Posted on August 28, 2012
A lot of young people ask me, especially at this time of year, whether they should do a degree in photography, my advice is this, and it is only my opinion. -
A degree tells an employer that you have the self motivation to complete 3 years of study and produce a body of work. It’s not school, you don’t have to be there. If two people turn-up for a job, both interview well and both have great personalities, but only one has a degree – the one with the degree will almost definitely get the position. However, having a degree in photography won’t necessarily get you a job as a photographer. This year alone, thousands of students left universities with some kind of photographically related degree. Most of them are now unemployed or are working in an office or a building society. There simply aren’t enough jobs to go round.
If you want to be a photojournalist, study something like politics or history, a portrait photographer should look at anthropology or sociology and I think somebody who’d like to become the worlds next big-shot surf photographer will find 3 years reading oceanography or meteorology a lot more beneficial. You can tie photography into all of these courses and there’s also the added ‘belt and braces’ advantage – when you emerge, riddled with student debt, after 3 years and you can’t walk into that dream photography job, you’ll have a much more usable degree.
“But how do I learn about photography?1″ I hear you say – every university will have a photography club or society of some kind, join that and make friends with photography and art students – they have free access to equipment and darkrooms and they also throw the best parties.
Only a genuine passion in the medium will get you anywhere in photography…and for the record, I don’t have a degree, and apart from a night class when I was 19, I’ve never studied photography.
Posted on August 12, 2012
Serendipity, the pleasant surprises, happen a lot in film photography because there is so much that can go wrong – knocking a dial here, forgetting to change setting there. My favourite is forgetting to change the film speed, I regularly shoot film at the totally wrong ISO. Most film cameras have a little slot on the back where you can slide-in a piece of the film packaging to remind you what emulsion you’re shooting, but I usually forget to do that.
So, I’ll wait until I’ve shot 15 or 20 rolls of film, that can take a day or up to two weeks, before I send them off for processing. The developed films return in a big fat brown package. I always do a quick preview in the kitchen, because that’s where the dustbin is, I hold the sheets of negatives up to the window and decide what’s coming down to the basement with me. The only victims that end-up in the bin are the sheets of celluloid that are completely blank, the ones that are so vastly over or under exposed as to render them useless. These are the negatives that are totally black, or completely see-through. For each one that goes into the bin I mutter “well that was a waste of eight pound…”
I think that for every 30 usable rolls, I’ll get 1 or 2 ‘wasters’, the rest, as long as there is some form of image on the negative, are usable. And this is what I love about film – the mystery of your ‘mistakes’ that don’t reveal themselves for days, sometimes weeks after they’re made. This never happens when you’re shooting digital, with technology where it is, it’s actually almost impossible to screw-up. The likes of Canon and Nikon have invested a huge amount of time and money into insuring that you can’t take a bad photo, this is why the back of your average digital camera looks like the control panel of The Starship Enterprise.
All the images here are made using a Holga GCFN camera, which is more prone to causing mistakes than most other film cameras…
Posted on August 5, 2012
I took a few cameras to Mannifest music festival with me, all analogue, the only digital camera I had with me was my iPhone. I shot quite a few portraits on medium format, mostly black and white. I’ve been shooting quite a bit on Fuji Instax instant film recently, so I packed the camera and 5 packs of film, that’s 100 sheets of film. There was no way I was going to shoot 100 sheets of film, was there? Between 11am and 4pm on Saturday I shot the lot…
I love the look of this Fuji film, but I have heard rumours that it’s about to be discontinued, which will be a disaster! Time to start panic-buying.
It rained on Saturday, and it RAINED. I don’t do mud, so I spent Sunday at home, drinking pints of tea and eating cake.
All images are the property of Phil Kneen. Please do not use these images for ANYTHING without my prior permission. Thank you.
Posted on August 5, 2012
This latest affair is costing me a fortune. I ordered 5 packs of Fuji Instant film to take to Canada with, that’s 100 pictures, I’ve already shot it all. I was going to use some of the film on a model shoot tomorrow, no chance of that now!
I’ve been at Mannifest,one of our summer music festivals here on the Isle of Man,all weekend, I’ve just nipped home to pick-up more film, have a bath and drink a gallon of tea. I’ve got about 50 shots of the festival taken on Instant, I’ll post those in the week. I don’t know how much film I shot…but it was a lot! I also lost the back of my Holga, two lens caps and the dogs coat.