Past Speakers

Here are the list of Guest Speakers and my takeaways from the session.

Katy White –  After the Race (WIP)
Carol Sharp – Still life Commercial
Andy Earl – Moving Images
Lottie Davies – Portraiture Commercial
Scott Grummett – Still life Commercial
Dean Chalkley – Portraiture
Katy Lessen – Stylist
Kitty Gale – ….

Guest Speaker: Carl Bigmore

Carl Bigmore completed a Masters in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication in 2014. His 2015 my project Between Two Mysteries has been shortlisted for the European Publishers Award for Photography, won the Metro Imaging Mentorship Award and is represented by the photographic agency INSTITUTE Artists.

Carl showed us some of his earliest works, which he found an interest in photography during his college years; a testimony to the progress of his photography skills. He stresses that we may not be proud of our older works now, but it does shows the progress of one’s photographic journey. Through the series of his body of works, Carl considers himself a storyteller in every image he create. This is particularly evident in most of his personal works which eventually landed him on his first commission work, a news print.

Carl believed personal work can led us into commercial work and that we have to believe in our own voice. Case in point: In ‘Through the trees’ series, he explores the relationship between people and landscapes. it was a passion project which eventually found its way in an opportunity for exhibition gallery in Toronto, Canada.

Carl later developed an interest in a documentary project,  the idea of peole living in citybut interested in living in the countryside.  As he sets out to to work on this project he met strangers and amazing people along the way. it was becuase of meeting these random people, he found an opportunity to go abroad teach photography.In his next series was his breakthrough in photography. Influenced by the popular cultures, film and media of the North West Ameria,’Between two Mysteries’ was an exploration of fantsay in America and its reality, but with a focus on environmental region. Through this project he came across many people who lived in the region.

In Carl’s most recent kick-starter campaign project, “State of Changes” focuses on the climate change in America. it was also his exposure in prodcing moving images. Carl understood that the Editorial market are always looking for new works and fresh imagery to include in their magazines.

Carl shows that it was through this kind of freelance photography which made it possible for him to network with different people. it was also because of such opportunities and exposures which enable him to be involved in a myraid of works, such as Charity works, Personal works, Newspaper, Editorials Magazine, Prints, exhibitions, etc.

Last but not least, his encoruagmeent to us was to try look beyond UK, to expose our works as much as possible, through festivals, competitions, etc.

Royal photographic society
Getty images grants
Len culture awards
Magenta flash forward
Ian parry scholarship
CENTER’s  project launch and project Development Grant
Lucie Foundation Emerging Scholarship
Dorothea Lange – Paul Taylor Prize 
Burn Magazine Emerging Photographer Fund

“Think of Networking as building a community. People what to see you active even if its not commission works.” Carl Bigmore

In your personal projects, do you conceive the narrative element first or do the shoot first?
How do you find locations?
Do you think there are similar locations in UK?

Guest Speaker: Jillian Edelstein

Jillian Edelstein is a London based, freelance, portrait/documentary photographer. She has worked for many publications and has been exhibited and published worldwide.

In the lecture, Jillian Edelstein describes her photography in reference to a cultural heritage, and more about the decisive moment. She focuses on the African Culture and issues, on portraiture, picking moments which significantly reflects something poignant about images, with a narrative story. it is about developing the “photographer’s eye”.

In her photo series ‘truth and lies’, Jillian Edelstein admits she sometimes direct images if her subjects are traumatized by circumstances. Objects that portray the characteristics of her subjects help to bring out the narrative element; perhaps to signifies anger. the whole idea was, to identify the quintessential of the image.

Most of her works were portraitures but with a documentary approach to her subjects. This sometimes poses an issue, that is, to look at subjects in ‘colonial eyes’.  I wanted to find out if this was true of her.

Hence, I raised a question:
Do you consider your images having a provocative element?

Admittedly, yes, but subtly. She uses humour to ‘make fun’ of situations, poking fun at the establishment. In essence, it is anything that creates comments is a success in ‘provocation’.

Through her responses, I found that there are many approaches to creating provocative images. For Jillian Edelstein, the provocativeness is not in the image, but what the audience make of. This response had been useful in my essay report.

Saul Leiter: In No Great Hurry

In No Great Hurry: 13 Lessons in Life with Saul Leiter.


