Sunday, July 22, 2007

Term 2

And we thought things would get easier from now on. No more Thursday night meetings. No more quick deadlines.

Term 2 of this Photo MA was not quite what I’d been expecting. Without the single picture assignments – and effectively just two 10-image projects to carry out – it seemed like there was all the time in the world to do it.

Having just completed Term 2, I can tell you that it’s been fast and furious.

The mission was to complete devise and present both a social issues and travel project, complete them and then present the finished work to our fellow students.

For the record, my chosen projects were Smoking in Public (centred around the time of England’s July 1 ban) and Photograph a European City on a £200 Budget. Self-explanatory really.

My fellow students came up with a wide and varied list of ideas for their projects. Some, it has to be said, were so wide or vaguely varied that they were unable to be completed.

To me, that was part of the process. Coming up with and budgeting for a project that sticks within the boundaries achievability is crucial. Or, to put it another way – don’t get carried away with the fairies.

Unless you’ve got prior experience, the budget proposal is tough. It is a theoretical budget, but you are doing it as id you were attempting to get funding from a funding body. So, a project which is essentially costing you very little has to be proposed using fantasy figures of £5,000 or £10,000.

In that respect, my presentation was not the best, but when it came to presenting the finished work I had it in the bag (or in print and on a website as the course demanded). There was more squirming and excusing than I expected from others who had not pulled off their proposal.

This was for various reasons, some out of the students’ hands. Proposals that failed to come to fruition were: a three-week train journey across Siberia, a participatory project of passenger son London buses; a photo-essay on the US Army base at Menwith Hill; and a project by a student whose excuse about it not being done was so long that I fell asleep before he told us what it was. But credit to these people for doing something else and/or turning up.

That said, there were some tough proposals that had been successfully carried out too. The Yorkshire pot ash mine was a good one, also the essay on the civil war in Cyprus, American ghost towns and the women who have breast reconstruction surgery.

But the warning is, kids: Don’t get over ambitious.

Like it says in The Bible – keep it real.