Recent activity and some thoughts

I have not posted some new information for several weeks which has been remiss of me. My excuse, kitchen building,travel and attending events have diverted me from the task. I have however not neglected to ‘focus’ on photography and the Arts in general.

My first event was to attend the John Moors painting awards in Liverpool, a trip down memory lane as my first teaching experience was there. The back of the Philharmonic Pub was a real nostalgic moment as some very lively seminar sessions with the locals joining in kept the students challenged. They had to be on their toes to outwit the seasoned drinkers.

The Moors did not disappoint with some outstanding painting


The next event was as a result of having to go to the south of France to pick up some equipment.

In exploring I came across an number galleries selling photography. Yet again this showed where there is a strong subject interest, in this case winter sports, photography which covers the subject with high quality images can produce a viable business.


Chamonix and Mont Blanc  were the stars of the show and inspired some very high quality black and white images.

Breathing at the top of Mont Blanc and using the camera at my age was a substantial challenge. Skiing was well beyond me.



The experiences which have given me much to think about over the past few months are some new books on education and discussions on the perceived value or not of degrees. The spotlight on value of the degree is thankfully creating less traditional rigid thinking on what a degree course should be.

I attended a session run by a local arts organisation on where to go next after the degree and also had a few discussions with students coming to the end of their course who seemed totally directionless. The experience has left me feeling very unsettled and concerned for the well being of those looking for a career in the profession.

I weary when I hear of projects with little rigour, arts organisations who talk about the profession without having to justify a bottom line of demonstrably practical evidence.

The support students receive, without a real critical approach gleaned through independent exploration of the world they are entering, is often limited by there own levels of self belief. The fear factor produces a rabbits in the headlights effect. There is as a result a limit to ambition and a desire to find easy undemanding solutions.

Back to the books in which the research has shown and I quote a review “the brain thrives on achieving mastery over something difficult rather than having tasks made easier. The usual education debate about skills verses knowledge is so beside the point. For humans the learning process is intrinsically social.”

This is a huge area and on the other hand relatively simple. Courses need to be constructed on challenges which excite, in a culture which encourages risk and gives support which minimises compromises. Creative visualisers are highly sophisticated in their skills and this demands a system of education which recognises this.




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