Abstract Photography

From a taught session on photographers who practice abstract photography. A practical interlude took place. This post serves simply as a reminder of a day’s education.

There was a lot to do with names in photography with examples of their work or their book publication was mentioned.

Albert Dros – abstract landscape

Michel Kenna – long exposure landscape

William Egglestone – Egglestone’s Guide

Aaron Siskind

Minor White

Cig Harvey

Edwards Weston – Day books of Edward Weston

Eric Meala

Practical session images

Jocelyn Lee

Man Ray

Thomas Ruff – Transforming Photography

Wolfgang Tillmans – Tillmans 2017

Valerie Belin – Pris Pictet

Daido Moriyama

Previous attendee Stan Farrow FRPS had his fellowship panel shown ‘Graffitti’

Charlotte Cotton

Example images made during the practical session:

Introduction to Photographic Histories 29/6/2020 to 27/7/2020

Run by the Photographers Gallery over 5 Monday evenings this overlapped and gave a different slant to learning on the MA and was an opportunity to refresh knowledge gained.

Week 1: Origin stories of photography

Week 2: Blurred lines, clear visions: Movements of 20thC photography and their legacies

Week 3: Portraiture and Identity

Week 4: Beyond Evidence: Documentary photography

Week 5: Expanded photographic practices

Source 2020 Graduate Show

Source provides wider industry exposure of graduate work. My Falmouth University MA Photography project ”Past-Present a mythology of time” is being submitted.

My submission is made in the STAGED/CONSTRUCTED category.

Commemorative work Past Present ends a century of silence held in sadness for ancestors who were repeatedly wounded in battle, and were never to return home from war. In this work, present day images of healing are transformed into visualisations of place. Human connection is amplified as memory is created from a biology shared. As art inspired by cutting edge science, work has been made for individuals bound by the mother line gene. Bonds that were missing, now begin to form. Pictures shown are a selection from an artist’s book, that also includes poetry and prose with these and vernacular images from a family’s past. The book was originally created as part of a Falmouth Flexible MA Photography programme.

The digital version of the artist’s book is located at https://issuu.com/turnerphotoart/docs/past-present_a_mythology_of_time_a4_book_200428

Eight images submitted.

Landings 2020 Metamorphosis

I was pleased to engage in Landings again this year. A portfolio link was provided to www.landings.space. My work can be found under my name Michael Turner by scrolling down the list of 63 participants.

A short-cut is to click directly on the portfolio website link https://www.michaelmturnerphotography.com/fmppastprsentpre-edit

The opening party was on the evening of Monday 27 July 2020 where a series of interviews were conducted on Instagram using Live Video.

Unfortunately I was engaged with The Photographers Gallery in a mock judging of this years Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2020.

The four artists shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2020 are:

Mohamed Bourouissa;

Anton Kusters;

Mark Neville and

Clare Strand.

Post MA

Having steered a wide berth on so-called “Doom scrolling”, interest returned to photography. Photographic activity recommenced.

Given the surprise that studying a visual art resulted in a reawakening of enthusiasm for reading, then it should be no surprise to have gone out and sought a course on the history of photography with the attendant reading. This has been one of my first actions.

Two years was the extended period spent engaging in postgraduate reading extended to art history and the theory of photography as applied to my chosen practice. The Informing Contexts module led by Dr S. I enjoyed so much.

So what am I up to here? A five week course with The Photographers Gallery on an Introduction to Photographic Histories is what. Seeing the subject taught in a different way allied with what I’d already learnt has been the important thing.

There is a bit more bias towards arts with an engagement in social and political issues to a much grater degree. This is not so much in the weekly presentations as the texts we are given to read. So issues of gender, and race and world events. Quite informative really.

Does it have an effect on what I did during FMP, well to be honest yes. My understanding for example of Modernism and the Surreal has expanded wider to Pictorialism and Modernism bridged by Surrealist art. Note there is a difference between Surrealism and the term Surrealist, the former being uncanny say, the latter being more politically driven. It is a fine point but one worth registering and an aid to my ongoing development.

And in Practice? It would be great to make Surrealist art.

So how about casting wider to genres that were not fully developed. Well that has been another progression. In terms of Landscape I did two things during the MA, I photographed place in figurative or perspective form then inspired by this moved on to completely abstract place.

This was a great confirmation of Landscape being more than the sublime or picturesque. It became a place of shared experience separated by a whole century. That was fundamental to my work alongside the genetic tracing of mtDNA – the glow that can be photographed as lens based photography that links to the biology that transcends time.

Now I revisit Landscape but as a Fine Art. In particular developing the need to slow right down and get the exact image intended in the circumstances of tide and weather despite rigorous planning. And then to process the image to create such drama and feeling of perspective as three dimensions are represented on a flat “canvas”. As the expression goes “I need to get out more” and capture some images to work on diligently in post. For me post has is a draw.

Anything else, well yes. Books, I’ve returned to learn more about making. The person who taught me bookbinding or at least covering laid on another course on the print side and double-sided paper selection and other means of crafting a physical work.,

I learned by trial and found for example the double colour correction issue and solved it during FMP delivery. I do all my own printing and print mounting. What it was, was for the Surfaces and Strategies summer task or the Ed Ruscha task I had the colour issue which was maybe okay for a book dummy but certainly not for a FMP final version. Although this aspect of the craft is not taught I did learn quickly through practice through some very detailed research. Now I have it all happily under control as far as paper goes. Chalk that up to experience. When something worked and was stuck to fine but change one of the print elements, ink, paper or print workflow and it can go horribly wrong, but that is in the past.

I’ve got a post MA plan. It is good to have created a plan, especially in light of the drift that will ensue without one. In this plan it is quite exciting as there is more book making and I’d like to expand the presentation methods for my work. If nothing else it is refreshing or indeed motivating.

So why sign up to further bouts of learning? because that is what has been allowed to happen. Well, I discovered a course that is intended to help produce an RPS Associate panel submission. But is that necessary as the MA has led to ARPS by Exemption already. What it is, is the specific course takes a more technical view of digital camerawork than was appropriate to the MA. Having done much on this elsewhere, I feel first that it is good to consolidate learning as it can only increase technical quality. I was right on the edge during most of the MA on this due to subject scale for example. The other hope is to distinguish the genres of submission for RPS distinctions and at the present level casts thought towards the Fellowship distinction. Maybe it is early and I’m not ready but unless you know the way to success how could fellowship ever follow? other than by chance.

PHO705: MA Photography Award

I’m pleased today 1 June 2020 to record my having been awarded the Falmouth University degree Master of Arts Photography with Merit.

I joined the Positions and Practice Module run by the Course Leader on 4 June 2018 and now 2 years later I’ve satisfactorily completed all of the modules and have finished the course.

I thank everyone for contributing to the learning experience and for providing critique for what became an unusual abstract surreal practice which I have thoroughly enjoyed developing.

In the second block of the Final Major Project, I took my work public as a book and have an exhibition pending release from lockdown hopefully later in 2020.

As I closed in on hand in I began a number of short courses to consolidate and extend the research done during the MA Photography course. Hand in took priority, and afterward I took a few weeks rest.

I’ve since returned to these genetics courses. My “research interest” was in human biology and in particular the power cells or mitochondria. I’ve now spread the net wider to learn more of evolutionary biology while gaining access to databases of DNA data including my own genome with a view to creating images related to cutting edge science.

PHO705: Post FMP Activity

The purpose of these Post FMP Photography blog posts is to do with keeping up the momentum.

Actions

Some items needed packing away.

Privacy

For example, given the nature of the project of photographing wounds or minor trauma and the undertaking to keep identity private and especially with the medical-style implications there was something more to do there.

Photo Vault as the selected method has been used to secure access to the work. This way there is no possibility of showcasing the raw work by accident, for example, if showcasing other work.

FMP Peer to Peer Meetings

With another post-grad, (Vincent you know who) we’ve rounded up a group that is interested in the meetings – not everyone is for various reasons of choice. We’ve probably grown and sustained the Cros FMP Group due to the need to remain connected during a COVID-19 lockdown.

The photographers are all a beautifully creative bunch and are intent on doing well. Although my Forth cohort is moving on two of us have been invited to continue attending these Peer to Peer meetings. Future meetings had already been scheduled. There is a core of photographers we met from our carousel modules. Two cohorts forward of us have effectively moved on but can still be involved. The two cohorts that have followed us into FMP are more closely associated for now. 

A New Job

I have a new prospect as a proofreader that was discussed with a journal editor a month or so back. It is time to report back and see if my volunteering will be taken up. I’m as good as the next person at leaving a trail of typos, particularly when time-pressured but am highly tuned into spotting others’ errors.

Ideas

Some things are at the idea stage.

Instagram Story

I’ll post a story on Instagram. This will require learning some skills in Adobe AfterEffects. I was going to sign up with Suzannah on the Falmouth courses but my selections of choice were popular and oversubscribed. I have my own fallback position so no problem. You have to ask why do a story? The answer is in parts:

  • close off the build-up of publicity that had led up to the postponed exhibition. That’s just for completeness.
  • announce my impending freedom to reconnect with the photographic communities I was so immersed in until starting the MA studies. I’d rather be confident in knowing my outcome before this step.
  • the post lockdown promotion of the postponed exhibition

Photo Art Website

This is work in progress and will require finishing.

Ongoing Blog

Blogging has become a way of life this past two years and for me has been a successful development as a great deal of experience was gained. What by chance worked in my cohort was the future scheduling of posts based on the FMP week by week structure of Block 1 and 2. Each post became due and dropped into view and spurred me into action if I’d not already blogged in advance.

As long as there is something to say this blog should continue. I feel this would be better than letting the newfound ability wither with time.

Remaking and making books

I want to take my FMP Book to a more commercial level of offering that can be distributed. I also plan to expand the book practice to some other topics. In the queue I have:

  • The Cosh Brothers – the story of our lives. Illustrate, print and make.
  • Ed Ruscha challenge – Book 1 Padlocks. Re-print and hand bind
  • Ed Ruscha challenge – Book 2 Chains. Print and hand bind
  • Ed Ruscha challenge – Book 3 Phone Entry Systems Print and hand bind

Having finally learned a critical amount of the capabilities of Adobe InDesign, given this is was the third involvement since September 2018, I’d like to keep up this skill. There is the possibility with more practice to expand into an Adobe qualification.

PHO705: A Reflection on Colour Correction

Colour correction suddenly became important as printing, which had been going swimmingly well, went wrong overnight a week before the 1 May 2020 hand in. I mentioned elsewhere the saying “leave yourself enough time for contingencies”. Well the contingency was needed as I had to allow time to recalibrate the system and sort out a technical printing issue. Gladly these issues were fixed.

A Year Later at April 2021

A year on and this subject unexpectedly crawled to a conclusion: Talking to print consultants at the highly recommended A2i expressions group it was clear that instead of making all of my own ICC profiles with the Datacolor SpyderPrint I should sort out access to the extensive range of paper manufacturers profiles. On a mac computer these were a) never installed fully and never even identified b) were in a hidden Library c) wrapped up as a package and so very much not present. I discovered the packages in an Epson Library folder, opened them (there were four) and copied each list of ICC profiles to the system colorsync folder. I’d like to think this was all an act of genius but in fact the issue was described and solved in an Adobe support article from 2018. This is what came to the rescue:

https://community.adobe.com/t5/color-management/printer-profiles-missing-for-epson-sc-p800/m-p/10870908#M3033

Immediately I had all of the Epson paper options available in Lightroom and Photoshop and in fact I’m now softproofing in both apps and doing screen and paper simulations in Photoshop and very encouragingly my eye can detect the nuances of colour correction which before was done by hard proofing.

A further wrinkle in the Epson printer driver setup was found on reverting to Lightroom Advanced B&W where only a limited generic set of paper profiles was present. I thought this had all been sorted out but no. It turns out there is a known problem where Apple default network connection to the printer via Airport protocol. This prevents the full Epson driver from working and hence the limited selection of generic paper types.

The solution is to start afresh by removing the printer from Apple settings and instal it twice – yes twice. First time the system enforces an Airport protocol. On the second attempt it is realised by the system that there is an identical printer already installed and is coughs up the option to have the second instance as an Epson driver.

Here is the explanation: https://www.redrivercatalog.com/infocenter/tips/how-to-fix-missing-paper-media-type-selection-OSX.html

When someone commented to me the problem was my fault for not installing the printer the truth was I hadn’t installed the printer twice. Who would have thought such defective logic would be hidden from the owner of a new printer?

So Case Closed?

When printing had been going so well with review test prints, or in fact, any prints then why overnight a green cast appeared and wouldn’t go away.

There is a little tale to hear. The system, of course, had been calibrated at regular intervals, both screen and print. Monthly updates on screen and a really deep 9-page colour swatch check on the printer a while back.

The regular intervention meant recalibration was only a small chore but then nothing ever changed. The images always looked their best on the system and on the choice of my regular choice of paper.

Almost imperceptibly the recalibration reminders fell silent. But this was a result of the computer OS being upgraded to 64 bit somewhere along the line. The Spyder software simply faded away and stopped working and almost consigned to the bin.

A bit of begrudged time was needed to backtrack over emails to uncover the software suppliers policy followed by some checking on their website. The whole set of equipment was obsolete overnight except I was pleased to discover that the Spyder5 and associated SpyderPrint scanner were the oldest gear to remain in support.

Next followed some tracking down to find the 64-bit drivers on the datacolor website. Never an easy task but they were eventually found. Before locating the drivers in the support area there were several opportunities to purchase the latest all 64-bit offering SpyderX. That would have been a mistake as it was not required.

A bit of usual messing around with technology followed then without any razzamatazz the Spyder5 and SyderPrint were working again.

That gave a sense of ease but did it solve the problem? Well no, not exactly.

Next up was a colour correction problem caused by a double action of printer and computer. I describe this as two bullets in the barrel firing at once making a bit of a mess.

I was printing from Photoshop opting for Photoshop to control the colours rather than the printer. But still, the vital printer driver settings I needed to alter were greyed out and besides, there was no Generic RGB profile on the system. The embedded YouTube video from datacolor explains all.

There was a deep dive investigation required but once the solution was found it worked really well. First I had to find a Generic RGB colour profile. The reason for this is that it is a no-action option, what goes in comes out. The next step on my computer was to find the ColorSync utility and use it to set the Generic RGB setting from behind the greyed out controls. The manufacturer doesn’t want the general user tampering, I suppose.

Having done a full system calibration I now had a new set of icc profiles. I could see in the making of them how a whole range of colours had been inexact. So a new icc profile was made for each paper (and ink)..

In Photoshop I could now pick the exact profile and let the printer add its neutral /no effect correction and all became good.

The thing was I spent a day or so away from my work solving the green colour cast problem.

When things are going well each print is spot on first time. When things are going wrong in printing they really go wrong and you notice by the amount of reprinting and wasted prints that begin to pile up. There are so many adjustment options that dissapoint and it is only when getting behind the software driver in ColorSync that you retake control. At least that was my hard found experience.

The hanging questions have to do with why did it suddenly go wrong. The 64-bit aspect was one problem, the print manufacturer forbidding vital change with greyed out settings and lack of a neutral Generic RGB profile another.

Add to this a change of paper type. I was now using double-sided matte for the book and poster board matte for the exhibition prints. In the past, the solution had been narrow. I’d kept to what worked. For the FMP publications, I needed to learn to respond to expanded options and change.

A year ago I first used double-sided matte for my Ed Ruscha challenge book, which was a summer activity. Some of that printing was off I recall but I brushed it aside and should have dived into the software behind the scenes to correct the problem back then. I’d have placed myself in a better place. for the delivery fo the FMP assignments. The most significant impact of the printing being held up was that less drying time was left for the hand-bound book.

Summary

Through making FMP publications and both as a photographer and hopefully some may allow artist, I’ve been able to develop printing skills even if progress was hard-won.

As a self-professed print-virgin only two years ago I was aware of the benefit of the photographer printing their own work and always made my own prints. From review comment on the paper selection, I’ve expanded the wider creative options.

What started out as a preference for letting Photoshop control colours turned around. In spite of giving Photoshop colour control, it made more sense to let the printer do the work. I have more confidence with my new choice at the moment at least as the printer tends to control the hidden variables like ink drying and paper feed and size detection.

There was another benefit in that the December Digital Imaging Symposium I attended that helped me sort out issues of residual Infra-red IR detection had a session of colour spaces with lots of examples and comparisons. So the knowledge is building and with practice, it is leading to controlled higher quality publication.

As a consequence of all that is said, I can now confidently go public with my photography in a wider range of forms.

PHO705: Week 24 Reflection

Done. The work has been done. Everything was handed in well in advance or in advance.

It proved important to leave enough time for checking as the inevitable was ready to happen – the screen freeze and colour printing going all wrong with an unexpectedly deep dive into ColorSync print technology.

Restart work on the Exhibition items put on ice

The video refresh, the music, the exhibition in a box were all in work but lost out as publication turned to book when the exhibition was postponed. Now there is time to prepare for a new date.

I’ll continue to check this blog for any mistakes. I know there a few.

Reflection

At the current point, much has been taken from the course. Starting with a new passion for bookbinding. Things there are going wild with three more hand bindings lined up.

Practice in using media tools with a vengeance was a highlight too.

Fulfilling the objective of making a portfolio of publishable work was the aim at the outset and how that has been helped along.

Making pictures as Art based on cutting edge Science ArtSci became a revelation in the area of genetics This genre is ripe for new picture making.

PHO705: Assignment Final Major Project (PDF)

Submit Assignment here

Depending on the nature of your practice, your resolved project may take one of a variety of forms, however, and it will be an original, authored piece of creative practice, of a publishable standard. It will have been developed over the FMP module and will extend from or otherwise draw upon work created throughout the course.

The FMP submission will evidence and document your critically informed project that is resolved to a professional and publishable standard.

The form that your project takes will depend on the nature of your practice and should reflect your creative intent. It should be resolved as appropriate to the work itself and with considered purpose. As the consideration of audiences and markets are key concerns throughout the course, you are strongly encouraged to present it to an appropriate public audience.

This may include, but not be limited to:

  • An installation
  • Solo or group exhibition;
  • Editorial feature;
  • Book;
  • Online project;
  • Workshop;
  • Performance, screening or talk;
  • Symposium or conference presentation.

These artefacts and/or activities should be clearly evidenced in your FMP submission.

The document should include:

  • A concise description of the work,
  • The final images of the project or an edit thereof,
  • Documentation of the publication (e.g. installation shots, tear sheets),
  • Critical feedback or analysis from other professionals (if applicable),
  • URLs to relevant video or other supporting material.

You may wish to remind yourself on guidance for documenting your FMP submission.

Format

It should be:

  • A colour, page-numbered, PDF document
  • Text should be 1.5 line spaced and use a 12 point, sans serif font
  • Fully Harvard referenced throughout, where applicable
  • All images should be fully titled and referenced
  • No more than 15MB

Assessment

The Final Major Project accounts for 60% of the final grade for the FMP module. It will be assessed on the following Learning Outcomes:

LO1: Technical and Visual Skills

Demonstrate an awareness of a range of photographic and image-making processes, and display accomplishment of photographic skills relevant to your practice specialism.

LO2: Visual Communication and Decision-Making

Exercise discernment in the making, resolution and presentation of practical work, and an ability to communicate ideas through creative visual strategies.

LO3     Critical Contextualization of Practice

Apply a critical awareness of the diversity of contemporary photographic practice to the development of your own work, and inform your practice through historical, philosophical, ethical and economic contextualization.

PHO705: Week 4 Assignment Final Project Proposal

This was a week for handing in the FMP Project Proposal

Proposal PDF

The next step is to book a 121 meeting with my Supervisor.

Bibliography

Howard Rachel (2018) Repetition is truth via Dolorosa. Edited by A. C. Beard Jason. London: Other Criteria Books. Available at: newportstreetgallery.com.

PHO705: Week 23 Reflection

Week 23 has been about letting the work fall into place given that all the research and the practicalities of exhibition and book had been readied. Now for the resolved body of work.

Critical Review of Practice CRoP Update

The Critical Review of Practice had input from a group of reviewers during the week. Review has been especially valuable given the abstract surreal nature of the pictures. The work does communicate! This accords with feedback from the August 2019 practice exhibition although the work did move on.

The CRoP was submitted before the Easter break and one more review was received later in the week which will be incorporated and the CRoP will be resubmitted with a tighter ending.

Picture Edit and Book Draft

The picture edit took place during this week. Having tightened this down considerably from the original set of 50 – 80 images I then got productive and created a whole other set of family archive / DNA edits.

So far I’ve resisted adding these as sometimes the temptation is to over embellish at which point it can get out of control, especially if a distraction to the work.

This page-turning video was made. I recycled prints made for an external review which here are made into a brochure.

This is a practice for the FMP PDF book submission part.

Past-Present-a-mythology-of-time-V0.4-spreads

Narrative Lines

There was at least 6 months of research into themes and creating a visual narrative. I had believed I’d need to place an abstract surreal on recto pages to keep them from clashing, but have a text to picture or cloud DNA composite on the verso to pick out the narrative with clouds of text or alternatively, text to picture generative art.

What happened during the edit was that picture matching fell into place and some well matched pairs resulted (my view and a reviewer view).

This eliminates the need for the verso narrative with a cloud of text or text to picture plate. The cloud method developed now unused is quite focussed on theme through word selection. Thinking about DNA bases annotated as ACGT, then by selecting 100 words I can make narratives out of the English language set of around 1100 words where those four letters appear e.g. ’photographic’ (phoToGrAphiC). Still singing the praise of the method inspired by Recombinant rhymes and DNA Art (RRDA), it provides the photographer with exceptional flexibility in overlay as narrative creation which is important to my choice of conceptual approach in the abstract surreal, if it helps the viewer along. There is a visual challenge of overlaying the text with an appropriate photograph that blends sympathetically with the work. There is a variation where a poem or song lyric can be overlaid on an image as text to picture (rather than as emphasised words in a cloud). The outcome of RRDA subtlety leads the narrative line as the other of the 300 words are still shown. As the viewers eye scans the composite they may trigger not just on the emphasised words but others they see. By leaving this open to the viewer they do in effect choose their own interpretation as they do normally but each time they return to the verso and recto they can gain more as the method keeps on giving.

So why so much thought on something that didn’t get used in Past-Present in the Artist’s book or the extended Exhibition with multiple themes in separate spaces?

It’s just that the method is contemporary and works in its own right. It is combinatorial in word selection (100C3 for the current approach for the mathematicians amongst us). Out of Past-Present has been created a whole area of endeavour and here the idea is shared with anyone interested in such ways of visual language creation. I have time to consider a side exhibition of RRDA pictures as a standalone group of theme common that contrasts with the figurative forms from my main exhibition of abstract surreal pictures.

I now think these verso images deserve a separate portfolio. An early example of the method was to use poem or song lyrics (in text to picture generative art) overlaid on the source picture. There is no creative limit. The fact I like it so much as photographer was the trap if I shovelled in too much research spoiling the simpler visual narrative that was used in the end. Post-FMP submission I’m going to return to RRDA.

The rules that developed for this included a) not crowding out the central pictures, only allowing then to punctuate transitions in picture style.

The text method is flexible and effective but for ‘Past-Present a mythology of time’, these verso images graphic content I decided would push against the grain of abstract surreal pictures.

What I’m focussed on is creating a resolved body of work.

The textual method formed a valuable part of my research and acted as insurance if there was viewer disconnect. The abstract surreal images paired up well visually and this reduced the need for additional support. That turned out well.

The resolved body of work approach led me to rationalise the use of ghost pictures. Place is represented as ghost landscapes and are core to the work. The people ghosts and the cellular division theme together are dropped as themes in the book. Ghost have a place in the exhibition as a side exhibition.

A-V production that included ghosts was researched as part of the FMP PDF. Again it is interesting and possibly quite dramatic but is not needed for now.

Poems and Interview

A version of the book has been created as a PDF and ISSUU publication in order to gather in review comments.

I had to resolve different views about supporting pictures with text. For now I’m happy to have:

  • a short section of prose relevant to the theme
  • a poem about place and archive picture
  • an interview
  • the core pictures
  • repeated as miniatures with caption and print details as an index

There are improvements and review inputs to deal with before imposing and collating the pages into the book.

The book will be case bound, with a block comprising kettle stitched signatures. This type of hand-bound book was created in an earlier module. The current book will be the fourth to be hand made.

It is expected that an even tighter edit will arise from this for the Final Major Project PDF submission.

Final Major Project FMP PDF document

This is the last major assignment to be handed in and is worth 60 points. It is due before 1May. I have this in synopsis form ready to pull together.

Inputs to this will include the picture edit developed out of both the exhibition and the book.

Media will be created to demonstrate the materiality of the book.

In lieu of the exhibition, the 3D model created, for now, will be set-up with the selected pictures and screen captures will be taken from a 3D model I’ve made to synthesize the studio/gallery space.

Audio

I’ve been keen to address a requirement to present in different forms. Recently I gained insight. I’d seen the exhibition and book as equivalent when in practice they have very different sets of demands even though the pictures overlap.

I want to avoid forcing the narrative with audio in the FMP PDF. When the pictorial element starts to resolve why then distract the viewer?

When it dawned how different the exhibition and book are then the problems resolved. I enjoyed the learning and it was simply a journey I had to make.

Although the audio has been dropped it may well find its place in the exhibition later on where the physical space benefits from creating a conducive atmosphere with linked but contrasting works. The thing is our aim is a professional body of work of high quality. Adding media, audio in this case, that produces a Ronald Dhal-esq scary story feel which he did aimed at the child audience then it clearly goes wrong. The work would start to emphasise the child in me and while the creative child never went away the style goes against the level of publication required for this FMP.

I did additional external studies on sound recording and on podcasting and set about practising technique within my practice. It proved to be quite sustaining and a) took my mind away from being too focussed on my practice. This led to a breakthrough with selecting the edit and b) settled my thoughts during the lockdown.

My work was not halted because I’d chosen at the start of the degree second module to work on a subject that was sustainable. However, there are many distractions to photography while comprehending the impact of the lockdown.

External courses, applicable to my practice proved a welcome distraction. There has been knowledge and skill development that I’m glad to have had even if audio is dropped.

