Blow Up Press [online] at: http://www.iliasgeorgiadis.com/index.php/works/overstate/
Accessed on 10th June 2019

Photo Meet (2020) Ilias Georgiadis
[online] at:
https://photomeet.org/ilias-georgiadis

 

Work placement – Photo Meet Open Call

Since the Photo Meet event in June was sadly cancelled, and with it my work opportunity,  Photo Meet has launched an Open Call in conjunction with Northern Narratives to offer a platform to artists and image-makers whose work has been interrupted by the lockdown.

Northern Narratives is an arts organisation set up by photographer Ken Grant and curator Tracy Marshall to promote the creation and experience of photography.

Together Photo Meet and Northern Narratives set up this open call in conjunction with Printspace, using their creativehub site. Photographers were asked to upload a selection of their work, together with a short piece of text describing how their work had been affected by the pandemic.

Since I will not be able to work at the cancelled Photo Meet event, I decided there would be no harm in asking Mimi Mollica if there was any was I could help with his work on this open call. Mimi said I could help him prepare for the latest feature, which was on a series of work by Greek photographer Ilias Georgiadis called Over.State.

Mimi shared the work with me via Zoom, and we talked about layouts. During the conversation Mimi asked me how I felt about interviewing Ilias, and I said I would be happy to. I asked Mimi to give me an idea of the questions he would like to ask, and from this I prepared a list of questions for the interview, adding some of my own. Then I ran the list of question past Mimi by email and he made a couple of suggestions for changes.

Tomorrow I will interview Ilias by Zoom.

Assignment 2 – submission

Assignment two
Publication proposal

Following the points listed below, write and send to your tutor a comprehensive proposal showing in detail how you intend to resolve and deliver or disseminate your major project. Refer to the brief for Assignment Five for more detail about what is expected of you for the resolution of your major project.

Your proposal should include:

A timeline for the development of your project, your marketing strategy and the resolution of your work, including installation if appropriate.

A description of the work. Use the work you did for Contextual Studies to help you position your work in its critical and/or commercial context. Briefly explain your motivations and how the project fits within your practice more broadly.

A budget, detailing the costs associated with the resolution of your project and identifying any payment in kind.

A description of how you intend to maximise the presence of your work and engage with your audience, such as your plans for a private view, screening event or artist’s talk.The whole document should not exceed 2,000 words. If you’d like to explore a more experimental approach to the proposal, send any ideas to your tutor.

I confess that I have been prevaricating somewhat over my publication proposal for Assignment 2. Before the lockdown I had expected to submit it in early April and all was going to plan until the country started to shut down in late March. Fortunately I had already done some work on the creation of a hand-made book, so I am able to do some planning for that, but an exhibition during this course now seems out of the question.

I was hoping to get a clearer idea of what the rest of the year holds before submitting my publication plan, but I gradually realised that even the immediate future is so uncertain it is impossible to plan for any kind of physical exhibition of work at the moment. I am not even to submit my physical work to my tutor, let alone for assessment.

So I decided to bite the bullet and make a plan based on the creation of a book, with as much planning as I can reasonably do at the moment, and then update the plan as events unfold through the year.

This is the plan I have submitted to my tutor. There are two documents: a descriptive text document and a Gantt chart. Since they are very likely to change I have given them a revision number.

OCA SYP Publication Proposal rev 1

OCA SYP Publication Proposal timeline rev 1

Hazel Bingham – Virtual study visit

A first today, for me and perhaps for OCA – a virtual study visit. OCA SYP student Hazel Bingham is one of the unlucky ones who have planned an exhibition only to find it cancelled due to the Covid-19 lockdown. The solution she has chosen is to create a virtual exhibition space online, that is to say a virtual space that the viewer can move around, with virtual copies of her work hanging on virtual gallery walls. This approach is of particular interest to me as I have been evaluating similar solutions for showing my own body of work.

