Today was my third day and I can say that I really enjoy every minute I spend there. I am working on my personal project now (a lot to do for tomorrow! can't wait!), it's not very newsworthy so I can take my time with it and use it more as a way to practice and learn how to do the piece completely by myself.
I am also very glad that at the very first day in BBC they used my idea and broadcasted the piece done by me and Jenny Keane in the Breakfast Show next day.
I hope it is not only a nice beginning but it will continue that way...
So, at the moment, I am more into research, interviews, recording and editing more than writing, but maybe I will put here something that I did for the BBC as well.
Wish me luck :)
Greek Photographer Arrested in London
The Greek photographer Pericles Antoniou was accused of taking pictures of a young girl in London Metro and in effect was arrested and humiliated...
Accusations came from child's parents. Although photographer apologized and deleted all pictures with a girl from his camera, the father of a child followed photographer when he left the Metro and reported him to the Police officers.
Below I copy the fragments of a statement that Antoniou sent to the Ambassador of Britain in Greece.
(text comes from flickr article by Vasilikos)
I was in London during the Greek Orthodox Easter Vacations with my family and friends and I m writing this letter to impeach what has happened to me asking you, after you have confirmed all these, to make the necessary procedures so as to stop my humiliation and to restore my reputation. Above all, I would like to ask you that no other incidents happen in the future, because I think they have no place in today’s society, and especially among ourselves as citizens in the European Union.
My name is Pericles Antoniou, I am 53 years old and my hobby is Photography during the past 25 years.
On Thursday 17th April 2009, around 11:30 am, on the Jubillee line of London Metro, I was heading towards Modern Tate Gallery to visit the photo exhibition of the Russian photographer and painter Rochenko. On route and being fascinated by the fabulous themes, as I was starting taking photographs on the Metro of the people being present there, a lady complained about the fact that I was taking photos of her daughter. I apologized immediately, as the ethics and common practice of photographers dictates, I showed the lady the photos I had taken of her daughter, and I erased every photo which contained her. Thinking that the whole situation was over, an unknown man claiming to be the father of the child, followed me to the exit and approached some policemen, who were asked to arrest me.
From this point onwards everything was like a nightmare: they arrested me, the locked me up in a cell, they deprived me of every rights I had while being in custody, they did not allow me to communicate with anyone, they neither allow my wife to visit me nor my 14 year old son or any of my friends, they kept me isolated and barred knowing that I would not escape in any way, they took all my personal belongings such as my wristwatch, they took my shoes off and kept my camera. I was not even accused of anything formally and my relatives did not even know any of this. I, also, note that not even the Greek authorities in the UK know anything about this incident at that time, and they have been informed about it from my relatives.
Finally, after having been kept in custody on Thursday, they brought me to court on Friday handcuffed, and I was told that I am accused according to the 1986 Act 5, section 1 and 6 that I “might have caused fear and stress to the people around me”. Naturally, I pled innocent and there was a recess until the 18th of May 2009, where, as I have been told, I have to be present because I will be condemned as guilty in absentia.
Result: Our family holidays were ruined. We are suffering a post-trauma effect from all this happened to us, i.e. financial loss and expenses. My obligation to visit London once again and to pay for my own expenses, for accommodation and for lawyer fees. Also, I have to oblige the people who witnessed the incident to attend the court, as I have been advised to bring them with me so as not to be condemned. Nevertheless, I am deprived of my camera due to the fact that was confiscated by the police, and so I am not able to create. Finally, I have to take 4 days off my job in order to be present at court from 14 until 15th of May 2009.
I fear that I am in the middle of a case – as if it was written by Kafka himself for his novels - as a plain citizen, who is accused of exposing his artistic sensitivity, against a huge governmental mechanism trying to weave an absurd accusation against me. All this for a simple photo shoot taken place in public places having stated to the police from the very beginning that I did not have the intention to cause any harm, I did not cause any harm eventually, and that the photos I have taken did not cause any ill comments or any form of damage to anyone.
It is inconceivable for one to think, in the country where Bill Brandt, Marτin Parr, Killip were born and their works are based on street photography, that I had to be humiliated and accused of taking photos (!!!) while being in the Metro – subway. It is noted that in the National Portrait Gallery there is a photo exhibition currently which is about photos taken of people in streets!!!
I intend to notify this letter to the Greek media and also I intend to inform the European, the Greek and the British Ombudsman; also I am going to repost this letter to the Greek, European and International Artistic Photographers Associations.
April 21st 2009. “
Now I feel very relieved that our Mr Weirdo was in fact very nice and did not call the Police... Who knows what would have happened then?
anyway, the film is good. sometimes a bit cheesy emotional. but still got this important message to spread. and it's not constantly repeated 'carpe diem' , used now like a slogan or the most popular celebirty/miss world answer for the question 'what is your favourite quote?'... it is the message about staying unique. yes, that one is also emotional. but that how it all sounds when you say it. still, it is true.
Now we all have a great need for acceptance, but you must trust that your beliefs are unique, your own, even though others may think them odd or unpopular (...). Robert Frost said, "Two roads diverged in the wood and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."
it doesn't mean that you aways HAVE TO be different, not just for the sake of difference.
it means that if you want to be different, just be.
and one more thing. most important. so many people now are trying to be different because it makes you be 'something', or rather - it makes you look like 'something' in the eyes of others, even if you are 'nothing' or 'anything' in your own eyes.
now everyone wants to be different.
so today, to be different means to stay normal.
Light House Student Photographic Awards 2009
'From war memorials to hoover dust, fashion and identity to personal space, this diverse selection showcases the talents of the University of Wolverhampton’s photography students. This is the first Student Photography Award and Exhibition, jointly organised by Light House and the Photography Department of the University of Wolverhampton to bring together the best in Fine Art, Documentary and Commercial Photography. Entrants are students from all three years of the current undergraduate course.
