visiting the Hereford Photography Festival november 2011

Another OCA study day and as usual some interesting work to see and discuss.

I am going to discuss two exhibitions from the festival in my People and Place blog …;postID=3015258351741356851

Here is a brief account of the day which started for me before I met up with the OCA since the whereabouts of the initial meeting was not clear from the map and I needed to ask at the Tourist Information Office. On entry, I was directed to the back of the shop where the photographs of Alfred Watkins were on show.

There were 11 black and white photographs on show each of about 12 by 16 inches each. They were made from the original glass plate negatives and selected by two photographers namely Simon Roberts and Sally Payen who are described as artists in the accompanying blurb. Alfred Watkins wrote a highly interesting and controversial book called “The Old Straight Track” (1925) about ancient pathways that run across the country.

The advantage of visiting with tutors is the feedback and advice. For example, we were told to be aware of the fact that the photographers on show were chosen by the curator who also manages the exhibition space. Seeing photographs in an exhibition is quite different to seeing them in a book or on the internet.

The first selection of images from the main exhibition (Time and Motion Studies) was of fine black and white photographs hung alongside a staircase.

These photographs were made in Georgia by Vanessa Winship.

In the main gallery, there were four photographers represented.

After this exhibition, we made our way to the Buttermarket to see photographs by second year MA students. These proved to be rather disappointing not only as images to look at but also in print quality. The Social Landscape was the theme so what was a photograph of a bird in flight doing there ? There was little sense of a body of work.

We decided to have an early lunch and do two exhibitions in the afternoon.

Our next visit was to “Walk in my shoes” which was by people who suffer from some kind of hindrance such as a physical disability like partial blindness and therefore need to find unique ways to photograph.

One is able to use a smartphone to download information about the exhibition!!

After this, we took a long walk to the outskirts of town to visit an exhibition at the Hereford Art College where there was an interesting series of black and white photographs called “Solsbury Hill” documenting a road protest. More details of impressions on my People and Place blog …;postID=3015258351741356851

It was then a final session in the college cafe over a beverage. Discussions here touched on the importance of borders around photographs. Gareth mentioned that technical knowledge was not really taught as part of the course as one learnt the necessary skills as one went along and these are the skills one requires rather than certain ones one should learn.

Photobooks are good for assessments but can go wrong if over-designed; one needs to consider the images as a succession and their relation to each other.

I make my point about photography being a kind of transformation turning the everyday and the mundane into something miraculous. Photography helps us to see the world rather than just pass it by!

Apparently, a lot of people come to the OCA with lots of holiday photographs that they think are really good yet these are seldom well constructed.