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Amy James Foundation Project

FHM Magazine: Researching in to the magazine, it typically appeals to the audience of adult males and teenagers. As i’d never shot anything similar to this before, i chose to opt for subtle and classy images. Females have been known to describe the magazine as degrading women. However, I feel I’ve captured the subject quite well. Looking in to FHM covers, the models and celebrities would usually be wearing bold make up and big hair. The magazine offers an article every year in which it displays the “100 sexiest girls of the year”, and other magazines such a Zoo and Nuts also replicate this.

Fashion Magazine: Out of the brief, I would probably say this was part of the project I was looking forward to most. I love fashion, and I’ve never had the opportunity to create and plan a photo-shoot related to fashion. Rather than produce a standard cover, I wanted to play with the season’s weather: Autumn. Fashion is based around seasons, eg. Autumn/Winter collection. I planned a photo-shoot in a friend’s beautiful garden; she had stunning oak tree, a rope swing and the leaves had all fallen to the floor, creating a perfect set. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and out of the whole project I’d probably consider these to be my best of the bunch.


Hello Magazine: Hello magazine appeals to a wide age range of women, and the material seen in the magazine usually follows celebrity gossip and real life stories. The covers can range anything from a celebrity posing with their family to celebrities being caught off guard (almost like a paparazzi image) to a glam photo-shoot. The photo of the model with the dogs represents the posed, happy home life the magazine usually prints. However, the other images were purely experimental and on a whim. I’ve rotated the photos giving quite an interesting effect. (On the right) It almost looks like the model is standing infront of a background of leaves with a dark drop, however obviously she is lying down. I was happy with the outcome of the photos.

Facebook: I chose to use this photo as my Facebook example because it shows currently what I’ve been up to. I’ve been catching a lot of coaches and trains from Leeds to Leicester (my home town), so one of my journeys home I took a photo of what I was up to and posted it on to Facebook as my profile picture. It shows what I’ve been doing recently, which I think depicts what Facebook is inevitabley all about. People update their status, profile pictures, photo albums; recent, relevant news that’s related to their lives and others at that moment in time.

Holiday: my holidays don’t really consist of sunny beaches, white sand and your typical tourist guide. I spend my holidays at music festivals. This photo was taken at a festival in Spain called Benicassim. The photo includes myself and my friends surrounded by our campsite. We camped in tents for 9 days in the hottest month in the year. Shortly after the photo was taken, a hurricane appeared arose from no where destroying the entire campsite. It was the scariest experience of my life, however the holiday itself was one of my most favourite memories to look back on.

Police Identity Parade

Police Mugshot

Paparazzi Image

CCTV Image CCTV 002 LEIC 03-08-10

Dating Agency

Photo-Essay Hopes & Fears Will Durant once said “The trouble with most people is that they think with their hopes or fears or wishes rather than with their minds”. In terms of where I am today and what I have achieved, I can relate to this entirely. Looking back on my school years, I was always oblivious to my future and what would become of me, and never would I have thought that my one passion in life now would become such a reality. My dreams of perusing photography never entered my thought capacity whilst studying in school. I wasn’t your “average Joe” child knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up. My family wanted me to continue “academic” subjects through out A Levels such as English, Science, Sociology, etc. I was never a rebel; I respected my families wishes and carried on naively with school life. It was only after starting A Levels I realised photography was in fact what I craved to do with my spare time. Any opportunity I was given, I’d grab with both hands. From taking simple photos of the aluminous Christmas lights surrounding my living room, to aspiring gigs in London with my friends. I always found myself jealous of others for having talent; musicians, artists, sportsmen, academics. I always thought little of myself and feared I’d never have a talent of my own to share with the world. Photography became effortless to me, and it was then I knew this was what I wanted to spend my time doing. However, my confidence always beat the better of me. I settled with myself that it would always be a hobby and never a career move. After school I took a gap year, mostly fooling about with my Nikon, being productive with my camera and not a lot else. I was touring with a friend’s band and at the time I was genuinely on top of the world. Travelling from Barcelona to Amsterdam, shooting at the KOKO and Shepherd’s Bush in London and all around the country. I was lucky enough to take photographs at some of the best venues in the country. Looking back on my time, they were probably the best days of my life. No fears or commitments, enjoying what I love and spending time with my friends.

I don‘t regret a single day of my gap year, as the time I spent away built my confidence taking photos gradually over time. Nonetheless, after my gap year I went on to study at Sheffield Hallam taking up Media Studies. I withdrew from the course within a few months. A number of reasons pulled me away from continuing. I’d originally taken Journalism, but after consideration I thought Media would be more fulfilling, perhaps getting to venture more in to photography and film, which is also a great passion of mine. I’m unsure whether I was ready to go to university then or not, it’s still an enigma to me even now. My parents always pressured me in to university, being the only child to finish college it was always a big hope for them. Although I always wanted to continue studying, I simply just didn’t know what I wanted to make of myself and I didn’t want to be rushed in to something I didn’t want. Taking the course made me realise I’d wasted time, wasted money, and most of all let my parents down. This period of my life, I regret entirely. Applying to do photography was a giant step for my self esteem. It would conclude whether I was good enough for the course, or if I was able to apply myself having never had specific qualifications. The thought that people would soon be judging and criticising my work was nerve racking, nevertheless exciting. I’ve never experienced such a thing, and I think in time this will hopefully help me confidence blossom. However, I fear that my lack of experience compared to other students on the course is going to be a major disadvantage. Though I also see this is a spur of enthusiasm on my half to better myself and challenge my work. My school and life choices I fear are going to be very diverse to others on the course, having already spoke to a girl who has every photography and art qualification under her belt. I hope to absorb and learn from others in the class, perhaps acquire some skills and styles I’m not familiar with. I’m excited to see the different styles of the class, people’s different techniques, etc. I’m hungry to learn, being out of study for so long has made me thirsty for knowledge. As I’ve never studied photography before, I think this can only be a positive thing. I understand I have a lot to learn, but I’m willing and enthusiastic to further myself. One of the many things I want to improve on during the course is my general confidence in taking photographs. Though I shouldn’t, I continue to worry about what people may think. For some reason it makes me feel nervous, being on show to the public.

I hope to learn more techniques, in particular night photography. I’ve had a passion of light streaming for a while now and I’m slowly perfecting my camera’s settings. Since my parents bought my Nikon D80 for my 18th birthday, I’ve actually never upgraded my camera; I’ve never wanted to nor felt like I’ve needed to. The great advantage of owning a camera for nearly 4 years is I know it like the back of my hand. Though camera’s advance at a pace, and I admit to having been tempted numerous times to upgrade to a far advanced camera. I feel 100% comfortable with my D80 and I think that’s what’s important; knowing your camera inside and out. As for the future, I can only be optimistic. To begin with, I hope to invest in some equipment e.g. a flash gun, a tri pod, filters, 35mm, etc. I’d love to learn more about film, perhaps gaining some experience in a dark room. Knowing there’s a dark room available for students at the city campus is another thing worth looking in to. Speaking to people on the course, I know some have experience in developing film so I’m looking forward to gaining some knowledge. I’m interested in Lomography and own a number of cameras, including a Supersampler, Colour Flash Holga and a Fisheye, all of which are fun to shoot with but expensive to run. Over the course of the 3 years, I hope to search in to new photographers and ways to discover new artists. Websites such as Flickr and Blogspot are great ways to come across new techniques, photographers, tutorials on editing etc. Collaborating with students on the course and surrounding Leeds is also something I intend on doing. Starting projects outside of university will be a great way to meet new people, discover new places and share ideas with people from a range of backgrounds. Work experience is also something I’m on the alert for; over the summer I hope to get an internship or some experience in a studio perhaps. If all else fails, I’d love to travel Europe with a mere couple of cameras. I admire the work of James Nachtwey, to produce material anything along the lines of his style would be an absolute dream for me. Travelling would be ideal to capture something similar to his work. My main ambition over the next 3 years is to gain experience editing. I’ve never used Photoshop before, therefore I’m very uncomfortable editing photographs. I want to push myself to grasp the techniques of graphics, I’ve started watching tutorials over the internet preparing myself for the weeks and months ahead as I know some students on the course already have a great knowledge of Photoshop and editing. The majority of my images are clean cut, which I admit I prefer. However, I think editing has become very important and almost essential within certain areas of photography such as magazines, advertising etc.

With the promise of completing my degree, I hope to do some freelance photography abroad. Documentary photography would be inspiring, real and captivating. Again, if I could capture an image which paints pure truth and reality such as James Nachtwey does in his photographs, I’d be content and satisfied with what I’ll have achieved over the up and coming 3 years of my life. And so relating to my beginning quote, if I had thought with my heart and mind over my fears when I was only 16 years old, I could have saved myself a great deal of time.

Foundation Project