Tag Archives: Connections

Specialist Studio Practice 3 – Selecting down – Final images & Best Practice images

2nd May 2016

Throughout this project I have learnt a lot and I see that my perception and the way I look at life & people is a unique thing. I tend to look at things through a ‘lens of understanding, empathy and love’ as people around me have said before.

Within this project I wanted to capture something ‘REAL’ – I wanted to show something authentic about people and their relationships. I wanted to capture the good and the bad… and specific moments of genuine connection and emotion between people. I have photographed throughout this semester and I feel I have achieved this with my final images:

(See prints folder for final image (1) from kids club Impact)

I feel like this project has become a part of me and I know that I will carry this project on even after I finish my degree, because it is something I am very passionate about. I also believe I have created a unique selling point within my business whilst doing this project – ‘a relationship shoot’ – where people who are in relationship with one another in whichever way this may be, can get together and have a chance to be ‘in the moment’ with one another and really bond again, with no distractions. I will ask them questions that spark them talking to each other and reminiscing but also capture them together at the same time. I believe this could also be a great idea for couples specifically who feel as though their relationship hasn’t had chance to restore e.g when the business of life gets in the way. It desire to create an environment where they can feel comfortable and connect with one another again – and also have some photos of this to cherish.

Throughout the course of this semester I have also undertaken a lot of photography work and opportunities outside of my project work. I wanted to include these in my best practice because I have put so much time and effort into these (as well as my project) with regards to collaboration, communication, editing and building a reputation for myself as a professional. I have chosen to mainly include images of people within this set because people are my main ‘practice’. People are what inspires me the most and people will be what my future business focusses on:

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Specialist Studio Practice 3 – Interlinking Modules

19th April 2016

Over the past year I have researched, brain stormed, been inspired and written a 5,000 word dissertation towards my other module: Specialist Photography Contexts 3. I handed this in on 19th April 2016. I linked the content of my writing in my dissertation towards my Final Major Project as they went in conjunction with one another. The name of my dissertation was ‘Relationships within portraiture’.

Within my dissertation I explored Portrait photography, Social Documentary Photography, The Subjective View of the photographer and the subject as well as the viewer, ‘The Informal Portrait’ (a mix between portraiture and social documentary), the work of Nick Waplington’s series & photo book ‘Living Room’, the work of Richard Billingham’s series and photo book ‘Ray’s a laugh’, the work of Martin Parr’s series and photo book ‘The Last Resort’ and I concluded with analysing the differences and similarities between these photographers and how they all achieve a similar style of photography but each have differing intentions behind their work. I also spoke of how communication is key in wanting to get the style of shots these photographers achieve (snap shot aesthetic). This relates to all 3 modules because everything I have written about is what I am exploring professionally in Specialist Professional Practice 3 and photographically/aesthetically in Specialist Studio Practice 3, within the way I take photos. These 3 photographers are also my main inspiration for my Final Major Project, as in some shoots I have been attempting to shoot in the same style, but with my own intentions behind my work – and I have seen how this has compared to the outcome of their work.

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Specialist Studio Practice 3 – Entering into AOP Student Awards 2016

30th March 2016

As a result of my encouragement and success in last years AOP Student Awards where I was chosen as 1 of 60 finalists out of 5,000 entrants and went down to London to attend the AOP student conference at Holborn Studios, a portfolio building talk at The Print Space gallery and the Finalists exhibition, I thought I would enter again this year and see how I got on. I entered one image last year as part of my module brief however this year I entered 4 images I felt were really strong from my last module (Specialist Techniques & Processes 3) but one of them was taken from a catwalk I photographed the year previous also. The category I entered into was “People: covers any form of people-photography from portraiture to street photography , photojournalism and beyond. It is an opportunity to make visual comments about the human race and its ways. In Previous ‘Portrait’ categories, animal pictures have been featured but the originators of this category feel that entries this year should feature the human race.” – AOP website. This year the categories were much more vague than last year where they were extremely structured. I quite like how they’ve done it that way in a sense because it leaves the category open to interpretation and I imagine they will get a wide range of different, interesting images. Here are the images I entered:

I entered these because I feel like they are strong in the sense that they tell a story, give an insight into how people relate to one another and gather together as humans. I love the intensity each of them has, and I believe they are aesthetically interesting because when analysing them closely there is a hub of activity happening in each composition, whether that be physical activity or mental/emotional activity.

