Final Conclusion: A Summary of BA2a, BA2b, BA3a & BA3b
Through this two years of intensive research and development of my photographic practices has finally (almost) come to an end. I love my course. I love photography. I loved the people and environment. Most importantly, I loved doing what I do. Thus concludes all the experiences I have accumulated and all works I have done thus far. I have divided my thoughts into six key areas to look into.
The Provocative Landscape
- The Industry
- Self Promotional and Business Plans
- Post University Plans
The Provocative Landscape
In my BA2 works, I explored colours and structural elements in my body of works and “A kaleidoscope of colours” was the result. As I developed my focus into landscape photography later on in BA3, it developed into “The Provocative Landscape” and much of my research had revolved around it.
In my essay, “The Provocative Landscape”, I have proposed that there could be three approaches to reading provocative landscape images: The controversial Image, The Dialectical Image and The Rhetorical Image. These approaches have been helpful in identifying what landscape images can be considered provocative, though sometimes images do not fall into a single category. Thus, I have decided to use many landscape photographers’ works to further elaborate on my point.
I not only look at landscape photographers, but also at art installations, films and listen to music, and to an extent, the photography works I have done have been a response to those influences over the two years of my course work. It is not a matter of straightforward references but rather a subconscious accumulation of experiences which finds its way into the pictures.
As artists and photographers have engaged with a wide variety of techniques and continuously sought to evolve their photographic practices through time, I have found that for some landscape photographers, it is not the technique that makes an image provocative, but the interaction between the image (how it was created) and the audience (what kind of emotion does it evoke) that makes the image provocative. Provocative landscapes could also be from a religious point of view, as though a sign from the heavens, since the chances of encountering such phenomenon are very rare. How these research has informed my photography works was through my two series, “Allenmanstretten” and “Pandora’s Box”.
In the pursuit of better quality in my photography, I have sort of evolved from full frame cameras though exposure of other works and understanding the limitations when I consider for large prints. Though I have not used a medium format camera for most of my landscape works due to logistical constraints, but that should not stop me from dreaming bigger. I think I am ready for medium format cameras!
Just like the many photographers before me who set out to explore the potential of landscape photography. We wished, for a number of reasons, to work against, or at least question, some of the accepted conventions of landscape photography, and I certainly realised that there was much ground for me to explore. As my experience in research and planning continue to evolve with my knowledge of the landscape constantly with paradigm shifts, This has grown into a sort of personal preoccupation, to a point where it has become one of my primary interests. This was also thanks to the pieces of advice from the tutors and peers and industry professionals whom through these critique sessions have constantly challenged me to outperform myself in surprising ways.
Though this is only a point of my photographic practices, it is a never-ending learning experience. These practices will continue to change and evolve. Who knows what future holds when my practices evolved again!
The point of understanding how my practices are relevant to my industry is an important one. Through market research, understanding differences between the UK market and Singapore market and setting up interview questions for those professionals already in the Singapore industry, meant that while I am in the UK, I have to commodate my works to cater the interest of both groups of audiences. But when I return back home, I will cater predominantly towards the local group of audience. To survive in a small and competitive market, it has been the way that the more skills one can acquire, the better the chance of being hired. The current practice of the industry in the region is not healthy, but that is the way it is.
Self Promotional & business Plans
The point of understanding the relevancy of my practices to my industry is an important market research. Identifying the key differences between the UK and Singapore market and interviewing professionals already in the industry led me to a better understanding of how my industry actually works and how my business can fit in.
Figuring out a business plan that will work for me takes time and refinement. There are no hard and fast rules than I can complete this within a school semester. My original objective was to set up shop to make some money off my prints. Yet if I were to bring this business back to Singapore, the environment there is will not be the same. Setting up a business is a daunting task, especially if I were to bring the business back home. I have no experience in this area and it is going to be a different ball game. I could research as much as I can, but unless I tried it out and get some experience out first hand, I won’t know how it is really like. But in any case, if my business model doesn’t work out, I will need to consider other options, such as changing my plans, collaborate with another creative to sell products, etc.
Understanding the market needs also meant that my portfolio works have to cater to these groups of audience. Hence I opted for Press Kit boxes; a balance of digital and hardcopy prints. The reason I am favouring press kits over large portfolio boxes or photo albums is because in Singapore market has a different mentality compared to the UK. As for the mode of showing portfolios, both clients and vendor tend to prefer the convenience of the portfolio than showing something big. This means that the people generally prefers everything online and digital. However, if a tactile box with lots of interesting items might entice them to work with the photographer.
I have had an unsuccessful collaboration attempts in BA2 works due to my unfamiliarity of the UK work environment. But through the collaboration work with Fahim in BA3bhas enabled me to discover other fields of industries where landscape imagery can be relevant (other than car adverts) – the game industry in areas of environmental concept designs, as well as the movie industry. As game artists and visual effects artist have exemplified using references of elements of landscapes to build an imaginary landscape, it is possible to interpret a provocative landscape in the form of a utopian/dystopian world. In regards to the Singapore industry, game design and Visual effects companies are more prevalent there than car advertising. There is LucasFilm and there is ILM branch in Singapore. These are the prominent ones, and such projects are usually collaborative ones.
Post University Plans
“Carry on with life, get married, have children and grow old.”
No, seriously, a lot of people have begun to ask me about my plans post university. Industry professionals asked me if I could work in the UK. The answer is No. This is because of the current political situation in the UK. With the Brexit situation going on, major businesses are moving away from the UK and into Europe. This also meant that I will have to fight a lot harder and at a more disadvantaged position.
UK friends outside of Uni have asked me what I am going to do next. Most likely set up my own business when I get back home. Either that for I find a production company to get more photography-related work experience.
Peers have asked me if I were to continue Masters. The answer is No. the reason is two-fold. Firstly, a year of degree course for a non-EU student is already a lot higher than what the local students are complaining about (imagine what you could do with £4000 difference) and I am not eligible for any bursary nor under any scholaship awards. Simply put, it is not sustainable for me financially. Secondly,
Secondly, Masters in Photography is completely unheard of back in Singapore, because photography in the sense isn’t recognised as a niche profession. what is important to do photography in Singapore is the work experience. If I were to study a Masters, most likely I would consider doing Masters in Multimedia locally, where both photography and film production falls under the same umbrella. perhaps, if I were to consider teaching photography as a profession in the longer run, I may consider. Hence I’m not pursuing Masters at the moment.