Placement Report | School of Everything - Christopher Kamper 2009
This is a report of my placement at the www.schoolofeverything.com in 2009 including photographs of the work I've done.
Publisher: Christopher Kamper Copyright: � 2009 Christopher Kamper - Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 All Photographs, Design, Texts: � 2009 Christopher Kamper First Editon London, UK 2009 Placement Report School of Everything | Christopher Kamper 2009 Table of Contents Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 1. Carrer tools 1.1 Curriculum Vitae . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 1.2 Cover Letter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 1.3 Online Portfolio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 2. Project Outline with Images . . . . . . . . . 19 2.1 Hula Hooping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 2.2 Hontai Yshin-ry Jujutsu . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 2.3 Astrology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 2.4 Taiko . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 3. Use of Social Media . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 6 Introduction The message of "context is half of the work" famously became the credo of the Artist's Placement Group (AGP) in the 1960s. But what does it mean and how is it relevant to my placement? The notion of "context is half of the work" simply means that within a placement it should not be the artist's main objective to produce some material artwork but much rather to engage in the working principles of the company, to question them and help to improve them. A creative mind utilizes different strategies to overcome problems than the strictly rational approach operative in most businesses. In this respect, being in the place and using these strategies should become the context of the placement, which in respect already marks half of the work. In my case, I was able to live up to these expectations. The company I worked for had almost no prior experience in utilizing photography for their purposes, so my creative skills were really needed. Furthermore, I was one of the first employees to ever engage with their customers in real life, providing useful information and creating a link. The internet start up School of Everything (SOE) embodies a brilliantly simple concept: Teach anything - learn everything. Anybody can register on the website to either become a teacher or student (or both) for any subject imaginable. The reason to develop this concept can be found within the shortcomings of the traditional educational system: The subjects and skills taught by this system answer only to the needs of an industrial society; a principle not just hopelessly outdated but also potentially discriminatory to people outside of the norm. The SOE concept hopes to ease these problems and provide a cure for people willing to step outside of the mainstream of classical educational systems. 7 "At School of Everything, we believe that learning is personal, and starts not with what you `should' learn but with what you're interested in. So we're building a tool to help anyone in the world learn everything, and teach anything, how and when suits them - by putting people in touch with each other, not with institutions." play of my work on the homepage of the SOE, we will also organize a small exhibition to display the pictures taken for this project. Furthermore, all the people involved including the teachers and students will be invited to attend the opening and engage in conversational exchange. This conclusion advances the notion of "context is half of the work" even further: I hope that the work done for my placement will truly become something transcendent and non-material this way. (SOE website 2009) However, this concept is barely communicated on their website - and this is precisely where I came into play. SOE employee Dougald Hine asked photography students to send in proposals as he identified the crucial lack of photographic presentments on the SOE website. Luckily, I not only got the job but also gained complete creative freedom to tackle this problem. Please read the project outline in chapter 2 to learn more about my creative approach. Even when this report is already handed in, the placement will not be completely over. In addition to the dis8 1.1 Curriculum Vitae 3 Chaplin Close, London, SE1 8TU Christopher Kamper Nationality: German Mobile Number: 0750 335 00 91 Full clean international driving license 3 Chaplin Close, London, SE1 8TU Christopher Kamper Date of Birth: 25/02/1986 Telephone Number: 0207 207 6905 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Online Portfolio: http://www.christopherkamper.com Academic 2007 � 2010 1996 � 2006 1992 � 1996 South Bank University � London, UK BA Hons Digital Photography (still studying) Andreas Vesalius Gymnasium � Wesel, Germany Abitur (2,1) Quadenweg Grundschule � Wesel, Germany Current Objective To enter an engaging work-placement where I can use my creative skills and expertise to gain valuable new experience and learn new abilities. Interpersonal and technical skills Excellent bilingual competence and communication skills both in writing and speaking (English and German) I am highly flexible, creative and enthusiastic. I work best in a team but also enjoy working alone. excellent knowledge of photographic practices, specifically in the operation of digital SLRs, studio lighting, digital retouching, composing and printing expert qualification in Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, Joomla!, HTML and CSS very good skills in Adobe Flash, Dreamweaver, Final Cut Pro, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Excel, PHP, MySQL and webserver-administration Relevant past projects 2007 -2008 In Real Life Photojournalistic project about three individuals with extraordinary hobbies, namely an Otaku, a Larp Gamer and a Lolita. This project was published in book format, please see http://irl.christopherkamper.com 2008 Homepage of the Leichtathletik Verband Nordrhein The Leichtathletik Verband Nordrhein is a non-profit sport agency in NorthRhine Westphalia organizing tournaments, supporting athletes and developing training curricula. I conceptualized, designed and programmed its main website in 2008, please visit http://www.lvnordrhein.de/ Work experience 2007 � 2009 Various freelance photography and webdesign projects, including http://www.landhaus-stroh.de http://www.wtv-leichtathletik.de http://www.autodissel.de Referees can be provided upon request. 2006 � 2007 Full-time work as a social volunteer at the Leichtathletik Verband Nordrhein. As I was responsible both for designing brochures, websites and various other publications as well as customer-service duties, I both greatly deepened my communicative skills in addition to my creative and technical abilities. 9 10 1.2 Cover Letter This is a screenshot of the e-mail sent to the School of Everything that granted me the placement. 11 12 1.3 Online Portfolio A good online portfolio is mandatory for professional digital artist these days. It should not only display the work and skills of the artist, but also demonstrate a thorough presentation with a clear structure which is imperative for the work to shine. On the next few pages I am going to present my current online portfolio and the section most relevant to the application at the School of Everything in detail. 13 This is the first site shown when you enter the URL (www.christopherkamper.com). It briefly describes my work and frames my identity as a digital artist. Five examplary projects can be reached from the righthand navigation panel. 