It’s at times of historical significance that photography plays an important role in society (maybe a bit dramatic, but it’s true!). Photographers such as Dorothea Lange, Robert Capa and Sebastiao Salgado bore witness to their own ‘unprecedented times’ and their images have been held up to communicate the story.
Delivering virtual photography lessons, a practical and technical subject, sent us into a spin. It took us a while to come up with a project that was really meaningful. The most important thing we teach students is how they could respond to the world around them. After all, that is what the industry is all about – communicating complex ideas without the use of words to an audience.
“It doesn’t matter what your prior experience is, most people have access to a camera on their phones and a way they see their world”
We have decided to publish a book documenting the lockdown. We’re a PhotoMedia team and working on something collaboratively – documenting our unprecedented times, no matter how trivial or ordinary, feels really important. Every week, phase four students are emulating a set photographer. The photographers have been chosen because of the way they work. Uta Barth because of her exclusively working from her home environment, Andreas Gursky for his surreal everyday landscapes, Martin Parr for his tongue-in-cheek look at Britishness, Mari Mahr for her storytelling through personal objects and Sam Abell for his endless patience and compositions.
The first week saw a flurry of work come through from students, they had really captured Barth’s style and their observations and responses were beautiful. At this point, we wondered if staff would want to get involved, too. We adapted our slides and sent them out and slowly the snowball started rolling. Staff have been adding their images and commenting on the work. It’s really felt like a team endeavour.
Photography is such a wonderful medium to work with. It doesn’t matter what your prior experience is, most people have access to a camera on their phones and a way they see their world. Bringing our individual experiences of lockdown together in the form of a book feels important and an opportunity not to be missed.
By Cass PhotoMedia Lead