Last week I travelled to the UK for the Face to Face Event and Symposium hosted at Falmouth University. It was a great experience, and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet the faculty and my classmates in person after 18 months studying remotely.
I participated in a number of workshops. I was interested in experimenting with digital medium format over the coming months, and the session led by Stella gave me a much better understanding of the cameras. I had been considering using digital medium format to make some fine, close up portraits of community members in central Oregon, to compliment the images I have already made. Jesse recently introduced me to the work of Paul Kranzler, who uses this style with great affect in his series The Drake Equation. However, getting hands on experience with the Mamiya Leaf system made me realize that this wouldn’t be the correct tool for me - As Stella noted, these cameras really work best in the studio environment, it would be hard to work in the field with this camera. I’m going to attempt to get some close up portraits with my current camera and see if they are successful, before experimenting with smaller digital medium format systems such as the mirrorless Fuji GFX.
I participated in two analog workshops - machine film processing and color darkroom printing. Both were enjoyable and reminded me of both the pros and cons of analog processes! Whilst I aim to continue working with digital for the time being, I recognize the strong technical foundation I gained learning with film in college and on my BA. It was a a good refresher to analyze prints coming out of the color darkroom for casts and understand what adjustments needed to be made. My final workshop, ‘Prep for Digital Print’, was particularly useful at this stage of the MA. It was great to sharpen up my skills in this area as I begin making plans to publish my work.
The most beneficial experience of the week was the day of critiques. It was incredibly emboldening to receive positive feedback on the work from many new viewers. I agreed with the overall consensus the Witness Marks has the potential to be a successful book, and that I must keep working with same enthusiasm I have for the project to make this a reality. The positive reaction my images received whilst in the UK made me consider the best audience for my work, and I have begin considering hosting my FMP exhibition in England where there seems to be a keen interest in the series.
Although I was unable to stay for the entire symposium, I was very grateful to hear Michelle Sank speak about her work with youth, including the series My.Self, in which she photographed young people from the Black County in their bedrooms. I find myself increasingly interested in the experience of children and teenagers living in central Oregon communities, and I plan to contact Michelle to talk about this aspect of my work.