How time flies! We can’t believe that a year has passed already since Matthew and Kevin joined the team as Printing and finishing apprentices here at Genesis.
As part of our commitment to the new generation of creative individuals, we made the decision to take on two apprentices last year to work in rotation between our printing and finishing departments; allowing each a thorough yet varied insight into professional photographic printing, mounting and finishing. In this last year, Kevin and Matthew have got to grips with everything from retouching and loading the Lambda, right through to producing Perspex face mounts and framing.
We caught up with each to find out their highlights, advice to other apprentices, and to see what the biggest challenge to overcome during the last year here has been. Here’s what they said…
How would you sum up the last year, in three words?
Matthew: Fun, challenging, ever-changing… Wait that’s four… (We’ll let you off Matt!)
Kevin: Interesting, informative and definitely busy!
What has been your personal highlight of your first year (here at Genesis)?
Matthew: Surviving an entire year here – only joking! It’s got to be seeing work through from beginning to end and all of the talented photographers and artists that come through the door; it’s a very inspiring place to work.
Kevin: The first week – just experiencing how everything works and getting the opportunity to get stuck in!
Which department – printing or finishing – have you enjoyed working in the most?
Matthew: That’s a tough one. If I was pushed for an answer, I’d say my time in the printing department has been my favourite, although working in the finishing department can be really satisfying as it’s really great to see a finished piece come together from a whole host of ideas. Some of the things I’ve seen have really pushed the boundaries – in the last year I’ve seen prints produced on metal, doors, even concrete!
Working in the printing department has also taught me a lot of skills that will really enrich my work as a photographer – I’ve learnt a lot already.
Kevin: The wide variety of jobs and tasks in the Printing department make this area my favourite to work in and the one that I’ve enjoyed a little more (sorry, finishing department!) – I must add that both areas have their pro’s and con’s and I’ve enjoyed both in different ways.
And what would you say is your favorite aspect of your role here?
Matthew: Definitely having the opportunity to talk to, and to work on, some incredible photographer’s and artist’s work.
Kevin: The fact that I feel like an integral part of the well-oiled printing and finishing machine that is Genesis Imaging – it’s really important for me to feel valued and I certainly feel like a part of the team here, even in just a year.
Whose work have you enjoyed seeing or working on the most?
Matthew: I said it right at the beginning (In the blog written just one month into my apprenticeship), David Yarrow’s work – it’s still very much an inspiration to me and it has been a real privilege to work alongside it.
My favorite piece is titled ‘Mankind’ and is from David’s latest collection, I really admire the piece not only because of its impressive size (‘Mankind’ measures a staggering 1.5 x 3m framed) but also because of the incredible detail and – like all of David’s work – the emotion that it evokes.
Kevin: Similarly, I’d definitely say that David Yarrow’s work is a favourite; his images are so immersive and captivating and I really admire his style of photography.
And is there anything that you haven’t enjoyed so much?
Matthew: Anything that involves heavy lifting, but I do know you’ve got to do things you don’t enjoy sometimes – I guess I’ve had to man up.
Kevin: The quantity of sub-frames that I’ve worked on – there have been times where it felt as if the job would never end.
What do you wish that you’d have known when you started at Genesis?
Matthew: Nothing, it’s been full of surprises and that’s something I’ve really enjoyed.
Kevin: Similarly, nothing – I see the apprenticeship as a learning experience and everything I’ve experienced here has taught me something.
What has been the biggest challenge for you here (in the last year)?
Matthew: Keeping up with the constant workflow… It never stops! There’s no time to stand still here, which I really like, but it’s been a challenge at times to keep up. It’s hard to imagine how much work goes through the building, perhaps this could have been ‘something I wish I’d have known’, but I prefer to get stuck in and learn that way.
Kevin: Fitting all of the work I have to do here into the working day – there’s just so much going on here and it took a bit of time (and practice) to get my head around it all! I’ve learnt a lot of valuable lessons on managing my time and I think I’m doing quite well now.
Is there anything that has surprised you (in the last year)?
Matthew: How well I’ve settled in and how much I now feel a part of the team here at Genesis.
Kevin: The sheer quantity of work in the building – it still takes me by surprise.
What advice would you give anyone thinking of applying for a similar apprenticeship?
Matthew: It’s not easy – but it’s very rewarding.
Kevin: Go into it with a positive attitude and always try your hardest.
What are you looking forward to most for the future?
Matthew: Success; I’m very driven.
Kevin: Continuing my career with a job in the same field, or very similar. I’ve enjoyed every moment here and it’s definitely reaffirmed in my mind that this is a field that I want to be involved in.
And how would you sum up Genesis Imaging in three words?
Matthew: Devoted, passionate – but above all, friendly.
Kevin: Experienced, knowledgeable and busy!