10th February 2020
Old Witleian Yeshen Venema (Grafton 1998) returned to school on Saturday 8th February to talk about the career he has carved out for himself in product photography and to share his expertise in a practical workshop for Upper School art pupils.
Yeshen, who owns his own studio in London, specialises in supporting individual crafts people and small businesses in design trades such as ceramics, textiles and glass by producing beautiful photographs of their products for the internet.
Munir Sharif, Upper Sixth pupil writes:
“Last Saturday, photographer, entrepreneur and Old Witleian Yeshen Venema visited the School and held a two-hour workshop and talk. He spoke to us about the development of his career, beginning with his departure from King Edward’s and then explained, in chronology, the significant stages in his career. Being a free-lance photographer, Yeshen also spoke to us about how he works with his clients and displayed some of the work he has done for them.
Following the talk, he carried out an interactive workshop where he showed us how he works in his home studio. This allowed all of us to understand the technicalities that a career in photography entails, as well as teaching the professional methods of photographing our work.
After demonstrating this process, Yeshen encouraged the student to get involved and try it for ourselves enabling us to gather high quality images of our own work.”
Recognising that ‘careers don’t go in straight lines any more’ Yeshen gave pupils a frank account of his experiences trying to gain a foothold in the London arts arena: fighting the cost and insecurities of renting in the capital, having to carry all your equipment on your back and in taxis every day, and trying to keep up with, and capitalise, on the fast growing and competitive nature of a career in art and design and free-lance self employment.
As part of the Workshop, Yeshen invited pupils to take up his #oneproduct5ways challenge – to photograph the same item in five different ways taking account of background, colours, positioning, lighting and textures, and gave them invaluable tips, techniques, and tricks to create beautiful photographs.
Two of Yeshen’s key messages struck a real chord as relevant to all careers – not just to those pupils contemplating the creative arts. “Say yes in order to make the best of all opportunities as they come your way”, and secondly “network wherever you can to develop relationships and help people understand what you can offer and vice versa”.
Everyone found this a really inspiring and useful workshop from a talented Old Witleian. We look forward to working with Yeshen again in the future and are very grateful to him for giving us such an interesting and enlightening morning.
To learn more about Yeshen’s work, and to see examples of his photography, visit his website at www.yeshen.uk.