I have just completed a week of work experience for a large well known photographic studio in London. This was part of our ‘client brief’ set by the uni where we will eventually get assessed on our performance and presentation we give to our tutors. It was most certainly not what I had expected because I was there from 8-6 everyday just doing general tasks like cleaning and looking after the clients of the studio I was allocated that day. Tasks such as bringing out breakfast and lunch were on the list of jobs. But it wasn’t all about getting my hands dirty! Over the week I spoke to various people who work there including the studio assistants who, if not assisting the photographer, are doing odd jobs to keep the place running. Why are they spending their time working here then? Well, because over the years the same clients will return and faces start to become familiar so possible assisting jobs can arise…
I had 10 hour days, but this was nothing compared to the other assistants who sometimes worked well into the night, after starting at 6am or earlier! I admired their strength and charisma. Over the week we had many fashion photographers who were on commission to shoot hair or clothing adverts for companies like House of Fraser and Harrods. We also had BT shooting an ad which featured a few famous footballers and rugby players.
As well as speaking to people in the team, I made contact with some of the clients, just in idle chat I spoke to a few assistants of the photographer and even a fashion photographer. We discussed the industry and prior education. It was eye-opening to see how they had started and, most importantly, what they did after leaving university.
All in all it was a good experience and it really immersed me into the commercial side of photography (mainly fashion) and how tough it is to even become an assistant to a photographer.