Visual Culture Symposium

Recently, we traveled up to London and went to White Rabbit studios for a Symposium from some pretty influential and important figureheads in the photographic world. These included Rod Morris, David Partner(AoP), Emma Critchley, Bridget Croaker(Troika Editions) and Jason Shenai (Millenium Images). The first talk was from Patrick Ford, a commercial photographer who’s worked a lot with the music and fashion industries. Starting off as an Illustrator, he soon wasn’t quite sure which direction he was heading, before he then turned to an obsession with photography. He explained how his illustrative atmosphere, and his outgoing personality, touring with the likes of The Darkness, landed him the offer of creating the “Permission to Land” album cover. This album soon reached number 1 in the music charts, which accomplished Ford’s dream of creating a number 1 album cover. Ford also told us about how fast you have to work in his line of work, juggling around seven different project on top of each other at once. He also explained about a time he was doing a photo shoot with Eminem, but they were very rushed for time, as they were now back stage of Eminem’s gig before he was about to perform, left with no props, he had to be quick thinking and improvise well.


We then had a talk from Clarisse d’Arcimoles, a French fine art photographer who had not long finished her masters degree. After studying at Saint Martins, her end of course exhibition came to the attention of Charles Saatchi, leading to Arcimoles displaying her exhibition on the Saatchi exhibition, a huge privilege. She then explained that later after she had finished her course, project became a lot harder to create, a she would need the equipment, something that she would have had for free whilst she was taking her course. However, Arcimoles found a way around the financial problem by using CrowdFunder, a crowd funding website where you pitch your idea, and the public can offer money towards your ultimate target. Eventually, Clarisse achieved her goal and was able to create an amazing project she had desired to, and is now currently using CrowdFunder to fund her next project.Image

Later on, we had a talk from Keith Jeffrey and Lindsay Hopkinson who is the head photographer in the company Taylor James, a high end creative production studio that has a strong presence in the advertisement industry. They have an office in London and New York and their staffs consists of photographers, graphic designers, computer scientists, post productionists and computer animators . However, they did tell us that their photography is shortening, due to the fact they’re not needed as much in advertising as they used to be, as it comes down to computer animators and post productionists. They went on to mention that cars in adverts are no longer photographs, but complete cgi. They also told us about a project they were doing for virgin airlines with the Manchester united football team, yet the new plans was still being created, leaving Taylor James to create the plane from cgi and place their images of the Manchester united teams in the plane using post production. Showing that cgi and the progress in technology, their creations and abilities are endless. This does begin to worry me, as I wonder where careers in photography will be in a decades time.


By the end of the symposium, I was left with many thoughts, mostly positive and inspirational. I did start wondering where I’ll be by the end of my degree; whether technology has advanced at such a rate that there will not be much use for a professional photographer, or whether I’ll be able to achieve the finance for my goals when I do not have the facilities. However, the general message I got by the end of the symposium is that everyone has their ups and downs in there long lasting careers, some start on downs, and ascend to amazing ups, and visa versa. It also proved that everyone has their moments when they don’t know what direction they’re heading and they don’t know what they’re doing, or whether it will be a success. This has lead my to feel more confident on following my pipe dreams, with the knowledge I will of course have downs in my career, but hopefully amazing positives by the end.


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