WPO @ Photokina
- By Cecily @WPO
- 1 comment
100 cups of coffee, 50 bottles of wine, 20 universities, 11 languages, 4 experts, 2 rooms, 1 weekend.
On trains, planes and automobiles students and professors migrated across Europe to Cologne during the Photokina weekend to gather for the first World Photo Educators Symposium, organised by WPO and kindly sponsored by Sony.
© Natalie Bothur, Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition
The tutors participated in a roundtable discussion, led by Virginia Morrison, Executive Director, Society of Photographic Education to consider best practise and explore the issues and challenges of photography education today. It was an animated and dynamic afternoon, with additions from professors who are both pushing the barriers and working on the cutting edge of technology or those promoting more traditional practise. However, all were able to expound on the core competencies with which students should ultimately leave their colleges. We will distribute these findings in a White Paper, to be distributed to all schools participating in the Student Focus programme.
Meanwhile, next door, Jonathan Worth, photographer, was leading the student group through an exciting journey exploring the innovative ways that social media can be used to self-promote, publish and widen your audience as a photographer. With 30,000 online students for each of his classes, Jonathan is truly an online pioneer.
Ruth Eichorn, Director Geo Magazine, followed this up with an insight into the more traditional world of magazine editorial, a possible route for students post-university. This was warmly received, as Ruth showed different works, illustrating both the need for and quality of editorial work, while offering advice on how to swerve the usual but avoidable pitfalls.
© Natalie Bothur, Student Portfolio Reviews
Due to popular demand, to meet with a younger, working photographer we were delighted to welcome Natalie Bothur, 2008 Nude Winner of the inaugural Sony World Photography Awards. Natalie spoke candidly about her current life as a working photographer, understanding the tough journey that all graduates go through, sharing her thoughts and tips to breaking into the industry. As one of only two graduates from her class who have been able to stay working as photographers, Natalie championed the energy and power of never giving up. 5 years ago, Natalie had completed her degree at Essen, entered and won a few awards which launched her profile and is now receiving regular editorial and advertising work, to fund her personal projects.
Students and Professors reunited, Steve Pyke MBE, Photographer, gave a retrospective of his work, starting with his first portraits in 1979. Steve's early work is arresting, remarkable experiments with a roliflex he still has and shoots on today. The audience witness the growing confidence in both his skill and courage in creating relationships with his subjects from all over the world. Indeed this talent took Steve across America to complete his soon-tobe exhibition at NASSA, Houston of the Astronauts who walked on the moon.
© Natalie Bothur, Steve Pyke considers student work
Pizza, wine, candlelight and an Italian mama welcomed us with open arms in a tiny ristorante for our supper. We much pitied the couple in the corner, on their first date, it was not quite the Saturday night they may have envisoned, as all descended for a happy and noisy evening of conversation, swapping stories and exhibitions across the continents.
Sunday morning was a slightly slower start but flasks of coffee quickly fuelled an animated portfolio review session. Initially formalised, each of the 4 experts enabled their group to present their work, encouraging the professors to draw on their experience to also critique on the students' projects. By lunchtime, the excited buzz was palpable, peer to peer, expert to student, students to professors everyone was swapping work, sharing views and absorbing advice. It was with great reluctance and much resistance that flight times dictated the end of this incredible forum - a hugely satisfying conclusion to a wonderful weekend.
© Natalie Bothur