Dean O'Brien's Blog

352mc Professional Photographic Practice: Final evaluation

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Throughout this module I feel that I probably took the biggest step towards entering the world of professional photography.  I also found this module the most enjoyable.  It allowed the freedom to work on what I was really passionate about doing.  Yes, for me this module was about making that final step.  The step that makes that entrance to the world of professional photography.

I managed to build bridges with many professionals who are working within the field of photography that I am trying to enter.  Fortunately I had been in touch with many throughout the whole of my course and they were only too keen to help me in this final stage of my degree.  Peter Dench (as busy as he is) has always found the time to help me out whenever I have emailed him asking for advice.

After travelling to Ukraine on my last visit it opened my eyes to the issues which explain why so many women are leaving a country they love.  This is not about women wanting passports to escape.  It is about getting to the route cause of the problem and looking at those issues.  The real issues that matter.  I plan to explore these issues further and form these into other projects.  My project seems to have opened up a massive world of other projects that can grow from this.  This can only be a good thing as it enables me to expand further.

Being able to work under the guidance of Harry Hardie was a real helping hand.  He viewed my project from a totally different angle, which enabled me to open my own eyes.  To not always see things as a photographer.  I started to look at my own project from the point of view as a story teller.  To not focus too much on ‘getting the pictures’ but more as somebody ‘telling the story’.

The forthcoming exhibition has received attention from the  AUGB (Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain) and they have advertised this on their official website, along with their social media platforms as well.  I saw this as a great step.  The project being recognised by those people who fully understand what I am trying to document.

My main aim was always to create ‘penetration’ and not ‘splash’.  So that the project has a deep lasting impact and continues to grow.  I can then look deeper into the issues and causes of what exactly the problems are in Ukraine.  This also enables me to retain the current audience which I have managed to engage with this current project.  They then will naturally be interested in any projects which stem from this.

So what went wrong?  Nothing major that’s for sure.  I budgeted well but time was against me as I only had a week to capture what I needed on this final trip to Ukraine.  A month away would have seen a much deeper narrative evolve.

Shooting 6×6 colour on a Hasselblad did not come without its problems.  Low light conditions in night clubs ruled out any possibility of documenting the subjects ‘lives by night’.  There is also the issue that no night club would allow such a camera to be used, especially with a tripod in tow.

The cost of shooting on film combined with developing was expensive to say the least.  It never allowed the loose ‘care free’ freedom one gets when shooting digital.  Although this does have other disadvantages as many would gladly argue.

However, the square composition of shooting with a Hasselblad did give the images a more balanced feel.  Matt Johnston commented that this was easily the best work that I had produced since starting the course after deciding to shoot ‘square’.  In future I may well shoot digital and crop the images square, so the project retains some king of rhythm.


Written by Dean O'Brien

May 22, 2012 at 11:19 am

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