What a great start to my Masters, and Nikki Price Photography will still be running in a business sense, but I’ve decided to take a small step back to concentrate on my studies. This choice of course isn’t an immediate concern for me as I’m not directing my time a million miles away from where my passion lies, and I have some smaller projects in the pipeline for 2018.
I’ve realised in writing this blog, that I had two pre-loaded draft blogs on:
- a literature list (in an attempt to encourage myself to write as I go along)
- and a two month review of where I am with my research
I won’t repost the whole blogs but here’s a little flavour for you:
The thing I’ve found with research and reading around a subject you are so passionate about, brings up all kinds of the thoughts and processes. I’ve found myself in a natural ‘rabbit hole’, wanting to keep delving into subjects and getting more and more excited about where it is leading me. I have been writing using good old fashioned paper and pen, and often let my thoughts wander having ‘revelations and ideas’ at times, so I always try to keep my observation journal on me. In many ‘how to’ guides I’ve seen advice like ensure you diarise time to just think, which I think is sound advice!
Great thinking places I’ve found are (I’ve also got Lauren Elkins Flaneuse book waiting in the wings to be read so hoping for some further inspiration):
- on a train -journeys over half an hour are best (great for when I travel to Uni)
- in a cafe – always a bonus for a long lunch
- in the shower -all best ideas are made here aren’t they?
So where am I now?
Three months further into my reading and I feel I’m getting to that research niche in that shadow, my thirst for knowledge and reading is growing, like I commented to my supervisor, ‘I loved that book so much I felt like I inhaled it!’ (speaking of Annette Kuhn’s Family Secrets). I’ve completed my first presentation and was comfortable doing it.
My research (no matter how wide I am reading at the moment) keeps pulling me to: using family photography (memory and narratives) as a means to researching Identity, Belonging, and Loss.
So in photography’s core concept of the ‘Rule of Thirds’ here are my top three (boy this has been hard!) key readings that have made a huge impact on me so far, and would encourage you to read them:
Annette Kuhn (1995) Family Secrets
Taking Autoethonography to the next level with this book, a straight talking 360 degree analysis of the authors family photographs, allowed me to think more about the ‘face value’ of the immediate photograph. This read has enabled me to think more about my childhood photographs, particularly those during my senior school years and to analyse them within the wider social context at that time, and my family unit. Kuhn’s reflection on her school uniform echoed that of my own, mother buying the size up so we ‘would grow into it’ (I’m sure many families consider this!) coming from a single parent family. I was also the first in my family to go to University, and all the expectations and feelings that surrounded this. Kuhn’s father was the photographer and yet it was her mother who was the instigator for the photos of Kuhn in various home made outfits, mirroring a matriarchal perception of mother as the nurturer, time keeper, and recorder of childhood moments. This also ignited my love of concepts of time travel, and awareness of time using photographs to allow us to metaphorically travel/connect with different points of time, Marc Triver notes that ‘a room needs a clock to denote the passing of time’ P185 in Berger’s book;
John Bergers (1967) Understanding a photograph
I read Bergers book at the same time I watched his 1972 BBC series of Ways of seeing. Both have completely transformed not only the way I am thinking about and analysing my own work, but art I see in many places. My connection to of art is greater, taking a 3 minute ‘dedicated’ time to ‘see’ work that I find of particular interest to me, looking deeper into what the artists message was, the context in which it was made, and having that critical reflection. I particularly enjoyed Berger’s diagrams on ‘Memory’ and its ‘non-linear’ way of looking at a photograph, in that recalling memories from photographs although constructed in a very chronological/linear way (in a hard copy of an album Birth through to before Death), the process of understanding/seeing a photograph happens in a very “radially” way “that is to say that an enormous number of associations leading to the same event” (P59). This allowed me to think that a photograph isn’t simply a static moment in time, but an artefact to revisit again and again, to enhance or obtain different meanings from it as Berger says “The appearances of the event photographed implicates other events, It is the energy of these simultaneous connections and cross references which enlarge the circle beyond the dimension of instantaneous information” (p91) i.e. a photograph allows for more interpretation, beyond what you can initially see.
The great thing about Berger’s work is his no-nonsense straight forward talk, and written words, that I find very accessible, de-mystifying the arena of ‘art’.
Roland Barthes (1982) Camera Lucida
Probably the key three things to come out of Barthes Camera Lucida is his analysis of the ‘Winter Garden’ (p63) photograph, the Punctum (p27) and Studium (p28). In his analysis of the Winter Garden, Barthes was searching for his mothers true identity, connecting with who she was before he was born. He suggested that ‘the photograph doesn’t necessarily say what is no longer but only for certain was has been’ (p85), in the case of his mother, she was at the Winter Garden, that is for certain, looking at the concepts of photographs moving across time, this would allow Barthes to now ‘see’ his mother as she was then. Although strange for me to say perhaps from coming from a visual perspective, I found the beautiful thing about his analysis and his connection to the photo was that there was no copy of it for the reader to see, as he notes ‘this photograph only exists for me, for you it would be nothing other than an indifferent picture’ (p73). The Punctum; that something within the photo that pricks your interest, and the Studium; allowing time to contemplate the photo, have been two simple concepts but inspirational ideas.
Along with Berger and Kuhn’s books this has changed the way I am seeing, I have revisited past work and family photographs, to really ‘see’ what is contained within. For Example; my Punctum in this Family photograph is the red coat I am wearing. This photo was in a collection kept by my late father, I didn’t recall the moment it was taken until I saw the photo, and the red coat immediately stood out to me ‘pricking’ my interest, the spending time (studium) to analyse it further.
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
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!).