External Practitioner Reviews

The reviewers have adapted to circumstance with the COVID-19 move across from physical exhibition to making of a book. I shouldn’t complain that the project changed emphasis as in a last year critique I not only began to be recognised as a maker of books but was strongly advised to make a book. Why didn’t I listen? It would have been too easy to follow the guidance but once more I had a journey of learning to embark upon. I came into the course with a specialism in books and it would have been my loss to only had done books and not have explored what this course has to offer to practice development.

I met a chosen art photographer reviewer at the exhibition space before lockdown and they kindly went over an extended set of test prints and later the draft portfolio website. I decided to engage early and bring my external reviewers back in towards the end. It is a delicate art interacting like this as it chews up the time, and actually had to disengage for a fortnight to get on. Usually it saves failure and avoids starting all over again.

The practitioner reviewers onboard I’m delighted to say are:

  • a fellowship art photographer
  • a fellowship fine art photographer
  • a fellowship book collector and editor
  • a journal editor and
  • a multi-genre, multi-award winning and twice professional photographer of the year finalist.

PHO705: Opening Night Party

PHO705: Easter Reflection

This an important Milestone in my assignment plan.

Hand in statuses

FMP Proposal 10 points

Status Green – submitted and marked at Week 4

FMP Critical Review Journal CRJ 10 points

Status Amber/Green – up to date with around 4 more posts to make.

Important Note:

  • All FMP entries are titled by module identifier PHO705
  • Search is provided- page all the way down to view the tag cloud, category selector and search box.

Link michaelturnercrj.blog

FMP Critical Review of Practice 20 points

CRoP-Version3c

This is ready for review.

FMP PDF 60 points

Status Amber/Red – completion is dependent on making that’s work in progress.

The FMP PDF is WIP:

Exhibition Prints

Status Amber – poster board printing and edit of 50 down to 20 images is lined up to start. Materials available and inks replenished.

Book

Status Amber – interview text and some poetry/prose is written and ready for an edit. The picture edit is to be tightened up and layout created in InDesign. This is a time-consuming activity. The book was proposed by the University as the replacement activity of the postponed exhibition.

ISSUU

An electronic publication on ISSUU is a step in visualising the book before printing and hand binding.

Portfolio Website

Status Amber – draft published pre the edit. The picture edit is in work.

Link: https://www.michaelmturnerphotography.com

Other Elements

Status Red – these activities have been prioritised down in favour of the marked assignments and in line with Exhibition postponement.

Note: the August 2019 exhibition ran for eight days for the same project with the last module images. The other elements were used for that.

Supporting elements to be remade: audio recording, moving stills, and video.

Review

I’ve planned to gain review, some is in and other practitioners will need the items above to make comment.

This will be my final stage adjusting to the public presentation of my FMP and a vital opportunity to make adjustments before handling in.

PHO705: Easter Reflection

The Final Major Project is expected to adapt to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Falmouth University Self-help

A series of Thursday meetings have been run or engaged in for students as a Final Major Project cross-cohort group. We are all affected by the pandemic that is currently peaking.

Effects of imposed social isolation are many, from not being able to shoot project images anymore, through to cancelled exhibitions.

There is increased engagement from our tutors and module leaders at this time with many inspirational guest lectures.

A personal challenge, exhibition apart, is simply writing with distractions and increased communications with families and through a media storm.

Completion of the MA

There are two key communications:

  • PhotoHub – Announcements – ECs Updates from the University Course Leader 20 Mar.
  • Office of the Vice-Chancellor 3 Apr. Coronavirus: update on assessments.

I’ve really no idea how to fully interpret these in my circumstances, without stopping to clarify. With time already lost to the pandemic, I cannot sustain too much more delay.

As for self-isolating, I’ve been isolating in effect since the end of September and I’m quite used to it now.

My work was designed to be sustainable from 3 months into the course. If necessary I could simulate glow using pressure marks in a similar way to exposing photographic paper.

As for making I planned in advance and have enough materials for printing and book binding. The main problem is the writing of a 20 point review that has taken an inordinate time and is currently 2/3 rds of the way through it third incarnation.

In a sense, it is needed in advance of making as the guiding intent. But then it can’t complete until the work has gone public. I think the Critical Review of Practice CRoP should be renamed the Catch22 Review of Practice CRoP because of this gotcha. I hope this entanglement might be recognised for future cohorts.

PHO705: Week 22 Reflection

Reflections, Reflections, Reflections

A Writing Review

Never make this mistake. Go to review early but not too early.

FMP calls for multiple unplanned writing requests. Show me the ticketing blurb. What does your artist’s statement say? What is the context of this work? Random creative scribblings for the book front stuff with raw poetry, a collection of quotes and an interview. Add to this list this very CRJ.

An outcome has been the abrupt realisation that the writing needs to be planned

Reflections on the pandemic spread of SARS-CoV-2

Handwashing

Hand washing is Government advice and in turn, frequent hand washing has led for some to minor healing from drying and cracking.

Colour has returned to my work on this latest adaption to my FMP:

Deep Sequencing

The outbreak of the Corona Virus on a cruise ship was sampled and deep sequenced by scientists in Japan:

SARS-N-COV-2

Despite the length of this nucleotide, a virus is a very simple molecular mechanism compared to our genome. Here is a visual rendition created for the virus to summarise all of the nucleotides you see in the PDF:

Factoids – Genetic Research

My FMP work can get really deep and intense and involved and I’m sure the intensity can be too much for the casual viewer of the work. This is becoming ever so clear as a result of making a synopsis of the Critical Review of Practice and book content.

A bias entered the FMP by deciding to place focus on own DNA (at a meeting with Victoria Forrest). I have since analysed 680,000 lines of my genome and revisited the book “Your DNA Adventure” (Living DNA, 2019). The language used there is straightforward to follow. It is better than my own writing that is based on two months of genetic research made possible when being laid low twice (or thrice) last year with the visit of a nasty virus.

Here are the snippets that inform. I like to call them factoids.

Motherline MTDNA Haplogroup T1a Subclade T1a1a arose in a woman in the Mediterranean 17,000 years ago. Inherited directly from mother.

Fatherline Y-DNA Haplogroup R-L21 Subclade R-DF25 Atlantic shores of Northern Europe. As male inherited from father.

Autosomal DNA cover the last 250 years. The FMP covers just over 100 years to the Great War. The first 22 (of 23) chromosome pairs form the autosome.

680,000 markers are analysed from my genome.

I am of Scottish cultural descent and now certified as Irish with Norwegian trace from the Viking invasions. This links me to Celtic legend and a tribal genetic legacy.

The genetic signature has a quality unusual in the British Isles linked to migrations in the 1600s but intermixing occurred before then with natural migrations across the sea.

Remarkably DNA can be traced back to nomadic Stone Age people at the end of the last ice age. The signature is found in Western Germany, Northern France and Belgium. It is therefore ironic that brothers from my family who fought in the Royal Highland Black Watch Regiment, fought their ancestral brothers and died fighting in France and Belgium.

I have a common motherline ancestor with peoples living in Udmurtia, Romania, Tunisia, Iran ant the Caucasus.

My common ancestral mother would have been a hardy hunter gatherer. Competition for resources would have been fierce. This character lived on in my mother and was present in her representing southern Scotland in as a sprint runner. The hunter gatherer tradition lived on in living memory in the Scottish community I was born into and lived within. A tradition that lasted for 17,000 years of which I may be the last in line to witness these events.

My fatherline hails from Ireland, Wales, Brittany, Scotland, England, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and Germany in an Atlantic Celtic migration arriving in the early Bronze Age. In fact my father was lined up to be the village blacksmith before he left to join the Parachute Regiment.

Mitochondrial DNA exists as circular cells outside of the chromosome nucleus. The egg contains thousands of mitochondria and the sperm very few. These are mostly in the tail which is lost during fertilisation adn so mitochondria is inherited from the mother. It is thought there may be one or two individuals alive who improbably inherited the mitochondria of the father. Mitochondia are very stable and can be assumed to mutate once in every 1,000 years. The Salamander and even wheat have greater DNA diversity than humans.Genetic diversity is very limited in modern humans outside of Africa.

Africans who are resistant to malaria received a gene 33,000 years ago. Europeans had already migrated and so do not share the resistant gene.

Although my DNA is unique, it is over 99% in common with every other human being alive. Our genetic connections with those in different regions have more in common than in our geographic separation.

While Crick and Watson won the Nobel prize and are credited with the discovery of the DNA double helix, their work actually used the results of X-Ray crystallography created by Rosalind Franklin at Kings College London, who was not credited.

Last year at a Symposium led by women on the subject of the parallels in thinking behind the art, and behind science, I met a husband of one of these eminent scientists. The husband took my research question and replied, and I asked if he had been at Oxford. No, he was Professor in X-Ray crystallography at King’s. But if that was not enough coincidence, when I said I’d been at the Oxford Department of Zoology on the Computing side of X-Ray crystallography, it turned out he was there doing his degree that same year.

And finally, when the 1951 discovery was made what knowledge previously existed? Plato (428 BC-348 BC) a philosopher and mathematician in Classical Greece wrote in “Tinneus” of the creation of man and used terms that directly parallel the modern science.

Bibliography

LivingDNA (2019) Michael Turner – Your DNA Adventure.

PHO705: Week 21 Reflection

The exhibition will now take place in a silent studio and plans are afoot to make a video presentation. Maybe in expansive mood perhaps also an artist talk.

Silent Exhibition

What to say when narrating the exhibition? Some plans are afoot as to how to conduct this but what to say. Perhaps make a reading of the book front stuff: prose going into poem and artist interview.

Versus Alternative Venue

Plan B would be to leave the studio and use brick walls and lighting I have lined up. Would it make a difference to the interpretation of the work, well yes?

A venue change to a brick built environment reminds of the following with lyrics following on to some kind of parallel to the pandemic:

Inspired by music and the feel of an alternative venue and the reason behind the change of venue:

Empty Spaces – Pink Floyd

What shall we use to fill the empty spaces
Where waves of hunger roar?
Shall we set out across the sea of faces
In search of more and more applause?

Shall we buy a new guitar?
Shall we drive a more powerful car?
Shall we work straight through the night?
Shall we get into fights?
Leave the lights on?
Drop bombs?
Do tours of the east?
contract diseases?
Bury bones?
Break up homes?
Send flowers by phone?
Take to drink?
Go to shrinks?
Give up meat?
Rarely sleep?
Keep people as pets?
Train dogs?
Race rats?
Fill the attic with cash?
Bury treasure?
Store up leisure?
But never relax at all
With our backs to the wall

PHO705: Falmouth F2F

Visit Falmouth, take part in workshops and have work critiqued – at least that was the original intent. A COVID-19 pandemic put an end to F2F for myself.

Some engagement is/was possible through online delivery.

Zed Nelson Q&A (Thursday evening)

It was somewhat strange attending a Q&A for a film premier not seen. Nevertheless, being familiar with the area of London, the subject of the film meant it was possible to get the gist and follow along.

Guest Lecture Jo Coombes

A presentation on carbon footprint and zero carbon shooting or filming.

A selection of slides Jo Coombes from Canvas Lecture

Guest Lectures Saturday Toby Smith

Although aimed at climate change, the subject matter centred on effective campaign communications based on social science or indeed marketing.

The parallel with my project work is taken and guidelines are extracted that may improved the messaging.

Keywords were taken as narrative, authenticity trusted communicators, identity and values and apply to my FMP project.

Another important element to my FMP is with the negative messaging of loss to have a positive for people to switch their emotions to.

Strong stories are about us: our pride and strength. The FMP project is driven thus.

The Principles 1-7 above have an impact on the FMP Project. Initially, Principle 1-5 seemed the most applicable to my messaging but so too does Audience Platform in the FMP project case around Exhibition versus, book or basically the range of ways of going public.

Mention was made of Fairness and this takes me back to a course I attended on Fairness in the Environment presented by Leeds University. This went into a lot more of the principles of fairness and ran as a two-week course.

Guest Lecture Professor Gary McLeod – Iwate

On the subject of aftermath photography, we were shown current research work around connecting with the tsunami torn areas of Japan. Out of respect, we were asked not to record images.

What resonated here in this fast-moving presentation was mention of spatial and temporal subject matter which resonate with my interest in and around photography.

It is always interesting to see Gary’s visuals from Japan as culturally the signs (semiotics) are vastly different from what is seen in Western cultures.

PHO705: Week 20 Reflection

Practitioner Feedback

A practitioner was approached for feedback and this turned into an immediate request to see the portfolio online. This seemed too soon as the different activities have still to come together into a whole.

Initial indications are about the work being striking and original and as test prints, at 4×5 inches they would be better viewed at greater than A4 size. A3+ posterboard on order has now arrived and is ready for printing.

Looking at the care instructions I was surprised to read the small print. Matte posterboard being a heavy-duty option compared to gloss photopaper requires more care. It has to be covered in an absorbent paper when taken out of the printer. It then needs 24 hours to fully dry and for the colour to fix. Then it needs mounting behind glass.

I’m glad there was time in the plan to allow for this unexpected activity.

All of this because the size of the images matters. I’d normally go to A4 so the prints are going up in scale.

As mentioned elsewhere , I’m willing to give it a go. It could be an expensive failure and I might have to revert to my standard A4 on 40x50cm mountboard.

The cancellation of the exhibition means it could all be counterproductive anyway. The revised intention is to film the setup on iPhone and add a spoken narrative. I’m going to have to deal with iPhone stabilisation issue, but I’m sure that can be managed.

I can see me doing a practice run with a planned and edited spoken word displayed on a teleprompter. These things require a team effort because so many hands are needed and the delivery requires practice. If I’m pressed the video might be released. My concern is about introducing new technology at this stage on top of 3D modelling tools Sketchup, and Vectorworks, Generative art software Processing and P5.js and Wordclouds. I really need to concentrate on the marked elements of the course.

The poster-boards will bring a whole new challenge to taking the work public regards unfilled white space. The finish is matte (when glossy was my intent). Size is large (when my original intent is memento based). Then there is the need to re-layout the images and there is the increase in size and weight for 30 prints.

If this goes badly wrong at least I should have some nice individual prints over and with enough mount-board ordered I can repeat the whole exercise on A4 gloss. This variation from plan doubles my workload and in circumstances where an exhibition may be postponed with the current virus threat to society.

Another constraint is the supporting material of which video and exhibition guide are examples that require time and effort and may not get to be appreciated or shown even in public.

Re-emphasis, as now expected by the University, is towards the book. This was never meant to be the main public deliverable only an artist’s book dummy as a keepsake from the exhibition. Taking the book to the main deliverable makes this a serious concern that normally requires collaborative input and the design assistance of a graphic designer. It is widely known that photographers on the subject of their own work are poor at bookmaking in terms of selection of edit, layout, graphics design and writing.

Would it be wise to follow this direction as the work is not going to be shown at its best as working with a graphic designer and printer requires three months elapsed and there is only 6 weeks or less remaining?

This global virus pandemic is really destabilising the end product quality. It is a killer in the normal sense of health but is also a killer with the additional contingency planning and actions and new methods of making required. It is a great shame to have a two-year build-up to the end of the course and then have this destabilised in the planning and acting at the final stage.

All this effort and the prospect, not so much of a good outcome that reflects engagement, but the question and doubt, will the outcome even be a pass?

Exhibition Re-planning

The exhibition is in an advanced state of planning and now for contingency planning as the global alert has increased over potential COVID-19 pandemic. Update: The WHO has now declared a pandemic. The Falmouth Vision 2020 event is still going ahead thus far/ did go ahead – I decided to avoid the risk.

Yesterday it was announced that the NEC Photography Show is to be postponed until September. Over the next month, the situation has the scope to change even further.

The current state of 3D modelling has been advanced again this week to include the first photograph on display. Here is a more simplified model and detailed model.

Layout identical to the summer exhibition except triptych layout becomes a run of six images

Titled deja vu as the 3D render is eerily like being at work. There are still some simplifications such as walls that are hidden so as to aid both construction and the ability to walkabout within the 3D space. The final edit has yet to be decided but when ready (soon) my photographic images will appear within the mounts. One is shown at the moment.

Narrative Quotations of Past Present

I’ve researched some narrative quotes for my Critical Review of Practice and front stuff in the Artist’s book. I’m going to choose two from the three I think, probably eliminating the harder to follow. Let’s see.

  1. The Moment of Hearing

“The moment of hearing appears to be the moment of writing, for it is only in the recapitulation that he hears the bird.  Experience is an a posteriori reconstruction that does not make the past present to consciousness but projects it into the future: “O you demon, singing by yourself projecting me, O solitary me, listening never more shall I cease imitating, perpetuating you” 

2. Memory

“Memory, as philosopher James Booth states in his recent book Communities of Memory, “memory is centered on an absence, tries to make it present, and in this effort answers the call of the trace. “Traces are markers pointing to “a past that dwells in the hollows of the forgotten” I call these traces “memory texts” in any form, be it a map, a story, a landscape or a building or a monument, or a ritual, a performance or a commemoration,  …  You and I participate and share these memory texts, feeling that “the call of the trace” makes the absent past present. A memory text is nearly always a space of contestation: different people attach different meanings to the same semiophore, they remember the same event differently. The … collective memory of the … War is shared by people who have not experienced the war or the anti-war”

3. Back in Time

“… practices performed by the family members produce movements in three directions; it transports the members of the … family back in time as well as it makes the past present and, last but not least, the image itself makes sure that the family is remembered in the future. Finally (hopefully), in the end, the portrayed members of the family will be granted a place in heaven.”

Quotations chosen from English Web Corpus enTenTen15 under SketchEngine with CQL query [word=”Past”][word=”Present” & tag!=”V.*” ]

The query eliminates the Verb Intransitive form of Present.

Exhibition Ticketing and Announcement

The announcement was created for the exhibition including a description thus:

“Past-Present explores the experience of identification with an ancestral past linked through the modern science of genetics. The author’s genome is decoded and shown within the work mixed with a trace of healing glow. 

The family previously unknown from “Galloway’s Great War” who fought in the Royal Black Watch, are reconnected with, in a commemorative work that bridges to history over 100 years ago. As a photographic work, there are visualisations throughout of imaginings and fading memory of childhood of places common, including agricultural and coastal lands. The science connects trace of human healing glow with wounding suffered by those injured who returned to battle and were lost in the Great War.

A style of word cloud visual, inspired by a genre of poetry known as Recombinant Rhymes and helps guide the narrative. 

Opening times 14:00- 17:00 on public days Saturday 11th, Sunday 12th and Monday 13th April.

With the kind support of Simon Ellingworth multi-genre multi-award-winning professional photographer and studio owner at Amersham Studios. Part of Trade Secrets Live, trainers for Royal Photographic Society workshops and premium training by international photographers and digital artists.”

Contingency Planning

In case the Easter exhibition has to be postponed, some options are being considered without yet knowing what would be best at satisfying the course requirements:

  1. Continue with handbound artist bookmaking but make a public offering via one of the commercial book sites.
  1. Extend the 3D environment I’ve part built this week for the Studio/Gallery space and send a link for viewers to browse the installation. I’m not sure if this will require viewing 3D drawings in SketchUp Pro 3D via the downloadable SketchUp Viewer or move everything over to VectorWorks software which allows browser viewing. Taking this to the next level of Augmented Reality AR would be a push given the time left in this module.
  1. Set-up the studio space as planned (football is currently being played behind closed doors) and provide panoramic viewing or live Whereby access. Potentially I could record an artist talk (an unrecorded one was given at the summer trial exhibition, and feedback was recorded.
  1. Still, go ahead with the new commercial website https://turnerphoto.art and academic portfolio website https://www.michaelmturnerphotography.com/shop-11
  1. Still, go ahead with the moving still presentation with delivery via Vimeo.
  1. Expand the facsimile print exhibition in a box and send out a package to specified reviewers for their critique. It might require that a PO box of some sort be set up for privacy. 

Bibliography

enTenTen15 (2020) SketchEngine. Available at: https://app.sketchengine.eu/#concordance?corpname=preloaded%2Fententen15_tt21&tab=advanced&queryselector=cql&refs_up=1&itemsPerPage=100&structs=s%2Cg&refs=%3Ddoc.website&default_attr=lemma&cql=%5Bword%3D%22Past%22%5D%5Bword%3D%22present%22%26tag!%3D%22V.*%22%5D&operations=%5B%7B%22name%22%3A%22cql%22%2C%22arg%22%3A%22%5Bword%3D%5C%22Past%5C%22%5D%5Bword%3D%5C%22present%5C%22%26tag!%3D%5C%22V.*%5C%22%5D%22%2C%22active%22%3Atrue%2C%22query%22%3A%7B%22queryselector%22%3A%22cqlrow%22%2C%22cql%22%3A%22%5Bword%3D%5C%22Past%5C%22%5D%5Bword%3D%5C%22present%5C%22%26tag!%3D%5C%22V.*%5C%22%5D%22%2C%22default_attr%22%3A%22lemma%22%7D%2C%22id%22%3A791%7D%5D.

PHO705: Week 19 Reflection

A model is created for the Exhibition space to experiment with layouts. Here is the first building block to start to work with.

Starting to create the exhibition space in a 3D model (Sketchup Pro)

This is a straightforward adaption of the Summer exhibition which had three of these layouts in a C-shaped floor plan. The adaption is from triptychs to a straight run of 6 mounts of 40cmx50cm mount boards.

Each mount stands on parade or is a metaphor for such.

Ultimately, two other rows will be present making a total of three rows and should run parallel so when the viewer is looking at the front row they would see all of the other rows behind as soldiers on parade. The viewer could process as if conducting a parade inspection.

Okay, so the above 3D model as the start and is an enabler. It has already allowed some ideas to try out as to how to best place the work as befits the intent.

More to follow.

On reflection, the exercise to date has demanded practice be gained in using the 3D IMB layout tool SketchUp Pro. This time is an investment for now and for the future.

Ancillary items to add to the space include the facsimile of the exhibition in a box i.e. the portable exhibition, which stands alongside the main exhibition while it is running. Another item to include is the handbound book.

Within the space there will also be two video screens, an audience seating area and a secondary exhibition of outtakes.

Studio equipment on stands has to be added for the somewhat vital daylight balanced lighting.

Print Handling

The philosophy the author is running with is of not being precious about the prints and in fact encouraging audience interaction. I’ve been normalised to the presence of print handling and during the summer exhibition, I encouraged viewers to interact with a couple of exercises being set out. It created a degree of immersion and sat alongside the other media and sound, creating a suitable atmosphere. Overall this makes a kind of performance.

PHO705: International Women’s Day

How does this day have a bearing on this blog? Simply put it is the link to the motherline theme. Motherline is based on the mother’s DNA. Her mitochondrial DNA in particular provides us with the means of creating life giving energy. The associated stability or unchanging structure within family members allows identification with ancestors. This DNA bridges across time for thousands of years. My project bridges just over a century.

When the current project is complete, attention can be turned to other families, to other past events, to be carried forward for future generations.

PHO705: Week 18 Reflection

This blog post reflects on test printing as all of the images made since mid January are made available for an edit. I also reflect on the presentation of work as a facsimile exhibition in box packaging. Finally, there is another look at the Critical Review of Practice for which drafting has fallen behind plan somewhat.

Print

Printing went remarkably well – all 50+ images printed, and are all keepers with no adjustments having been required.

Reflecting further. The prints are quite dark but are subtle in toning and not burnt out in the shadows. It is just that the content has to be discovered under daylight-balanced lighting. This was the same for ghost images at the Summer exhibition and worked as the effect was to draw in the viewer. This is taken as the ideal and fits with intent. The printed work was as envisaged and on-screen and in print. The subject matter by design is somewhat dark thematically as place or landscape as faded memory visualised in the present.

A visit was made to the printers and they allowed their guillotine to be used to cut down 4×6 prints to 4×5 size. This was quick and consistent.

Printshop

The visit to a commercial print shop was also made to enquire about exhibition support items.

  1. Leaflets to promote the exhibition (100-200) as handouts.
  2. Bookbinding three copies of artist books with 64 pages. With embossed/gilded text, front stuff printed and blank pages for the 4×5 glossy prints to be attached. The paper choice wasn’t found to be suitable for my project. A case bound book dummy I’d made earlier has off white paper and makes an excellent surround to the gloss prints. The printer I use offers Black, Light Black, Light light Black and Photo Black. A lot of variation is found in the shadows. This all adds up in the right direction and matches the intent and has been tried and tested.
  3. Packaging for the portable exhibition is in support of the memento style. It is consistent with the commemorative theme.

The previous exhibition was a success as a learning activity even though it was not heavily promoted. Leaflet handouts will address this. Business cards were not available at the time, This was a shame as there opportunities to exchange details. Business cards are available this time branded as turner photo.art. Marketing extends to a new website with consistent email address michael@turnerphoto.art.

All is becoming consistent and should serve the cause beyond the MA Photography course.

Packaging

I’m finding this rather tricky in terms of judgment and I’m currently exploring making. In some areas, it is similar to hand bookbinding and case binding. Why has the time been spent on this? In some respects, the making of an exhibition and the creation of a book somehow overshadow what is potentially the main element of public delivery. It may not be as showy but the author believes the exhibition in a box method best as it extends the conversation about the project and in scale and approach creates better opportunities for others to engage.

In critique, I was advised that it might be advisable to make my own packaging rather than use a commercial test kit box. As noted earlier I have been experimenting with making and ran up against the problem of scale. I’ve been working with a simpler design and large card stock with the hope of being able to run the card through the printer before curing, folding and glueing. So what seems an aside in going public is actually the main preferred approach. If this became the absolute first choice delivery method, it would be necessary to swap from mounted ZINK prints to the preferred glossy prints.

Sketchup 3D designed packaging.

This is very time consuming and extends the demands on skill set to 3D layout software and the practice of making packaging while being at a fairly late stage of FMP. It is is not yet too late but making a box is burning up my time. A question of maintaining balance and acting on the priorities.

As a fallback I have two commercial packaging solutions that meet the original intent, pre-FMP:

4×5 Prints in temporary packaging

Commercial packaging for 2×3 print pairs

Staying with the commercial packaging for a moment and meanwhile creating my own design, I have new packaging shown above for 4×5 prints for edit/critique and a new box for the 2×3 facsimile prints.

This removes the dependency on designing, printing, cutting, folding and glueing which are not central to the delivery of the project in a public setting.

PHO705: DNA Art Portraits

With an eye on commercialising art, the following is from AffinityDNA (AffinityDNA, 2020). This blog post demonstrates the contemporary and growing economic aspect of this genre allied to my photography. Perhaps by marketing photography, it could pay for the cost of the studies. Currently, there is communication taking place with another major DNA testing supplier on an introductory and more mundane level perhaps.

DNA Art Portraits

Display your DNA fingerprint as a unique personalised piece of genetic artwork! DNA art portraits from only £179

In terms of context this offering is available amongst other tests:

This demonstrates the contemporary and growing economic aspect of this (my) genre of photography.

Bibliography

AffiinityDNA (2020) Affinity DNA. Available at: https://www.affinitydna.co.uk.

PHO705: Generative Design

The exercise using word clouds worked/is working well according to the intended outcome and as such is being developed into another technological sphere of artsci known as Generative Design (Bohnacker, 2012) and the update (Gross, 2018). We are now at an intersection with computing.

Generative Design: Ghost with Lyrics – Michael Turner

Generative Art practice has a returned and is being made part of my MA Photography. The above image is one of the ghost pictures that arose from healing photography. It uses a graphics or more specifically a font from pixel values technique and is created with the lyrics of Robert Burns song, A Man’s a Man for A’ That. (Burns, 1795).

Bibliography

Bohnacker, H., Gross, B. and Laub, J. (2012) Generative Design Visualise, Program, and Create with Processing. English tr. Edited by C. Lazzeroni. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. Available at: www.papress.com.

Burns, R. (1785) A Man’s A Man For A’ ThatBurns Country. Available at: http://robertburns.org/works/496.shtml.

Fross, B. et al. (2018) Generative Design Visualise, Program and Create with Javascript in P5.js. Edited by C. Lazzerolli. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. Available at: www.papress.com.

PHO705: Week 17 Reflection

Guest Lecture

This week saw another Guest Lecture take place this time with Paul Clements Photojournalist.

GCC – Module Leader

There was also a Group Guest Critique GCC with the Module Leader and for some reason, probably to do with timing and project evolution the meeting was very much appreciated. A welcome relief.

I was able to announce the intended exhibition visit of a Contemporary Photographic Editor who I am pleased to have volunteered to take a new job with that is waiting until June. This is as a proofreader for a Contemporary Photography Journal. My earlier offer of managing a related ISSUU electronic magazine was something the photographic group couldn’t wait 8 months for and one of my colleagues from a group photographic project took it on. What this says is that the chosen attendee is someone I’d hope to work with.

The course remains the top priority above all else other than the mortal deeds and close relationships. The reason for reflecting on this is to demonstrate to anyone thinking of doing a course such as the Falmouth MA Photography that even at 10-hour study plus 10 hours photographic practice per week, it requires a high level of commitment. My admiration goes to those able to deliver at this level such as is likely of the really talented artist of whom there are many examples on our course. For me, I hail from STEM education and associated career and often worked from a blank sheet of paper through to architected solutions and adapt my experience to the MA.

Making

During the week attention turned to the facsimile / portable exhibition and a small sense of pride resulted from taking printable cardboard and making a dummy box. Printing the guides at A4 resulted in a miniature of only 2’x3′

Pencil marked dummy

An estimated card stock size of between A3 and A2 would be required. The 2″x3″ dimensions are only external for the pictured dummy box. The final box needs to be double the size to accommodate side-by-side mounted miniatures.

Size didn’t matter for the dummy as the intent was to work out the printed surfaces, the orientation of the print surfaces, the glue points and the folding sequence. An overall feel for how sturdy the box would be for the given card stock was also confirmed.

There is the other matter of now the box construction is would be feasible, how is it to be decorated? The theme of own DNA or historic archive? Design decisions need to be made.

Recombinant Rhymes

Recombinant Rhymes was an ArtSci feature on the radio that I’ve adapted to my project to aid context building.

A revisit was made to the literary element of adding contextualising text, specifically a list of dictionary entries for words that contain the base pair letters A, C, G and T.

Perhaps there is scope for extending individual words by concordance perhaps using SketchEngine (SketchEngine, 2020) to expand the text.

On the one hand, this can be categorised as being overly smart which detracts from communication but then again it does allow context to be built and we (I certainly do) know how important context building can be to a visual project especially in the surreal abstract.

Video (and Music)

Music was composed for a Ghost theme feature after a visit to a store that demonstrated the GarageBand music composition software.

A further video has been storyboarded as a follow on to a successful showing at the Summer Exhibition.

Bibliography

SketchEngine (2020) Sketch Engine. Available at: https://app.sketchengine.eu.

PHO705: Effects

This post surprisingly is about layering and effects as it is starting to become late in the day for further development. Finished work will be required imminently.

Follow-on Work from Book Design Meeting

The meeting with book designer Victoria Forrest had taken the direction towards using own genomic data. A 700,000 sample of the human genome from my own test results has been downloaded and secured. It remains to decide how and how far to extend its use and this could be via layering as in three examples created to date.

  • Great grandmother and boy outdoor portrait with glow image overlapped
  • Grandmother posed by rock with glow image and DNA base pair layering
  • A tablet of DNA base pairs overlaid on mono glow image.

Other possibilities are an illustrative option for use for example to add content to a facing page. The theme can either punctuate change or run continuously. This compares with amending each work created to date to incorporate base pairs.

The DNA test data contains autosomal, Y-DNA and mtDNA data. Apparently the test no longer lead to the latter two being made available.

Themes and Use of Effects

Some of the image themes within the overall project lead to the possibility of going to the next level of visual presentation by working with Adobe After Effects. Specifically the Ghost persons themes work well with Spotlight enhancement with motion. Music has also been composed for this. The overall production should be very emotive. However much this is lining up as the next evolution of this work, it kind of was dropped from the project scope for now.

Another thematic element is the use of Effects alongside the inner/outer space visuals or cellular portrayal falling under the heading of Pan Cellular Ex Cellular – all cells are made from cells a reference to the DNA transcription process that enables life and link made to the past.

The cellular theme is ripe for working in Adobe After Effects with Trapcode Particular from Red Giant. Practice in this domain as part of a course or courses completed in advance of the this Falmouth MA Photography course.

For now, this blog post has to be limited to a record of strong intent as expansion into 3D and VFX must not detract from the Assignments. Keep to the plan and the timeline for now.

PHO705: Portable Exhibition

This blog post refers to the idea of taking the work outside of the white cube exhibition space, using facsimile mounted prints in a display box.

It was recommended at the Arles critique last year that a new box is made and while open to the idea, it was decided to investigate. This was done by researching the methods for making a clamshell and flip lid boxes.

Having handmade a box in the past it has been clear how much of a challenge such a simple intention can become. Research has been conducted and shows a range of techniques from simple paper folding through to the use of guillotine and cast iron press.

There are many minor considerations that affect the construction and finish – tiny triangular nicks and unexpected cuts and folds to cover corner spaces and raised section to keep out light and dust. This is quite an enterprise. The tooling is an expensive consideration as is attending a centre such as London Book Arts.

Design: woohoo

Box-making cut details

So what about drawing on the resources of a firm that offers custom made boxes. The factors come into play are cost etc. At a 5,000 piece run the box I’d need would be approximately £1 per box. That’s too many boxes and too high an outlay. At a single box the cost is £50 – it is almost better re-ordering the original DNA test kit.

To show how subtle the flip-top box is to make a PDF design has been attached:

WOO-PHL49-A5-template

Here is the dummy box using the above plan to work out print constraints, folding, scale, weight, strength and glueing:

PHO705: Group Critique with Module Leader

While the focus of late has been on writing the Critical Review of Practice and on ‘plussing’ the visuals, this post relates to a switch back to the public presentation of the work.

Switching tasks like this may be less efficient than running each task to completion. Professional development of photographic work might call on multiple resources, but here for the MA Photography, the author becomes or has become the sole resource for all of the work.

Collaboration practised as a professional specialism has yet to flow into the making process, so it has become quite a busy time. Considering research turned to image-making only a month ago then a lot of ground has been covered.

The making in the digital darkroom had been akin to the process of creating a painting. Now with the change of methodology and processing, the mental task of visualising and the way time is consumed is closer to photographic sculpture.

A National Portrait Gallery Friday evening drawing session attended last year, was conducted with white pencil on black paper, the process of observation and drawing likened to making sculpture.

Guest Group Critique

In presenting the work it was noted how exciting the development of the project has become and how this easily extends the work beyond the time available to us on this MA Photography course. With practice development, the project is likely to undergo further extension and presentation beyond May 2020. It is very exciting at this stage

A minor comment was the all-important selection of the sans serif Granville light font for use in the book and in the PDFs – the Critical Review of Practice assignment PDF and the book PDF hand-in.

As for the work shown in the critique an original InDesign file was shown having evolved through a one to one session, to the recent book designer session, to the subsequent splitting out of themes into individual files and finally and importantly the addition of more new work.

The project had all along used but now re-presented as having a trace of author’s DNA both as glow and as a graphic sequence.

There was a call to make a model in order to experiment with the layout of images. This would be more of a demonstration or proof exercise. In practice, the author has ongoing access to the studio/exhibition space and so does not require the intermediate step of modelling layouts. In an earlier module, a summer exhibition was held in the same space over a period of 8 days, it will be four days this time.

What is different this time is that access has been gained to the material for constructing exhibition walls from a stand kit. In a one, to one review the author was advised to set this aside, for an unexplained reason. It would be easy advice to take as it makes life easier. It is felt that there was a misunderstanding in communication via the online medium used.

Style, Paper and Framing

The critique was missing much in the way of content as the reviewer needed to see actual prints in front of them. The previous comment was of the look of charcoal on antique paper and was an accurate description of the aesthetic. This is produced both as an adjusted filter and is reproduced as a homemade PS action.

The vignetted borders were said to act against normal framing methods and would require consideration.

A test print was made a little while ago, was on matte paper and set out on the surface of the stock off white mount board used in the Summer exhibition. It all went together well.

There was a call to make a pile of prints as the quality can be more readily viewed and prints allow the order and sequencing to be done. This is an imminent action.

The project is the same one from the start of the course and has recently taken on more of the surreal. As image making began little more than one month ago the thrust has been towards image-making to gain images in sufficient numbers, higher than in the past with quality and with enough spares to support an 18 image exhibition and a book.

Recombinant Rhymes

From recombinant DNA and an artsci process of creating poetry. A decision was made to discover all or as many dictionary words as possible containing base pair letters A, C, G and T together. In order to form two or three-word crossword sections, words were gathered into themes.

There are sufficient range and sophistication of meanings linked to the work as photographic, biological and socio-political. The book would be expanded with facing blank pages set to contain word pairs or triples. No rhymes are intended.

Word Cloud

A simpler approach is the word cloud.

A variation might be to take advantage of scale in order to emphasise selected words. Chosen words correspond with a facing image. The method can be used with my DNA results in two cases; autosomal and mtDNA

Author’s Autosomal DNA and error rate

The Autosomal DNA chromosomes 1-22 are over 99% identical to all other human beings. Above are the mismatch errors in a 600,000 sample from 1.3 trillion base pairs in each DNA strand.

Author’s mtDNA

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) samples for the author scaled by position in the DNA chain. mtDNA exists within the female line, is passed on to offspring female and male offspring and is very very stable. By remaining constant for thousands of years it easily spans the century of ancestors to whom the author identifies with. The Past Present.

Vision 2020

The forthcoming Vision 2020 Symposium and gathering at Falmouth University would have been a great opportunity to unveil the prints. However, the finite risk from the current virus spread and attending an international conference, combined with having caught a virus three times last year, making attendance undesirable.

Campaign

A social media campaign is planned and the first post made on social media using Instagram account foto_graphical. An Easter exhibition has been announced with the title: Past-Present.

Strands are coming together in consistent form.

Practitioner Comment

The advice given to another student was not to go overboard in obtaining practitioner input. A note I’d sent in earlier indicated that one remote critique was booked in, while a contemporary journal editor had responded as a potential attendee. A multi-genre, multi-award-winning professional had also volunteered to comment. Three others are on the back burner, so perhaps this is what was meant as going overboard – two of the three are recognised, art photographers.

PHO705: Week 16 Reflection

Guest Lectures – GLs

Two recent GLs were attended. The first related to online dating and second-hand wedding dresses the second GL looked at life in an eastern European country under what was effectively martial law.

One to One – Critical Review of Practice

There was also a Supervisor session that turned activity on its head in changing direction from project development to one of the main deliverables, the Critical Review of Practice. It mattered not that anticipatory work had begun as nothing of a deliverable standard was yet available. A previous mention was made about having to make a late start this task due to circumstances beyond normal control.

The CRoP task has a dependency on the planned exhibition as that is where the behind the scenes shots are to be obtained and practitioner critical comment received.

The work that was progressed was made to the drumbeat of “No work – no exhibition – no book” etc.

Project Development

A session was conducted to split the overall InDesign file into themes:

  • ghost landscapes
  • ghost images of people
  • narratives of biology around cell division

This is not to mention subdivision into individual Surreal images, and Animals. There are also Ancestral Family Archive images to restore and reprocess as own DNA (base pairs) and glow image.

A lot of this is still in the melting pot as it is a natural development stage as an image set forms, plus there are influences from the book designer session.

There has been some reaching out to practitioners in advance of the Exhibition.

Print is becoming a more imminent activity. A preliminary decision is required over further tests of print making using the matte paper stock.

To create atmosphere, work on a video storyboard was started but somewhat frustratingly dropped, for now, to give precedence to the Critical Review of Practice.

PHO705: Book Designer Meeting

We had privileged access to Book Designer Victoria Forrest in a group session. It was useful for me although I’m erring towards a handbound artist book dummy and an exhibition in a box, a repeat of a successful approach from tyhe summer exhibition.

So what was learned:

  • focus on my DNA – I’d downloaded it pivoted it and searched it for transcription errors. It is an interesting error rate. There is some research out there about various diseases and these kinds of errors. My genome is good though as it is 99% shared with other human beings.
  • there’s the work I mentioned before on making visuals from base-pair sequences. As mentioned, there is a legal requirement to look after the genome data for my own protection and that of my offspring. Dry data is a bit too graphic for my liking but can be made to work by skilful handling. I prefer it as a blank verso decoration. Too much of it will be samey or overwhelmingly and potentially take away from the visuals I reckon. 
  • develop an offshoot of an artistic work recombinant rhymes. My take is I’ve gathered all the words containing a letter A, C G and T (base pair letters in DNA) and pick salient words in pairs or threes to describe a context around the project (photography, Great War, etc. but the layout of a crossword puzzle element. 
  • don’t associate with the Berger quote I made for being too inflammatory. Very strange on a Visual Arts course that the subject of reversing Berger’s observation should seem difficult. Surely art should challenge its own foundations. There is nothing illegal that couldn’t be published and after all, why waste a founding pillar and key inspiration to my work?

What else?

  • something on paper gsm was answered 300 gsm is too much and 175gsm is preferred
  • mtDNA is something Victoria is comfortable understanding but leave it out in preference to using own genome work
  • Victoria wanted to know details of my method of making. Seemed a bit cheeky a question in a public forum but unless the person you are working with really knows your work how can it be successful?

That was it in a nutshell, and very good considering five students were on in under two hours. Victoria must have been exhausted by us but thank you.

PHO705: Fonts

Supporting Discussion

The choice of font for FMP submission remains firm as Granville Light. A return to inspect the style after a cooling-off period only confirms this. The use of a Typography Insight App allowed a detailed comparison with a standard sans serif font. The Granville Light style is very much being enjoyed.

Original Post

Time has been spent researching san serif fonts for the FMP assignments and two fonts have shortlisted and have been installed and are being trialled:

  • Granville
  • Auster

Both fonts are very clear and Granville is being preferred on several counts including style which is more apparent on the lower case letters f and t, but also for being from a French designer at a Paris foundry given the project theme of loss in the Great War. The slight dagger-like flourishes in the lowercase letters f and t, also act as a metaphor for me as references to the Dirk and the Sgian Dubh, sheathed pointed daggers carried in Scottish national dress.

I won’t install the Granville font in this blog but provide a PDF example here:

PHO705-Fonts

Looking at this example a reservation emerges to do with font width, even as something that makes it more readable. Is it too wide? The answer becomes clear when the font is viewed at the required 1.5 line spacing where indeed it looks fresh and clean as seen in th ePDF above.

PHO705: Creating Draft Critical Review of Practice

Two items have been held up pending 10 weeks of illness then need to create portfolio work.

These are the Video that should have been made over the break and the Critical Review of Practice CRoP.

These have been taken together, but oddly manage to support the work. The following PDF is the mind map. A CRoP is a CRoP but it has to be about something so the overview of working practice and methodology is given as a mind map. The CRoP requirement (or part of) has been mapped onto it and requires further development like issuing a draft. However, there is some referencing to other practitioners still in research. Despite having this for earlier incarnations of the work (in earlier study Modules) the work has progressed on so time for the update.

To an extent I can argue about originality and a need to mask off external influences as the work is quite unique in its standing as a branch of Art based on Science. As blogged previously I’m never surprised anymore to find original thought crop up in other places of which two examples could be cited.

CroP-WIP

  • Top left hand in the mind map is the Critical Review of Practice from an earlier module assignment.
  • The bottom left hand is a storyboard outline for a useful video resource that is being created. (This proved very helpful to visitors to the summer exhibition).
  • Above this is the connection to the CRoP linked to Ghost Abstract Figurative Themes. While Ghosts per se have been dropped since the review with a book designer, the landscapes remain ghost images.
  • Practice location top right is the piece being updated for this dynamic project. It does need to settle down urgently prints, book, portable exhibition and talk to be worked on.

There is quite a challenge here as none of the work has been subcontracted to printers or anyone else so all of the skills from the photography through to all branches of making have been absorbed and this alongside all of the marked assignment work. For anyone wishing to embark on an MA Photography Course they may wish to consider how much work to outsource to specialists. Personally, outsourcing the Book making to an online offering is not preferred over an artists book dummy and hiring a book designer would lose some of the original intent to someone else’s view of what the market would stand. The work is still too dynamic for this.

Bottom right is the remainder of the CRoP assignment requirement, which pertains to the public showing.

In terms of evidencing the work as mentioned here in an FMP lecture video then on the subject of gaining public feedback, there is a need to reach out to practitioners to elicit attendance or somehow provide comment on the work.

I now have a date of the Easter Weekend for showing the work over four days at Amersham Studios tradesecrets.live Only now can approaches be made by reaching out.

As image-making is fundamental and has been a major focus, work has been flooding forward and is now starting to receive critique (two critiques were missed through technology issues).

There is scope for an earlier pop-up exhibition at the same location. No promises yet. Details will be published and a campaign run via Instagram account foto_graphical and Facebook.

<placeholder> for draft CRoP

PHO705: Similar Works 1

Here is a first new blog post asking, “So where can others’ work be found that has some connection with my practice?”.

Apart from already established and earlier blog references in the PH704 module to Garry Fabian Millar and elsewhere in PH702 and PHO703 to Rachel Howard a revisit is made in advance of the Assignment: Critical Review of Practice.

Here is a single image only comparison from National Geographic (Greshko, 2018):

Photograph Richard Hammond

And my earlier effort in more sombre mood:

DNA Sequence Overlaid with mtDNA Trace
Photograph Michael Turner

I’ll be recreating this. The next version of this work will use my own genome. It was sequenced last year and is currently under my analysis for base-pair errors. This not something to go into too much as it gives insight into the potential for disease a look into the future. As a STEM graduate with expertise in Big Data, it is possible to interpret the science and in particular the data and start to follow scientific papers including on the topic of DNA mismatch (Stavenger, 2010).

It is clear now that the double helix is an idealised form. Due to coding errors the span of the ladder rungs changes while there is asymmetry in the strand thickness and weird folding occurs where molecules other than ACGT bases enter the sequence. There is a knotted effect.

My own connection with the National Geographic story is through working for the corporation that supported the computing for the Out of Africa project. This was an early project that traced the human genome back through eastern and western migration routes to Africa.

As blogged in an earlier post it is the same corporation that provided the infrastructure for the World Community Grid project and the reason for donating computing cycles to this from 2004 on Human Proteome Folding through to current day projects supporting computational biology research into cancer, Aids Zika virus and many more including ground water and other geographic analyses.

Bibliography

Greshko, M. (2018) How We’ve Tackled the Evolving Science of DNANational Geographic.

Stavenger, J. (2010) Mapping of Switch Recombination Junctions, a Tool for Studying DNA Repair Pathways during Immunoglobulin Class SwitchingScienceDirect.

PHO705: Week 15 Reflection

Now that was what is called busy. The connection with the University has re-established big time. There was a gap over November, December and January. To be fair there was the end of year “holiday” and the so-named 3 week assessment period – needed for the other Modules.

Thinking about this in reflection then, several group lectures were attended and there was the follow up from the previous week’s module leader one2one meeting that led to running a consistent aesthetic right across image set.

We also briefly held a peer to peer meeting, the first known of in several months. We’re a small cohort with 10 of 13 starters still around. Only 8 signed up for these meetings. A connection has also been made with a student from another cohort who was passed in my direction by a tutor.

There were also the preparations for a meeting with a book designer Victoria Forrest. All good as the work is interrelated and the key to the public showing. No images, no public showing. The research was toned down and research-led practice had been in full flow again this week.

So how did the book design session go? (rhetorical question). That’s in a separate post.

It was good and has focussed on incorporating one’s own genome. My DNA has been sequenced and has now been downloaded and is being analysed for transcription errors and an academic publication read on the topic. Although specific to kidney disease and with some reference to mice it was nevertheless useful to learn of the error rates, non-base insertion and the weird folding that results. In the mind’s eye the DNA spiral has an idealised representation. This reading gave the truth.

Anyway, the knowledge gives the photographer some deeper information to back up any talk that might follow?

Scanning became a big thing and a whole weekend was spent learning software SilverFast and i1 colour calibration. The reason for this is/was to up the level of professionalism in reusing family archive photographs. The current set I accessed needs to be rescanned. A hidden agenda exists too. The acquisition of a film scanner and darkroom gear means work can go back to film photography. This will now be after the FMP but it is an exciting development in photography. The Studio where I’m based (less so with these studies) is starting to run combined workshops on Landscape and Street film photography. I’m really pleased with this revival.

With so much digital practice and digital darkroom processing, it will be a relief to turn back to film.

Thinking ahead of the week there is the catch-up to be made on Video making and drafting of the Critical Review of Practice CRoP.

Such is the life that this blog post will need to be cut back as some of the activity reported falls into the Week 16 reflection, due in the next day or two.

So, all in all, a very rewarding and active time on the project with work changing rapidly at this point. Lots of connection with the University has been helpful while consuming more of that rare resource called time. Can’t win.

PHO705: Book Design

Having completed most of the research behind the project work is moving forward rapidly as more focus is gained and a single line of visual narrative / aesthetic is settled upon.

The previous work product for a Module Leader one to one session simply gathered together themes that had been evolved. With direction the rate at which outputs are created has increased.

In what follows there is a settling on the aesthetic of “charcoal on antique paper”. Here the aesthetic has extended across a set of evolved themes going into the book review.

After the review, the aesthetic has remained and the direction has been advised on:

  • drop abstracts with added newsreel stills
  • focus on DNA results for self
  • avoid any feminist reference as too hot a topic(?)*

It was decided that a book would be hand bound and advice was obtained on paper weight.

The focus would be as before (at the Summer exhibition), a set of 18 prints on 40×50 mounts, with a miniature exhibition in a box to take beyond the gallery setting. Notes were compared on box production.

From a recent talk by Victoria Forrest it was clear that time would be tight for a full book design and production phase. Whilst it is possible time would be a tight squeeze and the intention was anyhow to hand make the prints, book and boxed prints as artist materials. Past experience of making provided the proving ground. It should be possible to make all of these outputs.

Where time becomes a squeeze is in making supporting materials: contextualising video/moving stills, exhibition guide, online portfolio, marketing leaflets … busy, busy, busy.

Single Pages (scroll to view, hover and click to download)

PDF-for-VF-ver-0.1

Spreads (scroll to view, hover and click to download double page spreads).

PDF-for-VF-spreads-ver-0.1

note:

*“Men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at. This determines not only most relations between men and women but also the relation of women to themselves. The surveyor of woman in herself is male: the surveyed is female. Thus she turns herself into an object of vision: a sight.” (Berger, 1972) page 47.

In my work, men receive their energy-making biology from their mothers. Men are viewed as agents of women. More specifically Men as sons are agent to their mothers.

The stability of the genetic code of energy-giving (mtDNA) is key as is the male being blocked from passing this gene to their offspring. The theme is of a Mother-line.

Bibliography

Berger, J. et al. (1972) Ways of Seeing. re-issued. London, [England]. Available at: http://www.greenpenguin.co.uk.

PHO705: Week 14 Reflection

Trial Assignment PDF

Having published a PDF with an extended payload of hi-res photographs last week, in preparation for the one to one meeting with the Module Leader, it was time to keep to plan and size the file. There is a 10MB file limit for the assessment. Success! Over 50 images, which should be over that needed to submit the Assessment PDF and filesize which was whopping has dropped to 5.5MB with no appreciable loss of quality on-screen.

In contemplating the book publication, a second PDF is required and this would need to be produced at high resolution.

There are some known niggles in the content of the following but here is the ‘same’ or equivalent PDF from last time but in its new reduced size. The PDF has been created using industry-leading page layout software Adobe InDesign:

PDF-trial-v0.1

This was an important trial and it has worked. The picture content can be refined as one image went missing during the day and will be tracked down. Three images processed with marginally incorrect height – width was fine.

The experience improved with some practice. Images untreated, or taken as they were at multiple size, needed to be standardised and this took place using Adobe Bridge – Photoshop to run some automation to fix dots per inch and pixel WxH to fit the page and the adjusted 3mm page margins created.

The more work done in preparation the easier it was to manage InDesign. Not just easier, the experience went from impractical to smooth operation.

Some bells and whistles will be added at the next iteration using available image files – many new items are being lined up to go into work, although the exhibition is expected to repeat the 18 number of prints created at a summer run of the exhibition. A greater number of images would be required of a book. The book number will be limited by shadowing standard commercial offerings in view of the potential cost impact in later in taking the hand bound book dummy to a designer.

Returning to the immediate needs, sections have to be added for

  • captions,
  • text (make an appropriate selection fo text),
  • a bibliography,
  • attribution list for images,
  • content page,
  • interactive elements, next/prev buttons, section buttons and so on.

Exhibition Printing

Paper and printing considerations and mounting without frames become necessary to investigate for the charcoal style sepia images with the given light vignette border style. A lesser paper choice last time, was Epson double-sided matte for the handbound book and laser paper for the exhibition guide.

Hahnemuhle art paper has been suggested, whereas until now gloss was chosen for its handling of deep blacks.

Board mounting needs consideration as well as the method of hanging. A professional exhibition stand lined up for the exhibition – not used during the summer, is not recommended at this stage.

It is recommended to print as early as possible to anticipate the time need for adjustments. A first print was made! The available paper stock was Epson double-sided matte, used in making the book for an earlier Ed Ruscha challenge.

There are numerous actions required in the making process to be visited. ISSUU has been revisited as it is used as a means of simulating the book to aid the design, printing and binding. It also makes an electronic version publicly available.

The https://turnerphoto.art website was trialled in the previous module as a commercial selling site and unexpectedly went offline and has since been restored. At present, the marked assessment items take priority over website building and the selling of photographs is something for beyond the course.

These technical matters are always tempting to get involved in but for now, a reasonably good PortfolioBox portfolio site has been maintained and although there are layout limitations each use, there are get around and the company is meant to be quite responsive, although it has not been witnessed personally.

The website had a different purpose earlier in the course, where now, like during the Summer exhibition practice run, it is intended as a support to the exhibition in terms of proving multimedia in promoting it and in generating atmosphere.

In the same vein, social media is being lined up for promoting going public. Instagram has been quiescent for a while ready to roll once the exhibition date is decided (third week of March or first week of April) depending on making more work of publishable standard and whether or not to attend the Falmouth 2020 Face to Face ‘week’.

The outbreak of coronavirus and its spread through international travel could be a risk with this year’s event. A watching brief is being made at present. This is particularly sensitive personally having contracted a bug several times last year in spite of being vaccinated.

Not considered yet is a video recording of an artist talk and the remaking of the moving slides video with better images. An artist talk was run several times during the Summer exhibition.

The making of the portable exhibition in a box continues to be important in moving beyond the studio confines to take the discussion wider to allow it to continue. An unexpected benefit last time was it generated an invitation to attend an art sale. The commercial element whilst welcomed was a little ahead of practice development at that stage.

PHO705: Week 13 Reflection

One to One Preparation (and now for Group Critique)

In preparation for a “one to one” session, a range of portfolio work has been prepared in advance. Beware, if you download the PDF file it is a large size even if already reduced*.

For presentation, it has been decided to screen share in Acrobat page edit mode to give both a visual overview and page by page viewing depending on the zoom setting.

Status is a decision needs to be made to proceed with one theme. of which several are shown.

Probable preference for priority is indicated as

  • sepia landscape & family archive
  • cellular theme
  • abstract with still from newsreel
  • surrealism and other
PDF-trial-v0.3

There is a display of:

  • a scene-setting image of current theme is on page 1
  • sepia ‘Landscape’ prints at the start on pages 2-13
  • a transition from cellular to landscape is at pages 14 and 15
  • the earlier ‘landscape’ style variations are at pages 16-19
  • a venture into the surreal is at various points starting at pages 20-22
  • a family archive crossed with ancestral biology on page 23
  • a theme of ghosts is explored at pages 24-28
  • a non-human variation is on page 29
  • a montage series with newsreel extracted stills begins pages 30-32
  • a lesson learned is on page 33
  • the pan cellular ex cellular series runs over pages 34-40
  • running on to rather surreal examples of work on pages 41-42
  • the cellular continues on pages 43-47
  • the re-use of earlier work is broached at page 47
  • an emergent theme example ‘animal life’ in b&W and colour pages 47-49
  • random elements end the series pages 50-52 with page 52 a caricature

*Learnings at this point prior to the meeting concern the first collection as a PDF and files size being 8x over the allowance. It is the first collection and the solution is to use Adobe InDesign and the save to animated PDF format. This was taught at the university and the subject of an FMP video.

in the transition to professional quality (a lot of the earlier work has been experimental) standardised sizing has been arrived at and needs to be worked retrospectively across the whole image set for display consistency.

PHO705: Assessment Period Reflection

So what has been happing of late?

  • Making new work.
  • Planning going public. (which requires new work)
  • Ramping up the professional
  • Ramping up the quality of work

Overall, an exciting period of practice development.

Concluding, is the intense period of reading and learning putting substance behind research based practice. Going are the days of creating themes in support of project narratives.

For visual language development samples of themes have been created.

  • Father mitochondria layered on mother image (mitochondria as transmitter). Biological markers ready to be layered in next stage.
  • Stills dropped out of newsreel of 100 years ago montaged into project examples
  • Family archive motherline photograph layered with glow image (mitochondria)
  • graphic development of DNA and cellular imagery and text

A rather busy and very worthwhile period indeed.

Three months of work to finish off a professional portfolio of high quality to be taken public Reacquainting with the MA Photography requirements caused a close look at example work created so far.

There were then many ups and downs hinging on the practice of being fully digital in the making. With much time spent in the digital darkroom the methodology was fully re-examined and especially following the digital imaging Symposium at Westminster University.

The Symposium was good and gave access to several key scientists in skincare and medical forensics. For those that know about the project the relevance should be clear. Much was confirmed around the artist’s assumptions of biological science as applied here.

The quality of the work then came under deep scrutiny anticipating cramming a lifework into a meagre 10MB PDF file without undue loss of image quality. The answer is InDesign and the methods documented in the FMP block.

However, any signs of a borderline quality entering the process and the situation will only worsen. Were there signs in current work?

Previous bad experience of transferring to mobile working and lack of connectivity in the Scottish Highlands led to a deliverable quality issue. It was never planned to be like that – the cohort will remember those events.

In an attempt to avoid technical issues deep scrutiny was performed on the work. A solarisation filter is quick to pick up on banding faults and pixelation (not in the original but from processing).

How to resolve this? Some very detailed analysis and comparison trials showed how and where different algorithms broke down affecting an unacceptable number of images.

During the last week of the “break” or so called University Assessment Period, and to which this blog post pertains work continued urgently to sort out technical issues. A number of workshops and external resources were called upon and a growing amount of time was soaked up.

This continued into Week 13. The current blog post is a retrospective. That is how important it was to resolve quality, instigate testing and build a professional approach to practice. Time normally spent learning and researching art and photography began to make way to working the critical methodology during the FMP blocks.

It would be great to have visual examples accompanying this post but for now it is important to continue making and delivering images elsewhere. Return later when priorities resolve.

There has been much catching up to do. After 10 weeks of being slain by the aftereffects of two bouts of flu, it is sad to note the passing of two more family members in the run-up to year-end.

In a way, the losses underline the importance of the project being made complete to pass on to others. The pay-off would be in gathering the technique that others may wish to use with their own, alongside forever unfolding events on a world stage, whether that be a 9/11 or something else.

PHO705: Assessment Period Reflection

The Helter Skelter that is Making (of late)

The research period moved into the making phase within the digital darkroom.

Many up and downswings have been encountered in the making, from renewed optimism to unexpected problems arising that needed to be resolved.

More structured recording of image statuses has now been established on Evernote as a wider body of work has emerged, none of which is entirely satisfactory at present.

Direction around abstract outcomes such as landscapes for some images fell foul of image banding as well as encountering more editing suite false images on the screen versus print.

Being guarded and mindful of this resulted in changes. A solar checking layer is used to detect banding where it might not be immediately visible to the eye followed by a step by step expansion method and 100% viewing (or do and undo merge layers).

And so too, subject matter bias changed in moving to the biology theme with the development of skill in making cellular images alongside associated graphic elements. Maybe too this was an avoidance strategy as avoidance of quality issues which and it led to switching the major theme to and fro ghost/landscape/biology

The methodology has changed through this as methodology currently biases towards forms as Surrealist imagery.

Another branch in the period in between these stages meant conducting a series of trials of merging stills dropped out of newsreel video. That presents challenges with the mixed resolution, edge problems and differential lighting when integrating. Time out was taken to practice overcoming these challenges but as a major wartime theme production has stopped for now. The problems can be tackled with more confidence having gained more practice on different methods. Whether to return to this or not is the question. There are probably too many themes for a book or exhibition and so something has to go. If the biology theme of cellular imagery went ahead then maybe too many similar images result. There is no obvious solution at this stage and so work continues with the numerous themes,

Reading the course requirement for quality scanning and professional making at this level on top of evidencing this does lead towards a situation of panic in these matters.

Thinking through the image merging the experience from the Summer exhibition weighed. Separate archives (of the author in this case) and abstract expressionistic images led to triptych layouts that worked in exhibition but not as a book (the weight of paper in a signature with not enough strength in the stitching. Signatures are complicated, always looking wrong at the earlier printing stage but turn out right, where triptych became unmanageable in the handling and ended up being complex or not practicable as a dummy.

PHO705: Working up the resolved portfolio

This blog post is a mixture of items from artist research through publication planning through to misleading image editing.

Artist Research

Helen Chadwick

Tony Essler

Exhibition

In the next week, the venue and date will be confirmed with the venue owner. The last exhibition, during the summer, was presented to an audience as a learning exercise in preparation for this FMP module of the MA Photography course.

As a learning thing, it was invaluable on all fronts. It is proposed to repeat this form and improve upon areas identified from advanced ‘marketing’, through to the quality of the edit with improved visual language and narrative.

Rather than stand alone as an unmarked work – course delivery is digital, the exhibition will again avoid being a Vanity project and help build the final PDF edit.

Newspaper|Magazine| Book

Having learned to hand bind and having practised by making two books and an exhibition pamphlet, the principles of making have been acquired and will be used to guide the selection of paper medium rather than allocate time to the unmarked making which cannot be handed in.

So printed artefacts will be designed and made but will use a professional service. A candidate service is currently being looked into.

Exhibition printing and mounting can be kept ‘in-house’. A decision will be made on technique, whether or not to do as in the summer surface mount prints on 40 by 50 board. The quality of the craftsmanship can be elevated to archival print mounting using cutouts and non-destructive taping.

The idea is to act in advance and take advantage of the settled decision to use 4 by 5 print ratio at A4. This means the board can be cut-out in advance. The layout is proven to work with the exhibition physical space and a simplified display method and available studio-style lighting which has been further augmented.

The ‘deal-breaker’ is in the image edit. If necessary, any archive image used that has to be landscape 4 by 5 ratio, will break the exhibition layout not just in terms of conformity but spatially – the exhibition needs to sit well within the identified space.

The conformity can be enforced as long as it makes sense and any ‘vital” image may be re-introduced into the final PDF edit.

The main images were previously described as being in an abstract expressionist style, by creating an emotion or feeling. The project has moved ever closer to the abstract surreal.

The abstract surreal is intended to be themed with archive photographs: originals of the author, family archive or images processed from historical video footage.

Image Editing Update

Having fallen foul of an editing software fault during a previous module (Adobe Lightroom Community, 2018), during the break it became necessary to view edits at a Zoom level of 100%. Work saved radically differed from the same image displayed on-screen during the editing process. What you see is not what you get. Variation from intent does represent a problem.

Some research into the unintended change led to an answer online (Adobe Photoshop Community, 2018).

The explanation is that the processing software avoids computer processing load by interpolating any smaller representation. In the current project, this is typically when the evolving image is fitted to screen – do not rely on what you see on screen unless at 100%. This became apparent in making image comparisons of processing Method A versus Method B following last months (December) Symposium on Imaging Science.

Bibliography

Adobe Photoshop Community (2018) Merge Layers fault. Available at: https://community.adobe.com/t5/photoshop/merge-adjustment-layers/td-p/9842482.

Adobe Lightroom Community (2018) Random red blocks appear on images exported through Lightroom. Available at: https://community.adobe.com/t5/lightroom-classic/seemingly-random-red-blocks-appear-on-images-exported-through-lightroom/m-p/10134977.

Innocence (2020) innocence paris. Available at: https://www.innocence-paris.com/fr/.

PHO705: Assessment Period Reflection

This reflection is made during the break otherwise timetabled as the first of three weeks of a University assessment period. No work on the Final Major Project FMP module is under assessment at this time. It is simply a break during which work is able to be progressed.

The activities conducted have been:

  • Guest Lectures and
  • Post-processing photographs.

Guest Lectures

The (optional) lectures watched back are:

  • Christiane Monarchi Part 1
  • Christiane Monarchi Part 2
  • David Moore
  • Guy Martin

The guest lecture by Jim Mottram was viewed last year. These lectures have been very useful and represent a blogging task that competes for a limited resource (time) when working on the priority task of making work. It will be necessary for completeness to return and write up the blog posts. It is interesting blogging this point of view when it is still the break.

Post-processing

The methodology employed is to post-process photographs of healing wounds into surreal/abstract style. Subsequent to this is a choice of theme that is essential to building a narrative.

There needs to be an oversupply of candidate images for various outcomes:

  • Exhibition images (for subsequent edit/reduction for the assessment PDF)
  • Book dummy in particular for a group meeting with a Book Designer.

Progress in post-processing

From the outset, time was taken to make the project a research-based project. This has matured and could go on longer than the permitted time for the course but now is coming together as a whole and so making has resumed.

A mixture of figurative images or images with other referents can be seen here. In these images above the referent relates to themes of ghost, inner/outer space, landscape/seascape/mountainscape.

With research ideas in place, making by intuition took take-off once more. As this progressed, that state of flow that is spoken of returned and a variety of outcomes were generated.

Variations sprang forward as in the case of the mind interpreting the outcomes as weird and eerie then finding this feel worked its way into non-healing as you recognise the characteristics in source photographs that likely produce an aesthetic. In particular, there has been an emphasis on synthesising a project theme of inner/outer spaces.

Also, by expanding reading into the Surreal it quickly becomes apparent how geometric manipulations used appropriately can expand the scope of work produced. There is a personal appeal and education bias here. At present, more general acceptance and a decision to proceed will be down to making more geometric manipulations. The purpose is to stimulate structural interest in the original glow images from the trace of healing and life energy.

Module activity has firmly progressed from ArtSci into digital imaging, and from outcomes into how they arise in the conscious mind supported by a reading of the weird and eerie and of the unheimlich and of place.

Another branch being touched upon is a return to further artist research to aid the positioning of practice amongst contemporary photographers.

In the digital post action, it is necessary to limit change if the image becomes overprocessed. For example, banding can occur. In a project that encompasses the real and the imaginary, there is the analogous of realistic depiction and an imaginary version of the image found to be displayed sometimes on screen.

Artefacts first noticed in some processed images in an earlier module returned to haunt a number of edit in FMP. The previous observation was of fringing, now it was of banding.

Eventually, this was traced to image zoom level affecting how the software adapts. The software creates in effect, fleeting visual outcomes that do not exist in reality when saving a file or printing and image. This seemed quite ‘haunting’ until an explanation was found on a technical forum.

The software maker in its attempt to reduce the processing load for a displayed image that is zoomed interpolates the pixel data and injects impermanent changes. Surreal/abstract imagery developed for the FMP Project can be prone to showing the desired finish but it is not possible to save or print.

It is not just the camera that sees differently to the eye, but now the editing software which is deemed an integral part sees differently to the author The camera never lies can be extended to the editor software never lies?

In defence of the software manufacturer, the product is intended for general purpose use within particular specialisms. The type of processing used for the FMP project is susceptible to showing up the problem discussed. It is especially true where there is an openness towards challenging the computing limits.

Integrity checks are now performed on new images during the making. An integrity check would be defined as confirming what is intended is what you see on screen and what you get as a result. We are used to JPEG saves adding artefacts in performing destructive processing when reducing file size. We are already aware of this. It is more of a surprise to see transitional effects that exist completely within the editing software and then vanishes.

If the effect is desirable and needs to be made permanent, then this involves using a camera to photograph the screen. This may or may not be successful by individual image.

Two checks have been routinely incorporated.

First is to add a curves layer with solarisation characteristic. High contrast shows up transitions and identifies banding. Fringing, by comparison, is already directly obvious to the eye.

Curves solar characteristic makes subtle banding more obvious.

Second, as an alternative is to merge layers – the difference is immediately obvious. If editing layers have to be retained then unmerge once the check has been performed.

Finally, try to work at 100% zoom for the true image or switch zoom to check the render. Full zoom at 100%, however, is usually less desirable than fit-to-screen that allows the overall image to be viewed.

Depending on the aesthetic and theme, some forms of banding are referent of DNA testing and so may be desirable in a print.

Reprocessed Photographs

Some photographs taken before FMP have been reprocessed to use more refined techniques that have been developed.

This increases the variety of source material and is consistent with good ethics given the nature of the subject, healing wounds.

More reprocessing is in progress and as the number of outcomes increases a decision can be made.

Narrative

The decision is pending at present around the visual theme. Adding archive to the mix is felt to really strengthen the presentation making it more accessible to the viewer. One processed image has had a second processed image layer added where the still was dropped out of video footage. The combination works well. There is a judgement needed in such pairings and whilst a second paring was found it still remains at present to increase the stock of surreal/abstract images.

PHO705: Christmas Reflection

The last week of Christmas Reflection before the University three week Assessment Period and course resumption next month on 20 January.

Portfolio Image Processing

The intention during the break has been to build a large enough catalogue of images for the current stage – transition to making.

The plan is to generate enough work to feed the planned public outcomes. This building activity is designed to generate the larger numbers of images required and serve to gather feedback and critique prior to a final edit for the assignments.

Work continued on processing images in light of the outcomes following the Imaging Science with the following developments.

Side by side image comparison

This refers to the outcomes of digital darkroom processing before and after imaging science symposium.

This is a side by side comparison of Method A (original image compression/decompression method) versus Method B (filter).

The reason for this was that whilst outcomes were easier to obtain were they flatter as in looking as a greyscale monochrome effect? The results are in the now-classic red developed for the summer exhibition.

Colour Outcomes

With so much focus on the above, the investigation of colour outcomes had taken a minor role in project development in the making aspect and so this has begun to be righted.

Colour Abstract Images by Michael Turner

The use of colour became important and was then dropped during an edit. Primarily, this use of colour became a signature style and appeared to have an indication of having greater commercial potential. What could be better, a signature style with commercial potential? One assessment is that we are living in a political age in which austerity is seen to be coming to a gradual close. Perhaps viewers want something with a sense of bright optimism or perhaps simply a distraction from their day.

The use of colour has to remain true to the project intent and colour was introduced because of this, as a way of remaining independently connected with the past and while living our lives find a sense of celebration.

Would those. making the greatest sacrifice have wished us to live our lives with sombre memory. Recognition, yes, if freely given and more nowadays with a reminder given the decline of living memory. The celebration of freedom is something that does not have to be justified but in doing so celebration represents our natural response to being free.

Celebration ought not to be a constant. Just as a grin tires and even begins to appear foolish we ought to as an intent of the Motherline provide the opportunity for the viewer to look upon the work and be given the opportunity to feel more uplifted. This intent has to be more grounded than consequences otherwise: a heavy heart: or even confusion as to why ponder over that which is dark.

Without consideration, the work could become irrelevant too soon.

There again a mixed visual message could be an outcome of mixing the sombre with the celebratory. It could easily make resolved work look unresolved.

To date, the use of colour has stubbornly remained as monochrome plus red (as in the blood spilt). The bright vibrant colours were dropped. However, it is a strong sign that colour was never let go of completely meaning that is an important element for the author.

It is not necessary or always beneficial to have a fixed signature style and yet realising this, it is a stronger motive to have vibrant saturated colour as an uplifting portfolio intent but that has to remain rooted to the past.

A previous line of the study led to Art as an Experience as a way forward but with a final outcome or realisation that Rothko who created work in this style ended his own life. This created a flash response, a rejection of this kind of art due to the association of an act seen as cowardly in some senses and it is linked to themes of bravery. This seemed like a form of ‘contamination’. The wrong word but a countertheme perhaps.

There is also the important consideration of self-preservation when deeply involved in the emotional response to the past events that consumed relatives. Normally, there would be moments of feeling but as an ongoing photography project, the intensity of feeling was heightened time and again through the authorship task. In a sense, this turned the theme away from colour but the themes remained in sombre mood. Something has changed in the six months or so that have passed.

It has to be the taking up again of Family Constellations. Realising that they (ancestors) had their lives, and lived the consequences, there is no need for us (or the author) to allow ourselves to become consumed. We can avoid entanglement with those we loved or would have loved and realise that we can simply live our own lives to the best we can reasonably do so.

What does this mean? Simply that the seeming barrier to using bright vibrant and saturated colour can be removed and colour brought back.

Looking back, is this the whole story? Two modules ago a colour image went for critique and was deemed undeniably to be DECORATIVE. The colour palette was pastel in the image, and not in harmony with the sombre.

Around this time Art as Experience as in Rothko’s large scale paintings in colour fell from favour in learning of Rothko’s demise. Circumstances further combined around the quasi-spiritual way in which an element of randomness in image data, resulted in stronger black and white images tied to emergent themes (of biology and of ghosts). And in such ways the argument swings between colour and black and white.

There is an element of being guided by the quasi-spiritual as this links to the soul of the author. This can be an intense experience. Whether this translates to the viewer is another matter.

What did connect at the practice exhibition was the availability of contextualising material and an artist talk. Beyond this was a strong engagement with activity in the presence of the author. Being able to pick up the prints and the exhibition in a box that was present meant visitors engaged over these. Whether this would stand in the absence of the author is probably a key point. Is the work meant to be a performance, is a key question? In fact, performance is the natural element the author prefers to work with as the socialising element of photography is a key motivator.

As an exhibition, this can be managed and through the author’s nature, it would be difficult to resist engagement. Again though, how would the work stand in the author’s absence. There are more occasions possible without the presence of the author, thus it becomes necessary to convey somehow that presence by some other means such as recording and prepared materials (for exhibition activity).

The strongest implementation is the exhibition in a box as it encompasses many if not all of the characteristics thought desireable. The presentation of the exhibition in a box at critique at Unseen Amsterdam was the embodiment. The way that critique ran, was as a result of having had the practice exhibition as a primer.

Public outreach becomes the challenge, So although the performative elements are satisfied would there be little or no residual message for the public, a curator or compared to prize entry.

A book, and it was thought that a book would be a strong approach, could resolve some of the performative and outreach elements. It would have to be more than a picture book and border on an activity book.

At the summer exhibition, it was good to have a book dummy to show the scope of the course, over which there was interest. This time it would be necessary to contain the subject to the Motherline project, where before it was the outcome of the so-called Rothko challenge.

An exhibition pamphlet was also created and was dark printed. Even the red colour was printed in black. This was a very uniform pamphlet in the current trend of the black paper noted at Arles Recontres. It was simple, lightweight in production demands (other than ink) and carried off well in dark mood. The actual pamphlet contained the full 23 image selection rather than the slightly later 18 image edit of the final exhibition. There was also a solution to cover printing.

Another pamphlet has to be made. This is in the final project plan. It could carry off colour printing but perhaps not with the same consistency as the black and white pamphlet. There is an accomplishment in hand binding even for the saddle-stitched example.

After a recent visit to The Photographers Gallery examples were purchased of sheet books similar to the pamphlet. One is unstitched and a plastic cover (Klien, 2019) with a long edge fold to keep the sheets stacked. The other is a small-sized monograph (Atkinson, 2017) with stapled binding.

Also in the portrayal of molecular biology, visuals e.g. DNA authors use colour for visual elements as an artistic choice. Vibrant, saturated colour fits well with this established theme.

Further Image Development

Image abstractions had so far resulted from healing wound photographs as this is the powerful tie between the living and those ancestors from the past. In the current period of reflection, the reading around the Unheimlich or Phantasmagoria, the Weird and the Eerie has had an impact on visual perception. Once triggered the appearance of abstract ghost or landscapes became unavoidable. As a consequence not 100% of abstract ghost images or eerie landscapes have been derived from healing wounds.

Once the mind’s eye became attuned, a few potential photographs began to be gathered and processed. Although only a few such images have resulted, the principle of authenticity has to be considered. Would these images pollute, or even dilute the work? Perhaps it is no different to using archive photographs?

FMP Guest Lectures

It was decided early on to engage in the (optional) guest lecture series provided as FMP resources. Ahead of deadline which if there is one is during resumption in late January.

In looking ahead the following lectures have been watched ahead of updating a blog post for each.


Guest Lecture (Publication) – Christiane Monarchi Part 1

Guest Lecture (Publication) – Christiane Monarchi Part 2

Guest Lecture (Publication) – Jim Mortram

Guest Lecture (Publication) – David Moore

Guest Lecture (Publication) – Guy Martin

Work is being piled up in the break. It will be important to keep the balance of progress right. As a consequence, Guest Lecture consumption has been placed outside of “office hours”. Watching the GLs encourages focus on them and while it would be good to complete the related blog posts this would detract from other key activities.

A video/moving still has yet to be made. The approaches considered for making have two options at present 1) a moving landscape – a file has been processed to enable this to be done. 2) a remake of the video made in the previous module and used in the Summer Exhibition – the materials could bring onboard archive stills, the historic family album and war scene images extracted from video footage.

This serves to expand the related theme possibilities and has been an investment in time. It may be that the time has arrived to begin looking for the most plausible way forward that strengthens the project Motherline.

The examples of other work that comes to mind when resolving this are:

War Primer 2 (Broomberg, 2018) – here pages are media collages of different sources of still including from television or video in one example a tv broadcast is visible. This is the most comprehensive use of materials but likely a challenge to manage as a solo presentation. Is it necessary to use all of the sources gathered for the FMP Module,? Probably no, if the result looks scruffy and the public materials have increased scope of errant decision making by incorrectly pairing when there is a vast amount of images not to mention the appearance of several texts per collage. Broomberg worked with Chanarin and so together they were able to take stock and check more readily for potential flaws. It is not known how long the authors spent creating the edit for War Primer 2 but this could easily exceed the FMP three months work remaining on this MA Photography course.

