PHO703: Week 5 Three Surfaces Curation

Week 5 Resources

Week 5 Individual Tutorials

In the space of around two working days, I had a fantastic run of three meetings that challenged my thinking and direction and yet in a supportive way.

As these meetings acted together, I draw them together here along with two activities in the same period.

I began with the 24-hour challenge where I’d pre-visualised and had then adapted. In short, an intent to expose photo paper or burn paper under a magnifying glass. The forecast led to a change of plan.

I linked my activity to my project through scientific imagery of biology by appropriating images and mixing them in a way to create a stereogram and some anaglyphs. I had so much enjoyment, I must say. For one day, I loosened the shackles and departed from the structure and intensity of abstract work.

The plan to make a sundial, sketch the gnomon shadow and read out the grid of light and shadow automatically, went ahead.

We had our first meeting, and I listened to the challenge of finding a way to link the scientific how to connect the 24-hour challenge activity to my project. I could include photographs of the apparatus and contraptions I’d used.

Next up, the office hours meeting. The discussion was necessary, and I tried to get a grasp of one area the Workshop task. The task is versed in the practicalities of photographic technique, yet the debate became focussed on pedagogy. I had a few doubts about the delivery intent and became resolved that the weeks to follow would lend clarification. We accepted the advice that allowing ideas to settle can be productive compared to pushing ahead. Finally, I took from the office hours meeting thoughts of a potentially hot topic of faulty intent.

We were advised to carefully unwrap why we might shoot in colour to only to go on and remove the colour from the photograph in post-processing. Be warned. I had earlier considered running with both black and white and colour. At the present stage, I do not yet have to resolve this completely.

And so back to the current topic, and the one to one meeting. The 121 meeting was short though contextualised by all that I’ve written in the above paragraphs. We discussed the black and white or monochrome approach versus colour. The pioneers of photographers used black and white as a means of abstracting the world around them as we see in colour. My return to colour took place based on the theme of the vibrant celebration. I felt I had justified by my actions.

However, I did take the next set of images back to black and white. Perhaps the data in the photos led me in this direction or possibly at heart, I remain soulful and so cannot break free. The conflict continues.

I can rationalise the topic down to lighting or light if rationalising is indeed the correct approach. I’ll adopt the term unpacking and proceed with the analysis. The light in my work is surface, penetrated and emitted, the latter being unique within my digital work. So far as I have learned from my practice, I shoot in colour and reduce it by digital post-processing, although not eliminate tones. I take the tonal element down to allow the emitted light to gain presence. I often refer to the glow of life. I reach back thematically to feel the presence of ancestors never met. Again, I sometimes refer to the handshake with the living being a manifestation of specific others in the past.

So colour is an essential step. Then to the aesthetic and decisions about historical commemoration which suits black and white, the celebration of our lives that suites colour. I conflict this thought with my long term assertion that ancestors worlds get depicted in black and white, yet they lived their lives in colour.

My photographic heritage is an influence. My extended-term career as a digital technologist evolved while I was away from photography. When I returned to photography, I was different from others in being open to breaking the limits in post. Post often leads to discussions of moral issues, but I have no regret because digital-first, is my world. A photograph is a data set. I know modern photography through this lens as being at the intersection of science and art.

Looking ahead to the next six weeks, I stated my intention to self-publish. I’d done some research or reading into the domains of books and exhibitions. I arrived at an intermediate point that intersects the two:  an exhibition of say ten identical books. Only the cover colour designates the preferred order and the page number to be displayed.

The intent is several-fold. People rarely experience ten copies displayed. The viewer can then disrupted the exhibition. If a viewer wishes to move from stand to stand to change the pages viewed, they can. I also disrupt the convention of the gallery space of spacing the viewer away from the walls to prevent touch. I invite touch. I am not so precious about my exhibition to want to protect it from contact.

Thinking it through maybe I place prints on the wall with a book in front of each to establish a starting visual structure.

I might need spares. If there is no interaction, so be it. If there is destruction or theft, then the spares can be called upon as replacements. I’d love to timelapse film unfolding events.

I have to realise the risks of the extremes, no viewers or interaction through to over-involvement. There will need to be a definite means of enticement if it is to become a game. On writing that last word, game, I now realise the impact the game would have in undermining the intent that goes into my work. I must avoid gaming books versus exhibition. I’ll save the idea for a more appropriate subject.

