Trip to Amsterdam

Recently two photography students and I travelled to Amsterdam for a few days in order to and with intention to photograph for our Landscape project.

We all managed to get many shoots done, relevant to our own projects, and similarly to in Budapest I managed to put together a little video including some of the things we did on the trip.

I also took many portrait photos whilst there that I will look to add to my portfolio. Below is a link to the page containing the video and some of my favourite photos from the trip.

https://www.dannyovens.com/travel

Also, here are some of my favourite photos from the trip:

FOAM Exhibition: William Eggleston - Los Alamos

On the third day, we stumbled upon a FOAM Exhibition, showing, along with many others, William Eggleston's work titled Los Alamos. These photos were beautiful to see in person and since this exhibition he has become one of my favourite photographers.

I love the style of his work as it is like a cross between street photography and documentary photography in my opinion, with none of his photos being planned, but just being taken in the moment.

Below are some photos from the exhibition, though there are not many as photography was prohibited.

World Press Photo Exhibition 2017

The next day in Amsterdam, we visited the World Press Photo Exhibition and some of the photos exhibited there were amazing and powerful. We spent 3/4 hours in this exhibition, carefully looking around and watching all of the videos, reading all of the text beside each photo and analysing each project.

My favourite part of this project was probably some of the work by Amber Bracken as visually, for me, these photos were the most aesthetically stunning. However there were some powerful, emotional pieces based on street photography and culture photography on the streets of countries like Argentina and Cuba.

I also really enjoyed the sport photography as I felt that it was most personal to me, as many of the moments photographed were moments that I actually remember from my childhood, captured beautifully.

Below is the leaflet from the exhibition, as well as one of my favourite pieces of work.

Outsider Art: Atellers Galerie Artotheek

On the first day in Amsterdam, I decided to go for a wander on my own and get used to my surroundings and the environment that I would be in for the next few days. 

After a few hours, I accidentally stumbled upon a small art exhibition. The exhibition was actually shut but I was able to sneak in and have a little look around before being asked to leave.

I wasn't sure on who the artwork was being exhibited by as I didn't have time to read any of the text, but I had a look around at the pieces of art and took some photos that I will put below this blog post.

 
 

Overall, I enjoyed the 10 minutes I spent in this exhibition but would have loved to find out more about it and get to closely and carefully look at each piece without it being rushed.

Trip to Budapest

Recently, Joe Clifford and I ventured to Budapest in order to take some photos using some of the techniques we had learnt on the course.

A link to the page on my website is available here:

https://www.dannyovens.com/travel

Also, below is some of the photos taken on the trip as well as a video made.

 
 

Employability and Connecting with Audiences

In this lecture with Morag, we looked at all of the different types of photography; the different reasons why people require photography and the different people that require it.

As a group, we managed to come up with many different reasons. Below are some written notes showing what we came up with in our group:

 
 

After listing all of the types of photography we could think of, we began to group them into different genres. In doing so, we soon realised that there are hundreds of overlaps in photography genres. For example, headshots. This could come under fashion, corporate, portraiture, documentary photography etc.

We then shared our ideas as a group and created a list, in which I managed to type up on my laptop. Also, we were introduced to a website called Creative Skillset, which had highlighted a lot of these types of photography. The notes for this are below:

 
 

Guest Lecturer - Jon Tonks

Today, we had a guest speaker come in to talk about his work. Jon Tonks was chosen amongst 29 others to be the top 30 young photographers to look out for in the future.

His work immediately enticed me for one reason - IT WAS RELEVANT! His work massively took our brief into consideration for our project of Environmental Portraiture and I believed I could learn something that would help me from the off.

For the majority of the lecture, he spoke about a project in which he started in his Masters degree and turned into a book. The project Empires was an idea he had where he would travel to many different British Empires and whilst he was there he would document the lives of those living there. He was influenced by his previous work as a photojournalist for a local newspaper and this drove his chain of thought towards doing what he knew how to do - documenting.

 
Empire  by  Jon Tonks

Empire by Jon Tonks

 

He traveled to many different islands, using his personal savings, and was driven by his passion towards the project and concept. When he returned from an island called Tristan, the world's remotest island, The Sunday Times wanted to use his project for their 50th-anniversary issue. He said that he only had one island left to visit - the Falklands, to which he did. He explained to us how they only used the photos and didn't ask him for any information when the text was being written. This angered him as it would mean each photo wouldn't be seen in the context in which he would have hoped.

The last photo of the last cow of  Ascension Island , from the  Empire  collection.

The last photo of the last cow of Ascension Island, from the Empire collection.

My favourite image from the  Empire  collection.

My favourite image from the Empire collection.


NOTES FROM LECTURE:

Sustainability in the Digital Age

With photography becoming far easier to come by, it is becoming harder and harder for photographers to make a living from it. Social media has created the idea that everyone is a photographer, with platforms like Instagram acting as everyone's own personal portfolio and website to display their 'work'. Whether it is a photo of someone's slippers, or of what they ate for lunch, everyone thinks that they have what it takes to be a photographer. The amount that photographers can charge for shoots is, therefore decreasing, with most people being ignorant in thinking that now that we are out of the digital age, photography is far easier and less expensive as we don't have to continuously spend money on rolls of film and chemicals to develop them.

Wrong.

If anything, the digital age has made photography a far more expensive occupation to have. DSLRs are now reaching tens of thousands of pounds, with upgrades of bodies and lenses becoming necessary, if not vital, in order to remain competitive. With the rise in photographers, it is hard enough to find work, but with people willing to do it for so little makes it so difficult to compete price-wise and still make a living. Companies like Groupon and Wowcher are making it impossible as they create offers where family photo shoots can be completed for as little as £20. And no matter how hard you try, living off of that £20, if not less after the company takes their cut, is impossible.

This is not the only reason why it has become more difficult for us photographers. Most companies and customers don't fully understand the copyright laws behind photographs, and if contracts are not made, it can become very difficult to keep copyright over your own photos. By law, the copyright of an image always goes to he/she who created the photo, unless rights are transferred to someone else. However, it is very difficult to enforce this as with the internet being as large as it is, there is no saying who is using your images without permission.


NOTES FROM LECTURE:

Sebastião Salgado Exhibition

On Friday, after our Crit, Stephen took us to the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution in Queen Square to see Salgado's new project, Genesis, in a small exhibition. There were only 8 photos in the whole exhibition, with lots of description about his career to read up about. There was also a video playing, showing him developing his platinum prints, a fascinating-looking process.

The project was mind-blowing. There were some amazing photos exhibited, photos unlike ones I've ever seen before. I am unfamiliar with Salgado's work to be honest with you, but the first thing I did after seeing this project is research him. I spent about half an hour just scrolling through some magnificent photos he has taken over the many years he has been photographing for.

 

Possibly my favourite image from the project, by Sebastião Selgado.

 

The images were of magnificent quality. It is so refreshing to see a massive, sharp print and was something I really enjoyed about his photos. 

 

Some photos taken from the exhibition.

 

Guest Lecturer - Jack Latham

After James Allan's lecture, we then gathered for a guest lecture with Jack Latham. Jack was actually recommended as a photographer by James and after enjoying James' photos, I had high hopes for this lecture.

From the off, Jack had my full attention. To know that he had only recently graduated from university and had made this name for himself gave me some sort of comfort. He began by speaking about himself a little, and quickly moved onto his work, jokingly stating that he wouldn't ramble on as much as his friend Murray Ballard, who is also from Brighton.

Jack decided to show us a lot of his early work, work in which he wasn't too pleased with. He jokingly stated about one of his photos:

“It’s just a picture of a carpark, really."

It was a quote that made me laugh and I very much liked as many photographers try to find a reason and excuse for every photo they take, but this was the raw truth behind the photo. He saw something he liked and photographed it, with no other reason to do so. This, I believe, was an exercise to show the students that everyone starts out somewhere. He told us about how he always tried to copy a photographer named Tim Hetherington. Sadly, Tim was killed in an act of war in Libya and this caused subsequent depression to Jack. He explained how he stopped taking photos for a while during his photography course and would just wander around, aimlessly, getting lost in the woods. He then realised that in a way, photography was the perfect tool to express his sadness, and from this, he began to photograph trees and lonely things like that.

Shortly after, in 2012, Jack Latham began a project called A Pink Flamingo, where he traveled around America photographing ghost towns and empty places. This was funded by the fact that he somehow managed to get a student maintenance loan whilst staying at his parents' house, where he didn't have to spend it. This is a series of photos that I very much like, and am interested in the concept of. Below is a short slideshow of some of the images from the project in which he spoke to us about.

In this project, he also pointed out something in one of his photos that really interested me. He noticed that in a photo of a mum with 4 children in the snow, the mum and her daughter were holding their finger in the same way. He said there was no real reason and he had no certain explanation for this, but he claimed that he thought they both shared a specific action of comfort. He did this quite a lot and I like how he creates his own theories behind what could be the reason for coincidences and things he finds interesting in each photo. Below is three images showing what he meant by the photo.

 
 

After this project, he began another one called Sugar Paper Theories, which was a book about a very interesting case where some policemen accused and prisoned a group of people for murder beat and waterboarded them, raped one of them and then forced them to commit murder so that they had the recollection and memory of doing so, making them guilty. This was a very deep, yet extremely encaptivating series and I would love to one day purchase and read the book.

 

BOOK: Sugar Paper Theories

 

Overall, I very much liked the photos he presented and thought he was a very interesting, charismatic lecturer who I would look forward to seeing again.


NOTES FROM LECTURE:

Guest Lecturer - James Arthur Allen

Today, we had a guest lecture from James Arthur Allen, a British photographer based in Bath and currently studying his masters in Wales.

Much of what he said interested me, specifically when he spoke about how he first got published and got his 'break'. He told a story about how he was queuing up for a meeting with someone, I presume someone who had the power to publish his work, and the lady was presented with his video 'Behind the Lens'  and was so touched by his work that she bought it on the spot.

He explained to us that to put our mark on the world and get our work out there, we must begin emailing photos to companies, entering competitions and applying for photography opportunities.

 
Behind the Lens - Published by Telegraph.

Behind the Lens - Published by Telegraph.

 

He explained to us about his commissioned work in different countries and how it wasn't as important to him as his personal projects, and this is something that I can relate to, because when creating my own project I feel far more involved and a part of it, and motivation to complete it is higher.

As for his work, he told us that a lot of it he didn't like that much. Personally, I think his work was very interesting, specifically that which was taken of the Royal Marines. I feel that they were all not only aesthetic but told a respected story and that for me made the images far more interesting.

 

A photo of an Marines Veteran

 
 

A list of photographers that James recommended we research.

 

NOTES FROM LECTURE:

 
 

Victoria Art Gallery - Kenneth Armitage Exhibition

Today, Joe and I went to Victoria Art Gallery to visit the Kenneth Armitage 1916 - 2002 Centenary sculpture exhibition. It was interesting in many different ways for many different reasons.

The presentation of the sculptures and drawings was very unorganised in the way they were laid out but had somewhat a level of organisation in that there was a vague path for people to walk around. The sculptures themselves were oddly scattered around the exhibition and there wasn't much structure or reasoning behind the layout, but this intrigued me.

 

 
Brochure from the gallery

Brochure from the gallery

 

One thing that did inspire me from the visit to the gallery was the personality behind each piece. Every single piece had similarities and consistency so that you could tell it was created by the same artist. This consistency is something I would like to one day have in my work and did try to explore in my Language of Photography project.

We were unable to take photos inside the exhibition but below is an image found online.

 
 

Working with Bath Pizza Co

Recently, I was contacted by Bath Pizza Co on Instagram regarding photography for the marketing of their restaurant on social media, which, with no doubt, I accepted to. I packed my bag with both my trusty 50mm prime lens and my 18-55 zoom lens and was fully prepared after doing some research on food photography prior to the shoot.

When I arrived, I met a very welcoming guy, Alex, the head of the family owned pizza restaurant. He held an interest in photography himself as he studied it at A-Level, and after chatting for a while he became very interested in my film project as he was keen to begin developing his own photos.

He showed me around the place, got me a drink, whipped up 4 of his finest pizzas and left me to it. I have to admit, before today I was intimidated by the idea of photographing for a company, in a place I'm not familiar with, around people I have only just met and with that slightly added pressure to get a good shot. But when I was left alone with the camera, I felt very at home, far more comfortable than I could have imagined it would be. I had no doubts before but this has reinforced it for me - I want to take photos forever.

When I had finished, he allowed me to eat the pizzas I had just photographed and promised to email over a voucher that I could use to claim some more free pizzas. What more could I ask for?!

Below are some of the photos I produced, edited and sent. Alex expressed his delight with the images and has already begun to use them.

Guy Fawkes Night

On Guy Fawkes Night, me and a fellow photography student, Joe Clifford, went to Alexandra Park, at the top of Bath, aiming to get the best view possible of the fireworks which would be displayed in the sky that night.

 
 

Upon arrival, at 6:30PM, to our surprise, the park was filled with people! Young children, old couples, photographers with intimidating cameras and teenagers in massive groups. Even after arriving nearly an hour before the main display, coming from Bath Rugby Club, there was no room for us! We managed to squeeze ourselves into a nice spot and attempted to set up a tripod but eventually took it down to stop the glares from the fellow spectators who were trying to move further forward. When the display began, we had just about found the settings we would use for the night. For me, they were roughly as follows: an aperture of f4, a shutter speed of 1/125 and an ISO of 6000.

Unfortunately, I had only packed my 50mm prime lens, so couldn't achieve any wide angled shots however, we managed, and came away with some photos in which we were quite happy with. The images alone were very plain, so we decided to take them into photoshop and change them a bit. For me, this involved adding the moon which was sadly behind us, as well as exaggerating the stars that were above us.

Below are some of the final products from the shoot. The images, though shot in RAW, came out very noisy, due to the high ISO, but for a first firework shoot, we were pleased.

 

 

Guest Lecturer - Murray Ballard

Murray Ballard was a very interesting photographer and I am glad that he came in to talk to us about his work. His study within photography was different to anything I had ever heard of - cryonics. This is the practice of freezing bodies after they die with the aim to bring them back to life in the future when technology has advanced enough.

His project on Prospect of Immortality was a fascinating but slightly disturbing one. Many of the images were just of the machinery used to complete the practice, however some of the photos, like the girl with the photo of her mother (as pictured below) are very emotional and have a deeper meaning behind them. 

 
 

Though I found cryonics fascinating, I believe that the way in which Murray spoke about it was in a very scientific way, somewhat contrasting how most photographers would look to explain their work. Personally, I find more interest in finding out why photos were taken, how they were set up and what they mean to the person taking them however, I believe there was not enough of that and was too much of the plain science behind how cryonicists work. 

He then moved on from this project to discuss some of his commissioned work, such as the renewable energy sources in the UK and 'How to Genetically Modify a Tomato and Other Things We Eat' which was commissioned by The British Science Association for a science fair, but his self-motivated project called 'Frack Off' was far more interesting to me, mainly because it was a personal project in which came from the heart. This was about the controversy of fracking, in which he was interested in after seeing the renewable energy sources available and knowing that fracking was not needed, despite the government was saying it would happen anyway. Below are some photos from this self-driven project.

Overall, I would like to say that I was interested in every topic that he brought to the table, however would have liked to see more about what the photos meant to him and how they were taken.


NOTES FROM LECTURE:

Professional Contexts, Lecture 2

A massive part of this lecture with Morag MacDonald was lighting. We looked at many different photographers such as Gregory Crewdson who massively use artificial lighting to their advantage when creating photos. Below are some images by Crewdson himself.

Gregory Crewdson uses very dramatic lighting in his images which is clearly artificial but still somewhat works to create a realistic image. Gregory Beams was massively inspired by this way of photography and created images of a very similar style, as seen below.

Many other photographers, like Philip Lorca Di Corsa and Hannah Starkley created lifelike, realistic images. But it was Sarah Jones who interested me most from this lecture, with her studies of photographing the same  middle-upper class children. These images showed the girls, often in a very wealthy environment, not enjoying themselves. This somewhat explains a downside to being rich and shows that it isn't always positive or desired.

 
 

NOTES FROM LECTURE:

Staff Lecturer - Stephen Vaughan

 

Stephen's lecture interested me massively in many different ways. I believe that it was fascinating to actually see the work of one of my lecturers and hear about their experiences, as it gives me more confidence in the course in a way as I can see the quality of the work of those who I am learning from. His work, therefore, has driven me to push myself in this course to achieve the best that I can.

He told many fascinating stories, specifically those about his travels in Japan, which has reinforced my thought that I would like to be a travel photographer as I would love to be able to create memories and tell stories as Stephen so easily can. His stories about the earthquakes were mind-opening and the story behind each photo makes it that bit more amazing.

I specifically like the landscape work that he has done, and browsing through his website whilst listening to him talk about each photo was very helpful. His photos are based mostly on alignment I believe, and this is what makes them look so special. Below is some photos from my favourite project of his, titled Ultima Thule.

Why do I want to do Photography?

When I was about 13, my dad got made redundant from the biggest organisation he had ever worked for. He had been at the company for around 5 years and accepted redundancy. Instead of his usual redundancy pay, he was given a camera, a Nikon D60 with an 18-55mm and 55-200mm lens. For my dad, he thought it was great fun to take family photos every now and then but had no real interest whatsoever in taking up Photography, making this piece of equipment, in his words, 'far too techy' for him. He, therefore, lent it to me to see what I could achieve with it. As soon as I was given the camera, I was mesmerised. It was a permanent fixture in my bag, following me everywhere I went.

