Posted in Professional Practice


This year was the first time I have ever considered Professional Practice within my study of photography. I have found it very interesting to learn about different elements that contribute to photography besides the physical side of it, which has ultimately helped to increase my awareness when being the photographer and how I can build myself into a more professional one.

Learning about different photographer’s practice and journeys into photography has been helpful inspiration to decide the path I want to take and helped to decide that I am on the right one. It has also been interesting studying the curatorial side of being a photographer, helping me to look at how I present my work more creatively and studying how others exhibit their work to communicate with the audience.

It has been really helpful to learn a substantial amount from various photographers who have visited. this has not only helped me with research for other briefs but has enabled me to consider how I intend to build myself and sell myself as a photographer. Having joined from commercial and attending the symposium in London, I was able to meet a variety of different practitioners such as retouchers and freelancers.

I found the work experience placement very interesting and looking at the development of photography through various years in the archives what very fascinating. I learnt different ways of how businesses like these work, using their online data base and how they store the archives, as well as being able to build on my current technical skills and team work skills.

I found the interview quite a difficult task but it has helped me to be more confident when talking to other practitioners. I found my interviewee gave me some helpful feedback and information that will help me forward with my work as a photographer.

My main problem through the year was not keeping on top of notes and time management, meaning it all became a rush towards the end, however this is a consistent problem across all of my briefs so is a definite target for next year.

To conclude, I feel over the course of professional practice I have had the opportunity to learn a lot and have taken in a lot of feedback from various angles that I may not have considered before. I feel next year will be even more interesting to continue learning how to start a professional photographic journey and learning from other sources how to maintain this into a career.

Posted in Professional Practice

Class Exhibitions

During Semester 2, we were split into three groups to produce weekly exhibitions in the class room to get our minds thinking about creative ways of displaying work and working as a team to do this. I was in group 3, and in some ways you could say we were at an advantage as we were the last ones to do our exhibition meaning we had extra time to think about our idea first time around.

For our first attempt we decided for our exhibition to delve into the idea of capturing the essence of an individual, but decided to keep it simple with portraiture, some of which are staged and some obscure. Collectively we gathered images to create a PowerPoint accompanied by music to help bring a tranquil feel to the space enabling you to observe the imagery at a deeper level. We set this up within the small cupboard in our classroom, and projected the PowerPoint onto an easel, linking back to historical portraiture painting.

Our second idea was to create a 3D shape that consisted of images of shapes that could be seen in 3D by wearing glasses. We used the internet to find different shaped nets which we then assembled and photographed quite simply on a white background. We then took the images to Photoshop where we used basic techniques found on YouTube to create the classical red and blue 3D effect to the image. Once we had enough of these images to cover multiple sides of a shape we placed these onto another net and printed this out large to assemble into a large shape covered in 3D shapes. Therefore the overall theme of this exhibition was 3D image of shape onto a 3D image of display and then viewed in 3D with glasses. Through doing this I learnt different types of origami and also new things I can do to my images in the future on Photoshop which I had never considered to look at before.


Over all, the mini exhibition process allowed me to discover alternate ways of displaying my work which would add to the interest of it visually, as well as learning new techniques and working on my team work skills.


Posted in Professional Practice

Work Experience Diary

As part of my work experience deliverable I chose to take part in a day at the south west image bank in Plymouth. Upon my arrival I was introduced to the office and introduced to the existing staff, all of who were volunteers as they do not offer paid work.20160513_124942

My first task set to me was cataloguing, which consisted of me going through a film archive from Plymouth Herald newspaper in April 2002, and writing the correct information from the negatives onto the computer database, making it easier to find electronically in the future without searching through all of the archives manually. Although this was a long and at times tedious task, it was interesting to look at the kind of things that were recorded only 14 years ago and how these were considered suitable for publishing. The archive contained many different genres from documentary, fashion, all the way to just family photos, showing the different ways of working by different photographers. This was inspiring to me to look at how photography can still be just as important, if not more many years down the line and how photographs are stored as memories waiting for someone to recover. It was intriguing looking at the negatives, wondering who the individuals were and if they knew that these images were still seen now, showing how moments captured can last forever.

My second task was to actually go through negatives and scan them into the database to the right information. At times this task proved tricky, as there would be several negatives from different stories in one sleeve, meaning I would have to use a light box, the information on the sleeve and the database to try and figure out which images belonged to which story. I was already familiar with the scanner and the scanning programme that I had to use. It was interesting to see how different, if different at all, the volunteers of 20160513_153850south west image bank scanned in the images. They used a dpi of 1200, which although lower than what I would use normally, still gave a clear end result suitable to upload to the database. Some of the stories had several negatives, so there was a lot of pressure on myself to only choose 1 or 2 from each story to upload; giving me the responsibility of choosing which ones I felt suited best. This has helped me however to study images more carefully to choose which images are more worthy of being public and the relevance of an image to the job it is needed for.



