Bristol Photo Festival is a new biennial photography festival which has its first edition this year. The Director of the festival is Tracy Marshall (now Tracy Grant since she married her partner photographer Ken Grant) who I know from interviewing her for Photo Meet.
I have volunteered to help with the festival, and the job that Tracy has assigned me is to run the print auction. The idea is to request signed prints from well-know photographers and auction them in aid of the festival. The auction will run online, and then finish with a live auction at the Arnolfini in Bristol.
This is in essence what I the project will involve: Logistics and admin: Contact photographers Obtain files Print photographs Get photographs signed Set up and run online auction Hang exhibition Run live auction Distribute prints Clean up Interface with third parties: Photo printers Arnolfini for exhibition, book stalls and auction Marketing : promotion of the auction and recruitment of potential bidders Accounts : setting up payment system and managing receipts
I will be handling the logistics and admin tasks and interfacing with the intern who will be handling marketing. Since she is Bristol-based, she will be available to do any hands-on work in Bristol.
The great thing about this for me is that I will have a dialogue with many well-known photographers. Even if it is a limited one, it gets my name into their orbit. I will also be dealing with printers, looking a file specs and the technicalities of printing. I will be involved over a long period with the vibrant photographic community ib n Bristol.
I am encouraged by this tutorial and the feedback from my tutor. I was concerned that my original plan for a work placement had been scuppered by the Covid-19 restrictions, but I in the end I managed to come up with a plan which has resulted in much more experience over a longer period. As well as learning new skills, the contacts I am developing should prove useful in the medium to long term.
For the second interview in my series for Photo Meet, I interviewed the photo book publisher Dewi Lewis. Was fortunate enough to spend a few days with Dewi last year during a workshop. He was very complimentary about my book 100 Women, 100 Years, which I showed to him as part of a portfolio review.
This meant that I felt able to approach him to ask for an interview and I am pleased to say that he agreed. As with the procedure I established in my previous interview with Tracy Marshall, I interviewed Dewi via Zoom, recording the session and transcribing it later. I sent this text to him for approval and he returned a clarified and expanded version with the benefit of hindsight.
Not having the benefit of any training in journalism, I am approaching these interviews as essentially a conversation. I have a list of prepared questions as a starting point, but I let the conversation develop as we talk. I asked Dewi fro an hour of his time but in the end we talked for two and a half hours.
Although it may seem obvious, one thing I am conscious of is that not everything said in conversation can be included in a published interview. There are also differences in tone between the spoken word and the written word, so in transcribing the interview I try to steer a line between accuracy and adulting to the slight more formal language of a written text. For these reasons I prefer to get the final text approved and adjusted if necessary by the interviewee before publishing. These interviews are a collaboration, not investigative journalism.
‘Option 1: Submit a 1,500-word account of a work placement with a professional photographer or complementary role within the industry. Briefly summarise your experience and reflect upon how the role or the business that you worked with relates to the visual arts and/or economy more broadly. You should also reflect upon the role’s position within the visual arts.
The purpose of this assignment is to give you the luxury of exploiting your student status and gaining valuable work experience in an area of the photography industry that you would like to be situated within in a professional capacity. Your work experience will be an important step in learning about your industry and where you hope to be positioned within it and will help you to begin making contacts towards your goals.’
My latest work with Photo meet was on the latest feature from the Photo Meet / Northern Narratives open call, entitled ‘The Body’.
My job was to work with Mimi on the selection process and the page layout, request high-res images from the selected photographers, finalise the list of questions for the photographers and contact them for their answers.
This task was to trawl through all the submissions to the Photo Meet . Northern Narratives Open Call on the Printspace Creative Hub and collate all their email addresses, websites and social media links. Although some photographers had provided details many had not, so I had to obtain the information through a combination of messaging them on the Creative hub and tracking down their websites from their names and project details. I then compiled a spreadsheet with all the information.
One thing I learned from this exercise is never submit work without providing your contact details. Not all curators would be willing to take the time to track you down I’m sure.
The purpose of this exercise was to be able to contact all those who had entered the Open Call, not only to thank them for entering, but to ask them all to participate in one last feature, to be entitled ‘Postcards from Covid’. For this feature, all the entrants to the Open Call will be asked to select one of their own images for inclusion in the feature.
I have now taken over all communication with the Open Call entrants on behalf of Photo Meet.
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.
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.
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.
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.