354MC Professional Photographic Portfolio – Lecture 4

On Tuesday 28th April 2015, I attended another day of university dedicated to the 354MC Professional Photographic Portfolio module. On this particular day we had one mandatory lecture called “Thinking of a Masters Degree” that was taken by our lecturer Anthony Luvera, before having optional one-to-one tutorials, regarding our portfolios, with both guest lecturer Rebecca McClelland, and our lecturer Caroline Molloy. Below you will be able to find notes that I took throughout the day (including the one-to-one tutorials – please note, any descriptions or responses I provided can also be seen below in italics):

 

Thinking of a Masters Degree Lecture with Anthony Luvera:

  • Studying a masters can be a really important tool
  • Some important considerations:
    • Start by being completely honest with yourself – Why are you doing it?
    • It’s a decision not to be taken lightly
    • Be sure a Masters qualification is right for you
      • What course is best?
      • What type of study will suit you? (Full-time or part-time?)
      • Which is the right university or institution?
  •  Why study an MA?
    • Increase you’re employability
    • Keep your brain working
    • Because you’re passionate about the subject
    • Gives you time to develop project
    • Provides leverage practice in a different direction
    • Getting that little extra something on your CV
    • Change career direction or accelerate the career you already have
    • It’s the first step towards a PhD and a career in academia
  • A few more considerations:
    • Postgraduate study is hard work and requires a lot of commitment
    • It is not cheap
    • You have to actively want to do it
    • Postgraduate study is much more independent than an undergraduate study
    • It is your research – you may be working by yourself for much of the time
  •  So, how do you start?
    • Research – courses, applications processes, institutions, staff terms, associated industry partnerships, research center’s, departments and facilities
    • Speak to staff, especially Course Directors
    • Speak to current students and alumni
    • Look out for the hard sell – postgraduate study is a lucrative income stream for many universities, particularly when it comes to international students
    • If you’re an undergraduate and your current course tutor is recommending you stay on at the same university, it’s still worth having a good look around at what other institutions are offering
  •  Where should you study?
    • Find out the history and reputation of the MA programme
    • What department does the course come under? (E.g. fine art, media, or humanities?)
    • Who is running the course and what is their specialism?
    • Who are the lecturers/readers/professors/support staff?
    • What is unique about the course? What is the selling point?
    • What is the application process? – You often apply straight to the university and would usually be invited to an interview and ask to bring along a project proposal

 

Research Task:

“You now need to spend 10 minutes researching the MA Photography programmes from the universities included on the board (that haven’t been included here), using the questions that I provided within the presentation”

  • London Collage of Communication
    • http://www.arts.ac.uk/lcc/courses/postgraduate/ma-photography/
    • Fine art photography MA
      • Part of the school of Media
      • Based in the still image it embraces cross-media and cross-genre practice
      • Aimed at developing a personal, distinctive and conceptually strong practice grounded in research and critical thinking
      • The course has close ties with the Photography and the Archive Research Centre and the Kubrick Archive and Located close to central London, the course has excellent links with galleries, museums and archives
      • Both analogue and digital photography facilities including colour and black-and-white darkrooms, photographic studios and a Mac-based digital suite including Imacon scanners, as well as medium and large format analogue cameras, digital cameras, HD video cameras and lighting equipment
    • Staff
      • Staff, current students and alumni frequently post updates on the LCC MA Photography Facebook group
      • Course leader: Dr. Wiebke Leister
    • Full-time postgraduate
      • 1 year 3 months full time
    • £8,000 (Full Time)
    • Application Route
      • Direct to collage
      • No set deadlines because they accept Postgraduate course applications on a rolling basis

 

One-to-One Tutorial with Rebecca McClelland:

Within the one-to-one tutorial with Rebecca McClelland, I decided to display some printouts of my selected portfolio images before beginning the discussion by explaining to her that, as I have decided to go down a completely different career path to what is expected (Wedding Planning). I then went on to say that this therefore meant that I am not required to create a portfolio dedicated to one particular style of photography that I enjoy, and that I should instead be showcasing my work from the past three years.

