Photographers’ London Easter School 2013

Wow. Talk about a chilly week here in London town for my visitors to the Photographers’ London Easter school at Central St. Martins. But despite the weather the students had a great time and I really enjoyed seeing them creatively grow over the course of four full days. It’s always a pleasure to see students come in with their original work, post it on the bare white walls and have their creativity scrutinised by their peers and me. I feel it takes a brave step to do this and have absolute respect for those committing to this process. For this group particularly they also had to engage with the ESL aspect of the class – meaning they not only were learning to communicate and express approaches to their visual language but do so in a language that was not their native tongue. Huge double respect. Having a multicultural group from Japan, Russia, Thailand and Brazil, all having come over to take part in this class, is always an honor, and I love it. For some this was their first time moving from automatic settings to manual operations of their Dslr’s and the work was just incredible.  Really.

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Photographers’ London Student Work Easter School 2013

Of course being out on the street and not in the studio means we encounter the elements, and life throws us some serendipitous moments and in those we meet some exceptional local folk. These people don’t know it but they make London proud. On this occasion I’d like to take the time to acknowledge two people in particular who we met on this week’s journey. First their is Scott at Snappy Snaps Mayfair.  Being on the road means we often have to make use of one hour lab facilities. Scott has a lovely location which sits nestled in the wonderful and quaint Shepard’s Square in Mayfair, just off Curzon Street. The moment we walked in he welcomed all of my students as  if we were family coming home. His robust and enthusiastic personality is full of stories and he makes for quite an entertaining character. Scott went the extra mile for our class with a tour of the equipment and the printing process and gave the students freedom in his post-production area to cut and trim and shape their work. The report back from the group was that this really added some colour to their visit to London and they truly enjoyed their time with Scott.

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Another person I must mention is Jimmy Hughes at the Leica Camera shop in Mayfair. Hit that link and you can see Jimmy in his IMMACULATE environs – he’s the one on the right. One of the girls from our group who was visiting from Japan had her father’s Leica lens Ricoh camera and somehow it got a speck of dirt  in it meaning every picture she took had it irritatingly in the center of her frame. Both Scott and myself tried all we could to get it out but it needed a specialist. Scott let us know about Jimmy and with a race against the clock (they closed in thirty minutes) we walked the twenty minute walk through beautiful Mayfair and ended up at Leica just before close. If you have ever wanted to see GORGEOUS shop design get over to this shop. It’s just stunning. And the Leica display is as juicy a camera display you’ll ever see. But I digress. Jimmy came out to speak to the students and took the camera, went into his glass and stainless steel lab and came out a couple minutes later with the camera all good as new. But rather then just handing it off he gave the glass a mini lecture on lens dust and went into detail about how the lens worked with f-stops and dust and aperture and how, if this happened again in her travels she should do this and that. We left the store, walked up the block and they all commented on how both Jimmy and Scott had really made their day. So there you go.

There are times London can feel really hard, cold  and unfriendly but then, the luck I have in the workshops I do, is I often get to see the opposite. So on behalf of the graduating class of Photographers’ London 2013 Easter School — thank you London for an amazing week.