Briony Campbell – MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography
Briony Campbell graduated from MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at London College of Communication. With inspiration from family, course mates and tutors, the commissions have started flowing in. Briony talks about her experiences with the course and what it's like studying at LCC.
What are you up to since graduating?
Since graduating I have dedicated a lot of time to the same work that formed my major project on the MA. The Dad Project was a record of my relationship with my dad in the last few months of his life. It's been featured in the Guardian Weekend magazine and The Photographers' Gallery 'Fresh Faced and Wild Eyed' show, as well as some European publications.
Since this exposure I've had a lot of enquiries about the project. I've been catching-up on client work as well. My main clients for the last few years have been Surestart, and various Arts festivals, and last summer I started shooting for Getty images. I'm now plotting my next personal project, which will be a return to a long-term story I've been shooting on young urban Africans. I'll also be using film and recording audio to add more depth to the stories.
What is the current job climate for photojournalists? How is the industry in general?
My own experience is definitely positive, and I know others who are equally excited about the state of flux that the industry is in, but I also know a lot of people who are struggling to find paid work. I think our generation of photographers - particularly photojournalists need to be inventive and flexible. There certainly aren't any clear paths to follow towards success, so we need to build our own. It's important to be patient.
I think the ease of production with digital technology can fool us into feeling we should have everything done yesterday. Also, I think it's a good idea to say yes to any work that doesn't compromise your values, do your best every time, and it's very likely more will come your way.
What did you think of MA Photojournalism?
I got more out of it than I could ever have imagined. I almost certainly wouldn't have had the strength to do The Dad Project without the encouragement of my wonderful tutor John Easterby - and the supportive environment of the course. I've become great friends with my course mates and still meet regularly to share ideas. There was a huge amount of input in a short space of time. It was quite overwhelming at first, but sent us all on steep learning curves in the end.
What did you think of LCC?
I enjoyed being a student there. The facilities are good and the atmosphere was nice enough, but I didn't feel there was much integration between courses. That may have been my own fault - as I was a bit overstretched all year I didn't spend time in the student bar or generally meeting new people. I think that's also an effect of studying in London, where there are so many options for entertainment beyond the University. My experience was definitely defined by the course rather than the University.
What can photography students do to make the most of their time here?
Use the darkrooms! I really regret not doing it myself. While it's not a very realistic technique for a photographic career (for economic reasons), it's a wonderful way to get to know yourself as a photographer. The magic of watching your images appear in the isolated darkness is so addictive, you can't help but become intensely involved with your process. But most important is too keep talking and exploring ideas.
Freelancing can feel quite lonely - with no one to bounce ideas off or compare experiences with, so it's well worth milking that opportunity while you can. And be productive. There probably won't be another chance to be so focussed on taking photos ever again in your life. Every photo you take - even the rubbish ones - will teach you something.