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.
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.
Fellow artist Tracie Peisley who heads up Pandora’s other Box womens artist group in Whitstable, dropped me a line recently to ask if I would like to give an update on my work since Exhibiting for the Skin project at the Horsebridge Centre in August 2016 to the group.
I had a think and decided to write a blog as I haven’t for a while, regular blog followers will know I usually do an end of year wrap up blog. The Skin project/exhibition was a pivotal moment in my confidence in displaying work in a larger gallery, of course I have always been involved in Medway Open Studios, and submitted work for galleries before with other artists, but this point really gave me a thought of well, yep I think I can do this by myself.
I’ve had a number of commissions over the past year, and at the beginning of the year I started my research for my Masters application, which I am delighted to say I have had my interview, and been offered a place to study an MA by Research in October this year! Exciting and scary in equal measures, I haven’t undertaken any Higher Ed studies since my BA in 2001. Naturally I wanted to ensure a large element of the MA would include visual research, so photography, my passion, will form a large part of that. My last MA Blog, was great to get my thoughts rolling and will be concentrating on elements of Identity through photography, including affirmations through (or not) sharing of photos on social media platforms, decisions of parents to (or not) share photographs of their children also on social media, and what (if any) effect this has on their identity. I will be looking for individuals, and families to be involved, so if you would like to be then please drop me a line on my contact me page. Needless to say the MA will take a large proportion of my time over the next 2 years, but Nikki Price Photography will be running as usual.
I am currently in middle of Medway Open Studios #MOSAF2017 and my studio (the front room of my Victorian terrace) will be open for the final weekend 22-23rd July 11-3. This year as with every year I try something completely new, and I have made 10 pieces exploring double or triple exposures both in camera and in Photoshop. Many of the photographs include water, and reflections, and are quite peaceful contemplative pieces. A couple of wonderful visitors have compared one piece in particular to being like the work of “Paul Nash or Peter Lanyon” what a great compliment! I saw Paul Nash’s work last year at the Tate, so this may have had some kind of subconscious influence.
I have also been concentrating on my ‘Altogether’ exhibition at Sun Pier House Tea Room 3-28th September 2017. This is a collection of pieces of positive body image, using everyday (non model) nude subjects, photographed in non-traditional places. Like my MA, this exhibition seems a natural progression for work that I have been producing since 2013, the pieces for ‘Altogether’ have been taken over the past year, and include locations such as derelict buildings, marsh land, nature reserves, and in the studio. I want to portray an image that individuals could relate to, ‘real’ bodies without the furnishings of Photoshop or designer clothing, taking it right back to the basics of who we are fundamentally underneath, Human. I have found this series of photographs a real balance, of ensuring the importance of the message, affirmation of my own skills, sympathetic to my subjects and the audience eye.
A great round off to this week has been shooting for Last British Dragon UK Film Company headed up by fantastic film maker James Crow. James invited me to take photographs of the band formerly known as Bucks Fizz, The Fizz during filming their video for their come back single. What a great day and a nice bunch.
Think that’s plenty to keep me busy for the moment.
I was delighted to be contacted by Julie Davies to collaborate on a blog. Julie lives up to her name of being The Florist that teaches, providing online tips for you to do exactly the same in the comfort of your own home, or face to face in workshops.
It felt very natural for me to write this blog as a way of my skills sharing series, with top tips to enable you to take photos of your floral creations at home. There are a variety of other scenarios in which to take photographs, for example out in landscape with wild flowers, in workshops, sheds, markets etc, perhaps this is room for another blog!
Although the photos you see here have been taken using a Canon 6D, the following will give you some pointers for ‘point and shoot‘ cameras, or using a smart phone, both of which can work just as well, particularly if you are uploading small versions of your photos onto websites or social media.
- Position your flowers next to a large window; this will help maximum natural light which is better than using the orange tinge of household lights, (there is always the option to shoot outside).
- If you have a macro / flower symbol setting on your camera, use it! It will let you bring out the finer details of those gorgeous blooms.
