The End of the Road! I’ve Passed!

It’s officially the end. My education comes to a remarkable close as I have finished my final year at Croydon College.

Who would have thought that this time three years ago I would be starting my first day at Croydon College, only for the time to fly so much quicker than school? Even I am shocked myself by how far I’ve come since I started at Croydon College.

This time, three years ago, I had just marked the end of secondary school for good as I finished Year 11, and I can even remember starting my first day at Croydon College. I introduced myself to everyone and within the first day, I had made a lot of friends, as we instantly clicked with one another. Three years later, I have so many friends who I keep in contact with and even now, the support I’ve received from my family and my friends has made me realise that I can talk to anyone if I ever feel down about anything.

Croydon College, despite the ups and downs I went through over the course of the three years I studied, gave me the chance to realise my potential and now as I am at the stage of applying for a full-time job, I have officially decided to take a gap year to apply for jobs as I am considering possibly doing a degree in photography next year, which, for me, will really help me in many years to come.

I have enjoyed this year better than the last, but it’s safe to say I will miss Croydon College and everyone in that respect. On the plus side, I have left with my head held high knowing that I have done so well and I cannot wait to take on the best opportunities that become available to me.

Although my work is sufficient enough for a Pass instead of a Merit, I will settle for a Pass instead as I have managed to pass my final year of the UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma Film & Photography Course. That’s good because I have passed my final year. Result!

I am so chuffed to have worked so hard because despite spending a countless amount of hours getting work done, even whilst having to pull all-nighters that would last up until 8:35 AM or 9:00 AM in the morning, I am glad to have passed because now I can officially bring my time at Croydon College to a remarkable close.

Thank you, Croydon College, for all that you have done to get me to where I need to be and I shall continue to go the extra mile to really get the best out of the work I produce in the foreseeable, and thanks for giving me the chance to realise my potential to become a photographer. None of this would have been possible without your help and guidance, so thank you, Croydon College, I’ll miss being at Croydon College but my time at Croydon College has now officially come to an end. Thanks for everything.

Alex Smithson

BOXPARK is Officially Open!

It’s been a long time coming, and after a long wait, BOXPARK is officially open in Croydon!

I used the opportunity today to snap a large collection of photos during my lunch break and also after I finished my first day back at college after the one-week holiday. It’s absolutely lovely and so peaceful in BOXPARK.

It’s absolutely peaceful in BOXPARK and is the best place in my opinion where you can meet up with good friends you may or may have not seen in a long time, also because there are so many benches and tables available, which is useful if you want to have something to eat with friends, and not only that, but if you’re someone who likes to study in your own free time, BOXPARK is a useful place to study if you’re someone who loves to be creative.

Below are all of the 56 photographs I took today, including an edited version of one of the photographs I took earlier today.

I wanted to take these photos to show you BOXPARK in its full glory for the remarkable design aspects and perspectives it carries. BOXPARK stands tall and makes a statement of its own, stating that they want you to be able to enjoy yourself and to have a good time. They aim to repackage and repurpose what is already known into the unknown, but into an entirely new concept that no one has even thought of or ever seen before.

If you’re in Croydon, and have visited BOXPARK, please let me know. I’d love to know your thoughts on BOXPARK. If you are someone who loves travelling the world and you plan to travel to Croydon, London or even Shoreditch to see BOXPARK, please let me know your thoughts about BOXPARK, I would love to hear your feedback.

Alex Smithson

Weekly Log 6 (Tuesday 17th May 2016 – Thursday 19th May 2016) – Final Major Project

Bringing the Final Major Project Weekly Log collection to a remarkable end, here is the final Weekly Log from the Final Major Project, which reflects on what I did in the final week of the Final Major Project, as well as to what I did over the entirety of the Final Major Project.

Research / Context

During the course of the sixth week, I started to get together my research, which were the Chosen Photographers presentation, including the Photo Research presentation, including my experimentation photographs that I have taken over the course of the past six weeks since the beginning of the Final Major Project. Based on the previous set of photographs I took of my first subject for Shoot 5, I took my sixth and final set of photographs, but this time of my fourth and final chosen subject. The location that I chose to take the sixth shoot of photographs was the car park, opposite Croydon College, as I had previously developed my experiments there when I took my fourth set of photographs but of my third chosen subject. The car park opposite Croydon College was the location I strongly believe was best suited for taking my sixth and final set of photographs, as I was able to use the settings I adjusted on the Canon EOS 1200D correctly to take my photographs of my fourth and final chosen subject and I also felt that there was a dramatic improvement in the way I took my photographs, based on my reflection of Shoot 5. In terms of the research and photographic experiments I have done, I have made sure to pick the best photos that I have taken, as I will be presenting the photographs that I feel are my best for the show, which I will also want to count as my final pieces for the first year of this two-year Film & Photography course.

Practical Tasks Done

As I wanted to make sure that my sixth and final set of photographs were of the correct standard that my previous experimentation photographs were at, I did make sure to set the exposure for my photos correctly, including changing the light setting to Cloudy, given the damp and dismal weather conditions during the course of this last week of photo experiments. I also made sure to keep the ISO below no more than 400, to ensure that my photographs are of the best resolution and lighting where possible and I also made sure to set the aperture and white balance correctly so that my photographs would come out the way I wanted them to look.

I did initially find taking these photographs of my fourth and final subject difficult at first, as I was worried that because of the damp and dismal weather conditions, this would affect the photographs I would take. These photos were difficult to take initially given the areas of lighting in and around the car park, so I did make sure to think very carefully about the variety of locations around the car park that I could use.

What worked well for me was I was able to produce most of these photos to a much better standard than to how I did my previous photographic experiments, as some of the photographs I took of my fourth and final chosen subject didn’t need to have the curves adjusted in Adobe Photoshop, including not needing to have the levels changed. I did feel that Shoots 4 and 6 had that standard of photographic exposure that I wanted and I feel pleased with the overall result that I have managed to achieve.

To improve on this in the future, I will be making sure to choose a better location next time for taking my photographs, that’s including setting the exposure, the aperture, the white balance and the light setting correctly, so that I stand a better chance of producing a set of photographs that will be of the best quality where possible.

Critical Analysis

For my critical analysis, I did make sure to refer to all of the research I have gathered over the course of the Final Major Project, including referring to the photographic experiments I have developed over the duration of the Final Major Project. As the photographic experiments I’ve done on my first, second, third and fourth subjects have developed over the course of the entire Final Major Project, I have noticed that I have been able to produce my photographs better each time, and when there has been the odd occasion where certain photographs I take may end up possibly fuzzy due to camera shake or being underexposed or overexposed, I have made sure to rectify any mistakes I’ve made in taking certain photos by improving on them better for the next time. August Sander, Fazal Sheikh and Thomas Ruff’s photographical works have influenced me and inspired me to create my own concept throughout the whole of the Final Major Project and I also feel that the level of research and experiments I’ve done, including doing extended research by taking notes from the Barbican Gallery have helped me to produce the concept I wanted from the very start to the very end of the Final Major Project.

I feel that I have developed and bettered my understanding over the entirety of the Final Major Project, as I have been able to reflect on the experiments I’ve done, including the research I’ve gathered to produce my own concept for my Final Major Project, which has been based around Facial Expressionism. I also feel I have developed a better understanding of my own concept, which was influenced and inspired by the three chosen photographers, August Sander, Thomas Ruff and Fazal Sheikh, and I now have a clear intention of the final pieces I will be producing for the show, given that I have the best photographs available to use now for digital printing. My concept has, from the very start, been genuine and I strongly believe that I have developed my confidence better with camera work, including getting a better understanding of the settings I can use to produce a better photograph or a set of photographs for experimentation, and I strongly feel that the photos I have chosen to use as my final pieces are ready for printing and are also ready for hanging for the show in June.

This Final Major Project Weekly Log set has officially come to a remarkable end. I hope you found all of these Weekly Logs interesting, and if so, please feel free to submit feedback. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson