G F Smith

Yesterday Anete and I went over to G F Smith to talk to them about printing and framing some photographs for a second exhibition that we would like to do. Whether we do it or not depends entirely on the cost and so we thought a brief chat with one of the members of staff that came to talk to us at college last year might be a good idea.

We were welcomed into the office and immediately offered a tour of the photographic part of the factory. Linked servers allow the photographs and photographic album/book pages that are received into the Sales office to be sent across to the factory. These are then fed into ‘Thelma’ and ‘Louise’, the two photographic printers. We also watched as the technician changed a roll of photographic paper inside the ‘dark room’ area of the machine before he checked on the levels in the chemical baths. He showed us also where the machines dry the paper so that the finished print comes up ready to be moved on to the next stage.

A team of people put the books together with one person guillotining the photographic pages precisely and then individually creasing every page. Another uses an air gun to clean the pages of any dust and places them with boards between. The boards are slightly tacky and when heated in an oven the glue firmly adheres to the pages. The books are allowed to cool down naturally and are pressed overnight before being passed to the packing area where the cover is added and they are placed in a presentation box before being sent to the customer.

It was a really interesting experience and the care and pride that goes into making these books is incredible. We were shown two books that had been pulled and reprinted because they had the tiniest flaw on them. These flaws were so small and hard to see but the team were adamant that the books would be perfect when they were delivered to the customer. I found it very reassuring that they would take as much care over my prints and books as I would.

They are going to quote us for some prints and frames and we have offered to display some of their promotional material in exchange for a discount.

Final Major Exhibition

This week we spent some time discussing what we would like to do for our final major exhibition. It is going to be held on 3 June 2016 for two weeks at the Hull School of Art and Design on Queens Gardens in Hull and will be part of the final degree show for all of the courses.

We have previously agreed that we would create photographs at A0 size and that they would be mounted on foam board as we all agreed that no borders would make them all the same but also suit all of the different photographic styles. We went for large prints as we want them to have an impact as people are looking around. We feel that less is more and that fewer large photos will be better than lots of smaller images. With my photos being panoramas I can either print my photos at A0 and cut down the blank edges or go for something larger. I am tempted to go for a size that is 1.5 or even 2 A0 portrait next to each other. I don’t know if that is possible or if I would have to put a join in them and then how would that detract from the overall feel of the image?

I’m going to get prices and negotiate with the printer while others in the group are going to liaise with someone to help us hang the prints, talk to someone about projecting or display our portfolios on a screen, creating vinyl gallery stickers and any other jobs we think of.

We had a further discussion about how to hang the photos and the technician at the college is going to make us some ‘split batons.’ Half of the baton will be screwed to the wall and the other half will be glued to the back of the photos and then one half of the baton will hook onto the other causing the photos to stand proud of the wall. We liked the idea of having some distance between the photos and wall allowing visitors to focus on our images without distractions.

We should have access to a large monitor and need to consider the portfolio images that we would like to use on there. Personally I think I would like to include further images from this project and copies of the paintings I am reproducing but I will need to see what others in the group think first.

We already have a group name that we chose last year and are going to continue calling ourselves Lasting Impressions. We have a Facebook page already at https://www.facebook.com/PhotographyExhibitionLastingImpressions/ and will start to post things on there soon so that we can build interest. I have updated the logo from last time and because we mainly used the red logo last time, we will pick another colour to use as the main colour this time. A square logo will be used on Facebook while the other logos can be used on leaflets and posters.

We also had a look around the space that we will be using and measured out how many photos we will have room for. Those of us that were there also picked out the spots that we preferred. We also discussed the style of photos we were taking and what would look good next to others. Eventually, we came up with the following plan.

Floor Plan

We also discussed whether we should serve food and drinks but decided we would stick with the refreshments that the college will be serving.

Finally we discussed having a table near the screen that would display our exhibition synopsis and postcards (not business cards) of our images.

The Stranger’s Tale

Yesterday we called in to look around an exhibition in Hull Library called The Stranger’s Tale by Quentin Budworth. It included photographs of refugees, asylum seekers and migrant workers, their stories and volunteers at Open Doors, an organisation that supports them.

The exhibition is part of an ongoing project called Untold Stories that tells the stories of ordinary people in Hull in the run up to the City of Culture.

The photographs were of individuals with various illustrations relating to them or their country of origin photoshop’d in the background. The photos themselves were quite interesting although some of the photoshop work could have been a bit better.

IMG_0452The accompanying stories were printed at the same size as the photographs and took quite a long time to read. So long in fact that I gave up reading them part way round the room. Most of the stories were from very genuine people who were escaping real danger and looking for a safer life. A few however left me a little disturbed they were from men who had left Syria and Iran because it was too dangerous for them to stay there. They seemed to be quite content to leave their wives and children behind in such a dangerous place though. Another man had left China because of the one child rule, his wife was too ill to go through the sterilisation operation and because he didn’t want to be sterilised himself he had run away to England. Apart from their appalling attitude towards women, I was most disturbed that each of these men had been granted leave to stay in the UK.

The exhibition was certainly thought provoking and started a good discussion. I’m not sure how much benefit the project is or how much it might contribute to ill feelings towards asylum seekers. When I asked Quentin Budworth about his view on this he was very quick to say that it wasn’t for him to put a spin on the exhibition. He just took the photographs, told the stories and allowed us to make our own mind up.

A Strangers Tale
Taken by Anna Beal http://www.bluebeany.com

http://bluebeany.com/

Budworth told us that the project began back in April. It is only in recent weeks that the topic has become so hot and at the beginning he took the decision to simply tell the stories. He likes the idea of narrative with imagery. The long texts were written, often without names as people wanted to remain anonymous. The short text underneath the photographs was from spoken interviews, some remaining very short as they were happy to have their photograph taken but didn’t want to give much information away.

The images used in the background of the photographs came from a variety of sources including wiki commons. The photographs and long texts were printed by Scribes and mounted on foamex. Budworth had distributed leaflets himself and through the local libraries as well as setting up a dedicated website, facebook and twitter accounts to accompany the exhibition.

When asked about how he makes a living Budworth explained that he received some funding for this project although there was limited profit within the funding. He took this on because he wanted to do something to support Open Doors. When pressed further he was very adamant to say that he would never give his services away for free. He is an artist and if someone came to him and commissioned him to do something he would expect to be paid fairly whether they were a charity or not, otherwise he would not accept the commission.

Budworth went on to tell explain a little about his next project Chavocracy which sounds a lot more fun.

Hull International Photography Festival

I had planned to meet a friend for lunch today and as she is another keen photographer I asked if she would like to have a look around some of the HIP exhibitions before we ate.

We began by looking at The Kings of England by HIP Artistic Director Graeme Oxby in HIP Gallery 4. It is a collection of bright photos of Elvis Presley impersonators, fans and memorabilia. Photos are presented in large, gold, ornate picture frames against grey walls which I think works really well and adds to a sense of opulence around the king.

There were several different styles of photography mixed up in the same display. There were some ‘live’ photos of Elvis impersonators on stage or captured naturally, but there were also some staged or posed photos, some of which were heavily edited and then there were a few cultural photos of fans in their home or of their accessories. While the variety made it interesting I felt that if it had been laid out with the different style of photography together it would have told more of a story as you walked around the room. I also thought that the ‘cut out’ photographs were a bit out of place and could have done with not being included.

The addition of a ‘throne’ in the gallery made it quite fun and gave it an interactive feel. When I was in there a group of children were taking turns to take photos of each other sitting on the chair.

Also in the same gallery was Lumen by Verity Harr whose photographs investigate the way light can transform the ordinary into something sublime. Although very different from The Kings of England I thought the two displays worked quite well together. They were separated clearly enough that they didn’t distract from one another.

In the POP Gallery there was a display called The British Abroad by Peter Dench. I thought it was laid out well and told a clear story although it wasn’t clear which end was the start and twice when I visited it, I found myself viewing it backwards. There were quite a lot of images in the display and all the photographs were displayed at the same size, in simple frames, on white walls.

I found the photographs themselves quite difficult to look at, they were very embarrassing and made me very uncomfortable about being British.

HIP-2

The Royal Photographic Society’s Biennial Exhibition was displayed in the POP Gallery 2. I really enjoyed looking around this exhibition. It was packed with all kinds of photography, some that I liked, some that I didn’t and some that I thought was outstanding. Photos here were taken by 100 different people, but all were displayed at the same size, in the same frames and at the same height. In the centre of the room each photograph was displayed on its own wall and those along the edges of the gallery were displayed with enough space around them to not distract from each other.

Compared to our little end of year exhibition last summer, both galleries felt much more professional and much more ordered and coherent. We had to display our photographs around butterflies, mirrors and canvas prints. We displayed our photographs in a cafe that had green walls around tables and chairs where customers would be having lunch and drinking coffee. Our photographs were not necessarily the main purpose for a lot of the visitors. Also because each of us planned to display a different number of photographs at different sizes the display was less co-ordinated than perhaps it could have been.

We had issues about how we could fix our photographs to the walls of the cafe. We were not allowed to drill holes and ended up printing onto foam board and fixing them with velcro. This was not ideal as it pulled the paint from the walls after and the room needed decorating anyway. From our point of view it meant that we couldn’t display our photos in frames as we had initially hoped.

Having looked around the HIP exhibitions I have a clearer idea of how I would like to see my photographs displayed in the future.

*Photo taken by Anete Sooda

Exhibition Images Final Choices

After talking to my classmates I have decided that these will be the photographs that I will display in the end of year exhibition.

Photographs will be printed in either A0, A1 or A2 size onto 3mm foamboard or 5mm Foamex and adhered to the wall with velcro.