We think it's really important for graduates or students to share their experiences within the photographic industry. Not only does it allow those interested to share their achievements and experiences, but we hope for it to encourage others. We've caught up with current UCA student Paris Wood, who has a lot to say about what she's achieved over the years. We really think everybody can get something from what she's written!
I’m currently a third year photography student at UCA, Farnham in Surrey. My work mainly focuses on documentary style photography, and I’m really intrigued by social classes, people and geographical locations. Some of my latest projects have included a study of my family home with 10 people living under one roof, and my most latest project studied the area I’m currently living in during term time in Farnham.
The area is a massive change from where I live back home in Norfolk, but I love it and don’t want to leave! Farnham isn’t too far to travel to London, so I wanted to make use of this connection to gain experience in the city.
During our second year, one of our units, Professional Futures, encouraged us to go out and get relevant work experience. Me, still not having a clue what I wanted to do in life, took this opportunity to get a short, months worth internship at a photo syndication agency in London - Lickerish Ltd. I found this opportunity through the AOP’s jobs shop.
Having had NO previous experience, not even a part time job, I was literally thrown in the deep end and had to help and push myself to get anywhere. I was in contact with Arlene at Lickerish and had a casual interview not long after my initial email. Lickerish is based on Riding House Street, London, and a small, friendly office with roughly 6 people working each day.
During my internship I was shown how Lickerish works. Most of my days were spend key wording, on Adobe Bridge, fashion week photographs from their photographers to be uploaded to the website. I was surprised by the detail needed to be included in each image to be uploaded, but this key for detail was something I really enjoyed, despite most calling it a tedious job! I ran a few errands, and helped out with scanning magazines in which our photographers images were in.
I also helped out with a few photo searches which came in via email when clients needed a specific photo. Lickerish also gave me the chance to meet one of their photographers - Holly Mcglynn - and help out on a shoot with her. Despite not particularly loving the idea of assisting a shoot, Holly was lovely to work with and I was super thankful for the opportunity to experience assisting.
Due to costs, I travelled into London 4 days a week for just over a month and was paid half of my travel money back. This routine was just what I needed and was my first break into the experience I really needed to get any further with my search for what I wanted to do in life!
Leading on from this, I found another opportunity through Twitter to work with Empowering Futures. Laura contacted me by phone later that day explaining what exactly Empowering Futures does, and got me involved immediately! Empowering Futures ‘conects entrepreneurs and university students to collaborate on specific projects.’ I went into London for a chat with Laura and an entrepreneur she matched me up with. Unfortunately this meeting wasn't a success, and i just wasn't the right candidate, with the entrepreneur realising he maybe needed more than a university students help. Despite this, is was a good experience meeting new people, and I ended up working with Laura to create some Infographics for her company. I also attended a Branding Workshop with Laura which was incredibly useful and is something that is open to all university students, studying any subject.
Having at least some kind of experience on my back, I went on to volunteering in an art gallery, the New Ashgate Gallery, Farnham, which I’m currently involved with, and a great insight into the gallery world. I’ve also got myself involved with an online magazine The Urban Watch and blogger Haylie Rubery from Frock Me Im Famous.
Both of these opportunities are great, each in their own way. Laura at The Urban Watch Magazine met me for a coffee in London and we discussed what we both wanted to achieve. I wanted experience of running a start up magazine, and Laura wanted help with social media and creation of a media kit for the site. Frock Me Im Famous’ Haylie took me our for lunch in London and said she wanted some social media, Pinterest ‘pinning’ help and typography/graphic overlays on her images to upload to the blog and use on Pinterest. Both these opportunities are on going and I complete remotely which keeps costs of travelling down.
For the time being, I shall continue with my current opportunities, and I'm still on the look out for other things I can get involved with. I’ve also just co-founded a new, online photography magazine - Untitled Collective which showcases the work of aspiring photographic artists and aims to connect, support and collaborate with other artists. Untitled Collective is always open to photographic or written submissions!
I said at one point I wanted to go on to compete an MA, but I just cant see this happening. At the minute, I just love meeting new people, getting involved with different projects and companies, and just want to get myself out there! I’ve loved my time studying photography at university, and it’s given me the confidence in the art side of things to go out and find what I want to do. When I’ve graduated, I hope to continue with the online photography magazine - Untitled Collective; get myself involved with more opportunities and internships, and hopefully soon, find what I really want to be doing!
My main advice would be to not worry too much about what you want to do in life. I’ve never had a clue what I wanted to do, and choosing photography as my BA degree was out of not knowing what else to do! My parents told me that I should take the opportunity to go to university for the experience, and I can say it has built me up as a person incredible amounts. I have no clue what I’d be doing with my life if I hadn't gone! During holiday breaks, take the opportunity to get in touch with people you know, or have industry contacts to get yourself relevant experience as it's so incredibly important these days. Even if it's something short and simple, to say you have pushed yourself to take on opportunities is something that will push you further and further!
In terms of things I find really useful - I subscribe to SO MANY email subscriptions, and not just related to photography! Any company you like, subscribe to them - you never know what opportunities may arise! I highly recommend Twitter, Diary Directory, The AOP and Fashion Workie for finding relatable opportunities.