Dean O'Brien's Blog

352mc Professional Photographic Practice: Harry Hardie Skype tutorial and where I go from here..

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After speaking to my mentor Harry Hardie via Skype we discussed where my project was at and where it now needed to go from here.

Harry gave me a few photographers work to look at.  One of those was Dana Popa whose work I was already familiar with.  I researched her book ‘not Natasha’ and exhibition Here last year and drew great inspiration from the images on display.

Another photographer was Olivia Arthur.  I remember listening to Olivia talk at a seminar held at Host Gallery in 2010 and leaving there with admiration for her work.  In particular the project ‘The Middle-Distance’ which looks at the East-West cultural divide.  Images which portray life very similar to that which I am witnessing in certain parts of Ukraine.

However, it was the work of George Georgiou that I found to be the most inspirational and encouraging.  His project ‘Transit Ukraine: After the Revolution’ contained the most moving images to me.  Scenes very familiar to what I have witnessed many times before, of people struggling with social and economic adjustment after gaining independence.  His project ‘The Shadow of the Bear’ again focusses its attention at those trying to adjust to social change in Ukraine and Georgia.

After seeing George’s work I felt compelled to drop him an email with a link to my work including my short Vimeo photo film here.  George responded with some positive feedback and recommended that I look at the work of Alexander Gronsky and his project ‘Town of Brides’.  The project looks at the town of Novgorod in Russia which has 1298 women for every 1000 men.  For this project, women seeking marriage  were asked to produce a portrait of the man of their dreams with the help of Police software.

The work of George’s partner Vanessa Winship  made me look more at portraits and what they reveal about the subject.  Her black and white portraits from the project ‘Sweet Nothings’ contains images of rural schoolgirls from the borderlands of Eastern Anatolia.  My recent trip to rural Ukraine inspired me to make portraits of what one might call ‘normal people’.  To run this side by side with my current project.

Photographer Paul Kranzler and his project Land of Milk and Honey had work similar to that which I had seen by Ukrainian photographer Boris Mikhailov.  Stark, almost depressing images depicting social living conditions.  His project Tom mad me consider how portraits are placed with those of environments and how those images can work together to form a narrative.

The work of Katherine Turczan and her project Brezhnev’s Daughters I found to be the most intimate and thought provoking.  The women say that they are Brezhnev’s children because they have inherited the future of the failing land and their father has abandoned them.  The project looks at women from Dneprodzerzhinsk, Ukraine.  This is where the working poor live.  In this area it is considered very prestigious to work in the sex industry, and women consider their sexuality as a form of strength.

Regarding my own images, Harry has already seen a large selection and was more than pleased with what I had produced.  However, due to the complex stories of both subjects, he stated that it was vital to caption the images in order for them to make any sense to the viewer.

Harry also recommended that I maybe contact a writer to have some context written to introduce the project.  I decided to contact a fellow third year student from the university who worked with me at the Coventry Telegraph, Cameron Doherty.  Cameron has written me a great piece which I am now in the process of checking over and will be showing to Harry at my next meeting with him.

I now need to get my images edited down to a final selection.  Hopefully I will record this as a time lapse video so that I can share this online and show the editing down procedure.

This Skype tutorial was essential to help steer the project in the right direction and keep me on track, so I’m looking forward to my next meeting with Harry on the 9th March.


Written by Dean O'Brien

April 29, 2012 at 11:24 pm

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