Looking Back and What’s Next

Having finished the module and sent off the assignment I thought that I’d take a quick look back at the module, what I’d learnt and where to go next.

Prior to beginning this module I was looking at it as a chore, not something that would interest me at all. After all, why did I need to build up a network of contacts since I had no intention of taking my work out into the wider world. Similarly, why would I want a work attachment or analyse a role within the commercial world if I had no intention of entering it.

In addition, because I kept hearing about this need for a work attachment or internship during the module, even though I knew that I could do something else it, to some extent, set me against the module to begin with.

Not surprisingly those doubts soon disappeared and I thoroughly enjoyed the module. Many of my early misgivings stemmed from the fact that I was unsure about my work even after all this time with the OCA but a reasonable mark in Body of Work did help allay some of those fears and feedback from my burgeoning network of contacts, whose benefit I’d scorned at the outset, similarly gave me the confidence to proceed. Similarly, the essay that I completed instead of the work attachment was something that I found interesting. It involved some reading and research that I thoroughly enjoyed such as Balzer’s Curationsim.

As I started the module I quickly realised that it wasn’t simply about the portfolio that I intended to present as part of the module but it was about my practice in general, how should I take my work and my interest forward as a whole. With this in mind I utilised the framework of the early part of the module to expand my contacts further and solicit feedback on other elements of my work such as Travel and Wildlife. This aspect would run parallel to the main focus of the module, the presentation of a single body of work. However, it has led to a clear progression for my interest after the course has finished.

The travel aspect has led to a burgeoning relationship with one of the travel companies such that I’ve been offered free holidays with them if I commit to creating a portfolio of images on that holiday that they can use in their marketing. They’ve already use some of my images as double page spreads in their brochures and in the national press or magazines. It might not be as prestigious as some outlets but it gives me a real buzz when I see one of my images being used as a full page spread in the Guardian or Country Life etc.

The wildlife images have led me to plan another exhibition, this time in a commercial gallery. David, my tutor, was very supportive about this, suggesting that my wildlife images looked fully professional to him with the caveat that he wasn’t a wildlife photographer. However, he very encouragingly commented that they, to his eye at least, would not look out of place on a gallery wall among professional images.

As far as Virtual Boundaries is concerned, I’d like to take this forward and create a larger body of work looking at a number of different aspects of Windsor Great Park. This would include such things as ongoing conservation, the wildlife including the rare plants, the people who work there etc. I’d also like to write some essays to go with them covering similar subjects and also look at how people perceive areas such as the Park and include historical anecdotes. I’d envisage expanding my website to include these elements and, possibly, produce a book to complement the site which I’d market locally.

These plans to take it forward are something that I might try to approach through a Masters course with the OCA but that’s just a stray thought a the moment and I haven’t thought it through yet nor approached the OCA to see if it would be a feasible subject for such a course. Besides, I need to wait until my results come through for SyP!

Anyway, that’s it for now after a really enjoyable and rewarding few years with the OCA. Many thanks to all at the OCA that have helped, from the tutors to all of the staff at the head office.

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