April 15, 2019

Year of DUPS

How I led the Dundee University Photography Society.

I started with photography some 15 years ago. Since then, it became one of my life's cornerstones, as it evolved from a hobby to a full-time job. It taught me to appreciate the world we live in a bit more, both visually and on a human scale. By looking for all the interesting angles, one realizes all the pretty colours, shapes, textures, and reflections. Through photojournalism, I got to talk with an immense number of interesting people, as well as I got to cover some rather unfortunate events. Seeing people affected by natural disasters, injury accidents, structure fires, and other miseries on a daily basis made me think twice if it's worth complaining that the weather isn't according to my wishes or other silly worries. Anyway, even though it is no longer my day job, photography is something I am passionate about.

Since I enjoy sharing the things I am passionate about with people who would see value in it, it was only a matter of time to get involved in an academic environment. And that brings me to what I was doing over the last year: leading a photographic society.

BBQ event for our members last September.

I was responsible for planning and executing the society's program, and I made its core to provide lectures. This was the first instance I taught a class full of people, but since I did one-to-one photography tutorials and spoke at conferences to large audiences before, this wasn't too hard to adapt. In between the lectures, we did informal events to chat about pictures and to have good times, regardless of the skill level.

The classes covered aspects from basics of camera handling, compositions and such, to more advanced techniques and approaches. We talked about the importance of having a concept, being aware of your surroundings, predicting events, and that it is not all about the gear. Throughout the year, we put the new knowledge into practice through photo walks and hands-on events...

long exposure workshop

...and trips around Scotland.

Visiting the bridges of Forth

As many members were from outside of Scotland, this allowed them to see some cool bits this country has to offer...

...and again, to put the skills into practice.

For me, it meant to secure means of transport. After two trips using public transportation, I managed to get access to these beasts:

So it happened, this year, I drove more miles in a bus than in a car.

This came with perhaps the most challenging bit of the experience; it wasn't the teaching itself but the organization linked with all of it. Planning lessons, preparing trips, scheduling everything, filing paperwork to obtain a classroom for the lectures, getting the buses, equipment for workshops, insurance, everything. The programme itself was only a fraction of the time it took to pull it together. But in the end, people had fun, and I did too: seeing the students' progress and sharing joys linked with photography — which is what counts.

Speaking of the end, we concluded the year with an exhibition for our members.

It was held in the student union, in an area that serves as a lunch venue around noon, and is a place to study and hang out during the rest of the day. This gave all the exhibited photographs a large exposure to university staff and students from all disciplines.

The photos were on canvas, and they looked fab. The printing was done by My-Picture, which offered us a kind discount. If you want a canvas print, give them a look. You can get 15% off with “MYDUNDEEPICTURE” code.

The show received positive feedback and marked the last bit I organized for the society before finishing my term as its leader. Now I am off to finish work for another exhibition, which I'll have next month. It will be loads of real-time generated animation — as photos aren't the only visuals I like to do..

Exciting stuff to come.

See my blog archives for more topics and categories, or get in touch. Thanks for reading!

Published by: Jakub Stepanovic in Projects, Stories


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