So on the 12th of June was the opening of my BA(Hon) Photography degree show. I guess it went well. Thanks to the students who have contributed on preparing the exhibition and ‘most importantly’ the beverage for the night!
It was kind of sentimental to see everyone’s final work up on the wall. It marks a conclusion of an era. There was a moment I was just standing in front of my own work, whispering to myself “so harry, this is what you have achieved so far, any comments?” Well…I am proud and satisfied with myself. Four cinematic prints with precise details, totally fabricated from scratch, and directed all by myself. The work was very special to me and very different from what I have been photographing. I would occasionally make a few great captures and beautiful pictures. However, most of them were captures of what was already happening. I’m just that lucky photographer who happens to know my fingers around the buttons on my camera, and take that very shot(s). But with my project Insomnia, I wasn’t just lucky. I have shown my creativity and precision of fabricating believable photographs.
Here’s a quote from one of my tutor’s feedback to my project
“Your studies of people that are suffering from insomnia tread a very carefully choreographed line between fictional narrative and fabricated documentary. This provokes a number of interesting questions about photography’s relationship to the real, to documentary and cinematic representations and as a means of communicating complex ideas. “
I was quite chuffed to see this on the feedback. My project Insomnia was not initially made because I have an interest about Insomnia, but was attentive to create a set of skills on creating almost real-life documentary photographs with cinematic representations. I believe this will benefit my own future perspective of photographing.
Quite a few people from the show asked me were they real people who suffer from insomnia in the pictures. “They were actors/actress in the set, and I mostly fabricated the whole scene.” I answered. It was a good feeling when people actually believe, or start questioning the realness of the pictures. Sure, those pictures definitely record what was there in front of the camera, and articulate clear Insomniac scenes. However, they were not factual Insomnia. “A photograph only tells half the truth” The meanings and interpretations of what was behind, what was happened, and what will the photos provoke are always open.
I am not, however, a very academic person. I don’t know many vocabularies that will scare off people and make them go on dictionary to seek the meaning of that one word. However, I do hope that I can articulate my messages and my photographs with understandable English. A 2-2 on my dissertation results will do just fine with me.
Therefore, I am predicting my final results of this 3-year degree course would be just ‘fine’. But that’s ok. I am still very proud of myself. Not a moment was wasted and I have learned more than operating a working camera. I have achieved what I have set to myself and now I understand a ‘little’ better about photography. Knowing that there are just so much more about the subject and how it is just everywhere and open to discuss, to create, to criticise, to interpret, to enjoy and much more.
Perhaps you might think that, “Hey, aren’t you supposed to know everything about Photography by now?” Oh no, the God of Photography will do. If there is such thing exists… Anyway, myself and all other photographers are just part of the spinning world of photography. And just in case you have not realised, the world of photography is in fact around us in the real word all the time like breakfast.
Breakfast? Yes, when you think about it. How many types of breakfast are there in the world? Perhaps you can name a few in your head now. Then think about can you make them yourself? Eggs on toast, a cup of tea, and some bacon. Or dim sum, a portion of rice noodles and a glass of soya milk? Easy right? Photography today can be as easy as making breakfast. Feasibly, I can call myself a breakfast-maker, just as a lot of people call themselves a ‘Photographer’ today.
I would love to share a few more views about how similar a ‘photographer’ and a ’breakfast-maker’ can be but it will be another long piece of writing. So I will just move on.
What I’m trying to say is that, after the 3 years of studying Photography. I’ve learned more than being a camera operator. I know why and what I want to photograph. Be prepared to be criticised and know that I am never the best of anything. I could be different and unique at what I’m doing. But there are always more room to improve and someone out there doing better than me.
So what are my plans after Uni? Keep believing, be prepared, work hard to achieve more goals in my life and enjoy myself while I can! There is a song I’ve been listening a lot recently
So many roads to choose
We start out walking and learn to run.
And yes, We’ve just begun.
From now on, every decision I made will be for the dreams I have been chasing and believing!
Thanks for reading.
Harry Chi Li