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Profile (September 2015)

After 7 months of studying photography, I revisit my OCA student profile before starting my next study module, context and narrative.


I began this course after rediscovering an interest in photography during my overseas travel with my work. What a great way to discover a new place and do something more useful than while away the hours in ex pat bars! I found in particular an interest in street photography, where I would become lost in time as I searched for subjects.

My day-job and my professional training are thought by many as a little cold and analytical – an accountant, running an internal audit group for a multinational (hence the travel). But much of my time is spent meeting and interviewing  people – it seems that some of the psychology of that work is in the work portrait photographers, who I have seen in action during documentaries (most recently Richard Avedon).  Also, there is a similar search for meaning in and the understanding of events. As an enthusiastic guitar player – a poor combination with international travel – my passion has been with the arts and I’m enjoying exploring how much of the skills I’ve honed in something completely different can be applied to the art of photography.

It is important to me that I can travel light with my camera, so my Canon DSLR was exchanged for a mirrorless camera, a Fuji X-T1, with Fujinon prime lenses and an old Nikkor telephoto lens (used manually). If I need to travel even lighter, I use a Panasonic LX100 with its fixed Leica zoom lens.

The first module of the course, appropriately named expressing your vision, opened my eyes to the potential of photography as a medium of communication beyond its everyday aesthetic purpose. I’ve also moved on from a perspective of putting a higher value on found images than constructed images, to a focus on what can be represented, or what message can be conveyed by a photo regardless of how it was made. I’ve also become more comfortable working with images in colour.

I’ve not yet found my vision or style but currently have a preference for images that appear to be sculpted and shaped by the photographer over straight photographs. For example, I enjoy the light and shade in the work of Joel Meyerowitz and Bill Brandt, even though their subject matter was quite different. In C&N, I’m looking forward to exploring more the meaning and purpose of photographs.

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