Jess Cowley Photography - Dossier
DOSSIER - A review of my final year studying Photography at Bath School of Art & Design.
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    The Holburne Museum, Bath

    Since the 15th June 2013 I have been volunteering on a weekly basis at The Holburne Museum. 

    My main role is gallery steward. However, I have also worked on the information desk and in the shop. I have volunteered for special events such as The Big Draw where I helped children make superhero masks, capes and badges. In these roles I have learnt how to interact with visitors, talk in depth about the art and promote the museum and it’s special exhibitions. I have also been given the role of taking the light meter readings, which means I test how much light is on the paintings in the museum. If the levels are too high then I have to adjust the blinds and lights. This task has helped me to gain knowledge about how to preserve art.

    I have been part of great exhibitions including Rembrandt and his Contemporaries: Paintings from the Royal Collection and The Duchess of Cambridge portrait by Paul Emsley.

    My time volunteering has been an invaluable experience. I really enjoy going to the Holburne every week and I am constantly learning about different styles of art and how a museum runs.

    Stereoscopic Photographs of Picasso by Robert Mouzillat

    The Holburne Museum, Bath, April 2014

    Press release:

    This exhibition presents, for the first time, a small part of an extraordinary collection of colour stereoscopic photographs of Picasso taken over the Easter weekend of 1957 by the pioneering 3D photographer Robert Mouzillat.

    People, places and works of art captured and brought to life photographically through the magic of 3D and the unrestrained brilliance of Robert Mouzillat. Altogether a deeply intriguing glimpse into the personal life of the world’s most famous artist. These unique images will be displayed on 3D screens.

    Iceland Collaboration Project

    This project was predominately based in Iceland. I was part of a team that included a Textiles student from my university and a student from Drexel University in Philadelphia, USA. There were two parts to this project.

    1 - A VoiceThread presentation on Icelandic Art

    2- A short film based on a site we were given. We were given the National Museum of Iceland.

    This project has proved to be quite difficult due to time constraints and the fact that it was predominately an online project. However, I have enjoyed collaborating and working as a team with students of different disciplines. We still have to edit and finalise our film but hopefully during the editing process we will be able to create an outcome that is interesting, fun and arty.

    Sam Mendes™'s 25 Rules.

    Galleri Fold Talk with art dealer Elinbjort Jonsdottir, Iceland, March 2014

    During my time in Iceland I went to a presentation about Icelandic art and photography at Galleri Fold.

    Galleri Fold was established in 1992 and sells work for artists through both exhibitions and auctions. All galleries in Iceland work on commission.

    Key features of Icelandic art:

    -       Landscape and abstract work is very common

    -       Nordic blue is a predominant feature

    The first photographs in Iceland were taken around 1860 by French photographers. Soon afterwards Icelanders learnt how to use photographic equipment and made their own photographs. Due to the rise of camera ownership, Icelanders rarely buy photographs for their wall. However, they love photo books and according to the art dealer there are stacks in every house!

    Calvin Klein Talk - Design March, Reykjavik, Iceland, March 2014

    During my time in Iceland, I went to a talk by Calvin Klein, which was part of Design March held at the Harpa in Reykjavik. Although I don’t plan on becoming a fashion designer, the talk was really interesting and Klein gave lots of good advice on working in the creative industry.

    The following are a few notes that I took during the talk:

    Klein’s designs were inspired by the James Dean era and influenced by British design - he wanted to be the ‘tough guy’.

    He was always in control of his image and marketing. He controlled and directed shoots and picked the team. He worked with photographers such as Richard Avedon, Bruce Weber, Steven Meisel, Mario Sorrenti and Patrick Demarchelier. 

    In regards to imaging, Klein says it has to reflect what you create and you should always have a clear point of view.

    "People don’t know where they want to go, you have to show them"

    "You have to have the confidence in yourself that you want to do it, you can doubt yourself but never show it. Lead and make people buy into it. If you are not confident, act as if you are."

