Degree Major Project – Critical Evaluation
As I come to the end of my third year studying for my photography degree I feel a duality that I have both learned and grown an incredible amount as a photographer and yet I feel like I have just scratched the surface and still have so much left to learn. I guess this is exactly the nature of the industry I am about to enter, always changing and evolving and as times have proved regressing. For example, there has been a resurgence for analogue photography that was presumed long forgotten, alongside this however are such technical advances that allow mobile phones to capture moving images. I also read an article recently suggesting that for photographers to continue working within their industry they will need to look at videographer skills also as these are more in demand for all genres of photography. This suggests to me that my life as a photography student whilst formally completed will always continue.
My project for this module was I feel a culmination of all I have learned during my three years studying leading me back to my artistic roots of surrealism and abstract art. The idea was to produce a series of images to compliment my dissertation subject “Creating desirability within the fast food industry a public health issue” in my dissertation I discussed the advertising of fast food and the morals of a photographer creating images in such a desirable way. This led to my Degree Major project looking at healthy foods verses Junk foods and the warped way in which we view what is and isn’t good for us. I settled on a plan to produce a series of abstract, fine art images that would lead the viewer to question what they are seeing. My goals were to create vibrant, high key, detailed images of both healthy foods and junk foods.
I didn’t have a fixed idea of final presentation until much later in to the project, though I had lots of ideas throughout. What I decided on for my final exhibition I feel compliments the subject of my work, I opted for wallpaper with a repeated abstract print. From time to time I would see abstract food images on the walls of cafes, this has influenced my decision. After lots of deliberating I decided to experiment with printing ten more images on table mats. This was a risk because I had not used the company before and had no idea how the images would turn out. I did also have a backup plan available where I would get prints on smaller aluminium rectangles or just standard fine art prints in frames. My risk paid off though and I am really pleased with the finish of my table mats. These were my chosen option because they complement the fact that I am working with food. The images have worked in such a way that I can see the colourful ones being sold as a set in somewhere like Lakeland. This is a possible revenue source for me in the future.
I feel that my idea and execution has been a success over all however there are elements that could have been improved. Successful elements are the healthy images both the frozen ones and the kiwi in water. The colours are bold and striking, the ice creates a layer of distortion enough to give the viewer some questions and the images do have an abstract feel. The wallpaper though not initially how I had pictured it has been a success, I am really pleased with the quality and the bold colours of my image choices. Because I have selected the mirror print the wallpaper is very abstract and my daughter even commented saying that one of them she would even consider as a wallpaper for her home. Area I feel I could have improved would firstly be the junk food images, though they capture the junk food in the way I had intended the colours are bland and unexciting. This is the nature of the foods however so if I were to carry this project on it may need a different direction. Another area for improvement is finding a working space where I have plenty of room and equipment available, I worked in a small set up at home which was adequate however it is very easy for me to become distracted by goings on in my home and family. Though I have been much more time conscious this whole year of study this is always an area that could use improvement. I was lucky with my final images given that I printed so late however this could have been a different story.
Regarding my continuing development I am sure that I will always be learning to one degree or another. I am enrolled in several online courses that I have yet to complete and these include post production which is an area that I am keen to develop. In particular, meeting industry standards including Capture One. I will continue my membership with the AOP, The Societies and will look at other associations that will support my entry in to the photographic industry. With a background in Network Marketing I understand the importance of networking, contacting people and continually putting myself out there to secure future work. I follow the creative review magazine online it is a great resource for keeping an eye on upcoming trends within the food photography industry, in their recent article they talk about how modern trends have moved away from the dark and documentary style to a brighter, vibrant coloured and softer focus. With these more modern images being sought after for a wide range of customers. (Creative Review, 2017) This is the area I feel my work fits in to however this feels like a slight contradiction to the recent winners and highly commended images from the Pink Lady Food Photography Awards, of which most have the dark documentary feel. What this suggests is that there is room in this industry for all types of food photography. My inspirational artists list continues to grow and not just around food but other genres too. This is a very long way from where I started three years ago, where the only famous or influential photographer I knew was David Bailey. My knowledge and professionalism have improved greatly and I look forward to what the future brings.
Creative Review. (2017). Trends in modern food photography – Creative Review. [online] Available at: https://www.creativereview.co.uk/trends-modern-food-photography/ [Accessed 14 Apr. 2017].
Pinkladyfoodphotographeroftheyear.com. (2017). Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year. [online] Available at: https://www.pinkladyfoodphotographeroftheyear.com/finalists-gallery-2017/ [Accessed 14 May 2017].