What is most likely is that War Primer 2 provides a structure to test against in making Motherline. Then beyond the MA there are materials already researched for potential further development. One possibility is to separate some of the picture sources into supporting work products, as in an extra book dummy which could be useful in further practising bookbinding. or as a video or moving still resource.

It will be advisable to avoid being drawn into this too far before considering the mark. In the previous module, in addition to the three assignments that were handed in, a lot of hard work was done and at the last, there were unmarked items: book dummies (book and catalogue), an eight-day (so-called practice) exhibition with an artist talk and other supporting work; portable exhibition in a box, video, music selection, side exhibition of colour abstract work and extra prints.

Reminders

Trial PDF making.

Return to video / moving stills making.

Bibliography

Atkinson, C. (2017) London Barbican. 2017 Open. Cafe Royal Books CRB. Available at: www.caferoyalbooks.com.

Broomberg, A. and Chanarin, O. (2018) War Primer 2. London, [England]: MACK.

Klein, W. (2019) Photographique. 1st edn. Edited by K. Stevens and P.-L. Denis. ethos.ink. Available at: http://www.ethos.ink.

PHO705: Christmas Reflection

This post relates to calendar Weeks 13 and 14. A return was made to reading, PHO705: Research – Phantasmagoria and the Weird and the Eerie in PHO705: Beyond the Unheimlich. This has meant going back to these earlier weeks posts to update them.

The way this blog is structured it keeps to an original plan of delivering posts to a given schedule. A number of blank posts are present that call for attention, for example, reviewing some optional FMP video materials that if reviewed give a wider experience. This brings attention to the activities and should help to get the work done. There is a natural balance developing.

At present activity has been prioritised towards making and this is timely given the Symposium attended and the access gained to relevant expertise and further related research. Meanwhile, sets of images will be needed as a growing matter of urgency, to build a broad portfolio for onward editing. Making also gained importance in avoiding any pitfall in interpreting science. An example that comes to mind is that of Phrenology from the earlier years of photography. The project assumption around IR filtering and processing becomes trace rather than direct as originally postulated. The theme of identification of Motherline ancestors remained true.

PHO705: Digital Darkroom Analysis for Motherline

An analysis of digital darkroom activity followed on from the posts on Art Science and Imaging Science Symposium and concerns the How. This has resulted on a return to making which until now had slowed while research ran on.

A change in method has occurred to an equivalent approach that produces equivalent results and was possible after a more detailed look into the techniques used as well as having been able to enter the discussion with scientific imaging experts. The new darkroom method is more direct and controllable and simpler to work with.

Greater insight has led to more flexible image manipulation and then onto a new approach able to generate image sets. Potentially the extended method could be used to generate wide landscapes or sets of images for moving stills. This is very much in tune with the Final Proposal to generate supporting materials during the seasonal break, to advance the materials available to use in an exhibition or book.

Further work into contextualising the project visuals has been progressed by capturing images from Great War video broadcast material. The capture and initial handling of the numerous images is an enabler to any next stage.

The themes derived have expanded choice and at some point in the next month say some decisions will have to be made. It would make sense to trial the themes where possible and even make them public to get a sense of what gains the best impact while maintaining the original project intent.

PHO705: Recombinant Rhymes and DNA Art

This blog was revisited and research extended from DNA to RNA and the 1100-word set for words containing the letters ACGT of the DNA bases has been extended for RNA bases ACGU with a 500-word set (lists partially overlap each other). It has been informative to learn of the RNA processes and how it connects to the overall picture of life.

The activity is more of a supporting task than the main task of the FMP but will add to the overall impact of the planned exhibition and possibly of a book.

Conclusion

First identified in PHO705: Research-Driven Practice effort has substantially moved to build research around Motherline project development. The natural cycle of research turning into making continues on from two earlier modules and informs the FMP module activity which is given a solid grounding in project-related research. The intent is to take work public and then enter a final stage of refinement and edit stage to ready for submission for assessment.

PHO705: Digital Darkroom Analysis for Motherline

This post follows on from PHO705: Symposium – Good Picture 2019 “Imaging Revealed”

A detail was examined of the source of image glow in humans

Michael Turner based on UV image by Dr J Crowther

Access to imaging scientists led to emanation being discarded as it is undetectable. Instead, attention is brought to body reflection in the visible light spectrum. The scope was introduced for a secondary effect caused by visible light having triggered bacterial fluorescence.

Further research and reflection have guided change and resulted in the adaption of digital darkroom processing that now uses simpler steps that are easier to manage and more flexible in fine-tuning the healing wound image.

Motherline (mtDNA) and Glow

The ancestral basis of identification between individuals had been established through the Motherline as an image Aura or Emanation.

The method still stands, but as trace rather than direct emanation. Trace is in cellular heat created by mtDNA / ATP processes. This is largely through the increased blood supply at a healing wound. Blood contains levels of mtDNA as do all of the other cells but does not contain nuclear DNA. Direct emanation by humans is a measurable process but it is only detectable using scientific instruments.

We have to discount bacterial fluorescence. Bacteria are necessary to our existence and are present in great numbers alongside our human cells. However, bacteria are not genetically human and so the glow created by bacterial fluorescence cannot be attributed to the ancestral link but to the general population instead. Bacterial glow does not develop the psychological process of identification with ancestors.

Equivalence

Equivalence has been found between:

Process A

In HDR Tone

Compress (gamma) and simplify (slider)

In Levels

Spread and decompress (gamma)

Process B (new)

Simplify (ACR Clarity)

Colour layer | Luminance

In Levels

Spread

Comparison A versus B

The effects are equivalent and the number of steps the same. Method A can lose image data by compressing and decompressing where Method B preserves data. Method B. This gives more scope to subtly enhance the through colour channel (RGB) adjustments.

Conclusion

Processing Method A (HDR Tone) remains valid although there is no direct detection of IR. Method B can be adopted in its place for improved data retention and colour processing. The effect applied can be more readily followed.

Visible light detection is what is present and derives mainly from the blood supply to and around the healing wound and is connected to Motherline mtDNA although. As nuclear DNA is not presented in blood this makes the detection a close.

PHO705: Guest Lecture (Publication) – Christiane Monarchi Part 2

Watch this Guest Lecture video and comment.

This is a lecture designed to help artists/photographers take their work forward and is based on experience in the art market and photography competitions.

The idea is to think of the product and object product quality. Lower quality can be of greater value. Long-lasting ink helps as does a small edition size where 3 might be better than 20 is unique. Start with low prices and grow with later editions after sell out.

Consider mounting so collectors can store as archival photographs and longevity affects price.

Another consideration is to prepare a statement for later to be condensed. Have own words ready to go.

It’s better to have updates on the website rather than separate CV. It is valid to have an interchange say with other students and record their interpretation of work. It is very different to only the artist’s own words and less emotional and personal.

Social media should be about you and promote others exhibitions. Link back to the website.

Advice from an RA talk was given. Then different types of gallery were classified.

In another part of the guest lecture consideration and advice was given over Competitions (and residencies) and of Collectives where people foster creativity and show together.

PHO705: Symposium – Good Picture 2019 “Imaging Revealed”

Note concerning project naming:

The name Motherline is introduced into blog usage below as it is now being adopted. Motherline refers to the photography of healing wounds and the resultant abstract glow images from a digital post method.

Imaging Science

Long-awaited, the Symposium on imaging science took place at the University of Westminster. on Saturday 14 December 2019.

The opportunity existed to be introduced and meet people from the scientific and medical community. A number of those present were from the Kodak or Ilford companies and from the Universities or other professional bodies.

Imaging science participants were generous in giving their time to listen to the Motherline image glow and the post-processing techniques used.

Michael Turner based on UV image by Dr J Crowther
Michael Turner based on UV image by Dr J Crowther

A processed image was created from a UV image portrait captured after the Symposium talk Imaging the Skin – UV, visible light and IR

As preparation for attending the conference, research was conducted into image compression and decompression, as the techniques used in enhancing glow in Motherline photographs.

It became possible to describe to a medical forensic imaging expert the art interpretations of glow in healing and in return obtain vital and conclusive feedback.

A detailed discussion was had on the processing steps for potential infrared detection. The wavelengths for emanations from healing wounds at human body temperature are very long wavelength, well beyond consumer camera detection capability. The conclusion was that there will be no detection of IR emanation.

Where IR is received by a smartphone camera, in the example of the domestic remote control, the wavelength is short enough to be detected depending on the exact optics of a specific camera, lens and bayesian filter.

Blood Supply |Bacterial Fluorescence

However, in the project photography there is a glow present, so where does it come from? A general news article explains (Hrala, 2016).

Foremost is the presence of blood supply around a healing wound.

Potentially there is fluorescence present. Bacteria gather in the region of a healing wound. When excited by an external light source a glow will appear in the visible spectrum. A Japanese research paper examines this in detail (Koboyashi, 2009)

Detection used a cooled CCD in conditions of complete darkness. With a prosumer camera, there is no detection of direct bodily emanation from a healing wound. Rather than emanation, an external light source excites the bacteria and produces fluorescence in the visible light spectrum.

Both of these effects are the likely cause of the glow that appears in the photo project images.

Bibliography

Hrala, J. (2016) You Can’t See It, But Humans Actually Glow With Our Own Form of Bioluminescencescience alert. Available at: https://www.sciencealert.com/you-can-t-see-it-but-humans-actually-glow-in-visible-light.

Koboyashi, M., Daisuke, K. and Okamura, H. (2009) Imaging of Ultraweak Spontaneous Photon Emission from Human Body Displaying Diurnal RhythmPLOS | ONE. Available at: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0006256.

PHO705: Recombinant Rhymes and DNA Art

Project development: rhymes, art and naming of the photo project.

Oxford definition.

This post is an extension of the Recombinant Rhymes and DNA Art (McNamee, 2019) feature in the blog post, PHO705: Research Artsci, Communicating Science Visually, Computational Biology and a new Avant-Garde

The intention is to deliver something art-based (rhyme or graphic text or image titles) over the upcoming period between terms as noted in the Final Proposal. An intention is to experiment to discover if contextualisation and visual language can be built with Recombinant Rhymes or DNA Art.

The idea is to use imagination in selecting words like TELEOLOGICAL that contain DNA base letters ACGT and combine them for effect, perhaps making a video with a reading of a rhyme. Words are intended to be selected for their connection to narratives of the project.

Select from the following ACGT words for some connected meaning:

Base-words-ACGT

Examples:

  • Advocating 
  • Fracturing conflagrations
  • Countervailing 
  • Lethargic contagiousness

Interestingly, the validated list contains the terms Abstracting and Photographic.

Project naming

In short, “Motherline” is the name presently chosen. This is less politically charged than the earlier proposed project name “Matriarchy”.

Matriarchy like patriarchy has political overtones, so is not so attuned to the themes of the work.

Motherline is derived here from the post PHO705: Visual Language of DNA Testing and the terms:

  • Family Ancestry (autosomal DNA)
  • Motherline Ancestry (mtDNA)
  • Fatherline Ancestry (Y-DNA)

Bibliography

McNamee, A. (2019) ‘Art of Now Recombinant Rhymes and DNA Art’. A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4. Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0002rkb

PHO705: Group Guest Critique 10 Dec 2019

Theme sets

Themes occur in several sets subdivided. First, are the now consistent outputs of the work, and second, the themes of visual narrative explored and third the set of the subject matter placed before the camera.

In turn, we have:

Out of abstraction, the theme set subdivided into

  • place as landscape/seascape/mountains of heritage and theatre of war;
  • ghosts ever more recurring;
  • depictions of inner/outer space.

Out of the physical and psychoanalytical, the theme sets are around language/communication and intent:

  • science mitochondrial DNA,
  • war,
  • the phenomenological – the weird/eerie/uncanny

Examples of the above can be found in this portfolio:

Portfolio by Michael Turner

There is the theme set of the subject and photography:

  • healing wounds,
  • museum (military and medicine),
  • family archive,
  • video (gaming and broadcast)
  • Generative art.

Examples of some of the above are also in this portfolio.

Portfolio by Michael Turner

In retrospect, this presents the analytical. To think in deconstructivist terms as in Derrida, it would make sense to home in on that which conveys the main feelings. There again Art Science (Artsci) as described by Arthur Millar brings scientific method back into scope. The latter demands more resolution by the artist. Millar points to the history of the avant-garde. The art world and gallery system had rejected impressionism and the likes of Picasso as surrealist. Artists then built alliances later their work being more established it became more widely accepted. Millar might argue the case for art-science as the new avant-garde.

In the case of accepting Millar, then the project proceeds as

Family Constellations

Family Constellations have allowed freedom from entanglement with ancestors and their narratives of loss in a war.

FMP Experimental

View the following as experimental imagery that is work in progress. This is not the end product of publishable standard at this early point.

PHO705: Week 9 Reflection

Bases and Ghost by Michael Turner

Position and Intent

The work is intended to be positioned within Modernism PHO705: Modernism. As abstract it may fit into the Art-Science avant-garde as a branch of Modernism.

The implementation is still open at an early stage. Developments in one direction are towards overlapping archive ancestry images of motherline and mtDNA glow images.

Motherline – Glow by Michael Turner

This is in the direction of Susan Hiller Aura and Falmouth painter Jake Wood Evans. PHO705: Artist Jake Wood Evans

To go ahead, work needs to be resolved. As these firm, vestiges are present in other approaches.

War imagery, either from Museum exhibits or from video archives footage. There is the style of Natalia Goncherova with angels and flying machines compressed into the frame in a very claustrophobic way (as in her lithographs).

Science, as molecular biology, animation and Generative Art.

Further influences begin with Albert Steiglitz and images similar to cloud formations. This is closest to my type of work of any of the above approaches.

by Steiglitz

There persists influence from Picasso, in breaking bounds then Rachel Howard in terms of the hidden brush of gravity abstract style.

Thoughts about Resolution

More wayward approaches need to be set aside where project intent risks being diluted i.e avoid any negative impact.

The strong influence going into the Final Major Project FMP has been to resolve the visual language to make the abstract accessible to the viewer. This was achieved in a summer exhibition although the martial narrative need not be enforced was a consideration.

Having just stated that though, the war theme is necessary otherwise we lose the linkage and orphan the themes of place foreign and theme of ghosts recurrent.

PHO705: Week 12 Reflection

The following were covered in Week 12/;

PHO705: Symposium – Good Picture 2019 “Imaging Revealed”

The Symposium was long-awaited (August – December), and in terms of the ‘How’ element of the major project Motherline. The impact of ancestral identification was tested in discussion with imaging science professionals. Fortunately, the basis of the project once more stands when the premise is tested against science.

The input received on the methodology of making acted as a precursor for ramping up image creation which during the break has now taken off.

PHO705: Recombinant Rhymes and DNA Art

Recombinant rhymes and DNA Art is approached as supporting art either in creating Exhibition context or as part of a book, or indeed both.

The scope was set as words containing DNA base letters ACGT from which ‘poetry’ might be created. Originally this was inspired ‘double-strand poetry’ from a BBC Art-Science podcast.

Since the word list (circa 1100 words) was created for DNA using ACGT bases a second and partly overlapping wordlist (circa 500 words) has been created for RNA using its bases ACGU.

The idea would be to create a spoken-word recording and contextualising graphics for exhibition atmosphere and book in turn.

The atmospherics of playing spoken word was experienced at the Tate Modern exhibition of Natalia Goncharova’s work. In one area, viewers were funnelled through a corridor space that linked two functional areas. The corridor had its own smaller-scale works on view. Playing in the background was a recording of a Russian speaker whose voice created a wonderful aesthetic effect.

Example Russian speaker recording from the Tate exhibition:

During the summer exhibition. the atmosphere was created by video (and for a while using audio) and proved effective as a trial.

PHO705: Group Guest Critique 10 Dec 2019

There were two students with our guest so a minimum group size on the day.

The other student went first whose work had already been reviewed amongst the cohort. Comment related to:

  • advice to drop text and focus on visual language.
  • a question about reverting to film process.

The recently named Motherline was reviewed and received reviewer comment. Questions related to clarification and comments were mainly of the checklist variety:

Was the intent exhibition? Yes. The summer exhibition led to a question about the level of comment received. This was recorded already within this blog. The reviewer wished to attend the Easter exhibition as the venue had been decided and dates needed to be pencilled in.

PHO705: Guest Lecture (Publication) – Christiane Monarchi Part 1

Watch this Guest Lecture video and comment.

Christiane set-up Photomonitor and explained how this was set-up from her getting involved in Pluck and Portfolio and a desire to find out what was on. across a range of areas over and above the large institutions. She would advise in how to set up a niche.

Gaps were found in the offerings of:

  • Art List – large institutions
  • Art Rabbit.com – global and no UK focus
  • New Exhibitions Guide – major mostly historic items
  • British Journal of Photography – stopped doing listings
  • Photoworks – annual, great read but infrequent

Christiane’s requirement was UK and Ireland centric, for artists and emerging writers and all in an up to date guide of what’s on now. Here need was to bring people to photography and go and see it, think about it and spread the word. All without ads and is free.

The result in 2011 was www.photomonitor.co.uk. From the front page, key links are the Portfolio link written by the artist rather than mediated, there are listings sometimes with reading more depending on the gallery and their subscription. There are Reviews including of live exhibitions. Interviews talking to artists. Essays that have been researched. Auctions cover smaller upcoming auctions. Collections are interviews. Book reviews cover self-published and large publishers.

Christiane encourages artists to take a break and listen to others.

In terms of making a publication the 5 Years’ statistics were given:

The right hand column draws funding and that pays for commissioning the items on the right as community members.

In summary there are many many opportunities to see work that is shared.

Commissioned pieces are paid at 20p a word to a maximum as a budget constraint. 500 words on a screen are practical.

Commissioning is wider than London covering Wales and Ireland. Timeliness is key as mentioned to get people to the exhibitions. Social media is important for sharing.

t: @photomonitor

Christiane talked about potential for growing Photomonitor including into streaming of live audience talks.

Some Inspiring Platforms were listed:

Anyone with new ideas is encouraged to get in contact.

Response to Online Publication.

It is always exciting to see the smaller business venture establish itself and succeed. Any personal involvement would be to read Photomonitor and assess how it stands alongside say for example, major gallery memberships.

The online element is approached as a Portfolio website and as Instagram for marketing (planned) not to mention this blog site created for the MA Photography course.

There is still more to discover in Part 2 of Christiane’s guest lecture.

PHO705: Colour

The previous portfolio settled on monochrome and red. It is interesting to re-discover the following quotation from an external to MA course, The Power of Colour. KLC School of Design.

The following colour interpretations are there to be agreed or disagreed with.

“According to Benjamin Whorf’s Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis, the language a person speaks determines how he or she experiences the world. This can affect how someone perceives colour. For example, the Shona language in Zimbabwe does not distinguish between red and orange. There seems to be a pattern, however, in the order in which all languages recognise colours: all languages appear to have a name for black and white, and if a third colour is recognised, that is red, and next comes yellow or green. “

“People who live in sunny climates prefer warm, bright colours, whereas those from places with less sunlight prefer cooler, less saturated colours.”

Quotations from KLC School of Design

There is a useful article What Colors Mean in Other Cultures. This proved useful in the past and so is brought into the scope of this blog post.

Another colour reference is marketing related Colours Across Cultures: Translating Colours in Interactive Marketing Communications

TranslatingColours

Colour Psychology

Colour Psychology has been extensively written about, and again here in Chivers and Wright. However, there is often a willingness to accept what is prescribed yet the verdict around any rules and interpretations is open in terms of there being no absolute scientific validity.

Micco-Groenholm-on-Color-Affects-System

KLC School of Design

PHO705: Modernism

A re-exploration of the roots of Abstract in Bauhaus, Modernism, Post Modernism and Abstract Expressionism. Here, for now, a start is made.

This blog post serves as a reminder to revisit the developments that led to Abstract Art. This research was started in an earlier module. As there is a link to the chosen abstract genre for the final photo project, there is a reason to extend the reading.

Historic references are recorded here from external to MA studies:

  1. Spotlight on Walter Gropius
  2. The Bauhaus Movement (see timeline at the end of this blog post)
  3. Johannes Itten Biography

Further inquiry begins here with Rothko and Albers.

Mapped History of Abstract Art

(Affron, 2012) Inside front cover

Note: attended Tate Modern Exhibition of Natalia Goncharova during Assessment Period 4.

Marc Rothko

Rothko has had numerous mentions in this blog over the past 18 months:

Josef Albers

Albers work gained mention in an external course on colour but did not gain mention within the scope of this MA blog other than a blog this week PHO705: Artist Jake Wood Evans. To right this here a quotation is taken verbatim from (Affron, 2012) Page 302 as it ties together a number of references:

“Itten’s tenure at the Bauhaus was notoriously marked by the increasing incompatibility between the Expressionist and esoteric impulses of Ittenand his cohort and the functionalist ethos for which the school would become known. That tension is latent in Josef Albers’s Gitterbild (Lattice Picture), also known as Grid Mounted … Working on this piece as a student in the glass workshop of the Bauhaus, Albers cut and arranged squares on manufacturers’ samples of glass within a regular metal lattice. On the one hand, this straightforward grid composition foregrounds the materiality and variety of industrially produced glass, divested of the conventional esoteric connotations of coloured glass panes, for example in church windows. (Albers had created a stained glass window for a church four years earlier, and he would have been thoroughly familiar with the mystical connotations of stained glass). And yet, as light passes through Albers’ grid, Kandinsky’s immaterial fantasy of unbounded colour returns, finding subtle expressions through the chromatic emanation of light.”

(Affron. 2012) Page 302
Gitterbild (Lattice Picture) / Grid Mounted Josef Albers

The above plate is from the book Inventing Abstraction (Affron, 2012)

Alfred Stieglitz

Stieglitz work (Birgus, 2002) Pages 44 and 45 have visual similarities with the earlier portfolio images created for the MA as well as the current crop of images. Interestingly the 4×5 print format is common.

Images – Alfred Stieglitz

Laslo Maholy-Nagy

Having read photographic theory expounded by this writer and artist, and now having viewed a particular image, a chord has been struck. It concerns the appearance of the Christian symbol of the cross as it recurred in earlier work in the build-up to the MA portfolios.

In memory of Sibyl Maholy-Nagy – Laslo Maholy-Nagy

Wassily Kandinsky

Kandinsky is linked in the quotation above and has been previously blogged.

PHO703: Week 1 to 12 Surfaces and Strategies Contextualisation

Bibliography

Affron, M., Bois, Y. and et al (2012) Inventing Abstraction 1910-1925. 3rd 2014. Edited by D. Frankel. New York: Department of Publications Museum of Modern Art. Available at: http://www.thamesandhudson.com.

Birgus, V. et al. (2002) Die Kunst der Abstrakten Fotografie The Art of Abstract Photography. Edited by Jager Gottfried. Stuttgart, Germany: Arnoldsche Art Publishers.

Appendix

PHO705: Artist Jake Wood Evans

Attention was drawn to Irish artist Jake Wood Evans painting style.

Connected here is the use of Turner family archive photographs mixed with abstract art which has been trialled. Also, similar is the work of Susan Hiller – Aura, already referenced in this blog,

Paintings – Jake Wood Evans

There is something similar in intent. The final photo project images almost exclusively in black and white may benefit from hand colourization before mixing with mtDNA abstract art images. A basic sepia colouration might be a start.

What could be quite exciting would be the use of some muted or bold colour theory – this is getting quite exciting. Some practice and reading (Albers, 2013) and (Quiller, 2002), were conducted as part of the project research in an earlier module.

Also attended was a four-week course on The Power of Colour presented by the KLC School of Design. Colour theory also makes a regular appearance in Studio photography workshops at work.

Bibliography

Albers, J. (2013) Interaction of Color. 4th edn. Yale University Press. Available at: yalebooks.com/art.

Quiller, S. (2002) Color Choices Making Color Sense out of Color Theory. New York: Watson-Guptill Publications.

PHO705: Thinking allowed/aloud

As current research continues into Phenomenology and mtDNA, a break is taken to cast ahead to publication. The work has to be taken to the public and is still experimental as shown in PHO705: WEEK 9 REFLECTION. Some of the making stages in the plan will arrive soon enough.

It makes sense to gather some direction even though the desire is there to complete work in progress reading as mentioned in PHO705: WEEK 10 REFLECTION.

Thinking through one idea here has a purpose of creating a Strawman. This will have enough form or structure or clarify the artistic design. This idea is about a book and starts with Ghost images. These creations appear fleetingly and have to be captured before they disappear. There is a need to conquer this and to avoid there being no work of this type to show. Apparitions are always welcome to this work but the nature of creating them is open to the random. A perhaps predictable but nevertheless still surprising element of this randomness occurred during a period of distraction in which Ghost images began to appear in other made work, outside of the main project. Perhaps these intrusions are just another type of Ghost, linked to the main project by occurring during the project timescale.

In the previous module, an attempt was made to help progress by restricting image scope to abstract Landscape. At first, this was a mistaken choice. As with Ghosts, Landscapes are also subject to random process but nevertheless, they regularly feature in the work.

The experience was somewhat worrying as having restricted scope to landscape the theme was worked towards for a solid two weeks and the worst – no Landscape could be made. Letting intuition take over the method of obtaining the desired result was finally fathomed. A way of making at will was settled on which largely depended on recognising the kind of processed starting image that might work. There is an earlier Landscape representation with horizontals and verticals that would have been readily obtained from the start, which may still feature as published work, but what it had led to was a more imaginative scene that required more sophisticated processing more akin to perspective images as compared to earlier flatter images.

All this is taken as a lesson learned around the intuitive making versus something closely allied to a ‘commissioned’ approach.

The Week 9 reflection above turned up a Ghost of the kind sought. But what if that was it? in this case, it might be necessary to showcase the image as a full-page and in a process of categorisation accompany it with earlier ghost images as a plate of smaller inserts.

There is a process of categorisation that would work equally as well with the works other representations (seascapes/mountainscapes and spaces inner/outer). Each theme is linked phenomenologically with narratives of the work but each would stand as page layouts again of main plate and plate of earlier images at a smaller scale.

This is not the final piece, but thus far it has an appeal. It leads to making and it does so in a structured way and way familiar to the author and in some respects reflective of Victorian categorisation schemes e.g. in Botany.

To take this a stage further is to keep a keen eye on an Exhibition element of publication. Having learned from visits of a knowledgeable public to a Summer exhibition of recent work, the idea would be to take from this experience the things that worked well with the audiences especially around sequenced narrative and incorporate it into the same book design mentioned above. A book section that parallels an Exhibition.

There then becomes a substantive element of making to propose and gather feedback on from the University regards the standards of the MA Photography course. It would also be necessary to maintain balance, i.e. not try and squeeze a long term project into the remaining time on the MA.

What this is about is the practicalities of making images of publishable standard, about a book and about an exhibition.

There are extras planned either to assist the design such as using ISSUU as a template for hand, bookbinding. Or, to help create impactfully contextualisation by making moving stills and or a video. This created the atmosphere at the earlier summer exhibition.

The exhibition has some elements that are rooted such as the available space and the possibility for lunchtime pop-ups during appropriate photographic training sessions. Some elements would be more aspirational at present, such as making society presentations at one or both societies with which there is an affiliation. This is a likely outcome but does not have to happen within the timeframe of the MA, it can follow on. Another group or in fact two groups have made approaches although generally so and not so much around a specific project.

The aspirational elements represent To-do action if something is to be achieved. For the purpose of the MA and continuity, it might make sense to negotiate with the various societies and groups, the further taking of the work to public view but time this to allow freedom to complete substantive work for the MA without too much self-imposed overload.

PHO705: Week 11 Reflection

As research continues into Phenomenology and mtDNA thoughts cast ahead to publication – PHO705: THINKING ALLOWED/ALOUD. In a sense, this has been a reflection upon recent refections and keeps in mind the need to take the work public.

The blog post PHO705: Artist Jake Wood Evans led to quite a bit of inspiration over colour. Colour has previously been worked on where it settled. In other words, the colour palette settled on monochrome and red as the preferred colour scheme. The reason for mentioning this is that whilst the references are very useful and interesting, the value of making a deeper dive could have limited value other than polishing work as there is already a developed sense of colour from work practice and ongoing development of colour in the projects developed for this MA Photography course.

While PHO705: Thinking allowed/aloud cast ahead to possibilities for making. This made a break from the intensity of research themes; of Phenomenology and the biological in terms of mtDNA.

In the background, research into Phenomenology in relation to the final photo project continued in spare moments. This will need to be taken under closer control to prevent reading from becoming too open-ended.

It is beginning to be sensed how much more time needs to be spent researching topics that can become very open-ended. IT has been quite a luxury being able to spend the time so far and this has aligned with such matters as continually being laid dreadfully low as bug resistance seemed to almost disappear for the majority of the Final module.

Whilst reflecting on colour, a seminal work was re-discovered that is available in PDf form. (Itten, 1970)

Bibliography

Itten, J. (1970) The Elements of Color. Edited by F. Birren and E. van Hagen. New York, Cincinnati, Toronto, London, Melbourne: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company. Available at: https://monoskop.org/images/4/46/Itten_Johannes_The_Elements_of_Color.pdf.

PHO705: Visual Language of DNA Testing

There are different commercial services that provide DNA testing connected with ancestry. One service is mentioned here as they have an option to have a personalised book and that fits well with researching visual language of DNA. Two services were inspected:

This is a continuation of earlier research. It looks at a specific book product of commercial DNA testing. The idea is to gain awareness of public perceptions around DNA by examining the visual language used by a company promoting DNA testing.

This current phase of research is prompted by the order and eventual arrival of a personalised analysis “Your DNA Adventure” (LivingDNA, 2019).

The content is predicated on three types of DNA we possess.

  • Family Ancestry (autosomal DNA)
  • Motherline Ancestry (mtDNA)
  • Fatherline Ancestry (Y-DNA)

As the photo project majors on the Motherline (a term now preferred to matriarchy as it softens potential for feminist bias.

The motherline is highly stable over thousands of years and once a change does occur it is passed down to descendants. The top-level term used is Haplogroup within which exist Subclades.

Descriptive language then takes over preventing opaqueness and is a strategy noted elsewhere for keeping others engaged.

There is a very good reference section to explore.

Within the publication the visual themes range across:

  • trees on African savanna (covers)

Note: The visual references are probably best viewed as a publication rather than my translate to text here.

Bibliography

LivingDNA (2019) Michael Turner – Your DNA Adventure.

PHO705: Guest Lecture Alex Bailey

The video can be found here.

Alex is a Commercial Photographer working over several decades on marketing and publicity for film and television.

He described how this work is delineated and gave examples of commissioned work, a concept sheet and a mood board.

As we as students have learned to do, Alex for the first time was faced with making a presentation of; his own influences; what brought him to photography and which book and photographic names encouraged him to become a Commercial photographer, one who brings his own artistic integrity.

Key aspects of career had been: the opening up of the closed shop practices that existed prior to the Thatcher political era, and the impact of the transition to digital on technical and business practice.

The practicalities of commercial practice were illuminated. The passion Alex has for his subject is clear.

Personally, what was said resonated clearly with some fairly recent education on the film industry. This industry is active in the local region around London.

Copious notes were taken. I shan’t dwell on this lecture even though it was thoroughly enjoyed as a contrasting practice to my own. Seeing Alex’s work and getting such insight into his contrasting practice was a great help in understanding my own practice.

PHO705: Week 10 Reflection

Week 10 completed whilst still getting over the after-effects of flu.

Another research week (with some photographs post-processed).

Research into Biology has somewhat taken priority.

Reading continues with Photography and the Optical Unconscious (Smith, 2017).

There remains a backlog of reading material with Phantasmagoria (Warner, 2006); The Weird and the Eerie (Fisher, 2016), Memory of Place (Trigg, 2013); the Body Keeps the Score (Kolk, 2015).

Competition between themes meant a switch for Phenomenology to mtDNA. Time did need to be spent on visual research of mtDNA. There is a need to switch back to the Phenomenological in Week 11.

There is a growing need to further develop photographs in the digital darkroom if work is to be shown. The last update was in PHO705: Week 9 Reflection.

Bibliography

Miller, A. I. (2014) Colliding Worlds – How Cutting-Edge Science is Redefining Contemporary Art. New York and London: W. W. Norton and Company. Available at: http://www.wwnorton.

Smith, S. M. and Sliwinski, S. (2017) Photography and the Optical Unconscious. eBook. Chicago, US: Duke University Press. Available at: https://lccn.loc.gov/2016048393.

Backlog

Fisher, M. (2016) The Weird and the Eerie. London, [England]: Repeater Books. Available at: https://www.repeaterbooks.com.

Kolk, B. Van Der (2015) The Body Keeps the Score Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Trauma. Penguin. Great Britain: Penguin Random House UK. Available at: http://www.greenpenguin.co.uk.

Trigg, D. (2013) The Memory of Place A Phenomenology of the Uncanny. Athens: Ohio University Press. Available at: http://www.ohioswallow.com.

Warner, M. (2006) Phantasmagoria Spirit Visions, Metaphors and Media into the Twenty-first Century. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

PHO705: Research Artsci, Communicating Science Visually, Computational Biology and a new Avante-Garde

Following the visit to the Wellcome Museum, it was clear that others must be working in an area where art is created from science.

Artsci is the term coined in the book (Miller, 2014) where Artsci acknowledges a convergence of Arts, Science and Technology.

Colliding Worlds – How Cutting-Edge Science is Redefining Contemporary Art (Miller 2014)

The work in bulk extensively sells the market for Artsci, by giving innumerable personal reflections on individual contributor after individual contributor, yet this is rebalanced in the final chapter by doubts over the acceptance of Artsci in restricted / specialist galleries being deemed almost gimmicky as an art form. However, examples are made in the ending of the rejection of Picasso and the Impressionists who had to set up their own groups. And so it is left to the reader as to whether or not to take up the “cause” of Artsci.

Millar describes the technical evolution of technology in computing in this book (Millar, 2014). So much resonates with my early career in technology as a world in which artist and scientist no longer are viewed strictly different disciplines. Art and science and engineering are disciplines seen as having a conceptual touchpoint in terms of methodologies e.g. minimalism and cubism.

An electronic signal called a butterfly transform, photographed on Polaroid film, was one of my earliest technical visualisations. I designed and built an electronic circuit to automatically tune to a signal frequency of a type used to communicate with deep space satellites. The active tuning process was viewed on an oscilloscope and the overall capture presented on film. During development one of the early characteristics was that of a squegging oscillator which pulsed on and off due to design tolerance issue in this automatic circuit. This was around the time that a successful MSc application was made to study the subject of Cybernetics that involves the control of machinery using feedback and software controllers. A funding issue arose that prevented the place from being taken up. Besides this, an economic downturn occurred that would certainly have blocked an immediate return to research and development within the industry.

The book runs a direct parallel to my early involvement in computing, discusses the various technological art movements and the establishment of schools for such art.

The book also discriminates between Media and Fine Art the former being linked to crafts and it notes the rejection that occurred on many fronts.

However, with repeated incursions of technology into art and advances in the modern world, it is argued that contemporary art can no longer exist without the structures and knowledge of the scientific world and they are seen to combine.

Artists are seen to look towards science and without getting directly involved with expensive equipment instead read the ideas and then through contemporary art communicate these ideas. Scientists look towards artists to understand how they approach a topic e.g. Nils Bhor and the wave-particle dichotomy of physics and the resolution of this through Picasso and the advent of Cubism, where it is fine to have multiple perspectives present all at once.

The question has to be where does this lead to in terms of the Final photo project? Well, it resolves why the author takes a technological view of art and provides an independent and solid standing. The intent of the work becomes understood in the wider context.

The book identifies the avant-garde as being the convergence of art, science and technology and it is seen as an exciting frontier in Contemporary art.

There is a summary for Antony Gormley, his influences including in science, and his work which was on display in London during visits there.

Another outcome is a strengthened resolve so as to honour or be true to one’s life experiences. Otherwise work would remain conflicted.

Had this work been uncovered earlier in the course, there would have been the time need to develop programmed work such as animations. These would be over and above the glow images attributed to mtDNA. What there is also are elements of identification (determined through psychoanalysis).

The book has been difficult to put down and yet the historical side has to stop at some point to allow time for project progress.

Computational Biology – Human Proteome Folding

Following a career in research and development in electronics and computing, sometime later, there was a formative even if only a side involvement in grid computing donating spare machine cycles to do then return completed calculations to researchers in computational biology. This was in the search for new drug treatments.

Specifically, spare machine cycles were donated to human proteome folding projects. These projects are highly visual as protein formation and attachment is shape-dependent.

These projects go back to around 2004 and there is little visual material remaining. In lieu of this, a TEDtalk was discovered that ably shows the visuals (Dill, 2013).

For 50 years, the “protein folding problem” has been a major mystery. How does a miniature string-like chemical — the protein molecule – encode the functions of living organisms: how our muscles exert force, how our immune systems reject pathogens, how our eyes see our surroundings, how plants convert solar energy, and all the rest. Huge progress is being made. Moreover, these amazing nano-machines could play important roles in health and disease and commerce in the future.

(Dill, 2013)

What this post identifies is what is behind the intent in making the photo project.

Art of Now

Research uncovered a BBC Radio 4 broadcast Art of Now. (McNamee, 2019)

Recombinant Rhymes and DNA Art

The successful sequencing of the human genome has not only had huge implications for medicine, bio-technology and the life sciences – but it has also provoked a great and growing reaction among artists and writers.

Anna McNamee meets poets, visual artists and scientists collaborating creatively on the frontiers of DNA science in a genre that Pulitzer Prize-nominated author of AI Renaissance Arthur Miller calls Art Sci.

In Melbourne, the bio-animator Drew Berry tells how his dramatic but scientifically exact visualizations of cellular and molecular processes have earned him fans around the world – including the musician Bjork. 

The poet Sue Dymoke and the structural biologist Pietro Roversi reveal how their creative partnership has resulted in a three-dimensional, topsy turvy poem called DNA Time that mimics DNA’s unique and complex structure. 

In his lab, the Canadian experimental poet Christian Bök has successfully encoded his work into the DNA of a bacterium creating what is essentially a living poem.

While at the European Bioinformatics Institute near Cambridge, the artist and filmmaker Charlotte Jarvis and the scientist Dr Nick Goldman have stored music in DNA which they then suspended in a soap solution and used to blow bubbles, quite literally, bathing their audiences in music.”

(McNamee, 2019)

Drew Berry

Drew Berry is a biomedical animator at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia. He produces animations of proteins and protein complexes to illustrate cellular and molecular processes (Berry, 2011).

Wikipedia

Animation Development

Berry describes the molecular level being sub-light wavelength and how he gained inspiration from the accurate scale drawings of David Goodsell:

Beyond this Berry incorporates measurements of cell dynamics and microscopic observations of larger cell structures to create his animations. His intent is to make work that viewers can take-in with avoidance of technical descriptions and acronyms which otherwise make the subject opaque and turn off the viewer (Berry, 2012)

Animations from Berry and molecular biologists and cell biologists:

Bibliography

Berry, D. (2011) Animations of unseeable biology. Australia: TEDxSydney. Available at: https://www.ted.com/talks/drew_berry_animations_of_unseeable_biology?language=en.

Berry, D. (2012) Communicating Science Visually. USA: The Broad Institute. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y19lKbvJZys.

Dill, K. (2013) The protein folding problem: a major conundrum of science. TEDxSBU: TED Talks. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zm-3kovWpNQ.

McNamee, A. (2019) ‘Art of Now Recombinant Rhymes and DNA Art’. A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4. Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0002rkb

Miller, A. I. (2014) Colliding Worlds – How Cutting-Edge Science is Redefining Contemporary Art. New York and London: W. W. Norton and Company. Available at: www.wwnorton.com

PHO705: Research – Phantasmagoria

General

Having recently communicated progress and details of research themes for the Major Project, the action has triggered several responses in terms of recommended reads. The objective remains to build research into the contextualisation of practice while developing the visual language.

This blog post concerns Phantasmagoria Spirit Visions, Metaphors and Media into the Twenty-first Century. (Warner, 2006) Ideas of “spirit”, “soul” and the “supernatural”.

Summary

The book (Warner, 2006) challenges why it still is that in the 21st century we revert to ideas of “spirit”, “soul” and the “supernatural”.

Scanning through this text there are two areas of immediate interest with regard to the photo project. First is a quotation.

“You are on a mission to discover

why the human heart still slows

when divers break the surface,

why mermaids still swim in our dreams”

“Michael Symmons Roberts, Mapping the Genome”

With a project theme majoring on DNA there is almost a necessity for discovering why Warner included a reference to the Genome. (Warner, 2006) opposite Page xviii

Further search shows that Symmons Roberts in 2003, soon after the Human Genome was decoded, penned another poem about the Mapping of the Genome and written in a metaphorical style of a car journey along a seemingly unending straight desert road.

Other areas of the text that prompt immediate interest are Part V Shadow Part VI Mirror: Double Vision, The Camera steals the Soul, and Part VII Ghost: Stay this Moment, Julia Margaret Cameron and Charles Dodgson; Spectral Rappers, Psychic Photographers.

Topics with a stronger connection to photography than literature demand more attention in the project context.

Online Video Lectures

The book author is a renowned presenter and her interviews, presentations and lectures are available to view online. This gives quite a quick view over a range of subject matter.

Much of what is presented is based around stories and fairytales and is literature-based rather than strictly photography based.

Quotation

Bibliography

Warner, M. (2006) Phantasmagoria Spirit Visions, Metaphors and Media into the Twenty-first Century. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

PHO705: Week 9 Reflection

My reflections on Week 9.

Research has become focussed on the Psychoanalytical for example in terms of ghosts. And as below the ideas of Science in Art have been explored.

Work in Progress: There are some textbooks to finish researching.

To Do: Other books on the history and development of abstract art, hanging over from a previous module. The importance here is to more fully develop an understanding of the evolution of the art. Also, there is a desire to contrast and compare with other artists abstract work to fix in place the photo project.

A collection of FMP photographs has been catalogued and are in the backlog queue and production rate has picked up. Photography of healing continues and images are being processed. In one case it was a relief to obtain the first Ghost image of this series:

Week 9 Revenant 1 by Michael Turner

Another image is of a graphic type and serves as a representation from DNA testing and might be expected to form an image layer as part of the contextualising process.

Week 9 DNA Analysis by Michael Turner

Some colour images have also been made while ideas are being formed. As such they are individual examples of technique or aesthetic stylisation. The main priority has been to maintain practice – concentrated periods are need to explore and develop the image types.

Here is this week’s example of a glow image:

Week 9 Untitled by Michael Turner

This week’s example of an abstract Landscape image:

Week 9 Landscape by Michael Turner

A rendition of a pure abstract in Week 8 harks back to the saturated colour theme from earlier portfolios. There is a personal joy to this image as at exhibition in the summer there were requests for two such images to be made complete with a third. This looks like the missing third image:

Week 9 Colour Abstract by Michael Turner

At present these are partial works and it is plain to see there is no attempt at consistency as ideas remain open. Once the direction is decided the work can properly proceed.

Social interaction occurred in making this week and was a joy too. This continues to be motivational. The making is also a pleasant break from the reading and research.

Blog Posts

The post: Research Artsci, Communicating Science Visually, Computational Biology and a new Avante-Garde was blogged and has spilt over into Week 10.

This post connects an earlier technological career with an analysis of this scene as a motivator in the current photo project and stands alongside the more psychoanalytical regarding the strangeness of abstract images created.

In creating the post the photo project became more connected. Answers were found to questions such as how animations at the cellular and molecular levels were resolved. Further validation and extension of an understanding of Biology occurred. This allows the topics to spoken of with greater clarity. The connection between Biology and Art was explored and parallels drawn with art forms such as poetry and music.

It is clear that recent medical progress is so significant that we have entered a new era and as we do so we witness the integration of Art, Science, Engineering and Technology into a new field simply described as Research.

Guest Lectures

One of two Guest Lectures was blogged as the Week 8 lecture was replayed in Week 9. Guest Lecture with Andy Hughes. Andy talked about the environment in terms of plastics and global warming as well as the making of a film using a gaming platform.

To Do: Another Guest Lecture, provided as a recording will be caught up with, in due course: Guest Lecture (Publication) – Sarah Davidmann.

PHO705: Guest Lecture (Publication) – Sarah Davidmann (Uncut)

Sarah is a lecturer at London’s LCC

Here is the lecture. The main photographic project is based on letters between sisters over a hidden relationship that of a secret transgender female Ken married to one of the sisters known as aunt Hazel. All this was at a time when there was no recognition or language to frame identities.

Identity was sympathetically dealt with and Ken becomes K(ay) and her or she.

There is a book “Ken – to be destroyed”. This began as a small personal project but created an unexpected level of interest. The conversation led to working on the project and exhibiting in Liverpool. There were uncertainties from gaps in the texts.

Sarah found more including family photographs. As she worked with the materials this led to working physically in the darkroom as a natural extension of handling physical materials. The working with a family archive was a first for Sarah.

The work is robust having nowadays a universal message of identity. The work presents well as small groups of images and as a book.

The book was a collaboration with Val Williams who helped with the edit that combined family archive material with Sarah’s work. Working collaboratively proved very useful.

Both Sarah and today’s host began their artistic lives as painters.

The personal aspects were seen to be of interest to audiences. There is a universality of family with all the problems family present that viewers can insert themselves into.

Another aspect of the German Jewish family is the next piece of work. It is still, based on family history but now covers the Holocaust. The project is approached from a very personal perspective and in an intimate way. An album carried on the Kindertransport is a material source for this new work.

Final Photo Project

Sarah’s project was allowed to develop and that is important compared to planning exactly how the work should be from the outset.

A point in common is the use of family archive photographs. High-resolution scanning, alternative processing of the images and concentrating on the surface condition are strong elements of Sarah’s work. Obliteration of identity became a step in which aunt was translated into clothing only or into the uncle.

This compares with using the photos for the final photo project which are scanned for smaller size reproduction. The idea was not to overwhelm the abstract images at the core of the project. Recently one image from the archive was layered with an image of mitochondrial glow and connecting thus with an ancestor from the maternal line. This has a key significance.

The history of a family is also common as is the impact of 20th-century war.

Bibliography

Photographs Sarah Davidmann from Falmouth Guest Lecture

PHO705: Week 8 Reflection

My reflections on Week 8

Influenza may have slowly begun to pass but it has left behind a frequent loud cough. Keep on resting and keep away from others until it clears up is the idea for now. Sadly I’ll miss the Bristol trip to MPF and RPS exhibitions.

Written more as a progress report this reflection continues on from Week 6 Research-Driven Practice. This self-directed activity ran across Week 7 and Week 8.

As blogged earlier the research is being opened out in a number of areas.

After the last module Surfaces and Strategies, emergent themes are being researched to identify areas of contextualisation:

This work deals with the emergence of ghosts, historic places and inner or outer spaces. These are recurring outcomes when healing images are abstracted.

Further contextualisation taken or taking place include: 

  • video documentaries concerning molecular biology around genetics and DNA and
  • a research trip to the Wellcome Museum and Library.

(Instagram: foto_graphical or michaelturnercrj.blog for photo updates)

There is a catalogue of archive photographs recovered relating to the family maternal lines (mainly) linked to mitochondrial DNA. The stability of common mitochondria is the basis for time collapsing into a moment and creating the experience of identification. Finally, there is the unchanging flora of the Scottish lands and coastal areas of concern and again a metaphor for collapsing time into a single moment.

Really, there are lots of strands here that need to be brought into a consistent theme. The abstract visuals in the project have a strong element of randomness – results are hard to have any control over.

Lots of new healing sites have been photographed.but these need to be processed for glow and then be sorted through. Until this is done it won’t be known if there are enough good images to use in a publication edit. The best public work at present would likely result from taking selected abstracts from previous portfolios alongside new work. 

It is a slow burn process at the moment and hopefully well matched to the current stage of the Final Major Project FMP.

PHO705: Wellcome Museum

Following my 1-2-1 Final Proposal Review, I planned to visit the Wellcome Library and Museum. There are regular Insights Sessions held.

There is a useful Blog that has an older item from 2018 from the Broadcasting Health and Disease Conference.

A successful visit was made during the Being Human exhibition.

Wellcome Library Reading Rooms

“Glass Microbiology” Luke Jerram, 2014

l-r “Ebola”, “Giardia”, “MRSA”

photographs Michael Turner

These glass sculptures “challenge the virulent artificially-coloured depictions of bacteria and viruses seen in the media and popular culture.” Examples of the media representations with colour can be found in (Salter, 2017)

There is an ongoing tendency to fall into engaging conversations with artists and others. On this occasion, it was a certain Patricia who engaged in conversation around arts, whilst setting out easels for a class as I photographed the above. Subject matter ranged widely across subjects such as contextualisation, the so-called, death of the author, and Portrait Gallery open sketching sessions (my first ever portrait black paper white pencil):

Sketch from National Portrait Gallery (Patricia asked to see a photo of this (if anyone wondered why it is reproduced here))

The Being Human Permanent Exhibition – Genetics

Here on display was a CRISPR gene-editing kit. CRISPR allows cost-effective gene editing or even biohacking. Alongside is a portable gene sequencer as a smartphone app and attachment. Since the human genome was sequenced at the turn of the millennium, gene editing and sequencing has become portable and cost-effective. Devices have come out of the specialist laboratory and are entering the public consciousness. Such images lend to the genetic contextualisation of the abstract photo project.

A number of references were identified.

  • Trauma (in relation to close relatives, of victims of war, who withdrew emotionally) (Kolk, 2015)
  • Art in Science (in relation to the photo project visual contextualisation) (Salter, 2017)

Bibliography

Kolk, B. Van Der (2015) The Body Keeps the Score Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Trauma. Penguin. Great Britain: Penguin Random House UK. Available at: http://www.greenpenguin.co.uk.

Salter, C. (2017) science is beautiful disease and medicine under the microscope. London, [England]: Batsford. Available at: http://www.pavilionbooks.com.

Photographs Michael Turner 2019 unless work is otherwise attributed

PHO705: Guest Lecture Laura Pannack

Artist website: https://laurapannack.com/

The website has a shop portal with items that can be purchased. There is also an image of the week blog which Laura endeavours to update each Thursday or best she can.

Laura is an artist whose work is based on portraiture. At first, there appears to be no overlap with the photo project, yet when archive images are included for contextualisation, then there the overlap may become apparent. Laura makes her own portraits of course, where those with a connection to the photo project are from the family archive.

The introduction – a social documentary photographer, producing self-initiated, private projects for Laura.

Two questions – how do we make work? Why do we make work? Laura’s work is Fine Art, Social Documentary.

She was encouraged to try every genre while studying at university. Having a younger sister enabled Laura to explore an interest in teenagers especially given there was access. Noted characteristics of teenagers were awareness and lack of self-awareness.

Laura is engaged in commissioned artworks and short term projects. She always has a desire to learn about her subjects. Consideration is given to “what is it that interests me about the subject?” Working on a commission means working to a deadline, which depending on the individual, can be really useful. It has often led to good research done on time and the commission ensures work is completed.

One commission Digital Self Esteem, Selfies and self-worth, related to the selfie culture and was produced for the Saatchi Gallery. This used two-way mirrors and allowed the teen to settle their gaze on themselves for 20 minutes for each shot. Another commission Separation, What does Brexit mean for love, was for the BJP. The first thing was to realise a limitation over politics of not being well-read enough or intellectual enough. It made sense to go back to what the artist knew and the work rested on relationships and love. Tests were made using a latex screen in a studio. Photographs depicted couples likely to be torn apart by one of them having to return to their country of origin. The chosen approach was not too controversial.

Working Methods

In determining the working method, there are the following: what’s your voice? What is your sense of style?

Sometimes it is a relief to not to think too deeply, but normally Laura does research long and hard.

Searching for a sense of style

We were challenged to think about our sense of style and comment on what our signature style is.

Sometimes you can look at an artist’s work and recognise the style. You then may wonder if they will ever break out and do something dramatically different, do something really wild.

