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Open College of the Arts
2010 No. 5
Success by degrees
Often there is an urge to travel to get your next great shot. Training your gaze will enable you to identify new perspectives in mundane situations. Apple Store, © Michael Freeman.
More students than ever are studying degrees in photography with OCA. Read more about us and our students inside.
Who’s who at OCA The Freeman View 2
OCA student: Judith Bach 3
OCA student: Dewald Botha 4&5
OCA tutor: Robert Enoch 6&7
is published by the Open College of the Arts.
Open College of the Arts
Who’s who at OCA
Jade has been with the OCA since April 2007. She is a member of the academic services team and project manages the formal assessment events. As well as working at the OCA, Jade is currently in her first year of studying a criminology and sociology degree at Sheffield Hallam University. Jade enjoys shopping, socialising and going to the gym.
The Michael Young Arts Centre, Redbrook Business Park Wilthorpe Road, Barnsley S75 1JN Telephone: 01226 730495 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.oca-uk.com Registered charity no: 327446 Company limited by guarantee no: 2125674 OCA welcomes contributions to Showcase but reserves the right to edit materials at its discretion. Views and opinions expressed in Showcase are not necessarily those of OCA, nor does the inclusion of an item, insert or advertisement constitute a recommendation. To amend your contact details or to give feedback – please contact Dee Whitmore, Marketing and Events, on 01226 704364 or email: email@example.com
Dee joined the Open College of the Arts in October 2007 as part of the finance team. However, it was soon realised that her natural charm (read cheek!) could be better employed in the marketing department. She is now Head of Fulfilment and Marketing services, line manager for the Student Service team, Showcase editor and the H & S manager. Dee is currently studying for her Professional Certificate in Marketing and is a firm believer in life long learning. Dee enjoys motorcycling, archaeology, weight training, reading (historical faction and sword & sorcery fiction) and has recently discovered the joy and empowerment in Belly Dancing.
The Freeman View
The Open College of the Arts has had a long-running relationship with the photographer and author Michael Freeman; since the OCA’s Art of Photography course was first opened to enrolments 20 years ago. This relationship took another step forward with the launch last year of thefreemanview.com – Michael’s blog, produced by OCA. The site was launched with a view to, as Michael puts it “present a view of photography by photographers, which may sound obvious enough, but in a world where photography has become a near-universal activity, its meaning has become somewhat scrambled.” The Freeman View has grown rapidly in popularity over the course of the past year, thanks to an enthralling succession of Michael’s observations, techniques and one-to-one interviews with photographers around the world. You can find the blog at www.thefreemanview.com - we look forward to reading your comments!
Student: Judith Bach
How’s it look!
I am fifty six years old, married with grown up children and grandchildren. I work full time as an office manager in a busy NHS GP surgery. I have always enjoyed photography but with the purchase of my first digital SLR camera became eager to learn more than the basics. Hence I enrolled with the Open College of the Arts and have been studying with them for nearly two years. I completed The Art of Photography level one course last year and have just commenced on my second course: People and Place. The flexibility offered by the college fits perfectly into my sometimes hectic lifestyle. How’s it look? by Judith Bach The tutor support and coursework are my first course I found myself looking at my surroundings with a invaluable, they provide the perfect framework to progress further. different eye, and tried to incorporate this into my photography. The college has an ethos that age should not be an obstacle to ‘Strong’ is an image taken as part of my first assignment, I further education, a sentiment I wholeheartedly agree with. I hope wanted the light and facial expression of my model to add to to eventually gain a Creative Arts degree, and feel gaining new the menacing tone. I chose a female as traditional gender roles knowledge should be a lifelong process. As I progressed through are rapidly changing in our society and wanted to reflect on this. ‘How’s it look?’ is an image taken as part of a project creating a photographic narrative, very much influenced by Martin Parr’s style of photography, and submitted as part of my final assessment. Working through the course work you are encouraged to look at other photographers work and how they create their personal style, which is something the courses aim to help you achieve. The OCA website has forums and enables contact with other students and an opportunity to view and comment on their portfolios. I have so much more to learn and with the help of the Open College hope to continue for a long time with my studies.
Strong by Judith Bach
Student: Dewald Botha
Learning to question everything
Growing up in South Africa, around age nine, a compact 110 Kodak Pocket Instamatic was my very first camera. Many cameras, and many countries later, I’m now shooting for my second course at OCA with a Canon EOS400D. Five years ago I jumped for a career change, and left four years in the UK behind to become an English teacher. Three years ago, I moved to China, and another wonderful world of culture and colour opened itself, but something still hindered me from capturing what I saw. The DPP course made me question every aspect of ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ I did things, and helped me to work out a new path towards capturing and processing what I see through the view finder. Now I learn to see everyday life in a new way: colours, textures, form, light, shadows and so much more. I was travelling in Laos recently, and walked past a temple where novice monks were laughing and shouting, washing bright orange robes. The moment (and colour and light) was just perfect. I recently finished a challenging project on a self-chosen theme – neon lights – and captured a Chinese sign that processed nicely into monochrome. Experimenting on an image to make it yours,
like a shopping street scene I captured over Christmas, becomes second nature in the learning process. The possibilities become endless. The best thing about studying in a flexible way, is there are other students just ahead, already finished, or just behind you, in the same courses. You may not meet other students face to face, but on the active online forums we support each other with advice and ideas, and even the little friendly push now and then. One of the main reasons I chose OCA was that your nationality and location has no importance, and I wanted a recognised qualification from a UK institution. Doing the distance learning course at OCA is for sure a case of ‘what you put in, you will get out’, but once you start questioning your ways and thoughts, it’s almost impossible to stop exploring. I see myself finishing the degree, and getting into freelance travel, food and documentary photography, exploring less travelled places throughout the world.
Radial Neon High Contrast - opposite page Mono and Colour Walking Street - Top Lao Robes - Above All images © Dewald Botha, OCA Photography student
Tutor: Robert Enoch
Life through a lens
Robert Enoch, OCA tutor talks to Gareth Dent about his work, his development and teaching
GD: Robert, what intrigues me is the range of your work. Your ﬁlm work is clearly social documentary yet your photographic work is sometimes abstract. What are the underlying links that you see? RE: Well the first thing to say is that I didn’t have a traditional photographic training. I came to it through studying fine art and then going to film school in Prague. Art school was a creative playground in many ways. I started painting with light, using my figure in the early photographs. But I needed to confront subject matter more directly and so I went on to make ‘Search’ photographs using a documentary approach. This started with a dream-like series of pictures of the areas of my youth (schools and homes) and then developed into a flowing scroll of images looking at the meaning and interconnectedness of objects. I didn’t set out to make social documentaries; the church asked me to make a video about poverty in Hemel, and I documented people’s experience of poverty.
GD: Hertfordshire is not exactly a location one associates with poverty... RE: Poverty is everywhere and it’s often hidden. What is shocking is how easily someone can become homeless. With this film, I just tried to let people speak for themselves, no voice over, no ‘presenter’. Film allows you to explore not just people’s problems, but how they make sense of their lives. How they find meaning in their lives, and that for me is the link. Art for me is a big journey – it’s not about making a career – it’s about finding meaning in life and in this sense it’s often spiritual. Every artist has to make art that does what he or she needs it to do. It’s probably the most liberated form of endeavour.
GD: How do you think studying at Art School influenced your photography? RE: Art School was important because it gave me the opportunity for broad experimentation – understanding techniques and forms. I was very interested in the interface between photography, film and painting. Every photo I made then was less than 1/30th of a second - I loved the energy and mystery of longer exposures. I was always trying to pierce the void. And it was this psychological density that characterizes my early work.
leaps of faith with creativity, that’s the adventure of art really. Realizing ideas is realizing the self. But of course, the self is never alone, that’s the nature of art – the bridge between the deepest part of the artist with the deepest part of other people.
GD: And advice to OCA photography students? RE: One of the crucial things they need to learn as students is that in order to find your own voice you need to be able to make photographs that mean something to you on a level which is beyond the photogenic – beauty is something you have to feel deeply. You have to ask yourself, what do I really love and find the means to express it. If you do that the technical skills will come. You need to enjoy it – photograph things that you love not things that you think will make a “good photograph”. Look at Nan Goldin’s work, there’s a boldness, an honesty to it. That’s the good thing about the Art of Photography course, it helps you learn how to see. One of the best things for me is seeing students develop, it is the major satisfaction in being a tutor.
GD: And your more recent work? RE: I have worked with painted negatives, using a colour darkroom. I paint on acetate and then enlarge the negative. I’m interested in the idea of the mark/trace - the simplest evidence of one’s existence - almost as if one could take a single daub of Cezanne’s brush. Often I make art with only a few clues to the possible meaning of the idea. You have to be prepared to take
Photography Workshops in partnership with City and Islington College
The OCA is pleased to announce that City and Islington College are running three photography workshops in London later this year which have been designed to complement OCA photography courses.
Creative Studio Photography (2 days, 15 and 16 April 2010)
This workshop will be of particular interest to students on or considering the course Art of Photography and will give students an in-depth experience of use of studio lighting for creative still life subjects.
London Location & Architecture (4 days, 26-29 July 2010)
This workshop will be of particular interest to students on or considering the courses People and Place and Photography 2: Landscape and will give students an in-depth experience of using a variety of camera formats and tilt-shift lenses.
Studio Portraiture (4 days, 2-5 August 2010)
This course will be of interest to a wide range of OCA photography students. It will provide an opportunity to develop portraiture skills using a full scale studio and studio flash. The standard price for City and Islington Photography Workshops is £300 for two days and £600 for four days, but we have negotiated a discount for OCA students of £50 on the two day course and £100 on the four day courses. The college is conveniently located just north of central London. It may be possible to rent student accommodation for the summer courses. For further information and an enrolment form please email Terry Sims at City and Islington College direct. (Terry.Sims@candi.ac.uk)
for more details call 0800 731 2116
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