14 Every project has a distinct project description and links to further information if necessary. The project shown on this page was most relevant for my placement provider as it demonstrates my ability in a photojournalistic approach, a style very much alike the one used for my main contribution to the SOE. 15 Specifically for the website, I wrote a Photoshop-Action that processesed the PDF file from the project's book and transformed every single page onto a curvy background to bring it closer to its material format. 16 Both the increase of the book's thickness on the lefthand side respecetively the decrease of thickness on its righthand side have been taken into account when writing the script. 17 18 2. Project Outline As I have stated in the introduction, the SOE embodies a strong philosophy about learning, specifically about learning exotic topics that lie outside the scope of the mainstream. That is why we have decided to find and contact teachers of these topic in order to portray them; our search included: Hula hooping, astronomy, astrology, jewellery making, TV presenting, yoga, meditation, pottery, knitting, homeopathy, taiko, various exotic martial arts, playing the didgeridoo and many more. I easily gained the support of many teachers by offering them all the photographs taken during the session for no fee or condition other than stated in the "Creative Commons AttributionNonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0" license model. I have chosen to use a visual style that is as far away from the polished looks as found in advertisements as possible. The philosophy of the SOE is that anybody can learn and teach everything � it is not "professional teachers share expertise with their highly qualified students". Therefore, I went for candid, natural shots; nothing should look staged in any way (a rule that only had to be broken for some pictures in the Jujutsu series that would have been too dangerous to take otherwise). The shootings themselves turned out to be of much more value to me than just some photographic practice: I have learned a great deal about every subject photographed and tremendously deepened my interpersonal skills as a photographer working with real people instead of models. I have documented every step of each individual project and kept in touch with both my placement provider and the people photographed to involve them in the selection process. I am extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to do this project exactly the way I intended to. 19 20 2.1 Hula Hooping Other than most people might perceive it, hula hooping is much more than some children's game. A great variety of techniques can be performed with a hoop; many groups perform it on a professional level as performance. However, Diana Defries is not part of this performance culture. For her, hula hooping it is much more a spiritual and meditative experience concerning self-awareness and inner rhythm. But how could you find a course also teaching this specific aspect? The School of Everything was set up just to offer the right tools in this respect. I visited Diana teaching her regular class on two appointments. I very much enjoyed the energy and joy expressed during these sessions. The challenge was to find the right balance between capturing the ongoing rhythm and also be on the spot for moments of pure laughter. 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 2.1 Hontai Yshinry Jujutsu Hontai Yshin-ry is an ancient Japanese school of martial arts dating back to the 15th century. As an authentic and unaltered Samurai school, it teaches both unarmed grappling techniques as well as the use of various swords and staffs in addition to knife defence. One of the few UK-based teachers of this school is Jeremy Carroll, who trained the art in Japan for more than six years before founding his own Dojo in London. I had the opportunity to visit one of Carroll's regular classes in London to get the best out of this astonishingly quick and powerful training in self defence. 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 2.3 Astrology As most people undoubtedly know, Astrology deals with the movements and relation of the celestial bodies and their influences on our personalities, affairs and future. Nick Hughes has been studying Astrology since 1996 and begun to see clients professionally in 2004. More recently, he also became a teacher to lecture aspiring Astrologers and private enthusiasts. The subject of Astrology is truly one that you would not expect to find in a regular curriculum at any educational institution. That is why Nick decided to offer his courses on the School on Everything where such niche subjects can be found by anybody. I tried my best to document his efforts in teaching this (photographically) fairly invisible topic when I went to one of his weekend-workshops in Wembley. 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 2.4 Taiko Taiko is Japanese for drum. In recent years, the term has become generally used to describe ensemble drumming and performances with huge Japanese drums. In the UK, there are only two groups currently teaching and performing Taiko, one of which is managed by Liz Walters. Liz set up a profile on the School of Everything homepage in order to promote Taiko and give students the opportunity to learn this extremely rare subject. I visited Liz at one of her monthly beginner's workshops workshop in High Wycombe to learn more about this fascinating part of Japanese culture. I have discerned that Taiko requires both physical strength and endurance as well as great mental power and concentration. In the following set of images I tried to fuse these aspects together with the fun and joy expressed during the session. 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 3. Use of social media It is a fact that good networking is crucial for a successful career in the digital artist's sphere. The use of social media to achieve this goal has never been more important. I have chosen to use Twitter as my main tool for this purpose; Facebook was another option but it appeared to be too personal and less easy to adapt for professional purposes. I constantly reported the progress of my project over the course of the placement with images I took in addition to smaller updates of what I am at right now and other relevant information such as talks concerning learning processes and the educational system. I used Twitpic to display the photos I took; however, I did not upload them one-by-one but rather did a selection and stacked multiple pictures on top of each other in Photoshop. I believe that too many single uploads defy the purpose of a platform such as Twitter, were clarity and the briefness of the mes61 sages is key. In total, I have posted 38 messages related to the placement on Twitter using the application "TweetDeck" which was a huge asset for this work. Apart from the #pha09 tag I have also used another one, namely #SOE_PICS to signal uploads of new images both to my placement provider as well as to the teachers and students being shown in the pictures. It also important to note that the whole correspondence with every teacher from the School of Everything was based on social media platforms (either the SOE website itself or MySpace and Facebook). You can find examples for the usage of social media for my project on the next couple of pages, starting with my profile on the Twitter website. 62 An exemplary post on Twitter combined with Twitpic 63 This is how I used Twitpic with multiple pictures in one single upload. 64 This is a screenshot of my profile on the SOE homepage. 65 This is the Inbox showing my correspondence with the SOE teachers. 66 � Christopher Kamper 2009