Meetings

Final Meeting: Photography

Hosting institution: Gymnázium Jana Nerudy

23 - 29 April 2017

INTRODUCTION

The goal of the project week in Prague was international cooperation of students on producing several sets of documentary photographs on a variety of topics connected with life in Prague and general social issues. This project week was organized as the last mobility for all the partners instead of Istanbul, the suggestion of Gymnázium Jana Nerudy being the hosting institution for the second time was discussed and uninamously accepted in the project week in Strzelin.

 

 

 

 

PARTICIPANTS

All partner schools sent their delegations.

Germany 3 teachers and 4 students

France 2 teachers and 5 students

Poland 2 teachers and 10 students

Spain 3 teachers and 3 students

Turkey 2 teachers and 3 students

CZ / GJN 20 students as contact students of the host students

CZ / GJN 5 teachers involved in the programme

CZ / lecturers 2 professional photographers as leaders of two specialized workshops

CZ / assistants 2 students of Photography assisting the international groups

The methodology of the Documentary Photography project week was prepared by Stanislav Mitač, a professional photographer, lecturer and journalist. He also led one group during the whole week, the other group was led by his friend, also a professioanl photographer and journalist, František Géla. They invited two university students of Photography to assist the international groups with their work.

ACCOMMODATION

Students from the partner schools were offered accommodation in host families of the participating Czech students (14 international students - 5 from DE, 3 from ES, 3 from FR and 3 from TR were accommodated in 12 Czech families). Only 10 students from Poland had to stay in the hostel due to their own school regulations. Though they stayed in a hostel, each of them had a Czech partner student for the whole week. Teachers stayed in the hotels and a hostel in the neighbourhood of the school. All addresses were accessible by public transport.

 

PROJECT WORK

A. Preparation

A month before the Photogrpahy project week in Prague, all participants received basic information what kind of work they should expect during the project week, what preparation they should do and what technical equipment they should bring with them. Since the preparation was done by a professional photographer, the approach to the project work was expected to be serious and as professional as possible. Digital reflex or compact cameras were expected to be used (at least one shared in a pair), not mobile phones. Students were also asked to prepare a ppt presentation about their school, city, country using photographs they should take by themselves and so get some practice beforehand.

The final product of the project week was to be several sets of photographs on a variety of themes connected with people living in Prague or visiting the city as tourists was to be the final product of the joint international groups work.

Draft of suggestions of themes by Stanislav Mitáč sent to schools ahead to reflect on. (The students were asked to add their own ideas, which would highly appreciated and and which would be taken into account.)

  1. OLD PRAGUE
    Based on pictures of old residents, the classic Prague and its architecture, typical Czech restaurants, churches, the oldest bridges, Jewish town.
  2. MODERN PRAGUE
    The visual opposite to "Old Prague" – new unified shopping malls, fast foods in the center...
    Consumerist society.
  3. THE VLTAVA RIVER
    Everyday life along the main water artery – ferries, riverbanks, people feeding ducks, relaxing on pedal boats, eating in ship restaurants.
  4. TOURIST INSANITY
    Portraits of tourists from different parts of the world. Different approach to sightseeing with accent to phenomenons: selfie sticks, segways, taking pictures on tablets...
  5. SPRING ON PETRIN HILL

Pictures that symbolize love, well-being and freedom. Lovers sitting on blankets, eating snacks on grass. Blooming trees, ice creams, positive feeling. People watching Prague from above. 

  1. THE HUNDRED-SPIRE PRAGUE
    Pictures of people working at Prague's towers – trumpeters, lift boys, clockmasters....
    Tower's visitors with their children, evenings views, countless roofs.
  2. HERITAGE OF SOCIALISM
    Buildings and secluded places from the 70s and 80s. Strahov Stadium, Barrandov bridge, Zizkov tower, relicts in some underground stations, Kotva shopping mall, Crown hotel Plaza in Dejvice...
  3. PEOPLE IN RUSH – PRAGUE TRANSPORT
    Train T3 phenomenon, people using smartphones during their way to work, seniors, evening rush hour – somebody running to catch a tram.

B. Programme of the project week

  • Students were shortly informed on the project work of the week by the leaders of the groups, Stanislav Mitáč and František Géla
  • Two international mixed groups were set up for the whole week, in which students were split into smaller teams of 4 (2 x CZ and 2 x guests) for each theme
  • Students had to bring on a flash drive 5-15 photos linked to the theme and taken during the previous day
  • Theoretical and practical preparation was given by the lecturers
  • All mornings the taken photographs were evaluated and discussed; all team members suggested possible improvements. The final summary was given by the lecturers.

Theory and practice covered in both groups

Introduction to documentary photography

  1. Specifications of genre „documentary“
  2. Composition rules, types of light, examples (National Geographic Magazine)
  3. Key authors: Lewis Hine, Henri Cartiere-Bresson, Robert Capa, James Nachtwey

 

History of photography (brief basics)

  1. Camera obscura
  2. Pioneers (Joseph Niépce, Louis Dagguere, Henry Talbot)
  3. Kodak company

Technique

  1. JPEG vs. RAW (file formats)
  2. Tonality and histogram
  3. Shutter and Aperture adjustments
  4. ISO adjustment

 

Outside

  1. Working with people and light
  2. Finding scenes and compositions
  3. Choosing right angle and type of a shot (purpose of detail vs. wide shot)
  4. Ethique (getting agreement of people photographed)

Postprocess

  1. Rules of photo selection (visual storytelling, gatekeeping)
  2. Basic Photoshop adjustments (cropping, tonality, colors)
  3. Preparing and exhibition, presenting the topics (see below)

 

Final list of themes

Group One (Franta)

F1. Old Prague
Based on pictures of old residents, the classic Prague and its architecture, typical Czech restaurants, the oldest bridges, Jewish town. New World. Towers. Churches, pubs, seniors.

F2. People in rush – Public Transport

Train T3 phenomenon, people using smartphones during their way to work, seniors, evening rush hour – somebody running to catch a tram.

F3. Dark/Dirty Prague

Turned away side of Prague – graffitti, dirty, scary places. City life on that places. To be able to find beauty in the ugliness. With an armed escort (Franta, Anicka or Katka). Vltavska crossroad, Sherwood, Wenceslas square, Masarykovo railway station, Holesovice, Florenc station.

F4. People I Meet

Faces of Prague. Portraits of people. Interesting people.

F5. Sport in the streets
Skateboarding, running next to the traffic jam, cycling during the rush hour. Joga in the park, slacklining in Stromovka park.

Group Two (Standa)
S1. Alternative Prague
Unknown places, city life. Small bars, underground galleries, small tea shops. Aleternative people, street art. Bubenska – working space. DOX, Cross club Holesovice. New climbig hall in Smichov.

S2. The Vltava River
Everyday life along the main water artery – ferries, riverbanks, people feeding ducks, relaxing on pedal boats, eating in ship restaurants.

S3. Touristic Insanity

Portraits of tourists from different parts of the world. Different approach to sightseeing with accent to phenomenons: selfie sticks, segways, taking pictures on tablets... Absurd Clock Tower (repaired).

S4. Spring on the Petrin Hill

Pictures that symbolize love, well-being and freedom. Lovers sitting on blankets, eating snacks on grass. Blooming trees, ice creams, positive feeling. People watching Prague from above. 

+Mobile insanity
People using smartphone everywhere, selfie sticks.

S5. Heritage of Socialism

Buildings and secluded places from the 70s and 80s. Strahov Stadium, Barrandov bridge, Zizkov tower, relicts in some underground stations, Kotva shopping mall, Crown hotel Plaza in Dejvice... Nuselsky bridge.

C. Schedule of the events

Day 1 / 23 April

On Sunday all delegations arrived in Prague. German and Polish groups arrived by bus, the other groups by plane. German, French, Spanish and Turkish groups were met by host families. Teachers, including Polish students, met in town for informal dinner.

Day 2 / 24 April

On Monday morning, all groups came to school. After the official welcome by Zuzana Wienerová, Director of School, the students were acknowledged with the project work by their lecturers. Then all partners viewed each other's presentation on the schools, cities and countries. Next, the project work started with the introduction to documentary photography in two groups, followed by a walk in the school neighbourhood while taking the first pictures in the set up international teams. Teams were assisted by their lecturers and two assistants, students of photography.

Day 3 / 25 April

On Tuesday, morning students continued work in their two groups, learning about history of photography and basic technique. Evaluation of the previous day's pictures helped them avoid most common failures in taking pictures. In the evening all participating students, guests and their partners, went on a guided tour round Malá Strana, Prague Castle and Hradčany. The guide was the former student of the GJN and current student of History at Charles University, Václav Hrnčiřík. He guided a similar tour – the filming teams last year.

Day 4 / 26 April

On Wednesday continued workshops concentrating on evaluation of photographs improvement of the techniques: composition, selection of scenes, the right angles and types of shots. Also processing of pictures on PC. In the evening students and teachers were invited to participate in the violin concert at the Music Academy at the Lichtenstein Palace.

Day 5 / 27 April

On Thursday students worked hard on evaluation of the pictures, discussing the pictures and selecting the best for printing for the final show on Friday. Some students took part in the Last Bell of the final year students, taking documentary photos of this graduation classes event. In the evening some teachers and students went to see W. A. Mozart's opera Don Giovanni, taking place at The Estates Theatre.

Day 6 / 28 April

On Friday the last evaluation and selection of photographs took place. Photographs 30x40 had been printed and exhibited in the school hall. A set of pictures from the background were shown on the screen before and after the ceremony. The event had been advertised in the newspaper Metro, so already in the morning the information about the opening of the exhibition was spread. Among the guests coming to the oficial Opening evening of the exhibition and the Closing ceremony of the Erasmus+ project week were several young journalists and photographers – colleagues and friends of the lecturers, two teachers from the Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Photography, parents, teachers and other students who didn't participate in the project work. As goodbye dinner, pizzas from the nearby pizzeria were ordered and served in the school atrium. The informal good bye party continued outside the school.

Day 7 / 29 April

On Saturday, delegations left according to the schedule: the German and Polish groups from the coach station, the Turkish and Spanish departed by plane and the French delegation also by plane but a day later, on Sunday 30 April.

 

See the photographs