When leaving my day at south west image bank I asked if I could return again as I had enjoyed studying the history of Plymouth and looking at the development of photography through various years in the archives. Although some may think the job itself is quite boring, the element of fascination and inspiration from the images keeps the day busy. I learnt different ways of how businesses like these work, using their online data base and how they store the archives. I also fell upon techniques when scanning that I may not have considered before as well as gaining more confidence on choosing the right photo for the circumstance. I am excited to go back again in the future.

Posted in Professional Practice

Interview with Jon Robinson-Pratt

How did you get into photography and what made you chose it as your career path?
By accident really. Firstly I was going to be an Architect but didn’t want to do 7 years at college! So I started studying towards Graphic design at college. As part of this I had to complete a 6 week unit in photography. I learnt basic Black and White traditional film and print processing and then was set loose in the darkroom with loads of dangerous chemicals to practise and experiment! I was hooked and pretty much stayed in there for 6 weeks! The Art College was an old warehouse that had been used as a hospital during the war and the darkroom processing area had a big concrete slab in it which was used as the morgue! It was pretty creepy in there late at night!
Needless to say… sadly no romantic story of my dad giving me a camera at an early age or anything like that!

I’ve noticed you photograph many different types of genres from commercial to portrait… What’s your favourite style/genre of photography?
Style wise – whatever suits the image, shoot or brief.
With regards to genre or fields of work… I am a petrol head and a music fan at heart so shooting cars or live/stage is where I am most happy! Doing what you love for work doesn’t seem like work is a great cliché but it’s true!fbhfdhn

How do you cast for your portrait shoots?
I don’t! Most of my portraiture is Commercial work or Editorial so 9 times out of 10 there is a person or persons already lined up to shoot. It’s my job to make them look good yet fall perfectly into a pre-determined brief.

I saw on your website you photograph many stage productions and concerts… How did you get vdsgvb.jpginto to photographing this?
Through 2 separate avenues. The stage work came about mainly because I spent my first 11 years of employment as an ‘in house’ photographer in the Marketing department of the largest Tertiary college in the UK. The college has a very large and successful Drama department and I was regularly called in to shoot productions and dress rehearsals.
Concert work came about working for Drummer magazine and Bass guitar magazine. I had regular briefs to shoot musicians for their ‘artist’ front cover features and interviews. This usually meant going to gigs and concerts and meeting with the musicians, shooting some portraiture during the afternoon and then capturing some live shots during the show. Sadly I don’t get to do too much of this anymore as the magazines moved to a different publishing company and didn’t continue employing me! It is though one of my favourite ‘fields’ to work in. Shooting at a concert is a great and yet challenging experience. First and foremost you are in ‘the pit’ directly in front of the stage so quite often you are mere feet away from famous musicians. You are only allowed in there for the first 3 songs, you have to deal with very odd light and under NO circumstances can you use flash! Plus you are jostling with other photographers for the best angles! On the flip side… it’s quite a rush and you can get right into the action and more often than not have great coloured lights to work with!

How did you get involved with magazines such as Volksworld, Retro Cars and Performance VW?
Members-JonathanPratt-thru-a-lupe 02
Whilst still working as an employed photographer at the college I was approached by Volksworld Camper and Bus magazine to feature my own Camper Van. Naturally as a photographer I asked if I could shoot the images… the editor nervously agreed. To cut a long story short they were really pleased with the results and offered me freelance work to cover any shoots they needed doing in the South West. So I did this in my spare time for about 2 years. This enabled me to build a decent automotive portfolio and started getting my work known. Once your work is ‘out there’ editors of other magazines become more willing to offer you work. I am quite lucky in that I cover the South West and there aren’t that many automotive photographers down this way so I have kind of cornered the market for certain magazines!cdv

How do you come up with your pricing for shoots and does it differ for different clients?
When starting out, initially looking around and seeing what your local competition are charging and then pitching in somewhere in the same ‘ball park’. But you have to be sensible… charge too much and risk not being hired, charge too little and you don’t make any money… but again you may not get hired as looking too cheap could be a reflection on the quality of your work!
Pricing for shoots is about getting as much information from the client beforehand so you can work out time scales and expenses to give an accurate quote. Clients like to know where they stand before they commit to releasing finances. Sometimes you get it wrong and a job can take more time than expected so quite often in this instance you have to just ‘suck it up’ and stick to the original quote. So you may work harder or longer for the same money but if you are hoping for repeat business (continual work from the same client) then keeping them happy is key!
Personally I charge the same hourly rates for all clients with regards to commercial work. In my opinion charging a big company a higher rate than a small company or an individual is unethical and can be a bad reflection on you and your business. Although a cheeky way round this is to charge a slightly higher rate to everyone and then that gives you leeway to offer the smaller companies a discount. Everyone loves a bargain!
Editorial (magazines and press) quite often have set fees that they pay for specific jobs. If this is an area that a photographer wants to work in then they just have to accept what is offered more often than not… kind of take it or leave it! Also most editorial jobs are paid on publication of the work so you can sometime have to wait a long time for payment! My longest lead time so far was 13 months from shoot to publication… but again… this is an industry standard and you have to take it or leave it!

What’s the highlight of your career?
I don’t think it’s happened yet! Although to be fair… photographing the Red Hot Chili Peppers was pretty cool! Standing on stage at Knebworth in front of 110 thousand people was quite mind blowing!
Seeing my first magazine front cover on the shelves in WH Smiths takes some beating too!

Any mistakes?
Luckily, touch wood, not really. I did a wedding once and one of my memory cards corrupted and I lost images of the first part of the day… It cost me quite a lot of money but I was able to get them retrieved by the card manufacturer.
Also my dog once chewed up a very expensive scarf that I was shooting as part of some product photography! Needless to say I had to pay for it and I didn’t get any repeat business from that shoot!
But I find that working methodically and at a sensible pace allows you to get it right every time… rushing is when accidents happen!
Also having proper photographic insurance in place, for any eventuality is very VERY important!!!!

Who or what inspires your ideas?
Everything and everyone around me! Imagery is everywhere… you can’t help but see it and be inspired, guided, wowed or even turned off by it! I do find it useful to look at some imagery and actually decide that what you are seeing is NOT the way to do it! It helps you to discover BETTER ways to create something.
I am not a photography ‘geek’. I don’t feel very comfortable in the presence of other photographers and I most certainly don’t stand around ‘geeking’ out about equipment or settings with other ‘geek’ photographers… there’s more to life than Fstops and megapixels!!!

Next steps for you?
Hoping to build my own studio… All of the studio based stuff I do is done either mobile on location or in my office… having to set it up and take it down every time is becoming a bit tiresome. Having my own space will greatly improve my workflow… and my sanity!

