Living and Learning
Charlotte Greenwood, Illustration and Visual Media
What I have learnt about so far from my professional practice at The School of Light:
I have been in Los Angeles for six weeks now and I have learnt more than I could have imagined from the professional practice I have been undertaking here. I spent my first four weeks doing one on one classes/workshops with a British photographer called Andrew Hall who runs The School of Light (SOL), an institution that “offers a wide range of Photography classes to stimulate your visual creativity”. In this time, I was introduced to the main principles of black and white analogue photography and was taught a variety of cameraless photography techniques such as photograms, chemigrams, watergrams and crystalograms. Over the past two weeks, I have been assisting Hall at The School of Light and in this time I have learnt how to set up and clear up a darkroom, how to mix the photographic chemicals (developer, stop bath and fixer) for film processing and paper development, the cyanotype printing process, how to create a film negative from a medium format film positive, how to create double exposures on 35mm film/using a film camera, how to process black and white film, how to make contact prints from contact sheets, how to determine exposure time, and more.
What studying and working at The School of Light has taught me about my artistic practice:
My professional practice at The School of Light has given me time to think about what interests and inspires me as an artist, which I have realised is: the environment, natural formations/naturally occurring patterns and abstractions, organic structures, fluid dynamics, the enlarged/magnified micro world, and creation and destruction.
What I have learnt about what I want to do and who I want to be from my professional practice at The School of Light:
From studying and working at The School of Light, I have learnt a lot about myself as an artist/photographer and about where I see myself going with my practice. I have realised that it is more important to me that I secure a job that makes me happy rather than one that earns me a lot of money. Although I don’t know what I want to do within the creative industry yet, I know that I enjoy the processing, developing and printing side of photography - especially analogue photography - and I want to secure a placement in London or Los Angeles doing something in this area.
What I have learnt from living in an UP(st)ART Creative Living community:
Living in an UP(st)ART Creative Living community (Hoover House) has taught me that sharing a house with 30 people can be somewhat challenging… but it’s amazing. Being constantly surrounded by creative practitioners who operate within a variety of disciplines is so inspiring and motivating and it allows you to consider where your practice fits into the creative industry. It has made me realise that showing my work to people from different backgrounds in the arts and discussing it with them allows me to look at my work from new perspectives. Living with people working in different areas of the creative industry has also made me realise that there are countless career pathways for artistic people such as myself to do down - ones that I didn’t know existed before living at Hoover House, and that securing your dream job is often a result of networking or knowing the right people.
My favourite parts of my experience studying and working at The School of Light:
One of my favourite parts of my experience studying and working at The School of Light so far has been having two of my chemigram prints in the SOL fifth anniversary exhibition which presented the best of the work produced by Hall’s past and present students. What I have also enjoyed about the professional practice I have been undertaking at the school is meeting Andrew Hall and his assistant Pamela Sidharta, furthering my darkroom abilities, and learning new skills and techniques from a photographer with expertise and over 30 years of experience in his field.
What I like and don’t like about living in Los Angeles and at Hoover House:
What’s great about living in Los Angeles in general is that the culture here is rich with arts and is ethnically diverse, the sun is always shining and there’s never a cloud in the sky, and there’s nature, landscapes and scenery everywhere. What's not so great about living in Los Angeles is having to worry about money - groceries and eating out here are/is expensive, public transport is abysmal, crossing the road is an ordeal, and there’s a veil of smog over the city. What I like about living at Hoover House is that it gives me the opportunity to meet new people and make friends, I like the parties and celebrations - the best so far has been Halloween, the ‘family dinners’ - where one person cooks a meal for everyone each week, and being in a community and always having people around - there is no chance for me to ever feel lonely in this huge city. The only thing that I dislike about living in an UP(st)ART Creative Living community is that because I am constantly surrounded by people, I barely have any time to myself and personal space is non-existent.
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