So, as you may have noticed by now I am not making any headway on what I want to do Post Uni. There appears to be a lot of pressure on us to know what we want to do and be acting upon it already, and to be big in the art photography circle (which is becoming ever more apparently small) I really should be contacting every gallery and person I possibly can.
I am still persistent in my emails to Malcolm Dickson of Street Level in Glasgow, I got very close to being able to go up and show him my work and then he was too busy to see me. In fact earlier this evening I emailed him again, I hope to get a response soon, he often replies better in the evening (a helpful tip if you’re thinking of contacting him yourself).
This still doesn’t answer the question of what I want to do with my life.
This brings me around to networking, and though I can write semi-confidently to a bunch of strangers, I don’t have a lot of confidence approaching people in groups. I’m fine with presentations everyone is obliged to listen, but if you approach someone then its very difficult for me to feel comfortable. I will make another post about networking, looking more closely at opportunities I could get myself.
First of all on the trip to Edinburgh we encountered a street performance (a fire juggler) whom for his finale picked three people out of the crowd to help him, I was picked, great fun and very funny. First on the visit however was the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, where the Mikhael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse collaboration ‘Ponte City’ is showing in the Photography Gallery, after our lecture on wall presentation that was the what I kept focussing on, as well as the amazing photography. There were large prints roughly B0, but I couldn’t be sure of the size without measuring, and the where mounted on something but I couldn’t say what, and framed within a strip of steel, I would have taken more photographs but they were actually not allowed. The frames suited the work perfectly, they had a solidarity and a coldness that the building in the photographs shares with them. Along with the large prints, some smaller prints were stuck up with small nails, some of the people I spoke to really didn’t like the nails, but I thought that it really brought something to these small repetitive prints. We also visited the Stills Gallery just off the Royal Mile, there was some very interesting portraits here, but sadly the quality of framing was’t all that great, like I said though wonderful portraits but the prints were warped within the frames. On the other hand, the frames themselves were very good, they weren’t solid black so they didn’t create to much of a solid border around the image. As well as this, the white border within the frame was large and this drew you in close to look at the image. One last thing about this gallery in general, the space was amazing, I loved that the two artists work, though it was different didn’t massively contrast each other, if anything they complimented each other. and the two halves of the gallery flowed together very well. Would love to have my work hanging on their walls someday. And after some more wandering around, being tourists and visiting the Fruit Market Gallery (which went over our heads) our day in Edinburgh was done.
I’ve just been looking at an article called ‘Can You Still Make Money From Photography?’ and this is where the title of the post comes from, Uncle Bob with his posh new DSLR is the proxy for that family member or family friend whom people consider getting to shoot their wedding for free. Wedding photography isn’t what I would like to do, but something has to pay the bills, and wedding photographers seem to be quite similar, however, I have seen some good and some awfully bad. They also seem to price themselves out of the market, if anyone even considers Uncle Bob they will soon realise it won’t work, but they shouldn’t have to consider.
Anyway, there are other things a photographer can do to sell themselves, such as film, it’s so close and so far from what photographers know. I’ve experimented with it, and I would like to fully embrace it because there are things I try to photograph which simply do not work with a still.
Finding a niche is important: what do I enjoy doing? What do I enjoy looking at? What do I enjoy writing about? What what what?! Well, I know that the way I photograph has become instinctive to me, so I think I will always have an element of the abstract. I enjoy colour, black and white isn’t for me, I’ve tried using it myself but I find relying on texture and tone alone difficult, so, colour what else? Surprisingly, though I struggle with people myself I can’t get some portraits out of my head in particular one by Mikhael Subotzky, since I first saw it it has been in the back of my mind. I enjoying writing and researching about the history and how this has affected the landscape and current culture of a place, which has what inspired me to do a project about Iceland.
Even after this; the question still remains: what do I want to do?
Image Courtesy of Magnum Photography and Mikhael Subotzky.
I want to start this post with something light hearted, recently whilst being given a tour around (behind the scenes) of the Baltic in Gateshead I was typing notes on my phone and just now reading through them I found a note to myself just asking ‘Can I be rich?’ This is a good question, will I be?
Anyway, it would probably be more interesting if I shared some of what I have gained from the experience of seeing these large exhibition spaces in transition. Chris Osborne, the Technical Manager, who showed us around was very honest which was very helpful, he has been involved at every show in the Baltic and he said that there are always different challenges when creating an exhibition of an size. The critical problems are hard to deal with and you may want to leave them to sort themselves out or wait until the end but should be dealt with as and when they arise.
Have a floor plan! Before we can start we need to know how the spaces flows and if people want installations etc. where would they fit into the dynamic. This brings me around to wether or not some of the work could be interactive, are people doing video? Are they having objects under their work? Is their sound? Will this affect others work? I’m starting to stress out just thinking about this.
Try and avoid white walls, this is our degree show, we should be experimenting with lots of different things and exploring how to hang work.
I will continue this very soon.
Around the 20th of January I contacted three galleries in Scotland which I wont name, and I approached them in a different way. Previously I have been told to not just jump right into what I want, but instead to explain who I am and then say why I’m contacting them, previously though I did not get a reply.
However, this time around after speaking with some of my peers I decided that if I don’t ask for what I would like how will I get where I want to be. So, I just said ‘I am contacting you to enquire about showing you some of my work’ (there was information about myself after this) and two of the three galleries got back to me within two days.
One of the galleries requested work via email before a physical meeting, but sadly they have not yet got back to me so I shall suspect the worst and move on. The other, however, is still in touch with me and we were going to have a meeting in the next couple of weeks but, sadly they had to cancel and have asked to see some work, again, via email.
I feel like I have learnt (even in this short back and forth with the galleries) a lot, it is perhaps more admirable to just be straight up rather than beating around the bush. Now I shall leave to gather the work to submit to the gallery. I hope to be contacting more very soon.
Edit: The third gallery has replied and I will create a post about what I have to do for them in the near future.
Museums are an excellent resource for a photographer, and Dumfries Museum has a very interesting set of collections which is why I am glad to have been allowed in to the the Werner Kissling collection. The collection contained work about the Outer Hebrides, Dumfries and a small amount on Leeds, my interest being the Hebrides. Having both my own knowledge and now a large body of research, I hope that I can build upon this slowly and come to know my home country in all of its glory. Having a large bank of information about the country will hopefully improve my photographs of the place.
I hope that making this connection with Dumfries museum will open more doors into other museums in the future. The opportunity to visit museum collections could become very crucial for cute projects and Dumfries was a warm and welcome beginning to this journey.
Image Courtesy of Dumfries Museum.