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Saturday, 25 May 2013

Through their cameras

Hello again!

As Creative Week goes on, here I am as promised with the updates from another one of the events that en lighted this week: the Photographic Exhibition of the II Year students of BA Photography.
It took place in the Avenue Road Gallery of Portobello, which means that from college we could easily walk there and that' exactly what Tiberio, Chiara and I did the evening of the inauguration, two days ago.
Well, that's what we did after ironing Tiberio's shirt and getting ready for the very first public exhibition of some of our friends' work.
Sounds like a pretty big deal?
Well, if was for sure, and one of the biggest proves of that was the dedication that our lecturer (and sometimes hero) Kevin Fox put into the preparation and organisation, bringing what we usually call promotion to a whole new level by screaming from his bike to everyone he passed by to go there and participate...

Must say, all the effort was very well repaid again:
The gallery was a lovely little but very cool space, which almost looked like a old factory but whose metallic door made me think of a cool loft or the studio of a modern artist just as the ones we sometimes see in movies.

When we got there the two rooms where the photographs from some of the students were displayed were already filled with people chatting and commenting what they were seeing,
but also drinking and enjoying the refreshments that were being taken care by some volunteers among the First Year students of BA Photography.
The same students that hopefully will see their own works on these walls next year.

But for now it was the big moment of this year II Years'.
Even if not all of them exposed their pictures, and I know that among the ones whose work we didn't get to see were some very, very talented ones, the average level was quite high.
Talking with them I found out that apparently the most difficult thing was choosing just some pictures among their entire body of work, which they all have been developing during the year by doing their assignments but also coming up with their own projects.

I must admit that even if I loved very much Tomasz Kornas' photographs 

which were so smooth and very well edited, 
and I also enjoyed many other ones 

The photographs I liked the most were my friends' ones...

Karen was exposing three black and white photographs which she has taken in an hotel room which she had chosen as the location for her photo shoot.
They surely got the attention of many of the participants and chatting with the people around myself, asking them about their favourite photographers, almost all of them mentioned Karen.
Very well done job and she was glowing, just as much as her mum and her auntie who joined her for the evening.
I must say, the all looked like sisters!

(Karen with her gorgeous auntie)

(Karen with her mum)

(Karen and me)

Of course, Sami was also among the students exposing.
I think he made a very clever choice for what is his ind of photography: he exposed just one pictures, big and framed.
The result was extremely strong, also due to the pictures itself which I thought was absolutely amazing.
That is exactly the kind of picture that I would hang in my house: so beautiful and yet so powerful, a great example of fashion photography but on a much more artsy lever this time... he nailed it and it was so good to see him smiling while Chiara and I were complimenting with him!
Especially because I know how much work he has put into that shot, which he has been showing me for a while now and which I always thought was great, despite not really realising how great until I saw it hanging on the wall in its huge awesomeness.

(Sami and me next to his photograph)

Talking about the style that each one of the students has developed until now, their identity as photographer, I felt like every one of then represented their unique personality and wanted to send a different message with their photographs.
But if you asked me, there was one of them who was a little more unique then all the others.
There, among all the landscapes, experiments, fashion shots, four pictures which you just couldn't avoid looking at, as it should be with any documentary which deserved to be called that way.
Do you remember (I hope you do...) Tiberio Ventura?
The ultimate fashion photographer during Maria Roche's huge and amazing (and very long!) fashion shoot last week?
Well, you should know that Tiberio is just starting now to consider fashion as a valid alternative (which he should as he is very good at that too...) but until not so long ago, he was all on for a very difficult and challenging type of photography: Documentary.
Some people would call what he does a Reportage, and that also helps the ones of you that are not great at definitions to understand a little better where you could find pictures as his ones: an issue of National Geographic, an exhibition in some big museum around the world, the web site of the Pulitzer Price awards, maybe.

At this point, a bell should ring in your head.
It would for sure if you saw the pictures live (get to the exhibition!)...
But you would be even more surprised if you knew the story behind these extremely powerful shots.
In fact, as a respectable documentary which is well known to be a long thought process, they are the result of Tiberio's work of an entire summer which he spent inside of a mental institute close to where he lives in Italy.
Initially he just wanted to go there and take pictures, but he soon realised that it would have been way too upsetting for these people having the issues they have to see someone photographing them all day without a reason.
That's when he unexpectedly turned into a volunteer nurse in the clinic, spending time there every day to familiarise with the patients, learning their stories, observe them and finally, introducing his camera to them as a form of game they were playing together.
Finally, he took the pictures, 

and he choose four of them to be exposed in Avenue Road Gallery.
Sounds unbelievable?
I know...
He didn't do it?
Oh no he did it, despite spending three months in a mental clinic in Italy which is probably not the place you would want to spend your summer at age 20, believe me...

But apparently timing is not an issue for Tiberio, instead he likes going for the long shot, as he did again last semester when he has been trying to get in touch, following and photographic Drag Queens all around Dublin for his successive project, which turned out to be pretty amazing as well.
Do you want to see more?
Are you amazed?
I am as well and I assure you, he got my attention so badly that I think you will have many more updates about his work since now...

He is also about to launch a web site for his portfolio and I promise I will share the link with you here so that you'll be able to see more and more and maybe get in touch with him as well and give him your opinion about his work.
I am sure he would be happy to find out that someone is actually able to understand the meaning behind these pictures.
The suffer, the hope, the effort that they require, which goes beyond carrying the camera and doing endless brain storming that end up looking like a cherry tree in May...

(Chiara, Tiberio and me)

I think he was pretty happy about the result, which was proved by the fact that he actually asked me to take some pictures of him beside his work...

But I was not the only one as many other asked him to strike the pose (lol) next to his photographs.
In fact, it was so nice to have with us students that evening all the lecturers and the people who help us and follow us during the development of what is our practical work but also out identity and our probable future.
One of them was Steven, photo technician and former Saint always available to help us with the equipment or if anything is broken, gets broken, is about to brake while we shoot in the studio and outside.
But apart from that, he has always demonstrated to be genuinely interested in our work and what we do, which feels so good and which I must say is not so rare in Griffith.
Sometimes I think about out College as if it was some sort of very big family: a place where we spend a lot of time, we struggle but we also have a lot of fun and, just as my friends photographers whose pictures are still on show (you have until the 26th to get there and have a look...) a lot of satisfaction...

With this thought I will leave Dublin and my fourth semester of college here.
And honestly, I cannot wait to start over again and do more, learn more, meet new people who will inspire me and make the last year even more special...

(Chiara, Antonina and me)

And to all of you, who will hopefully keep following me through my journey,
Stay tuned!

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