GETTING TO KNOW YOUR JUDGES!
New judge for 2016, Grant Scott, is the founder/curator of the United Nations of Photography, a Senior Lecturer in Editorial and Advertising Photography at the University of Gloucestershire, a working photographer, and the author of Professional Photography: The New Global Landscape Explained (Focal Press 2014) and The Essential Student Guide to Professional Photography (Focal Press 2015).
In a recent article featured on the United Nations of Photography website Grant published ‘How to Enter Photography Competitions and Win’, Grant notes “You must do your research on the judging panel before you decide to enter a photographic competition. Where do they work? Who do they work for and with? What is their work like? What are their influences and inspirations? All of these questions are vital for you to ask of each judge to understand what they are looking for and what they are not.”
So….we thought we would give you a helping hand and find out about Grant!
Please tell us a little about where you work
I’m based in Bristol and lecture at the University of Gloucestershire in Cheltenham. Those are my bases but as a photographer I travel and work wherever I’m asked to by an increasingly international collection of clients.
Who do you work for and with?
When people ask me what I do I always reply that I earn my living from photography. To that end I work as a photographer for editorial and commercial clients shooting portraits and interiors, I write books about photography, I am a Senior Lecturer on the Editorial and Advertising Photography BA Hons at the University of Gloucestershire and I run and curate www.unitednationsofphotography.com.
Image credit below: Jen Rich
How would you best describe your work?
Both my photography and writing are based on my experiences as an art director for many years for magazines such as Elle and Tatler and numerous international brands as a consultant creative director, as well as my personal experiences as a professional photographer for the past fifteen years.
I never studied photography or writing, in fact my degree from St.Martin’s School of Art was in graphics so my education has come from self-initiated watching, listening and reading. As such I always see my work as being a synthesis of influences and experiences. Working with photographers such as William Klein, Bailey, Jane Bown, Herb Ritts, Corinne Day, Don McCullin, Richard Avedon and Jeanloup Sieff amongst many others has been a hugely privileged education in understanding the creative photographic process and the role of a photographer.
When shooting I look to create visual narratives and find an image within an environment rather than control or manipulate a situation. That can be a risky approach but I need that element of danger/failure to drive my work forward. The finished work comes from conversation and collaboration and I hope that it is always an honest reflection of both.
Image credit below: Emma Boyns
Who and what most influences your work?
I don’t think that any specific work or photographer particularly influences my images but many influence my process and understanding of how I approach my subjects and clients.
I have always been in awe of the work created by W.Eugene Smith and Irving Penn, particularly Penn’s portrait, food and still life images, but having worked with professional photography for thirty years my mind is so full of images it would be impossible not to believe that many of them influence me in some way. I have a terrible memory for names but I never forget a photograph.
Image credit below: Catherine Walter
With 16 categories to now choose from, seeking various genres of photography, how would you recommend entrants best decide which to enter?
As with all genres of photography I always believe the most successful photography comes from passion for the subject matter. All of the great food photographers I have worked with are passionate about food and the relationship they have with it is clear to see in the images they create. I’d therefore suggest that anyone looking for the right section for them to enter should focus on their passions and the images created from them and match those images with the appropriate genre.
How can our young entrants make the most of their three free entries?
Have fun! Take risks! Be original and keep it simple. I always suggest to young potential food photographers to start with the basics and get those right before trying to recreate complex highly stylized and propped magazine images.
Shape, form, colour, texture and light are the building blocks of successful photography so I would find great looking, interesting produce and concentrate on bringing those elements to the fore using natural light.
If you were to enter yourself what food story/issue/feature would you wish to highlight?
I think I’d lean towards a documentary/portrait approach maybe looking at our changing relationship with fast food, or local produce, or school dinners, or food introduced into the country through migration, or home growing, or traditional family run restaurants and cafes, or… there are so many stories to tell its impossible to choose just one!
Grant’s new book titled The Essential Student Guide to Professional Photography is out now and includes an exciting section on how to begin exploring food photography as an area of professional photographic specialization so we certainly look forward to reading that!
All of the photographers credited above are recent graduates Grant has taught on the Editorial and Advertising course at University of Gloucestershire. All of these images also feature in his book The Essential Student Guide to Professional Photography (Focal Press 2015).
You can also see more from Grant on his website: