Each year as part of Graduate Photography Online we ask a number of professionals from the world of photography to review all the work submitted and choose their favourites. We chat to Gina Turner, Photo Editor at Bloomberg and Selector for the MA/MFA phase of Graduate Photography Online 2021.
Tell us about your job? What does your core role at Bloomberg involve?
As photo editor at Bloomberg, I am responsible as part of the team for ensuring our rolling news stories on both platforms - terminal and web - are illustrated with strong, relevant and meaningful up to date photography, with appropriate, accurate captions. An integral part of the job involves having a good understanding of legal issues, including copyright. We commission photography globally and one of my areas of responsibility is Greece. I also feed back to our team with ideas for more commissions, depending on photography needed for our archive.
How did you make your way into the career you're now in? Did you always want to work in a field that involved photography?
I started out studying languages, but always had an interest in art. I left my job and studied on a foundation course where I rediscovered my love of photography from childhood, and found I had an aptitude. I went on to study at Brighton University on their excellent BA (Hons) Editorial Photography course. After graduating, I did the rounds calling up all the people/publications I was interested in working for following up with portfolio viewings etc. It just so happened that one editor was also looking for someone to work on the desk, and I worked for Sunday Telegraph Review section on the desk and as photographer for 8 productive years before moving on.
How do you decide on what makes an interesting photograph or photographic project?
Content - meaning composition, light and use of colour (or lack of). An image/set of images needs to intrigue me and to draw the viewer in, to want to know more. Ask yourself why should I, the viewer, care? Remember, thinking is the first stage of good image making.
As regards the photographer's statement, what are the most important things for you to know about the work? When it comes to showing their work outside of University, have you any tips on how graduates should prepare their work and the supporting material that accompanies it?
A strong portfolio, preferably viewable on a clear website, is a great asset. Think quality over quantity in order to make the desired impact. Any relevant background information about the work is helpful and a bit of background information about yourself - what makes you tick? What are your strengths?
In your view, aside from specifically technical skills, what are the kind of qualities that completing a degree course in photography should endow an individual with?
Students completing a degree course in photography should have acquired a critical, general knowledge about the world, as well as being resourceful and possessing perseverance. Be curious and continue learning and developing your own style as well as trying new things. Getting out of your comfort zone from time to time will help you develop and grow.
What are the particular challenges you see facing graduates from photography degree courses as they make their way into the world at this particular point in time?
One of the main challenges I think is the question of how to make yourself stand out in a world saturated with photos/imagery? We are all inundated with visual images and photography, yet it is still possible to stand out from the crowd in a positive way.
What advice would you have for someone interested in working in your area of photography?
Be persistent, but helpful. Unfortunately, many photo editors in news no longer have time to spend looking over portfolios with photographers. A brief email with website details, followed up by a friendly phone call. Always do your research - there's nothing more annoying than someone calling you, wanting work, who hasn't even bothered to find out anything about the publication you work for. Editors need to be able to trust you - As well as being creative, you need to be seen as capable and reliable. Remember, photo editors are taking a risk when they commission a new photographer. Reflect upon the jobs you do, and ask for feedback - which should be constructive and help you constantly improve. I love working with photographers who work with you to get the images you want and more. Our best photographers always go that extra mile ensuring they get not only what you asked for, but that something extra. Never lose that creativity - work to the brief and give something more.