Finally, I should consider collaboration, for example of family.

I next set about mixing images of my own with some those of a family member, for my film trailer. This activity was triggered back in week 2.

From the finished film trailer, my collaborator contributed photographs of Highland cattle and one of the birds. We had walked the lands of my ancestors. Apart from learning something new about my work, the trailer generated a lot of enthusiasm and engagement of a level I’d not previously experienced in my practice.

Altogether I have made a lot longer a write up than I ever anticipated. I can justify the length as evidence of the critical unfolding and changing of my work within this MA Photography course. I do switch activity a lot by engaging with the Course. It is so easy for me to be distracted and forget a critical insight. These things are too valuable to lose.

Week 5 Independent Reflection

Well, let’s hope I can manage this optimistic plan. Failing in parts of one or more tasks is not an absolute failure. If I learn from the experiences, and they help towards the ultimate aim of producing successful outcomes in the FMP modules.

What I now need to do has become clear:

  •  Engage with the newly released materials.
  • Read into the provided references.
  • Make work on Abstract Landscapes of War, of faded memories.

I’ve done most of my reflecting below and need to make a start.

Week 5 Activity Roadmaps

I’m going to attempt a work called Abstract Landscapes of War. I say attempt as I have to read the data in my photographs and find the means of continuing to abstract landscapes. These have arisen in most unexpected ways and should be feasible, although time estimation will be tricky.

I wrote in my CRJ about scoping work over the next weeks and about how I need to limit to reasonable expectations around the MA. I intend to use the Pareto 80 to 20 principle and by achieving 80% of the defined outputs with 20% of the effort. The total amounts to 60% just for the Exhibition, Publication and Workshop, then there is a further 20% making 80% effort for photography and digital post-processing.

I have other activities such as attending Arles photo festival at a fairly crucial time in the delivery schedule.

My priorities are Book over the Exhibition, over Workshop for my MA Project. I wish to gain from the learning experiences of each to help me progress later in the Final Major Project modules.

I have to shoot continuously throughout the module for a successful abstract landscape edit. Existing photography during the module has been developed to a level that requires further refinement. My abstract landscapes developed through several stages and now at Week 5, I have decided on a theme so I need to revisit already processed abstracts.

The trailer activity highlighted how the landscape and seascape are ingrained in my work, so I would like to explore further. There is a risk as I’d need 20 images to make a successful edit of a final 15.

Activity Roadmap

Week 5 Workshop BriefWeek 5 Publication Brief

Examples of making from RPS Handmade Bookbinding Course

(A) What do you want the publication to say/do?
(B) How do you want it to achieve that?
(C) Do your pictures (critically) support / contradict that intention?

The requirement is to handmake publication material. At the moment, the breadth of what could be published is in its entirety greater than what needs to be in scope. A brainstorming would allow me to consider the full extent.

An illustrated text of commemorated histories
Book for Ed Rusha task
Boxed presentation of three books: locks, chains and entry phones
Pamphlet for exhibition
Catalogue of exhibition prints with an introductory essay and a quote
Leaflets promoting the show alongside social media
Business Cards (consider logo design)
An art book containing abstract images
An electronic version of some of the above items using ISSUU
A boxed portable presentation
An InDesign publication ordered through Blurb

So, not all these are within the scope of the Surface and Strategy tasks, but it is helpful to know the potential extent of work when provisioning tools and materials and when deciding formats.

There are various decisions over softback versus hardback
Cover illustration (can do softback)
Perfect binding versus kettle stitched binding versus stapled saddle stitch.
Quality of materials
Composition tools
Professional printing – already decided I will handmake
Paper type and quality
Cover thickness 2-3mm versus 3-4mm for more substantial work
Size A2/A2+ folded, A3/A3+ folded, A4 folded and possibly smaller for a boxed portable show of work.
Colour versus monochrome – I’d been highly conflicted working in monochrome when it was against my instinct.

At this point, the task has yet to run. The questions A, B and C posed above will then be addressed. I still have some reference reading to do.

For now, suffice it to say that I’d endeavour to exercise taste and demonstrate visual awareness. There will be an opportunity to apply a growing experience. Constraints on cover illustration and branding would direct choices unless I elect to use professional services, especially for cover design.

Week 5 Exhibition Brief

Turning first to the Landings Exhibition 2019, I said I’d keep in mind the Pareto 80 to 20 principle.

A brand new set of work would be fantastic, and there lies the hope.
Maybe I need to think what my project is in the whole and in relating to it see if there is a part I can do and that uses some pre-existing work.

After the Trailer making exercise, I have gained an insight into the content and how I might emphasise place.

I always introduce my practice in two parts: a historical element commemorates bravery in a war; a celebratory feature as an expression of our freedom gained.

Within my work lies the consideration of travel and place. The full scope covers Scotland, Canada, United States, India, France and Belgium.

I had yet to expand photography to overseas locations and currently have placed a brake on travel.

So of place, I have the homeland as representational photography (type A) and the trenches as an abstract battlefield (type B) and home as abstract (type C) captioned as fading memories of home.

I believe these representational and abstract forms would work in an exhibition. My absolute best work is yet to come in the FMP part once the coursework element eases. So for now, Landscape it is.

There is quite a lot of work I need to do. I also need to clarify my use of project work from before the course. My current quest is to resolve visual narrative, something that a representational and abstract combined might ease.

Ultimately, I have two candidate places for an exhibition, but I might want to save these for the FMP. I need to start looking. Perhaps I begin with an online show as I have prepared already for my portfolio. An eZine could work well for the exhibition catalogue.

If I did make an online exhibition, I would still want to make physical objects.

Physical objects have the advantage that I can carry them to reviews. Objects I can keep as a tangible reminder of this critical phase of the development of my project.

At this point, I feel that a physical exhibition has to be preferred. I need to reconsider this for my plan.

Week 5 The Weeks to Come

And so now to consider three surfaces and what to commit to for this module. The idea is to gain experiences ahead of the impending Final Major Project.

If I think about how I might respond to these tasks, there is a natural approach I could take and a more intense planned approach.

The natural approach ultimately is the style that I would be most creative at. I would have time to explore, to read the data contained within the photographs I process and to make something of an edit. I’m thinking here in the first instance of creating a book. A book was on my agenda before I began this MA Photography course and is something I wish to make as part of my collaborative historical work. I have committed to skills development and am ready to practice bookmaking. Already I find there is a minefield of detailed considerations in the editing, layout and making. I gained experience ahead of this point by engaging in the Ed Rusha activity before the module start and which is still ongoing. A primary behavioural consideration for me is being satisfied with knowing without the compulsion to make. I have to plan my activity to prevent my interest from merely moving on to the next big thing. It shouldn’t dictate my actions, though.

A planned approach, however, is a necessary part of photographic practice, and so it is clear that I need to adopt a plan. My enthusiasm in the first instance would lead to the incorporation of three surfaces from the Surfaces and Strategies module. Experience within and beyond the course tells me intuitively that doing all three tasks to a level of perfection is not going to be feasible. The repercussion no doubt will be an immediate rationalisation process kicking in, late in the plan as reality dawns when time runs out on this project.

A solution I like is to adopt the Pareto principle, also known as an 80, 20 rule. You create 80% with 20% effort, and this seems most appropriate to what I have to do at the current stage of my development. Three surfaces are the way forward. By the Pareto method, I’d use a 60% slice of effort. There is more. Add another 20% for continuing my photography, in which I need to invest time, especially when making allowance for digital post-processing activity.

I need to decide how much of each surface activity to do. I ought to state my intended cut-off to make sure I gain a lot of experience both of the making and my response to workload. I could timebox and pull up short on surface tasks. I understand this approach would not be satisfactory for the Final Major Project FMP. The Surfaces and Strategies Module, though, is an introductory module to the FMP and so timeboxing could work. The weakness in timeboxing would be the lack of definition of what the 80% achievement represents. More clarity is required.

PHO703: Week 4 Strategies of Freedom

Week 4 Resources

Week 4 Webinar 24 hours

I have taken all of the opportunities presented to meet my tutor and other students online. I did so again this week in the context of a 24-hour challenge the course had set for us.

I decided to explore how to supplement the visual narrative of my abstract work and ended up using photographs from the realm of scientific and computational biology and synthesised 3D images.