    "Problem solving is life. If you don’t have to solve them anymore, you’re dead!"

    "Push for what you believe in."

    Image by Hulda Sif

    The Weather Diaries - Cooper & Gorfer

    The Nordic House, Reykjavik, Iceland, March 2014

    Press release:

    A poster exhibition of selected works by Cooper & Gorfer from the book The Weather Diaries. Published in connection to the upcoming Nordic Fashion Biennale, The Weather Diaries mix dark romanticism, photography and 18th century painting to tell the story of Icelandic, Faroese and Greenlandic fashion.

    From a Different Angle - Photography by Icelandic Women 1872-2013

    Reykjavik Museum of Photography, Iceland, March 2014

    Exhibition Statement:

    The exhibition From a Different Angle presents photographic works by 34 women, all of whom have worked as photographers in Iceland – the majority professionally, a few as amateurs. The exhibition spans a period of 140 years, with a correspondingly broad spectrum of photographic themes.

    The focus is on photographs, which showcase the photographer’s personal vision and creativity, while also illustrating their hard work and interest in their craft. The photographs are presented in three categories: landscape/nature, family/home life, and portraits/social life.

    The exhibition highlights the interesting contribution made by these 34 photographers to the story of photography in Iceland. The fact that all 34 are women may have contributed to the reality that many of them have hitherto not enjoyed the recognition they deserve.

    Ian Teh Lecture, March 2014

    Ian Teh is a documentary and landscape photographer whose work stems from interests in social, environmental and political issues. His work is a comment on society and the impact of society on the environment.

    Teh studied Graphic Design at Bath Spa University in the 90s. It was during this time that he began to experiment with photography. His main inspirations were Eugene Smith, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Ansel Adams. Adams’ books The Camera, The Negative and The Print particularly inspired Teh’s black and white work.

    The majority of Teh’s work is set in China and South East Asia. He began using colour during a project in Hong Kong, documenting the urban landscape at night. It was here that he transferred his black and white skills whilst finding his own photographic voice. 

    At the beginning of Teh’s career he predominately worked on photo essays, which he says is how he learned his photographic language and where he was looking and hunting for his ‘decisive moment’. Teh still photographs photo essays and has been published in many magazines including TIME.

    Teh’s most current work is called Confluence. A book and an exhibition, Confluence was created during an artist residency in Malaysia. Teh was assigned to cover the coast of Malaysia and he then chose to document the shipping waters, the people and the culture. Confluence is documenting the wealth of Malaysia and the cost that this has on the environment.  

    Teh also does commercial work which helps to fund his personal projects. In regards to commercial work, Teh says to focus on areas that you are passionate about and don’t lose your photographic identity. Keep your identity the same through your commercial and personal work.

    As well as working on assignments and personal projects, Teh founded the online magazine Deep Sleep. He founded the magazine with friends with the aim of creating a hub for photographers - both people starting out and experienced - in order to share ideas and produce interesting projects.

    Tom Jackson Lecture, March 2014

    Tom Jackson is an editorial portrait photographer. After studying Editorial Photography in Brighton, Jackson moved to London and assisted photographers such as Rankin, David Sims and Jane Hilton. During his time assisting, he realised that what he was interested in photographing were people’s faces and characterful people.

    His first solo commission was the WWF wrestlers for Times Magazine. This led to him being a regular photographer for the magazine. He says that the supplements are a great way to get into the industry. You get your work published, gain access to high-profile people and it gives you links to advertising agencies.

    Jackson does a lot of personal projects that are then used in newspapers and magazines and leads to further work. Jackson says that agencies love to see personal work. They want to see your published work but what they will book you on is usually based on your personal work.

    Key pieces of advice:

    • You can do so much with little kit - it’s all about knowing light.
    • Find a niche and go with it.
    • Social networking is the best publicity
    • Possible agents to contact - Ellison Lee, East Photographic, Soho Management
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