I have seen this type of presentation before, but what was new to me was having a online study visit to a virtual gallery. The visit was led by OCA tutor Andrew Conroy with technical assistance from OCA student Rob Townsend.

Bingham has chosen the Kunstmatrix platform for her exhibition, which I explored just prior to the start f the online study visits that it would be fresh in my mind. as for a real-world study visit. I will consider the experience of exploring the virtual exhibition later, as the primary purpose of the study visit was obviously to view and discuss Bingham’s work.

Bingham’s exhibition is titled London’s Hottest Postcode N1C and its subject is the redevelopment around London’s King’s Cross station. In her introductory text, she positions the work as addressing concerns about the ‘privatisation of space’ and how it increasingly compromises the way we live.

The photographs undoubtedly capture a sense of place. The main approach is rectilinear representations of the architecture

Bingham also raises in her introduction the question of the future effects of social distancing in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, measures which were obviously not considered during the development of the site. Nor were they in force during her execution of the project, so it interesting to see what aspects of this unforeseen issue become apparent from viewing the pictures.

As a postscript, I will briefly comment on the experience of viewing the work in a virtual gallery space rather a than physical one, or simply as a slideshow online. It is important to say that these are just my observations on the experience as I consider approaches for presenting my own work. I imagine that the way the experience is viewed and explored is a function of the platform with little room for manipulation but the artist, so any criticism is of the platform rather than the artist.

The first thing to say is that entering the virtual gallery does go some way towards replicating the experience of entering a real-world gallery. One gets an impression of space and something of an overall impression of at least part of the work, rather than being immediately presented with a single images as in a slide show. Unfortunately it feels rather more like materialising inside the gallery via some kind of Star Trek transportation device than entering through a door. I found myself using the controls to move backwards away from the pictures to get a better overview.

The controls are straightforward to use and allow the viewer to virtually ‘walk’ around the gallery.

Unfortunately these controls – understandably – do not replicate well the sensation of moving around the gallery. Notably, since it is necessary to look at the controls rather than the pictures while moving, or at least when starting to move, the experience of looking while moving is to some extent lost. I found that the natural movements ones adopts in a real gallery, turning to face each picture as we come to it, difficult to achieve.

It is a little frustrating trying to manoeuvre oneself into the right place in front each picture. For this reason I felt that looking at the pictures in a simple slideshow would make it easier to evaluate the work and do justice to individual images.

There are in fact two ways to view the exhibition: as a freeform exploration or as a guided tour. The guided tour, while abandoning some of the sensation of moving around a physical space, has the advantage of automatically positioning the viewer in front of each picture in turn. Presumably this also allows the artist to predetermine the order in which the viewer sees the pictures.

All in all, I think this kind of virtual exhibition has a role in recreating something of the experience of a gallery visit, but the means of interaction and the visual presentation require some improvement in order to be worthwhile replacement for a straightforward slideshow. What it does achieve, however, is a means for the artist to demonstrate how they would organise a real-world exhibition, something which has a value in itself as a planning tool or as an academic exercise.

Work placement – update

Unsurprisingly Photo Meet, where I was planning to do my work placement, has been postponed. I think it is unlikely to take place this year. This is a real blow as it was an ideal opportunity to experience different aspects of the photography business. It is going to be hard to get practical experience in the near future as photographers, like many others, are not working. Press photographers are perhaps the only exception.

I am going to talk to Mimi Mollica to see if there is anything else I can help him with.

Assignment 2 – draft outline

I am going through the requirements for my publication proposal and making some initial notes for expansion into the final submission. My starting point is the list of requirements on page 52 of the course notes. Given the Covid-19 situation and the closure of all galleries it is virtually impossible to plan an exhibition at the moment. My plan will therefore be based on on the creation of a large hand-made book with a. view to exhibiting the work on a larger scale when it is possible to arrange an exhibition. The book will also serve as a demonstration of the nature of the work to potential gallery operators and curators.