Any advice you would give to starting photographers?
Oh yes…. Plenty… where to start!
Learn traditional film and print processes. Digital, in the fast pace of this day and age, is a great tool. It fast, reliable (most of the time!) and can sometimes help you out of sticky situations. Results can be created, corrected and distributed around the entire world in minutes. But it doesn’t make you a great photographer. Having a grounded knowledge of traditional process, I believe, sets you up with experience of how it all came about in the first place! If you can shoot it successfully on film… you can most certainly do it digitally. You may never ever use it again in your working life… but to me it’s the same as a Graphic Designer learner to draw with a pencil! As well as this it’s key to learn techniques like golden section, rule of 3rds, depth of field, metering from 18% grey and composition! All this is what makes you a great photographer…. Not the latest Apple Mac!!!!!
Learn the ‘proper rules’ first. Picking up a camera and just pressing the shutter is easy and anyone can do it. Learn what happens when you choose one setting over another. Learn about how light works. Learn the science behind how images are created. Take this knowledge and use it, experiment with it and get it ingrained in your mind. Once you have that knowledge… only then can you start to bend or break the rules! Some of the most mind blowing images are created by accident or by not using correct photographic practises. Creating something but not knowing how it was achieved because it happened by accident, in my eyes, states that you are not a good photographer. This knowledge is what sets you above the rest!
Learning doesn’t just mean reading about it! Get hands on and a practise, practise and practise more! Then Experiment, experiment, experiment!! Write everything down as you do it… that way you can look back and see what you did wrong or what you did right… recording how you achieved certain results means you can re-create them again or adapt them.
Learn how to use Flash! Even if you rarely need to use it… learn it! Once you have mastered the basics it’s really not that complicated! I see this a lot in wedding photography. The ‘Saturday boys’ or semi pro hobbyists that shoot weddings at the weekend quite often churn out imagery all shot with natural light. Whilst this most certainly has its place, all too often it’s because the photographer is scared to use Flash. When you find yourself in a low light situation you will really wish you knew how to use it properly!
Don’t rest on your Laurels… KEEP LEARNING!
Don’t ‘pigeonhole yourself’ – Once you have chosen the areas you really want to work in, learn how to do that to the best of your ability but also learn how to work in other fields as well. This make you much more employable. Being a ‘Jack of all Trades, master of all trades’ will stand you in good stead. Too many photographers pitch themselves as specifically just ‘wedding photographers’ or ‘portrait photographers’ or ‘landscape photographers’ and nothing else. Eventually you will find that work is limited if you can only do 1 or 2 fields. There are thousands upon thousands of wedding photographers out there all fighting for a slice of that market… but a wedding photographer that can also shoot press work, award ceremonies or product photography has many different ways to earn a living. It’s also means varied work which keeps it fresh and engaging for the photographer!
Be professional – At all times, regardless of the client or size of job, be professional in your work, your ethics and your appearance. It will reflect well on you and on your presumed quality of work… if you take pride in yourself you will take price in your work! Don’t call yourself Professional unless you are a true professional… i.e. earning a LIVING from your trade. Also… be HUMBLE too. I have come across so many photographers over the years that think and state that because they are pros they are ‘THE BIG I AM’… they can be ‘pre Madonna’s’, have attitude and think they are the most important person on the planet! They annoy everyone and quickly gain a reputation from it. As a hired photographer you are privileged to be invited to work for someone else… not the other way round, so remember this… if you gain recognition, praise or congratulations… take it, enjoy it, use it… BUT DON’T brag about it or abuse it!
Insurance – take out professional insurance for photographers! I worked for the first 2 years freelance without it. Then I dropped my camera on a press job. It didn’t break luckily… but I realised it’s the tool of my trade. If I break it… I can’t work…period! But more than that it protects your clients in case of any accidents or losses they might incur as a result. It protects the General Public if they are injured as a result of you… and it can pay for reshoot costs… damages to other property etc etc – for example whilst I sit here typing this I have £6000 worth of bespoke leather shoes and handbags in a box behind me for a product shoot… if anything happens to them I can’t afford to pay for them out of my own pocket! One mistake or accident like that could end your entire business!
Equipment – The latest piece of expensive kit isn’t the ‘be all and end all’, ‘got to have’, item and the ‘bigger the megapixels the better’ most certainly IS NOT true! Don’t worry if your camera is old and battered… so long as it works and reads light correctly then all is good! If there is one item that you should strive for the best, it’s the lens! The quality of the glass that the light enters through IS the most important part of the camera. You will achieve better quality images on a 6-10 million megapixel SLR body with a pro lens than you will with a pro 20-30 million megapixel SLR body and a cheap aftermarket lens.
Brand – Create a brand or an identity that is strong and recognisable. Then stick with it… Be more creative than just calling your business ‘YOUR NAME’ PHOTOGRAPHY. To me this kind of business name puts you into the category of hobbyists, semi pros and Facebook/Instagram photographers etc etc. It lacks any effort and I think this will come across to clients! It makes your work and your business standalone by itself. Also having a business name that is more than just your own name suggests that maybe your company is bigger than just a sole trader (one person) which can hold some weight in the market too!
Criticism – Be able to take criticism as a positive tool to improve and better yourself. Of course you will always come up against ‘the haters’ who will bring you down for no reason but to make themselves feel better… ignore them. But constructive critique or advice is part of the learning curve and should be used, not ignored! Be critical of yourself too… if something isn’t working… perhaps your just aren’t getting somewhere with editing a job… leave it… go away for a day or 2 and then come back to it with fresh eyes. You’ll see it in a whole different way!
Professional bodies – Strive to get some form of accreditation or qualification from a Professional awarding body. I am an Associate (2nd highest level qualification) of the British Institute of Professional Photography. There are others such as the Master Photographers or the Royal Photographic Society. Not only does this look good on your CV and having letters after your name is cool… but it is also a testament to the quality and standard to which you work. Plus there are lots of benefits included within the annual membership. But it’s not just a pay and go membership, you have to submit a portfolio of work for assessment.
Awards – Enter awards… ok so you may not win anything… but its useful experience and quite often you can get professional critique of your work. Plus if you do win an award… being able to put ‘Award Winning’ on your brand, social media and website really does stand you above the competition.
Models – where possible always use professional models! Even when working as a student, don’t be tempted to use a ‘friend’ just because they have a pretty face. A professional or experienced model will know how to create many poses straight from the word go. Quite often they will be able pose even without any direction from the photographer. They will also not be self-conscious shooting in public. I have seen far too many shoots where the model doesn’t know how to pose and looks really awkward or is trying to copy something they have seen in a magazine. This can totally make or break an image!!!
Take a break – Every once in a while take a break from being a photographer! You don’t need to take awesome images of absolutely everything or every occasion to prove you are a great photographer or to show your passion! An awesome plumber doesn’t do pipework whilst on holiday…

Posted in Professional Practice

Critical Review

Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-76) was a very important photographer of the 19th century. She was introduced to photography in 1842 by Sir John Herschel, a life long friend for Cameron. Her work consisted of portraits, and posed scenes from biblical, historical and allegorical stories. The images often left evidence of her process, with scratches and smudges. She was often criticized for this and her out of focus images but also celebrated for her compositions and art.

Her exhibition in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, was a mark of the bi-century of Cameron’s birth and the 150th anniversary of her first museum exhibition held in 1865 in the same venue. As well as a selection of her images, the exhibition help letters that Cameron had sent to Cole over the course of her career showing her development as an artists which is also evident in the images as you walk through the exhibition.

Initially I was inspired by her technique of leaving evidence of her processing on the images as I felt this added age to the images. Particularly with the staged ones demonstrating historical and biblical stories, I felt this fit well as it displays the past in the image – the story being acted from the past but also the history of the image itself through the processes it has been through. I made a connection with this and the out of focus style which Cameron used – being out of focus adds almost a painterly and artistic feel to the images which essentially was the only way to create pieces of art in history until technology had developed to create a camera. These techniques were largely criticized when created but are now appreciated more in modern views of art after the grow in abstraction and surrealism.

I was really intrigued by the lay out of the exhibition – it was almost like a timeline of Cameron’s career, starting from her early work and letters, chronologically to her final bits of work and last letter to the museum. In the middle of the exhibition were some glass cabinets which held some letters and also her bits of work which were produced to go with text in books. This was a great way to see past just the visual outcomes from the artist, and to experience her as a person as she is unable to be with us presently. I felt this was more engaging than just seeing her images as you could interpret her learning process in photography and almost get a sense of her thought process when shooting the images.

