If I had a hat, I would take it off to Dave Shepherd, one of our curating team, for putting together the rather splendid “Illumination” exhibition which is now on display in the Fotofilia Gallery. “Illumination” is the work of four University of Wolverhampton photography students which centres on studio-based images.
The images in the flyer above are by Holly Smith. Here’s Dave’s description of the show…
“A photograph is a secret about a secret: the more it tells you the less you know” – D.A.
Fotofilia presents: Illumination – A collective of local Photographers all choosing to operate in the studio environment.
The title, Illumination, seemed particularly fitting for this exhibition, since each individual has consciously chosen to use artificial studio lighting to banish the darkness and illuminate their carefully posed subjects; thus controlling what you see and what you do not see.
And It is in this instance that influences begins to shine through; with a clear understanding of chiaroscuro (the study of light and dark), as well as a nod to their historical and contemporary peers such as Cindy Sherman, Irving Penn and Eleanor Antin.
The end result: a beautiful series of tableau images, which are not only visually stunning, but interesting and thought provoking.”
Due to a busy week this is the first chance I’ve had to post this information but I do hope you’ll be able to come along and take a look for yourself.
Feeling a little deflated after reading my new issue of Grumpy Photographers Monthly, I thought you might like my own little story from the “I used to make £5k a day and go to work in my lear jet and now I’m doing weddings for £250. Woe is me,” school of optimism.
A few years ago, I used to shoot events for the local city council, who shall remain nameless, but it’s near my Birmingham-based studio and rhymes with “Nirmingham”. Well, this was quite a nice little gig really. I got to meet nice people, attend interesting events, photograph the odd (sometimes very odd) VIP and got access to some great viewpoints. And it paid quite nicely too. Only the odd day here and there but such is the life of the freelance tog.
The man who hired me was a very nice guy, and a keen photographer with an artist’s eye and so understood what was required in terms of access and opportunities to achieve a correspondingly high quality photographic record of the event. Every time he assigned me a job, he had already thought through the best places to be and the best times to be there, along with introductions to the people that would make this all possible.
Anyway, during my time there, I was told by this man, and others, that they were approached on an almost daily basis by photographers – usually amateurs – who offered to do what I was doing…
But for free.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out why it might be that when said council is in the financial doledrums and the nice man leaves for pastures new, my assignments stop. I’m not saying this is definitely what happened in my case (although information recieved does rather lead one to suspect this to be so). After all, if you’re handling even a small chunk of the public purse you’re going to want to get value for that money. Instead of paying one qualified, experienced professional photographer, why not have two, or even three – hell, let’s go to town – FOUR keen (and possibly competent) amateurs for free/gratis/nada/zilch. They’ll do the same job, won’t they?