Week 5 is all about networking. Of course this is hardly a new idea, nor unique to photography. Aeons ago I wrote several masters papers on Network Theory. However, the assignment is meant to be practical.
One suggestion was to join a photography collective. I have been a member of PhotoBath for a while, and online-focused groups such as the Leica Meet. However, in the past few weeks I also joined the Frome Wessex Camera Club, at their invitation after I ran a street portrait workshop with them, as part of Surfaces & Strategies.
I have only been to a couple of meetings, so I think this is ‘fair’ for this week’s discussion on networking.
I am not ‘into’ competitions, or some of the more typical camera club activities – hence my not joining such a group before. But it is a lovely bunch of people, and there is always something new to learn. And since the street workshop, I have found myself being asked for a little photographic advice.
Last evening, the group had arranged for the Hearts of the South West Pirate Crew to be in a photo session. There is a network of ‘pirate cosplayers’ in the UK, and the South West chapter is a pretty large group.
The pirates provided several backdrops and lots of appropriate props. The camera club set up two ‘fixed light’ stages and two ‘flash’ stages.
Not a great picture, but this gives the idea:
Personally, whilst I understood the intent, I found the backdrops distracting.
So, with everyone’s agreement, I re-arranged a stage to have a plain background, with some simple backlighting.
Not perfect, but given the time it seemed to work.
A couple of the members asked if I had any other ideas.
Well, remember Christine Keeler and Lewis Morley?
Christine Keeler by Lewis Morley, 1963
As a matter of history, Ms Keeler did not like this image. But the pose remains iconic.
We asked some of the Pirates.
Not only did most of them know the image, but there was literally a small queue to have the picture taken.
So, what do I take from this exercise? It’s not about the images per se .. far be it from me to compare my stuff with iconic pictures. It’s about the network.
- Networking can be fun
- People want to learn
- People like to have their pictures properly taken
- Simple is good
- We can all help and mentor others, whatever our experience level
- Models and photographers alike benefit from ‘direction’
- Iconic images are in the ‘cultural psyche’
- We can all ‘appropriate’