Back to Teaching!

By Jo Bradley / 3 Mar / News

Since February 2019 I have been a judge and panel member with the Guild of Photographers.  As well as judging the Image of the Month competition this also involves mentoring other photographers and helping them to create a panel of images for various qualification levels.  The Guild of Photographers has 3 different qualification levels; Qualified, Craftsman and Master Craftsman.  After months of work, my first mentee went for her Craftsman qualification last week.  A Craftsman panel is 20 printed images presented to a panel of 5 judges with a theme that ties them all together.

Tina is a volunteer for Remember My Baby, a UK based registered charity which offers a gift of baby remembrance photography to UK parents experiencing the loss of their baby before, during or shortly after birth.  Tina came to me with an idea for a panel that would celebrate babies that are born after a loss, the Rainbow Babies.  The joy that parents feel with the arrival of a healthy baby after a loss is often delayed beyond the newborn stage so she wanted her panel to include both older babies that could sit up as well as newborns.

I loved Tina’s vision for the panel, a newborn and a sitter on a different colour of the rainbow.  I knew it would be a stunning panel printed – we just had to get all of the technical details right.  The months that followed saw the gradual building up of the panel with images slowly being included as they were photographed and edited.  From creating my own panel I knew this would be a challenging process, pushing her skills as a photographer to produce 20 stunning photographs that represented her vision.  Tina worked so hard and took everything on board, continuously pushing herself to learn new things and raise the level of her photographs.  There were frustrations and set-backs but also a growing sense of confidence and determination.  The last 2 weeks saw the final push and to gather together the prints, product and for Tina to prepare her presentation.  We were both feeling the nerves but now it was out of our hands, we had done everything we could.

On The 19th February I travelled up to Guild head quarters for judging.  There were 6 other panels being judged that day, I would be part of the judging for these but as Tina’s mentor I would not be able to judge her panel. Her slot was at 11.15 but there were several panels before this and I could feel the nerves building.  11am came and I met Tina downstairs and helped her to set up the room for the judges.  This was the first time I had seen the panel printed and I was so worried, but I didn’t need to be, it was absolutely beautiful!

Tina’s presentation to the judges was emotional, her story as a RMB volunteer and how the panel was dedicated to the 51 babies she has met through RMB. But ultimately it would be the images that would be judged and we just had to wait and see how the judges would react. After a nervous wait Tina was told the amazing news that not only had her panel passed but it had been upgraded to Master Craftsman, the highest qualification with the guild.  There were tears all round, what an incredible experience and certainly a day that neither of us will forget for a long time.  I am so incredibly proud of her and feel so honoured to have played a small part in this truly inspiring and memorable panel.

I have really loved getting back to teaching again this year.  I’ve had some great mentors along my photography journey and it feels amazing to be able to be able to pay this back and help and inspire others to achieve their goals.

For more information on 1-2-1 training and mentoring visit www.jobradley.co.uk/training web2 web3

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