PHO704: Week 3 Research – Contextual


Paulo Leonardi Borderlands

Paulo is course leader in photography at London Metropolitan University, has had several Arts Council grants and works with Anthropologists on a migration work. It was as much a chance encounter as anything at The Regents University, on Saturday but after her giving a presentation I was able to spend time during lunch and again after my own showing of current photographs. Let’s be clear there is no comparison as her work is top-notch, and I am currently developing my visuals, and I work in a totally different way.

However, I was glad to be able to engage in discussion and picked up many points of areas of development I can pursue. A point of inflexion was that both our sets of images come alive once there is some spoken narrative. Paulo carefully selects an edit to build and maintain engagement and picks stories that bring home the gravity of her work and personal connection is clearly demonstrated.

Gary Fabian Millar (thank you, Sophie, for making the association)

Gary Fabian Millar does work or has done work for some time in fact that in abstract style is not too dissimilar to my earlier adventures into abstract imagery.


I think any similarity is in the look of our work. Beyond that, our techniques and end products are totally different. I’m a digital worker compared to Gary, who works more practically with the physical: making photograms, working camera-less and producing textile artefacts.

What I might take from researching his work is triggering or reinforcement of some ideas I’ve yet to promote within my work.

Nature of Creativity

Creativity happens in a burst of energy for me, during which my output is highly productive. I often wonder if I can repeat the work as I take from it intuition and do not record the simple steps. This makes each work unique and even going back to the same starting position I’d not be able to fully recreate an image.

Creativity I have learned has its ups and downs, and I no longer am surprised to discover others have had the same or similar idea as myself. In passing, I mention my informal series of crafted small planet images based on closeups. In Gary’s work, I spot he too has created several planet style images, and there are other areas of overlap.

I think my efforts are a nod to the cult radio series H2G2, where a character is engaged in custom made planet building. It was just a passing phase for me.

This was a while ago but serves to illustrate further: I explored combined portraits, three into one. This can be done in-camera, or in post-processing and through my established interest, the latter is always going to be my preferred approach. I say this because if I can, I like to introduce technology into my work. It is an expression of who I am and my professional background. Anyway, having experimented earlier in this manner, I guess I should not have been surprised to find the identical style imagery done by an Associate of the RPS in one of the journals.

My current work abstracts minor trauma, and while others have explored what I might term blood and guts, I tend to bring out the beauty of the healing process and the warm glow of life within. I’m wondering about controlling the intensity of light in my work to represent life.

Part of what I do seeks an element of medical observation as the type of processing I do amplifies structure otherwise unseen by the naked eye.

Extensions I’d like to try to my work and supported by review comments pre and post the Week 3 Tutor Webinar,  would be the addition of context. I want viewers to take what they wish from my series of abstracts without my literal explanation and let the pictures speak more. I’d intend to increase the variety of media from the text (of poetry perhaps relating to a place and make my images sing similarly), a series of stirring titles or outtakes from recognised work, or write my own lines – I like to write my own stuff with feeling or effect I suppose. I’d maybe also extend to audio as I always strongly associate sound with visuals and hope an audience might too.

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