Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Sick ... again!!

Despite last Saturday's attempt to get my head back into gear for the new term, this week has been a bit of a damp squib as they say. Instead of second year at GSA beginning with a flourish of enthusiasm, it's been a rather dismal and half hearted affair as once again I got sick! I can't believe it!! I've been so looking forward to going back and it's been all I could do to get to 2 classes this week and then it's been back to bed. This is the second time this year I've been floored by illness, before that it was something like 2003; my body is maybe trying to tell me something!!!

However, I am looking forward to being well again (although right now that doesn't look like it's going to be any time soon!) and getting to grips with the new project. This term it's all about colour. A very wide brief: anything as long as it's in colour!!

J introduced the project by showing some photographers who use colour particularly well and there were some old favourites (Joel Sternfeld, Stephen Shore, Andreas Gursky etc) as well as some new names that I want to investigate - several that she included were particularly interested in the human effect on the landscape and therefore caught my attention. I think this is definitely becoming a theme with me.

Right now, however, unless it's of underneath my duvet the thought of making a photograph is beyond me!!

Paul Hill - Scottish Photographers

Last Saturday saw me starting to get my head back into gear for the start of the new term, and what better way to do it than in the company of some of the Scottish Photographers group and Professor Paul Hill at Street Level.

I first came across Paul Hill through his book 'Approaching Photography', recommended reading for photo students. He is regarded as a major influence on contemporary British photography and has an MBE for his services to it to prove it! On top of that, he was a really nice chap and it was a great day.

Paul originally started out as a photojournalist which he left to concentrate on his own photography and his work in photographic education. He sees himself as a storyteller; saying something in his images. He believes that: 'everyday, if you have a camera, can be an adventure'. I was particularly interested in several aspects of his work that he talked about, for example, at one point he realised that although his images were technically of someone else, they were actually about him.

I really liked two projects that he worked on: 'Displacements' and 'White Peak, Dark Peak'. 'White Peak, Dark Peak' is a series of images taken around his own area in the Peak District over the different seasons. It explores not just how the area changes over winter, summer etc, but about the marks made on the landscape by nature. 'Displacements' examined man-made mammoth gestures on the landscape - the change of land use (the anger and aggression caused by big land developments; people's reaction to it), our escape to the countryside and what we leave behind. Needless to say it's this last aspect that captured my attention the most.

The second part of the day was Paul critiquing portfolios brought along by the members of the group, which was very constructive.

Other highlights of the day including Tom Cooper (TJC's more common name!) coming along for lunch as he and Paul are very old friends, and having drinks with Paul and Sandy afterwards. He was such an interesting man and it was just such a great day; a very good way to get the head back in gear!!