How do you go about choosing what to photograph?
I make sure it is something I am interested and engaged in. I need to feel I have some kind of investment otherwise I find it difficult to fully commit to creating the photographs. This particular project came about after spending time with my dad, wanting to photograph how his life had changed since a motorcycle accident, therefore I started taking pictures of him at work with the sniffer dogs. After a while I realised how incredible these dogs were, the fact that to them this life saving work they do is just a game, therefore my focus turned to them. During the location shoots I realised that the public saw the dogs as a security tool and almost became annoyed when they were told the dogs had to sniff their bags, although it takes the dog a few seconds. Therefore I wanted to create photographs which made the viewers engage with the dogs as animals and made the final selection by choosing the portraits that really portrayed their personalities.
How would you rate the course that you were on?
The University of the West of England BA (Hons) photography course has been really great for me. Its an open course so there are no restriction on what kind of photos you take, it can be fashion or fine art style, which was really useful for me as I never seemed to know what images I wanted to make. Facilities were great, with students being able to rent out any equipment they needed or use the digital and analogue darkrooms at any time. The best part of the course was definitely the staff. Technical staff are always there for printing and deliver many workshops to teach a full range of skills and use of cameras. They also give up a lot of their spare time and will answer any questions you may have, including taking you through techniques/test shots 1 on 1 if you need it. The tutors are just as generous with their time, especially in 3rd year, where the majority of the time you are able to arrange 1 on 1 discussions with them. They are extremely friendly and easy to talk to but at the same time push you to make sure your reaching you full potential.
Why did you pick University Of the West of England?
I had already looked around Bristol before my interview and loved the place. It is such a great area to live in for creative people, as there are loads of galleries and always talks/events going on. At the interview I felt very welcomed, the tutor seemed really engaged in my practice which was encouraging.When i found out I had been accepted into UWE I canceled my interviews at Nottingham Trent University and Bournemouth straight away.
The best thing about your course was?
The staff made the photography course. I remember being at Nottingham Trent’s open day and a tutor told us “There will be so many of you, don’t expect us to know all of your names” and that put me off straight away. Where as at UWE the teachers know your names, your practice and do all they can to help you with projects or any problems you may have. They give up there personal time to help you if they can’t fit you in during a working day, which is very rare and a massive bonus. This praise goes for all of the staff, technical and tutors.
Your best project so far is..? Tell us why?
I personally feel my degree project has been my best project, entitled “The Distinguished Members of a Working Society” . The main reason is because I feel I pushed myself and therefore learnt the most technically over the past year, which has allowed me to produce more accomplished work. I also feel that during this project I learnt how to cope with fast pace shoots, which is vital when having to produce photography projects at university.
What would you like to do now that you’re done with studying?
Over my final year of University I have been partaking in work placements to learn as much as I can about curating, exhibition organisation and gallery work. I completed work experience in contemporary art galleries and museums whilst also working on personal curating projects. The degree show also taught me a lot about exhibition organisation, as I helped to put the show together and also curated it with a course tutor. My aim is to create a career in curating and hopefully find a job in a contemporary art gallery.
The best thing about being an art student is?
I would say the freedom to explore how you best express and develop your ideas. I’ve also loved being in an environment with so many other creative people, being able to discuss ideas and have constant feed back on your work, its a privilege you don’t realise you have until after you’ve finished university.
What equipments do you use when working?
I use the Nikon D700, with camera top flash, the image quality is great and the high spec lens can deal with poor light conditions which is essential when shooting on location. For my degree project I also used a location lighting kit, which although was challenging was great fun to use.
Contact Eleanor to offer her paid internships or her first job