Light House Student Photographic Awards 2009
Fri 3 April, 6.30pm
Join us as we reveal the award winners for Best in Category and find out who will swoop the prize for Overall Winner at the very first Student Photography Awards. Refreshments will be served. All welcome.'
NAMES AND PHOTOS YOU CAN FIND here (text comes from there as well).
Yes, I know - writing the text like that about Deviant Art, together with my not-so-very-good English language skills may not be so good idea...
But hey! Maybe some would think that I'm playing some kind of pseudo-posh- bourgeois-white-female?
I think that would be quite cool.
John Fiske, an expert on popular culture, claims that to understand the term 'culture' we should firstly understand the process of popular and critical discrimination. He says, that people create popular culture by the connection between their everyday life and consumption of the products of capitalism. In the moment of choice of the product, the process that we can call 'popular discrimination' begins.
According to Fiske, popular discrimination (taste) is based on productivity and relevance, while quality and aesthetics are typical for critical discrimination. To show more differences between popular and critical types of discrimination, Fiske briefly characterises aestheticism and relevance. Popular discrimination concerns with relevance , which reduces the difference between the text (f.ex. image, 'art body') and life. It means that popular taste is based on interpreting the art by connecting it with our personal experience and feelings.
Comparing with this, aesthetics' opinions are anti popular. What mostly differs popular from critical discrimination is the polysemy of popular texts, which are only provokers of meanings and pleasure, various for many other readers and equally open for them. For popular taste, there is no place for an aesthetic hierarchy, dictated especially by the bourgeoisie.
Aesthetic readers have to understand, how the elements of text relate and contribute to its overall openness, and the conciousness of this final openness is the fundamental aim. To compare, Fiske proves, that popular readers act different - they are interested more with the pleasures and meanings that the elements of text can provoke.
Does Fiske's theory relate in any way to contemporary art? Well, one can tell that there still can be 'white male syndrome' somewhere there. Yet, what I would rather to call as bourgeoisie and elite in today's culture, is art globally liked, worshipped, approved. All that is branded, well-known and cool. This is what describe contemporary popular culture. But I am afraid that it was not the point. I am afraid that in this two-word name, the wrong word gained the bigger importance.
Ironically, today's world of art – the one that is opened for everyone - is more about popular than about culture.
It is complete turn away – what is generally open and available, is bourgeoisie and elite. If an artist and his work is different, he stays behind, is expelled and forgotten. In contemporary world, to become visible, an artist has to be popular. And not simply popular, but popular in global context.
Everything has changed. The basis of my opinion are observations that I am doing for few years now, quite unintentionally, as photography fan and Internet user. Here, as the example, quite good one, because of its global popularity (sic!) I can use Deviant Art website, or even any other art-related Internet Societies (there are many of them in the cyberspace), packed with various artists (however there are only few there that deserve this title). I can see a lot of Fiske's bourgeoisie there. I do not see much of popular discrimination but, ironically, what most accurately describes contemporary popular culture is critical (or should I say – bourgeoisie ) discrimination. According to Fiske's popular culture vision, popular texts ( in this example – pictures, photographs), also these submitted on DA, should differ from elite tastes because they are equally open for everyone, and should work to provoke our own, personal and free interpretation. It does not work that way for me.
What we can see now in this big Internet artists society is a great popularity of following and supporting 'the popular', starting and ending on the fact of images popularity itself. And the problem with 'the popular' artists is, that although some of them used to be honestly good, after becoming the objects of worship, they are losing themselves in their popularity. Surely, it vitally affects the quality of their art. But it does not seem to affect the fans, followers and believers. The process continues, and the artist, seeing that the machine of popularity urges itself in the crazy perpetum mobile, is not focused so much on the quality of his work, but it does not prevent him from submitting more and more pictures. In fact, they are closer to being not an art, but rubbish...
For some, it may seem obvious - some can see the difference and transition from talented and modest artist to worshipped and opinionated internet celebrity. But not 'the masses', not the followers. These, who have already joined the club of worship, masses of fans, using the 'watching' option and 'faving' each and every piece of work done by the artist. They do not see the difference.
And yet there are comments. For me, one of biggest strengths of Deviant Art has always been the fact that people can actually comment on your work and you can expect the general critique of your pictures. Isn't it one of the reasons why people put their work there? Well, apparently, it is not. At least not for 'the popular'. They, in majority of cases, cannot be criticised. They are not used to it any more. One can meet many various responses to such critique. Yet, even though the artist him/herself may not respond (it is quite difficult to do so, having about 100 'lovely-sweetie-great-beautiful—kind' comments for a picture, after one hour of submission), there are still the followers, waiting to make the seditious fault-finder aware of the fact that he/she deals with 'popular person' whose work just has to be good. Well, good is not enough. Brilliant,that is the word. It is officially taken for granted. And if you brake with convention – you are out.
Generally, it is sick. The power relations in this case are so obvious. And here, Fiske's element of poplar and critical discrimination totally inverts. It does not lose its meaning, though.
It seems that now, to be the part of 'popular culture' one needs to be like bourgeoisie white male used to be – rules dictator, behaviour example, art fashion creator - power handler, in general. Popular culture become the part of 'false aestheticism', the phenomenon that it used to be opposite to.
Yet, this time - from a bit different perspective.
It is the first material about this topic that I've ever seen so deeply analysed, well-researched and planned, plus very well edited.
Yes, it is a bit subjective - but noone says that it wasn't mean to be. The documentary proves that today's world politics (mainly in USA and Canada) towards marihuana and its prohibition is rather illogical. And, to depict it, the film authors used a lot of examples, professional statements, medical experiments and analysis, interviews, history facts and simple (yet, not so obviously) logic.
