At the beginning of this year I didn’t really have a blog to speak of, now I have two! This one plus the learning blog I must keep for my studies. I have to write quite a lot about my work and how I reached certain images and series’ of images, which is great because I really enjoy writing. However, I’m still finding my way with this blog.
Primarily this site is for promoting my photography, whereas the other is for recording my development as a photographer. Having read a little about managing a blog where the purpose is to drive traffic to your site, I have understood that to simply show off one’s work without any chat and conversing at all isn’t the best way of going about it. One helpful marketing site I visited suggested it would be like sitting next to someone at a party who only speaks about themselves – a little dull and tedious. I think this is probably unfair since for some people and scenarios there is no reason to say anything about the images they produce – however, here perhaps showing off my work isn’t the aim really since I have a website to do that. Perhaps here I am generating a sense of who I am so that potential clients will be able to make a more informed choice about whether or not I am the sort of photographer they’d like to work with.
The whole self-promotion thing is a minefield and one that is taking me quite a while to get to grips with. Once moment I feel I’m becoming comfortable with it, the next I’m cringing in my boots at the thought of posting yet more thoughts and words out into the ether to be read or not read by someone or no-one.
Nevertheless, I keep going. I’m sure I’ll get there in the end. For now though the two separate blogs feel a little like a fragmented Me. As does the work I do in either sphere – work and study. I’m beginning to find something that feels very exciting in the way I’ve been working in my studies although am not sure how to maintain a sense of moving forward without simply repeating myself; and I’d love to be able to bring a little of that sense of creativity into the paid portrait work I do, but for now I am not sure I know how or even if there is any room at all for it. I’m certain each side of my photography practice influences the other but they still feel like very different aspects. Like the two separate blogs perhaps, I’ll simply get there in the end, where ever there is. Or perhaps not!
In the meantime I must prepare for a number of jobs at the end of the week and get on with my next study project involving colour.
I’ve included a few of the photographs I took for my last assignment here. They’re rather different to the portrait work I normally post but offers a flavour of the sort of work I’ve been enjoying.
The last week has been a good one photography-wise. I’ve managed to do all the exercises for the module I’m currently doing for The Art of Photography (OCA) and am just about finished with the assignment which feels good. Although I have no idea if I’m going about it the right way since I’m on only on the second section of the 5 part course . Time will tell when it’s marked or commented on. I’m not sure at the moment whether to put my work in to be assessed or not. It’s possible to simply do the assignments for the joy of it, which of course is worthwhile. However, I completed my first degree a long time ago, 20 years ago in fact, so I’ve been debating about whether or not to add pressure to an already full existence by actually trying to go for marks this time round. Perhaps it would be a shame to do all the work and not achieve the grades – we shall see… anyway, here are some examples of images I may include in the assignment. It’s all about lines and shapes.
I’ve also had a couple of family shoots over the last five days which have kept me on my toes. Each one was very different. Working with young children can be challenging sometimes – they don’t always want their activities interrupted by someone sticking a great big camera in their faces and I’ve yet to master the art of it. With my background in teaching drama and my experience as a mother you would think it came easy but it doesn’t! There is so much to think about and it’s a real skill. However, I’m not averse to a few sullen shots either – in fact I think the less jolly ones can show us something very moving and real. I think family shoots can offer a wonderful activity in themselves actually but I wonder if people feel under pressure to provide the photographer with an ‘ideal’ family picture to capture. My task I guess is to encourage a sense of calm and relaxation and enable genuine moments which I’ve then got to record. No mean feat! Here are a few from this week’s outings.
As well as the study and work I’ve been juggling three little boys – now there is a challenge as any mummy and daddy knows. But we muddle along and my oldest has expressed an interest in helping me with my work! In fact, he often comments on anything web or computer related and I don’t think it will be long before he is way more advanced with Photoshop than me – although to be fair that wouldn’t be difficult!
One of my very lovely youngest to finish off this week’s post. Enjoy the weather and long may it last!
When I’m not taking head shots or doing family shoots I am studying The Art of Photography with The Open College of Arts and my latest exercise is to take photographs that depicct movement. There are many ways of doing this but I thought I’d try some slow shutter speeds when visiting the seaside with my boys recently. Here are a few of my efforts.
Having focused on the technical side of things with photography over the last year or so I am now studying with the Open College of Arts where I’m spending much more time and energy concentrating on finding a style that is personal and particular to me (technicalities are still important but it’s the content that really matters now). Taking photographs isn’t exactly rocket science but photographers who have a style of their own, one that is instantly recognisable as theirs are rare – that’s the really hard thing and I suspect there are far, far fewer photographers who manage it than there are photographers. It will probably take years of work and practice to reach that point, if ever, but I feel like I am beginning to get a real sense of the direction I’m heading in, especially in relation to the last two shoots I’ve done.
I am enormously interested in relationships, families, childhood, aging; in a word – life. I’m not entirely sure why I’m using photography as the medium to explore those interests – perhaps it’s because I’m a rubbish drawer/painter and didn’t make it as an actor. Photography isn’t exactly secondary to the very real need that exists within me, that which drives me to explore and understand those interests mentioned above – there must be something about the way you get to control light, the need to find it in the first place and then the voyeuristic nature of being behind the camera and capturing moments in other people’s lives that suits me. But it’s important for me to remember what it is I’m doing with photography.
In the photos I have included here there are some very genuine moments. I love that. I have tried hard to keep the photos real and hope the balance is right. Touching up and editing is an integral part of photography, always has been even before Photoshop came along. But finding the balance for your own particular style isn’t always easy. There’s nothing wrong with very processed work but I’m not sure that’s where I’m at at the moment. Knowing how much to do, or not to do is the trick I guess.
I really enjoyed this shoot with the very lovely Conways. I hope I’ve captured the personality and ‘flavour’ of their family. I feel I’ve achieved at least some of that. The final image is not a formal portrait with everyone looking at the camera but that is what I love about it: the circular shape of the family – all heads creating a sweeping movement which in my mind shows a real continuum, and the loving connection that is so evident between the parents. I think it might be my favourite of the lot.