I have spent several days over the last year photographing children as their favourite emojis. It has been a fun and colourful project, but if you're wondering why and what led me to this, please read on below...
The Guild of Photographers is a professional association for individuals committed to the art of photography. As well as a being a registered member committed to their code of conduct, you can also have your work assessed to gain levels of qualification: Qualified, Craftsman and Master Craftsman.
I have been a registered member of the Guild since 2014, and Qualified in 2015. It's a big step from Qualified status to Craftsman. As the Guild explains:
"'To attain the level of 'Craftsman', we add an increasing level of professional critique to evaluate our members work. In other words we get increasingly 'fussy' and look in detail at all the elements of photographic understanding. Those that achieve this accolade have demonstrated the finest technical skills and an exceptional creative and artistic 'eye'."
In fact, only about 60 people hold the distinction of Craftsman. To qualify as a Craftsman, you must submit a panel of 20 images that tell a story, have impact and demonstrate excellent technical skills, as well as working well together as a set. Which leads me onto emojis...
Those of you who follow my work will know that my style is bright, colourful and emotive. I wanted to demonstrate this in my panel, particularly how I love to capture moments of emotion.
If you have pre-teen children, do you ever feel like they're living in a different world? They grow up with technology all around them, such a different childhood to the one that those of us in our late 30s and 40s will have experienced! Sometimes it feels like they're speaking a different language.
During my research I found that there are more than 2,600 official emoji, and on Facebook Messenger alone more than 5 billion emoji are sent each day. Of these, 900 million are sent without accompanying text - it is a universal visual language that transcends national barriers, but not always trascending age barriers!
Visually, I found emoji to be colourful and a great source of inspiration for the children's expressions - we discussed their favourite emojis (although many of them wanted to do the poo emoji, which didn't really fit the aesthetic of my project!) and had lots of fun making lots of faces.
Yesterday, I did the six-hour round trip up to the Guild HQ in Stoke-on-Trent to present my panel of twenty mounted prints, USB of digital images, photo album and three acrylic desk blocks. These were scrutinised by the judges, whilst I was a shaking mess of nerves, but I am delighted to say that I passed... and I am now a Craftsman of the Guild of Professional Photographers.