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Specialist Studio Practice 3 – The Photography Show 2016 (Student Conference)

22nd March 2016

I visited The Photography Show in NEC Birmingham. I have been here many years previous however this time was different. I feel that each year I’ve gone to The Photography Show with a different approach in what I’m looking for and where I’m at with my photography and in myself. I feel that this year I was going with an open mind but also looking passionately, keeping in mind about the end of year show I’ll be putting on with my colleagues in June and thinking for my future business, and how I want to be and see things as a professional photographer. I felt more in tune with everything this year, as in previous years I have felt quite overwhelmed and ended up taking a step back rather than diving in head first – which I feel I did this time round! This was a wholeheartedly enriching experience for me and it was exciting because it inspired me and gave me so many ideas for my business. I priced up different equipments, learnt of new brands I’d never seen before, met new people, looked at all the different printing stalls and even stalls that sell props for photographing babies! This year I really feel I took it seriously and because of my change in mindset, I learnt so much more and gained knowledge I could take with me for future reference. I also booked myself onto to The Student Conference here. I haven’t done this before whilst being at The Photography Show, however I felt for £5 it would give me priceless knowledge that would help me in my journey (as all 3 of the talks were heavily aimed at making the transition between uni and working life – specifically going into business). There were 3 speakers: Casey Guttering – freelance photographer who has worked for many well known publications and has photographed a lot of famous people(!), Ryan Welch & Jacob McCarthy of Welch Weddings – they have built up their own business and gave incredible tips that really helped me(!) and Steven Clarey – A sports photographer that has worked for some well known names in the sports world and travelled all over the world with his photography. I spoke to Jacob McCarthy & Steven Clarey on the day as there was time to talk to them afterwards and it was great to make connection with these savvy people. I could relate to almost everything said in this conference and it benefitted me greatly! I also made contact with each of the photographers/businessmen either by email or on social media for future reference. Steven Clarey even said that he would pass on any portrait/weddings jobs to me if he comes across any in the future!

Here are some of the images I took (on my phone, so I understand they are really bad quality!) at The Photography Show & Student Conference:

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Specialist Studio Practice 3 – Survey

9th February 2016

I set up a Questionnaire for people to take on survey monkey.com & posted it on my Facebook page for people to take!


I based this survey on my proposal and the underlying theme that I am trying to show, or the reason I am doing this project – I value relationships. I think they are an integral part of the human life and I believe to be in a part of a community where we can be nurtured and nurture, and we can grow to be the people we are, is very important. I also believe family is very important because it’s our direct start in life, and our primary care-givers/direct influences/first people in our lives are a big part of shaping our characters. So with this in mind I created this survey, to get others opinions on family and to hear about others experiences.

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Specialist Technique & Process 3 – External Opportunity – Photographing a gig

24th January 2016

I attended my musician friends gig at The Lazy Lounge, Leeds. I photographed voluntarily throughout the evening, and the atmosphere was great. I used my 70-200mm f2.8 lens most of the time, because it let more light in (the place had super, super dim lighting) and I was able to get close up shots without being in their face or being distracting for the audience. Another photographer who I had previously met at the Jazz Night (see post) – Vlad – was also photographing but using flash (wise move), so it was good to see his approach on the situation. He was also photographing voluntarily.

A few problems I encountered were:

  • The lighting – it was really dim, yet it was lit really nicely with fairy lights, so I didn’t want to shoot with flash (personally) because I felt it would lose the sense of atmosphere of the evening – however it was difficult photographing with the long f2.8 lens too because it’s so heavy and quite a few images had camera shake. I managed to solve this problem by photographing from the balcony at times and resting my camera/lens on the railings (obviously with the strap around my neck!) and I got some better shots being above, I feel.
  • Focussing in the dark – this is a situation I have had problems with in the past – and it was present especially in a ‘gig’ situation because the musicians and people in general are constantly moving, so I did struggle with the focus when photographing at f2.8 on a long lens – but I persevered and got some quality shots in the end.
  • The enclosed space – the space in the lazy lounge is quite enclosed on the ground floor – because most of the audience sit there and there are a lot of little tables dotted around in front of where the band plays so I had to be very careful with my positioning, making sure I wasn’t blocking peoples view, and also because it was dark – watching my step, as a lot of people had strappy bags sitting on the floor. The balcony also had a lot of chairs and tables within a confined space, but I managed to find a little slot to stand in to get the good shots.

Overall it was a good evening and I enjoyed the whole feel of it, capturing moments for my friend, and problem solving.

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Specialist Technique & Process 3 – Third Draft of my Proposal

12th December 2015

Third Draft of my Proposal

Olivia Wilford

Techniques & Processes 3

Within this proposal I aim to explore relationships within portrait photography and why they are important. I wish to examine connections between people – on all different levels of ‘relationship’. I want to explore why we need connections as humans and how it adds, or takes away, from our lives. I also want to explore whether authentic representation is possible within portrait photography, reflecting our attitudes towards and need for others.

My research will consist of creating and handing out questionnaires and social research by observation of social interaction and also complete test shoots showing examples of my results. I have been looking into ‘subjective documentary’ photography and photographers that shoot in this way such as Richard Billingham, Nick Waplington & Martin Parr. I find this style of photography stretches across 2 genres – portrait and documentary, however the difference with subjective documentary is that the focus is the subject (in my case, people & their relationships) but shot in a documentary style – capturing what is there in front of me, as true to life as possible. Richard Billingham and his series ‘ray’s a laugh’ is a very powerful source of presenting a raw reality of what the subjects lives are really like, and the ups and downs of the relationships they have with one another. I admire his style because it shows what is real – it opposes the ‘Hallmark version’ of relationships within the media where everyone looks euphoric and in harmony with one another – which unfortunately isn’t always the case in reality.
These photographers shoot in a very similar way but their motives for photographing people and what they are trying to achieve/show is slightly different. Each of these photographers knew the subjects very well and this enabled them to get the most natural, real and authentic moments of the dynamics within close and not to so close relationships. Another phrase I would use to describe these type of images is ‘environmental portraits’ – using location as a context for the relationship between the group(s) of people I choose to photograph. Another photographer I have looked at is Brandon Stanton –the photographer behind ‘Human’s of New York’. His images are a great source of inspiration for me because they capture the person themselves and in quite a few cases the relationship between the people being photographed, with a raw sense of emotion because of the back-story that is included alongside the image. I also love how he photographs people with their possessions that have specific meaning for them. This is something I aim to explore in the research process of this project – how we use possessions as outward symbols of inner feelings/relationships we have with those we are connected to. Some of these relationships I aim to photograph may even challenge stereotypes/stigmas about relationships within society – for example people of different religions/age groups who society may not associate with each other. I believe however that we are all human and we all go through the same emotions and milestones in life, although the way in which that is expressed is completely individual to the person and their life events/experiences.

I aim to photograph mainly on location and use the context as an indicator of relationship. I will mainly use natural day light as much as possible (so the subject does not feel they are on a ‘set up’ ‘photo shoot’). However I want to shoot in the studio also, to test the authenticity of some relationships and if the environment they are in affects how they respond and act with one another.

My target audience and end users would be creative intellectuals who would have the ability to read an image and understand the reason behind it. I imagine people who work in jobs with people and are interested by psychology and humanity as a whole would be intrigued by my work. I envision seeing these images in the SWPP (Society of Wedding & Portrait) magazine, and in their own exhibition as a ‘series’/substantial body of work. I also envision them in the British Journal of Photography magazine as a feature series. The clients/people I photograph would also be the end users of the photos, as they are of them and their relations – which I have found is a very powerful and meaningful thing for people in the grand scheme of life, as a photograph that captures genuine love between two people can be one of the most powerful images there is.

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