Positions and Practice PHO710 Topic 8: Audiences and Institutions

Updated: Sep 4

Topic 8: AUDIENCES and INSTITUTIONS: Reflection

  • How has your own practice been shaped, manipulated perhaps, by the makers of the technology you employ and/or the spaces in which you share your work?

  • What institutions do you wish to engage with to further your photography? How / Will your skillset and practice need to develop in order to be accepted within that institution?

  • If you do not consider yourself to be a ‘professional’ photographer, what do you think you need to do or achieve for this? If that is not something you desire or aspire to, how would you like to be referred to, and how will you achieve that?



I utilise a variety of platforms on which to display my photographic work.

On Instagram, I display a selection of my work, but primarily use it to show albums of images created when I photograph sports events. My wife plays ladies’ rugby; initially for Sleaford Ladies’ RFC, and from last season and going forwards, for Lincoln Ladies RFC and (as a PhD Student) the University of Nottingham Women’s Rugby Football Club (UoNWRFC). Somehow, I found myself appointed as the ‘Official’ team photographer for these clubs. Additionally, I sometimes photograph Amber Valley Ladies RFC, and some of the men’s teams too. With Flickr, it is very easy to upload several hundred photographs, with a separate album for each match, and a separate collection (of albums) for each team.


Figure 1: Lincoln WRFC (purple tartan) vs Lincoln WRFC Barbarians (green and red hoops), Steve Burns Memorial Match, Lincoln RFC 21st May 2022 (Parkes: 2022).


I also act as the resident volunteer photographer for the local parkrun, at Belton House in Grantham, Lincs; ‘parkrun’ is a worldwide movement to encourage individuals to participate in fitness activities, and started at Bushy Park, London, in 2004 when one man (Paul Sinton-Hewitt) decided to start running to improve his own fitness, it expanded when some of his friends joined in. It became known as the Bushy Park Time Trial, later becoming known as parkrun, and expanded throughout the UK, then into Zimbabwe (2007), Denmark (2008), then South Africa, Australia, and the USA; it is now run in over 2,000 locations in 23 countries around the World, and over 5 million runners are registered participants. It is a free-to-attend, timed 5 km run or walk, staffed by volunteers, at 9 am (local time) every Saturday. In 2014, Sinton-Hewitt was appointed CBE in recognition of his contribution to grass-roots sports participation.


Each week there are around 240 runners at Belton House, running a two-lap circuit, and I generally take about 600 photographs each week, again hosting them on Flickr due to the ease of uploading and displaying the images. As with the rugby, I put the images from each parkrun into a separate album. As well as Belton Park, I have photographed parkruns in New Zealand and Canada, and at Enniskillen in Northern Ireland.



Figure 2: Kiwanis parkrun, Ontario, Canada. (Parkes; 2019)


I have well over 16 million views of my images on Flickr, which supports the ‘ease of use’ case and justification for using Flickr to display my images.


I also use Instagram to show some images, these tend to be individual images rather than collections of images, and are a more eclectic mixture of the different photography genres that I work in. I do not post a great deal into Instagram. Unless you invest a great deal of time posting regularly, engaging with other users, and using multiple hashtags to tag your work into various interest groups that have large numbers of followers, you are unlikely to gain much traction; this is something that I may investigate, to try to increase my followers and engage with more groups to gain a wider audience for my images.





Figure 3: Boeing B17G Flying Fortress 'Sally B', Imperial War Museum Duxford, 24 July 2021. (Parkes: 2021)


I intend to develop my ‘presence’ through engaging with certain institutions and by achieving ‘distinctions’ by having selections of my work assessed by their experienced judges. I hold the distinction LDPS (Licentiate of the Disabled Photographers’ Society), which is assessed to the same standards as the LRPS (Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society). I intend to achieve the next level of distinction, the ‘A’ or Associate level, in the LDPS and hopefully the LRPS too; in due course I would like to achieve the ‘F’ (Fellowship) in both institutions too. Similarly, I would like to achieve recognition in the Societies of Photographers portraits, sports, landscapes and glamour photography groups too, to demonstrate my all-round abilities in these genres too. It is a case of having my images assessed, and then potentially assimilating the feedback given by the judges, and resubmitting images to meet the criteria and demonstrating that I can take on and act upon feedback. In doing so, I would anticipate developing skills in each area to a higher and more commercially acceptable level.


Ultimately my biggest failing in terms of aspiring to be a professional photographer, is my failure to actively market my photography and in developing a recognisable ‘brand’. These are areas and aspects I intend t work on over the duration of the MA course.

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