After the Richard Heeps inspired workshop I learned that he would be doing an informal gallery talk about his work. For some reason (perhaps the Americana) I had though that he was American, here’s my love of coming across new artists -I like to be surprised!. I soon learned that he was in fact from Cambridge, and studied in Farnham, he had visited America on 5 occasions gathering his work for his latest exhibition.
I instantly warmed to Richard, starting his talk by telling us that his photography had started as a hobby, he did go to art college however has never displayed any of his work from this time.
I wanted to know more about his aspirations and thought processes behind his art and there were somethings I could relate to. Richard said that his photos were displayed in the chronological order that he physically took them. I could instantly relate to this, although I do have a tumbled approach to my creative thoughts sometimes, I also like to be very methodological with my work. I’m never tempted to move onto say editing another shoot, until I am 100% happy with the outcome of the first. On such profiles as my flickr account everything is displayed in the order it was taken. I suppose this maybe a consequence of documentary photography, noting the passage of time or a natural order of things. You wouldn’t start with a photo of a demolished building and end with the building as it was, upright, I don’t know perhaps you would, that’s the beauty of Art and being creative.
Another beautiful element to his work is that it is largely from his own interest and inspired projects, which is something I’m sure all photographers would relate to.
Richard told us that he really gets to know the people in his photos before taking their picture (using mainly friends), this was particularly reassuring to me as I do often think that my own photos may look a bit ‘samey’ using the same people, however I think I have shown that if you get to know people really well, they feel more relaxed which will bring out the best in them and therefore your photos.
A good tip was also to keep sending your photos to various magazines and websites to get your work to a wider audience, I am regularly looking for competitions and opportunities like this. A nice thought to keep on doing what you love as per a previous blog.
A lot of work for Richards recent work is capturing things before the are gone, and I think the same can be said for analogue photography, unless we keep on, it may fade which would be a real shame, don’t get me wrong I think that the accessibility to digital cameras by most is fantastic, but feel that some generations may not know what it is…..(another blog here maybe?)
What I also got from his talk was to not be afraid of long term projects, i.e. spanning many years. I have started a self portrait project near or on my birthday, from my last birthday onwards. I think my challenge is also to collate all my childhood photos, I don’t think I have many of these (another project coming along I think!).
So excited to see the Man Ray Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, made more special as it was a Birthday treat to myself. During my research for my July Exhibition based on ‘The Nude’ (bare with me its a working title!) I became drawn to the work of Man Ray; a self taught photographer and artist pursuing an avenue of photography that he loved (amongst other media), documenting individuals around Paris and the US during his lifetime.
Man Ray started his early days exhibitions with little or no financial gain, but continued with his creativity. Man Ray once advised a fellow photographer “You don’t need a huge audience. You only need 5 or 6 people who care, and are there to encourage you…don’t worry about idealism and practicality…try to get paid for what you do, and don’t worry if you don’t. Just keep on working. You’ll make up for it in time.”
I also liked the ideas associated with the surrealist movement that ‘Women are more close to dreams and the unconscious’ which is perhaps why they were a fascination for Man Ray.
Keeping up my levels of creativity is a challenge sometimes and can become a bit demotivated (as I am sure many of us do), therefore it was important visiting the exhibition as it gave me ideas, inspiration, and a ‘lift’ that if you believe in something you are passionate about, keep doing it, anything is possible.
I will continue to keep my stick drawings for story boards (My Nude Models will know of this well!), to not be afraid to document my passage through time, and documenting those around me. It is photographing a particular time in your life, a thought, and avenue of creativity. To have a muse. To continue with the analogue photography, double exposures, work in cynotype. I’ve also thought about being more abstract in my photography and using more crops and close ups of my nudes;
Most of all I’ll continue to enjoy my love of photography. I’m off now to buy an autobiography………
At some point we have all had that ‘Je Ne Sai Pas’, that ‘lack of oomph’.
We’ve flowed with the creative juices along a sea of one idea after the other, and then BANG the brain is tired and there is nothing, not a sausage! What do you do!
There is some debate whether it was Ansell Adams or Henri Cartier Bresson that said ‘Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.’ I think I’ve pretty much crashed that number some time ago digitally (it maybe more in the 10’s of thousands as my hard drive hates me at the moment!), so by Adams and Bressons standard I’m going good! However I’m in my infancy with analogue photography, there is much more to come.
Recently I’ve worked a lot in digital, don’t get me wrong I love it, the versatility the ability to preview ‘in-camera’ shots before settling on a final, setting a scene and adapting, and the analogue has been the straggler. That is until I went to an Archive Photography workshop lead by Artist Tracey Affleck this week at Cofwd
Tracey is absolutely infectious, I admire her passion for analogue, sifting through bags of 8mm film that she had either got from a boot fair or e-bay, the stories that these anonymous films would tell, someones forgotten memories, and album of tomato growing from a family lost in the movement of life, a guy with a 1920’s ‘detective’ look about him being remembered, so inspiring.
I’m passionate about history and love learning about it through photographs, this workshop has reignited my interest for bringing old films and old photos back to life, telling stories (fact or fiction), remembering a time, a person who may have been forgotten, and to continue producing in analogue.
With the surge of digital photography are we becoming too blah-say with documenting life, will we forget the passion, sense of achievement, history and art of producing a photograph in analogue? From my rummage through photos at a local charity shop today – I know I won’t!