• Learning Agreement
  • Film Collaboration
  • Church Collaboration
  • Monday workshop Collaboration
  • Niki and Sam mini Collaboration
  • Salvation Army Event Collaboration

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Learning Agreement

My initial plan was to identify my project concept and research for possible locations. Next, to rope in people who is interested in being a part of the project, who can commit to their time. Depending on the team’s progress, the outcome may turn out differently from my original plan. It would be through this developmental process where I would expect to see the learning outcome.

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Based on my research development, I emailed to the respective organizations of my intentions, as well as put up notices on my Facebook page to attract people. Unfortunately, it had not been fruitful.

  • UEA Geography students
  • UEA environmental society, student President
  • Norfolk Wildlife Trust
  • Mustard TV
  • Third-Year Fashion Student

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Changing Game Plan

As the deadline gets nearer and me without any success, I had to scramble to find ways to get around the problem. This means getting out of my comfort zone and look for opportunities for collaboration outside my area of interest.

As I considered of widening my net, I thought of doing cosplay shoot and do something radical with landscapes and cosplays. I pulled out my best cosplay works and have contacted Diceni, to ask for an opportunity of a collaboration of an outdoor cosplay shoot for the Norfolk Diceni Gaming Event on May 1st, 2016. But again, unfortunately, they did not have any advises or recommendations in that aspect.

But again, unfortunately, they did not have any advises or recommendations in that aspect.

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After Action Review

I then reconsidered my past works over the semester where there could have certain elements of collaboration work.  It was through this process of identifying what works and what not that made me realized that “collaboration” is not just about two or more persons working together to realized common goals, but for it to happened, the plan itself should cater to the interest of both parties.

Reflecting on my lack of success in getting responses and what I could have improved to secure a collaboration work:

  • Be less ambitious of what I had in mind.
  • Find common interest or subjects that people would want to work with.
  • Established a portfolio website for credible reference of my own works.
  • Not solely rely on Facebook, but to consider more possibilities; to cast a wider net.
  • Get out of my comfort zone and start emailing respective organizations.

Conclusion

I did not meet the objectives I have planned earlier in my Learning Agreement. However, I managed to get around the problem despite the many challenges and difficulties. Eventually, I have fulfilled not only one collaboration practices but have also experienced different elements of collaboration. This not only has widened my networking, but I have also picked up many useful skill sets along the way. It is through these photography projects that had enabled me to solidify my research in landscape photography.

I realized that through different means and various situations; for people to be interested in working with me, even landscape photography needs to cater to the interests of both parties. With these collaboration practices learned, I hoped to be in a better position to carry out the plans of my original Learning Agreement for my third-year works and as well as future works.

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This separate piece of work stems out from the film collaboration, which I had worked on time-lapse sequence for our video works. This, in essence, can be considered cross-disciplinary collaboration because throughout this process there were synergy and communication between us even though I was the main person behind the photography work. It was also through my partner’s creative input, the concerns she raised, which had influenced my works. 

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Some of our discussion in our planning includes the locations she could drive to, the kind of visual elements we are looking for, and the challenges we may encounter. Among the locations  visited, Cromer, Sheringham and Mousehold Heath yield the best results for us in the short timespan.

In Cromer, we found a spot away from the caravans and the town. On my risk assessment, it was quite a dangerous spot on the cliff. We made the decision compose the shots as safely as we could. I did the camera works below while I insist that she had to be above me, for safety reasons.

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In Sheringham, after exploring the town, Lucy eventually found a better spot than where I was setting up my camera. So I composed the coastline in contrast with the pathway leading to the town. The only challenge was to get more people walking towards the pathway. Lucy accidentally kicked the tripod just after a few couple frames into time-lapsing. On post production, I realized it was her kick that had ‘corrected’ my composition a little more to the right, just right for an old couple who happened to walked past us.

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Photographing landscapes may take a bit of time, perhaps over a few days of patience. If our busy schedules would allow us to visit the same location, perhaps we would have a better result. As in the case of the Mousehold Heath sequence, it took me a few attempts on location to capture the right atmosphere. What I could have improved upon was perhaps be more communicative and encouraging to my collaboration partner.

With the outcome of the final image produced, it is not exactly a purist landscape picture, but neither too abstract. It sits in the realm of ‘provocative landscapes’ and I would like to think this series of works can be molded into a context to be view in Art galleries or interest Art buyers.

For an overview of this project, click here.
For more indepth progress of this project, click here.

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This photography project was simply a working partnership between the church congregation and me. As the church is currently undergoing infrastructure upgrading works, they needed images to document the condition of the church premise, to be included in their case study report. Some of these images would also appear in their publication newsletters.

On the surface level, this situation resembles a photography work commissioned by the church. However, I have found elements of multidisciplinary collaboration because I needed advisory of the church premises to better understand the contexts; and that the images would be utilized into a different context through the church staff’s newsletter publication design.

The initial communication was established through the pastor, with a mutual agreement that no costs were involved in return for the portfolio exposure. We discussed the date of the shoot, the kinds of angles that they were looking for, and who could assist me with during the actual photography works. Some considerations include concerns of vehicles and people in the frame, the weather forecast, as well as how to get an aerial shot of the premise. I revisited the same shoot again on a sunny day, so they would have a wider variation to choose from.   

Throughout the process, we had maintained constant communication. I understood their requirements, just as they understood my technical constraints I have highlighted. The church staffs were pleasantly surprised at the efficiency of my workflow, that they were able to see my processing methods and get the images immediately after the edit.

In my opinion, the images looked a little like its slipshod work. Perhaps what could have been improved upon was that I could have spent a little more time exploring the premise, framing my camera angles more carefully,as well as take note of the little details of the landscape. I could have brought a gradient neutral density filter on the sunny day shoot.

Also, this project could have been more fulfilling if I would  have, perhaps incorporate the church members when building my visuals, or if there were someone filming the entire working process, behind the scenes, etc. This video material could have been used to promote an awareness of their upgrading cause.

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Property companies would like to promote their properties in the best way possible and I think that this style could be utilized in the property sector as a possible revenue for works. Aestheticised buildings could also be read as an art form, which people may be persuaded to purchase as to remember the location or decorate their walls as an ornament. The only issue perhaps, is the significance of the location or building, to the extent that permission must be granted.

Overall I was glad that they have given me full control in the creative aspect and both parties got what we wanted out of  the project. It has been a pleasure working with them.

Note: the staffs were unable to provide me with their newsletter design at the time of  the deadline submission. I would put up if I have received any. 

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Every workshop session I get to work with new people. What I like about these sessions were that even though the groupings were random (which made the challenge more interesting), everyone who attended was involved in the critical thinking process of the lighting setup. In addition, as a team, we were quite receptive to the suggestions made and were quite supportive of the decisions made. This can be considered as Intra-disciplinary collaboration because everyone are student photographers and the creative input everyone contribute are pertaining to technicalities of a lighting setup in photography. what we get away with are the images we had taken.

One example was in the most recent studio shoot, where we explored the Youngnuo Speedlite system and multiple flash syncs. In my group were Katerina, Kirstie, and Laura.

Katerina volunteered to be the model, and we figured a couple of poses she could do during the shoot. She came prepared with a makeup kit in her bag. We started off with a two point lighting (key light and fill light) and introduced a third flash with an umbrella to assimilate beauty dish. Then, Kirstie suggested putting on purple and orange color gels and we adjusted the lighting accordingly to push the purple tone out.

Next, I suggested exploring the flash from behind, to create rim lighting. Kirstie adjusted the angle of the rim light flash while Laura had pulled in the third Speedlight in front of Katerina’s face. With a bit of time, Kirstie and I explored using my kaleidoscope mirrors with the same setup. Everyone had a go with the shoot before the end of the session. As a team, we were able to produce a few good shots despite the short session. Perhaps if there were a longer time for exploration we would have tried more complex lighting setups.

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As a collaboration team, we have provided constructive suggestions on ways to work around certain challenges, constantly in dialogue with each other for work critiques. We focused on words such as ‘how about’, ‘perhaps consider’, ‘I suggest’ when providing feedbacks with collaboration peers.

As a collaboration team with limited time session, we had attempted various lighting setups, including color gels. We consistently showed our progress during the session and sought the lecturers’ advice for queries and clarifications for better improvement.

What I could have improved upon during the shoot, was the art of directing a shoot and to be more communicative and encouraging to my collaboration partners. The technical skills I could improve upon was to brush up on the finer detail/aspects of lighting techniques in photography and practice more on the seldom-used photo editing techniques.

In this session, I have learned that in any collaboration practices, good communication is extremely important. No roles are too big or too small, and even the smallest details can contribute a lot.

For more infomation about the workshop sessions, click here.

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Although I had not been directly involved in the production shoot, I still enjoyed assisting both photographers during the session. For me, it was the process of coming up with creative solutions to solving technical challenges they have not thought of, as well as taken some behind the scenes shots that gave me much enjoyment in this collaboration work. I guess it’s the attitude of contributing as much in order to a see a project succeed that makes one a valuable asset to a collaboration.

Where moral and ethical issues are of concerned, I have avoided using their image works as part of my reflection. Instead, what I have shown here are the images I had taken. In this instance, all rights of the images I have taken during the shoot would be transferred to them.

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For me, finding collaboration with The Salvation Army – Norwich, social media team came as a complete but pleasant surprise. They needed images as a means to promote their presence in the social media. They needed someone who could do with event photography and through a friend, I happened  to be available to cover a Sunday service event. Before actual photography works could begin, I had to first seek permission from the vicar.

In this situation, this may appear as a work commissioned by The Salvation Army- Norwich. However, evidence of multi-disciplinary collaboration can be found, as there are many disciplines involved in the project: the photographer, the social media (IT) team, and the graphic designer.

The agreement I had established with the social media team person-in-charge was that I would cover the event in return for portfolio exposure. For our agreement on the image rights and the usage, both parties are in favor with shared authorship of the original images, where I would use them for portfolio and image prints while they would use for social media and printed media, not for other commercial use or stock photography websites.

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Capturing event is always fast paced and to be able to capture moments well requires a good amount of experience. some consideration includes how to get to the next spot, and shoot without being too obtrusive. For me, adapting to the new environment and meeting new people in a short timespan had been a challenge, and it is something I constantly strive to improve.

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For the environment and group shots I had used 16-35mm, F2.8 wide angle, and the close-up and any fast pace shots I used 24-105mm, F4.0 zoom lens. By providing a variation of images of a scene, the graphic designer would be able to pick the most suitable image for further editing. Most of my event images are taken in candid shots. I have also considered directing  some staged shots which may be useful for a publicity image.

 

The approach of collaboration is in linear phases, such that photography work comes first, followed by graphic illustration, and then social media. The graphic designer has done quite a fine job creating simple illustrations out of these images. This gives the original images a new context and meanings.

Event photgraphy is a great way to tell a narrative story about a person or an event. However, the job can sometimes be quite demanding and moments can easily be missed. The potentials of carving an income from event photography is possible, but varies depending on the client’s budget and how one photographer can negotiate. Perhaps what I could have done to improve the experience of collaboration, was to establish a more concise communication with my collaborators.

For more information about The Salvation Army in Norwich, click here.

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