I'm not saying I'm pro or against smoking pot. It's not the point here.
What I want you to see, is some evidence of hypocrisy and lack of logical thinking of world politics in the case of drugs, alcohol and tabacco - their general using, legalizing, funding etc.
The film is in English and has Polish subtitles.
It's long but it's really worth seeing.
THE UNION - documentary.
But, let's start from the beginning.
Me and T. went to ASDA. T., as always, had his camera with him, and although he presumed that no one is allowed to take pictures in there, he used his old-fashioned film camera, and took a picture of an entry, kind of 'against the sun' photo, which would probably be more artistic than technically detailed. After few seconds I turned back and I realised that I'm walking alone through the alley, so I went back and what I saw was T. speaking with weird-looking, 20-something English man, and a guy from ASDA security.
It occurred that T. was explaining himself to the ASDA guy, and in fact they both agreed that nothing happened, as soon as T. put his camera back into his bag.
Yet, there was still the other guy which I would like to call 'mr Weirdo' (well, I don't judge this guy only because of his appearance - you should have seen him talking, observe his body language, rolling eyes etc... He surely wasn't completely 'normal'). He claimed, that T. took the picture of him, and that he cannot accept that because it violates his privacy rights. Because of that, mr Weirdo told us to give him the film, so he can be sure that the picture won't be used.
T., me and ASDA guy (who was actually on our side) were trying to convince mr Weirdo that, firstly - T. did not take the picture of him, secondly - he can believe, that the picture will not be used, if - by any chance - he had been caught in the frame (which me and T. knew - was impossible)... But the guy was stubborn. He said that we HAVE TO give him the film. So we asked him what about the pictures that had been already taken, and the rest of film that can be used. Is he going to pay for them? (How can you say how much each picture is worth if you consider them as a piece of art?) But mr Weirdo said that he would pay, BUT (here comes the best part) - he doesn't have any money, and after saying that - he opened his rucksack and was trying to give us... spaghetti! T. started to laugh and I started to be really, really angry, together with an ASDA guy and some other customers trying to squeeze between us, as we were blocking the alley ...
So, when we said that giving the film to him is impossible because it would violate our privacy (yes, we did hypocritically use his own argument), mr Weirdo announced that he wants us to give him our home address, so he can come and take the picture/film, and be sure that it won't be used...( At this moment I really had to do a lot of effort to not lose my temper...)
The guy didn't want to stop and leave us alone, and everyone (except T., who enjoyed all conversation finding it really funny) were getting more and more angry. After about half an hour, T. decided to take the film out of camera, loosing the undone frames, and was even ready to give the whole undeveloped piece to mr Weirdo! It was the moment when my anger achieved the final stage... I think that ASDA guy felt the same, so he took the roll and passed it to me. I said that that's enough, and now we're going to photo lab to develop the film, asking for destroying the last frame. And- finally!- we did it. Mr Weirdo scrapped up all change he had in his pockets and the ASDA guy signed the paper saying that we don't have to pay for developing... The film was going to be ready after an hour.
We went shopping, gone back home, and T. collected the film after 2 hours. The lady in photo lab told him that mr Weirdo (described by her as 'mental') was waiting in the lab through all this time, and he had just left about 2 minutes before T. came there... The last frame had been cut out and destroyed, so we don't know if mr Weirdo was even caught on the frame...
That's how the story ends.
But there's a lot behind it...
What a coincidence that the thing like that happens to me, while I'm writing my dissertation about CCTV and surveillance...
In my opinion, Mr Weirdo is great example of Paranoiac created by the information society, he is the victim of global surveillance. He thought that by forcing his demands on us he would somehow fight the surveillance system? Maybe...Yet, during this dull conversation, I told him few times that he is actually observed by CCTV camera now (pointing my finger on the camera above us), and that maybe he would like to demand the footage from there as well? He did not answer anything about that, paused for a while and continued his talk, actually repeating the same sentences all the time...
I can understand that he did not want his privacy to be violated. But the fact that he thought that he was the aim of T's. picture is as weird as he himself was. T. didn't even notice him... I think that probably mr Weirdo was very sensitive about himself, his appearance and the way how other people may see him, that's why he acted like that...
But it doesn't change the fact that during this argument he constantly denied himself... If he was really SO concerned about privacy rights, and violating them by eventual using of the picture, why he ignored the cameras, and didn't claim the footage where he appeared, to be destroyed? Why he wanted us to give him our address and let us agree to the fact that a strange guy is going to come to our house? Why he wanted us to give him undeveloped film, so he could develop it and become an owner of all the images that T. took before?
And – finally - why he had to latch on to us? Maybe to make himself think that he is doing something about the situation that bothers him so much? About the situation that he lives now in the information society and that he is constantly observed, and his images are being registered almost everywhere, all the time. And he cannot do anything about it, if he still wants to be a part of society...
Now, when I calmed down, I feel really sorry for mr Weirdo... I think that this situation was the kind of his desperate and nonsensical fight with the surveillance and information system.
What I know for sure – now I got some more interesting material to analyse for my dissertation. And that is the only thing I like about it.
He said the increase is making life difficult for teachers and parents. The Government said it is trying to "bring students weak in English up to speed".
According to reports, figures uncovered by Mr Green show 565,888 primary school children do not use English as their first language - an increase of more than 25% since 2004 (452,388).
In some areas, more than 70% of four to 11-year-olds do not have English as their first language.
And in secondary schools, 10.6% of pupils normally speak a foreign language - up from 8.8% in 2004.
Mr Green said: "The shocking figures show why we need an annual limit on immigration.
Quote from -> link
Are these figures really shocking for anyone? Not for me, I guess... Just look around. How many English people you can see when you going out? In the shop, uni, underground, bus, pub?
To be honest, I don't see much much of them. Maybe I'm not a good example because I live in more student-type town where there's a lot of foreign students, but anyway.... I've been in other towns and cities around the country. I have seen lots of people. And average of them haven't been English. Most of them have different accents, so various ethnic origins, many of them even cannot speak English. But they live here. Some of them live in UK for very long time. Many send their children to local schools... But when their kids are coming back home, they enter the world of their parent's country, whatever and wherever their country is. Many of immigrants seem to live their live being 'next to Britain', never becoming a part of it.
And personally, I don't think if annual limit of immigration will make any change. It's too late already... So where's the real, genuine Britain? I'm afraid that it's lost.
Ethnic minorities, racial, cultural and generally immigration issues, together with their media and political portrayal, are the best examples of political correctness process, happening in this country.
Topics concerning minorities rights are really popular recently. But this country seems to be lost in creating more and more laws and rights to satisfy the immigrants and make them feel like home, neglecting their own, British citizens. If I was British, I would be very angry about it.
Once you come to this country, you don't have to try to be 'British'. But you cannot force all elements of your own culture to be accepted here, because some of them simply don't suit.
It is you first, who need to accept some rules.
But how can one be able to tolerate the typical British-life rules when they are making their three year old children walking barefoot or wearing sandals while there's 7 centigrades outside?!(while the same children, being in Asia, would be playing in scorching weather)...
If some cannot understand even the weather differences, how they accept these more serious issues, like law, customs, culture or acceptable/unacceptable behaviours?...
It is us, immigrants, who need to adjust to Britain, to have a right to speak about our demands toward this country.
What's obvious, Britain and United Kingdom in general have been facing some serious immigration problems for few years now. And it is going to get worse in time.
But I'm afraid that in all that immigrant/emigrant fuss, Britain has lost its track. I'm afraid that what we see now is Britain adjusting to its immigrants.
How is it possible that in some places around UK British children are minorities in their schools? Doesn't it sound like some really dark and not funny joke for you? For me, it does.
Well, I assume that, maybe, as one of the immigrants, I should not say out loud what I think about that. Yet, I will because I'm hoping to leave this country as soon as I finish my higher education here, because that is actually the main reason why I'm staying here.
I am very glad that after Poland joined EU, I got the chance to come here and study. I pay the same fees as English students, I got a student loan, I don't pay tax, I am treated as 'one of them'. Generally, I use the opportunity of being, studying and learning how to live my life abroad. This is quite a lesson. I appreciate this fact, I am very thankful to British and EU governments, because I am going to use my time here as beneficially as I can.
But I came to UK with the plans to come back to the place where I belong. Because here is not my place. Here is just one of these places that you visit at the beginning of your independent life, the life of a young adult, looking for your own space, the one where you stay for longer.
I have never planned to stay here 'for longer', I have never planned to have a regular family here, to put my children in this country's schools.
Why? Because I simply cannot imagine that. This country is so much different than mine. Even if it is still one and the same Europe, even that we have so much in common - the history, some habits and behaviours....I just feel that all Great Britain is loosing its personality. It is no more English-Scottish-Irish-Welsh country. It is multi-language, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic country that is constantly loosing its integrity. And it is loosing it more and more recently, this time mainly because of the inflow of immigrants from Western Europe countries, such as mine.
I am not trying to say that I am different or better than other immigrants from Poland.
But how can you come to the foreign country looking for asylum, job, home and shelter without knowing the language?! (yep, many of my countrymen, living and having families here, wouldn't be even able to read and understand what I am saying here).
Ok, sometimes you've got this situation that you just couldn't learn the language before. But why, while being here, some many foreigners so succesfuly avoid any contact with domestic British culture? Why they don't even try to learn the language? Why they are not even looking for the job, getting benefits from council, at the same time moaning and complaining that they don't have enough money and satysfying life. It looks even worse now (ehh, credit crunch...).
But for God's sake, people! This country opened its doors for you to come and get what you want ,and what do you do? You come here to sit and wait until someone serve you everything ready on the plate. And then - pass you a tissue, asking if you don't want a refill.
Maybe people'll understand it some day. But until UK government do something, nothing will change. Not for better, anyway...
So I am quite glad that I have some different plans for the future. Of course, everything can change.
It started one year ago, with one of the assignments that we had to do for Uni.
As I am one of these paranoiacs, seeing Big Brother's eyes around me all the time, I thought that writing about CCTV surveillance may be quite interesting way to make my mind even more paranoid.
Although the decision about surveillance society and CCTV-related topic was quite spontanious, it appeared to be the start of a great research-reading-learning adventure, making my student life - quite tough already - a bit more difficult.
In the effect, I am now writing my final project about the same topic.
What vitaly heleped me in decision making was the fact that I live in the most camera-surveillanced country in the world. And I don't feel ok with it. Don't feel ok at all.
There has been many works done about surveillance topic recently. But one, in my opinion, is exceptional. The work that brought me on my knees is video documentary 'Every Step You Take - Ready for your close-up?' (official blog) by Nino Leitner, student from Austria... His work amazes me and makes me jealous at the same time... The guy and his friends did amazing job. And,what most important, this documentary, presenting the topic so well-researched, full of interviews with professionals and theorists, packed with information about contemporary data gathering and surveillance practices in UK and Austria; makes you think about the effects of the fact that we all live now in the information and surveillance society. Sadly, we cannot do much to change it.
Anyway, more to come from this topic. Later.
'Every Step You Take' by Nino Leitner trailer:
Yet, the final printed version has been really shortened and all deeper sense of the article that I wanted to achieve has vanished... That's why I put it here - in full version.
so this time - in Polish...
Jakiś czas temu napisałam artykuł do Gazety Pomorskiej, który miał na celu obiektywne przedstawienie Uniwersytetu w Wolverhampton, na którym zresztą sama studiuję.
Opinie na jego temat są bardzo różne, wiec pomyślałam, że warto powęszyć i podowiadywać się, co sami zainteresowani (czyt.studenci) mają na ten temat do powiedzenia.
Wracając do motywu publikacji, niestety - nie będąc częścią załogi Gazety, nie miałam najmniejszego wpływu na to, co stanie się z moim artykułem po tym, kiedy został on już wysłany do redakcji.
Niewiele wyszło z moich chęci ukazania obiektywnego obrazu uniwerka. Brałam pod uwagę fakt, że redakcja ma pełne prawo do przycięcia, obcięcia, wycięcia i ogólnie skrócenia mojego tekstu. Jednak wycięto z niego takie fragmenty, które miały ukazywać różne, sprzeczne i obiektywne opinie. I znowu wyszła z tego reklama... A to celem moim nie było na pewno, tym bardziej, że reklam University of Wolverhampton w prasie kujawsko-pomorskiej było do tej pory wystarczająco dużo. Chciałam żeby w końcu wyszła jakaś nie stricte pozytywna publikacja na ten temat. Ale nie wyszło...
Inną sprawą jest to, że w sumie i ja sama dzięki tej promocji znalazłam się właśnie tu gdzie jestem. A ponieważ nie jest to już publikacja prasowa, mogę teraz sama się przyznać, że nie żałuję tego, że studiuje właśnie w Wolverhampton. Ale wierzę, że wiele osób chętnie zmieniło by podjętą już decyzję o studiowaniu tutaj, gdyby tylko mieli taką okazję.
W każdym razie, poniżej znajdziecie artykuł w wersji nieocenzurowanej (ah, brzmi to tak wywrotowo).
Uniwersytet w Wolverhampton – popularny i kontrowersyjny.
Od czasu wstąpienia Polski do Unii Europejskiej w 2004 roku, otworzyły się dla nas nie tylko zagraniczne rynki pracy. Młodzi Polacy mają teraz, więcej niż kiedykolwiek, szans dostania się na studia na zagraniczną uczelnię. Wybór aspirujących studentów najczęściej pada na Wielką Brytanię, co nie powinno być zbytnio zadziwiające, biorąc pod uwagę ogólną skalę emigracji Polaków na Wyspy. W regionie kujawsko-pomorskim, zdecydowanie najczęściej wybieranym przez młodych ludzi zagranicznym miejscem do kontynuowania edukacji jest Uniwersytet w Wolverhampton. Dlaczego akurat ten? Powodów jest wiele. Prawdopodobnie tak samo wiele, jak i opinii o tej uczelni, zarówno tych skrajnie pozytywnych, jak i bardzo negatywnych. Przyjrzyjmy się więc trochę bliżej fenomenowi Universytetu w Wolverhampton.
Wolverhampton to średniej wielkości miasto leżące w hrabstwie West Midlands, jednej z tych bardziej szarych i fabrycznych części kraju. University of Wolverhampton, będący kiedyś Politechniką, jest od paru lat intensywnie modernizowany i powoli staje się największą tego typu placówką w Anglii.
Uniwersytet dzieli się na cztery 'campusy' – jeden w centrum miasta, kolejne trzy- w pobliskich Telford, Walsall i Compton. Wolverhampton oferuje studentom pokaźny wybór kierunków na najróżniejszych wydziałach. Nie sposób zaprzeczyć, że na tym Uniwersytecie można studiować prawie wszystko. Uczelni tej z pewnością nie można odmówić bardzo nowoczesnej i – co widać na pierwszy rzut oka – kosztownej inwestycji w zakup wyposażenia i różnego rodzaju nowoczesnych pomocy naukowych, takich jak komputery, sprzęt fotograficzny, kamery itp. Jest to na pewno jeden z pozytywnych aspektów płatnego systemu szkolnictwa wyższego, jaki funkcjonuje w UK.
Studia dzienne w Anglii kosztują Ł3140 za rok. Jest to dość pokaźna suma i większość studentów nie poradziłaby sobie z zapłata za czesne, gdyby nie pożyczka, dostępna zarówno dla miejscowych, jak i studentów z krajów Unii Europejskiej. Pożyczkę można zaciągnąć na 3 lata studiów licencjackich, spłaca się ją po opuszczeniu uczelni.
Uniwersytet w Wolverhampton udostępnia studentom z krajów Europy Wschodniej niespłacalne stypendium w wysokości Ł1600 rocznie.
Jednak wszystkie te fakty, to tylko dane liczbowe, a to trochę za mało do podjęcia decyzji o studiach. Problem pojawia się, kiedy przyszły student próbuje dotrzeć do czyjejś obiektywnej oceny na temat uczelni. Największą przeszkodą okazuje się fakt, że o Uniwersytecie w Wolverhampton krąży tak wiele różnych opinii, że potencjalni kandydaci mogą czuć się co najmniej zdezorientowani.
Jak więc naprawdę wygląda studiowanie na tym, niewątpliwie najpopularniejszym wśród młodych ludzi z naszego regionu, zagranicznym uniwersytecie?
“Ogólnie krąży taka opinia, że jednak tutaj jest niski poziom, z czym bym się zgodził, z własnych doświadczeń i z opowieści znajomych” - mówi Mikołaj z Bydgoszczy, studiujący na drugim roku Biomedical Science. Z czego wynika takie przekonanie? Wiadomo, że Wolverhampton to nie Oxford czy Cambridge, jednak czy jest to aż tak słaba uczelnia?
Faktem jest, że brytyjski system edukacji znacznie różni się od tego, który mamy w Polsce.
“Nie jestem przekonana do sposobu nauczania, który jest tutaj, ale nie jestem tez przekonana do tego który jest w Polsce - czyli zakuć, zdać, zapomnieć” mówi Magda, absolwentka liceum w Rypinie, studentka trzeciego roku Media & Communication. “Będąc tutaj, często narzekam ze coś mi się nie podoba, ze poziom nie taki jakiego oczekiwałam”.
Jednak większość polskich studentów z Wolverhampton zdaje sobie sprawę, z czego może wynikać ten problem. Jak twierdzi Łukasz z Solca Kujawskiego, student trzeciego roku Media & Communication, na przeszkodzie może stać początkowe niezrozumienie brytyjskiego systemu nauczania. “Nie ma się tu tylu godzin wykładów, nie ma jakichś wielkich kolokwiów, przynajmniej nie na moim kierunku. Uniwersytet daje duże możliwości do zgłębiania wiedzy na własną rękę. Dostajesz wykład który jest po prostu jakąś wskazówką dla ciebie i mówi gdzie masz iść”. Bardzo podobne zdanie ma też Natalia, absolwentka toruńskiego V LO studiująca TESOL i język francuski. “Trzeba sobie zdawać sprawę z tego, ze dużo trzeba robić samemu. To się tylko tak wydaje że mamy mało godzin zajęć. Tak naprawdę, jeśli komuś zależy, to wkłada bardzo dużo wysiłku w zbieranie potrzebnych informacji (tzw. research). Musisz sam do wszystkiego dojść, przejrzeć dziesiątki artykułów, książek plus do tego podłożyć jakieś swoje badania, teoretyczna wiedzę połączyć z praktyczną. Myślę, że to jest tez bardzo czasochłonne, tyle ze może nawet bardziej satysfakcjonujące”. “Dopiero teraz, na trzecim roku zaczynam doceniać, o co chodzi w tych studiach w Anglii...” stwierdza Magda.
W Wielkiej Brytanii kładzie się o wiele większy nacisk na część praktyczną studiów, i to już od pierwszego roku, czego najlepszym przykładem jest tryb studiów Natalii. “Robię teraz praktyki, w dodatku płatne. Zaczęłam je już właściwie na drugim roku. Pracuje w szkole jako asystentka nauczyciela języka francuskiego. Myślę, że o takie rzeczy ciężko by było w Polsce. Dzięki takiemu praktycznemu podejściu uczy się i zapamiętuje o wiele łatwiej, nie mówiąc już o tym, że taka praktyka to bardzo dobry punkt do CV”.
Brytyjski system może niektórym odpowiadać, jednak młodzi Polacy są przyzwyczajeni do nieco innego sposobu nauczania i utrzymanie samodyscypliny może okazać się dla niektórych po prostu za trudne.
“Tutaj nie ma tego 'bata' nad tobą. Z jednej strony to jest dobre, bo każdy, kto chce dążyć do czegoś i w jakimś kierunku się kształcić, zrobi to sam. Z drugiej strony jednak, czasem ten bat jest potrzebny” – mówi Mikołaj.”Tutaj mało wymagają w porównaniu z tym, co słyszę od moich znajomych o studiach w Polsce. Nie ma żadnego przymusu – jeśli student sam do tego nie dojdzie, sam nie zrozumie że coś mu się przyda, to niewiele się nauczy”.
Przekonanie o niskim poziomie nauczania w UK, bądź też konkretnie na Uniwersytecie w Wolverhampton, wynika również z tego, że wiele kierunków studiów polega na “przerabianiu” materiału praktycznie od podstaw, na co zwraca uwagę Marcin z Brodnicy, student pierwszego roku Informatyki. “Na studiach w Polsce od razu wymagany jest wysoki poziom umiejętności, tym bardziej na moim kierunku, np. znajomość matematyki. Tutaj starają się uczyć od podstaw, dając w miarę równe szanse wszystkim rozpoczynającym studia”.
Może się to wydać dziwne Polakom, którzy najczęściej są świeżo po ukończeniu szkoły ogólnokształcącej i posiadają wiedzę bardziej ogólną niż “skonkretyzowani” edukacyjne Brytyjczycy.
Jedno jest pewne - studia, zarówno w Wolverhampton, jak i na każdej innej brytyjskiej uczelni, dają ogromną możliwość nauczenia się płynnej angielszczyzny, zarówno w mowie jak i w piśmie. Fakt, iż język angielski nie jest dla kogoś pierwszym językiem, nie zwalnia z obowiązku posługiwania się angielskim słownictwem, gramatyką i interpunkcją na poziomie akademickim.”Wszyscy traktowani są tu jednakowo, zarówno obcokrajowcy jak i studenci z Anglii – w jedna i druga stronę, nie ma jakiejś specjalnej pomocy ani też taryfy ulgowej - wszyscy są na równi”- mówi Marcin.
Taka znajomość języka na pewno zaowocuje, jeżeli studenci będą kiedyś chcieli wrócić do swojego kraju.
Właśnie... czy będą chcieli wracać? Większość z nich jest zdecydowana, że tak. Jednakże wcale nie tak prędko. Znaczna część widzi swoje dalsze życie w kolejności: studia magisterskie, dalej kilkuletnia praca za granicą, nabranie doświadczenia i dopiero potem powrót do Polski. Wielu studentów myśli podobnie jak Natalia: “Chciałabym skończyć studia magisterskie, może z 2-3 lata popracować w moim zawodzie, żeby zdobyć jakieś doświadczenie, najbardziej o to by mi chodziło, potem mam zamiar wrócić”.
“Choćby nie wiem jak złe było to Wolverhampton, to jednak trochę się przyzwyczaiłem. W jakimś sensie jest to tez moje miasto. Myślę, ze zdobyłem trochę doświadczenia, ale nie jestem całkowicie zadowolony z tego co osiągnąłem będąc tutaj. Ale nie winie za to jakoś szczególnie studiów, raczej siebie bardziej” - przyznaje Mikołaj. “ Nie żałuje się niczego w życiu, jednak myślę ze wolałbym studiować w Polsce, myślę ze lepiej by mi poszło”.