- Don’t forget to ‘set the scene‘ if you are wanting to show how you work on your flowers through your photos, pop some scissors, oasis, ribbon etc on a wooden block (a kitchen chopping board will do just fine if you have one), everyone loves a story.
- Keep the background to your photos simple, after all you want to highlight how beautiful your floral creations are, white (or black) card can work and help with bouncing the light into those harsh shadows.
- Take the photos using interesting angles, the rule of thirds can be helpful, however, be creative and use a variety of angles in your shots to show off those blooms.
- Using your macro setting on your camera, shoot ‘through‘ a bouquet to focus on one particular flower that takes your interest.
- Similarly as above; take one flower out of the bunch and make it the star of your show!
- A little post production may help bring out the best in your photos, so if you have photoshop, or other editing software, don’t be afraid to use it. Photoshop express on the i-phone is fab.
I hope these tips have been useful and if so I would love to hear from you, so why not drop me a line through my contact me page.
Those of you who caught my round up of 2015, will know how pleased I was to see that year grow for Nikki Price Photography, and have been so delighted that my business has once again gone from strength to strength in 2016. A sincere and heartfelt thanks to all my clients, models, and everyone who has supported Nikki Price Photography. Testimonials from client shoots have reaffirmed that you love my informal style of photography too! So once again thank you.
2017 is bringing some fantastic opportunities for me (watch this space!) and I’m already being booked throughout next year for your gorgeous events, and family shoots. If you need a photographer for your product, portrait, event, or other shoot, drop me a line on my contact me page or via email@example.com .
I have loved looking over the past years photoshoots, commissions and projects, here are some of my favourites:
Cafe Sunlight – Food Photography
I am immensely proud to have worked with so many fantastic creative and charitable organisations this year such as Cafe Sunlight
Cafe Sunlight is based in the Sunlight Centre Gillingham, and the team invited me to take photographs of their hot food offer for parties and conferences; as they wanted to refresh their website for their London events. The food produced by Chef Dave was fantastic as you can see below, and the team were a delight to work with.
Top tip for indoor food photography using flash: have some white card or white fabric handy to make the most of the flash, bouncing the light back onto your gorgeous food, avoids harsh shadows.
Exhibiting more of my work this year, has been a thrilling but scary experience! I took part in Medway Open Studios with my ‘Hidden forms in nature theme’, which sparked lots of interesting chats with visitors. I was also proud to have interpreted work by Poet Dan Simpson in the Wordsmithery Heretics exhibition/performance. I produced a layered photograph which contained a self portrait, woodland and a glacier, it was good to pushed my boundaries. I was also involved ‘In the footsteps of the Pilgrims’ exhibition at St Mary’s Church Burham, one of my favourite churches near my home town. I exhibited 2 photos, both taken at night of the Church, I was extra pleased about this as one of the pieces sold and is now winging its way to America to a family who emigrated there from Burham over 20 years ago. The exhibition that had most impact on me was the Pandora’s Other Box ‘Skin’ exhibition at the Horsebridge Centre.
Top tip for exhibition photographs: have a plan for your final pieces but don’t be afraid to change it! Playing through your plan; will often bring forward ideas you may never have thought of.
I have loved working with local youth groups, artists, and Rochester Literature Festival this year. A highlight was working at Woodlands Youth Centre MC and DJ workshop for young people, lead by MC artist Harry Shotta. The young people loved the opportunity to try out their MC skills and my only regret is that I didn’t have time to try DJ’ing! A poignant event for young people I had the privilege of photographing was the Tryangle awards at the Central Theatre Chatham, the first time I had been on that stage!
Towards the end of 2016 I was pleased to photograph the See and Create launch, headed up by Artist Chris Sacre. The launch, at Nucleus Arts Chatham, was a great opportunity to learn about his Arts Council funded project aimed at Deaf families providing accessible workshops and other events in 2017.
Top tip for photographing events: sturdy shoes with no heels! and a wide angle (F1.4) lens make for a good shot particularly in low light situations and shoes with no heels make for quiet movement over wooden floors, nothing worse than a photographer with squeaky shoes!
Family photography is one of my favourites, meeting new people and providing some gorgeous informal photos for you is a pleasure. It is a delight to be invited into someones home to capture moments at a party, outdoors with mum (and dads) bump shoot, or in the studio with you and your little ones; I received some great feedback on your shoots. I also ran a competition for a family shoot this Autumn as I had missed out on taking some great photos in the autumnal leaves last year.
Top tip for photographing families: particularly those with small children/babies; ensure you have a rough plan in your head about the shots you want to achieve, and take your time, feeding and changing stops need to be factored in!
I have put this section to wrap up the year for all those things that would seem a little lonesome on their own, but gives you a flavour of everything else I get up too!
I’ve started my series of skills sharing blogs, and ran nature photography workshops with young people in Grain. My business is also now live on Gravesend.co.uk business listing pages, a particularly significant direction taking Nikki Price Photography into North Kent.
Although I am not a wedding photographer, I do make exceptions for very small number of intimate weddings each year; Garry and Vicky’s was just that, a lovely family and friends relaxed wedding, in such a beautiful setting, it was a pleasure to be part of their day.
This years short documentary/business info films include The Right Step Dance Company and my own personal short about Time which had its launch at Seasonally Effected a cultural open mic night back in November.
Being a photographer I don’t ever really stop taking photographs, after all its what I love the most. I’ve usually always got my i-phone on me to take snaps or love to take the 6D out for a spin when I feel the urge.
Since 2013 I have been thinking about and producing photographs for a body image project, celebrating the nude without over processing in photoshop. The bulk of work is growing, with more shoots to take place in the new year (when the weather warms up a bit!); this (or some elements of it) will form part of my solo exhibition (so sorry no sneak peeks here!), more news to come on that one throughout 2017.
Last on the list -but not least! some photos of my Christmas day morning stroll around the West End of London, with my partner and pooch.
Thanks for reading my blog, and your support throughout this year. Here’s to another great year of photography.
As you know I love sharing my completed and ongoing photography projects with you, whether they are through commission or personal, working on both for me is such a pleasure. I have wanted for a long time, to share more about the planning and processes I go through in order to capture that ‘best shot’.
Light.co contacted me and said how much they enjoyed my previous blogs and asked if I could write a blog about how I go about creating so many great images, so…..what a perfect opportunity to do just that. Light Co are keen to get more photographers sharing their stories of how they go about creating that great image so if you want to do get involved contact them direct. Their new camera does look very interesting, kind of a DSLR capacity but with the convenience of a phone, it uses a multiple lens system to shoot the scene at once and then they are put together in a DSLR quality photograph.
Personal projects; these start as little creative balls that bounce about in my head, sometimes they come from inspiration of other artists work online, or face to face in galleries. Other times they are the ‘wake first thing in the morning and have to keep a sketch pad next to your bed’ kinda shots that you know you just have to take or you’ll burst! My submissions for the Skin Exhibition this year at the Horsebridge Centre were like this, I had pictures in my head of exactly how I wanted these photos to look (after months of thinking about it!).
Commissioned projects; Clients contact me to book shoots as they like my informal style, our initial meeting is more of a friendly chat, them letting me know what they want, and me explaining how this can be achieved. It is the trust clients have in me (through my years of courses, practice, and self taught skills), that I love the most, its about collaboration, enabling me to have full creative reign with the photos, but within their requirements.
For a start point, what you choose to photograph, is unique to you, from your gut/your place of instinct, you have chosen to press that shutter at that exact moment for a reason.
It is difficult to think of just one shot to describe to you, so you may find the following process useful:
- Sketch (stick women are fine!) some initial ideas of how you want your particular photo to look, what camera are you using? I have upgraded to a Canon 6d, there are so many ‘point and shoot’ cameras out there, including ones on mobile phones, which provide good quality photos. What lens do you want to use (I love to work with my 50mm lens) taking into consideration of things such as depth of field. I get fully absorbed in my mind of what exactly I want to shoot sometimes over many hours!
- Shoot time – key tip if you are shooting all day, or out on location (If its a shoot for a client, I will undertake a pre-shoot to familiarise myself with the location), wear comfy shoes! remember a strong stance will help the shot if you are working with a heavy full frame camera. Many must do photography tips mention the basics of the rule of thirds, this is a good starting point to set up your photo but as the saying goes ‘aren’t all rules meant to be broken?’. Your golden shot may not come immediately, so having patience to get to it, is important, equally if you feel that you aren’t getting that ‘one shot’ then move on to the next, particularly if you are time limited, my night photography shots are very much like this; setting up in the evenings in the cold and wind, but patience and perseverance will reward you. Have a try also mixing up your photo orientation; play with portrait and landscape shots. Basic edits on phones can be undertaken by in phone or downloadable apps, I have Photoshop Express on my iPhone, and use lightroom and photoshop for more in-depth edits on the Mac (I could go into this much more, on another blog perhaps?).
- Have fun – I can’t emphasise this enough, taking photos professionally or personally is a pleasure. Always try new things and push yourself to those shots which are out of your comfort zone, some accidental photos and mis -fires in the studio have provided me with some of my most favourite shots!
Here are just some of my top recent photos:
Products: A great shoot with the Sunlight centre cafe team. This shot was taken under studio lights, 1/125 f5.6 iso 100, with my 24-105 lens. Post processing in Lightroom.
Portraits: Working with the fabulous Sullivan family. This shot was taken in early light 1/200 F5.6 iso 320 with a 50mm lens. Post processing in Lightroom.
Personal Project: Night Photography. This shot was taken at 11.30pm, 8 sec exp, f1.4 ISO 200 50mm lens. Post processing in Lightroom.
Please feel free to share your photos with me.
This blog post follows my previous blogs here and here of me getting together my ideas for the Exhibition of ‘Skin’ for Pandora’s Other Box.
During July and August, I also had my Medway Open Studios Exhibition of ‘Hidden Forms in nature and other stories’ (more about that in another blog – I promise!), which extended the exploration of ‘The Nude’ into forms of nature, mainly faces, and the suggestion of body parts mainly in the trunks of trees!
I am also preparing for a larger exhibition in 2017, where I am documenting interesting locations in states of decay, or change, with the addition of a nude figure to capture how everything eventually declines.
Whilst working in these three areas I organically came to what I wanted to submit for consideration for the Skin Exhibition.
Nature, Mother, and Grandad – three photos I was so immensely proud of, and was delighted to be accepted for exhibition of all three! The following words accompanied the photos whilst on display:
Nature – this photo is part of a series exploring nature and its hidden forms. Bark on a tree enables preservation, and encourages us to look at familiar views on ourselves, linking to the concepts of body image, and just as we come in all fabulous shapes and sizes, so does nature and we should embrace it.
Mother – this photo is part of a series which started in 2013 exploring the concepts of body image through the nude. This photo in particular on the brief of skin is acting as protection for our children.
Grandad – a tribute to a wonderful man who sadly passed away in July 2016. This photo forms part of a series over the last year where Nikki explored the concepts of self and family documentary photography, preserving a moment in time, life, and ultimately with the ones we love.
The Private view took place on Sunday 29th August; and here are a few photos taken celebrating all the wonderful artists who were included, in particular a live performance from Laure Meloy who responded to the art pieces in the form of Opera, and Clair Meyrick local poet and performer.
It has been a very personal, and heart felt journey from the first meeting to exhibition. I have felt that as a photographer, you put so much more into a photo, it’s not just about pressing the shutter, having a technically great result, but it also has a part of you, your thoughts your ideas, your creativity, your view on life is what makes your photos and what you do so unique.
Here’s to the next one.
Those of you who read my previous blog on the beginnings of getting my ideas together for the Exhibition of Skin for Pandora’s Other Box, at the Horsebridge Centre Whitstable, will note that the development of my ideas has been an interesting journey.
I had still been skirting around what I had wanted to produce therefore I took some of my previous work to the second Pandoras other box enrichment meeting, particularly ‘The Nude’ work. This is ongoing work from 2013, at that stage I was looking for technically perfect photos and poses of the models, and being work I had completed 3 years prior wasn’t sure how I felt about them now, as both my skills and creative thoughts have moved on so much since then.
I was a little apprehensive to start as other than the feedback I received from my visitors at my open studios, I hadn’t really had much direct critique of my work. It was great however, to have the constructive feedback from the ladies at the Pandoras other box meeting. At this stage I hadn’t fully set what my focus was for the Skin competition. Various feedback included that ‘the photos were technically excellent, some didn’t like the way the nude models were looking directly into the camera, some loved the openness and relaxed nature of the models (which I think in part is down to my ability to put people at ease), and some suggested that I find the meaning for me in the photos that I produce’. This was perhaps the best bit of advice, as I had concentrated so much into the technical side before, that I hadn’t reflected on what message I want to convey.
With that in mind I went off once again to explore another technique of using the body again but focussing on hands……..they can often give us so much information about a person, even if we do not know them very well. I played with ‘in camera’ double exposure, similar effects can also be gained from overlaying photos in photoshop.
Through a friend of mine, I noticed a post on Facebook inviting women to an informal talk about Whitstable Womens Art group Pandora’s Other Box.
A little apprehensive to start I drove to my favourite sea side place, I was’t sure really what to expect but I suppose that is the great thing of going slightly out of your comfort zone to learn about something new. I’ve wanted to expand my art based photography more along side the commercial side and felt that this would be great opportunity to do it!
The women at the meeting were very welcoming and the wide scope of the exhibition title ‘Skin’ was the focus, explained that there will be a series of meet ups, and enrichment workshops to lead to exhibition at the Horsebridge Centre Whitstable what a great focus.
Feeling totally inspired from the session, I hurried away making notes and sketching ideas on what I wanted to focus on, my initial thoughts were around Macro Photography, focussing literally on the skin capturing all its wonderful blemishes. I’d focussed on The Nude in a previous project so feel quite comfortable around this subject. Another thought is around tattoo’s and piercings as a form of body armour/expression, another part of me wants to run off and make something in clay!
A visit to the British Museum was great to bring my focus back and great to go as a group as well helped the sharing of ideas over cake! I’ve only ever been to the British Museum once before, and how many of us can say we have been inspired by Japanese, Egyptian and Mexican art in one day!
The second meet up was a great leveller, I was very conscious that I hadn’t ‘played’ enough with my project ideas and getting into a bit of a spiral of lots of thought and no action. It was reassuring to hear that many women in the group felt the same.
My conclusion to this part of the process is that I need to play more and be confident that the outcome may not be the final piece, its more the journey we take sometimes.
During my 2014 Medway Open Studios, the wonderful Stuart Turner (of Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society) popped in to see my exhibition. We spoke for a bit and then I let him gander through my photos, a 6×4 bluebell photo caught his eye……studying it for a bit he asked ‘Nikki I’d love to have that on our latest album cover’……well I was gob smacked, I’d never been asked for my photos to be included on any bands album cover, sure I’d done band shots for other promotional material but not for a cover! My response was ‘yeah sounds cool’.
………’oh and we’d like to have the bands photo taken in the autumn in the same spot’, eek! help! I vaguely remembered the forest that the photo was taken in! luckily I had the GPS location embedded in the metadata for that particular photo (I’ve never been more thankful of using that little feature), so in the Autumn of 2014, we all piled in the car headed for the Fallen Tree/Bluebell location, Canon kit and i-pad GPS tracking on.
The band was such a giggle to work with, suggesting poses, and going with some of my crazy ideas in order to get the ‘best shot’, muddy bogs and soggy boots included!
Then fast forward around 16 months (with some great promo write ups for the band and a little Vlog from me about supporting local bands on Record Store day) the launch event was here; such a great evening on board the LV21 in Gillingham, a fitting space for the launch with great acoustics, with the band supported by Rachael Lowrie and Theatre Royal, an absolute steal of talent for the entry ticket!
Here’s a few treats from the launch night:
More info about bands and solo artists photo shoots here.