PHO704: Week 1: Research – Contextual

Okay, let’s see how this works structurally and content-wise. Structurally, and I need to get this out of the system at the start, I’m doing a week by week blog entry on this headline topic. When I see other examples of other students work say, I might reform and change, if it can be done more efficiently.

Content-wise I’ll match up with the topics and Talis and revisit at each appropriate step.

Here we go then.

Will Hartley taught me (probably most of us) something.

Guest Lecture with Will Hartley

This guest for me resonated immediately because as a pre-university student Will studied nearby. I liked the advice offered and I’ll tighten up my act when supporting studio work. Another point that resonated was his having studied in Wales.  A short but intense Community Journo course I did was with Prifysgol Caerdydd – ah, Newport not Cardiff.

I kind of figured before this course that I might fall nicely into a Picture Editor role (dream on) with John G Morris being a personal hero if I may be allowed such. There again, I would enjoy digital editing too if time allowed, and I have other unformed plans to go freelance. How good would it be to give up some time studio hosting for more practice at assisting or even grow practice at filming?  For what it’s worth, I tend to think that human vision is more akin to video and ultimately an attractive prospect. Mind you, there is a good deal of talent out there already.  I diverge, but please forgive, this is inspired by the lecture.

Advice to focus on personal practice was given and is genuinely inspirational really. I’m acutely aware the method breathes life back into the photographer’s job. I had for a short while taken to creating boards planning out this area of practice and keep it in reserve. One time the method failed me in trying to do 3D photography in a London graveyard, the subject in the main was nearly always too flat. But at least I tried and can eliminate this idea. I might spot the specific item that I know now that it can be effective with. Trail and error but on my own time. Another diversion I know but I’d love to build in 3D work to a project as it really draws in a viewer who can linger within the image examining detail – with the right subjects it can be rather entertaining and maybe qualifies academically under the banner of semiotics.

I liked the way editorial work was described as a shared workload when giving over editorial Instagram or web resources of contributing authors (including photographers. Given trust can be established, it is a smart idea to share the workload. I liked the balance between writing and photography mentioned in the talk. I liked how thought was given to the concepts that run alongside photographs.

Post this MA I could envisage making a studio and training centre print magazine. It’s the sort of thing delegates would likely pick up and peruse over lunch or after a visit.

I have a suggestion in reply to Max’s what can we do question. While I like novelty and am certain multimedia could be somehow incorporated into the editorial scene, one perhaps more sensible thing would be to feature poetry. Can you imagine opening up to a whole raft of new contributors and like Viveca Koh on this in her fellowship book submission, there could be everything from her work through to budding poets in school? Serious contributions with substantial cultural work in line with culture identification and development. This is really important to society. I might just pinch my own idea there.

___ ends for now with more to follow on other things from this week ___

PHO701: Research – Contextual

Write-up responses to what you have seen, read or watched
Reading list: Photography Changes Everything


So really here, some notes to self in ramping up this area of the CRJ. The discussion below leads to a diagrammatic representation when capturing context.

Leaving behind the Positions and Practice Module and moving forward into the second module, Sustainable Prospects, I need to develop this area of the blog.

I had begun with notes I kept in word-processed files and that were made purely for my own interest and as such they were not of a publishable standard without further work. I’ve used the first module to setup a blog and get used to it’s structure and operation which we were allowed to do as the CRJ was not initially a marked assignment where now it is becoming so.

My moving from a scientific and management background into arts education will and has required a period of adaption especially as a number of the terms are unfamiliar, not only as definitions of the scope of what we need to write about, but also as a practice, these are areas that seemed unfamiliar to me, until I stopped to think through what the purpose might be.

I guess in my earlier design work with systems and processes, there is a way of working that entails the creation of a Context Diagram (CORE is an example although it was used for capturing COmmon REquirements). Perhaps at a philosophical level, the thinking approach is not too different between system thinking and the arts? If I proceed with the concepts I know and build on or adapt them for this course as required. It is a way of starting, meaning I can offer something forward and it can be reasonably structured and give Tutors or others scope to decide if my approach satisfies what is normally expected, without my going overboard.

PHO704: Assessment Period 1

It may still be summer and the break, but there is soon a new module to study on the Falmouth Flexible MA. Up next is the study of  Sustainable Prospects.

Adobe Certified Associate Visual Design with Photoshop

Meanwhile, I’ve put the time to reasonable use, doing some catching up from the first module. I then got myself down to the Falmouth Penryn Campus.

As a Falmouth Flexible postgraduate student studying via a virtual learning environment (Canvas), it has been good to get out, see the campus, meet other postgrads, including Alex from the second year of my course and writing and illustration and media students. We worked for our Adobe accreditation in Photoshop. We were instructed by software trainer Susannah Travis ably assisted by Lisa Wallace, who is taking on the teaching.

I wanted to broaden my skills from Photography to other areas of visual design. We studied very intensely and touched on areas of web design, illustration, page layout and video.


I managed to touch on the subject of InDesign PDF interactive files. I need to improve image resolution (as pixelation was evident in my experimental work in abstract expressionism).

InDesign has more control over export file size and resolution than Acrobat only.

Full print resolution files can be used at 300 PPI with great user control over file size reduction.

The (Photographer’s) Apprentice

I’ve been working with a professional photographer, and Managing Director of the Studios and Training Centre based near London (end of the Metropolitan line).

I had planned to spend a day working in support of a training course on still life but plans changed. Instead, I can readily relate to prior experiences.
Another option is to do something with other activities during the Assessment Period:

A)  Adobe certification training in Visual Design with Photoshop (mentioned above)
B) An Open Day “interview” with the marketing manager for a national charity. We established the charity would willingly use my photographic support.