I had appropriated and mixed ideas in line with course discussion about such practice. I started with an exploration of what the public or viewer might expect to see generally in biological images. How could I expand visual narratives to reach out to the viewer?

I could adopt 3D, although this was not my intention. I’ll think about that. I have time to try out some ideas during the current Surfaces and Strategies Module.

Colour images I make, I envisage being presented as transparencies on lightboxes for best effect. At £33 x 20 that is an expensive option and I still have to establish the feasibility of printing on translucent material. I read somewhere that Epson printer using pigment ink should work although drying takes longer. With this in mind, what I discovered by synthesising 3D for myself was a new effect I liked. The red-cyan anaglyptic images I made presented as if light poured through a transparency layer and cast a shadow on a wall behind.

I shall also be mindful of the science being something separate to the art in my work and try not to let it distract. I learned that I need to exercise care and balance the inter-disciplinary visuals.

My first response to the activity this week failed due to poor weather conditions. As a cameraless approach, I’d wanted to time how long paper took to burn under a magnifying glass. Afterwards, I did go back to this but stopped because the method is exceptionally crude (lacks any finesse), there is a risk of fire and the risk of the bright sun causing eye damage. I stopped that. A mind experiment only.

Pending still is yet another method of recording that doesn’t use a camera. I wanted to make a sundial and sketch the gnomon shadow for different hours. A grid would act like pixels and be light, or under the shadow, they would be dark. A computer would be used to speak the pattern. An update has now been provided immediately below.

Week 4 Independent Reflection

This weeks content has an applied element and helped to develop my practice. Practice explored new visual presentation, which is a development point. I do not appropriate and yet was challenged to, and this made me feel uncomfortable as well as mindful of licensing and permission. I needed to examine visuals for reasons for exploration.


In summary, audio rather than visual output was the result, and I didn’t use a camera.

If you listen to the track, maybe 30 seconds or less is to be advised. It even drives me crazy.


I copied the light and dark squares as text into Adobe Audition and generated speech (Audition – Effect – Generate – Speech). I had previously discovered a Flanger effect called the Crazy Clock of Doom, which sounds a little more exciting, and the name appeals to my sense of humour. (Audition – Effects – Flanger – The Crazy Clock of Doom.

Week 4 Activity Hands Off

I decided to take some media images from the realm of human biology and computational biology and apply some technical methods to obtain 3D visuals. That helps me explore visual themes as my abstract expressionist work uses common DNA as a link to the past.

In 2004 my desktop computer worked away as a part of the World Community Grid. The first thing I chose to support was the then Human Proteome Folding project. My machine is now working on finding Human Cancer Markers.

I did not realise until this week how my photography had gained influence from this field of computational biology.

And so from the Science Museum, I took the model of the famous double helix and used it to create a stereogram pair. I landed on this presentation after trying several different approaches, and this was the best result for such a delicate subject.


I find I can Freeview and get the depth using just my eyes. The London Stereoscopic Company sent me a simple viewer designed by Brian May (of Queen) that cost about £5.

I had seen red and cyan anaglyphs in the past and found today this method worked well on a set of cellular images I grabbed from the World Community Grid facebook group.

A friend gave me a pair of cardboard viewing spectacles, and in trying to get the 3D effect, I stumbled upon a layer visual that took me by surprise. I like it. The result is a wall with the image on it, then a nearer version of the image as if on a transparent surface.

I’m so excited about this because I recently considered using light boxes to display my abstract work.

Until you look at the following with specialised specs, it is hard to gain access. However, there is a more latitude on image size, and that is important in my work as I still have in mind the idea of the viewer looking closeup to become immersed in art as an experience.  These are still early days.

I’m glad to have done this activity as it seems like now I make the progress I was seeking to make in starting this new module.


My earlier venture into microscopy took me to x80 magnification which is nowhere near the 3 to 5 Angstrom units of resolution used in scientific research, so for the supporting images, I need to appropriate, and remix the work of someone else. If I go much further, then I need to sort out rights and permissions. The stock images I looked at have a cost of £50 for a base image, and I would still need to create the 3D They are less visually stimulating.  The license is a lot when, as a student, you don’t yet know what you’ll end up doing.

I’ve got some more lined up to make the five images by the end of today. At the moment, I’m wrestling with third party images and mixing them to sample the visual language of cellular biology.


Week 4 Presentation 4 Turn Away

When I engage in my photographic practice, I scan for bodily injury/repair and may need to use a mirror to check specific framing and focus. Although I take a photograph, the situation often requires someone else to be a photographer. I created strategies to use in place of a second photographer. When I photograph a family member, the constraint becomes one of acting directly and with speed as the subject is only willing to cooperate a short while.

Week 4 Presentation 3 Force

I do not use force for the satisfaction of exercising power over the medium. Instead, I interpret the data in an image and try to read the direction in which it will go if I process it. With experience, I choose which stills I can work on to make a significant effect. I have had to practice a lot. Ever since my first digital camera and post-processing suite, I have practised, and I continue to do so. I previsualize style or type of outcome but let the image data provide the direction.

I am selective and respond to the data in a photograph.

Others may view my approach as passive. I would ask the question, is aikido passive? Aikido is a martial art and philosophy and is a way of unifying life energy. I would settle for that.

Week 4 Presentation 2 Smuggle

I explained below how I use my intent. The outcome is a visual effect of glow, in the underlying image. I reject the need for a high pixel count in my practice. Medium resolution is better suited to my intent. The photography software I use is passive when there is a lot of detail. Filters no longer have a good effect.

I look at the sensor data for the living glow of repair. Detail of a wound or human hair would be distasteful in my art and would serve as a distraction. I wish to create an experience in looking.

There is a concept of a one-pixel cinema, which I see a parallel to my work. Let me explain what the one-pixel cinema is. It acknowledges how to manage colour in film scenes. It goes beyond the use of LUTs. Films from companies such as Disney deploy a recognisable tone aesthetic that harmonises across the film catalogue. I’ve described what is behind a one-pixel cinema and will now explain how it works. The programmer identifies the dominant colour in each scene. The programmer would reduce each frame in turn, except there are some complications.

Several frames can invoke change and make visual sense by overlaying an original full frame.

The programmer reduces the whole film to a single-pixels that cycle through the dominant colours from the scenes.

I deconstruct my images but not to the extreme just described.

Week 4 Presentation 1 Outwit

I started with the lens to begin with and then thought turned to the camera. I realised that it’s code is designed to read the sensor, but in doing so, it compensated for allowable lens aberration. That way, lens manufacturing can stop short of absolute perfection. I take an integrated view of the apparatus and so thought now turns to the software designed to read the camera files once on a computer. Today this could be a smartphone, tablet, laptop computer, or a workstation. And so I view this as a whole, at least in terms of apparatus.

Photography is, therefore, about the lens, the camera, and the processing software. I then identify the constraints in the processing software, and I will force an algorithm to generate an unintended effect that I can use.

I have designed algorithms and so am tuned to finding limitations that create useful results. For example, I initially mute the effect of colour to give way to the infrared light that the filter inside the camera fails to stop getting through. I get my pictures to glow where there is a source of heat, for example, where the body acts to heal an injury.

I’ve given one example of what I do with the software. I do not de-privilege the apparatus by seeking alternative processes.

I do not advertise my methods so yes there is a black box but may relent once the experimentation matures into a technique, Nothing is firm just yet.

Week 4 Forum Human

I responded to the forum over whether it is possible to have non-human photography.

Movement detection software as an app running in tandem on the pairing of an old smartphone and a new smartphone can auto-trigger and send the user an email containing each snap.
This brings into focus a modern dilemma of consumerism, what to do with old equipment that still works. In this example, the first and second apparatuses become linked thanks to the convenience of wifi and the availability of unlimited internet data plans alongside the accessibility of integrated camera and networked computer functionally.
This approach is based on machine detection of the moving target and the extension of technological innovation into the field of a machine on machine integration based here on a consequence of a consumerist society.

Week 4 Introduction Playing Against the Camera

I suppose the freedom I experience is a result of knowing that the photography software designed to allow the photographer to improve an image will begin to breakdown at absolute extremes. I seek to find useful ways of breaking the software. I act intuitively with the data the camera has captured, and I test how it responds to my actions.

I do look elsewhere, as I attempt to return to film and photo paper. I do not have the full facilities of a darkroom, but I am gradually building up my expertise and equipment. There is a certain amount of politics at home about turning a space into a darkroom and especially in introducing chemicals into the house. I can force the issue, but there again, I am a digital worker and create lots of exciting challenges without an absolute need to find real alternatives.

