It is almost August and time to think, reflect and choose a summer photography course to push me and my camera to the next level. Last year, I went to London to take a short course at Central St Martins University of the Arts (arts.ac.uk/…/photography-ideas-and-practice) – an amazing experience! Here, for the first time in my life, I was able to find my place, focus (excuse the unintended pun) on what I wanted to do within photography and stretched my technical and creative abilities in new directions. Highly reccommended! This year, I have the opporutnity again and I have been going through the extensive summer offerings; courses in developing, portraits, urban photography, fashion…what to choose??? Over the year, I have also been reflecting on what my greatest creative challenges and frustrations are – and it definitely whittles down to lighing and portraits. It is here where I find most of my ‘series’ ideas directed and find myself struggling with the technical frustration of not being able to capture more than a fairly standard image. I want to capture more of the personality, the stories and the uniqueness of the people I see in stronger, more creative, and maybe even more daring ways than I am able to do now.
For several years now, I have also tried to visit the BP Portrait Awards at the National Portrait Gallery (npg.org.uk/whatson/bp2016/exhibition.php) in London. Looking at the winning paintings, I find great inspiration staring out from paper and canvas. These images provoke questions; Why was this one chosen over that one? What is it that makes me come back to see this one mutiple times? Why does this one evoke this feeling? etc. Never have I come away from this annual exhibition without strong impressions which stay with me for months. The catalogues also serve as a kind of textbook to look at, to see what can be learned and applied to the pictures I take (and no, I know I am definitely NOT on the same level as these portraits – yet), as excellent examples to learn from.
In organizing my thoughts and aims for this year’s course, I went through my old photos to chose some of the portraits which I felt were ‘on the way’. Not all of my favourites are here but I thought that these ones were representative of what I am able to do at the moment.