The issue I was discussing surrounded getting model release in the least annoying way. I started the day Googling for a model release plugin to simply install here on my WordPress site, and was stunned to find NONE! What I did find were multiple plugins that allow you to create embedded forms- and with some custom tweaks, including digital signature add ons- you ended up with a link you can send to people and they fill it out.
The trouble is that these ‘website form’ solutions are either $200 + per year (yes that’s not a typo) or the cheaper ones have terrible design and usability. This matters to me. I spent the whole morning into lunchtime looking for a solution where I could send a link to the subjects- and they take seconds filling it out- and then it gets sent to me as a PDF. In the end I opted to design my own model release as a PDF that’s stripped right back, and very clear with regards to what I’ll use the images for. I then hooked it up with an online service PDFfiller, that allows me to add interactive test input boxes, and a digital signature to sign it off. The only downside is that its an expensive service upto $40 per month. The good side is that the first month is free and only charges you if you continue past the first month.
I’ve spent two full days this week working out a method to release images simply, as well as personalising emails to invite each beekeeper to free up the images to use. Some would prefer a visit with paperwork I’m sure, so I’m catering to that too. The goal of this final project is to prove that I’ve done 450 hours of work, and trust me, that ain’t going to be a problem! I’ve been busy on this project from week one, and blogged about every portrait or hive visit. I’ve decided to made it into a A4 PDF book for submission, but also a perfect bound book that I will submit as part of hand in too. Physical is just better and I’m going to make a book like this for every major project moving forward for my own reference.
I have a couple of weeks to put it all together now, and I started the beekeeping book design today. Instantly I was faced with the reality that in an ideal world I would love to have the more personal portraits of Beekeepers suit-less juxtaposed to them suited up. But due to the seasonal reality of beekeeping, and time frame for hand-in, that is not likely to happen now, but definitely over the period of the next year. Beekeepers are very busy now too and up early- finishing late- and I don’t want to get in the way this side of the year. In one way it’s great to see the layout speak to me this way as I’m adding images to pages, but it also means I have to work a formula for the book based on the series of images I do have, that are mixed portraits and working at hives. Thankfully I have time. Thankfully I understand this part of the process.
I’ve been getting more and more into art books this year and recenlty of note is a book by Anne Noble “ConversātiōIn the company of bees”. It looks at the astounding practice of leading photographer Anne Noble, set against the issues of ecosystem collapse and climate change and examining what an artist can do in response. Its creative focus is on that most important insect, the European bee. Reminiscent of an artist book in its extensive visual content, its appeal is to a wide readership curious about art, ecology, science, literature and their intersections. It is not just a beautifully designed book, it also speaks to me! I’m feeling very similar to Anne, in that I’m falling for the bees, and their wonderful place within our environment. Simply watching their behaviour and colonies develop is so compelling. I’m positive next year that I’ll set up a hive so that I can spend more time observing bees and making more art surrounding them vs the keepers. I guess that’s what this book has highlighted to me that my work is ongoing and surrounds the people of beekeeping in Canterbury, rather than the bees themselves, and that’s OK. Yet, if I start Masters next year, It’s likely that I’ll continue with the focus on with bees and environment-and that in-between art and science place. I’m now inspired to add some close up abstract imagery into this current body of work. I’ve applied for some funding to continue Masters into 2022- so fingers crossed. The image below by the way is of Lisa, a student being taught by the wonderful Kevin Gate on 35mm that is not my preferred format- but it surprised me. I’ve also attached some images from Anne’s wonderful publication.