American photographer and painter, Saul Leiter, was a pioneer of color photography. He was best known for his iconic fashion and art photography and remained relatively unsung until he was rediscovered by curators and critics in his early 80s.

Photographing for magazines including Esquire, Vogue, and Harper’s Bazaar, Leiter also frequently worked in and around his home city of New York. Since the publication of his 2006 monograph Saul Leiter: Early Color, Leiter became known for his vibrant color street photographs.

In this documentary, directed by Tomas Leach,  In No Great Hurry: 13 Lessons in Life With Saul Leiter (2012) follows Saul as he deals with the triple burden of clearing a houseful of memories, becoming world-famous in his eighties, and fending off a pesky filmmaker.

His Mother bought him his first camera, a Detrola, and taught him how to use. His decision to pursue arts, painting, caused considerable pain to his father, an Orthodox rabbi, and a reputable scholar. He was encouraged to persue photography by his friend, abstract expressionist painter, Richard Pousette-Dart.

2. Colours
He enjoyed looking with his camera. He receive a lot of negative comments about using colour photography at the time but was not bothered by these comments. Pioneer in colour photography? “I don’t know, I don’t care!”

3. A legacy
Saul Leiter was never driven by the lure of conventional success. Instead, he preferred to drink coffee and photograph in his own way, amassing an archive of gorgeous work piled high in his New York City apartment. He was interested in many things, but not obsessed. He does not worry as long as he keeps doing what he does.

4. The ways to God
Leiter wanted to be free from those nobilities, religions and stuff. He once wrote a poem,’The ways to God’. If kindness interfered with the quest for knowledge, better to get rid of it. He did not expect to have a book about him. He felt he had not spent his life important.

5. Taking photography seriously
From the beginning, certain people showing photographs in a certain artistic way. Leiter didn’t think it was important to take photographs, it was more of an interest, and he wasn’t too friendly with other photographers, or people who wanted to show his images.  Some ppl connect his works to abstracts, but he doesn’t feel it that way.

Saul Leiter believes that everything is suitable to photograph. The world teaches you all kinds of things.

6. Staying Still
Interesting to see how Reiter interact which his subjects as he goes about in his street photography. “Now don’t move, wait a minute, wait a minute….”

7. When through the series of contact sheets with his ‘right-hand woman’, Margit, she was surprised that Leiter’s photography style never changed; It remained the same more than thirty years, despite the change of camera technology. For Leiter, it was more of the enjoying capturing moments. “Barely think of myself. Think of as painting.”

8. Leiter was a singularly gifted photographer because he never stopped looking at life with a painter’s eye for composition and abstraction. he tends to react to what he had found. He always tells people, “the moment you start doing prints, you become a better photographer.”

9. Some fashion images were influenced by other things.There were people who didn’t allow him to do what he wanted to do. They did something good,  so he did something bad.

 10. Tickling your left year.
“My photographs were meant to tickle your left ear.”

11. Sharing Art
 The Soames of that title was his longtime friend, muse and lover, Soames Bantry, a model turned painter. She died in 2002. “Love comes and goes,” he wrote in a short elegy to her. “Friendship is sometimes better, but not always … Our lives were intertwined … We stumbled through life together.” They lived in the same building on separate floors and both experienced financial hardship.

  12. No reason to rush
There are some things which people think are important, where they not really are. … “I like it when one is not certain what one sees. When we do not know why the photographer has taken a picture and when we do not know why we are looking at it, all of a sudden we discover something that we start seeing. I like this confusion.”

13. A search for beauty
Saul Reiter believes there is such a thing as ‘a search for beauty’. He considers it worthwhile for one to pursue their perceived forms of beauty.

All in all, this film was a soulful documentary. What I like about this film was how much humour he found in absolutely everything, his interaction which the filmaker over the few sessions made both relationship closer, and the whole filming session becomes very open, honest and enjoyable experience. Saul Leiter died on 26 November 2013, in New York City.

Hayley Louisa Brown: Editorial

Hayley is a fashion and portrait photographer and also founder and Creative Director of BRICK magazine. Her commercial clients include Adidas, Universal Music, Maxi and Juju. 

Hayleys lecture did not really engage me much, however, as a more experienced photographer, she offered some advice for us.

