We've just completed a short season of folio assessments, allowing a range of our students across all levels to showcase their amazingly executed ideas to a panel of guests, teachers and classmates. We have chosen to shine a spotlight on the incredible efforts of those in our part time group, as we have another intake coming up for our courses. Our current student, David Merrylees is a fine example of the creativity that brews at PSC - and he's definitely a great inspiration to any of you who are either learning photography or are thinking about joining our part time options. Here's an insightful Q&A with him:
About my folio - 'Wall Wear':
I like the idea that we’re surrounded by art; the fabric of the city we live in contains gems that we walk past every day. As a photographer I think it’s our greatest challenge and achievement to show something as it’s never been seen before. A new angle, a new twist; you may have looked at this wall a hundred times, but never seen the beauty it contains. To tell the truth, when I was thinking of folio ideas, I thought that photos of walls would be quite easy...
When I heard that we could print in any way we wanted I was excited by the idea of printing on fabric. I’d seen some large fabric prints at the Ballarat Bienniale in 2013 and had always wanted to give that a try. It only seemed natural then to make the fabric into garments to heighten the focus on my chosen wall textures and colours. My choice of fabric and garment design were made to champion each wall, it was an iterative and intuitive process. My first garments were chosen after the prints were made, but as I went on I was thinking of a particular garment and fabric when I took the photo. It was interesting to explore the constraints that garments put on the image. For instance, choice of garment is limited by the available fabrics and some fabrics don’t print well; also, the size of garment is limited by the print size and the crop of the image happens when the fabric is cut. My images were processed minimally, I want the viewer to see what they’ve been missing, not something I’ve imagined.
My process of developing a folio and my advice for other student photographers out there:
You can quite literally start a folio about anything, or everything. That can be a bit daunting, so it’s best to start with something that you’re interested in, something simple and part of your life. Try not to get distracted by hearing about someone else’s amazing project. Write your proposal and then just leap in, taking photos every day if you can. Be open to the possibility of changing the idea you start with; listen and look and think. Be prepared to fight for your idea; arguing for your folio will help you to develop your idea further, or perhaps show areas where you can strengthen its message. Although the creative part of a folio is important, don’t overlook practical aspects, there’s no point having a great idea if you can’t deliver it. I set a timetable very early on and then try very hard to stick to it. Not every image will be amazing, don’t worry about that. You’ll probably learn more from your not so good images than your best.
How do I feel about studying at PSC part time?
It’s brilliant! I have always taken photos, but before I started at PSC my “good" photos involved a huge dose of luck or an awesome sunset. With help and inspiration from an amazing bunch of tutors I'm learning to see what I want from an image before I push the shutter. I remember talking with another student in first year about how we would be taught creativity. We were a bit sceptical, in the vein of old dogs and new tricks. Well, after two years, we’re convinced; with a combination of exposure to photography from all over the world, enhancing our technical skills enormously and being pushed by our tutors to new heights we are much more creative. The close examination of every folio I have produced and those of my classmates has given me the language, ideas and structure to take my photography to a higher level.