The pandemic and resulting restrictions have posed challenges for students and creatives, but many have been adapting to the current situation and continuing to pursue their studies. We spoke to photography student, Helen Lang, on continuing with a creative practice during lockdown.
Do you feel like lockdown has been restricting your studies or artistic practice as a photographer?
I feel that lock-down had a huge effect on the course and even the University, understandably. At the beginning, when I started my course, I felt there were a lot of adjustments taking place and everyone was getting used to the new normal. As I couldn't work with other creatives, I felt more confident about my own ideas and I was able to get my creative thoughts going and make sketches and notes of what I wanted to do for future projects.
How have you adapted to how the course is during the current restrictions?
I usually love to get creative with groups of people and bounce off other people’s energy and ideas. During the first weeks of university there were only four people on my course including me, so adapting to this took a while, but I then realised that I have more space to spread out my work with a smaller class and get more one-on-one help. Also, because my classroom is empty a lot of the time, I use it as my space to be creative. I make the classroom into a studio, into a set, as we are not able to get into the photography studios yet. I’m still getting used to using Microsoft Teams and the technical aspects of the course during the pandemic.
Has the current situation helped you discover any new ways of working?
At the moment I'm enjoying Padlet, which my tutor told our class to download. It is a forum where our whole class can share our own work - links to our imagery and any research we’ve done in our sketchbooks. This can be shown to our other classmates so they can have a clearer idea of what we are doing in our personal sketchbook. I feel this brings the class together and I’m able to see some fabulous work from my course mates who are overseas!
Are there any projects you’ve been developing which have been inspired by the pandemic?
I am currently doing a project on inflating balloons and using them as props and this feeds into what has been done during the pandemic, allowing people to stay at distance but also still enjoy events that are taking place around the world. Yes, I feel the pandemic has actually given me some inspiration, especially in the music scene. Today, they are getting artists, such as The Flaming Lips to perform live with the band and audience inside Giant Zorbe bubbles. This creates social distance between the band and the audience - quite literally in their own bubble! This is why inflatables are a great design to keep distance from one another.
How have the tutors helped you in continuing your studies?
My tutors have been especially helpful, even though at this hard time they are busy with making tutorials, albeit over teams, quick email replies or coming to university. Although we can’t meet our tutors in person, they are still equally helpful over teams. You can tell they want us to still get the most out of the course, want us to do well and that they believe in us.
Well, after the pandemic is over, I hope to work in the creative industry alongside other creatives. Either working with fabulous photographers and/or set designers. It is my goal one day to become a creative director and have my own set design used in shoots.
What has been your best photographic experience?
So far it would be where I used to work, in London, at a photography studio. I have come across some fantastic well-known people from the photography, fashion, film and TV industries and have seen some amazing set builds.
What tips do you have for students studying photography at this time?
Get Padlet! Especially if you are a creative student or find organising hard, it is such a great place to share your work. Also, remember to have fun with the course you are taking even when it gets tough with the workload, remember you were chosen for this course, your tutors know you can and will succeed. Although you may think about wanting to get the best grade when finishing university, it’s all about the learning experience. Enjoy your time here at BCU.
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