Dean O'Brien's Blog

352mc Professional Photographic Practice: ‘Destination Unknown’ latest update

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Okay, so after spending the last week in Kiev working with my two subjects I am now back in the U.K. to start to piece the project together for my degree show in the form of ten final images.

I received my 16 rolls of Portra 400 back yesterday  So now I need to start the edit down.  To select the ten final images which will be used for my final degree show exhibition.  I need to travel down to London and meet up with my mentor Harry Hardy so that we can look at, and edit down these latest images.

On this trip I took the opportunity of hiring a driver to take me out of the city to the more rural areas of Ukraine.  No country can be judged by its capital city alone and Ukraine is no exception.  Outside of Kiev I discovered a more slower, relaxed way of life.  A different kind of person as well.  A cart and horse was a familiar sight along with wells outside the front of each house providing the families water.  Yes, hiring a driver was a great investment and something which I intend to do again.  These remote villages could not have been reached any other way.

Tools for the job varied.  During the day, shooting with a 6×6 Hasselblad was fine, but in the evenings, especially inside night clubs, I used a Canon S100.  This was ok but in all honesty something more like a 5D would have been more suitable, although in reality whether I would be allowed in such establishments carrying such a camera is another question altogether.  I avoided using flash in clubs and pubs so as not to draw attention to myself, but obviously this is where small compacts will struggle with ISO and small processors etc.. Making many of the images unsuitable for reasonably sized enlargements.

I managed to practice speaking Russian as much as possible, managing to string words together which were understandable, but in all honesty I think a language course is on the cards.  Learning the language is vital as it will enable me to have full engagement with my subjects, especially those in more rural areas where the english language will be non existent.

At one point I think I hit the equivalent of writers block.  I just could not create images that projected what I was seeing, or more to the point of what I was trying to say.  It took me a while to sit and think about the issues which I was trying to address.  The male’s issues being different to the female’s.  The project covers many areas including issues of social change, love, romance and poverty.  There are also the issues of rejection, addiction and corruption.  So it is very hard to show this within ten images, and hopefully cover all bases.

I’m going to avoid Ukraine for the next couple of months as many of the Euro 2012 matches are being hosted there and prices for apartments and flights have rocketed.  I saw this as bad news at first, but in all honesty this will give me a chance to get my degree show in order, which is vital to gaining the exposure which the project desperately needs.  So, every cloud and all that….And yes as you can probably tell..I’m no lover of the big game either!

On my next trip I plan to travel further into Ukraine and into the more rural areas.  To the east and further down to the south.  I felt that remaining in the capital created a aesthetic form of stagnation or even laziness.

I’m in this project for the long haul and need to set up a specific section on my website which contains all the information, photo films and images.  Yes, it needs some kind of branding, but also a location for people to come to.  A hub, so that the project can continue to develop.  The ‘Destination Unknown’ project will continue long after university in the form of many individuals stories, a book and various photo films.




Written by Dean O'Brien

April 6, 2012 at 10:25 am

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