I originally enrolled with the Open College of the Arts in January 2011 as I wanted to learn how to be a better photographer and my first Module was the Art of Photography. I’m used to working on my own and to distance learning but I really struggled to begin with. There didn’t seem to be a lot of structure and I wasn’t told what to do and exactly how to interpret exercises and assignments. Throughout I was encouraged to find my own voice, which isn’t easy when you don’t know what language you want to speak, but I survived and thoroughly enjoyed the stimulation and challenge. I’d learned more about colour, light, space, form and composition and felt more confident in using my camera. My shelves were groaning with books and I’d enjoyed creating and maintained an online blog. Most importantly, I took opportunities to meet with other students and gain some really supportive contacts and feedback. Study Visits were also a good way to meet with other students and ‘talk photography.
The next Module, People & Place seemed much more daunting as I was hesitant about approaching people and portraits didn’t seem to be ‘me’. There were times when I wondered if I’d reach the end but I persevered and the support network I’d formed really helped me through this. By the end of that Module I realised that I did feel more grounded and confident about myself as a photographer. Enjoying what I was doing had become hidden under the anxieties and was just waiting to be discovered. I had become interested in buildings, their histories and stories, almost despite myself and even more so in the interaction between people and their environment. The final Assignment enabled me to bring all those aspects together in looking at how an architectural concept from the 1960s continues to work in practice
The next Module I chose was Digital Photographic Practice which I began in November 2013. Unfortunately I soon got stuck in a rut. This was not so much the Module itself, although it was looking slightly past its sell-by date and has now been withdrawn for new students. I had added distractions due to personal circumstances and, although my situation gradually improved and my Tutor, OCA staff and OCA student colleagues were very supportive, I just couldn’t seem to get immersed into the Module.
I’ve now made the leap and taken the decision to change my path so here I am now at the start of Context and Narrative, a brand new Module with a very contemporary feel. I’m feeling more enthusiastic already which is a good beginning and I’m looking forward to gaining new knowledge and skills particularly in relation to how I communicate with my photography and its context.
14th July 2014