100 Years Of Photography At Newport
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Shane Lynam

May 1, 2012  by admin  •  Alumni

A few years back I reached a point where I was finding it hard to progress with the aid of online photography resources alone. I had a few project ideas in mind, however I wasn’t sure how to execute them. I needed some sort of regular feedback framework that would accompany me as I embarked on a two to three year project. After interviewing for a few different courses in the UK, I settled upon the MA in documentary photography at Newport School of Art.

One of the most beneficial aspects the course had been the simple act of regularly putting prints out on the table and discussing them with fellow students and experienced lecturers such as Paul Cabuts, Ian Walker and Paul Reas. Talking about sequencing and looking at the work as a whole and not as single photographs was lacking from my process, I have yet to find anything that comes close to simulating this exercise online. My project work has developed around these feedback sessions; I look to put a new edit together ahead of each class.

The course features plenty of writing and reading, the various assignments serve as a record of how I was thinking at a certain time and the bibliography as a record of resources. I believe that this gives my work more depth which may have been missing from previous online based projects.

The biggest change to my work and process since I started the course has been the increase in purpose that I’ve felt as a photographer. I’ve come to have a relatively fixed view of how I want to use photography, whereas before it was constantly in flux. This increase in purpose has made me more confident in my role as a photographer and increased my sense of (perceived) legitimacy. I’d go so far as to say that by formalising my practice via the course I have made more progress in the last eighteen months than in the previous four years.