For fashion magazine shoots, we need to do what we like and not what people wants. if we are interested in portraiture, we have to keep shooting it and experiment. Try using medium format cameras for the best quality.

sometimes magazines messes with the photographers they collaborate with. the best solution is to set the boundaries before the beginning of the shoot. this stresses the importance of photographer and model release forms, etc.

James A. Grant: Fashion

James A. Grant is a fashion and portrait photographer, and has worked as a freelance photographer’s assistant for Miles Aldridge, Tyrone Lebon, Brett Lloyd, Ben Weller. Among others, he continued to receive a MA in Fashion Photography at London College of Fashion.

Since 2013 he continued to work as a freelance photographer, harmonising his fine art training and fashion experience for a dynamic style of photography. he now shoots for both editorial and commercial clients.

Some background information about guest photographer James:

  • Interested in staging things & shots
  • Competitive, have to fight for it. Have to go seek it.
  • BA spent most time documenting spaces, landscapes.
  • After BA went back to people: commercial
  • Realised enjoyed collaborating with people.
  • Background in analogue camera

James spent 2.5 years in Cambodia.he advised that to establish our place in the photography business, it is better that our first job as an assistant is to get the work experience, but work for free. It is always handy to have extra set of hands for the photographer; free labour.

Other advises include:

  • Be confident, keep pushing yourself
  • Making fine art, but using fashion as medium.
  • try doing guerrilla style shoots by going different locations and shoot

Stressing on the importance of education, James noted that student can explore things which they may not do so outside school there is no point in creating work that is not interested us, or get us marks. Needs to be something important, that we are connect to and to investigate.

Create epic & everyday: 108 girls in 3 hrs
Shout at them : recorded 6 different things he said to them at capture.

  • What is your approach to portrait
  • Force a portrait to have a moment, through provoking questions.
  • A wow factor, but him creating it.

Following Fashion
Directed portrait vs Undirected portrait; Pushing subject with what he could do with camera.

The approach to shooting is to understanding production. and  the best way is to assist someone bigger and better and you. Don’t try take on a project you cant handle. It is okay to start out with smaller budget and lighting equipment. Keep it real simple: Its not about the environment, dress, makeup, but the focus on the subject. Budget always coming out of your pocket for editorial.

The link between Personal work & commercial

  • focus on your own style and aesthetic interest.
  • The way to establish is to do what you do, and allow people to employ you.
  • “I love your work; I think My aesthetic would fit your brand.” Etc.
  • luck and timing.
  • They like the choice of casting.


  • Classic fashion works.
  • Important to focus on personal works, not conform to works that please other people.

Approaches to infiltrate the industry.

  • Old school: wait for the big one go higher up, and you fill in.
  • Studio
  • Assistant | Digital operator | Retoucher

All in all I have learnt a lot in James’ lecture. There were a lot of good advises as to how a professional photographer can start out in the industry.

Kasia Wozniak : Wet Plate

Kasia Wozniak, is a photographer who specialises in the Wet Plate Collodion process, which is one of the earliest photography techniques dating back to the beginning of the nineteenth century. Intrigued by how photographic images can become an object in its own right in today’s digital image making, Kasia is fascinated by the idea of creating a photographic image that is permanent and fragile, encapsulating the bespoke element of the photograph. Her work questions the authenticity of the image and how we view photographs today.

As she shares her working style, Kasia reveals she enjoys walking around new places and that people on the streets are a more interesting subject for her wet plate photography, and she prefers to connecting with people, which are important especially after her university.

Whenever the opportunity arises, Kasia would choose a mix of students and designers for her photography shoot collaborations. As for her subjects, she feels male subjects are easier to connect. Due to the nature of the tedious development process of wet plate photography, she stresses that each and every studio shoot needs to be thoroughly  planned. Some of her wet plates approaches are experimental to reflect the individual subject, such as cutting images physically or paint colours onto it, etc.

Through her lecture, I realised these traditional techniques have now become a niche area of photography. As much as these old techniques are no doubt fascinating to learn, it questions the sustainability of business income as compared to its digital counterpart remains much debated.

My question was how would a commission work be charged.

  • Depends on situation
  • The type of expenses & post process considerations

All in all, I feel that the responses were more general.

However, Kasia did open up on one detail which I have not really thought about previously: Why not use professional models?

Professional models want the shoot to be done fast; quickly in and out. They are not really engaged with the photo. Amateurs are better because it engages them with the photos.