Photographic Futures: Work experience evaluation

Going into my work experience, I was justly apprehensive and concerned, as most of us would be. I have a lot of problems with self-doubt and have thrown away many an opportunity as a result of this, and in seeing the requirement for the completion of 10 days work experience within the unit brief, I was again filled with self-doubt and anxiety. I know how much my anxiety in these sorts of situations affects my performance and ability (a lot), and in knowing this, I instinctively shy away from anything of the sort. Ironically, my solution to a fear of failure is just to fail outright from the beginning and thus feel I had ultimate control on the matter and in a sense, it wasn’t failure, I just didn’t want to partake – I could’ve done it if I wanted to. Unless I wanted to fail the unit, no such defeatism could occur, and thus this work experience was the much needed kick. I attended an impromptu meeting with the employer, and to my shock, managed to act and articulate like a somewhat normal human being – I wasn’t a puppet to my anxiety. I went out and shot the locations, spoke to locals along the way and shot in crowded public spaces, all mostly anxiety-free. These ‘achievements’ may sound and seem insignificant to most, but I am genuinely proud of them.

I went into the work, expecting it to be a lot freer than it was, it wasn’t oppressively restrictive but enough so that I wasn’t able to take the shots I would have liked to on a lot of occasions. As explained within diary entries, the images needed to be mostly utilitarian; simply images of the location as it is, with little room and regard for creativity and aesthetics. I did slip in some and of course, I tried to make the locations look beautiful if possible (sorry poundstretcher). I would have liked to try out some street-esque photography, but it just wasn’t compatible with what the employer wanted. I’ve learnt that I need to be more organised; have a clear-set time-frame of where and when I’m going to be somewhere and how I’m going to get there. I spent a lot of time simply walking from location to location and often times, by virtue of not knowing the area well enough, found myself doubling back and wasting time. The process also reinforced the fact that I need to learn to drive, which I plan to start this summer.

The type of photography I was required to produce also reminded me that the average person likes images that photographers will likely not. It was very difficult to get out of the ‘photographer’s mindset’ and try and capture the sort of images the average Joe wants to see. I very much enjoyed most of the work I undertook and would happily undertake it again in the future as paid work. Though, the lack of creative freedom was difficult and brought to my realisation that the type of work I’d ideally like to be doing would be artistic rather than commercial and that I’d have to try and find a balance between the two.


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