Saturday, 3 October 2015

First Year of my Degree (Project #1)

Having completed my first year of BA Photography, I took time to reflect over summer of how far I have come since my experience with anxiety started. Looking back, my two years of sixth form 2010-12 weren't for me. I have always been afraid of change and I guess I was just too scared to move away from what I knew. If I had the chance to go back, I would have probably started at the College of Art sooner. There was nothing wrong with my secondary school, I just feel it wasn't the right environment for me to complete my A Levels.

Taking the 2012/13 year off, I was able to focus on me overcoming my anxiety and work on how I can control it. After my first week at PCA in September 2013 (Level 0), my anxiety suddenly stopped. This was when I knew that this was the right place for me. I can count on one hand the amount of days I've had where anxiety has resurfaced, however, none of these instances have prevented me from missing a day of college - I finished Year 1 with 100% attendance and an overall 2:1 grade. A huge improvement!

Year 1 projects: First week.

I knew this degree would be challenging, but I didn't give in to the few days of mild anxiety before starting. Our first assignment was a week long induction project. I got to know the people I would spend the next 3 years with. Having already been at the college for a year on the Level 0 course, I knew a few people already and was familiar with some of the tutors, The induction project was fast paced, consisting of a day of briefing and group sorting, a day of shooting out and about Plymouth, processing and editing the next day, re-shooting the next, and presentations on the final day.

Our smaller groups, mixing all three photography years, were given pretty much free range of Plymouth. Some groups, doing portraiture and interviewing took to the railway station, our group, who were looking at fa├žades and 'layers' stayed around southern Plymouth. We photographed Bretonside bus station interpreting the layers to mean dereliction and regeneration. We also went to Royal William Yard (photos added soon!).

The first week was tiring, but shook me into a routine that worked for the year. A good busy week at the start.

Friday, 20 June 2014

So Many Photos!

If I was asked to list cons of photography, I would have to say storing images. Last year, my laptop and a USB stick broke at the same time. I lost a few photos of my sister, who passed away in 2006. I was so upset. It was then that I became over-cautious. I now have my old laptop, my current laptop, 2 external hard drives, and numerous USB sticks backing up every photo I take. Although I feel much more secure, I still have the fact I have lost irreplaceable photographs that I can never recover.

So, the con of having lots of back ups, and back ups of back ups?! I constantly find myself forgetting which device is the most up to date! Every time something changes on my computer, I now instantly back up, but with 18,922 photos on my computer and counting, my collection is getting bigger. Show me any one of my photos and I can tell you where it was taken and when too (mostly!).

I like having a hard copy of something, I'm going back to buying CDs/DVDs instead of downloading or storing in "the cloud" wherever that may be! I'll never make the full transfer to digital books either - I like to turn pages and actually own the book! I miss being able to hold a photo and having to go through albums to find more photos. Now I can just turn on my computer and go straight to an image without thinking - which is convenient and quick, but I don't feel I pay much attention to the photos. Printed photos I look at in more detail, like a painting in a gallery.

I have a mini album of my favourite photos I've taken over the years. I take it to craft fairs when I am selling cards and prints. It's a great conversation starter and has helped me become more outgoing. Commissions can also be taken if a specific card has sold out. Plus it's easier to take along than a computer or iPad and doesn't need to rely in electricity. People can browse through at their own speed and easily go back to a photo they like.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Darkroom Induction

My first camera was film; an Olympus Trip 500 for my 9th birthday. Nothing special, but I cherished it for years. This is what first got me interested in photography. I loved the anticipation of getting the prints back, and although there was the limited number of photos issue, it made me think carefully and savour the film. After digital cameras became mainstream, I completely neglected film. It was fun trying it again at college.

Darkroom Inductions - 14, 28 March, 4 April.
Developing film.
In the first session (14/3), our group got out a Pentax K1000 each from college and we went out and about in Plymouth taking pictures ready to develop in the darkroom. No Auto settings so no temptation!

Rinsing the film.
After taking the pictures and manually winding the film back, in our second session (28/3) we had to learn how to unwind the film and wrap it around the wheel in the complete darkness!

When developing the film - luckily it didn't have to be dark for this!- it took a while for me to remember times for different chemicals to add, when to gently shake the container the film was in, how long to leave it, when to fix and wash out. I was so afraid it would turn out wrong, or wouldn't turn out at all!

Cutting the film to fit.
Turns out, I did get it right! I could see my photos coming through. I just needed to let the film rinse for 20 minutes.

We let our films dry and cut them to size.

Seeing how my photos turned out.
In the third session (4/4) we were developing the film and printing the photos we took. It was a while before I learnt the correct settings.

The first year of the BA course next year is apparently orientated towards film and developing. Although I prefer digital, it will be good to revisit using film and learning how to develop. 

Friday, 14 March 2014

New Beginnings...

Plymouth College of Art: BA Photography (2013-2017).
& how I arrived here.

I guess this is the start of the new part of my blog. As said in previous posts, now last year sometime(!), this was going to be about my journey into Photography, hobby into (hopefully) career. This'll be the place where I document my personal experiences and share anything I've learnt.

I suppose I'm going in to this course as somewhere between beginner and intermediate (more intermediate I think!). I'm not new to photography but I still don't know a huge amount about it. I taught myself everything I currently know about photography. Books and the internet were very helpful.
I hope this may be of use to anyone unsure about where their life is going and is considering something to do with Art.

View from Jigsaw Park. Plymouth Uni (left), The Roundabout, PCA (right) and Drake Circus Mall (far right). ~Nov 2013.

[Sept. 2010 - Aug. 2012]
My A Levels at my secondary school didn't go very well. I suffered from anxiety and panic attacks which started at the beginning of Year 12. My attendance fluctuated and I missed a lot. However, the school was very helpful, there was always someone for me to talk to and the teachers seemed to understand. The anxiety didn't just affect attendance, I couldn't think straight and even had trouble reading sentences, just because my mind was always on the anxiety. AS Levels results came in August of  2011 and needless to say, my grades weren't good. They weren't absolutely terrible, but I knew I could have done so much better. I re-sat one exam.

Mid Year 13 and I applied for Geography at Plymouth Uni. I was always interested in how the world works and our relationship with our planet. Geography ran in our family too! I was very much in to art too and always had been, but I felt I wanted to keep that as a hobby and never really knew all the career opportunities there were involving art. My anxiety was still presenting challenges, but I wanted to show myself I could do this and get through it. Our A2 Level results came in August of 2012 and were pretty much the same. My anxiety hadn't gotten any better and I thought it unhealthy, mentally and physically, to repeat a year. I chose to take a year out and pursue all the options I could, to beat the anxiety.
The year out proved effective, my anxiety improved and I could go out in public without worrying as much as I had before.
I remembered I had felt happiest and carefree when I was out and about in nature and taking photos. Long story short, I researched Photography more and applied for the Photography course at PCA.

[Sept. 2013 onwards]
I started at Plymouth College of Art back in September 2013 on the 'Level 0' course. 
This is an extra year prior to the start of the BA course. In Level 0, all the disciplines are together: Illustration, Graphic Design, Photography, Fine Art, Contemporary Crafts, etc. Up until now, our projects have been aimed at getting to know the college, it's resources and learning how to carry out research and present it. It's been about art in general.
We've been introduced to ceramics, textiles, glass work, etc. which I have enjoyed as my interest in art covers lots of areas.
Textiles (tie dyeing)
Drawing, sketching, painting, etc.

Glass (sandblasting)
One project I loved was named Decon/Recon. We were given a list of objects to chose from (I chose a book) and interpreted how we liked. I made scenes from the pages of books. One scene is Baker Street with 221B Baker Street conveniently on the front of the house I made, Sherlock with the word Holmes across the silhoutette and lamp at the top of the lamp! I acquired some LEDs to fit into the lamppost too - It looked great in the dark!
My final scene was a forest scape with a house, river and old book illustrations of people.
The first year has been great, I haven't had any anxiety since September (except 2 mornings). I think I've made the right choice and I can't wait to get writing on here again!
First scene - Baker Street
Decon/recon - final piece.
Decon/recon - final piece.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Framed and Mounted.

After the success of selling my cards, I've finally ventured into larger prints to sell. Now I know the popular photos; I have printed a few local shots I've taken over the last few years:
The line of boats at St Ives (Cornwall)
Tin Mine Sunset (Minions, Cornwall)
Silhouette Trees (Lerryn, Cornwall)
Celtic Cross (Landulph, Cornwall)
Sunset Trees at Burrator (Dartmoor, Devon)
All mounted, some framed.

I will see how these go and maybe print out a few different photos. Exciting times! More news to follow soon...

In other news:
Last Thursday, I had a great talk about photography at my old primary school. Obviously, since I'm not a professional photographer, I was talking mainly about the artistic side, composition, rule of thirds, genres, etc. After a quick presentation, I took questions from the kids. They asked some great questions - I was mainly talking about my journey through photography so far: what I plan to do, what subjects are good for photography and so on. Then I had small groups and we went around the grounds taking photos of the surroundings.
I had a wonderful time and I think the children did too. They took some amazing photos themselves. I'd love to do it again next year!

