Being born on a Tuesday, I take offence to the term “Terrible Tuesday”. Let’s face it, if it’s a Tuesday it’s a good day, just like on March 7th of this year where the TICE Photography the Explore stage kicked off on a beautiful sunny day in Newcastle, the perfect canvas for what was a very proactive day. The team from Berwick Academy returned along with some new younger faces from Longbenton High School who together brought a fresh wave of enthusiasm to the whole day.
The gang started the day with a quick shoot around the sunny outside streets of Newcastle as a quick warm up, with the knowledge they had all taken from the Insight stage. Of course they had no problem in taking some sweet shots and it was great to see them experiment with angles, lines, framing, depth to add to their creations but even more so, how they utilised the environment. As a photographer I’ve learnt that the photo you’re taking is only as pretty as whatever is in front of you and the group took advantage of the vast compositional subjects including the lovely spiral staircase near the Laing Art Gallery and the complex but intriguing building that is Northumbria University. The more you shoot, the better you get and the group are in a really good position where they’ve built their craft from the likes of Katie and other tutors. Having seen the stuff they’ve shot thus far, I was very pleased and with time things can only improve.
After a quick recap of what the team had absorbed from the Insight stage we packed up and headed off to the Biscuit Factory and no, this hasn’t suddenly turned into a cookery workshop; we went to one of Newcastle’s incredible Art galleries for a talk with professional photographer, Angela Carrington, who runs her own photography business, The Bigger Picture. In what was a rather insightful talk, Angela discussed her path into the industry and showed off some the work she had done ranging from Government/sports promotions to everyday profile pictures for online portfolios and so on. Opportunities to talk to professionals like Angela are scarce especially with the busy schedules that come with working in the creative industries and the group took advantage by flooding with questions about her favourite projects, how long it took her to set up her own company and gather her team. Personally I was curious to know whether one can survive on this line of work alone and although Angela had taken a break to work in the printing business at one point in her career, she was adamant that it is definitely achievable, but it’s hard work as is anything creative you have to want it in order to achieve it.
After the Q&A, we returned to our base for the day; Newcastle City Library, one of the shooting locations for a popular film known as “I, Daniel Blake” which premiered last year. It was a fitting spot for the afternoon as one of the key educational points of the day is ‘how do you kick your career off as a photographer?’.
Katie gave an excellent lecture to the group on what it takes to become a professional photographer, not just in terms of the profession itself but exploring the lifestyle that comes with it. The majority of photographers are freelancers meaning they are their own boss, they choose their own work patterns and sell themselves to employers. There is an awful lot of freedom that comes with being freelance but also it requires an awful lot of flexibility as well. However something to bear in mind is that the landscape is always changing as pointed out from the Q&A session with Angela; more companies are looking to employ people in house rather than hiring freelancers which would be a massive change. Only time will tell.
Getting back to the young photographers now – another thing that was taken from the day was the different types of photography that exist. There’s the general and the specific genres as the likelihood is these guys and girls will develop a certain taste for one type of photography over the other. The team divided themselves into groups and finished off the day with a task involving a series of photographs in which they had to organise in conjunction with their respective group title of Generalist or Specialist Photography – the generalists groups looking for a variety of compositional elements and subjects while the Specialists are looking for those specifics such as Street, Beauty, Landscape etc.
One part of the industry I am hoping will change is the amount of female talent, not just in the photography industry but the entire creative sphere as well. Katie (along with myself) were thrilled to see the amount of young females participating in today’s workshop, however when it comes to the professional level there are far more men than women. I can safely say this is the exact same case for the film industry, unfortunately. I for one believe there should be an equal balance as the current female talent are perfectly capable of leading the industry just as much as the male talent.
Team #TICEPhotography did a great job today and hopefully by the time the Create Stage comes along, many of our female photographers will be inspired to pursue their place in the industry and bring about a well needed change.