I visited the Towner Gallery today, it’s always worth going to whatever the exhibition that is on. Based in Eastbourne it’s not too far by train from Brighton, and I can take some photos around the town after, and enjoy their coffee and cake while there!
The current shows are a, big one showing lots of David Nash’s large scale paintings and sculptures made from trees. Plus a smaller room of work from the Towner collection curated by Caroline Lucas, which links the collection to the climate crisis and our relationship with nature.
Being a tutor (for ten years now!) of two photography course in which students have to produce normally two photo projects, I have seen many different ones over the years!
Here are some notes of help:
First of if you are a beginner choose a project that will help you learn something somehow.
If you want to learn different camera skills and learn in general the make your project a photo essay. (As not all photo projects are photo essays)
Some good photo essays I have seen include;
Local parks or London parks!
Or basically pick a location and document it!
The photo essay can then have and test you on the techniques to produce; landscape, still life, portrait, low light, bright light, fast or slow moving subjects. You can practice quite a bit with a photo essay.
If not a photo essay then a thematic project such as a series of landscapes of different piers around the country (see Simon Roberts for that!)
I see portrait projects quite often, this can be five portraits of friends or family each sitter photographed in two particular ways. This gives the project structure and continuity between images.
Anyway there are many different ways to produce a project, I have seen many great projects throughout my years teaching and I am sure I will see lots more too.
I went back to Hove Lagoon last Sunday and took a roll of
film there, here are 3 images.
I enjoy going to the same place again and again as you see
different things, the light changes, the weather will be different. The people I
see there and what will be happening that day will change my reaction to the
space and inform my photography that day.
All images from the roll will end up on Instagram at some point.
I will explain, for many years I would class myself as a landscape photographer and not at all looking to produce portraits. Times change, and I am no longer traipsing through woods photographing trees. So if I am classing the work I am doing as more documentary in nature (as opposed to documenting the landscape) I am going to have to photograph people.
Rather than capturing people in a candid fashion I do tell my students to ask their subjects instead. I had to do a project in my second year of degree to stop people and take their photo, so I thought I would pluck up the courage myself and do it again.
So I have asked my L2 & L3 to research their Ideal Camera Kit, I thought I would have a go too!
This is hard as there are so many cameras lenses etc!
I am also aware of GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome!) and I do think that you can get a lot more from less equipment. I was at the Tate Modern and ended up getting “Life in 50mm: The Photographer’s Lens” which topic is well just about using the one lens.
so i have mentioned in a previous post I have a few cameras, quite happy at the moment using the Nikon F3 with the standard lens (50mm 1.8) and the Rolleiflex (which has a 80mm 2.8 lens, equivalent to standard in 35mm terms)
What do I lust after though?
I would love to use Medium Format Digital, which would be the FUJIFILM GFX 50R. A rangefinder style digital with a whopping large size 51.4MP sensor!)
A super upgrade for my Sony A7ii and have the Sony A7R iv a small sized full frame camera with a 61MP sensor
Film camera wise, I owned before and would love to get again a Mamiya 7 Medium Format film camera. Decent size 6×7 negative rangefinder camera with super sharp lenses. I have seen mint condition coming from Japan for £2000 (add tax when into uk of 20%).
Money no object a leica, here is the Leica M10-D Black Camera Body a digital rangefinder with no screen to review your images!
For the small sum of £6500! (and I would still need a lens!)