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Reviving the blog.

Hi again!

Despite this blog being somewhat abandoned due to the fact it's easier to see multiple photos in albums on Facebook than trailing through posts on here, I will be paying more visits and writing entries here again. But my Facebook page will almost certainly see more activity.

In September, I will start a Photography course at Plymouth College of Art. I think this'll be a good place to document my journey deeper in to Photography; projects, etc. While I still don't have a proper website yet, Facebook is good enough for me at the moment to display my photos.

My cards have been selling well as have my first large prints, but more on that as it progresses.

Many more photos and stories to upload here, but for now...It's good to be back. Maybe this time, I'll stick to it!

Monday, 27 August 2012

Tamar Valley - Bere Alston to Bere Ferrers, Devon - Mk.2

Marbled White

This is the second post from the Bere Alston walk. Internet is a bit faster today! Here are a few other pictures which failed to upload yesterday. 

Pentillie Caslte in Cornwall - The Tamar flows 3 directions in this picture! The castle in Cornwall; behind the trees in the foreground is Devon, the trees are in Cornwall and the picture is taken from the Devon side of the river! 
Pentillie Castle


Old Workshop

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Tamar Valley - Bere Alston to Bere Ferrers, Devon.

Finally! I have got around to uploading these photos! This was a walk I did with some friends along the Tamar Valley Discovery Trail. There are walks all over the Valley and I'm glad we did it! It was a lovely day out and it's much more healthy than going to the cinema every time we go out. We started in Plymouth, getting the branch line train to Bere Alston, walking in to the town then west to the river, following it south to a marshy area then heading back up to the road into the station at Bere Ferrers.
Here are the best pictures I took: (I gave up with the slow internet connection so will upload the rest in another post ASAP.)




Marbled White


Marbled White



Ivy on cut log

Marsh Path

Red Wheat Field

Rusty Outbuilding Field

I know I keep making excuses but I've been trying to upload photos to here for the past 2 days, the internet is so slow that it's taken over an hour to do 3 photos. Please bear with me, I am trying to improve the speed.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

So sorry I didn't post. The past few days have been weird and I haven't been on the computer. I will try and post the photos tonight. The blog is still very much alive!

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Camping in the New Forest.

Yesterday, I got back from a 10 day camping holiday in the New Forest. Despite some sleep lacking nights, it was great fun! I took 312 photos in all and have gone through them and reduced them down to 244 which I'm quite pleased about seeing as my laptop's hard drive is filling up fast after every trip I do! I remember a half day out on Dartmoor made me come back with over 100 photos. I need to get better techniques because I use my camera for ALL the photos - not just 'arty' ones which is partly the problem. I am now starting to go through photos and reducing the quality which is very time consuming. But I digress.

I will upload the very best photos; ones I am most pleased with.
They include:
Fauna: Fallow Deer, a dragonfly, birds like robins, tits, peacocks, and Red Squirrels.
Flora: mainly trees which are a part of the next category.
Misc: old buildings [one example being the house on Brownsea Island.], landscapes. And more but I'm not sure what category they come under.

Tomorrow I'll get back to where I was before I went away, which was the walk from Bere Alston to Bere Ferrers, Devon and get that post published which'll get me in order!

For now, here is a teaser photo from my trip in the New Forest...
Red squirrels are rare here in the UK, so they're something special. They are native but most have been wiped out due to the much larger Eastern grey squirrel from North America so if you're a European reading this and thinking it's nothing special, it is! These red squirrels are found throughout Europe and northern Asia and differ from the American red squirrel.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Daily Photo - 27/07/2012

Took a 20 minute trip on the train from Plymouth to Bere Alston 10 days ago with some friends - thought we'd make the most of the nice weather! We walked 9km (5.5miles) from the train station at Bere Alston to the train station at Bere Ferrers and had such a great time! I took some photos that I am very pleased with, so here is just one; I'll upload the rest at a later date.

Friday, 20 July 2012

No more posts for a while.

Unfortunately my laptop has broken, it won't turn on. Until I get it seen to or another bought, there'll be no more posts until further notice. Most photos were backed up thankfully!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Friday, 6 July 2012

Daily Photo - 06/07/2012

This photo was taken exactly a year ago next week! This was while I was on work experience working with the Countryside Team at Cotehele near Callington. It was an amazing week working with nature.
This is a Puss Moth caterpillar I found munching on some willow leaves in an orchard.

Taken with a Panasonic DMC FX550