Getting to Grips

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Since receiving my welcome email on Friday I have been reading the course notes, learning to navigate around the OCA website, looking at some of my fellow student’s blogs and making some decisions.

Blog or sketchbook could have been a much harder decision until I read the piece in the student handbook about using both. I am a note taker by nature and always have one or two notebooks on the go where I note ideas, sketch things to build in the workshop, sketch ideas for photos and so forth. I like the physical action of writing and whilst I am no draftsman or artist I like to rough out visuals as well as words. I also see all the benefits of a blog and how it allows the tutors to access and assess informally as well as formally so I am going for a sketchbook where I can cut and paste ideas, make notes, rough out ideas and develop themes and a blog to maintain my log, coursework and assignments. My thought, as suggested, is to scan in pages of my sketchbook where I feel it helps to bring more context to my work.

This leads to setting up the blog. I had a bit of a head start as I have built and now maintain a blog for my son and daughter-in-law’s event catering company. WordPress seemed to be the most common framework and there is so much information available on how to get started that it was a pretty easy project. However, I recognised looking at my fellow OCA students’ blogs and reading the information provided that I needed to create a highly structured blog for my learning log. This afternoon I downloaded the college’s “How to set up an OCA Learning Log on WordPress” guide and simply followed it step by step – great guide, made life very easy, any shortcomings in my blog design are ones that I introduced and not because of this excellent guide.

The other decision is really where to start – it is real temptation to start skipping some of the course introduction but having looked at the logs of other students I sense that better and more experienced photographers than me have benefited from working through the initial exercises. As a  result part one of my work plan is to begin at the beginning and enforce some self discipline from day one.

The student blogs are an amazing resource especially when tutors comments are included. I have already made some notes about how to work, which is important right now and a few notes on how to present work which is a bit less important as I haven’t completed any yet. This all leads me to part two of the work plan which is to use exercises and assignments as a reason to look at photographers’ work both past and present, to find some relevant books to read and some places to visit.

In the meantime I will be behind the camera this week at work. We are event caterers and as such invite clients to visit and taste their menu selections before they book, there are 4 of these tastings this week. I try and photograph the food at as many tastings as possible to build up our stock of photographs that can be used for the blog, the website, brochures and when we are asked for images by magazines.

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