I was delighted to receive this letter from Eric at Potters Bar & District Photographic Society, following my talk there last night which was extremely well received, and during which people were saying it was the best talk they had ever had (and one of them had been a member for 37 years!)
All the positive feedback is immensely gratifying to me, and always something that I can refer back to when I’m having a bad day and manage to convince myself that I have no talent or skill, so a huge thank you to everyone there for your appreciation, it really does mean a lot.
On 26th March 2013 I presented my talk ‘Urban Exploration to Fine Art: A Photographic Journey’ to the Aperture Woolwich Photographic Society in South East London, and for the first time since I have started presenting also took along my mounted ARPS panel to display as well. I realised that these prints were just sitting in my workroom not being seen by anyone, and as it is unlikely that I will frame any it suddenly became obvious that I should be showing them to other photographers, some of whom may well be interested in applying for Associateship with the RPS themselves. So although this meant that viewers were seeing the photos before I got to them about half way through my presentation, this didn’t seem to matter too much and I just went through them a bit quicker when they were projected on the screen.
This is a screengrab of the Aperture Woolwich blog page, advertising my talk to society members – looks good huh?
Below is a screengrab of a link on the Aperture Woolwich Facebook page, started by Michelle Beaumont and followed up with more great comments about my work and the presentation itself. It is so gratifying to me to receive this sort of feedback, I really appreciate people’s words and it always puts a huge smile on my face. Who would have thought a little while ago that ‘quiet and retiring’ Viveca could get up to speak in front of strangers without being a total nervous wreck? Not me for one! I believe that it is because I am so deeply passionate about my photography and what I do that it makes it the easiest thing in the world for me to lecture about it – I have enjoyed every single time that I have made this presentation (six to date) and can’t see myself tiring of giving it over and over again, as long as people still want to hear it. Thanks to everyone who has given me feedback on my work, last night and in the past – it really does mean a lot.
Came across ‘clones’ in Wistmans Wood, Dartmoor; very striking, loved the flavour and the way you’d processed the light. Then explored your galleries and saw that you are producing the images that I have had in my mind for years – especially derelict buildings. Thank you for the inspiration – that a self taught photographer CAN translate imagination into reality! If you come again to Dartmoor and could stand the company I would LOVE a masterclass from you. Thank you again. - Mike Kinsey
I was amazed by the multi exposure of you. You are stunning and the process for this photo must have taken a lot of planning and expertise. I wish I could do something close to what you have done. I still shoot film and I doubt I could do this method. My congrats I hope to see more of your work. - Giles Robert
Letter – Sue Buller, Lecture Programme Secretary, Kingston Camera Club
I would like to thank you on behalf of all the members of the Richmond and Twickenham Photographic Society for your Presentation ‘Urban Exploration to Fine Art: A Photographic Journey’ at our Society on 18 October 2012. Our members very much appreciated your interesting, well structured, thoroughly entertaining and engaging presentation. A presentation which was very different to what we usually see, as well as thought provoking on many levels. We thoroughly enjoyed this talk. Thank you again. - Roger Towell, ARPS
Thank you so much for last nights presentation, the response and feedback I have had from members has been really positive. We had a really good attendance which included non club members and some well known local photographers. Your work is fascinating as well as inspiring, bringing together both Urbex and fine art photography into some truly original images and it was interesting to see how your work has develope[......]
I was pleased to be asked to feature in The Transmitter again, when Editor Andy Pontin contacted me and fellow past contributors with photography and writing commissions. I wanted to take photos of dog walkers in our local Crystal Palace Park, but when I emailed Andy to find out and discovered that the lovely Louise Haywood Schiffer (who photographed my cat Jasper for a previous issue, see page 39) had beaten me to it, I suggested I could take B&W iPhone photos which I hoped would be sufficiently different from what Louise was doing. So that was how I came to be wandering about in the park, slightly anxious about approaching strangers as my natural shyness came into play, armed only with an iPhone and not a DSLR and wondering if my potential subjects would think I wasn’t a ‘real’ photographer because of this!
However, when I saw Owen with Lily the bulldog, I thought he looked approachable and knew that I had to get over my nerves and just ask. I explained that I was taking iPhotos for the local magazine The Transmitter, of dogs with their owners, but specifically only featuring the legs of the owner in the manner of Elliott Erwitt, a favourite photographer of mine whose dog shots I love. After doing it once, the second time was much easier, and soon I had all the photos that I needed, shot using the Hipstamatic app on my iPhone, with the GSQUAD lens and D-Type Plate film, which gives the photos an old fashioned look coupled with really punchy monochrome with a hint of warmth.
Some of the dogs were very vital and didn’t want to sit still – Lily only allowed her rubber ball removed from her mouth with great reluctance, and Barnaby and Gemma tied their owners in knots with their leads, whilst one sat still the other wouldn’t and then vice versa. Got there in the end though, and really enjoyed the experience which took me out of my photo comfort zone a bit – I’m even thinking of continuing with the series and taking some more After Erwitt iPhotos!
This presentation encompasses my photographic development over the past three years, which has progressed at a fairly rapid rate following an albeit slightly slower but life-long love and practise of photography.
I discovered Urban Exploration in 2009, and this led to a series of visits to abandoned mental asylums and hospitals, where I spent much time taking photographs and showing these online via the photo-sharing website Flickr.
It was here that I received much positive feedback and encouragement, and gradually developed my technique and post-processing style, which led to my submitting a panel of ten photographs to The Royal Photographic Society for a Licentiateship Distinction, which was attained in April 2010.
I began experimenting with texture overlays in my work and gradually developed a different style of photography, which in turn led to a collection of images based around what remains when people leave a building for the last time. This became my successful Associateship panel ‘Left Behind’ with the RPS in June 2011.
Since then my work has moved towards a very artistic and painterly style, which is why I now refer to what I do as Fine Art Photography. This presentation is not so much about attaining Distinctions from the RPS, although I do touch on the process briefly during the talk, but more about how I have developed in terms of style and maturity of vision over the past three years. There will be plenty of photographs, tales of Urban Exploration and the attendant thrills and spills that are a part of this activity, and even something which may or may not be a ghost!
About Viveca Koh ARPS
I am a self-taught Fine Art photographer, and I see potential images everywhere around me, often things that many seem to miss or simply pass by. Abandoned buildings are a passion of mine, as are the details of places that attract my eye, the minutiae that collects in hidden corners, the small parts of bigger things that are fascinatin[......]
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