This last fortnight we have covered ROC round 3 and it was our turn for the WCPF prints, where we could exercise our own critiquing skills. This is always popular as members can be more involved than is necessarily the case on competition nights. On my table we got into some earnest questions not so much as which pictures we favoured but why that was so. Agreement wasn’t necessarily required, and we came to our 1,2,3 decisions for each category through a simple majority vote. That wasn’t really the point of it all though. The theming of those prints gave me an idea for this weeks blog.
When we look at other people’s work we are looking at other peoples way of seeing, which is not ours. Sounds deep. Essentially if we want to improve we have, at some time or other, to challenge our own way of seeing, discuss our way of seeing. Using the WCPF and viewing the competition work we can put that into some sort of perspective. Yes I like that – why? No I don’t like that – why not? The Japanese have a saying that if you want to know the answer ask, five times, why? Basically break down the reasons to the core. That teaches us something about our own preferences and we can, if we take note of these things, start to make a difference to our own work through it. Or, as I am sure I have quoted to you before: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder – get it out with Optrex” (Spike Milligan). It has to be a conscious decision though, to do something about it.
Sounds like a slow process? Well it is. Our world is awash of nail-it-in-five-easy-lessons advice, yet that isn’t how humans learn. Sure you can get the basics right in about 20 hours but making the learning our own, that takes longer. Practice makes perfect as I am sure you have been told. Along with “Fail is just the First Attempt In Learning” and other useful things you want to strangle people for. And until we start to take on the critical eye, start taking and rejecting opportunities as part of a conscious effort, we just go round in one big circle until we are torpedoed by our own failed expectations. Bit like the sinking of the Bismarck.
But it’s a hobby. We do because we enjoy. There is no other compulsion than the one that gnaws at us to get the camera out of its bag and go shoot something (in the nicest possible way). There is always something on to point the camera at, the local “What’s On” tells us so. Left to the random too much can get missed or we end up trying to do too much in too little time. Opportunity generally isn’t a problem. Having a direction, some rails to run on, some clues as to what to look for, that is a great way of focusing the attention. Welcome to the world of the photo-project.
In its simplest form a photo project is a theme, a camera and a (regular?) space in the diary. There are as many projects as photographers, it seems, and that is because, to work, it has to be personal. We have to have some emotional attachment to what we are doing or it simply will not get done. The first point to take on board is that a 365 day project, a photo a day, sounds great when we start out but I am willing to bet that most of them don’t get completed, or get modified into something more suited to time and effort available. 30 day and 7 day projects are also popular and are more feasible. Timescale has a role to serve as we are effectively making an appointment with ourselves. The subject can be anything, but has to be something we have to put more than the usual amount of effort to complete. Then there are subject variations like: shoot 100 strangers (the serial killers favourite); A-Z; 52/26/12/any random number Photo-walks; pick a colour/theme; one focal length; the Roll of 12/24/36 (back to the old film days where you limit yourself to a film roll on a shoot); The 100 ISO challenge (fixed ISO can also be done with fixed aperture or speed); manual only focusing; plus a host of others.
Of course there is also the ongoing project, the one that lasts over months and years, that can involve deeper immersion in the subject where the style you develop adapts to the conditions your subject is most commonly found in. Osmosis, by and large is not a thing that produces results particularly quickly, if at all. The whole planned thing gets you thinking. The whole well I didn’t expect that thing we find when we get to a location challenges us to adapt. These two things help us develop but the third leg of the stool – looking critically at what other people have done and why we like it or what we would change about it and how we apply it to our own work- puts what we are trying to do in a context. That gives us something to learn and to improve with.
OK so this is based on a my-best-shot-is-my-next-one philosophy, but continuous development builds over time. It is about DELIBERATE practice. Now practice does not have to be devoid of fun, again I say this is our hobby, not our penance, but if we take Henri Cartier-Bresson’s point quoted in the last blog that “Your first ten thousand photographs are your worst” we miss the point and that point is the our first ten thousand deliberate photographs are our worst. And that is OK. Deliberation is the difference, and that can be as simple as going through your latest batch of images and thinking “If I were to take that one again I would ….” and then doing it. That is where we came in. Five members of a photographic club sitting around a table deciding what attracts them to different photo’s, and why, as a basis of going out and doing something about it.
N E X T M E E T I N G
Club member Julie Kaye on underwater photography.
Showing Off Again
Reflex Camera Club Exhibition at Southmead Hospital
No the title isn’t about Myk. It’s the title of our brand new exhibition at Southmead Hospital, Bristol.
