HIPA Grand Awards and the Dubai Photo Forum 2016

Moderating the Dubai Photo Forum

Moderating the Dubai Photo Forum

It’s only a week or so since the event of the HIPA Grand Awards and the new format, Dubai Photo Forum 2016. The Grand Award ceremony was a glittering affair attend by nearly 1000 people to celebrate the culmination of their 5th season, “Happiness”. But that wasn’t all. Under the guidance of 18 international curators and the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashi Al Maktoum the first Dubai Photo exhibition proved to be a resounding success.

A passionate discussion featuring Henk Van Kooten from the Netherlands, Adeeb Alani President of the Arab Union of Photographers and Ayman Lofty from Egypt

A passionate discussion featuring Henk Van Kooten from the Netherlands, Adeeb Alani President of the Arab Union of Photographers and Ayman Lofty from Egypt

Instead of the customary workshops attached the the week, HIPA decided to host a vibrant series of forums with topics to discuss and highlight issues in the world of photography. I was honoured to moderate a particularly lively discussion on standards and judging practices. With issues aired and possibilities abundant, I can’t wait to see what the future will bring!


Dubai PhotoWeek – New venture, new website!

This week has seen the launch of the Dubai Photo Exhibition website that features the host of activities following the HIPA Grand Awards event on Monday 14th March.

Dubai Photo Exhibition Website - The Photo Forum

Dubai Photo Exhibition Website – The Photo Forum

The Dubai Photo Exhibition presents artwork from 23 countries spanning numerous regions across the world. The 18 curators, guided by Head Curator Zelda Cheatle, have carefully selected each of their region’s most important photography based on their precise expertise. Running alongside the exhibition is a series of thought-provoking talks and forums, not forgetting various photography related activities that are fun for adults and kids, across the four days.

Running alongside the exhibition will be a community street style open-air carnival that includes a range of colourful and vibrant activities; musical entertainment and catering bringing further energy and life to the event along with fun for all the family.

For further information please visit http://dubaiphotoexhibition.ae/en

HIPA Grand Awards – Dubai Photo Week – Dubai Photo Forum

Its hard to believe another year has passed and we are about to witness the climax of the HIPA “Happiness” Competition. The glittering ceremony will be held at Burj Park on March 14th as a reprise to the very first season awards. Lucky or should I say deserving and talented winners will be recognised and awarded with some $400,000 dollars in prizes as well as stunning trophies by His Highness, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, HIPA’s Patron and Crown Prince of Dubai.

From 16th – 19th March the new D3 Design District will be the host for the inaugural Dubai Photo Week where Curators and Exhibitors from all over the world will exhibit photographic works of art.

Dubai Photo Forum 2 - Judging: International Standards and Judges personalities

Dubai Photo Forum 2 – Judging: International Standards and Judges personalities

For me, a real highlight will be to moderate a new format of Photo Forum on the 18th March where the key subjects will be the processes, ethics, mechanics and intricacies of International Judging and image evaluation. I have high hopes that with the participation of my learned panel, it will be a real eye opener for those who have entered or will enter competitions and awards globally. See you there!


Mentoring for success – The importance of investment

Working towards a ‘Professional’ qualification from either the BIPP or the MPA is no easy task. Its certainly not a journey one should take alone or without guidance and support. This is widely described as ‘Mentoring’, the working relationship between the aspiring photographer and their guide, tutor, supporter and teacher, commissioned to guide them to success. Each of the two representative bodies has their own systems in place where members can access a ‘Mentor’ for a limited period. This is an invaluable resource but nothing beats a proper financial investment in an experienced and successful Mentor. The basic service, in practice the means feedback on images that may form part of a submission, but a more formal arrangement can achieve so much more.

The advice given may not always be what the photographer wants to hear, particularly as ‘critique’ is all too often taken personally due to the huge emotional attachment to their images that so many display. This factor alone is a major contributor to the failure of an application. I know how hard it is to stand back from one’s work and look at it as a qualifies assessor may do. But to learn the art of self assessment from your mentor is central to one’s own continuous professional development. An experienced Mentor will be that crucial support mechanism who will offer the support needed and guidance through the process.

