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!).
I was amazed that a free photography workshop was taking place in my local area (sadly this doesn’t happen too often that I’m aware of!), knowing that local Rochester based photographer Rikard Osterlund was running the ‘Richard Heeps inspired workshop’ I was very keen to go along.
I love discovering new artists and particular photographers and that i’m not familiar with Richard Heeps made the workshop more intriguing.
The Challenge of the workshop was to find ‘Americana’ in Rochester – not an easy task! I concentrated on the bold and striking colours, Heeps used in his ‘Mans Ruin’ series that was showcasing in the gallery. A pattern of blue was emerging:
Also (I can hear the tutting now!) this was one of only a handful of shoots that I had done using RAW (the debate of using JPEG and RAW maybe for another blog -watch this space -unless you are a photoshop Wizard I thought -why bother!) Anyway using RAW allowed vibrant post production for the final images.
The Second half of the workshop was to photograph an individual or group of people on the street, either from afar or in discussion with them on how the photo should be. I know I have been an active photographer for sometime now, but it didn’t stop me being petrified in approaching a complete stranger on the street and asking to take their photo -that’s a whole different kettle of fish! I must admit there was a couple of times I nearly backed out being out of my comfort zone.
However I went to a cafe to have lunch (and to calm the nerves) and saw a lady walk past in a black pencil skirt and shirt, with a small dog. She immediately caught my eye and I dashed out of the cafe and asked to take her photo, she was more than happy to oblige as long as long I had got the dog in the picture! I think that people are fairly happy with you taking their photo as long as you approach it correctly i.e. being approachable and friendly yourself.
The group of photographers attending the workshop were varied from enthusiasts, Pros, camera club members which proved bountiful at the final reveal at the end of the workshop, no 2 photos were the same. Every one had chosen broad elements of the ‘Americana’ brief.