A week with Bethan

Bethan chose to spend her year 12 school work placement with me.  She is clever and talented with a passion to learn everything she can in this world, she's already wise beyond her 17 years. It was really great to have the opportunity to share a piece of my world. Here is Bethan's diary in her own words, along with a gallery below showing some of her photos during the week...I'm going to miss her!

Day 1 Jo was not only adamant to teach me the rules of photography, but the feeling and the story behind it. I realised before long photography isn’t just about the final result of the photos, but the story behind them, the people you meet, and the places you discover during the process. Before I knew it, I’d already encountered my first “decisive moment” as photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson proclaimed. Then we met Nicholas who travels around with his rucksack and dog. I’ve always had an appreciation for great stories, but nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to hear in such a short amount of time. I sat open mouthed in astonishment as Nicholas told his tales, and I only wish he could have stayed a bit longer. Jo then sent me off with my own little project inspired by Philippe Halsman, asking strangers to jump. I did get about six shots in the end, and most importantly met some interesting people on the way. After finding a television crew filming the Gadget Show, I spoke to the producer, observed the set and took some photos. I sat down with Jo afterwards, and she helped me find my weaknesses, ones I know I can improve on throughout the week. Day 2 My Tuesday morning consisted of a tea from Costa, a walk up through Chepstow, and a visit to Fletch’s tattoo parlour. Jo’s friend Aimee, was happy with us both observing and taking photos of Fletch touching up the 4 portraits of her young children on her back. I stood in amazement for the first ten minutes, taking in the atmosphere, the people and the art that was taking place in this tiny little corner. I realised soon enough, tattoos weren’t just an act of spontaneity, but something meaningful that would stay with that person forever, which is what I tried to capture in my photos. As I stood quietly, hovering, I tried to capture the connections between Fletch and Aimee; artist and client. They were both so at ease, so comfortable considering the permanent project being etched into her skin. Aimee was brave enough to trust Fletch with this massive responsibility, something she was passionate about, something that would stay with her forever, something she couldn’t afford to go wrong. She put complete faith in Fletch. Day 3 I began to create my own book of photos, as a keepsake and a way of displaying some of my achievements throughout the week. Jo then showed me some of her products, which is in some ways equally as important as the photos themselves. I learnt about the different ways to display photos, from a marketing point of view, and from a personal perspective. I now understand how every picture has a different need in how it’s displayed, depending on its content, colour and its audience too. Day 4 Jo’s taken part in a project including other artists, a story teller, a group of children and a residential home; ‘connecting the ages’. As the children finished off their Mosaic they’d started with artist, Stephanie Roberts, Jo and I hovered once again taking photos of the children and the piece of art they were creating. In all honesty I did find this project a little more challenging than the others. The children were constantly moving, and light has now become my best friend and my worst enemy. Nonetheless I enjoyed my afternoon, and even contributed a little to the mosaic myself!