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.