Ultimately I found this exhibition very useful to me – Cameron’s style of work, using images that represent a story, are very similar to the current project I am studying so can stand useful to look into further for more inspiration. I also feel that her distortion of her prints is a useful technique to try and experiment with as it could help me create some abstract ideas. exhibition wise, I feel I have learnt from this that it would be good to consider displaying letters, notes, drawings etc. that I do to help myself with ideas to show my development as a photographer and make an exhibition more like a life/career/project journey and development rather than just a set of images.

Posted in Professional Practice

Marcus Davies

Marcus Davies is a Millennium photographer living in Totnes Devon. He studied A level photography and then a degree in fine art in Falmouth. He started out doing documentary black and white photography, mainly of sports. He also started to experiment with subcultures in the 1980’s. Davies’ father was an abstract painter so he was always surrounded by art. His father built a dark room and studio for him and his brother and this was Marcus’ first contact with the medium. He later began to experiment with orthochromatic film, which gives images a high contrast. He was inspired to do this by Mario Jackamelly. As well as being a photographer Davies teaches photography.

Marcus is an avid collector of things, from elastic bands to postcards, he has an extensive collection of John Hinde postcards. His idea was to turn a postcard; an item intended for mass sale into art by showing them in galleries. He advised us to rework images from the past to create our own innovative art work.

tra3One of his recent projects was inspired by Marcus’ young son who has Autistic Spectrum
Disorder. Marcus noticed that his son preferred order and things to be predictable. He
devised a game for him based on a railway track which his son had to assemble himself. The track was printed on tiles and could be put together in different sequences. His son loved this game and since then Marcus has made more than 1500 different layouts for his son and made it into a public art work.

As well as telling us his story, Davies advised us on different things within photography. He suggested we keep files stored safely for future opportunities as sometimes you can revisit work and do something different with it in the future for a new set of work. Researching heavily into a project was another one of his recommendations along with having the money to pull it off. He told us you don’t need to go a long way to take good photos and entering competitions can help to spread your name and gain confidence.

Martin Davies was a friendly man and easy to relate to as he was in the same position as us once and still teaches people in the same position. He gave us a lot of useful advice and showed us a selection of his interesting and amazing work.

Davies, M. (2008-13). Marcus Davies Photography Projects. Available: Last accessed 5th April 2016

Posted in Professional Practice

Role of a Photographer

What models of working exist for the photographer in the 21st Century? Consider how or whether the model Marcus described might be sustainable. State what the risks are of working in this way and what are the benefits. Consider whether there are there any other models of working?

There is a looming question over the status of a photographer – are you an artist or a photographer? You could argue that being a photographer is knowing how to control the camera and other technological aspects of photography making you more professional. Some say that just taking a picture just makes you an artist. Combine the two and you are “talented”. But is photography something taught or is a photographer naturally gifted with the “seeing eye”? Essentially you can learn something from every stage of your career.

Some examples of working models in photography include curation, make-up and hair artists, retouchers, stylists, agents and many other job roles within the business.

Being a photographer comes with risks. Your work can be inconsistent so your income is a lot steadier than most other jobs so it’s not best to rely on it as a sole job. It can block ideas if working to a brief by a client and restrict you from working freely and creatively. Working with or for other people can also cause you to lose control of your work.

Along with the risks there are always benefits. When you do get a job or do some of your own work it can be rewarding, financially and psychologically – it is always satisfying doing something that you are passionate about. It can give you pride and allow you to inspire others. Your work can grow your name and reputation and help you to realise yourself.

Give an essentialist and materialist definition of artist and/or photographer and consider how these operate in society.

An essentialist photographer/artist is someone who is naturally good at what they do. They have an eye in society and their work is like a quality to that individual. It is something that can’t be learnt. Arguably, a more artistic, deep thinking approach.

A materialist approach is essentially the opposite. It’s more of a job, getting paid to do the work. It is an operational job which is trained, doable and knowable to the people learning it. This is more associated with the commercial side of photography and art.

What is your class position as an artist/photographer and what is the place of your practice with the broader socio-political setting? What level of privilege do you enjoy as student in the 5th richest country in the world? Does this alter the kinds of work you produce or how you consider you should earn an income?

Being a photographer is largely controlled by society and the ways of culture. Take students in the UK for example. We are lucky to be able to go into education, especially as it is free to us, unlike poorer countries that are unable to take part in such luxuries, restricting their opportunities to get into professional, high paid jobs, maybe the reason why they have higher rates of poverty.

Students in the UK don’t get taxed but their place in society is not ideal. Their thoughts and opinions are often muted and when trying for university they are challenged with forever rising loans and debts. Part time jobs might change their position in society but largely students struggle to earn a steady income due to their loans. During their time in education they have access to a variety resources until they graduate, leaving them to pay for resources they require.

People argue that students bare “not much contribution to society” and go unappreciated because their skills are “not up to standards” but this is usually the motive for them to go further into education which should be considered as giving them a chance to expand and improve themselves. This can open to higher opportunities allowing more sophisticated work. Largely however, students in the UK are very lucky to be able to be creative and learn to provide a more sustainable future for themselves compared to poorer countries.

Posted in Professional Practice

Photographic Exhibition – My Role Diary

16th February 2016

As part of the first session towards this task I decided to join the design area of the project as I feel my strongest area is design and distribution of something. Initially we had to come up with a name for the exhibition, so collectively as a class, we chose to go with “Our Essencene”, to link to the brief name but show that the brief is ours and this is how we have interpreted it.

As an initial starting point, we brainstormed ideas to create a logo for the exhibition that can be placed on SAVE THE DATE posters and cards to hand out now, as we don’t have any material to go into the show to use to advertise as of yet. We also used this session to set up a Facebook page, twitter account and website to have a place to advertise the exhibition and get people hearing about it nice and early. This is also something that the promotion team can use as a starting point to help them.

My role in this part was creating the Twitter account which I will use to keep followers updated with progression and information about the event, keeping them engaged with it.

Currently we are waiting for the curator team to go to the site so we can visualise the space and therefore a design for the exhibition, with size of prints etc.

In the future we are considering using flyers and posters to advertise our exhibition when we have images to use, which will be funded by us. We also have a goal of getting a design of some sort figured out before the 11th April so that we can use it on the big screen in reception to advertise also. In the near future we have a cake sale which the promotion team have organised to try and fundraise for the exhibition funds.

22nd March 2016

This week we listened to the plans and timescales of the curatorial and promotion group to work out what had to be done before the opening of the exhibition. We found that we were quite unorganised with our planning and needed to be more specific with deadlines and tasks.

We found that our chat on Facebook was simply causing too many problems with communication, causing arguments within the design group. This meant we had still not been able to decide on a logo for the exhibition, putting back plans to create posters and leaflets to start promoting the exhibition besides the social media pages. From this we have agreed we need to meet more in person to discuss and improve decisions to move forward and progress.

We decided to get graphics involved with the design process, giving our posters and look more of a professional standard. We created a brief for students on the graphics course including the relevant information so that they can design a poster for us which we gave a deadline of the 12th of April which means we can then collectively as a class chose a design from a selection made by other people so everyone is happy and no offense is caused.

We reiterated to the class as a whole that we needed to start posting images onto the social media pages so that we can show the evolution and progression of the exhibition over the next few months to get people talking and gather interest.

We made a timescale to give the other groups a rough outline of when things will be done so they can progress with their tasks too. We have chosen to work closely with promotion as they have a very similar role to our design group. From now we are just updating the social media pages with images and waiting for the designs back from graphics to make our final decision on the logo and design ready for promotion.

12th April 2016

This week we didn’t manage to get any designs from any graphics students so we continued to make our own poster. I found a tutorial online to make the poster into a gif to grab attention as a short snappy advert. I had never made one of these before so it was quite a challenging process but quite fun to be able to experiment with something new. I have showed my group and am awaiting feedback on better designs and ways to make it better as I feel these are only a starting point and need a little work to make them more professional.

After discussing with the rest of the group what they thought about the gif, I was advised to slow the gif down or decrease the information in the gif to make it more punchy and memorable. During this time, another group of people had gone elsewhere and made a new poster shown below, limiting colours to make it eye-catching and using snappy information to be clear and functional for the audience. I also feel this poster looks more professional and clean. Following this they also made a gif to go with the poster which I feel has more impact on the audience as it shows the poster in action and gives you chance to interpret the relevant information.poster final.jpg

Final Weeks Leading up to Exhibition on 16th May

After the poster was designed we had these sent off to be printed and handed around as leaflets. With this and the gif sorted we were able to help the promo team move forward also. Our main task left as a group was to keep up with the social media, showing everyone’s work leading up to the exhibition. My main task was to keep control of twitter, which I feel I did successfully. Although only a small job, it allowed me to spread the work of the whole cohort to gather attention to the exhibition and present the talent of the work in the class. During this time everyone individually was getting their images and frames ready to be sent to St. Saviours for hanging by the curatorial team.

Exhibition Week 16th May

On Monday 16th May at 5pm, we opened the doors of the exhibition to the public. I feel the overall exhibition shows a strong effort from the whole cohort, showing we were able to come over all of our disagreements to produce a worthy show. I feel over all during the process I could’ve put in more effort, but at times felt that the tasks I was willing to do were taken out of my hands without communication meaning I wasn’t aware they had been completed, leaving me with little to do. When I have to do an exhibition again I would like to be in a different area of the exhibition, like curatorial, as I feel like I should take part in something that would be more out of my comfort zone, to get a broader idea of the process of building the exhibition and planning the physical side of it.

Posted in Professional Practice

Tom Oldham

Visiting lecturer Tom Oldham came in to speak to us about his journey through his career of commercial photography and his work which has helped him get to where he is today.

In the beginning, Oldham was terrified of being a photographer and didn’t know what to do with it. He studied a two year national diploma in Plymouth which led him to become a working member of the erc in PCA. His fears of photography also included studio flash. His interests included music, as he liked to photograph what he saw. tom-oldhamTo start off, he photographed night events for local magazines to help his images get to a standard where they could be published. He aspired to be published in Sleeze Nation magazine, which was his favourite. This became his target when shooting. After a long wait, he finally found his urinal image in the magazine and later his image of nude men in the sea became a whole page spread in the magazine. He explained this as “the best feeling” he’d ever had. Following this, he decided to set up his own magazine in Brighton. He eventually got into photographing PR, events and parties which ultimately made him a freelance photographer which allowed him to pick up many jobs in London.

When getting into the depth of his career, Oldham started photographing famous people. Oldham said that in the words of Avedon, you photograph famous people to become famous. He suggested that you don’t always require a model release form when photographing famous people as they get the publicity from the images and you get the work, so it’s happy days for everyone. Oldham said it’s important when you come away with work, Photographer Tom Oldham Nikon D810 images for Nikon. Not to be reproduced without should come away with a story from it too. One of his examples for this was when he photographed Ginger Baker. He let Baker’s dog out by mistake which led to Baker to lose his temper with Oldham and call him a “bloody idiot”. This gives Oldham’s images a background and something nostalgic to remember when browsing through the images. These images got published in a magazine.

Other famous people he has photographed include: Usain Bolt, who he described as an interesting individual, who he photographed for Puma and a sports magazine; Alicia Keys, who he waited 8 hours to arrive. He used 1 light to do this shoot; Nick Cave, which used a 2 light set up for Mojo Magazine; Dave Gilmore from Pink Floyd, with whom he only had 20 minutes to shoot with 1 light and 1 fill light as he hates having photos taken; Thierry Henry for Shortlist magazine; actress and singer Skye Ferrera, who was shot in a hotel room. Oldham had to produce 3 sets in 17 minutes using just a reflective brolly like Annie Leibovitz; Richard Branson, with who he only got 3 frames before he left; Blur, who said “good luck” to Oldham as he is difficult to photograph; 1960’s singer Smokey Robinson, who he said was an honour to meet; and the Arctic Monkeys, who he researched the style of to be able to include it in his images so he wouldn’t “fuck it up”.

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When photographing John Cooper Clarke for the National Trust in Dorset, he had to use plates to create the image. This was something I had never heard of before. From what I could understand it is essentially when you photograph the subject and the background separately and then join them downloadtogether in the editing process. For this he used just 2 lights. He has several retouchers as he isn’t the best at using Photoshop.  Time and budget is important and these two factors determine which retoucher he uses for a job.

Besides the famous people, Oldham does a lot of personal work. He said that this is the work people want to see and illustrates where the photographer’s heart is within photography. One of his first personal shoots was his project on the “Durneys” which he has shot 4/5 times. He used old school retouching which he was proud of as it was his own, self-directed brief, which ultimately gives him more reward. To light the images he used either just 1 fill light or 2 elinchrom lights.

Another personal project was photographing artists before and after gigs which became a published book and exhibition. This was also on the homepage of the Guardian, NME, Kerrang and Times magazine. He also works for Puma to illustrate products being used by footballers, and takes mia+copypart in commission paid work. Although commissioned, he owns all the copyright to the images but has to wait to publish them for a while. He also photographs public events such as Black Friday Mayhem so he can market himself as someone expensive, who does take part in generic photography too.

One of his most recent projects was photographing Gilbert and George for Time Out New York. One of his images got accepted into the Taylor Gilbert&George_03Wessing Awards which he said was one of his best achievements yet.

Oldham explained that he works with various people and not just one specific publisher, which he manages to do through word of mouth, however he aims to have few clients that ask for regular work from him. He dreads working with people he’s never worked for before, which I can only imagine is because of the added pressure of getting things right, and the uncertainty of the person, but this is only my own opinion. To get himself out there, Oldham actively markets himself consistently through social media and blogs, although he said this is not always accountable.

Oldham suggested a few tips during his talk about what to say and do during photoshoots to ease tension and make the atmosphere more comfortable. One of these was to assess mid-shoot if it’s going well and if you think it is, show the model the images to see how they feel about them. He said however, that this is not as easy with females as they are much more image-sensitive. To disarm a situation, Oldham uses humour which essentially allows technical elements to work while still being creative with the client. He suggested that you have to know your stuff – not just technically but about the client too as you have to make them feel comfortable – no one WANTS to be photographed, and especially when you never get anything more than an hour to shoot, you have to make them comfortable quickly enough to get the desired shots and make the most of the time.

