The University of Arts London (AKA: UAL), came to my college recently and spoke to a group of Fine Art and Photography (me) students. p
-And I hate them! Why? Because they have completely destroyed the (almost) serene calm and (nearly) perfect balance I had created in my life!
And now they’ve left me to stress and sob over whatever remains left of it.
Allow me to explain…
Prior to now, I had not planned to go Uni; unless it was to study psychology. However, upon studying AS psychology I quickly came to learn that this subject just wasn’t for me. Although I love connecting with, analysing and understanding people and the way their mind and behaviour works, psychology requires too much memorisation and not enough of the expression, creativity and freedom I yearn for. To be frank, I already had a hunch psychology wasn’t for me, there are seldom subjects that I thoroughly ever enjoyed: Media which I studied at GCSE level, and Photography which I excelled at within my Fine Art GCSE and continue to display a passion for right now as I study it as a single subject at A-Level.
Since Psychology was no longer a contender, Uni ceased to be an option for me any long. I mean, I didn’t know what else I would study. I didn’t see the point in studying ‘Useless’ subjects like art and film. because getting a degree in them doesn’t entail securing a career involving them. More than that, they aren’t viewed as very respectable subjects. Especially Photography. Most people believe that if you point a camera and take a pretty picture you’re officially classified as a photographer – Which in this day and age is pretty standard – annoyingly.
So my plans for post-college were merely to get experience and simply get a job and work my ass off; probably via an apprenticeship. Simple enough.
But No. UAL had to come and ruin that for me. They had to come and make me question everything. Seeing their facilities and all these images of dedicated students struck a chord with me. It Inspired Me. I mean it was absurd that there was even a whole University – let alone the largest one in Europe – dedicated to ‘Useless’ subjects. It was insane. They were so serious and enthusiastic about it, about ‘Useless’ subjects. Did they even realise how ‘Useless’ what they were teaching was? Did I even realise how beautiful it was, to see people care so much about what I love? – Probably not, at least not consciously; not even when I signed up for their spring school.
Not even when I happened to stumble across one of their sites in London today while on my very own photography shoot. (I wonder now, if it were some sort of sign?)
To be honest, I think it only internalised when I found myself aimlessly exploring their website. Seeing the amazing photography work their students created… and I sat there thinking:
This is what I want to do with my life…
Photography – not the take a camera and capture some random aesthetics shit, that you and I, and the whole contemporary world, knows it as. No, I want to invest myself into a photography where I take powerful, meaningful, introspective images: ones that tell stories and depict lives that we would never otherwise understand or imagine; with beautiful and haunting abstract images. This is what I’ve always wanted to do.
Between you and me, I, like many others am a victim of Sexual abuse. And despite finally accepting and overcoming it (after many, many, many years), I had decided in my head that I was going to conquer it completely some day… using photography. In my head I knew that in the future, using a camera and a great deal of work, I was going to embark on an emotionally-challenging project about sexual abuse and past traumas. Somehow I was going to attempt to illustrate what kind of devastating effects it has and unravel the stories of many victims like me via images. And this would not only be my way of growing past it, but also my message to the world. However little the audience may be, someone would have seen my work and taken something, anything, from it. This is what I wanted.
And I decided this back when I did the photography segment of my art work… which was based around identity. At the time, it was too vast a subject to even bring up in the rather juvenile GCSE setting. So I kept it in mind.
And have ever since.
So I suppose, photography has been a deep ambition of mine for a long time now. And seeing the work of the UAL students resurfaced this spark in me. I crave the opportunities it offers me.
Yet my biggest problem remains:
The tuition fees for a subject that is viewed as ‘Useless’
It’d be one thing if I simply studied a subject that no one cares about. It’s another thing entirely, to pay to study a subject that no one cares about. My family are so sceptical of pursuing the creative arts and fear that it will get me nowhere. Honestly, I fear the same too. But then to pay for a subject that may not assist me in life at all; it’s like buying a million dollar vintage vase and then placing it in storage for eternity. A complete waste.
However, recently I visited the William Morris Gallery near my college. To my surprised, what hit me more than the pretty things on display dedicated to this man, was William Morris himself. From the gallery I learned of man who was brought up in wealthy environment, expected to pursue a secure practise for his future. Instead, he defied all odds and chased the arts instead, becoming a successful artist, interior designer and so much more. The more I read about him, the more my heart sobbed and my appreciation for all that is beautiful in art transpired.
When I first debated about attending UAL, William Morris did come to mind. My heart told me to have the same courage he did and do as he did. But my mind warned me that he and I are not the same and I am not born of wealth like he was.
Thus the dilemma still remains and I feel a huge sadness burden my heart.
I’ve suddenly realised how poetic my writing has become, I don’t know what’s happening. I guess this is where I end this post because I honestly have no idea how to end it. I just felt I needed to digest and get all this off my chest.
So I’ll just leave you with something William Morris said that was rather quite beautiful: