Student Blog: Capturing the Moment

In this edition of student blogs, Year 11 student Hope Evans discusses her passion for photography, her current exhibitions and YCIS Beijing’s Visual Arts Programme.
My name is Hope Evans. I’m 15 years old and I’m currently finishing my last year of IGCSE in year 11. I’m half Welsh, half Kenyan, but I’ve spent my life moving around the world from place to place and growing up in different cultures, with Chinese culture being one of them. As a child I grew up in Kenya, Oman, Tanzania, Doha, England and Shanghai before moving to Beijing. Photography itself is my hobby, but I also like to write in my spare time.


How did you first become interested in photography?
Photography is something that I’ve always been naturally drawn towards, so I can’t pinpoint a time where I was specifically interested in it. As a child, one of my Christmas presents was an iPod with a grainy, low-quality camera on it, and I assume that’s where my interest in picture taking began. My father has always been interested in photography, so growing up with someone who has that interest may have influenced me.


Who is your inspiration and how is it reflected in your work?
I am mostly inspired by one-off things that I come across in my daily life. While there isn’t a particular person that I look up to in terms of photography, I am extremely interested in Dziga Vertov, a Russian film-maker from the 1920’s. He made candid movies of shots as people went about their daily lives, using various types of layering and manipulation to create his scenes. His movie, Man with a Movie Camera, is my personal favourite and has inspired me in various artwork, my photography, and the concepts behind my photographs.


Has YCIS Beijing’s Visual Arts Programme given you the chance to develop your skills as a photographer?
I am currently finishing my IGCSE Art and Design course provided by Cambridge International Examinations. This course allows students to submit to 3 different portfolios: textiles, painting/drawing, and photography and graphic design. This course alone allows for a lot of individual exploration and experimentation in fields students are personally interested in. I am also aware the IB Visual Arts course allows for a lot of creative freedom to excel in one’s personal interests.


YCIS Beijing also previously provided an alternative photography class organised and run by the artist-in-residence, Ms Briel, on Saturdays. I have been privileged enough to have two extremely supportive and inspiring art teachers over my two years of IGCSE Art and Design. Mr Marc Smith, being the first to recognise my interest in photography, supported me through my first year of IGCSE Art and Design and continuously offered opportunities for me to improve, excel in, and practise photography. Ms Lindsay Geankoplis, my current Art and Design teacher and a photographer herself, has helped me take my photography further, introducing me to and helping me find new ways to edit, manipulate, and display my photographs. She has been extremely encouraging and inspiring in just the short time I have been in her class. I am extremely grateful for the opportunities created by the art teachers and given to students.

You currently have an exhibition at Alba Café. How did you get this opportunity?
During the summer of 2015, I had an internship with Chiara’s Coffee Table, a Beijing blog, and on that blog I wrote a piece on Alba Café which included some of my images of the café. The owner saw these images, and since I am a regular customer, she commented on my piece on the blog and offered me the opportunity to exhibit my photographs in the café. I’m extremely grateful to all those who work there, Chiara of Chiara’s Coffee Table, and the printer who made the displays for the exhibition.

Do you have any advice for your fellow students who wish to get into photography?
Art is about creating a piece portraying your personal thoughts, experiences, or a message. Each piece’s concept is open to interpretation by each person who sees it, but the strongest connection, I believe, must be between the artist and their work. I think what someone takes away from the art is a lot more important that the art itself, at least for my own work. My advice would be to find something that you have a personal connection with, or something you believe is an important message to be heard, and go from there. Everything after that point will come naturally.

You can see Hope’s photography exhibition at the Alba Café from now until the end of April 2016. To read more student blogs written by Yew Chung International School of Beijing Secondary School Students, please click here.

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