Leon Bridges in Shoreditch, East London UK

Oldham owns a Hasselblad H50C and 2 Nikons. He has managed to meet some real icons such as Smokey Robinson and the job has allowed him to travel a lot. Photography isn’t always worth the money you earn but gives you opportunities like the shoot he did with Leon Bridges for Time Out New York which only paid him £150 but he was published in a major magazine. Oldham said it’s not “easier” to photograph beauty. He never asks for autographs or “selfies” etc., so he can retain his professional stance with his clients, although on rare occasion he has done this. He uses a lot of battery powered lighting for outdoor shoots. Oldham earns a good wage as he is paid to take the photo and then paid for the usage of it, however he said this doesn’t last long after you’ve paid for your team and equipment – shoots cost money so Leon Bridges in Shoreditch, East London UKthe wage doesn’t last. He has had good years and bad years with work. All his team are freelancers and he promotes himself with a maximum of 2 or 3 people. He believes that talent is people’s skills and hard work and NOT photography.

Overall, Tom Oldham was a really intriguing and friendly guy to have listened to. I learnt a lot from him surrounding lighting techniques, plates, and just generally working with clients. His work is so interesting and aesthetically good to look at, and after hearing some of his personal stories from his clients it makes me wonder what other stories lay behind his images. I would be so interested in hearing from him again to learn some more about his work.


Posted in Professional Practice


Copyright is the right to authorise or restrict the making of copies. It is an author’s right, a property right, a human right and a collection of rights. Copyright doesn’t always sit well with everyone. Through copyright a photographer can protect their work against unauthorised copying and permit or restrict the use of their photographs. They can also get payment for the use of work. There is no system for registering copyright in the UK. Copyright exists automatically from the moment the photograph is created, but only in material form.

Copyrights can be used on a photograph, a sculpture, painting, design, illustration, music, signatures, architecture, film, cartoons, typeface, performance, literature, names, logos, products and more. As demonstrated you can copyright almost anything.

Copyright is protected in the UK under the Copyright Design & Patents Act 1988. This law came into effect on 1st August 1989. The 1956 or 1911 Act will still apply to some older works. Since the 1988 Act, it has been changed a number of times. The most important amendment that has taken place, has affected the duration of copyright for photographers.

The creator of protected work is it’s ‘author’. In photography the author is the person who creates it, the photographer. Photographers have not always owned copyright & these old rules still cause a great deal of confusion. Under 1911 & 1956 Copyright Acts, The commissioner (company or person) owned copyright. ‘The author’ was the person who owned the film. Thankfully this is no longer the case. However some clients still think this old rule applies. Employed photographers don’t hold the copyright of any work produced in the course of their employment. The copyright is owned by the employer. Using equipment that belongs to your employers outside office hours, could still give the employer the copyright. Copyright in a photograph lasts for the life of the photographer plus 70 years.

The ownership of artists work is quite separate to the ownership of materials. If a photographer sells a photograph for a sum of money, the buyer does not own the copyright, with the right to hang the work. The copyright remains with the photographer

Clients need to be aware of the cost difference of a one-off advert compared to the assignment of copyright. The photographer needs to clarify costs before the job commences. You can include key wording, file info, copyright and license, contact details in your metadata.

Copyright Infringement is classified in two different categories. Primary which is when reproducing/ copying takes place without the photographer’s permission, a photograph is used without permission and put onto a t-shirt, or another unlicensed photograph is made into an ‘art’ poster. The other sector is secondary which includes other aspects of trade in the pirated or infringing goods and where the infringing t-shirt and ‘art’ posters are sold from a market stall, even if the market trade did not make them their self. These infringements can be made by commissioners and clients who use the photographs but don’t pay or comply with contractual terms, commissioners and clients who use the photographs outside the terms of the original license or other users who copy photographs without clearing rights.

Duration of Moral Rights Applies to any photographer who was alive on or after the 1st August 1989; irrespective of whether the work was created before or after that date. The Attribution Right is the right to be identified as the author and the right to have name appear alongside photograph. The Integrity Right is the photographer’s right to prevent work being mistreated. Attribution & Integrity Right is for the purpose of reporting current events, publication in a newspaper, magazine or similar. The False Attribution Right belongs to anyone who wrongly has work attributed to them. It can be deliberate where an advertiser want to use a more prestigious photographer, to create value. The Privacy Right applies only to commissions for ‘private and domestic purposes’. That person has the right not to have copies of the work issued to the public, exhibited or shown in public. Most photographers’ are freelance. They are the first owners of copyright. They will have a contract with the client to determine copyright issues

Roger vs. Koons is just one famous example of a copyright infringement. A situation arose when Jeff Koons made a sculpture that was almost identical to the photograph “Puppies” taken by Roger. The photograph was taken for a postcard and clearly showed his copyright of the image. Roger approached Koons about the matter but he denied the case saying that the placement of daisies and dramatic colours meant that it wasn’t a copy. However, Rogers spoke to the sculptures of Koons’ piece who said that Koons had told them to replicate the image “even down to the angle of the collar”. So Rogers took Koons to court where Koons said that his work was only a parody and therefore not an infringement of the photograph. The judge dismissed this as an eligible argument and Koons eventually admitted that he ignored the copyright on the image. As a result, he was made to hand over the remaining un-sold sculptures to Roger and £375,000 compensation. This proves how costly and damaging this is to a business, especially if you are a freelancer.