According to the course notes, the proposal should include:

‘A timeline for the development of your project, your marketing strategy and the resolution of your work, including installation if appropriate.’

My intention is to submit this module for assessment in November hence my timeline will work back from that point. The deadline for submission of materials is the 30th September, so I will need to have the book ready around the end of August so that I can get feedback on it to submit for Assignment 5.

‘A description of the work. Use the work you did for Contextual Studies to help you position your work in its critical and/or commercial context. Briefly explain your motivations and how the project fits within your practice more broadly.’

My Body of Work concerns the border on the island of Ireland between the UK province of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Its final form is quite different to my initial idea in that it is more conceptual than literal documentary. Here I will briefly explain the journey from the original idea to the final outcome and refer to my essay for Contextual Studies, which concerns the use of landscape as metaphor and allegory in documentary photography. My practice is primarily documentary-based, and I will explain that this body of work is a development from the idea of staged documentary and uses text to create a discourse with the viewer.

‘A budget, detailing the costs associated with the resolution of your project and identifying any payment in kind.’

I have already established details costs for the production of the book, notably the production of linen prints, their mounting and binding into a book. To this I will need to add a costing for my own time.

‘A description of how you intend to maximise the presence of your work and engage with your audience, such as your plans for a private view, screening event or artist’s talk.’

With a one-off book this is a tricky one. Firstly I could try and take it to as many portfolio reviews as possible, including arranging one to one portfolio reviews with photographers I have already contacted for Assignment 1. I could also view the book as a precursor to an exhibition, taking it around galleries and curators to stimulate interest in staging an exhibition of the work. The book itself could also feature in the exhibition.

All of the above relates to production of a book, but I am also thinking of planning for an exhibition. Even if the exhibition itself does not take place before I submit for assessment, I can demonstrate that I have done the planning and costing to facilitate an exhibition. In the interim I will also consider a virtual online exhibtion, although this would not be ideal as the physical presentation of work is a key part of my concept.

I have already done some work on the creation of a book during Body of Work and I will build on that during SyP. In particular I want to look at ways of reducing the cost so that it might be possible to produce more than just one book, while retaining the linen prints.

It’s life Jim, but not as we know it

Life for everyone in the UK changed drastically last night with Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that with immediate effect we all have to stay at home and only go out for a limited amount of exercise and essential food shopping.

According to the Guardian (2020), the restrictions are as follows:

UK lockdown: what are the coronavirus restrictions?

People in the UK will only be allowed to leave their home for the following purposes:

Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible

One form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household

Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person

Travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home

Police will have the powers to enforce the rules, including through fines and dispersing gatherings. To ensure compliance with the instruction to stay at home, the government will:

Close all shops selling non-essential goods, including clothing and electronic stores and other premises including libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship

Stop all gatherings of more than two people in public – excluding people you live with

Stop all social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but excluding funerals

Parks will remain open for exercise, but gatherings will be dispersed.

 

This is bound to have some significant effects on the pursuance of my studies, but exactly what remains to be seen. These are certainly extraordinary times, and not in a good way.

References

The Guardian (2020) ‘Boris Johnson orders UK lockdown to be enforced by police’ in The Guardian 24th March 2020 [online] At:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/23/boris-johnson-orders-uk-lockdown-to-be-enforced-by-police
Accessed on 24 March 2020

The ‘closed’ signs go up

Today the government announced that schools will close at the end of this week. Straight away  I started to receive emails from all the galleries where I have a membership telling me that they are closing. While the National Gallery says ‘we have decided to temporarily close from 19 March until 4 May 2020, in line with the latest advice from Public Health England’, the National Portrait Gallery says it will ‘temporarily close from Wednesday 18 March 2020 until further notice’. The National Gallery seems rather too optimistic I think.

Presumably all galleries will have to close, which is going to make it very difficult to arrange an exhibition of my work. The alternative of making a book, which I have discussed with my tutor, is looking like a good option.