At GCSE level, Photography wasn't an option for me, however, when it came to A-Levels, it was. I at this point hadn't thought of Photography as a career and therefore decided to study French instead. Seeing what other class members had been learning about in Photography made me want to change subjects instantly. After a long battle with the deputy head teacher of the school, as well as bunking the French lessons in order to attend the Photography ones, he allowed me to swap subjects. From this day onwards, I knew that photography was my career prospect.

Now, there are many different types of Photography, but for me, Travel Photography is where my passion lies. The likes of Murad Osmann have inspired me so much so that it is where my full focus lies, but this doesn't prevent me from dabbling in different types of photography, for example in August 2016 I had my first paid event following one I did voluntarily the month before. In Bath, I have a fair amount of connections with Travel Photography and will bounce off of their experience, understudying them abroad and reinforcing my dream of being paid to do so.

So in a nutshell, no, it wasn't always my goal to be a Photographer, but it sure as hell is now.

Trip - Fox Talbot Museum and Lacock Abbey

The trip to The Fox Talbot Museum was a very interesting and enjoyable one. The first room we entered, a gallery-styled room, was the most inspirational in my opinion. This room included many photos taken by different photographers, all which presented and enforced a particular point. What inspired me wasn't specifically the photos themselves, nor what the photos were of, but was the way in which they were presented. The frames, the borders around the image and the arrangement of the collections fascinated me and made me think in depth as to how I would present my work when one day being displayed in a gallery. The text that went with each photo was equally interesting, many of which were cutouts from diaries and journals, placed next to the relevant images. This was a very interesting way of captioning the images.

Parts of the museum greatly boosted my understanding of the development of photos and how it works, knowledge which I believe will definitely come in handy in the future, but the most interesting part of the tour was when we visited Lacock Abbey, the house in which Fox Talbot lived in. It was an enormous, gorgeous property in which had been excellently preserved so that it seems as if you were living in the 1800s. The Abbey itself acted as a great platform for photos, which bugged me slightly as I didn't bring my DSLR however, I made do with my iPhone camera, deciding that depth of field would have to be missed. Also, seeing and being inside a real working camera obscura was fascinating and made photography seem so simple for a moment. Below are some of the photos taken from the trip.

Professional Contexts, Lecture 1

AIM:

  • Creating a blog to present all notes from lecturers, guest speakers and trips away

BOOK: Ibbotson, J & Thomas, G (2014) - Beyond the Lens, Association of Photographers.

Note: Gain experience by understudying/shadowing photographers in favoured industry.


QUESTIONS TO ASK MYSELF:

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? - Travelling abroad on commissioned shoots

What skills do you need to achieve this? - Being able to talk to and communicate with others in the industry

What are the business skills needed? - Being able to negotiate with customers over costs

How? - By finding links in the industry as early as possible


TO THINK ABOUT:

  • What are you selling?
  • What is your aspiration?
  • Who is your customer?
  • How do you reach the right customers?
  • How do you keep your clients?

TASK:

  • Write up a brief blog post on today’s lecture.
  • Collect a range of photography-related websites and blogs, screenshot from page and write up what you think their branding says.

EXAMPLES OF PHOTOGRAPHER'S WEBSITES:

Website: http://albertpalmerphotography.com

I specifically like this website as it involves full-screen, high definition images which presents the photographer's work from the moment the possibly client looks at the website. It has a slider on the homepage allowing multiple images to be showcased.

Website: http://timflach.com

This website is probably one of the most interesting that I have ever seen and has already become a discussion point between me and some other photographers I am in touch with. The simplicity of the website makes it so easy on the eye and the video on the website of the animals are not only relative as he is an animal photographer, but is very entertaining and keeps the viewer watching and therefore on the website for large amounts of time.

Website: http://samueldocker.co.uk

Another very interesting and aesthetic website. This website has an amazingly simple yet effective layout. The homepage allows you to scroll through lots of information and photos on the website and it also incorperates the slider image on the homepage allowing him to showcase a variety of images from the off.


ARTISTS TO RESEARCH:

Phillip Lorca diCorcia, Film Noir films, Quentin Tarantino films, Murdo MacLeod, Henri Cartier-Bresson


NOTES FROM LECTURE: