Open Art Collective Artists
I’m studying for a Photography degree with the Open College of the Arts from my home in Wiltshire. I make work about the familiar and the forgotten from a feminist perspective. I regard the image as the start of my creative process rather than the end, and include Polaroid, vintage 35mm, supermarket photobooths and a local darkroom within my creative toolkit as well as an iPhone and a basic DSLR. I’m also a musician, playing tenor sax at jazz and blues gigs. I’m always curious about what happens next.
I’m currently studying with the Open College of the Arts to obtain a photography degree through distance learning. Studying on a part-time basis takes longer than being at a bricks and mortar University but I’m now on my final module for Level 2 so not too much longer to go. I began studying only a few months after buying my first digital camera so it was a steep learning curve – not only to learn how the camera works but then to take on board photography as an artistic pursuit. This requires a different way of looking, using images rather than words to tell a story, evoke an atmosphere, express emotions. I guess what I’m saying is, that I’m an artist who uses a camera as my medium rather than paint, pencil, pen, sculpture or textiles.
I’m interested in how we interact with our natural environment, shape it and attempt to take charge of it. I’m also interested in ways of looking at what seems ordinary and every-day and finding something fresh and new in it.
I have been a keen photographer since I was a small boy, developing my first film at a school camp at the age of eight. The love of photography has never been far from the forefront of my life, I have never stopped learning – undertaking a quest to gain a BA(Hons) photography as a mature student with the Open College of the Arts.
I have a talent for taking pictures people love of themselves even when they are normally camera shy. I have become highly proficient in the studio as well as developing a talent for architectural photography.
As well as being a full-time photographer, working with customers to produce high quality portraits for their web sites and LinkedIn, I have been awarded the CAA PFcO as a commercial drone pilot offering aerial photographic services. I also now teach studio workshops and intermediate classes to people who want to extend their knowledge of photography.
My art explores my personal experiences of being the youngest child in a large family and how that has shaped me as an individual. I am currently exploring my family archive as part of my creative process to investigate family dynamics and social interactions within society. Another theme which interests me is man’s interaction with the environment and how that is affecting flora and fauna. I draw, paint and use mixed media to create my images.
My personal voice as an artist is still developing and I am continually experimenting with both media and subject matter to create thought-provoking images.
In my creative practice my photography usually takes the form of constructed imagery using self-made props and re-photographing them to create visual narratives on my chosen topic. An exploration of gender and identity or the self as ‘Other’ are my usual themes. Street photography is a genre that I also enjoy and found objects and settings are often incorporated into narratives that blur the boundaries between fact and fiction.
I have been a keen amateur photographer since the age of fourteen. My background has been in product on management, then IT training with the MoD before retirement 5 years ago. In the 1990’s I took a City and Guilds course in photography and was awarded a Licentiate Distinction by the Royal Photographic Society. It was while I was working in Army Education that I was encouraged to study Photography to degree level with the Open College of the Arts. I am at the final level of my course
and am looking forward to completing the degree next year. The OCA courses have stretched my creativity and I have learned new skills as a result.
My primary interest is exploring the environment as it relates to my own personal experience and to the natural forces that constantly change and reshape it. I also spend a lot of time travelling, usually by sea in traditional sailing ships. I work with
both digital and film cameras and I have a developing interest in hand made books.
I came to photography as a mature OCA student six years ago finding myself drawn to portraiture, street photography and urban landscape. As an artist my creative work comes from a desire to capture how people express themselves, move within their landscape and shape their world. I look to draw the viewer into my images, to consider the subtext of what they see whether this be the play of light and shadow, the small, seemingly insignificant gesture, the trace of passage….what is the story?’
I completed my degree in Photography from the Open College of the Arts in 2015. I view my practice as conceptually based documentary. My work focuses on portraiture, architecture and landscape. I have a particular interest in East London. My photographs have been exhibited in London, Oxford and Sheffield and are held in private collections including Toynbee Hall and Oxford House in East London.
Whether it’s walking along the canal bank, watching petals fall from a fading rose or creating a still life of personal objects my creative work is about trying to capture those small moments of experience that often go unnoticed. I find that in focusing on the little things I can explore the big issues like impermanence, human frailty and mortality.
My starting point is usually photography but increasingly I work with mixed media, collage and decollage. I also like to draw on a wide range of influences from poetry to textiles and from painting to graphic design. I am a photography student with the OCA which is helping develop my creative practice; I also work in food photography.
I have been a part time student with the Open College of Arts for the past 5 years and have always been interested in photography from childhood, often assisting my father in his home made darkroom. My work has developed during this time to often focus around grief, loss and memory reflecting personal events in my own life experience. I am interested in portraiture and landscape and as an art student I feel I am on a journey of discovery that I hope will continue over the remaining years of my photography degree and beyond.
I began photography as a complete beginner in 2013 when I took early retirement and have now been studying part-time with the OCA for four years. Craftwork has always played a great part in my life and I bring elements of patchwork, paper crafts and cross-stitch into my work which reference the way that ‘women’s crafts’ have been traditionally seen as holding less value than arts such as painting, sculpture and photography. I also enjoy making books and paper sculptures which often appear in my work.
My current interest lies in using the material nature of the photographic print as a means to consider our understanding of what is held within the family ‘snap’, such as our relationships with the photographer, their subject, the location and the events they record.
This photography degree has reignited the creativity I had as a child and I am enjoying the freedom of exploring ideas and materials without any specific end in mind.