  • Do you think I should include the commercial work that I created for a company in New Zealand? I’m not too sure that they fit with the rest of the portfolio…
    • You’re work is really broad, but also kind of commercial – I would put them in there, especially if you did them for a company
  • It’s all looking really good, so how are you going to print them?
    • I’m currently thinking of getting an A4 landscape portfolio book, because all of my images are landscape
    • I’m also going to experiment with printing some of them covering almost the full page, and then some slightly smaller – but I need to experiment with which ones I want for each size, so that’s the next stage that I am doing
    • (Rebecca then kindly took time looking through my portfolio images with me and suggested which size she thought best suited some of the images)
    • I will definitely try it out, but it’s just good to have someone to discuss it with, to gain their opinions
      • Yeah definitely
    • It really is about playing around
  • Somwhere, maybe at the back, you would have one sheet with numbered captions for each of the photographs
    • But obviously don’t put any text on the print
    • You just describe what they are and have them at the back of the portfolio
    • Okay, so in the description, what kind of things would it say?
      • It’ll be something like “Commercial Commission for Benzie Free Range Eggs, December 2013
    • And one last thing, how’s your exit strategy going?
      • It’s going pretty well – I’ve done quite a lot of networking and have meat a lot of people from the Wedding Industry that I am keeping in contact with

 

One-to-One Tutorial with Caroline Molloy: 

In the one-to-one tutorial with Caroline Molloy, I decided that I wanted to talk to her about both my Portfolio and CV and that I have created for this particular module. Below you will therefore be able to find slightly more information regarding each of these sections:

Portfolio:

  • For my portfolio, I’m currently thinking of getting an A4 landscape portfolio book (because all of my images are landscape), and I am currently at the stage where I am trying to decided which size I want to print each of my images (for example, have some slightly bigger, some slightly smaller)
    • For etiquette, I’m not sure that you will benefit much from making a landscape portfolio – it’s also a little bit more conventional
    • I wouldn’t change your layout too much size wise, unless there’s a good reason for it
      • I’d either do a double page spread (so one going across both pages, through the gutter) or one either side (so a single image on each page – a little bit above the middle as images tend to look like they’re dropping down)
        • For this, you’ll need to think about which images you could cut down the middle without ruining
        • This will also provide your portfolio with some nice breaks – it won’t be too repetitive
      • Otherwise it starts to be disjointed – don’t overcomplicate things, keep it clean
    • It is subjective though, but what I wouldn’t do is start playing around too much with the sizing of the images – I think that by doing this, it’ll make the portfolio date quicker, you almost want to keep it classic
      • I would pick maybe three different sizes, and fit your images into one of three sizes

CV:

  • Just moving on to my CV, I’ve finished it, but I just want to talk to you about the “creative” aspect of the CV where I am planning on including a small ribbon in the corner (hiding the staple), to give it a slight, wedding-y feel
    • I quite like it, but I don’t know if it is going to be too much because some people like it and others don’t
    • I think that doesn’t hurt, because I think you will out-grow it, but I think right now it’s fine
  • I think what I’m more interested in is it’s content
    • Caroline then had a quick look through my CV, and suggested a couple of simple changes to make (including a section of my profile that should be taken out, an “award” to be added alongside the University’s mention, and a header suggestion)
    • This is really good because you’ve got the correct headlines, you’ve made your points, and you’ve shown what’s important throughout each of your experiences
    • I think that you need to add an extra section to your CV, separating the photographic experiences from the transferable experiences – for example, simply add a header called “Transferable Experience/Skills”
  • As for the reflective piece that we need to write, I am planning on writing it this weekend and bringing it with me to the next session so that we can have a look through it
    • Okay, so all you’re doing is explaining to someone who doesn’t know you, what you want to do and how you’re going to do it
    • I also had some really good networking opportunities at That Alternative Wedding Fair that I told you about, and although I can’t arrange to meet with them before the deadline, they’re more than happy to organize something over the summer
      • An that’s the whole point of it, because in a sense you’re building a career from nothing, you’ve decided this quite late, so what you want to do is demonstrate what you’re doing to make it happen
    • I also want to try and get some new business cards that brand me slightly differently compared to my current “Holly Constantine Photography” business cards, but I don’t know if I’ll get the business cards in time for the deadline
      • You might not have it done, but maybe have the artwork for your submission to show what you’re going to do
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