How do I begin to evaluate so many different aspects of this unit? When I am not evaluating like I normally would, where I consider my ideas, my working methodology and my final photos.
I will start at the main event as it where, which was the longest lasting work experience. Where I was working as an artist’s assistant in the classroom. Throughout the unit I have given it many different titles because it wasn’t a set profession like a teacher or an artist, it was a mixture of multiple things. And I loved it, it was so enjoyable and I felt that it challenged me in so many ways, pushing me outside of my comfort zone, for example talking in front of large groups but I managed it anyway. Throughout my blogposts I have been evaluating myself on each day because the requirements change so much. So I don’t want to repeat myself too much here.
I have felt a huge confidence growth whilst working as classroom/arts assistant which is something I really needed because it something I am lacking, and I am constantly told that it is my downfall. I think speaking in front of children has helped me because not only do they have to listen, because they are taught to respect their elders, but because they are there to learn and to have fun, whereas in other scenarios for example in presentations, you are constantly being judged but children don’t care if you’re nervous and quite frankly they are less intimidating than a group of my peers. I realise how silly it sounds, but they were so nice to talk to even in front of as large groups. During one session I was showing them my artwork (sketchbooks from my A levels) and they absolutely loved it, and it put smiles on their faces and on mine, so this added to the confidence boost too. As I feel that my confidence is constantly knocked away. I feel that I am going on about my confidence too much but it is the biggest thing to me, and I never expected to come out of a unit with this boost seeing as it took me almost 2 years during a job for my confidence to grow, and yet it happened over such a short time of about 3 days at the schools. This is a huge achievement which I hold with the highest regards.
I think I worked well in the classrooms, using my initiative almost all of the time, with only a few occasions where I felt the need to check with Sioux, and even on them I didn’t need to because it tended to be that I was doing it right and I was just doubting myself. Using your initiative in these situations is important because not all children do, and also Sioux had enough on her plate without me becoming another child asking, “Miss, Miss”.
I felt that I built good relationships with the children from both schools, earned my respect from the pupils, because being a school child not so long ago myself I remember teachers that where respected where the ones who didn’t demand or scare it from us. I could also have fun with the children too, joining in the conversations when appropriate, this was helpful as it meant they then felt comfortable to ask me questions. I soon felt comfortable working in a position of responsibility because even though I was just an assistant, I did still feel that being an adult in the classroom that I needed to be responsible and I handled this well.
I worked well under the supervision of a teacher, and what I mean by this is, I didn’t go stomping in and take over (not that I ever would anyway) but she was still in charge of the class, so when children asked to leave the room, even if it was just to go to the toilets, I never gave the permission, in case there were rules I didn’t know about, so I always checked with the teacher.
I was patient with the children, and always kind towards them, but I did attempt to be firm when needed, and it mostly worked. I had lots of energy through the sessions as it was needed but did need a day after each one to recover because it was extremely tiring, but always enjoyable.
I felt I didn’t do so well when it came to taking group photos, I couldn’t organise the children on my own, and I was quite unsure as to how to do it. I think I fixed the problem well though, (when they didn’t all fit in one photo) by using Photoshop to merge them together, I know this probably isn’t the done thing, but it was how I could right my wrong.
I am extremely pleased with my photos throughout the sessions, and I love looking at the first workshop compared to more recent ones as you can even see my own confidence grow in the photos, and connection between myself and the children, and the relation they had with the camera.
I have learnt that teaching children is extremely challenging but balances out with how rewarding it can be. I learn a lot about working as a freelancer and how applying for funding works, about costings, and how much time and energy needs to be put in to work how Sioux does all from the chats we have on our car journeys.
I evaluated my time working as Sioux’s assistant by looking up the requirements of a teaching assistant, to see what I did well etc.
I am definitely considering working with children in this way in the future (they’ve not scared me off quite yet), I would love to come up with my own workshops, perhaps photography related? Because taking photos is still what I love doing, but I enjoy art too, and it is nice to encourage this in schools. I don’t know if there is such a thing as a primary school art teacher, as I think you teach all of the subjects, but I would like to be a visiting or resident artist like Sioux and do odd workshops.
I felt that I learnt the most from the Jukebox Monkey Album release shoot, the wedding I took photos for and the maternity shoot because these all meant that I would need and learn different skills.
The Jukebox Monkey shoot was probably my favourite of the shoots, because I was learning how to shoot in low light situations, with harsh colour casts, and fast movements. It was also nice to be appreciated when we received a shout out on stage, not that I wasn’t appreciated during any of the other shoots it was probably just cooler to have a band thank you and a crowd cheer.
The wedding I photographed for Valerie and William was actually really scary, and I felt quite intimidated by the task at hand because I was pretty much on my own, there was another photographer there but I wasn’t working for him and I knew that they would have his photos but I still didn’t want to disappoint them, and put a lot of pressure on myself to perform well. I think I managed to get some really nice shots, there were silly mistakes made, but it was my first wedding I’d ever photographed at and it was a huge step forward.
Again the maternity shoot was similar because it was the first time I’d done something like this, and I proved to myself that I am capable of quantity and quality and working as a professional.
At Mr and Mrs Sadler’s wedding I felt that I learnt new technical skills, as well as tricks on the day, for example bringing a white umbrella in case of rain and also it won’t be an eye sore in the photos.
I am extremely pleased with the outcome of this unit and I can’t wait to begin to select photos for my portfolio, as now I have photos that clients and employers actually want to see.
I am glad I didn’t go down the route of being an assistant at a studio because I think I would have found it quite dull, and not only that but really intimating and rather than boost my confidence I think it would knock it, as I would much prefer to practice and learn more studio skills in a university environment.
Looking into the future:
Since this unit I have gained so much confidence, and I am working on my CV to submit to a job opportunity. It is at my local leisure centre, and they want a photographer to work under the London Photo Company. The job will entail taking photos of family’s and kids, it is also only at the weekends and school holidays which will be ideal for me to balance with uni. I feel now that I have the skills to do this, so I will apply and hope for the best.