Hockney was able to paint on an iPad and was able to take the risk. HE can do this as he has done everything else so well.

People

Sometimes it has been a case of learning the hard way. You need to be clear about your reason for approaching people.

Portfolio Reviews

Portfolio reviews are an excellent way of gaining feedback and need to be structured: what is your reaction to this and why, then how can improvement?

Long Term Projects

Young British Naturists

Young British naturists was a long term project and involved an immense amount of relationship building, organising and planning. The personal project gave the opportunity to take control. “We’ll be shooting over here if you can gather”. Then when a shot seemed likely, the lighting was set-up.

Over a two week shoot, 36 rolls of film were used, but due to a camera fault, only one image was salvaged. A great deal of care was taken to adjust the positions because of the nudity.

Purity

Purity ran over eight years. The intent was to bring out love, family, traditions and femininity within the Jewish community. Preparation included working in local clubs to get into the community. However, barriers remained – Jewish women did not want to be photographed. The work initially focused on three families but this reduced down (or was reduced to) just one. Photographing meant going back to the same room every time.

Youth Without Age

Youth Without Age, An exploration of the fragility of life derived from a sense of age slowly advancing. Sketchbooks were kept. The subjects also sketched. Old Romanian films and theatre productions were watched. Cynically, perhaps other artists work was analysed e.g Alec Soth and his use of water.

The Cracker

Just be with people and shoot. A voice in the back of the head kept asking, “Why are you shooting”.

Projects in General

Some projects ran over 8 or 9 years, while with others it was a case of just shoot.

A visual notebook is kept with images stored on Dropbox. Here they are always available for inspiration. This is useful when making new commissions.

One project involved selecting a railway destination at random i.e. selected with eyes closed. A day would be spent shooting at the selected location. The weekly image blog is updated every Thursday with one picture with a reason why.

Laura is a guest on A Small Voice podcast.

PHO705: Omnis Cellula ex Cellula

… all cells come from a previously existing cell.

This research arises from a connection established with a geneticist. The value here is in the development of visual language for contextualisation of the photo project.

Mitotic Division is examined by augmented reality with the following app and educational workbook:

Note: Select English under the triple bar menu
mitosis_guide_english

The emphasis moved closer towards an interest in mitochondria explored in another recent blog post. While there is an abundance of archive images that explore the matriarchal lines of family, the visual context around genetics is being developed having been more restricted materially and in terms of ideas, which are constantly being expanded.

Use

The pdf says to print off the guidance – the app seems to work when reading the graphics directly from the screen graphics when Adobe Acrobat (or another reader is used).

PHO705: Guest Lecture Nick Dunmur AoP

Nick Dunmur on video.

Students are able to join the AOP. I met Nick at the 2018 Birmingham Photography Show. The guest lecture is well-timed as the Forth cohort begin to take their work public.

Your pictures your copyright

Copyright automatically belongs to you. Exceptions exist for images used in the US which need to be registered with the US Copyright Office USCO.

Cover exists for 70 years from the end of the year the author survives.

Assign is like selling your house. License is like rent.

Copyright exceptions:

  • employment (full-time salaried staff)
  • incidental inclusion
  • criticism and review
  • research and private study

Other exceptions:

  • parody
  • private use
  • orphan works

Edges are not clearly defined and funny is subjective.

If you blew up a Crewdson print and put it on your wall, you’d have to safeguard it from anyone else seeing it. That would be difficult to get away with.

A fee can be paid to the IPO for orphan work in case there is a later challenge,

Different ways of contracting exist in different areas.

Advertising, Design and Corporate sector

  • Media
  • Territory
  • Time

… are the basis of charging

  • Exclusivity
  • Base Usage Rate

BUR wants to start at a daily rate. You’ll never negotiate up from a low figure but may wish to negotiate down from a higher figure.

Editorial Markets

There are many titles and only a few publishers. They may offer you a contract. It is not an employment contract.

First British Serial Rights FSBR would say cover one issue and thereafter the photographer regains the copyright for Second British Serial Rights. Check if Syndication is mentioned as this could cause your work to be reused. Check if a fee is mentioned and whether or not the fee level is acceptable.

If versions of paperwork appear then check and refute anything that is out of line. Anything issued once the work has started is post-contract and not acceptable.

Moral rights

Assert your moral right to be credited as the creator of your own work. Assert in writing. They are obliged to give you credit. You may have knocked off a percentage of the fee for this so it would be a loss.

You have a right to prevent derogatory use of your work, for example with a portrait if they resize an image to fit a box or crop an edge off and it makes your work look amateurish. Similarly, you do not want someone else’s work to be attributed as yours as it may affect your professionalism and stop a client from hiring you.

There is a right of the commissioner to prevent publication. A newly married couple could return from honeymoon to find their wedding photos all over social media before they have even seen the photographs.

Moral right cannot be sold but can be wavered.

Put a statement on your website to assert your moral rights.

When a contract is given to you it may be boilerplate and not be suited to your contract. Rebut if it is wrong. The person issuing the contract typically has a second, third and fourth version where you cannot agree.

Read everything in a contract before you agree or sign. Send copies of your terms to different departments as finance may never talk to the creative group. If you give them a PDF include a layer to remind them of the terms of use. Otherwise, include a terms file with the JPEG.

Software plug-ins

These plug into Lightroom. There is a plugin to populate an image with meta-data. Another to track and manage image use.

PHO705: Week 7 Reflection

My reflections on Week 7

Due to catching influenza (twice now since Unseen Amsterdam) there will be a brief reflection given here and more detailed account in Week 8. This makes sense as research was continuous throughout the fortnight period.

On reflection, it was interesting to see how much ground was covered as self-directed study/research and other coursework.

Week 7 blog posts

Wellcome Museum and Library Reading Room visit. There is a bit more visual research to write-up relating to stained colour images although the point is made succinctly in the text.

Guest Lecture with Laura Pannack. Laura’s website was viewed before the lecture. Afterwards, a podcast was replayed title: episode 006 Laura Pannack. Here Laura is in an interview with Ben Smith for the Small Voice podcast.

Omnis Cellula ex Cellula presents a visual app on Genetics viewed through Augmented Reality AR. There were other independently found smartphone apps and a recheck shows there to be an extensive list.

Some apps look as if they might support rather well, the binge in video watching on genetics. Binge-watching is far from a normal practice but tied in with resting with flu.

Guest Lecture with Nick Dunmur AoP. We were given cause to seriously review our Critical Research Journal contents as the blog face out to the public.

PHO705: Museum and Library Research

In pursuing a World War 1 theme, or having done so, it would make sense to expand on the photo projects context by building a stock of images and other research. This was done earlier at IWM Duxford (IWM, 2019) and The Black Watch Castle and Museum Perth. These visits proved useful in contextualising abstract work.

Options have recently been generated to expand themes in new directions in other words, other than military. In the interests of keeping shooting, it would be useful to visit a number of sites.

  • Imperial War Museum London
  • The Museum of Military Medicine, Aldershot
  • Wellcome Library

Bibliography

Black_Watch_Museum_Trust (2018) The Black Watch Castle and Museum Perth. Available at: https://theblackwatch.co.uk/about/.

IWM (2019) Imperial War Museum Duxford. Available at: https://www.iwm.org.uk/visits/iwm-duxford.

IWM (2019) Imperial War Museum London. Available at: https://www.iwm.org.uk/visits/iwm-london.

Museum_of_Military_Medicine_Trust (2019) Museum of Military Medicine. Available at: https://museumofmilitarymedicine.org.uk/.

Wellcome_Trust (2019) Wellcome Library. Available at: https://wellcomelibrary.org/.

PHO705: Video Documentary and Video Gamification – WW1

Gamification

The topic is an odd strand of research concerning how if at all, images from a gaming platform could be considered for use within an MA project. A look-see reveals a YouTube review. (Zommin, 2016)

  • Take-away points from this research are:
  • The most brutal war didn’t get much attention in gaming.
  • When it is represented, there is an element of caricature borrowed from gaming
  • Of the few games, there are rendering WW 1; the tendency is towards flying and air combat.
  • An early technology implementation of one flying game was put forward for crowdfunding but failed to raise sufficient funds

One game stands out as a modern technology representation, and that is The Battle of Verdun France, in the video game Verdun. (Blackmill Games, 2017) Pursuing Verdun as a game on XBox video console is likely to be unfruitful. Rather than be critical and halt the further investigation of video gaming, it would make sense to at least experience the game and see what can be found in the visuals. Already found is a reminder of the quote “You will be home by Christmas”.

Verdun as a video game proved relatively unpopular and can be taken as an indicator of the dying interest at least amongst the game-playing public.

Perhaps implied is an only minor public interest in the theme of WW 1. The observation is reflected in comments received during a review and again at an external presentation. For many current generations, there is no personal experience or recollection of WW1. It is a play on memory loss that caused the project to be taken up. Dry data records are transformed into tangible memories of people, of the remote family, before living contact is lost, and all that remains is data, certificates, files and the like with nothing to connect the these into a story.

The emphasis on flying for a publicly accessible game probably says something about a lower interest in land warfare.
Thinking this through also expands the idea to other more standard forms of broadcast video as evidenced by various series of documentary programmes.

Video Documentary

Reference broadcast television.

  • World at War
  • They Shall Not Grow Old (Jackson, 2018)

The latter has helped address a problem of why close relatives did not mention their loss.

An assumption is challenged as to the cause being an immense sense of loss and need to protect well being and that of others. From the quotations below, the light is shone on the demobbed soldiers reports on the attitudes of civilians:

  • People never talked about the war. It was the thing that had no conversational value at all. 
  • Most people were absolutely disinterested. 
  • When I got home my mother and father didn’t seem the least interested in what had happened. They hadn’t any conception of what it was like. 
  • There was no reason anyone of a million of us should get a thank you for getting a little bit muddy and having lost touch with good manners. 
  • On occasions when I did talk about it, my father would argue points of fact that he couldn’t possibly have known about because he wasn’t there. 
  • Every soldier I’ve spoken to has experienced the same thing. We were a race apart from these civilians and you could speak to your comrades and they understood but with civilians, it was just a waste of time. 
  • However nice and sympathetic they were. The attempts of well-meaning people simply reflected the fact they didn’t really understand at all. 
  • I thin the magnitude was just beyond there comprehension. 
  • They didn’t understand that people you’d known and played football with were just killed beside you. 
  • My friend who enlisted with me just lay there like a sack of rags until he went black before anyone thought to bury him. 
  • They knew that people came back covered in mud and live. But they didn’t know the strain of sitting in a trench waiting for something to drop on one’s head. 
  • You couldn’t convey the awful state of things where you lived like animals and behaved like animals. 
  • People didn’t seem to realise what a terrible thing that war was. I think they felt that the war was one continual cavalry charge. They hadn’t any conception, and how could they? 
  • It started off in a reasonable manner but with horseback with swords but they didn’t know it developed into something ghastly. People don’t realise the potential of military equipment. 
  • A man’s life wasn’t worth anything at the end of the war. 
  • None of us were heroes you know. We didn’t like this business of being killed at all. 
  • We were talking amongst ourselves. We used to say Christ we won’t have any more wars like this. 
  • How did we endure it? The answer must be partly the fear of fear. The fear of being found afraid. Another is a belief in human beings and colleagues and of not letting him down. 
  • There may be right on both sides, but I think war is horrible. Everything should be done to avoid war. 
  • I still can’t see the justification for it. It was all really rather horrible. 
  • I think history will decide in the end it was not worthwhile. 
  • The only thing that really did annoy me was when I went back to work after I got demobilised. I went down the stores and the bloke behind the counter was a bloke who I knew. He said where have you been? On nights?

From: They Shall Not Grow Old (Jackson, 2018)

Summary

The issues and the ethics of incorporating other work within a photographic project come to the fore. Balancing this is:

  • Acceptance that family archive material may be incorporated
  • A work such as War Primer 2 (Broomberg, 2018)

Bibliography

Blackmill Games (2017) ‘Verdun’. Netherlands: M2H Blackmill Games. Available at: https://www.ww1gameseries.com/verdun/.

Broomberg, A. and Chanarin, O. (2018) War Primer 2. London, [England]: MACK.

Jackson, P. (2018) They Shall Not Grow Old. United Kingdom: BBC TWO. Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0brzkzx/they-shall-not-grow-old.

Zoomin, G. (2016) Top 5 – World War 1 gamesYouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgw7WEHAock.

PHO705: Visual Language Development

This strand of research has lost out in the competition for resource during the course catch-up phase.

There is a theme that emerges from showing work. If the abstract images within the project that are the core of the work, are not understood by viewers, then there arises a need for the abstract images to be carried by archive figurative images.

Strands of research interest break down into:

  • The public visual perception around commercial DNA testing including branding and illustration
  • Metaphors around stability running parallel to mitochondria: flora and landscape.
  • Laboratory visual characterisation of chromosomes. Some of the work being done in Brazil by a researcher who has been contacted and given outline permission to use scientific imagery around the photographic project.

Visual language development from the laboratory or from science expands to the chemical expression of genes through epigenetics. This week, Week 5, inspiration was taken from the sourcing of visuals seen in War Primer 2 which uses archive material. It was decided to experiment as follows:

Epigenesis A C G T

Bibliography

Cowell, I. D. (2019) Epigenetics – It’s not just genes that make us. Available at: https://bscb.org/learning-resources/softcell-e-learning/epigenetics-its-not-just-genes-that-make-us/.

PHO705: Family Constellations

This reading is used to extend research-driven practice into Family Constellations

(Hellinger, 2011)
(Ulsamer, no date)
(Preiss, 2012)

A Return to Family Constellation Research

Family Constellation is now on the second iteration of research in connection with this photographic practice. When looked at before, the emphasis was on the title word Therapy: Family Constellation Therapy used to describe a group or individual interaction under the guidance of a facilitator. In this sense, it appeared to have a disconnect with Family and mitochondria.

In the interests of promoting the research-driven photographic practice, Family Constellation is now subjected to a more critical appraisal.

First indications are positive. Who we are as a dependance on who we came from, which does connect with the current project. A search for love in these connections is said to satisfy the soul and allow the individual in the present to become free of ant entanglement and give focus to their own life or in other terms from the method, give birth to themselves.

The language does appear unscientific, that of a guru yet on a commercial level selling a product or more accurately a service that works on a psychological basis in a manner perhaps Yoga does for the physical and spiritual.

At a cursory level, it is easy to dismiss Family Constellation unless the reader of it is happy to believe in its principles. Acceptance of approaches to help individuals grow into management roles in a business context is probably very similar and more familiar. Trust in strategies such as Transactional Analysis PAC or Emotional Intelligence EI is normally readily established. Other areas are more difficult to accept for some such as Myers Briggs categorisations which seem to be wholeheartedly accepted or are accepted within a collection of similar strategies, with outlined limitations or in the opposite and quite commonly outright rejected, potentially as a threat of some sort regarding manipulation. And so with Family Constellations, there appears to be the same kind of barriers to acceptance. Not being so well known a technique it may be more difficult for it to gain widespread acceptance. The feeling is there is bound to be and seems to be a body of followers.

If we take the above as an a priori position and set about to prove or disprove, then we have a way of moving forward. More reading is required.

Summary

Going into this research with an open mind is quite revealing. What is clear from (Preiss , 2012) is that a number of family situations documented here could or can be linked to the family narratives of the Photographic Project e.g. Relationships (Preiss, 2012, Loc 3081) with heavy fates. What is offered is a way of maintaining a healthy link to family in the past in such a way as to gain release from entanglement and become free from it and do so in a respectful and healing manner.

From a set on non-academic texts of all things has come a realisation that there can now be a disconnect with the heavy load of the past carried through the project. In fact, in radical terms, it becomes possible to disconnect from the subject matter, which has not been feasible until now.

Already the project has been on a trajectory away from the military endeavours of the past to family photography archive and flora.

Investment and Direction

To take the photo project and stop dead with it would be brave if not risky a move. Such a move would also mean having to write off costly investments relating to the original subject.

If the themes of empathy and loss were to be set aside, there still remains the artistic interest in abstraction as the natural expression of the author and the ever-growing theme around mitochondria, photographing healing and movement into creating art from a science of Biology.

Hear hangs a major decision. A decision needs to be made.

Staying with the methods developed for making abstract work is the decision. More emphasis is beginning to be placed on the mitochondrial theme. Research is also being conducted into the themes of spectres or ghosts and into the weird and eerie to draw out those elements.

The latter is base on the appearance of landscapes, seascapes and consistently but more frequently the appearance of ghost images.

Bibliography

Preiss, I. T. (2012) Family Constellations Revealed. 2nd Editio. Antwerp, Belgium: Indra Torsten Preiss.

Hellinger, B. (2011) Laws of Healing. Bischofswiesen, Germany: Hellinger Publications.

Ulsamer, B. (no date) The Art and Practice of Family Constellations. Edited by C. Beaumont. Kindle Unlimited.

PHO705: Phenomenology and the Simulacrum Specters of Marx

Spectres of Marx

This reading is used to extend research-driven practice into Themes of Politics and History. (Derrida, 1994)

The blog title has been chosen as a phenomenology of personal experience in relation to objects. And the Simulacrum as a means by which the camera creates a version of reality. From the photograph of healing glow a version of reality abstracted in a direction based on personal experience of place and of people.

And so “… to render an account of, the effects of ghosts, of simulacra, of ‘synthetic images’, …” (Derrida, 1994) Page 94.

In discussing exorcism as a means of creating death and its comparison to a Coroner issuing a certificate in which that which was living is no longer alive. “… the dead can often be more powerful than the living …” (Derrida, 1994) Page 60.

There are many references within the text with some connection to the appearance of ghost images amongst the abstract work of the photographic project.

Out of original photographs of healing sites, there appeared from time to time an occasional ghost image. In the previous module, there was a flood of such images. This leads to the question being asked about the appearance of ghosts. There is a strong emotional effect in finding spectres and while they can be seen by the author, they were also clearly spotted by visitors to an exhibition of the work.

Derrida is a renowned philosopher who in writing about the spectre of Marx, yes in a context of the fall of communism, covers throughout the text the theme of apparitions.

In a discussion of the phenomenological and of the simulacrum there appears the following observation:

“For there is no ghost, there is never any becoming-specter of the spirit without at least an appearance of flesh, in a space of invisible visibility, like the dis-appearing of an apparition. For there to be (a) ghost, there must be a return to the body, but to a body that is more abstract than ever” P 157.

The photographic project takes that which may be invisible and makes it visible and does so from flesh and in making an abstract form. As Derrida contemplates the Specters of Marx, then so the project contemplates the spectres of ancestors. The theme thus far has been versed not as those lost but of those who suffered their loss. The mother who lost her son or soldier who lost a brother.

“Mourning always follows a trauma” (Derrida, 1994) Page 121 strikes a chord. On discovering the trauma of those previously not known there followed no doubt a form of mourning, even if displaced from the family it directly impacted onto to those who uncovered the events.

As quoted (ibid) forms of trauma, the classification of which is attributed to Freud include psychological trauma (the power of the unconscious over the conscious ego), and biological trauma. In the photo project, psychological trauma could be linked to the unconscious element of creating abstract imagery including ghost images, while the biological may be responsible for creating identification and the effect on the body. If so, these are powerful creative processes.

On writing on “Time is out of joint”, as Derrida wrestles with an interpretation of “… one time in the past, how would it be valid for all times?” (ibid) Page 61 again one is reminded of the photo project having a theme from mitochondria being unchanged for thousands of years and so of 100 years of history being collapsed into a moment.

By pure coincidence the last portfolio exhibited was monochrome with the red of blood – the cover of this book is monochrome and red.

Ghost Dance

Ghost Dance. (McMullen, 1983)” Through the experiences of two women in Paris and London, Ghost Dance offers a stunning analysis of the complexity of our conceptions of ghosts memory and the past.” – IMDB. This arthouse film is available on YouTube and features Jacques Derrida as himself.


Bibliography

Derrida, J. (1994) Spectres of Marx. New York, Abingdon Oxon: Routledge. Available at: http://www.routledge.com/classics.

McMullen, K. (1983) Ghost Dance. France, England: YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwkjAuN-_-k.

PHO705: Beyond the Unheimlich

This reading is used to extend research-driven practice into Beyond the Unheimlich (Fisher, 2016)

The Weird

A quality of the weird is the presence that does not belong. (Fisher, 2016) Page 61

The subject matter here is uncanny and although it is an essay about literature falling into the categories of the weird or eerie, the text relates to the photo project and the author’s experience. In creating imagery in the abstract, an image, that is strangely familiar emerges. The photograph of healing that translated into a seascape, reminiscent of the mudflats off of the Solway Coast. This place is in the southern Scottish lands, once lived in and where the historic research and photography was conducted. The German unheimlich relates to a feeling of the creepy. Unheimlich is used by Freud as a such creates a bias in meaning. This makes it difficult to focus on variations in the translation, it seems. Unhomely is one preferred example overtaken by Freud’s writing.

An obstruction found by (Fisher, 2016) Page 8 is an association with the genres of Horror and Science Fiction from which the author goes on to write of the common feature of “The strange – not the horrific.” and then to highlight the fascination for what “lies beyond standard perception, cognition and experience.”

Although abstract outputs of the photo project often have a sense of that which is there that would not be expected to be there, the result when colourful creates a sense of pleasure in the viewer as sensed at a recent Exhibition at which additional work, that which did not make the final edit, was shown.

In (Fisher, 2016) Page 39 there is a quotation from Zizek observing a condition of overtaking or “transference to find ourselves at a later point which we have already been.” The photo project, by contrast, collapses time into a moment. The present becomes linked to a past time one hundred years ago. Simultaneously, those from one hundred years ago transfer into the contemporary moment and this is where a psychological identification takes place from the present to those from the past. In this, the dead remain dead but the story that their lives contained becomes present. There is a knowing that their wounds healed by the same source of mitochondria that our connected flesh experience in healing.

(ibid) Page 40. Unlike in the 1969 novella, Behold the Man, the prospect of transporting back 2000 years to live the life of Christ including his crucifixion is barred. The photo project theme is based on common mitochondria passed down the maternal line. There would need to be a connection through the matriarchy back to Mary Magdelaine would never become proven. Such events are of course far beyond the project scope which only has certainty over a recorded history of one hundred years.

As the earlier form of the project had taken shape and images had been made, there was an uncanny Exhibition experience where Rachel Howard’s paintings (Howard, 2018), were seen to have distinct visual similarities. Howard’s paintings carried the Catholic theme of Christ’s crucifixion. This was blogged in a previous module and whilst there was an overwhelming experience of the weird, it was an example of coincidence. Photo image post-processing had a similar effect to an easel based art in which gravity acted on paint. Nevertheless, an unheimlich experience.

In (Fisher, 2016) Page 45 mention is made “There is another type of weird effect that is generated by strange loops”. In human biology, the mitochondria are set apart from the nuclear DNA within the cell. In the inter-spacial region, the mitochondrial DNA form loops, and act as the energy powerhouses of the bodies cells. There they create ATP molecules for energy storage and transfer. The mitochondria have been captured by the human cells and adapted to life there. However, the mitochondria are an ancient form of cellular structure that exists in a bacterial world where they are able to exist independently. (Cowell, 2019) Within the sperm, mitichondria power the race to the unfertilised egg. This endeavour is not rewarded as the egg with its own mitochondria overpower it.

Finally, on the subject of the weird, (Fisher, 2016) Page 58 describes how “we must attend to the strange folds, burrows and passageways of Inland Empire’s weird architectures. Here, there is a crossover into the miniature world of human biology. The loops that mitochondria form, increase the surface area through a crinkled effect of cristae. The outer membrane only is adapted to allow the passage of very small molecules into the mitochondria. Then through the various complex effects enzymes allow glucose to split into carbon components at the surface as the Kleb citric cycle takes place. During the process, an unequal potential is created between the outside and inside of the mitochondria whereupon further enzymes allow some of the processed results to reenter the mitochondria through multiple narrow channels. There is an expiration process, in which carbon dioxide and water are released. What is weird and striking is the architecture of restricted access and limited re-entry and uncanny parallel to the architecture of the fictional world in the Inland Empire.

Again, this is weird or unheimlich.

The Eerie

“The sensation of the eerie clings to certain kinds of physical spaces or landscapes.” (Fisher, 2016) Page 61

In the photo project, as post-processing unfolds, there evolve such spaces or landscapes. As with the eerie cry and its effect on the imagination, there may be a hint of something being missing. In the photo project, the spaces created are devoid of people yet their mark may be found on the landscape.

Update: reading into the eerie recommenced in the Christmas break.

(Fisher, 2016) Page 97″Repeatedly throughout his fiction, Garner points to the eerie power of the landscape, reminding us of the ways in which physical spaces condition perception, and of the ways in which particular terrains are stained by traumatic events” … “the mythic is part of the virtual infrastructure which makes human life as such possible”:

An interesting comment in (Fisher, 2016) Page 109:

“There are ghosts in the machine, and we are they, and they are we.”

Of portrayal in the film Interstellar (Fisher, 2016) Page 121:

“The immediate temptation here is to dismiss this (portrayal) as nothing more than kitsch sentimentality. Part of the power of Interstellar, however, comes from its readiness to take risks appearing to be naive, as well as emotionally and conceptually excessive.”

Clearly, there are potential traps of kitsch etc to be avoided in the photo project.

Bibliography

Cowell, I. D. (2019) Epigenetics – It’s not just genes that make us. Available at: https://bscb.org/learning-resources/softcell-e-learning/epigenetics-its-not-just-genes-that-make-us/.

Fisher, M. (2016) The Weird and the Eerie. London, [England]: Repeater Books. Available at: https://www.repeaterbooks.com.

Howard, R. (2018) Repetition is Truth via Dolorosa. Edited by A. C. Beard Jason. London: Other Criteria Books. Available at: https://www.newportstreetgallery.com.

PHO705: Research-Driven Practice

With the renewed focus called for in today’s Module Leader Group Critique that students drive their work forward as a research-driven practice, then it makes good sense to ramp up on this in the blog.

Research that ran strongly in an earlier module runs a lower level of engagement after a busy period of making and so the time is right to conduct more in-depth analysis.

A recent blog post highlighted areas of research interest, omitted sadly from the proposal by way of four texts.

In building the research, these other works now extend reading into:
Beyond the Unheimlich (Fisher, 2016)
Specters of Marx Phenomenology and the Simulacrum (Derrida, 1994)
Place (Philosophy) and Memory (Trigg, 2013)

Also on the Subject of Family Constellations
(Ulsamer, no date)
(Family Constellations Revealed. 2nd Edition, 2012)

Bibliography

Derrida, J. (1994) Spectres of Marx. New York, Abingdon Oxon: Routledge. Available at: http://www.routledge.com/classics.

Family Constellations Revealed. 2nd Editio (2012). Antwerp, Belgium: Indra Torsten Preiss.

Fisher, M. (2016) The Weird and the Eerie. London, [England]: Repeater Books. Available at: http://www.repeaterbooks.com.

Trigg, D. (2013) The Memory of Place A Phenomenology of the Uncanny. Athens: Ohio University Press. Available at: http://www.ohioswallow.com.

Ulsamer, B. (no date) The Art and Practice of Family Constellations. Edited by C. Beaumont. Kindle Unlimited.

PHO705: Module Leader Group Critique

The Forth cohort attended a group critique, our first. 

So to take forward something of the way of telling a story by a compositional layout of three parts or by layering an archive portrait with a glow picture. What feedback would the Module Leader and the audience give? 

The PDF attached can be downloaded. It contains two frames, one for each method of interest.

Group-Leader-Critique

This file displays correctly as two pages: View – Page Display – Two Page View for side by side comparison and to show a two-page spread. 

Making a PDF was practice for the 1 May hand-in but at a small scale. 

The intention is to obtain a PDF with the best resolution images saved as an Interactive PDF format. InDesign frames also ensured even sizing of the pages which of different dimensions from Word and Photoshop were made consistent.

(TBD Here is the work of the previous module:)

#Advice

Here is the update promised following today’s critique. The idea is to obtain greater clarity and something actionable. 

We learned from each other’s presentations as much as our own. Five presentations were made:

  • Skye rushes
  • Balloon metaphor
  • Mitochondria 
  • Book diptychs
  • Urban regeneration

Reaction to presentation – mitochondria

Preparation for the presentation was done well in advance and meantime it may have answered its questions on the layout options.

There were no audience comments. Module Leader comment went beyond layout, drawing attention to the importance of mitochondria as a theme. Agreed this is the foundation and deserves elevating.

The work could be helped along by adding a family tree. Privacy issues prevent this. However, a generic chart is something I would entertain.

David Fathi did some work concerning the impact on moral actions of using a genetic sample for modelling disease.

The family mitochondria theme does have a historical element as that is what stirs a feeling of identification with family. It is more of a driver or motivator than the actual purpose of the work which is forward-looking in terms of light reemerging as a means of detecting disease. It may be infeasible in the time to go too far with this science as the interest is really in creating art. The art is from the digital sensor capturing glow in a way the eye tends to ignore which given a style of processing can emphasise the hidden.

General learning points

The advice given related to the current point we are at on the course. Our work needs to be research-driven. So back to the books.

Also, no work is ever complete until we present it to the public as the audience. It is then we start to gain feedback.

Practical learning point

The student from the group, three months ahead of us was very informative in terms of their planning. They have already had their exhibition with six weeks to the end of their studies. They had 30 images and proposed editing them down to 20 for their portfolio but add in more for a book. They received interest in their work, and a videographer had even filmed their work.

PHO705: Feedback on Final Proposal

This was a very useful 1-2-1 session guided by a true professional. Thank you for helping me to progress my work.

During the 1-2-1 there were some exciting and helpful turns, that I’d not expected. Thankfully I was able to address each point.

Referencing

Referencing had been deficient in my proposal. I’d not planned it to be a rushed job, but it was what it was, and I accept the comment. I’d since blogged my references, and was able to show these in my fully refreshed CRJ blog here.

In practice, my work is back on track, I just wasn’t able to assemble and organise references in time for the Proposal submission.

Proposal Organisation – Headings

A comment was made on the Proposal organisation. There was a need for more headings. The proposal was likened to a stream of consciousness, a comment which I love. There is a time and place I accept, but to be recognised as writing in the style of Roland Barthes, has to be an honour, surely?

Evidencing

Some assertions in my Proposal required evidencing. I can rectify the problem now, even if only for my own satisfaction. Points relate to detailing:

  • A planned Meeting with a Kodak scientist and specialist in digital imaging and medical imaging who works in the cosmetics industry.
  • A visit to a Digital Imaging Symposium in December – a Kodak scientist I’ve known since 2010 is set to give me an introduction. Note to self, I need to catch up with him on Friday.

My reviewer wanting to know more was encouraging. The project has been moving forward from interpretations of Biology theme and begins to enter a medical world of digital imaging. Why so? This originally was simply to validate a technical point around healing glow and Infrared emissions.

However, this research led me to investigate a bridge between Art and Science. especially following a Symposium back in September.

A further point that required evidencing concerned:

  • Creativity and the subconscious mind.

Direct evidence is present in the making of my work. The process is experiential. Appreciation of how abstract art is created cannot be assumed for the non-practitioner audience.

In academic terms, this is probably insufficient, or so I now realise. With the formal approach, I reference:

(Kandinsky, no date) Page ii on our spiritual relationship with the primitives, “… these artists sought to express in their work only internal truths, renouncing, in consequence, all considerations of external form”. So too I.

(Scarry 1987) page 21. “The human action of making entails two distinct phases – making up (mental imaging) and making-real (endowing the mental object with a material or verbal form).

Scarry ably described then, what became second nature in my work.

The Critical Review Journal CRJ (this blog)

As I’d shown my updated reference post and this later conjured interest in the CRJ. I was able to show a couple of relevant posts and by navigating to the bottom of the page, demonstrate the organisation:

  • Tag Cloud
  • Category selector and
  • Free text search

Next came the test, to retrieve a Portfolio from a prior module. That worked smoothly and was a testament to the preparations made. The search was a genuine thing as the Portfolio was then displayed and discussed. What followed was a connected piece on the next steps of project development. This at the time was a screen share of a prepared PDF on my computer desktop. Since the 1-2-1 the PDF has been posted here:

Group-Leader-Critique

Bibliography

Kandinsky, W. (no date) Concerning the Spiritual in Art. Edited by M. Sadlier.

Scarry, E. (1987) The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World. New York, London: Oxford University Press-23 978-0-19-504996-1.

PHO705: Week 6 Reflection

Reflections on Week 6

The activity was wide-ranging this week and covered the end to end process of the proposal review through, development of the project, research-driven work and some image-making related to contextualisation with a focus on genetics.

In terms of Learning Outcome L06, it is now clear from a reading of (Preiss, 2012) that the photographic project subject matter creates a great deal of entanglement between the author and family ancestors. This entanglement is fundamental to the theme being complicated and difficult to express. A reading of this reference has furnished the tools to disconnect from a deeply personal and difficult subject matter. At first, it seemed that the project could altogether complete as the attachment can now be broken and even a new project undertaken. Reasons now for keeping going are the development of the DNA theme of science as art, and not to mention the level of investment in the project.

The Video section in the list caused thought to be spent on the target audience and in particular highlighted audience limitations – not the younger (game playing) age group in this research.

If research bias is to move towards mitochondria then the visual language contextualization needed to be developed and so the first attempt during the FMP module. A feature of the new approach is there is no travel to southern Scotland for shooting the environment.

It was appropriate to reacquaint with the research skills of a) skim reading, b) scanning and c) close reading. The different reading skills would be essential given the number of reading materials that are currently being dealt with.

Bibliography

Preiss, I. T. (2012) Family Constellations Revealed. 2nd Editio. Antwerp, Belgium: Indra Torsten Preiss.

PHO705: Publication Research

What are the options I feel might work in presenting my processed images?

From my research (Colberg, 2017) page 46 consideration is given to different groups having different degrees of visual sophistication, and this should shape the concept. As a book publication with the intent of avoiding small edition size, it is appropriate to make a photobook accessible. I should avoid making it overly complicated. I ought to add text that helps the viewer understand it.

This is my first obvious challenge as to date I’ve been aiming at multilayered meaning and have preferred by analogy Shakespeare prose rather than Daily Mirror. What is to be gained by trying to be too clever (and potentially failing at it too)?

(Colberg, 2017) page 47 also draws attention to the “zine form often looking like a sloppily made photobook.” I may have made the point elsewhere that I use the zine as part of my workflow when creating a hand-bound book. It is not a deliverable item in its own right.

Narrative

(Colberg, 2017) page 47 discusses narrative and how it both means “story” (as in what is the story being told here?) and the process or technique of telling a story (as in: how is the story being told?)

I have learned that “it is important to keep these two aspects of a photobook apart: what is the story? How is the story being told?”

Then does there have to be a story. No. Bit most photography os about something so there is probably some sort of story.

I’m going to try and keep these points in mind as I look at some options.

I have these ideas to take into the review this week, Week 6:

  • Use mixed images where archives and abstracts are somehow layered. Until I try it out I won’t really know how effective this will be.
  • Take each abstract as the main image and have around it two small related pictures; a family archive photo in one position, a narrative picture of a person or a newspaper quote of them.

The latter translates through the form of a timeline and should be comprehensible. A complication to this is the idea of time collapsed alluded to here. I now explore the metaphor of a ladder where there is the transmission of the gene as an information carrier. In fact the DNA double helix is visually like a ladder. At each rung, of my ladder there is a photographic archive print relating to relatives who share in common biology.

Still running for a book publication:

  • Use a template approach such as discussed previously by adapting the layout from Rachel Howard’s Repetition is Truth exhibition book. 

The structure is:

  • Interview (including contextualising photos in miniature)
  • Prose (also the same with contextualising photos in miniature)
  • The main body of abstract paintings created using the hidden brush of gravity.
  • A collection of abstract miniatures giving a kind of contact sheet view accompanied by minor captions.

Adopting Howard’s method for me overcomes a problem of wanting to be like this artist and major in abstract imagery. I’m aware of personal significance I had gained from Howard’s exhibition that is not transferable to my audience. Then it is probably too early in the FMP module to bar more considered options.

Bibliography

Colberg, J. (2017) Understanding Photo Books the Form and Content of the Photographic Book. Edited by Taylor and Francis. New York: Focal Press.

PHO705: A Quick Look at Learning Outcomes LO3, LO4 and LO6 in Preparation for a 1-2-1 in Week 6

I comment here on LO3, LO4, and LO6 as areas of focus. Perhaps I did not communicate these strongly in my Final Proposal.

LO3 Critical Contextualisation of Practice

I contextualise my photography and image creation in terms of healing and art, an earlier identification with suffering, along with the spirituality of connecting with family and our remembrance of them. The following references I associate my with:

LO4 Professional Location of Practice

The audience breaks down as follows:

  • Family is the immediate audience. My work emerged from family as a collaboration.
  • Our staff and students within the University are audiences. This a step towards going public through assignments, portfolio reviews and critiques.
  • Accomplished photographers and digital artists I would reach out to as my primary audience.
  • Clinical photographers and scientist experts in digital and medical imaging are an emerging target audience. At present, I use the scientific community to test theory and assumptions.
  • Followers of my work, may or may not represent a professional context yet interaction here often brings pleasant surprises. Some from this group are from teaching or an arts and crafts background. They actively express interest in my work and have done so now for several years. Followers have earned special consideration.

There are several tried ways and other potential ways of reaching out. The exhibition has to be the main driving force, as experienced in an earlier module. From this springs the marketing and publicity of reaching a particular milestone. This would lead to a rich media environment and supporting materials and social media campaign.

A book is a recommended outcome for my work having demonstrated strong skills in making in an earlier module. I would create a book dummy and would seek to convert it into a professionally bound work. Numbers of interested parties might tally around ten at a first count. I need to give this more consideration.

Even if I restrict the list to these for now, I klnow from experience there is a whole lot more making:

  • Video for contextualisation.
  • Audio recording as for creating atmosphere.
  • Online gallery

As an emerging digital artist, it would fit to occupy a gallery space in one of the online communities. At present, this has to be aspirational as there is so much more to find out. I’ve participated in virtual world exhibitions several times, explicitly using Linden Second Life, a virtual world. 

From an online world perspective creating a gallery is untried for me. I’m sure I would need to involve a virtual world developer. This is exciting, really exciting, even it flies in the face of materiality. I’m thinking through how the name Second Life becomes connected with the theme of my work which is really an aside. However, I see a great connection with the title, as sentiment and as the digital presentation of digital making. This would be a true mark of progress, given ancestors could never have predicted the rise of the internet and the discovery of knowledge of genetics. At some point, I was going to get carried away and here we are. I really need to focus right down on making rather than being distracted by technology. This can be saved for later.

LO6 Written and Oral Skills

My chosen area has been hard to convey to a general audience. This circumstance has been a constant for my time on this MA course and it is only through repeated practice that I hone this skill. The starting position each tome involves a trap. It is always too easy to over-elaborate and justify my work. In subsequent iterations this communication becomes more crisp.

Bibliography

Batchen, G. (2004) Forget me not. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. Available at: http://www.papress.com.

Kandinsky, W. (no date) Concerning the Spiritual in Art. Edited by M. Sadlier.

Scarry, E. (1987) The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World. New York, London: Oxford University Press-23 978-0-19-504996-1.

Tammi, M. (2017) Sick Photography Representations of Sickness in Art Photography. Edited by M. Tammi. Lahti, Finland: Aalto University Publication- Aalto ARTS Books Helsinki. Available at: https://shop.aalto.fi/.

PHO705: Week 5 Reflection

My reflections on Week 5.

This has been a week for consolidating and catching-up and a time to start looking forward too. After a poor start to FMP, there is a recovery and so a lot of activity of seven guest lectures. Three on the Photography Hub, four on the FMP Module.

Photographers Researched

Posts have been written on three photographers who were more fully researched: 

  • Susan Hiller – Auras; 
  • Evan Roth, Red Lines; and 
  • David Fathi (also listed in the FMP section below) 

I caught up on three Photography Hub Guest Lectures

I watched the following when off-sick and haven’t written the blog posts yet.

FMP Lectures

In addition to the three Photography Hub guest lectures, four FMP lectures were studied.

Summary

This was a lot of lectures (seven) that were caught up. This took me away from preparing photographic work. There is more catch-up with, two more Photography Hub guest lectures to write-up (Forrest and Labas) and a forthcoming FMP research lecture featuring Caroline Molloy

on post-processing from several shoots to catch up on. So a very hectic week ahead. It is just a case of maintaining this level of focus.

Final Proposal

Our Supervisor published the scores for the Final Proposal and I rightly gained a low pass. My excuse is an illness that I’m now over and an unprecedented set of personal circumstances.

Applying for Extenuating Circumstances EC is something offered by the University but I didn’t entertain this. I didn’t anticipate the barrage of further circumstances about to unfold. I wasn’t able to plan and progress my proposal and did not have it reviewed prior to submission.

Overall, there were already too many other activities to catch-up on and EC would only have compounded.

Instead I scraped together a submission and got on with fixing my blog, began advance planning and substantially caught up on coursework and research.

Shoots and Post Processing

Thinking aloud. I’ve managed to keep shooting and even do some practice shooting as circumstances proved favourable. Practice shooting was with local Flora with new techniques I wished to hone before going farther afield, e.g. back to Scotland should this transpire as my method. As yet it is undecided. In a sense, it would be easy enough to arrange to do this, but the purpose and intent need to be clear and robust compared to other approaches I have on the go.

Post-processing, a key element in making a useable image, has only been lightly pursued. Why so? The obvious question of available time but also of needing to know more of the direction I want to take-up. Ideas are still being formed.

e-Zine and Bound Book

On the subject of an eZine, I need to communicate my interpretation of what this is about. My practice is such that when I begin a bookbinding task which of course is only a part of the book publication workflow, I have so far made an eZine using the online tool ISSUU. This is so I can maintain clarity by modeling the book. The vagaries of page imposition are such that the ordering looks completely wrong at every single stage until the printed signatures are assembled in sequence at which point the eZine version and the book-bound version match in page sequence. I’ve been accurate on this so far.

I researched imposition tools and my findings were around expense, software incompatibility and the distraction of learning a third-party application when a direct method in tools I already use would be about as good. There are always refinements to learn including dealing with page creep.

Printing

I did go out and find a print shop and talked to them about book production and would need to go back and sort out PDF image format etc.

Something I discovered from a recent announcement by a camera manufacturer is their flat spread binding offering. There is a special appeal for me in the two-page spread that is continuous across the join. If the claim is true it could work for me depending on what I decide to do. I should probably create a dummy to check this out.

Look ahead

There are several activities scheduled for next week, Week 6.

On Tuesday, I have my final proposal feedback – I said I’d analyze the marks (against the Learning Outcomes, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6, LO7. These are searchable categories within this CRJ blog. I elaborate in the following blog post.

Bibliography

Colberg, J. (2017) Understanding Photo Books the Form and Content of the Photographic Book. Edited by Taylor and Francis. New York: Focal Press.

PHO705: Concerning the Spiritual in Art

I continue evidencing my research with reading that began in an earlier study module that I carry into my FMP.

I’ll return to make my update.

Bibliography

Kandinsky, W. (no date) Concerning the Spiritual in Art. Edited by M. Sadlier.

Kandinsky, W. (1977) Concerning the Spiritual in Art. Dover. Edited by M. Sadler. New York: Dover Publications, Inc. Available at: http://www.doverpublications.com.

PHO705: The Body in Pain The Making and Unmaking of the World

I continue evidencing my research with reading that began in an earlier study module that I carry into my FMP.

I’ll return to update this blog.

For now, it is clear to me in my work that making-up is a part of the abstraction process driven by the subconscious mind following a period of deep immersion in the topic lasting now several decades. This is the result of collaborating with a history researcher.

The result though is the print that gives the abstract its material form, and so the tie-in to the following quotation:

“The human action of making entails two distinct phases – making up (mental imaging) and making-real (endowing the mental object with a material or verbal form) …” (Scarry, 1985)

Bibliography

Scarry, E. (1987) The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World. New York, London: Oxford University Press-23 978-0-19-504996-1.

PHO705: Sick Photography Representations of Sickness in Art Photography – Maija Tammi

This is one of four contextualization blogs I intend to publish in Week 6 and will expand upon later. The post is meant to evidence some earlier research I started in a previous study module and that I carry through into my FMP.

My reading had led to the Aalto University doctoral dissertation 172/2017 as published in the book by this title: Sick Photography Representations of Sickness in Art Photography – Maija Tammi (Tammi, 2017).

This work covers a similar divide to my own, i.e. that between medical science and photographic art.

The publication overlaps into two exhibitions held in Finland.

Keywords: Sickness; disease; illness; art photography; abject; Kristeva; Kleinman

The best description I can offer for this difficult subject is the Author Maija Tammi’s own words from her book abstract which I have wholeheartedly copied below:

“This artistic research scrutinizes how sickness has been represented in art photography and examines the new ways to approach, think about and create photographic art about sickness. This dissertation combines theoretical research and artworks. t\he theoretical part shows that while scholars have concentrated the ethics of what kinds of images of sickness or suffering ought to be shown or on the psychology of why some images of sickness bother viewers, most art photographers have concentrated on depicting personal illness experiences. The research applies anthropologist Arthur Kleinman’s definitions of sickness, illness, and disease in a diagram to examine photographic artworks approach the topic.”

“To understand the functions and the meanings of the different approaches, the research draws especially from Julia Kristeva’s writings on the abject. The main results of the research, artworks Leftover and White Rabbit Fever are intertwined with the theoretical part. Leftover was exhibited at Photographic Gallery Hippolyte in Helsinki in January 2014, and White Rabbit Fever at Gallery Lapinlahti in Helsinki in September 2016. Both bodies of work have also been published as books: Leftover/Removal by Kehrer Verlag in 2014, and White Rabbit Fever by Bromide Book in 2017.”

Quotation

Charles Baudelaire, “… copying nature had nothing to do with art.” (Tammi, 2017) Page 54.

Perspective

Having read this work, it is clear there is a distinction present between the book with sickness, illness and disease versus the photo project and healing as glow. A similarity of sorts is in the book exemplifying the growing and dividing HeLa cells with the progressive colour change of the suspension. Beyond these comparisons the book and photo project are separate subject matters both involving the human body.

Common considerations do exist that have perhaps been down played or given cause to obscure and these relate to:

  • Ethical and aesthetic problems
  • Disturbing images
  • The difficulty of looking – the abject
  • Difficult photos – aversion; Freud’s uncanny; Misselhorn’s aesthetic of disgust

(Tammi, 2017) Pages 29, 37, 181-204, 215

“… it is not sickness that should be be re-defined or questioned but health.” Page 217 And healing in health is exactly what the photo project does focus upon.

Bibliography

Tammi, M. (2017) Sick Photography Representations of Sickness in Art Photography. Edited by M. Tammi. Lahti, Finland: Aalto University Publication- Aalto ARTS Books Helsinki. Available at: https://shop.aalto.fi/.

Resolved Technical Issues and Improvements

My subject blog was being swamped by notes on technical issues. I decided to segregate these to keep the focus on the main blog on FMP Photography.

A number of improvements have been made to help manage the technical environment. A purchased WordPress update aligned the Dashboard to the Education version used by and documented by the University. I’d only recently become aware of the version differences which are quite major.

This blog is now much more visual after finding out how to adopt the recommendation to use WordPress plug-in MetaSlider.

Other additions include a Tag cloud, and a category list, to help the reader (or marker) select specific information. Language conversion was nice to have and easily added, as was giving the reader edit capability on their comments. A social network connection is pending decision and likely to be linked to the planned 2020 campaign to take the work to the public.

Backups and File Storage

Blog

The blog has now been set up for automatic back-up using the plug-in Updraft Plus. Some additional storage needed to be purchased.

Archive Catalog

Local Disk to Disk

For my archive catalog, the 32-bit utility Scooter Software Beyond Compare stopped working and has now been updated to 64 bit in a free upgrade to be compatible with the computer OS. I can resume copying the attached disk to a second attached disk.

Attached disk to Cloud

Locally held disk storage really needed an offsite backup. Backblaze has been set-up and is running the first backup, hopefully in under the 22 days first quoted.

The Course Calendar on Smartphone and Computer

Canvas appointments defaulted to no Alert on a smartphone. This is now being hand amended.

The computer calendar had not been synchronizing Canvas entries. This has now been addressed. Planning ahead is now much easier. Unfortunately, the computer-style calendar does not allow you to set Alerts for Canvas appointments. The get-around is to set an alert on the smartphone which then syncs across to the computer.

Oddly, the smartphone started to display double entries. This no longer happened after suppressing on the smartphone one of the many Calendars.

Major update to blog structure

I’m now back on the tracks following the restructuring of this blog for best practice. Introduction of blog Categories and Tags has meant tidying up older posts i.e. those from earlier modules as they begin to appear as public search results (external and marking). The time penalty should hopefully pay off.

During my FMP it is good to start more fully leveraging the power of the blog. This is really powerful from the Admin Dashboard which I’ve recently gained access to (for internal management of posts). From Week 5 on it will be best to only go back to make earlier ad hoc change as and when on an opportunity basis. I do now need to really increase my focus on new content, contextualization and project development.

PHO705: Medical imaging

The basis of my Abstract practice is the healing glow captured by the camera sensor enhanced in post-processing. In my endeavour to research appropriate visual language, I’ve looked towards the scientific and medical communities to determine how such work enters the wider consciousness including the public. Through investigation I’d hope to understand how my images might be viewed and how I might layer in certain types of graphic. For example representations of XY chromosome and DNA test strip.

The latter I’d used to give context to the viewer and I’m looking for creative ways to expand the visuals.

Clinical Photography Guidelines

When photographs of healing are digitally processed I often find expression through highly saturated colours. From the heat camera image below there is a similar palette and so there is a consistency. There is a tendency to work in monochrome which suppresses these colours. My research determines if colour trivialises my work or represents a wider consciousness.

Voluntary adoption of working guidelines of Clinical Photography. (Naylor, 2003) creates an association with medical photography. The method leads to a closer inspection of healing sites and sometimes observations are made which can trigger the curiosity but is sidelined. However, the heat camera article in the newspaper serves to remind that medical observation can follow.

The heat camera item is a newspaper article and doesn’t carry the same weight as funded medical research. The Medical Photography heading though, does have weight. A reading shows there to be a new or emerging science of light in diagnosis. Even as a visual only there is close correspondence to the art images I make within the project.

In conclusion, it seems valid that I should anchor my work to medical science at least on a visual basis. This gives hope that the viewer of abstract art may read and correctly interpret the signs given.

The last item below, In Conversation, brings attention to the crossover between biological sciences and art. I feel this validates my choice of subject of healing glow as it sits at the boundary of art and science.

Commercial Heat Cameras

What has triggered the post were two more coincidences. A newspaper article reported on heat detection of cancer (Parker, 2019)

Bal Gill / PA

Medical Photography

Notice has been sent out regarding How light “of many different colours and flavours” can be used to diagnose disease in a number of remarkable new ways. (Macdonald, 2019)

RPS Medical Group

In the photograph above the red coloured left-hand image is very similar to the appearance I create within my image sets. The structure also has a correspondence with my work. This means the abstract practice is quite well founded in colour and form.

In conversation: Viewing the Invisible

Scientist and artists were brought together to explore the similarities in their working methods in Viewing the Invisible. (NPG, 2019) I was able to talk with a number of scientists about my art perspective on mitochondrial DNA.

In Conversation – National Portrait Gallery

Bibliography

Macdonald, J. (2019) Optical Imaging – a new horizonRPS Events. Available at: http://www.rps.org/events/2019/december/03/the-combined-royal-colleges-lecture-2019.

Naylor, J. (2003) Clinical Photography: A Guide for the ClinicianJournal of Postgraduate Medicine. Available at: http://www.jpgmonline.com/text.asp?2003/49/3/256/1145 (Accessed: 8 February 2019).

NPG (2019) Viewing the InvisibleNational Portrait Gallery. Available at: https://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/event-root/september/in-conversation-15092019.

Parker, C. (2019) Heat camera spots day-tripper’s breast cancerThe Times.