I had the pleasure of attending this year’s face to face on the Falmouth University’s Penryn campus. I participated in several workshops, reconnected with cohort mates and staff and met new MA students. This year’s experience proved far more useful than last, primarily due to the difference between being little more than 2 weeks into the first module and being more than a year into the course. It is not an exaggeration to say that I was a deer in the headlights last year, a bit overwhelmed and far less prepared to take full advantage of what was on offer. That is certainly not to say it was not valuable, because it did create and cement bonds with others in my cohort that proven invaluable throughout the course, and I did get somethings out of the workshops I attended. This year’s workshops were better, and I was also much more ready to derive benefit from them.
The studio workshop with Matt Jessop was excellent and the review of lighting techniques and their practical application taught a great deal, not only about studio work which I don’t do, but about examining photographs in a way that revealed the lighting techniques used and in better understanding how lighting, natural and artificial, might be used in my outdoor work. The follow-on day working with Speedlights and how they could be used to control or affect ambient light conditions was especially instructive and useful, and I plan to experiment with those techniques in the field during some planned night work.
I also thought the prep for print workshop was much better this time than last and combined with an additional year of working with primarily Lightroom, but also with Photoshop I was in a better position to reap the benefit of that class as well. There are several small details in the final stages of preparing for the printing itself that I picked up and am looking forward to testing.
I also subjected myself to three portfolio reviews knowing full well I was risking getting too many opinions and coming away nothing but confused. Fortunately, that was mitigated to a degree my confidence in the work and the knowledge that I had offered excerpts from three related but separate series that were used to experiment with approaches to potential FMP subjects. It was interesting though how one set of reviewers could not seem to separate the three series and chose to grab bits from each that could be edited to create a typological series. It is not something I had necessarily considered, so it was good to have that raised as an option. Overall the work was viewed as having good promise and in some cases even more positive than that, so I was pleased with the progress I have made.
The weekend symposium on titled “The Living Image” was in the main quite good as well. I particularly enjoyed the keynote presentations by Dr. Gary McLeod, and Mark Klett/ Byron Wolfe as much of my work has involved rephotography. I was quite familiar with the work of the latter having read quite a lot on their projects, and it was nice to hear them talk about it. Additionally, I found useful the talks by the FMP students, in particular the insights into the processes they undertook despite the diversity of their individual projects.