PHO703: Week 3 Strategies of Sharing


I go back to Week 3 (from Week 7) in catch-up on some gaps in my coursework as I’d spent my time helping someone back to their feet so they could get around. Something to do with sports which are meant to be good for us.

Week 3 Resources

Week 3 Independent Reflection

I’m currently in the first phase of my project, and in doing abstract work, I still need to resolve essential issues.

Colour versus black and white I’m conflicted over although this is working itself out.

Visual narratives as they apply to my engagement with the viewer needs further attention too. It was suggested I create a bridge or provide some way into the work.

I tend to finish my Portfolio work with a Title and Captions. I’ve investigated visual language related to science and have been researching commercial visual language around DNA analysis.

An interest in other students works led me to analyse and discover more concerning my work.

(A) I read the SAGE Handbook of visual research and realise I may need to do more with the Integrated Framework. It is not directly applicable to me, I thought. I have now started to build my research on Visual Social Research.

(B) I need to forward think my strategy for engaging a museum and work collaboratively, possibly with funding. The idea is one thing; putting a structure around this is something else.

Week 3 Webinar Opening Up

This week my abstract visual work, that connects to the past through the biology of DNA is beginning an attempted transformation inspired by my ongoing contribution since 2004 to the world community grid and visuals of computational biology originally under the project called Human Proteome Folding phases I and II that completed in 2006.

If I ask why, then this ongoing contribution is now recognised by me as a subtle influence on my making of images that I did not acknowledge until this week of the module and that may help visually direct the narratives in my work that had previously been covered through text captions that ran in a rhythmic call and response alongside hand-drawn glyphs layered into my work.

With the ability of scientific microscopy to resolve down to 3 to 5 angstroms, and the power of supercomputers to model cellular structures then there is a modern world of imagery like those shown below from projects as far-ranging as cancer markers, ziko virus, and many more through to the development of treatments for autism.

Whether to appropriate or license materials to sit amongst or alongside my abstracts or whether possibly unavoidably now, to transform my photographs in these and other visual directions, is the question at the moment.


Fig 1 computational images from World Community Grid

Week 3 Activity Making Zines

If there is going to be a coincidence, there might as well be more than one.

Concept eZine

While an earlier week of the module was running, I’d independently been in communication with the Contemporary Photography world. Having seen the need for an editor for a Contemporary Photography Zine titled Concept, I offered to help, although I wouldn’t be fully available until June 2020, when this MA Photography course should complete for my intake.

Photo chain eZine (the Module group I joined)

The initial idea proposed by one of the students had good uptake, and work commenced right-away on a photo chain. We waited for our turn to respond to a photograph received from a member of the chain.

I took a received image that exhibited the idea of containment of time and moved it further into the surreal by looking within.

London 23-6-2019 21:13:10

Version 1 of the Zine can now be found on Issuu at this link

iPhone Zine – Cranes

In response to an open request to collaborate, the following winter nighttime scene of a crane in the snow, with moon present, was sent in.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this out of camera photograph didn’t make the edit. Being a dark, blurry image, it might not fit in.

Week 3 Presentation 3 Help from the Crowds

(A) How can crowdsourcing aid my project without causing concern?

I’d spawn the template for my work for use with other families. In that sense, we are isolated or disconnected. Later generations of my own family may wish to continue to extend the work as they please. If they obtain genetic results as raw data, they’d need to protect their data. These are early days, and higher analytical power will make connections we might not expect today. Also, the raw data may inadvertently reveal information to third parties about close relatives.

Fortunately, my method does not require DNA testing, per se.

Crowdfunding could aid the ongoing development of my project beyond the current stage of the MA Photography course. I have seen an example of an Army medical museum that allowed in an artist to work with children in creating work under National Lottery funding. I gain encouragement for my next phase work — one thing at a time.

(B) What could I learn from my participants through crowdsourcing or mass participation?

There are numerous learnings I’d categorise under psychological factors. There are raw feelings I have experienced that others may potentially suffer.

Potential participants may form defensive strategies, around dignity, and other resistive arguments. The work can affect knowledge, experience and beliefs. Some will wish to forget the past, leave the dead behind and focus on the now and potential future.

