What a summer it has been!
A wonderful mixture of teaching, training, exhibitions and getting full steam ahead once again with my Masters.
Over June and July I went along to a short course at The Photographers Gallery London (TPG – a great space if you haven’t already visited). Part of my Masters year 1 review was that I needed to include more critical analysis in my literature review and to develop how photographic theory relates to my practice (yep I was a bit stumped too!). What I have found studying Photography and Sociology at Masters level particularly through research is, I’ve had to develop a quick but intense way of learning. Undertaking a Masters by Research is largely self directed learning (no lectures which is a bonus!) with some elements of knowledge sign-posted to you by your supervisors, both subjects not being my Undergrad focus has also been a nice little challenge. The short course on ‘Photography as artistic research’ came at exactly the right time. Led by Wiebke Leister provided weekly readings specifically on photography and the analysis and criticality to practice. Readings focussed on such visual artists/writers as Dion, Flusser, Barthes, Rose, Richters. These sessions gave me a greater understanding of the artists reasonings behind the projects, not just what they may have appeared to be on face value, using such theories from Berger and Barthes in the ways of seeing, that part of the overall understanding/appreciation of the project was mainly in the eyes of the viewer not the author, sometimes the initial intentions can be misinterpreted, not in a negative way but that ‘art’ can be a very subjective thing and varying interpretations will naturally be made by different people. Hey but isn’t that the fun about it?
The final session provided an opportunity with the group of like minded photographers and photography enthusiasts to critique any projects we were all working on. This is where I took along my Medway Open Studios exhibition work, which was a visual pit stop of where I was with my Masters research.
The work I presented was a mixture of archival family photographs and photographs I had taken either in response to the archive or interpretations of my need to remember my family. These were presented in either large 16×20 black frames, or the majority in 6×4 prints in cardboard frames, assembled on a rope washing line with pegs. I later thought of the washing line as being a private and public domestic item, where the private (items of underwear for example) become public (in the garden), this could be said for the photographs that I presented in that they are private family photographs being display in public, hanging out the laundry for all to see!
I am in the process of finalising my research title which will be on the lines of ‘Personal Loss, Memory and the family’ this will give some context into the following feedback I received from the group:
- they (the photos) aren’t all taken by the same person
- it represents two sides of a family (this was the case of the Main (my maternal side) and Price (my father))
- there are flowers at the start and end of the line (poppies)
- the artist is remembering something
- there are self portraits, and photos of the artist
- there is a strong maritime link
- there is a sequence of growing up along the photographs
- there is a sense of growing up alone in the photographs
- a sense of the artist being alone
- the Facebook screen shot of the ‘missing father’ on fathers day
- a suggestion of removing the frames, to see more of the photographs, and move from domestic to exhibition
- a suggestion of including other members of the family to put this work together, using a red piece of string to represent the umbilical chord connecting the family
- a suggestion of having 3 family photos within one frame to change the aesthetic (move from domestic to exhibition)
This was a great experience to have such critique from peers, especially as I was mid way through my Medway Open Studios 2018 (MOSAF18) exhibition. For the final weekend of MOSAF18 I decided to take the suggestion of the group, and remove the photographs from the frame. I felt a bit strange doing this as I didn’t want the photographs to become misshaped and dented by swinging freely with the peg at the top of the photo. I know I was probably playing it too safe, protecting the photographs from damage, but I later thought this is part of the photographs journey, the photograph as a changing physical object.
MOSAF18 was very similar to that final session at TPG, in that it is always a great experience for visitors to share their thoughts and ideas on your work. Throughout my exhibition I was pleased to see how open visitors were about sharing their experiences of family photography and artefacts following a bereavement. I also appreciated having a small dialogue to accompany the photographs (even if it was just my oral story), the photographs became a platform that opened up that conversation. I was conscious however to not offer up too much information about the photographs when they first arrived as I wanted to get their immediate raw responses. To include some theory here, many of my visitors showed responses to my photograph to that of the ‘Punctum’ (as coined by Barthes), something within the photo that pierced or connected to them and evoked a memory, for example on seeing the photograph of my Grandad, one visitor commented on how the photo ‘reminded her of her father, in that he always wore shirts with high collars and a tie’. I was quite taken in that visitors weren’t afraid to have an emotional response to my work, was this something to do with my home environment, and I wondered would the photographs have evoked a different reaction if I had displayed them in a gallery?
