Life Photography Studying

Proper Academic, Like.

I got mentioned in the final project of the lovely Emma Shea – you can see her bibliography here.

In fact you can hear her draft run through of her paper on her YouTube channel and you can read her notes here – and do read them because they’re really very interesting.

I’m pretty honoured to be honest. I never thought that my random thoughts on photography would ever be included in any academic work, although this isn’t the first time. Earlier this year I found that my work was being studied on a City and Guilds photography course, which was pretty cool too.

I’m reminded of a tutor I had for one of my first modules at university last year. I studied the Arts of Japan and we had a genuinely brilliant tutor. Jasper is one of the authorities on Japanese Pink Cinema, his book Behind the Pink Curtain is on my bookcase where it stakes a claim to being one of the most interesting books I own. In our first lecture with him he cracked a joke about how he was still studying for his PhD which means that although his book is used to teach students at universities, he’s wasn’t actually fully qualified to be a lecturer in his own right.

When I heard about Emma’s use of my post (it’s the one on displays of hyper-masculinities in photography) and about the City and Guilds course, I couldn’t help but feel a bit like Jasper. People are using my work – both written and photographic – to illustrate courses and dissertations that are actually at a level higher than I have personally achieved. I’m still only in my second year, trailing a year behind Emma, and at the time I’d not completed anything past an A-Level in anything creative (I don’t think my personal training qualifications count here).

I sometimes wonder if I’m convincing people that I’m something I’m not. I mean, I get paid to write about photography for a living, and I’ve not even finished my degree in history of art. I get paid to write exhibition reviews and discuss theories about photography and do all that stuff that graduates struggle to be able to do. Some of my colleagues on my degree course actually thought I was just writing for free when I said I was a writer – they didn’t know that I actually got paid (and get paid well!) for my work.

Every time I get a magazine through the door that I contributed to I’m excited. I open it up and I see my name as the author for articles and I squeal with joy. I really hope that this feeling never goes away. The excitement of seeing my name in print, month on month. And I hope that people still continue to enjoy reading my work.

But most of all, I hope that my work continues to provide an inspiration for students who are formulating their own arguments and opinions. Because I really admire the people who’s work I read and use in my essays. And it would be an honour for others to feel that way about me in the future.

Warning: I had flu when I wrote this. Might be overly sappy and incoherent.