Widać więc, że różnice pomiędzy trybem nauczania w Polsce i Wielkiej Brytanii są duże. Dlatego, jak zauważył Bartek, student trzeciego roku Public Relations pochodzący z Grudziądza, decyzja o podjęciu studiów za granicą powinna być bardzo dogłębnie przemyślana. Czasami nawet z dużym wyprzedzeniem: “Patrząc z perspektywy lat, w szkole zacząłbym przykładać się do innych przedmiotów, może nawet nie poszedłbym do liceum tylko do technikum. Zmieniła mi się więc trochę edukacyjna koncepcja, po czasie niestety”.
Wciąż jednak ciężko jest jednoznacznie określić – jak to w końcu jest? Czy rzeczywiście ogólny poziom nauczania na Uniwersytecie w Wolverhampton jest tak ogromnie niższy niż na większości uczelni w Polsce? Studenci są zadowoleni, czy nie? Co dziwne, pomimo tylu negatywnych aspektów studiowania na tym Uniwersytecie, zasłyszanych tu i ówdzie, większość jednak nie żałuje swojej decyzji...
“Te studia dają mi możliwość bycia niezależną, mogę studiować dziennie i pracować jednocześnie, mogę być dumna z tego ze sama daje sobie rade. Nauczyłam się wiele, były ciężkie chwile, ale one minęły, zresztą ciężkie chwile są wszędzie, mogą zdarzyć się i w Polsce. Myślę, że nie był to zły wybór, nie żałuje ze wybrałam Wolverhampton” - przyznaje Magda, swoją wypowiedzią podsumowując zdanie wielu innych polskich studentów.
Studia za granicą z pewnością nie są dla wszystkich. Stres związany z wyjazdem, zaaklimatyzowanie się w zupełnie nowych warunkach, nauka w innym języku i zderzenie polskiego systemu edukacji z brytyjskim – wszystko to sprawia problemy. Każda uczelnia oferuje studentom wiele, ale to nie od nazwy czy miejsca położenia uniwersytetu zależy to, czy kończąc szkołę będziemy mieli wystarczającą, satysfakcjonującą nas i naszych przyszłych pracodawców wiedzę. W studiach nie chodzi przecież o to, ile czasu spędzasz w sali lekcyjnej albo ile materiału musisz nauczyć sie na pamięć na test czy kolokwium. To od nas samych zależy, co i ile osiągniemy, jak wiele się nauczymy i jak tę wiedzę potem wykorzystamy. A wtedy - nie jest ważne, czy jesteśmy studentami Cambridge, UMK czy Uniwersytetu w Wolverhampton.
(everything except text by Rachel Lewis)
Photography is very various, its diversity of styles enables people to choose whatever they like most to enjoy this particular type of art. It also gives the artists – photographers - lots of options to choose as their specialization. Some photographic ideas from the particular style, when properly carried out, can be more interesting for the audience than the others. One of the 'special' kind is Artistic Nude Photography.
ART vs PORN
What is so interesting about Artistic Nudes? One could tell 'nude bodies, of course!'. Well, it's not so obvious. Artistic Nude is the piece of ART, the art that touches very delicate and intimate spheres of human beings – nudity, breaking the barriers of embarrassment, showing what is normally covered and hided . It is about to show how beautiful, unique and various the human body can be. There is always the danger of loosing the borderline between something that can be called art and something that isn't art at all. But this is us – both watchers and photographers - who decide where actually this borderline should be put. What nude photographers want to show in their pictures is not porn, like many can think. It is about body as the piece of art. It doesn't have to be strictly sexual image, but it can be, of course. Yet, showing naked people doesn't have to be automatically associated with that rude, nasty and exaggerated visual version of sex that porn presents. One of the biggest problems for all Artistic Nude photographers, both young and more experienced, is to make the distinction: where the art ends and porn starts. This distinction is very difficult to determine and we could probably write few-hundred words essay about it but it's not the point now. The point is that you, as the photography audience, should be able to distinguish what, in this case, is art and what is not. It will then let you to draw extensively on the real Nude Photography's beauty.
STUDENTS AND NUDES?
How young students, without having the professional practice experience, but with their obvious talents and abilities, can cope with doing this one of the most specialized type of photography that is Artistic Nude? For sure, their situation from the start is much more difficult than for the experienced 'old troupers'. As unknown artists, photography students are not popular within the 'model world' and they don't have money to pay for the session. They often don't have lots of super expensive equipment. Sometimes they don't feel really comfortable and sure about their abilities... But they have fresh and stunning ideas, enthusiasm and will to do what they love to do! And this is what can make a difference between them and experienced photographers.
TRY IT, LOVE IT?
Lots of people like to watch Artistic Nudes (no, I don't mean the lads watching naked girls in 'Nuts'!) and, surely, lots of photographers like to create it. Unfortunately, this is not that simple. Don't believe? Lets try to do some (very!) rough plan of the artistic nude session. Imagine that you are the photographer.
Firstly – you need to find a model. The more professional the model is, the more professional the pictures would be. Secondly – money. And here it comes – how the poor student can find money to pay the professional? So, the best would be to find not only a good model, but also the one who agrees to take the part in the session for free or for really small money. It means that automatically, the already small circle of potentially available models is getting even smaller. You also need to find somebody who will do the make-up and prepare the clothes and accessories ( nude shots often need much more clothing than you think!). If you're lucky, your model will be prepared and have his/her own make up done, maybe can even have some accessories and clothing. If not – you need to provide them. How many and what type? - it depends only on your idea of the session. So, the more interesting, various and complicated session you want to have, the bigger problem you have to solve... The next issue is arranging the session. Where? When? How? As Thomas, 2nd year Photography student says: 'asking someone to get naked in my home equals asking to have sex with me. Studio on our Uni isn't the best place to take nude pictures (it's not impossible though). Especially because of lack of changing rooms and screens to hide the setup from rest of studio. Models don't like unnecessary audience'.
FACE THE PROBLEMS, WIN THE GAME
Ok, now we all know that it's not a piece of cake... What to do next? Give up? No way! There is always the way out. The photographer needs to learn how to face all of these problems, and I can assure you that there is a lot more of them than just these listed above. So, we can start from finding some hints in books, articles, Internet... Still, it won't have anything to do with practice. No, I don't mean that firstly you have to screw up few sessions before you start making some great ones, but... there are surely some people who have already done it before and maybe they can help us to find the way how to avoid some of the possible problems. 'Certainly, some advises from professionals would be very useful – about lightning or how to treat the model and also about some formal matters, like permissions etc.' said Anna, 3rd year Photography student.
EXEPERIENCED KNOW BETTER
The interest in Artistic Nude can start just at the beginning of your photography adventure or it can come later. Anyway, beginning is always the same – tough and difficult.
“I've never tried to photograph nudes because I assumed that I will not find anyone to pose for me... Generally, it would be cool to do something like this but on the other hand I think that I would feel uncomfortably having a strange naked person in front of my camera... it can be a bit embarrassing...' - said Anna – 'If you ask about my ideas, I like pictures showing only shadows of the body, I don't know why but this type of nudes I can only see with the black background and simple spotlight'.
All right, so the first that comes is the IDEA of the session and the way you plan all your actions. That's where everything starts and that's also where everything can end... of course, we can avoid it.
'First of all, I haven't got money for hiring models from models agency. I'm not that good looking and charming man to ask my friends to get naked for me in the studio as well. But seriously it's sometimes a matter of confidence as well. I just think that when I eventually ask some girl "hey, i think you are really beautiful and inspiring woman. I'm a photography student. Would you like to model for me?" she thinks that all I want is just to see her naked... It's a big issue. It's easier to say "hey I'm famous photographer and I will make a photo session with you as a model' said Thomas.
So, what about the models? How to treat them to make everybody feel comfortable and happy during the session?
Shooting nudes was initially tough because I didn't want the models to think it was just a ploy to get them naked or because I was just being a pervert, LOL. The number one priority in a nude session is the comfort of the model. That means they can't be cold, hungry, tired, hot, or without a bathroom near by! I always try to find a characteristic about a model that I know she prides herself on and compliment her on it. Being naked in front of a camera is a truly vulnerable position so it is VITAL the photographer lets the model know she is safe and her comfort is paramount. Making passes at a model or saying suggestive things is the fastest way to kill a session. ALWAYS discuss the boundaries of the models. Are they comfortable with full frontal nudity? What angles are they NOT comfortable with? It is important to remember that one person's "art" is another person's "porn"... so the type of imagery you want to shoot needs to be discussed before the photo session begins.
Michael Helms, Artistic Nude Photographer
Money always seem to be the biggest problem for students. What about financial matters, then?
There are many web sites ,that have MANY models that are willing to pose nude. ESPECIALLY the ones who are relatively new will want to "test". This means they don't charge the photographer and the photographer doesn't charge them. It's a win/win situation. It isn't vital to have super expensive equipment either. I once did a whole series of nudes shot with those little cardboard throw away cameras you can get at the pharmacy. MANY of the low end digital cameras are good for starting out. So it is important for people to know, it isn't the expense of the equipment that makes a good artistic nude....it is the eye and creativity of the photographer.
Michael Helms, Artistic Nude Photographer
SO... GET DOWN TO WORK!
I'm sure that nude photography is still as difficult as it was just before you read this article, but maybe it looks a bit more clear to all of you now.
What's very important to stress is that all young artists, not only from our University, but from any other place in the world, need to be noticed and motivated to do their work. Both photographers and photography fans should know that it is not so easy to do Nude Photography while being a student, but it IS possible and, if the attempts are fulfilled and succeed, it can really give stunning effects!
the article was published in student-assignment magazine done by rachel lewis ---> blog, the girl from illustration course.
many thanks to mosh, m.ranum and m.helms for their help.
nie lubię idei blogów, idei blogowania, idei obnażania samego siebie bez większego powodu. choć może dla wielu powody mogą być większe. dla mnie zwykle nie były. większe powody nie istniały, było tylko pare mniejszych, w kupie nawet za słabych, zręsztą kupy i tak nikt nie ruszy, a już na pewno nie ja.
...ale, tak sobie pomyślałam. często mam ochotę podzielić się z kimś, choćby i z samą sobą (bo jakoś mi tak glupio gadać do siebie), przemyśleniami na różne tematy. coś tam się zawsze znajdzie w ciągu dnia co w jakiś sposób może zainspirować i spowodować, że nagle chce mi się gadać.
a że tak w ogóle, to gadam za dużo, to może pisząc, dam odpocząć ludziom wkoło mnie, którzy muszą często wysłuchiwać tego, co ja chce im powiedzieć, a czego oni słuchać nie chcą.
więc (z wielką satysfakcją i słodką tego faktu świadomością naruszając zasadę ortografii polskiej), od dziś, jeśli coś ciekawego pojawi się w mojej głowie, a nie będę miała już naprawdę komu tego przedstawić, kiedy wszyscy moi znajomi zaczną już rzucać we mnie ostrymi przedmiotami prosząc, bym w końcu się zamknęła, postaram się wtedy przysiąść na chwile i coś napisać. tutaj.
czasem będzie po angielsku, czasem po polsku. zależy.
wszystkim nam powinno być wtedy chociaż trochę lżej.
zobaczymy czy coś z tego wyjdzie.