Personal: My Top 3 Resources as a Photography Student

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It is that time of the year again – back to school season.

My little ones went back this week and if you do not know already, I am still at University. I will be going back towards the end of this month to start the second and final year of my MA in Documentary Photography and Photojournalism.

I want to share with you my top 3 resources that have helped me in my journey as a photographer even before I became a student and now moving forward as I try to build my brand as a photographer beyond the confines of an institution. So here goes!

#1: Libraries 

The Library at the university campus is really well stocked with books, magazines, journals and media like CDs and DVDs. If I want to do any research for a project I am working on, that is the first place I would go to for the resources I require. When I am working towards a deadline, I would rather stay in the library to get my work done than at home. One good thing is that once the term progresses, the library is open 24hrs. This has really helped me avoid carrying books home and instead, I stay in the library until I get most of the work done by accessing any research material that I require off the shelves.

And, I will still have access even after I graduate as alumni.

For anything Africa related, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) Library is a really good resource. At the moment I have access via SCONUL which is a scheme that gives students and academics the use of libraries at other universities other than their own.

If you are not a student, you can access several libraries across London to do your research. A few libraries that I can recommend for photographers are the British Library, The National Art Library located at The V&A and Stuart Hall Library as these libraries are much better resourced as compared to your local council library which is still a good place to start. All libraries are free to access, but you will have to check their websites for opening times and details of how to access some of their catalogue of resources.

#2: Museums / Galleries

Visiting museums and galleries is always a good idea. I find looking at historical and contemporary artwork a good way of stimulating my way of how I see things and visualise how I would do it if it was my project. I try as much as possible to see not only photography related work but also sculpture, paintings, installations etc. when I visit these places.

This year alone I have visited Somerset House during Photo London, V&A Museum of Childhood with my kids over summer, Tate Modern, British Museum, National Portrait Gallery, to name a few.

As the saying goes,

Variety is the spice of life.

Also, this is one way to exercise physically and mentally whilst at the same time try as much as possible to involve my kids.

#3: Websites and Social Media

This one is kind of an obvious one. Photographic websites and social media platforms are my go-to places for inspiration. When it comes to social media, Instagram is my preferred choice to see what others are doing in terms of their creativity and you can also engage with people if you like their work. It is a really nifty way of networking with other creatives from around the world.

With regards to websites, once I see or hear of a photographer I like, I go to their website to see more of their work. Most times you will find work they haven’t shared on their social media or you find they have even shared more details to particular a project.

Anyway, here are a few photography related websites for you to check out and be inspired:

Everyday Africa

American Suburb X

BJP (British Journal of Photography)

Lens Culture

Fotoroom

Women Photograph

And there you have it, my top 3 resources for photography as a student.

Do you have any websites that are photography related that I should check out? Please share by leaving a comment with a link.

#BacktoSchoolSeason

Revisit: Why Photography? Part II

It is interesting that when we think of photography, we only think about the visual until you are studying the medium and are thrown into a theoretical world of books that have been written on photography. Not until your lecturer points out that no one really writes anything about ‘the photograph’ or photography itself when it is kind of directed to the general public to make them understand photography in layman terms. It actually gets you thinking.

During one of my postgrad modules, Writing Photography, my lecturer set out writing tasks every week. In week one, the challenge was to write about ‘the most photographed barn in America’ or ‘origins of a photographer’. I chose the latter and decided to focus on myself. So going through my blog, I found this post I had written in 2009 and decided to ‘update’ it for my writing exercise. So, here goes…

Origins of Myself as a Photographer

I had a very interesting conversation with my mum just the other day about my passion for taking pictures.

Apparently, it started when she had a camera and I was a bit young. I would just take it and snap away. She used to scold me, but I guess I never listened. Otherwise, we (I) wouldn’t be here today.

I love being behind the lens rather than in front of it. What started as a hobby is turning out to be something I would like to do full time.

I have used film in 35mm and APS (Advance Photo System) formats, compact digital and now DSLR (digital single-lens reflex).

I just love being in this digital age of photography……no time to wait around for your pictures. Although, I somewhat miss the intensity of waiting for your films to be processed. Waiting to see if you nailed the shot or not.

Anyway, I just love the whole process of capturing life on a single frame and making it a personal journey of your life as a photographer.

I just love the beauty of storing pieces of ‘forgotten’ memories which can me shared years from when the picture was taken.

I just love the whole process and the lessons learnt from the whole experience. Be it fashion, sports, travel, nature, etc.

To me, photography is my way of showing the world how I see it, through my eyes and lens.

A passion I hope to nurture and let in grow within me.

I wrote the above piece on my blog on 11th February 2009, three or so years before I even considered studying photography. I knew deep down that I would have to get some sort of education or training in the world of photography. A foundation into how I can understand photography in depth, read it and use it as a tool to investigate and navigate through the world.

Have my sentiments over the years since I wrote that piece changed? Probably not, but what I am discovering now is that I am learning to be in the moment with photography. Pace myself even if the scene around me keeps changing. Wait for that moment and be patience with projects especially the ones with the potential to go on for years. Yet at the same time, I am unlearning bad habits that I have picked up along the way, like just photographing something because it looks good or pleasing to the eye. I need to stop thinking about how it makes me feel and just photograph it anyway. It may not look pleasing to the eye or make sense at the time, but eventually, it just clicks (no pun intended).

Coming from a background where photography is used as a tool to record mostly life events like birthdays, weddings, family gatherings etc., I am grateful and proud of myself for trusting the process of learning both the theory and practicalities of the medium beyond just taking family snapshots.

And there you have it. My updated version / revisiting and rewriting about my journey are a photographer. This also prompted me to start a series of vlogs where I talk about one particular picture. I am thinking of making this a regular feature on my YouTube channel. In a sense, it is my way of writing photography through spoken word and it is a working progress.

Click here for the playlist and tell me what you think.

If given the task, how would you write about photography? Or a particular photograph?

#WritingPhotography

IT’S OFFICIAL…

…I am a PHOTOGRAPHER!

Not that I wasn’t before, but it will all make sense shortly.

Ok…let me explain, I have been really caught up with events and my attention to this blog has slacked big time. I have a very good excuse though and I hope you will all forgive me.

Well, since my last blog post, I have gone and graduated, with honours, from University. I even did a whole vlog about it and in case you missed it…here it is:

So, I am forgiven, right?

I have been busy preparing for life after university and adulting, that this blog had to take a back burner for a while. I am back though and I will try as much as possible to keep you lot updated.

So yeah, my graduation happened and as a present to myself, I went away (without the kids) to visit my family in Poland (vlog on this coming soon). It was a much-deserved break after slogging away in Uni for the better part of 5 years. I am now back and ready to hustle.

Going to university was not a decision I made lightly especially when trying to be a wife and mother, it can get really tough. How I managed to get through it all, only God knows, as I was on the verge of quitting a few times. I wrote about joining here and the lessons I learnt here.

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin

So there you have it, folks, I am now officially a Photographer and it’s on paper. I am super proud of myself for seeing this part of my journey through despite the ups and downs.

Here is to life after uni! 🍻

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#IAmAGraduatewithHonours