Students in PrairieView's Diploma Program work hard all year honing their photography skills. Among the biggest challenges they will soon face as professional photographers are things like being creative under pressure, dealing with clients, models, assistants, weather and traffic and planning and executing an entire shoot, on time and on budget. One of the ways we help prepare them for this is to give them self-assigned field explorations, or S.A.F.Es. Here is part of their instructions:
When you embark on a self assignment, you are actually commissioning yourself to complete a body of work within a certain length of time and with a certain amount of resources. And while self assignments are great opportunities to create excellent work for your portfolio, they also help you identify your strengths and weaknesses as a photographer.
Students complete a total of 4 different S.A.F.E. assignments, one each on the following themes: Sense of Place, Sense of Space, Sense of Time and Sense of Purpose. Below are their choices of the one photo for each theme that they thought best captured the 'sense' they were exploring. To see the rest of the photos from each assignement, click a photo and follow the link.
Safe 1: Sense of Place: I went to Stonewall which is where I grew up. I gave a small little tour on my exposure site. The picture that I chose that was my favourite out of these was the cenotaph. I chose this place because in Stonewall it is a place that is memorable but often always goes unnoticed. It is my favourite picture because of where the sun was at that time and you see the textures in the sky.
Safe 2: Sense of Space: I went exploring! I went to wet ’n wild at about 7 in the morning and had beautiful light to work with! It was a great morning to go. I chose this picture out of all of them because it offered something different and the hard light in contrast to the stark colours really made this image stick out to me. Exploring somewhere new was very interesting as I felt a little out of my comfort zone exploring a place like this but I have been super into graffiti lately and just had so much fun with it.
Safe 3: Sense of Purpose: I went to Earls and spent some time with their bartender Krystle Snow! She was super interesting and this was DEFINITELY out of my comfort zone but I learnt a lot about how to talk to strangers and I learnt more about how to deal with restaurant lightings here….as the colour temperature is all over the place in Earls. I chose this picture because it showed her in the picture making a slushi beverage that she had never made before and I really like how it also captured a lot of what its like behind the bar.
Safe 4: Sense of Time: I went to my parents house and captured them putting up our birthday tree! And yes…I mean birthday tree. My whole family (5 of us) all have birthdays in December and to keep us organized we put a nice birthday tree up for everyone to see and we keep our tacky Christmas tree downstairs. I chose this picture because it really captured the moment of joy in my mom (who hates getting her photo taken and is normally very awkward) with a candid moment of her as we brought up funny stories and enjoyed talking about the past. I really like this photoset that I put on exposure. They may not be my absolute best photos that I have ever taken but this photo has the most meaning to me than all of the others.
Self Assigned Field Assignments were fun experiences that took me out of my comfort zone more than once. Once I was able to figure out where I wanted to take photos it became a lot easier. The photos I chose to submit were my personal favourites from the shoots and are part of what I think when I look back on this experience.
The Highway outside St. Pierre Jolys where I laid right in the middle of the road to get the perfect shot, The Christmas decorations I found inside the University of Manitoba, the picture of shrimp that reminds me of something you’d see inside a menu, and a picture of a hard worker at the Gimli Fish market.
In school we learn how to use the camera technically. How to work our camera’s, How to portray the image we envision, different techniques.. etc. These assignments let us “free” into the real world. I feel more prepared for graduation having completed these projects. I got a sliver of what it will be like when I'm on my own. Now, some of the projects were tougher than others. The assignments that had more of a “free reign” were sometimes tougher than the more strict ones. In the end, I found these projects extremely helpful and fun. I made good memories with my friends and I am now more prepare for the future.For my sense of place I went exploring with my friend Hailey. Right by my place, there is a park called Fraser’s Grove where we did this assignment.
Out of all four assignments, this one was the most meaningful because I have so many memories in this park. Many walks I have taken, endless amount of slurpee drinking while lying in the grass, playing football with my friends, picnics in the park.. etc. The list goes on. I choose this wide shot to show you all where I grew up. I have so many photo’s from this shoot with my telephoto lens. The lens projected more memories than it did of the actual location.
Sense of Space was a photo shoot with just me, myself and I. I headed out to lockport where I took photo’s of abandoned housing/ waterpark (Wet n’ Wild). In a way, this one was more therapeutic. There was no talking, just shooting. This project didn’t really have instructions other than capture “Sense of Space” in your photo’s. Therefore, I found this project a little more difficult because I was really picky with my choice of location. The photo I chose is one I am really proud of. It’s a photo of me looking through the window at Skinners, where you can see out into the water park. This photo, out of them all, really captured the Sense of Space I was hoping for.
I found Sense of Purpose to be the hardest assignment out of the four. It was hard to capture moments at Stella’s because everything was at such a fast pace. Not to mention, it was night time, so having a tripod was not an option. In the end, Stella’s asked me for the photo’s I took for there website. I chose this portrait of one of my co workers, Lisa. Without her Stella’s would be chaotic. Lisa, holds down the fort and makes sure everyone is doing their part for things to go smoothly. To me, her portrait captured the real sense of purpose.
For Sense of Time, Sydney and I went to Cafe 22 on Broadway. I had fun taking photo’s of her while she was stuffing her face with pizza. For this assignment, I started to capture from when Sydney sat down to look at the menu, to her wiping the pizza crumbs of her face with a cloth napkin. I chose this photo of Sydney through my wine glass because it represents time passing while we waited for our pizza’s. This assignment was fun until we realized that my car had been towed. We chose to think positive. Pizza and wine.
For sense of place, I went to the airport to try and capture the feel of the airport and what it is about it that makes it an airport. In photographing the area, I realized that the airport is more than just a place where people go to when they travel, it’s a place where all sorts of people make connections. The sense of place that I got from being at the airport wasn’t one of a travellers needs but rather it made me feel a sense of place that people have for each other. Everyone is there for a reason and everyone there makes a connection with someone. I found it so amazing to see the looks on everyone’s face when they found the person they were waiting for and seeing how others reacted when strangers, to them, were reunited with each other.! !!
I chose this image because it was by far my favourite from the series because of how I saw it happen. The man was waiting off to the side, just on his phone, minding his own business and glancing up every now and then. I assumed he was waiting for his parents or grandparents, just someone elderly because it seemed like he didn’t really want to be there all that much. To be honest, I wasn’t thinking that I’d get any good shots of him and whomever he was waiting for. All of a sudden, I saw his head jerk up and look at this woman at the top of the stairs and she started running down. Immediately, I knew that this was who he was waiting for so I whipped my camera out to try and capture the moment. The woman dropped everything near the bottom of the stairs and ran and jumped on him. It was like a scene from a movie and countless people were watching as they embraced. I love this image because of the story behind it and when you look at it, you can just imagine what happened and it is exactly how you would picture it.
For sense of space, I went to the IKEA parking lot. In a parking lot, you would assume that everything would be busy and full of people and cars but on one side that was not the case. As I explored the emptiness of the parking lot, I found a lot of cool little areas that I would not have otherwise noticed on a regular day. This image is of one of the cart shelters in the parking lot and I thought it looked really interesting looking into it. I loved that it had all these lines running around it and I felt that it would be neat to try and distort the way I was seeing it. By tilting the image on an angle I really got the feel of space and how it’s so deep and you just seem to twirl around in it. The star filter really pushed that idea and I think it gave the image a little more depth.
Sense of Purpose. I really enjoy this image because it really gives a sense of purpose when you think about the context of the scene. If I told you that this was my grandma, the owner and founder of Gelyn’s Wedding Lounge, it makes you wonder what this place is. Wedding lounge? Do people have weddings here? Is it a restaurant? Why is she sitting at a desk? What’s on her pin? There’s a laptop in the background, what could it be for? Looking at this image, brings up a lot of questions about the context of the image and that’s one of the reasons I love it. It’s the type of image that cannot just be explained in a caption, you know there’s more to the story when you only know the bare minimum. The sense of purpose is found within the story and although they say a picture is worth a thousand words, it’s one of those pictures that need other images to support it, one that needs more than a thousand words.
What better way to try and capture a sense of time than through an action shot at a soccer game? I love this photo because it is one of those moments that cannot be posed. You know exactly where you are and what is going on here. The tight shot makes you feel as if you’re in there with her, just right in the action and with that motion blur in her foot and the ball, she seems to be going really fast. It’s one of those shots that just make you wonder what'll happen next.
Hello, my name is Jamie and I am here to talk to you about my S.A.F.E Experience. Right off the bat I just wanted to say I completely enjoyed my experiences and where they took me and how they made me think about what is important in the image.
Sense of Place brought me to Gimli, Manitoba; a beautiful little town with so much culture and so much to offer its visitors. From the lake life to the country sides to that small town feeling there is nothing for you to turn your nose to. When I was there I travelled both inside and just outside Gimli and my favorite picture had to be one I took of a couple of shrubs that had lost its leaves and all it had was its stocks, and the colors they had, was breath taking, and the clear blue sky above them, mesmerizing. I believe that this image really captures the essence of Gimli, ever changing with the times, but will always bear those bright blue skies and dynamic sceneries.
Sense of Space really had me thinking of where to go, I thought of many different things but settled for a river/creek flowing through Kildonan Park. I thought it would give a unique feeling to the sense of space of the river as we followed it. The image I chose to represent this sense of space is an image at a worm’s eye view of an area in which the stream narrowed right down to nearly just a crack, yet it was still there. I truly enjoyed it because it gave that sense of space not only at ground level but by leaning back slightly it gave the feeling of its surroundings as well, giving you it all in one shot.
Sense of Purpose brought me to Tuffet Upholstery Enterprise and Marjorie St Jacques, Marjorie owns her own small upholstery shop just off the number one highway going East of Winnipeg. She does everything from boat seats, to couches, to chairs, to recliners and everything. Marjorie went to school and has been doing this for over 20 years and she takes a huge amount of passion in her work. The image I chose I think best represents Marjorie, one because it is her favorite place to be, right there behind her trusted sewing machine, pushing fabric, also the motion blur really relates to the constant work and the revolving door Marjorie maintains.
Sense of Time had me attained Best Buy Regent’s annual Christmas party. This event was a whole lot of fun, from a pool hall, to a dance floor, to raffle prizes, to an all-around Chinese buffet; a night to remember. I chose this image because I believe it showed not only the fun of the night but also what the night means; a night out with colleagues, a night out with friends to congratulate each other on a job well done. The image is exactly that, three friends enjoying each other’s company while celebrating a year of hard work.
This S.A.F.E assignment truly taught me how to take the important things and create a story with them through my photography.
These images are the ones i feel as my best from each assignment. To be honest I always find landscapes not my strongest point, as I tend to favour shooting with a large aperture, which for obviously reasons doesn't always work for landscapes when you want lots of detail and depth of field. I definitely struggled with the first 2 S.A.F.E assignments trying to make sure I got the details.
I really enjoyed going back to a previous work place to capture an environment I use to work in for sense of purpose, it definitely brought back memories, however I do find many distractions in the environment when photographing. My favourite one to shoot was sense of time, as it happened to be when I was gone away to a wedding, I love the colour palette in the photo of all the soft colours.
I feel the SAFE assignment exhibits how differently a photographer's eye and thought process can vary when given a topic. All students had the same topics to explore, yet we all came up with very different outcomes. Having to make a story out of my best 20-25 photos aided me in being more critical of my own art by having me analyze it in a way I never have before. SAFE helped me distinguish the difference between liking an image I took because of the emotion/effort I put behind it (this is how I looked at my work before) from liking an image because of the technical aspects or artistic merits of it. SAFE definitely aided me in acquiring both skills. The images I chose as my best from each of the topics are images that I feel are the strongest compositionally as well as artistically.
SENSE OF PLACE: In this image it shows the place that I explored, and part of the surroundings of it. Also because it’s very popular and kind of one main part of this park. Trying to show this popular place with a different perspective was the goal that I tried to do.
SENSE OF SPACE: I choose this image because it remembers me about how the exploration of this park was, it was really cold and the walking around and looking where to photograph was interesting because of the similarities that this park has.
SENSE OF PURPOSE: This image shows the finals parts of this recording session, showing how the technician/engineer, puts together the pieces that are need it. Hearing and selecting the right pieces for the final project.
SENSE OF TIME: vIn this image I remember the fun moments that happened with the children, the interaction of them with the camera and the way of how they were signing. I choose this image because it try to show what the children are doing and the good time they are having there.
Safe 1 Sense of Place - For my first safe adventure I went to Beausejour. My dad grew up there on a farm. This adventure was not just for a school project but also for seeing and learning about the history of my family. Taking pictures of this beautiful small town was so fun and enjoyable. It took capturing pictures to a whole new level. I wasn’t just seeing through a lens, I was embracing the moments I remember spending there. This bridge is a significant part of Beausejour. It was part of the original highway 44 and it lays across the beautiful Brokenhead River.
Safe 2 Sense of Space - For my second safe journey I ended up in a space near Stony Mountain. This picture of the cattails by the water with the sun glistening off of them, really shows how beautiful the prairies of Manitoba can really be. Sometimes we forget how beautiful this place we call home truly is. Taking pictures around here, capturing the vast plains of Manitoba showed me that you can find beauty in everything…even the little things.
Safe 3 Sense of Purpose - For my third safe quest I wanted to follow my Sempai around and show everyone how important his coaching is to us. Karate is a huge part of my life. I train once every week and I don’t know where I would be without him teaching me. Taking pictures of my Sempai was eye opening. I saw the class from his point of view. I saw why he does some of the things he does. It was a little more difficult capturing moments because the whole time everyone is moving, and they aren’t moving slowly. It was a challenge and a blast taking pictures of Sempai’s purpose.
Safe 4 Sense of Time - Last but not least my fourth safe experience I decided to show a few friends having a wonderful time, hanging out, and eating food. I have never thought much about trying to make food look yummy through my camera lens. This was another hard assignment to capture only because I wanted to include everything, from preparing, to eating, to playing games. I accomplished what I was wanting to capture. It was so much fun capturing everyone in motion once the food was on the table. That is why I chose the image that I did. I wanted the viewers to see the fun time we all can have when we take that moment to sit back, eat food, and have friends over.
Safe 01 - sense of place. I chose this image as my best from safe because I really enjoy the creative use of the glass ball and the capture of the sun. It really reminds me of the beauty of the space especially when the sunset was so beautiful that night. I really enjoyed spending so much time taking pictures of this small yet beautiful park.
Safe 02 - sense of space. I really like this image as it always reminds me of my first time to this pretty beach. Even though it was a overcast day and didn’t have a lot of colour this image still seems to capture the light blue and soft sand. It was so much fun using my new skills to capture such a great image.
Safe 03 - sense of purpose. I picked this image from my sense of purpose because I like how to shows how hard he is working. My brother (the subject) has always been very driven and it has inspired me in so many ways. Even though he makes the bike look easy you can still see the drive he has for a sport he has been doing for so long.
Safe 04 - sense of time. This image is great because it shows what the game was really about. They are only grade 7 volleyball and just starting to develop their skills so I enjoy how it freezes the action to see how great her skills are becoming. The freezing of the ball was hard to capture do to the little available light i had so I am proud I got some images without motion blur.
Safe 1. For the first safe assignment, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I was so excited to get out and shoot something that I had chosen, that I overlooked some details and discovered I hadn’t planned very well. My initial plans for Steinbach didn’t work out, but I ended up attending a ceremony for Conscientious objectors during WWII. This turned out to me more rewarding that what I had initially planned- I truly discovered a sense of place during this assignment. More importantly, it reminded me to step back and troubleshoot when things don’t go according to plan.
Safe 2. I remember being so excited to head out and explore a sense of space. When we got the assignment I knew immediately where I wanted to go- the spirit sands. It was a two hour drive and an hour hike before I finally reached Manitoba’s desert. It was cold, difficult and took longer than I had anticipated; but it was well worth it. The image I selected is exactly what I was hoping to experience- a truly unique space in Manitoba.
Safe 3. I spent the morning at Academy Florist for the third assignment and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to network with a local business. I tend to gravitate to being outdoors, so photographing products and portraits indoors was a new challenge for me. I enjoyed the experience and plan to explore more product photography while I’m at Prairieview.
Safe 4. For the final safe assignment, I was able to spend a lovely morning with my family decorating a Christmas tree together. Coordinating schedules and being able to get our family in once place is always difficult, so this was especially nice. The photo I selected captures just that- cherishing time with family, continuing on with family tradition and building new memories.
The images I chose to submit for this SAFE review were picked because I loved how they turned out! I love having an opportunity to tell a story through the detail of a moment. Whether it’s the way the light hits a little wee plant, or the expression on a face when that person thinks none is looking.
So many little moments of details get passed by in our day to day lives, and as an artist and a passionate human, I’ve made it my mission to capture as many of these little life details as possible. I don’t want to take any of my moments for granted, and I want to give others the opportunity to see moments that otherwise might have been missed.
SAFE 1 - The place I chose was the University of Manitoba. It evoked some complicated emotions in me and I tried to represent that in the shots I chose. The place was dead because of the strike but I saw a few students and spoke to them. They felt the same way I did about the University and it was comforting to find some solidarity in my mixed feelings about the place. The picture I chose, I feel, reflects what the University is to me now; dead, but beautiful.
SAFE 2 - The space I chose was an empty theatre, formally know as The Black Hole. The year after I graduated the student run company moved to a more modern and commodious space, but the Black Hole will always be where my heart lies. Again my visit arose complicated emotions. I was thrilled that the company was moving on to bigger and better things but the memories I made that shaped who I am would be lost on future “Black Holers”. From the cramped backstage and rusting, burning lights to the enclosing black walls and questionable, musty seating, I loved it. The picture I chose was from the vantage point I loved best, the stage.
SAFE 3 - The purpose I chose was that of a fellow artist, the band Those Liabilities. They were playing in a small bar on St Mary’s and invited me to come see them. I ranted and raved about this band in my exposure story but I’ll gladly repeat how talented this they are. I’ve never seen musicians so easily turn a dead bar into a dance party. The photo I chose was one of the few that had at least a part of all four musicians in it. They were so energetic and their energy was contagious. I hope that came across in my shots.
SAFE 4 - The moment in time I decided to capture was another band I know recording the first song of their first album. It was a very welcoming experience and reinforced my new found love of concert/band photography. The picture I chose was one I shot from behind the scenes of the owner of the studio. He appreciated the talent of these hopeful young musicians in such an inspiring way. I tried to capture the serious passion he put into his work, helping artists achieve their dreams.
SAFE taught me some valuable points when doing the assignment it taught me to be critical on what photos are best then the rest of the other photos. Being critical with what pictures to pick was actually hard. Knowing I had to pick 20-25 pictures I had to critically look for what were the best photos that I think are the best for my SAFE. Being critical helped me know what pictures are better then others. Which is a good thing to have when I'm thinking which photos are better.