Some visitors searched for something of a ‘Familial Gaze’ (Hirsch), that familiarity in how families are represented within photographs (in contrast to the idealised portrayal of family) for example many could identify with the ‘father and new born’s home coming’ photograph (below) as typical of a familiar scene within a family album. The same visitor appeared to combine both Hirsch and Barthes theories in connecting to the photograph and remarking how her family ‘used to have that fireplace’. Are we automatically making connections (through links to memory) and generate understandings of our life within the act of looking at photographs?
MOSAF18 was a great experience for me, although daunting at the start, and probably was the most nervous I have been for any of my exhibitions, it has been a reaffirming experience. I am proud that private (family) photographs help stimulate conversation about others individual experiences following a bereavement. It is about the stories and the memories of and about those who have died, which can be an emotive subject, but my hope is that it is more about us thinking about our legacy, the symbols, icons, objects and good memories we make now, to be left for others and cherished when we are no longer here. I am also so thankful for those visitors who are interested in being interviewed as part of my research studies next year.
Over a few months before the summer I had the opportunity to do some informal photography teaching within a school. It was such a privilege to share my knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm for photography with young people. It was also a good opportunity to try out ideas for workshops with adults that I am developing this year. The young people loved Sun printing, comic book writing and then acting out their ‘scenes’ with each other then photographing them, chalk drawing scenes and photographing themselves, making a face mosaic’s similar to the Queen project, macro photography, ways of seeing nature (bit of a nod to Berger’s Ways of seeing there!), and working with them to develop their own styles and thoughts about photography. I had many thank you’s from the young people as well as some incredibly sweet conversations with some who ‘really appreciated learning about photography and will carry on taking photo’s’, this really hit home to me as my interest in photography started when I was around 7 or 8 years old.
It was so heart warming to know that my interests have gone full circle this summer in where I am now with my family photography research and leaving legacies, it starts with young people (and adults) having an interest in and being enthused by the possibilities that photography gives us for recording, making memories, remembering stories, rethinking our approach to the world.
Thank you to each and everyone who has supported Nikki Price Photography in 2015. Although my time during the last year has involved in a number of other projects, I have still had the pleasure of photographing some really bespoke and varied events, as well as portraits of families, bumps, products, and even ventured out into my second short documentary video.
I always try to have a ‘top ten’ of my favourite shoots of the year (but there are more!), and my customers have even put forward their favourite photo suggestions.
The following is a sample of photography I love to do, and if you need a photographer to photograph your event (musical/dance/other performances, band etc), family, products, or even just a little something for you in 2016 then you can always drop me a line on my CONTACT ME page, or if you want to see what I get up to in 2016 why note follow me on Facebook Nikki Price Photography.
It was great to welcome back the Travelling Talesman to Medway for part of his tour. A snug and welcoming evening was had at the Dot Cafe/Cafe 172 in Rochester.
Rochester Literature Festival didn’t disappoint with it’s literary weekend, encompassing talks, debates, cafe crawls, and writing workshops.
Urban Expressions festival delighted the people of Medway showcasing the talents of local people as well as further afield in Parkour, graffiti art, skateboarding, and music.
Woodlands Youth centre welcomed me to their Restaurant night, providing meals to the local Elderly people. Such a great production of food, music and dancing all by the young people of Medway.
It was a pleasure to photograph both the McCarthy and Everest families, both quite informal, with studio lighting in one, and around Rochester Castle in another. Having families in a space they are familiar with or are comfortable in makes for a really enjoyable shoot on both parts!
Featured Fan Photo:
Linda McCarthy loved this particular photo I took and was ‘one of the best photo’s taken’, definitely a beautiful candid capture.
I had the pleasure of working with Gulay Jarvis of Satsuma Bamboo and Organic Products on two shoots for her new website. Gulay a textile artist, has designed a range of scarves, that could be used for nursing, everyday or during a workout. Her products are so soft, and in some gorgeous colours why not check her website out?
It was great to have undertaken some documentary photography to accompany a journal pieces for WOW magazine written by my partner. One was for the Bowerhouse in Maidstone, a gorgeous building set back of the main Tunbridge Road, that houses an eclectic mix of art and folk music. Lucy and her family were so welcoming as I settled down to watch ‘The Devils Interval’. The second shoot was for the Kent County Show ground event, it was an interesting day for a couple of vegetarians!
Link to the (Bowerhouse).
It was an absolute pleasure working with Stuart, Bob, Steve, Nick, and Rob of the Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society band for their forthcoming album (a sample of which can tantalise your ears here). Stuart was particularly interested in the ‘Log and bluebells’ photo I had on display at my Medway Open Studios Exhibition in 2014. He then wanted to have a similar shot but in the Autumn with the band in shot, so after a bit of GPS I finally found the same log in the woods after many months. So pleased that a vinyl copy was lovingly dropped off to Nikki Price Photography HQ today!
Instagram: It was interesting to see my #2015best9 photos on Instagram, I do love a bit of bike riding and capturing those gorgeous sunsets!
Medway Open Studios 2015 was a blast with my themed 80’s Film photos, and guess the film title! I’m also full steam ahead with my Brownie Project 127 camera project, going back to film photography, combining this with local history links with testimonials from those who grew up in the 1950’s when the Brownie 127 was manufactured (more details and how to get involved here).
Personal Photography Projects:
I love to keep myself challenged and look to developing my photography, and my personal photography projects do just that.
Earlier in the year I participated in ‘The Body electric’ group, which enabled me to see how my art (and I) interact and affect my community (more detail on this to come!).
I saw two wonderful friends get married in the South of France, 3 beautiful days in a gorgeous french cottage in the sun.
The year rounded off nicely with an informal ‘bump’ shoot with my good friend who is due anytime now!
Here’s to a creative and peaceful 2016 x
Thank you to each and everyone who has supported Nikki Price Photography in 2014. I am so pleased that my little business is growing year on year.
2014 was no exception to having a real eclectic bunch of shoots, I was going to pick my top 10, however as you can probably imagine, there are far more than 10, that I have loved!
I had the pleasure of:
working with the very talented The Right Step Dance company with their Sirens of Cheetham for this years Fuse Festival
having exclusive entry to Canterbury Prison (abandoned) before it is refurbished by Canterbury Christ Church University.
taking photos of family Pets, lets face it everyone loves our furry friends!
working with some wonderful Families
growing my portfolio of events photography at such events as; Rochester Literature Festivals; cafe crawl, garden party, Talesman, poetry day at the Guildhall
The cabaret club
Bredhurst St Peters Project, Canterbury Christ Church University Graduation.
participating once again in the fabulous MOSAF (Medway Open Studios) with a focus on Mindfulness
Rochester Literature Festivals October Exhibitions, interpreting pieces of writing into photos, and taking portraits of much loved Medway artists Thomas and Clair
my photos being included in an article about Rochester Farmers Market in ‘Medway one’ magazine
ending the year on a high with a boggy woodland walk with Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society, during which I’m glad to say we found the log!
I undertake many personal projects throughout the year that have given me great pleasure:
Mel and Julie, as well as Sam and Rachael got hitched. Little Louis’s has his naming day. My Partner Graduated, my puppy continues to amaze me with his learning and becoming the confident little woof that I know he can be, and photos for a calendar through the seasons with my niece.
Here’s to a fabulous 2015 x