Something to look back on: work view

A while ago, during my first week at university (also known as induction week) we got the chance to see some of the final projects of students from previous years. I thought it was a brilliant way to give us a taste of what we will be working on over the next months (and years), and I remember feeling excited as I looked for booklets and portfolios that caught my eye and being in awe as I flipped through the pages. I gotta say, some of those works looked so professional, I wasn’t sure whether to feel thrilled that I’d be doing such amazing work or inadequate that I would never be able to achieve such great results!

I took a few snaps of some of my favourites and meticulously saved them in a folder on my laptop, for future references.

Now that I’m nearing the end of my first semester, I feel like I understand some of those photos better and I can take away more from them than I could before. After sitting through lectures, taking plenty of notes and restlessly looking things up in my spare time, I feel like I now know what to look for a bit better than my 9-weeks-ago self, I am ever-so-slightly more savvy on the subject and I can therefore appreciate these works more and, hopefully, find a way to use what I loved about them in my future work.

Writing things down always help me, so I thought, why not write a blog about it? I am confident that I will come back to these notes in the future (and by then I will probably be even more “savvy” and will be embarrassed by my own naiveness. But that’s kind of the point of internet, isn’t it?).

Click to enlarge the images!

#fcptreasurehunt

Even though I have travelled to England many times (and even lived for about 10 months with a local family just south of London), Nottingham was never one of my destinations. As most other people (especially from out of the UK) I had of course heard of it as the land of Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham; but that’s really all I knew about it before I moved in.

So what better way of getting to know the city than to do a treasure hunt?

nottscollageDuring our first week we were split up in groups of five and sent off with nothing more than a map and a list of clues. Our lecturers seem to rather like the “small & independent” as opposed to the “big & mainstream” (which is great!), therefore most of the sites on our list were cool, sometimes proper hidden shops and cafés that just added to my already very positive impression of this city. I have no doubt that I will be going back to some of these places and actually spend some time to take it all in – especially around the Creative Quarter.

Alongside exploring and noting down the names of the shops, we were also meant to document our little adventure through photos and make a collage out of them. It wasn’t too easy to get properly organised with my group, especially since it was still Freshers’ Week and we were all busy buzzing around the campus to try new things and meet new people, but the collage up there is what we came up with in the end.

Here’s some more photos that weren’t included in the final collage (click to enlarge):

bill cunningham: a chronicle of NY fashion trends

To ease into induction week and to get into the visually-oriented mindset that we will need during our course, we started off with a screening of the movie/documentary ‘Bill Cunningham New York’ by Richard Press. The movie was a fresh and insightful view into the life of 80+ New York-based legendary photographer Bill Cunningham, a man who almost entirely dedicated his whole life to his work and passion: street style. As I watched him go about his daily routine, carefully inspect the hems of the skirts of the women passing by on the pavement, and sometimes even chase an eye-catching outfit through heavily-trafficked streets, I couldn’t help but feel utter admiration towards this man. His dedication to clothes and his talent in spotting trends as they are born among the widely-varied New Yorker crowds were beyond inspiring, especially when topped by his humility and sense of humour.

“We all get dressed for Bill.”

– Anna Wintour

His philosophy? “If you don’t take money, they can’t tell you what to do”. And he most certainly lives by it. For the sake of preserving his artistic freedom, Cunningham has rejected most of the material goods that the majority of people in our society would consider mandatory: a private bathroom, a kitchen and a closet full of clothes. His tiny flat being essentially a storage for his negatives and photographs, he spends his days by cycling through the streets of New York to spot new and recurring trends, selecting which photos to keep (very few are actually published) and putting them together to write an article on whatever trend has caught his eye. His work is his life and his life is his work.

It was also interesting to hear his opinions circa the fashion industry as a whole and the glamour and glitter that this environment is drenched in. He is clearly fascinated by it, but at the same time he prefers to keep his distance from it. Cunningham successfully made a name of himself in the fashion world even though his persona doesn’t exactly match the dazzling, gleaming socialite image: an aged man, very reserved, living the humble life, who has been wearing the same cheap blue coat for several decades, and who simply doesn’t participate in the glittering fashion events and parties that he attends as a mere photographer, never a guest. As if he were staring through a looking glass, he observes but doesn’t touch, documents but doesn’t get involved. He wants to be invisible; which is what differentiates him from the aggressive paparazzi.

View this post on Instagram

👋 Bill! #hyperlapse #nyfw

A post shared by Lucky Magazine (@luckymagazine) on

I have definitely enjoyed watching this movie and found it to be quite the perfect start to this course. As a movie junkie myself I can hardly hide my excitement for the Film Club sessions we are going to be having on each Monday afternoon, and I look forward to finding inspiration as to how to integrate my love for movies and TV into my own visual communication concept.


links:
“Bill on Bill” – NYTimes.com
“Why Bill Cunningham is actually the most interesting person at Fashion Week” – Huffington Post

“Bill Cunningham New York” (2010) – IMDb

photo credits:
the sartorialist

from the beginning

As this is my first proper blog, I figured introductions are mandatory. So, hello! My name is Benedetta but most people here call me Betty – and by “here” I mean the UK, for, no, I am not from here. I was born and raised in Italy, more precisely in the North-East of the “Boot”, somewhere near Venice. I am not, however, completely new to Great Britain as I have visited every country in it except one (Northern Ireland, I’m looking at you). As a matter of fact, I even lived in South-East London for about 10 months back when I was 17, when I decided I would join that selected (but ever-growing) group of teenagers who are completely bonkers and move to a foreign country as exchange students. But that’s another story.

My dream since I was an early teen was to be an actress. I just completely fell in love with theatre and cinematography and for many years I simply could not see myself as being anything else, which lead to more than some discords with my family. When the time came for drama school auditions, however, I found myself unable to go through. This is when I decided to move to Vienna, where my boyfriend is currently studying, and take an extra year to think about myself and my future; thankfully, I managed that and more, as I was able to learn a new language from scratch (and one that I discovered I really enjoy – German) and put aside some money (which I subsequently proceeded to spend on a two-week backpacking trip to South-East Asia with said boyfriend – but, again! That is another story).

So, here am I, currently a first year student at Nottingham Trent University even though I am about to turn 21 (though it would be great if you didn’t remind me of that, thank you). I have to admit: fashion is a sector that never would I (and most people who know me) have thought I would be getting into. I’m afraid this is largely due to the stigma that surrounds the industry (something that I found myself face a lot ever since I accepted my offer at NTU), which tends to be painted as the industry of everything frivolous, materialistic and shallow. It is also because, growing up, I was never the stereotypical little girl who loves dolls and pink dresses, and I later found some of my main interests to lie within more intellectual areas ‒ such as philosophy, sociology, feminism and even science. I suppose I was always drawn towards the idea of being well-rounded as an individual, and I always struggled to stick to only one area, one activity, one project – constantly changing my mind, repeatedly reaching out for something new. Nevertheless, when my dreams of being a movie star were shattered and I started gloomily navigating through the UCAS website searching for a subject that could appeal to me, I knew only one thing: it had to be something creative. There just was no way around it. Whatever career path I would choose, it needed to be an environment where I have to create something. And so, FCP it was.

I feel like, compared to some of my course mates, I probably don’t have as much of a background in fashion or even just art and design, seeing as in Italy high schools don’t offer much choice on that (common A Level or BTEC subjects such as Textiles, Business, Media and Photography are non-existent in Italian schools), but I know I am a fast learner and I am confident that I will find my own way to interpret the tasks we will be assigned, and give them my own spin. I know my way around Photoshop and coding already, and have been toying around with drawing and photography for a few years, but of course all that has always only been on the side of my main studies. Therefore, I look forward to being part of a course with a much more overall creative focus than I’ve ever been used to, and I am excited (and frankly a little nervous) to measure myself and my creative skills against actual professionals.

So, that is all from me for now! Hopefully I didn’t bore you too much and if you decide to stick around, you’d be sure to make my day.

Over and out.