Revisiting a favourite bookshop, in Daylesford, I recently returned with several gems of books. Jo Spence's Autobiographical treatise on herself and her photography [Putting Myself in the Picture: A Political, Personal and Photographic Autobiography], and 1999 exhibition catalogue of William Wegman's work.
While I have yet to pick up the Jo Spence book, my last reading would have been whilst at University, I did have a read of the Wegman catalogue. I was very surprised to read that he began his creative career as a painter sculptor and conceptual/experimental artist. Wegman picked up photography out of convenience, to document his art work, while also experimenting with video. His art works, in the early days were fleeting and ephemeral, thus photography proved the work existed.
Slowly his attention shifted to the way images could be made that questioned the nature of the document created, till eventually all his work became photographic while still proudly displaying his surreal and conceptual roots. The work featured in the catalogue is at times funny, and others deadly serious. His dogs feature only briefly towards the end of the catalogue. The time this work was being made? In the 1970's.
It's fortuitous or perhaps, disastrous that the 2 books surfaced AFTER I submitted some work for publication in 2nd Nature, published by RMIT. As being able to refer back to these early pioneers of 'documentary photography' would have helped bolster my argument about the my use of photography, with my mobile phone, in this day and age of wireless networks and mobile computing.
At this time of year , I spend my days at work interviewing, prospective new students, for my day job, teaching photography at PIC photographic imaging college. Over and over again I see the same problems with folios and folio presentation.
One of the easiest avoided mistakes is the orientation of your prints. So so many people mix their verticals and horizontals in a way that makes the viewer/interviewer rotate the book 90° my first tip on presenting a folio or body of photographic or any 2d art works for that matter is to insert the images in your folio/book in a consistent manner.
This poorly drawn diagram shows how to present correctly, as opposed to the image beneath it.
This is the simplest and cheapest way to present yourself professional, regardless of the cost or type of method you choose to present your work.
The actual container for your work be it leather bound portfolio or cheap plastic K-Mart equivalent, would be best chosen carefully according to your budget and the audience who is viewing the work. The more you spend however, the more polished and finished a body of work can look, after spending all that time and effort making the images and getting them printed, a poorly presented book or portfolio can bring everything to crashing halt. Ultimately, your choice will driven by budget followed by audience, unless you can afford to spend a lot of cash on a presentation book or method.
A real professional will see the connections between images beyond putting all your studio portraits in order followed by all your favourite location shoots or Landscapes. Think carefully about the order and sequence you use in your folio. Are there for example a series of colours that relate, perhaps complimentary or contrasting? Are they ideas within the images that repeat, or shapes even? Treat the body of work as a visual journey with highs and lows, surprises and delights. Use spreads or blank pages to add pauses in that journey, or like punctuation in a sentence.
At the very minimum, use as many precautions as possible to keep the work unblemished and free of dirt pet hair and other unwanted imperfections. These things give huge clues, to who you are as a person, and your attention to detail, all key factors in gaining entry into either a college or getting a job, especially getting a job.
While this approach is foisted upon, younger students, VCE students for example, it is only really necessary if, 'process' forms part of the idea you are exploring. Again, be fastidious in your work methods, unless the methods are about NOT being fastidious, how you organise this kind of work, and present it gives huge insights into you and your approach to making images.
16 October 2009 – 4 April 2010
Photography Gallery, Level 3
[In 1967, the NGV established the first separate curatorial Department of Photography in an Australian art gallery and since that time we have delivered a continuous program of exhibitions and publications featuring the rich history of photography. The heart of our activities is based on the permanent collection which now numbers over 15,000 photographs, of which 3,000 works are by international artists. This year marks the 40th anniversary of our first acquisitions to the collection and, as such, it is timely to ‘re-view’ what has been achieved. National Gallery of Victoria]
I will be visiting this exhibition over the coming months I hope to use it for some inspiration in at least blogging, we shall see.
Publication - Produced by street photographers for street photographers
[Produced in London, UK by Nick Turpin Publishing
Publication - Produced by street photographers for street photographers]
- Aims to publish the best Street Photography we can find
- Consists of an illustrated color booklet of essays and articles accompanied by twenty-two unbound prints
- Has a different theme for each edition
- Is open to suggestions and submissions
- Is self financing and contains no advertising, your purchase contributes directly to the next edition
It will be interesting to see how this pans out, I like the idea of financing the publication through the photographers buying the mag themselves.
This page contains all entries posted to musings from the photographic memepool [the shallow end] in November 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.
October 2009 is the previous archive.
December 2009 is the next archive.