Wednesday, 29 September 2010

New blog launch for #phonar

The Photography and Narrative class will now run from it's dedicated blog at:

Classes start Wednesday the 13th September, there's a preparatory task to complete prior to the first session.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Photography and Narrative - preparation.

Intro to the course:

As described in my post here, "Photography and Narrative" is a third year BA Hons Photography class taught at Coventry University in the UK.

Timetable structure and assignments will follow, however, and unfortunately due to copyright restrictions I won't be able to publish all the material that I'll be using for inspiration and reference. I can though, list artists and subjects I'll be talking about in lectures, and where possible, I'll teach from material that's openly available to all.

The Hashtag for the course is #phonar please use this so we can search your Tweets. If you don't know what a Hashtag is then you can learn about them here ,then why not join our Twub!
Likewise you're encouraged to share any expanded research (the purpose of our open forums and discussion), if there's a pertinent subject or practitioner that should be included then please do comment or tweet it and I'll endeavour to include an update accordingly.

Intro to the class:

This class sits at the foot of the third and final year for our students, as such it's purpose is to inspire, challenge and maybe even provoke the student into producing a number of photographic responses. There's no demand for projects be polished final artifacts when submitted, instead the emphasis is on generating ideas and leads that inform final major degree projects.

Collaboration with both subjects and other practitioners will be a constant theme, as will investigating notions of ownership and authorship.

Preparation for first class back:

In preparation for this module you should continue to garner images every day, either by making photographs or collecting them.

When editing your photographs you should title each with a single word.

At the end of each week you should group the pictures into sets.

You should consider each picture a word within a sentence.

From this material please prepare one or more short photographic poems or aphorism for the first session back after the Summer break (Wednesday 13th Oct).

These will be reviewed by John Levy of FOTO8 Magazine at Host Gallery in London.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Photography and Narrative : A Free Undergraduate Photography Class.


As of October the 13th, 2010 I'll be leading an undergraduate photography class entitled 'Photography and Narrative'.My role is to consider how 21st Century Photographic Practice might be taught and to develop a relevant approach. From this we came up with the course's core tenet of the "development of a sustainable practice" (earth shattering, I know).

The notion being that, by making the course's philosophy a moving target it would respond, grow and evolve positively and continually. We understand that the people who will dictate what a Photographer will be in the 21st century aren't people like us - rather it will be the generations of digital natives that we would (ironically) be teaching. And so our notion was that we would enter into a community of shared learning where we shared our technical and artisanal experience whilst learning of how to apply these skills from the social and digital habits of our pupils.

And so, largely in keeping with this ethos I plan to open this class out freely, to the broader community of NewPhotographics, hence this post. There'll be no formal qualifications for anyone posting in via twitter, but neither is there pressure for the online student to do the whole class - drop in, drop out as you wish, the virtual door is open .... and the kettle is usually on.

Classes are always structured so as to pose difficult thematic problems at the outset, the resolutions of which will form a final submission. The structure of the course then forces the student through week by week problem solving to make early 'marks on the page' (so to speak) and in doing so (with peer support) solve the initial problems in their own manner, thereby developing their own practice.

There is no in-house aesthetic nor style and the modus operandi is inclusive - you just need an internet connection and a love of story telling.

The formal structure of the classes include lectures, seminars, technical instruction, visiting practitioners and site visits - these things will not all be available to the NewPhotographic participant, though as much of the content as possible will be published live, so enabling the virtual student to participate in the post lecture open forums and final submissions.

Hopefully see you soon.


Cosset Your Geek

Here's a fun three hundred words I was asked to write for Pixel-live magazine:

I envy the opportunities of camera manufacturers as they of all people, have the chance to harness the terrifying power of the geek.

The geek is an avid collector, an expert in their field and a font of knowledge. They’re the person one goes to when faced with a buying quandary. They’re the trusted source who will actively search out the very best answer and probably come back with options for various hitherto unconsidered scenarios. In so doing the geek will probably turn your initial quandary into a multiplicity of micro dilemmas which, once navigated, will lead you into the dangerous realm of justified expenditure and easy credit.

What geeks have in specialist authority theytend to lack in social skills. Conversely the socially prominent individual must be many things to many different people and so (unless polymathic) will defer to the trusted source that is: the geek. They, in turn will broadcast this reliably informed advice to their broad social circle of friends, colleagues and acquaintances so sowing a crop of potentially active customers.

Or not.

The immediacy and global reach of social media has enabled geeks to find each other and bloom like algae. It’s architecture has enabled them to find and be found by their symbiotic socially influential partners, who, in turn are able to reach the sorts of specialist audiences that would have been unimaginable five years ago, let alone fifty (Twitter is only three years old, Facebook is only six).

The best bit of all is that they do it (the geeks) because they have to, they are genetically programmed to geekiness, just as the socialiser can’t stop talking, geeks love shiny stuff with buttons. The challenge for all of us is to work out who and where our geeks are. They’re preferred habitats are the shady areas around bulletin boards, news groups and blog comment sections but they do venture out occasionally into the open on Twitter.

They can be encouraged to flock when coveted product information is laid out and some can be tamed this way - unlike their socialiser brethren. Do not be tempted to tame or buy a socialiser, it doesn’t work, spend the money on another customer service agent instead and think of it as the organic alternative.

So there we have it: behold the power of the geek and woe betide whomsoever chooses not to.

Inviting people in to the creative moment.

There is without doubt a real currency in inviting one's audience into the creative process. I wrote about this in another post but I think it bears out here still.

"The mechanics of how he does what he does are also detached from the end product. You read his books, you don't watch him write them, and so there's an element of mystery, wherein for the fan there's an inherent value. ................ the trick is enabling every level of fan to access their particular version of the product."