This week, one of my Mentees had a double achievement. Joint winner in the BIPP Provisional Photographer of the Year category and his Licentiate professional qualification of the same Institute. This didn’t come easily and alone, it can be a daunting task.

Supporting evidence book prepared for a BIPP submission - printed by One Vision Imaging (courtesy of Allen Thomasson LBIPP)

Supporting evidence book prepared for a BIPP submission – printed by One Vision Imaging (courtesy of Allen Thomasson LBIPP)

So, access the complimentary services but also invest in a great mentor. Commit to that investment. Always remember that its their investment in you that ensures your success. Want more of this? Then feed back to me on Social Media channels and it will be forthcoming.

If you’re looking to invest in a mentor then contact me at mgrahamedunn@mac.com

I’ve got a new Nikon D750!

It’s been quite a while since I changed my DSLR as I am a creature of habit. My faithful D700 has been an amazing workhorse that has accompanied me all over the world on shooting and training assignments, indeed it has been my camera of choice together with my much loved 105mm f2 DC lens and will still be used to complete the current series of images I am working on, purely for consistency of result.

But I now have a shiny new D750 armed with the deliciously bright 85mm f1.4 lens to commence the next phase of my photography in and as Art journey. There are so many features that make this a perfect successor to my current kit. Not the least the tilting screen that opens up a whole range of possibilities to me that in certain locations I use had previously been almost insurmountable. My huge thanks go to the support team @nikonMEA for steering me into the best decision I have made for a long time.

Nikon D750

Nikon D750

In due course I will be posting images shot on the D750 with a short run down on each personally driven assignment.

Creative Workshop in the Derbyshire Peaks July 2016 – Places still available!

This “Pride and Prejudice” meets “Wuthering Heights” creative workshop is being held on Sunday 24th and Monday 25th July 2016 and is suitable for just about any photographer wishing to explore their creativity and indulging in it as an art form.

The Old Cottage Hope Valley. Our base for the Two Day Creative Workshop

The Old Cottage Hope Valley. Our base for the Two Day Creative Workshop

There are just 8 places available and the extremely affordable fee of only £495.00 per person will cover all tuition, models in period costumes and a post event produced Album Epoca Event book designed by Martin incorporating some of the best images from the workshop. Picnic lunches and an evening meal on the first day are also included. This will be two days indulging in art through photography and literature. For more information or to secure your unique place either email Martin at mgrahamedunn@mac.com or call 01926 335247 or 07854 249710 very soon. A deposit secures your valuable place!

To look for Hotels and Guest Houses go to http://www.booking.com

10 things a Photographer should know – Part 10 – Real artists create!

Do you just sit around and think of stuff you could create, photograph, build, ship, or design, but never output anything? Then you’re a poser. Take a new approach and make stuff. Maybe what comes out of your studio isn’t perfect, but there should always stuff leaving the door and hitting the web, the page, the billboard, the gallery, or the street. If you are for real, you’ll be pumping out work on the regular.

Chase Jarvis

This is a subject to which I have given a great deal of thought. Indeed it is shaping my future not only as a trainer and educator but also as a serious creator of Art. I have long wished to return to my roots and now believe I know the journey I must take. I realise that for me, the creation of Art simply utilises the tool that is the camera as no more than a sketching device. Indeed it creates the ‘underpainting’ or skeleton of my finished canvasses. As a Trainer I am making the conscious decision to develop workshop to bring out that creativity in every photographer who truly wishes to use Photography as an art form. To give them room to express and the tools to create. To encourage pre-conceptualisation of their Art. To learn to see, master and control directional light used by our forefathers. In short to be artists of a new Renaissance that this time, uses the camera as no more than a brush dipping into the colours of the palette of life to create the extraordinary.

I do hope that many of you can join me on this ‘journey’ and on my “Workshops for Creatives” that will be taking place this year and for many years to come. Let me help you open up a new world of imaging and expand your creativity. There are still places available on my Pride & Prejudice meets Wuthering Heights two day workshop in the Derbyshire Peaks on 24th and 25th July 2016 but contact me soon.

