I know not everyone is interested in my photography learning, let alone my homework assignments, so feel free to skip along…
The homework brief, was ten photographs that tell a story. I could have done the story of making a jacket or of a dressmaker at work or perhaps a fabric shop or market stall. These would have been on-topic, blogwise. But I chose something easier to combine with my 9-5.
My story was One day in the Office – my office – and I found the whole experience very interesting. Maybe I should just say this was first experience of using a non-automatic camera, and I adjusted for depth of field, ISO, white balance and focus. It was hard! Not all the pictures are as crisp as they should be, but I hope they represent the beginning of my learning.
I didn’t aim to get our logo in every photo, but it sort of turned out like that. It’s interesting because once we merge with Genesis Housing (due in April) we will have a new name and logo, and the old signs, lanyards, mugs and coasters will have to go.
- It was a Monday and it was snowing. I stood outside the front door of our main office and took pictures of my colleagues arriving for work between 8.20 and 8.30. Many of them looked at me oddly. I don’t normally stand in the snow, first thing in the morning, wearing my earflap hat and a long, white, Uniqlo down coat. Much less taking photos.
2. One of my colleagues is always in early, and he drinks his coffee slowly, reading the newspaper. The yellow flowers behind are a decorated wall in our breakout area.
3. This colleague had a desk full of interesting things; a flamingo snow storm, reusable beakers, pot noodles, soya sauce, cutlery, free sample of canned soup, sweeteners, artificial grass, (and unseen in this photograph, a Santa hat). What does your desk say about you? What do you surround yourself with? Do you have a pristine or personalised space? I also liked her blouse and earrings.
4. These colleagues came to see me in my office, discussing the brochure they had prepared for the MIPIM conference, which I recently attended. She is a published novelist; he is an actor. They both bring a certain extra dimension to our work. I liked the strong colours and contrasts in this photo, and their reading glasses.
5. And then it was lunch time. Five men sit having their lunch, looking at the wall. The yellow manifold makes it a bit brighter, but these colleagues choose to eat alone, three listening to music or podcasts, two in the foreground chat a little. I am not judgemental. Often at lunch time I just want to be quiet, and read or listen to something.
6. Another meeting – considering templates and standard letters associated with the merger, I think.
Here we have four women in a row, providing a nice counterposition with Image 5, above. The obvious way to take this picture was flat on. But they were widely spaced. I had the idea of shooting them from the side and it came out nicely. I focused on the woman in blue who finds the letter amusing. She has eaten her lunch during the meeting. I liked the variety of hair colours and lengths, the natural beauty of the women, their concentration, and commitment. They are Business Leaders – responsible for some of our main businesses – in charge of IT transformation; services for homeless families; care and support; and social housing.
7. I was interested to see how things were going in the basement. I wondered if I could take a picture with no natural light and I was intrigued. In the basement we have a group of IT developers. Mostly they work for an outside contractor. The mood and feel is different. Whereas we had a girl’s desk in Image 3, here we have a boy’s desk. The Star Wars models caught my eye. I tried to focus on the models with the men in the background, but I ended up focusing on the arm of the foreground chair. I hadn’t really spent anytime in this part of the office before and it was an eye opener for me.
7. Male models
8. This picture is taken in the same basement room. In some ways it is my favourite as it is so grey, and depressing. Look at those files! Unbelievably this is the “Paperless office project”. I actually laughed. The man wears a cabled jumper and hat. Is that a coincidence?
8. Paperless office project
9. The other area of the office I had never visited before was the smoking area. I am judgemental about smoking actually. But I like the people in this photograph – they are all sociable and good fun. Our smoking area is between this bike shed (we have lots of cyclists) and the bin store. There is a shelter for when it rains. I find the photograph rather humorous.
10. And then it ends, only one photograph left, and it is the reverse of Image 1. My colleague leaves the building, in the snow. I love his reddish hair and russet jumper with a brown scarf, and his hurried, purposeful air, with a slight acknowledgement that his crazy boss is taking pictures.
10. So Long