Learning From Experience

Reflection of previous work and what I learned from that experience:

I produced a photography portfolio in 2016 for my photography course at West Lothian College. Before I began the course I took a trip to California, while I was there I took over three thousand photos on the camera my dad gave me. Now at the time of taking the photos I didn’t think I would use them for anything other than memories for a keep sake. But once I started college I looked through them and realised that they were actually really good and that I could use them for the course. The photos I decided to use from the endless amount pictures my obviously shutter happy hand took from the trip was the ones I took in San Francisco.

I hadn’t had any experience in photography before so everything was very new to me and I had a lot to learn. In the beginning I learned about cameras, how they work and about composition, visual language and how to edit. After getting a better understanding of it all I started working on editing my San Francisco photographs for my final project.

Now for me editing was the easiest part of the portfolio, it was actually the written and theory part of the course I struggled with. I had always had trouble throughout school with theory parts of lessons so it was no surprise when I had gotten my results back at the end of that course to say I had failed that part. I discovered that I find it easier to write myself a checklist of all the points I need to discuss in written pieces. It keeps me right and it helps me make sure I’m on the track, I now apply that method to all work I do.

What I learned while editing my portfolio is that I have a specific style and method when in the editing process. It’s hard to explain the style and method but even after graduating school I carried over the skills I developed from the course and apply it to any photography work I do now. So in the course I discovered my own personal style and even to this day it develops into more as I keep discovering new techniques in transforming different photos.

What could I have done differently? Well, at the end of the course on results day I came to the realisation that I didn’t follow the guidelines 100%, I had edited a series of ten photographs and I believe two of them were in a completly different style. We were told that we had to write descriptions and explanations of how and why we edited the photographs the way did and what I had submitted wasn’t exactly detailed enough to the standard of the course. What I learned from the results was that I shouldn’t be too afraid to ask for help and a little guidance when it comes to writing in a standard that is required.

Below are only eight out of the ten final photographs:

Over the years I have gone back and re-edited a lot of the photographs. Some of these have been my favourite photography pieces not only because of the memories that they hold but the fact that (in my opinion) the best work I’ve ever produced had/has been unintentional or accidental, they were never planned or thought out. These photos were taken purely out of being memorised by the beautiful city that I had the honour of exploring and falling in love with.

Something else that I learned is that any work that I plan and over think has never turned out as great as it would have been if it was spontaneous. Purely because of the fact that sometimes creativity comes in a time when you’re not confined to rules and guidelines.

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