It’s been quite a year!
When I look back at the last 12 months, I feel engulfed by the huge wave of personal, political and professional change. In the land of blogging, HOW I SEE IT was born and as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, it has provided a very useful and meaningful creative outlet for me. Despite currently sitting with a number of backlogged posts, I am relatively satisfied with the amount of material I was able to share in 2011. However, every year calls for new challenges, and like every other positive and forward thinking person, I’ve set some new ones for the year ahead.
One of my self-imposed and photographically-inclined goals last year was to develop my studio skills – in particular lighting control. When I returned to London, an ex-boss mentioned that his daughter was studying fashion at the world renowned art school and cultural centre Central Saint Martins. While I was by no means interested in embarking on another full-time degree, it got me thinking about furthering my knowledge in a formal environment. I went onto the CSM website and discovered that they offer a series of photographic short courses. The one that caught my attention was entitled Still Life. I enrolled in May for an October start. Aside from the course itself, I was eager to be one of the first students to inhabit the brand new CSM premises in King’s Cross. I wasn’t disappointed – the new school occupies a grand old Grade II granary building, the product of a £200 million transformation by architects Stanton Williams and is truly spectacular.
The course was held once a week, over 3 months. Just before I left London, I finished the programme, which comprised a number of practical lectures. The final project required each candidate to set-up, light and style their own still life shoot in the studio. I had no idea how difficult it would be to conceptualise, create and set-up the shoot, let alone photograph it! Suffice to say, it took many hours and lots of blood, sweat and tears. A huge shout out to my patient and talented tutor Carolyn Lefley for her help and encouragement.
My project is a diptych entitled The Bread of Affliction & The Pomegranate of Plenty. During my time in London, I was struck by the rapidly rising unemployment figures. Walking and travelling around the city, I could literally feel the increasing stresses and strains of the economic recession. UK unemployment currently sits at over 2.5 million. It’s a statistic but in real terms, it means a daily fight for the basics, a battle I could see playing out in some areas of the city. The idea for my photographs stemmed from this reality. The bread, tea and fish represent a basic meal (made less harsh by the use of charity-shop cutlery and embroidered tablecloth). However, the pomegranate (particularly the seeds) in the second shot, represent the hope that things will get better.
I am really happy with the result and you can certainly expect a few more styled still life shoots in the coming months.