Clive Copeman
Publish Date: Tuesday, 6 October 2020
Clive Copeman

New Zealand Diploma in Photography (Level 5) facilitator

#SIT2LRN #SITuation #Photography #Facilitator

Clive has been a photography facilitator from the very beginning after being shoulder tapped by the team shortly after the programme's development.

His road to photography has been a story in itself, with much of his early photography focusing on immune cells and rat autopsies for his MSc thesis.

“After some years writing and directing TV, I had strong story muscles and occasionally lectured in story structure to the University of Otago natural history filmmaking course, but I still felt weak in the visual department and, to be honest, never really enjoyed directing,” he said.

“Shooting production stills while working on location was always an unwelcome burden. So, while I was between contracts, I bought a DSLR and went about teaching myself the art and science of photography, particularly concentrating on lighting."

“I enjoyed telling stories in a single frame so much that I gave up TV to pursue still photography. Lately I've been coming back to TV and video and it's a lot more fun now I know what images I want to make. I've got a music video awaiting release and am working on a TV documentary with long-time collaborator Dr Paul Trotman on Covid-19 and how it has affected medics around the world."

Through his facilitation role with the New Zealand Diploma in Photography (Level 5) programme, Clive provides guidance and feedback to a diverse range of aspiring photographers.

Clive notes a wider range of experience in the students. Some having already developed distinctive styles, others what he refers to as “intuitive hobbyists” looking to develop their technical capability, while many are new to both photography and online learning. All are met with Clive’s enthusiastic support and encouragement.

“I try hard to give everyone clear feedback on their efforts and effective ways to make progress with their photography. A lot of my job involves just being kind and understanding to my students.”

Clive believes there is no ‘secret’ to great photography. “Greatness takes time and deliberate effort just like in every other field. But I think my favourite photographers are the ones who are also able to listen and understand what their subconscious minds tell them, and then apply their technical and problem-solving skills.”

Ask Clive what his favourite experience behind a lens has been and he finds it hard to narrow down an answer. “Working as a photo guide on a big southern tourist promotion was fun; shooting great whites while cage diving on Stewart Island was mind- blowing; having an exhibition of some of my creative work with other pro photographers was pretty satisfying and shooting stills on my Covid documentary project is ... sobering.”

When asked about what makes a good teacher, Clive muses that, to him, “the best teachers are good storytellers.” He counts himself as lucky that he loves doing both.