Fellowship In Portrait Photography

January 28, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

I have just been given a new mug as a present with sheet music printed on the sides and written between the music are the words "for he's a jolly good fellow and so say all of us"  ….and now I really am going to have  believe it…. as I am indeed a "Fellow!" 

I have a great pleasure and a huge amount of pride in being able to say I have successfully qualified as a Fellowship of portrait photography with the SWPP (http://www.swpp.co.uk).  This was a massive undertaking for me; it has been an aim of mine for the last 4 years to be one of the best in the country and took one and a half years to prepare this panel of work submitted for assessment. Such is the standard required.

A fellowship is the most prestigious qualification a professional photographer can achieve and to do so and an applicant must produce a panel of work of 20 perfect images that shows both flair and an individual style in photography.  This style can then be identified as yours and the 20 images must hang as a finished complete work that blends together. It should demonstrate skill in the mastering of perfect lighting, symmetry, composition and this must be repeated throughout the 20 images showing consistently high standard for professional work. 

The judges take every aspect of the finished panel into account from deciding what subject is photographed right down to what paper it’s printed on. It all must be carefully taken into consideration and the whole panel of work needs to flow from start to finish holding the judge's eyes, telling a story.  Photographically it should be perfect, posing to the lighting of the subjects and even the tonal range of the image.  

I have met some lovely and truly fantastic sports people whilst shooting this project.  Some have made it in the world of sport and some are still rising to the top.  No matter at what level these people are, they are dedicated to their chosen sport and it has been my pleasure to photograph them and I thank them massively for allowing me to use their images for my portrait fellowship.

Special thanks must go to my mentor in photography, Damian McGillicuddy and his wife Lesley, they run a mentoring programme second to none and Damian has guided me through this process and shared his incredible knowledge.

 

Below is my statement of intent which you have I had to produce to demonstrate to the judges what this panel of work was all about.  

 

Fellowship: - Statement of intent

By Clive Hall

SPORTRAITS

I’m very proud to present to you, my Fellowship panel “Sportraits”.

After many years of competing in a variety of sports personally, I have come to both admire and gain inspiration from the great skill and dedication it takes a sports person to be the best they can be.   It’s tough and requires untold hours of effort, training, dedication, sweat and tears!

“Sportraits” is a term I like to use to describe the very specific style of portraiture I provide for sports people. The style was developed from interviewing these people, posing questions about their drive and motivation, their vision of themselves and more importantly how ‘they would like’ to see themselves.  Armed with this knowledge and information my sportraiture evolved to become the integration of sports photography with studio portraiture, to produce an animated/portrait style.  This style allows me to input my artistic expression to the commissioned work and everyone depicted in this panel are sports stars local to me and are my clients.

These images are presented in monochrome, to remove distraction and enhance the gritty strength of the style, helping to portray the action, aggression, concentration, pleasure and determination of the competitors. Being involved in a sport, no matter at what level requires a certain mindset, as well as natural talent and aptitude. It’s about personal discipline and huge daily effort to train and prepare the mind and body. Attainment may vary, but as people doing something they love, there are no disabilities or barriers to being the best they can be.  Sportraits capture all of that and for me, that's what makes them so personal and so special.

There are parallels to this in all walks of life and in many ways; this story reflects my own journey in the world of photography and what I believe is required to succeed in becoming the best I can be.  It has taken me years of learning; from some great tutors, from critiques of good and bad images to enable consistent improvement as I progressed along my photography path.  I studied long and hard and experimented with different ideas and styles, learning, analysing and working to improve personally, technically and professionally.

To ensure my chosen pictures accurately represented my vision for them, I experimented with different photographic paper stock and visited a variety of companies and printing experts.  However, one person’s passion for printing became apparent and it was this passion that guided me through the minefield of paper and mount choice.  I believe it complements the images and completes the work by transporting what started as a vision in my mind’s eye, into the finished panel you see here today.

I sincerely hope you gain half as much enjoyment viewing this panel, as I did producing it.

 

                                    .............................................................

 

To everyone that has added to this journey I owe you massive thanks and my gratitude for your help, support and encouragement. You know who you are.

 "When you set yourself a difficult challenge in life, the road you must walk is a hard one but it is so much easier to travel that road with someone by your side".  

Thank you to everyone that has travelled this road with me.

 

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