350MC Working with Photography in Context – Introductory Lecture

Tuesday 30th September 2014 was my first day of my third and final year studying Photography at Coventry University. Walking into university at the early time of 9:30am, we were greeted by our new lecturer Anthony Luvera who started us off with a short practitioners talk introducing himself to us. After learning more about our new lecturer he then wanted to talk to us one-to-one to learn more about us, and the work that we enjoy. Below you can see my notes from the morning’s introductory talk and my one-to-one session with Anthony Luvera:

 

Anthony Luvera

www.luvera.com

@Anthony_Luvera

ab8571@coventry.ac.uk

 

Third year isn’t about being a student but become more of an independent practitioner

Anthony is a resource for us to use to be able to conduct our very best projects

Runs over two and a half terms

Plan a series of workshops, talks, and tasks that will enable us to develop effective public speaking, research, and presentation skills

He will learn about our interests and try and accommodate and improve our knowledge on our specialist subjects

 

Anthony Luvera Practitioner Talk:

  • Originally from Australia
  • Really interested in English and studied it in Australia – major was English and minor was Media and Communication
  • Borrowed his Dad’s camera and learnt how to use it
  • Made his own darkroom in his bathroom and set up photography courses for the public teaching them how to use the different equipment
  • Began seeing himself as a photographer
  • Blown away by the fact that a photographer could also be an artist
  • Then went into studying photography
  • Shot for Vogue, Vanity Fair and also worked in hairdressing photography with Schwarzkopf

 

  • Moved over to the London, UK in 1999
  • Felt like he had left his portfolio of contact behind
  • However, being interested in fashion photography enabled his collaboration skills and contacts to grow even though he wasn’t finding the same level of nourishment over here in the UK
  • Worked with a homeless charity, “Crisis”, in London and was asked to take photos of homeless people
  • He didn’t really know how he was going to tackle the project due to problems with representation and disempowerment
  • After a lot of thought, he then gave the homeless people disposable cameras and allowed them to go off and take photos of whatever they wanted
  • He then held photography session with the homeless
  • After completing the project, he was then asked to exhibit the images in “Whitechapel Gallery” but he felt that putting work about homeless people in a gallery didn’t feel right
  • After some time, he was then asked if he wanted to exhibit the same project in the London Underground which he did

 

  • He then travelled over to Belfast where he visited “Belfast Exposed”
    • One of the Top 10 Photography galleries in the world
    • Contains an archive of photographs made by the general public over the last 30 years, documenting The Troubles
  • He then researched and made new work in Belfast
  • Went to a homeless centre and started cooking in the kitchens
  • His project consisted of assisted self portraits of homeless individuals where he taught the subjects how to use a 5×4 camera, cable release, and separate flash

anthony-luvera_04

 

  • Another project that he completed was called “Not Going Shopping” – came from Pride marches: “we’re here, we’re queer, we aren’t going shopping”
  • It was 9 months of work and was about a group of queer people living in Brighton
  • Every week they would meet and discuss images that they had taken the previous week but soon decided on a photobooth style of images for their final piece
  • Large posters were then displayed around Brighton

Project_Queer_in_Brighton20140211_0011

 

  • He has now been commissioned by Brighton Photo Fringe to create a piece about homeless people in Brighton
  • He has been looking at different assembly halls which have be turned into homeless centers and through realizing the quality of the acoustics of the room he decided to include sound recordings of interviews with his subjects within his final piece
    • Asked “What do they think of being called homeless?”; “Have they ever had their photography taken without their permission?”

Assembly_by_Anthony_Luvera-677x1024

 

  • Anthony Luvera has also been associated with “Source” Magazine and has written numerous articles for them

 

 

One-to-One with Anthony Luvera:

In the one-to-one with Anthony Luvera, he wanted to find out what I was interested in as a photographer. Leading with the fact that I want to return to my photographic roots and photograph landscapes for my final piece, I decided to briefly explain the idea behind my final project and tell him that I was unsure what to talk about for my Symposium (the module that he will be leading).

 

After listening to my ideas and my opinions and worries, he suggested that there were two things that I could think about for my overarching theme for the Symposium. These were:

  • Motivation behind photographic projects
    • Looking at different types of motivation (for example, my motivation for my final piece is personal)
    • Why different types of motivation can sometimes create more/less successful projects?
  • Cultural Memory of Landscapes
    • Memories that aren’t visible on the landscape but where photographers photograph the landscape in order to tell the story behind it

 

After mentioning these ideas, he then suggested some photographers work that he recommend I look at that could work with one or both of these ideas. These are:

  • Edward Burtynsky – raising awareness about human impact on the earth
  • Fay Godwin – photographed the British Countryside in Black & White
  • Edgar Martins – photographed unusual things in the environment
  • Paul Seawright – looked at the cultural memory of landscapes by photographing places where people died

 

Anthony then suggested that I should start doing some general reading around the overall topic of landscapes to see if I could come up with any more ideas/things to help me for the Symposium. These books included:

  • Photography by Stephen Bull
  • Practises of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture by Martia Sturken and Liz Cartwright
  • Land Matters: Landscape Photography, Culture and Identity by Liz Wells
  • Photography a Critical Introduction by Liz Wells

 

After being so incredibly helpful with providing me with resources and helping me to come up with some ideas for my Symposium, to finish off the one-to-one tutorial, Anthony Luvera simply suggested that I try and come up with a theme, decide on my take on the theme, find case studies, and start writing up a reading list.

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