Week 3 Presentation 2 Helping Others


(A) Within my projects, how much agency do my subjects have in the creative decisions?

None insofar as genetic research is modern and did not exist for my subjects. It was only in the middle of the 20th Century that Watson and Crick discovered the double-helix structure of DNA.

As I interpret visually using glow, it is hard to know what other methods might work. Onward abstraction allows landscape/seascape or inner /outer world re-presentations. Within this, I sometimes introduce the form of tartan subtly. There is nothing culturally awry. Perhaps my perceptions of battle and the fading memories of home would meet with resistance as it can be hard for survivors to relate to traumatic conditions. The National War Memorial in Edinburgh is a great outpouring of the Scottish peoples’ loss. The memorial inscription says, for now, they are in God’s hands they shall suffer no more. I feel able to portray conditions without causing harm.

As a matter of choice, I portray healing as opposed to injury or wound. Healing has a direct connection through the warm glow I process of the physical body.

(B) Who is my primary audience and subsequently, my secondary audience?

Family is the immediate audience, as the work already causes us to unite or join together and reflect in thought and conversation as it affects our identity.

Once concluded, I can go public.

A growing interest in heritage through DNA has seen several commercial start-ups such as LivingDNA and AncestryDNA. There are numerous others. An upswell in interest is apparent, and individuals pay to have DNA analysed.

As part of my research, I’ve now obtained a view of the related and growing area of visual culture and representation. My method operates at around four generations and around a hundred years and is suitable for very much longer. This concerns recognising the connection with mitochondrial DNA.

The application of Y chromosome or YDNA provides a parallel for self as male. I’d considered this from the perspective of sisters of a male person having a one-sixteenth connection with fourth-generation male ancestors. I’m barred by nature from this connection.

Mitochondrial DNA fits my work as an energy giver in the context of action associated with War.

I’ve validated my method and built my knowledge base so gradually prepare for future application.
I’ve considered this at greater length than I’d anticipated when I started writing but supporting research has helped confirm my approach.

I’ve also just had the opportunity to discuss my photography and genetics with a medical practitioner who was somewhat interested in this work. By now, I can gauge people’s facial expression for engagement with the message as it affects their interests. The medic showed genuine interest. I didn’t get the specialist referral I was openly fishing for so will follow-up at a later point. I respect and value their time.

(C) In sharing my work, how can I retain the agency of the participants for a secondary audience without speaking on their behalf?

I think this comes down to working from factual data and trust in the propriety of relationships.

The historical research has to be of academic standing and use factual information that we have checked. The place never transformed and remains true to the rural nature of peoples lives in this case.

In terms of glow in my pictures, DNA is the information carrier. Mutations occur but rarely so in mDNA. Full visible characteristics are simplified or removed from my visuals. Hair and wrinkles, including effects of ageing, do not confound. In that sense, I do not allow the physical form to enter the work. Recent technical improvement has taken place by focus stacking. Stacking removes out of focus depth indications enabling standardised 2D framing of images. I’m saying this farther simplifies identification to that intended and prevent distortion of persons likeness or difference.

Week 3 Presentation 1 Learning with Others


(A) Thinking about your research, which is of more interest to you: the subject or your view of the matter?

The ancestral subjects were never known to me during childhood the data and narratives of their lives only becoming known through the last decades of research.

My view derives from a place and others, as in early life I was immersed in Scottish culture. Having seen gaps in knowledge get closed through modern research and travel, I interpret the conditions of the lives of my subjects. I can relate based on collective experience.

(B) How could you be influencing your subject and is that something to be avoided?

Rather than glorify the dead, I proudly acknowledge their deeds for I have my freedom. Would they want to be recognised, maybe/maybe not? What is important today is the effect they have in uniting a family as a diaspora.

I do not misrepresent the facts/data. To the best of one’s ability, it has become my place to represent my ancestors before all living memory is lost. I can still touch the past for now. Once established, others can determine any ongoing engagement with the history or adapt the principles I create to situations other than the Great War.

There will always be a gap over their personalities. I have a rounded view. If as a child, I had met them, my presentation would be different.

Week 3 Forum Collaboration or Participation

A contact sheet of images below provides a visual sample from the World Community Grid, a computational biology project I have participated in since its inception in 2004.