On Wednesday myself and Myk drove out to Southmead to deliver the clubs framed prints. We were told to head to the delivery bay which nearly resulted in us paying an impromptu visit to the Maternity Unit but just in time we realised that Delivery Suite means a totally different thing at a Hospital! However we did manage to find the right spot and amazingly even managed to get a parking space right outside. If you’ve been to Southmead Hospital recently you’ll know exactly how difficult that is as their new car park isn’t open yet.
Up they go
Once we had the images inside we unwrapped them and the team from the Hospital laid them out and hung them up on the wall. Below you can see some images we took of them being hung and the finished look. The new location is in the main atrium and is very prominent. Anyone walking through that part of the Hospital has to go right past them. So they should be looked at by Hundreds if not Thousands of people each week.
If you want to go take a look then just head on over and walk in. Richard Price’s Poppy Image was chosen to star on the leaflets they are printing to advertise the Exhibition and its going to run until sometime in January (we haven’t been given an exact end date yet).
So head on over and take a look at our members wonderful images!
Our Next Exhibition
The Exhibition will be held at The Hip Space Gallery at Southmead Hospital. (organised by Fresh Arts.)
Fresh Arts is the ongoing arts programme managed by North Bristol NHS Trust.
More info on Fresh Arts can be found on their website
The exhibition will run for 90 days from Friday 31st May 2013 until Wednesday 28th August 2013 ……..and will be open from 9:00am until 8:00pm every day.
The cost for each member will be £12*
This fee will cover the cost of frame, printing, mounting and fittings.
Image Sizes -You have 2 options, you may use the mount which comes with the frame, so 29×39 cm will be your print size (roughly A3) or you may print your own size image, and supply a White mount to fit the frame, which is 40×50 cm.
The Framed Print will remain your property once the exhibition has finished……unless you sell it of course.
Your images will not be insured.
All images can be offered for sale and the gallery will take a 20% commission fee. Please take this into account when selecting a sale price.
All payments will be made within 30 days of the exhibition ending by way of cash or cheque
To fill the Gallery we would need 24 or 48 submissions’
All frames will be exactly the same.
Black Ikea RIBBA frames.
Size 40×50 cm – (with an aperature of 29×39 cm)
Your work will need a title, your name and a sale price if being offered for sale.
I would also need a contact telephone number.
You can write this down on a piece of paper
By submitting prints you AGREE to allow digital copies of your images to be used for promotional purposes by Fresh Arts.
The theme is an open one, but please can I remind you that we are exhibiting in a hospital and each one of us will be promoting Reflex Camera Club, so please…..No nudity, blood and guts or anything that might be deemed to be distasteful in a hospital environment.
Also, if you are looking for sales from this exhibition you might want to submit something that would appeal to a broader market.
The cut off date for images will be Thursday 25th April 2013
If you want to take part, can you please forward your names and submission fee to Myk (please note Myk is away for the club meeting on the 4th April, but Kineta Hill will be accepting the fee’s for him at that meeting) as soon as possible. Thanks.
*The cost of £12 will be the same for everyone, even if you print and mount your own image
We’re making History!
Today Reflex Camera Club’s first ever exhibition opens to the public! I bet the majority of the members that submitted images never thought that they would see their own work hung on a wall for everyone to see.
The theme of the exhibition is Recycle:Reuse:ReCreate simply because that is what the Create Centre is all about. It proved to be a difficult subject to take a photograph of for quite a few people but, I’m pleased to say, most of those who said they would take part managed to submit an image.If you would like to go and see it the Create Centre (map) is located atSmeaton Road
The exhibition features images from 28 of the clubs members and runs from October 15th up until 21st December. The Create Centre is open weekdays from 08:30 to 17:00
There are comment books so you can write in to leave your thoughts on the exhibition for us to read after it’s all over.
Voices exhibition at Tower Wharf
A little while ago at the invitation of Antony from The Photographic Angle several people from Reflex went to see an exhibition being held in empty office space at Tower Wharf, Cheese Lane in Bristol (map).
The Photographic Angle are, in conjunction with PhotoVoice, holding another exhibition at the same location. This Time it’s called voices and we at Reflex also have the opportunity to go along to a talk by Matt Daw of photography charity PhotoVoice. The exhibition runs from 27th to 31st October and the talk is scheduled for the 31st.
TPA recently interviewed Matt Daw of PhotoVoice, the leading participatory photography charity, as it continues to tour its exhibition VOICES and you can read that interview by going here.
This exhibition introduces four projects established by PhotoVoice since 2008:
- How We See It (2010)
- Lookout London (2011)
- Sights Unseen (2009-2010)
- UR In the Picture (2008-2009)
- See It Our Way (2010-2011).
Matt will be speaking on the concept of participatory photography as well as on the projects which led to this exhibition. There will be a Q&A session following the talk.
If you’re interested in going along to the talk please let me know so I can tell them how many of us to expect.