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Marita Upeniece

Profession
Graduate Diploma Photography graduate
College
London College of Communication
Person Type
Alumni
Marita  Upeniece

Biography

Marita, originally from Latvia, graduated from the Graduate Diploma Photography course at London College of Communication in 2020.

Interview

What attracted you to studying the Graduate Diploma in Photography?
I felt Graduate Diploma Photography offers the perfect mix of technical skills and industry insight, plus develops you as an artist and helps you understand the wider context of photography and where your work fits in.

What experience did you have prior to joining the course?
None, but I had been taking photos in my spare time for years and had some experience as a volunteer photographer for events.

Can you tell us a little bit about your final project?
My graduate project was called ‘Her Night City’, which explored that women can’t simply ‘be’ in the city at night. That venturing out, especially after dark brings out a whole set of restrictions and emotions if you’re female.

I also found that a lot of stock imagery of ‘woman at night’ features women photographed from behind – it’s a peculiar angle, a stalker’s viewpoint. I wanted to create a different kind of image, of women taking up space in the night city. It turned out to be timely work, because on the back of it I got commissioned by Stylist to cover Reclaim These Streets vigil.

Did the course provide opportunities to engage with industry? 
Yes, we had guest speakers every week and most of them were professional working photographers. We also had an opportunity to do workshops with some of them.

The course tutors also encouraged me to engage with industry and media about my graduate project and I was lucky to get it featured in Vice and a photo from it was selected for #ICPConcerned exhibition in New York.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking of studying the course, what would it be?
Do it! And take advantage of all the facilities – the studios, kit room, darkrooms – I wish I still had access to them.

What was the most important thing you learnt from studying the Graduate Diploma in Photography?
That experimenting and failing is okay and part of the process. You don’t have to get everything perfect immediately, especially when you’re just starting out.

That it’s important to give yourself space to try different things and not beat yourself up if some of them don’t work out how you hoped.

Why would you recommend studying the Graduate Diploma in Photography to others? 

Anyone who wants to be a photographer and likes a hands-on, practical way of learning. It’s also good if you’re not sure what kind of photography you want to pursue as it’s open and not focused on one genre.

Now that you have graduated from the course, what are you career ambitions?

I’m working on a couple of new personal projects, with the view of exhibiting these at some point, and also building my portfolio to start getting more commissioned work.

Related area

Visit the Graduate Diploma Photography course page.

Links

To view Marita's project, Her Night City, visit the UAL Graduate Showcase.