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Bold Wigs and Visiting Space

The Explore Stage of the TICE Programme intends to take young creatives out of their comfortable bubble and give them a realistic insight into the professional workplace and the skills needed to work in the industry. So how exactly could mentor of TICE Photography, Jennine Wilson, snap the perfect and most realistic picture for these aspiring photographers from Longbenton High School and Whitburn CofE Academy?

Day 1

The morning began with a beautiful view right outside the heart of art, The Baltic. After a brief introduction to the day ahead, they were straight in with their first task. Jennine opened her bag of goodies, assigned teams with an array of colourful props/decorations and sent them on a Fashion Photography shoot. Their challenge was all about coming up with concepts that reflect the words pop (representing one colour), blend (a contrast between two or more colours) and clash (colours that don’t conventionally mix).

With the view of the sunny Quayside surrounding them, they had an idyllic location to really play with colour. There was a patch of greenery behind them, the red tone of the Baltic entrance and to the blue team’s surprise, a bright blue bus which parked across the road halfway through the shoot. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be…

Jennine sent them to the Baltic Cafe, warmed them up with a cup of hot chocolate and asked teams to condense and finalise their top shots. It was useful for them to experience not only the shoot itself but the entire process that follows after. After some debate and discussion, they picked their favourites.

They were then guided back outside to hear from their first guest speaker – the wonderful Joan Hall, a freelance photographer from the North East.

“Her aim is to produce imaginative and unique imagery, from creating and developing the initial concept, through all phases of the creative process to the final edit. Attention to detail in all areas is key, this meticulousness is derived from a love of producing beautiful imagery.”

Students conducted some background research and had a peek of Joan’s portfolio before her arrival, so after sharing her inspiring story she was soon faced with many interesting questions. What do you find is the most difficult part of being a photographer? How do you plan your shoots? Joan’s warm and encouraging response left the students feeling more motivated and encouraged to find greater meaning in their art – to build a narrative and not be afraid to create something which challenges the norm.

After a spot of lunch, the team made their way to the Life Centre to check out the most recent exhibition, Museum of the Moon.

“Museum of the Moon is a touring artwork by UK artist Luke Jerran, which has been seen by millions of people throughout the world. It has been exhibited at the Commonwealth Games in Australia, at five cities in India and in Aarhus in Denmark for the European Capital of Culture.”

It was truly out of this world (excuse the pun). The first thing we saw was a replica of the moon. The texture, colour and shape made it look almost lifelike. After gawking at the moon and space outfits, we were led to the planetarium. Once sat back in comfortable cinema-like seats, the room went pitch black and began to light up with stars, planets and constellations. Students got a mini-astrology lesson whilst also questioning exactly how the images were photographically constructed. It was a fascinating way to end their first day on Explore Stage.

Day 2

Students met once again for Day 2 and this time they were welcomed to the Mandela Building in Newcastle College – the home for art, design and media. To ease them in, they were given a tour of the Photography department and discussed Further Education opportunities. In true Newcastle College fashion, there was plenty to consider and by looking at the outstanding facilities, it had certainly piqued many of the student’s interest.

For the first task of the day, it was all about going a bit more outside the box…less commercial and more artistic. And who better to give a masterclass on that concept than professional photographer, Ian Hobson?

‘I have been a practicing artist for over 2 decades, exploring and developing various relationships between time, space, light and mind. I also have a background in science and often incorporate aspects of this into my work.’

Over recent years, Ian’s work has surrounded using various light sources, thus creating this idea of light painting. So, it was only fair that students had a taste of it! Using an array of handheld battery operated devices such as the Pixel Stick, teams were taking some stunning and inspiring photographs in the studio, painting with light, experimenting with orbs and silhouettes. A truly unique and spectacular experience – their afternoon at the Planetarium certainly helped too.

To turn the table completely, Jennine wanted to give the team a taste of commercial photography – more specifically, product photography in fashion. Teams had to compose and style a fashion product on a tabletop scoop. What seemed that a simple process was certainly not the case. They had to explore things they wouldn’t necessarily consider such as placement, colour schemes and even the target audience that the product would attract. Additionally, students experiencing studio photography was a completely different working environment. In most cases, you have to make the most out of a very simple, restrictive space unlike their Baltic photoshoot on Day 1. It was certainly an understated learning curve.

After a busy day of shoots, it was time to sit back and hear from two incredibly talented women who are currently in Fashion photography, Sarah Winslett and Liz Rose Ridley. They shared their story to success, the skills they have gained over the years as well as sharing some words of wisdom in starting up your own business. It was interesting for the students to hear from two Fashion photographers who have completely different ways of styling, composing and showcasing their work. It just goes to show that individuality and belief in your craft is the key to building a very exciting, creative career.

What a wonderful couple of days for TICE Photography. It wouldn’t have been the same without our incredible guest speakers and venues – thank you. We can’t wait to see what they come up with in Create Stage. Watch this space…literally. That’s a hint.

See more photos from TICE Photography Explore Stage here:

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