Dean O'Brien's Blog

And so my degree at Coventry University comes to an end…..

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I’m sad and both excited to be writing this post.  I have finally come to the end of a three year BA (Hons) degree in photography at Coventry University.  Three years of hard study resulting in me receiving a First Class Honours Degree.

It’s been a journey.  I interned for legendary photographer Peter Dench, travelled to New York and met photographer Eric Weeks to discuss his new book, took part in Chris Floyd’s 140 Characters twitter project, was mentored by Harry Hardie 0f Here who helped to guide me through my final major project, interned for the Coventry Telegraph which resulted in me being taken on as a freelance photographer and travelled to Ukraine to embark on a massive personal project which is still ongoing.

Yes, it’s fair to say that I made the most of my three years here at Coventry.

So you may all be thinking was University worth it?  In my opinion yes.  It worked for me.  Not only did I learn about photography but managed to learn more about myself and who I am.  Education changes us.  It opens up a blinkered vision that is all too common in many of us.  I was introduced to the paintings of Edward Hopper, to the preachings of Marshall Mcluhan and the fantastic vision of John Berger.  Reading books became a vital part of my modules at Coventry.  To put down the camera, sit back and think about the images which I was making and more importantly, why.

In the final year a mentoring system was introduced.  Something which although new, worked well and I hope this continues for those on the course at Coventry.  A great deal of thought was put into who was selected as your mentor.  Mine was Harry Hardie whom I had already met some months earlier when I had attended seminars held at Host Gallery.  Harry was always on hand via email or Skype to view my work and give a valued opinion.  In the final year this feedback was vital as it helped to develop my final major project into a more professional, polished piece.

Obviously (cough…ahem) being slightly older than the average student, the whole university experience was different for me.  I wasn’t living away from home for the first time, experiencing my first taste of alcohol or my first all night party.  No, this was about me trying to take my life in a different direction.

And what now?  Well former Ukrainian Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko (currently serving a 4 year jail sentence) recently stated that ‘In prison, time is the only resource that is truly yours’.  Yes, as you can imagine graduating from University has left me with plenty of time on my hands.  I am at present looking for opportunities to intern and gain some ‘hands on’ experience.  Five years of studying photography (2 years college & 3 years university) has left me hungry now to get out there amongst it.

I do however still plan to take part in the online courses such as #Picbod and #Phonar which allow engagement from outside of the classroom.


Written by Dean O'Brien

August 15, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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