Martin Grahame-Dunn

Beyond ‘Mentoring’ – engaging a Business Consultant

Very recently, I have given a great deal of thought about my previous provisions of a ‘Mentoring Programme’ that simply by the term ‘Programme’, intimated a structure almost equivalent to a curriculum. I also realise that due to the individual needs of every photographer, that such a structure is far from ‘one size fits all’. I have to acknowledge that recipe cannot be the most effective route to meeting the needs of today’s photographers. Some ‘mentees’ or  clients have greater needs than others and require more time and engagement.
Outside of the UK I fully embrace my role as a photographic business consultant which I operate on a fee driven basis commensurate with specifically delivered and measured activities. The closest analogy is engaging the services of a ‘professional’ who charges on a time basis for services rendered. This will be my future business plan governing my engagement with those who I have formally termed as ‘mentees’. The role of a consultant in this industry is in my qualified opinion, to be reactive and responsive as a kind of ‘knowledge bank’ from which a client may choose to access certain information or skills.
In the past there has been a case for working with a select few on an engagement basis where a reduced monthly fee has taken into account a reasonable level of access to my services and advice. Such time being advantageous to those few where a normal consultancy rate per interaction would far exceed the monthly remuneration paid. As an example, any interaction, no matter how brief would be charged at a ‘minimum rate’. From now on I shall offer my services on ‘professional’ rate that is realistic and appropriate.
I shall of course continue to organise a limited number of workshops in a year, for only 8 delegates on each, where the engagement between trainer and attendee will be advantageous and productive. One such intensive two day workshop for those who wish to expand and explore their creativity will be held in the Peak District of Derbyshire on the 24th and 25th of July 2016. At this point there are still a few places available, but I do not anticipate this being the case in the near future. Occasionally there will be other workshops in cooperation with colleagues or organisations.
So, if you need a one off consultation, a ‘how to’ in a specific genre of photography or process, or you’re trying to push your boundaries then contact me, and I will help you.
2016 Rates:
Day – £750.00
Half Day – £350.00
Session of up to One Hour – £75.00
2016 Preferential rates for past Mentees:-
Day – £475.00
Half Day – £250.00
Session of up to One Hour – £50.00

10 things a Photographer should know – Part 9

9. A-Gamers work with A-Gamers.
If you are good at what you do, then you work–or seek to work–with other people who kick ass too. If you suck, then you put yourself around sucky people to feel better about yourself. If you want to be the best, seek to be around awesome people–be it other artists, assistants, producers, clients, partners, whatever. Shoot high. Shoot for better than yourself.
Chase Jarvis
This is all about not setting your sights too low or underpricing, indeed undervaluing your work because you are more concerned about what your low price competitors are up to. People who know me well understand I value the quest of  attaining a ‘Professional’ qualification by a recognised Institute or Association. Why? Because its a personal benchmark. A form of self motivated quality control that drives us to excel in every walk of our photographic lives. Without a doubt in the UK, the BIPP and MPA lead the way with processes that examine our businesses in more depth than ever before. In conclusion, do aim as high as you can. Think of yourself as a purveyor of the finest quality as if you had received an enviable ‘Royal Warrant’. Don’t settle for less!
Martin Grahame-Dunn

10 things a Photographer should know – Part 8

8. “Value” is different from “price.”
Don’t compete on price alone. That is certain death in any creative field. Focus on delivering value and price yourself accordingly. If you deliver great value with your images — better than expected, and better than your competition– and you can illustrate that through any means, then you should be more expensive. And remember that value comes in many forms.
Chase Jarvis
* Businesses in Photography fail because they try to compete on price, fact! To simply base your pricing structure on what your competitors are offering without the same costs and overheads is nonsensical and best and financial suicide at worst. Yes, sure, people are motivated by price. We are often told that the customer cannot see the difference but I ask you…can you? Do you accept sub standard based on price and make do? Or do you feel bad about that and go for quality, longevity and by implication, better value?
Martin Grahame-Dunn