I participate in a group where we donate spare computing power to a grid I get to see where we stand in a league table of returned results.

I recently gained some individual bronze awards and shifted my league standing from around 400,000 up to about 200,000. I can choose which projects to participate in (originally in Human proteome folding) and now for Cancer markers, Aids and Ziko virus.

The reason I mention this here is because of the subliminal impact my participation has had on the Biology within my practice. Interest had become ingrained in over at least a decade.

Week 3 Introduction Working with Others

My efforts are allied with collaboration in my current photographic practice. I collaborate with a History researcher to illustrate a text and now move on to make standalone work in the abstract for the same subject.

My work evolved to use Biology to connect close family members and myself to narratives of specific others related in the past. I now photograph healing. I shoot family member healing as so they act as willing (mostly unwilling) participants.

If I consider the idea of voice, more precisely, that of subjects and collaborators, it does get interesting. From over 100 years in the past, these subjects are not alive to participate. I have researched data about their lives. I interacted with their close relatives within Scottish culture and society. The place is important too as I lived here as a child and on revisiting as part of my project, very little has changed in the landscape.

I become a proxy for my subjects’ voices. One participant has a loud guiding voice in the research but also adapts to the demands of tracing specific relatives. My children have a link through Biology and understand their contribution, and they ask if particular images are of themselves. The source becomes anonymous through abstraction, which is the working principle I adopt.

As work in progress develops, it will surely gain sophistication and get to a point where I can present the work back to them. I can then invite my family to relate to the experience and perhaps with a substantial body of work, ask them to present the perspectives they each have gained.

I care enough to sense how family and my more full family might engage or have the work presented. Already family have been encouraging and become emotionally involved in the practice as it evolves. Close family are sometimes very engaged while at other times they want distance from the work. The context has to be right.

PHO703: Week 1 to 12 Surface and Strategies Reflection

Improvements in the blog.

I moved on from the base template to simplify the blog appearance and to allow the use of Tags. I also had a problem with structuring Reflections as I have this hanging section. Reflections crop up within my Coursework blog right now.

I updated the template at Week 7 spurred on by various things including Landing 2019. I also started a new website for portfolio work but have taken on quite a bit of work through this. The site in its first incarnation is almost an eCommerce site allowing visitors to purchase my work via the internet. That came about more through intrigue and future intent than an immediate requirement.

So in terms of reflections, they remain in the coursework section of this blog for the moment. I will need to rationalise this to make the content clear to visitors, especially as the staff of Falmouth University expect to see a laid out site where everything is readily accessible.

Week 8

Reserved for insight into the computational biology aspect of what I’ve done since 2004 and how it helped inspire the work I make.

World Community Grid

Week 1

Week 1 Independent Reflection

My current practice is abstract expressionism with the aim of scaling images for art as experience as demonstrated by Mark Rothko in his painting.

During the week I was caused to revisit why I’d been conflicted and why I had settled on black and white images. There are two things running together a) the motivation which has sadness and darkness and b) celebration of life with vibrant colour which along the way got lost last module.

My methodology is a maturing process of controlled lighting with hints of clinical photography practice in the taking of photographs then in the digital dark room transformation of image texture and glow takes place (my IR processing method has developed). At this stage a glow image may be the end result I have in mind or an imaginings of home landscape may be the other form I have in mind. I allow the image to dictate my choices.

What I do could be described as an abstract form of rephotography through the surreal connection created by threads of common biology.

I was asked about developing the narratives in my work. Standard methods I had intended to use or reuse are captions in call and response (I dropped this last time I published a WIP portfolio). I was also experimenting with incorporating hand drawn glyphs and was yet to decide what symbols to use.

I didn’t get round to saying this week but do now, that I have a methodology I was now beginning to refine for improved visual impact and for clear narrative. I have yet to go back to early thoughts of romantic cultural inputs as my story connects with the song and verse of Robert Burns through location “A mans a man for aw that” etc.

Appropriation is something I’d not considered incorporating at this stage. Anything from stock images of place or similar approach or use Google Earth for sketch background storyline. I don’t know, early days.

There is scope to make that visit to London’s Imperial War Museum to get some contrasting stock imagery. I can seek out abandoned buildings of farm buildings, or park trenches or a mortar range I know of, for example as may have been use to hide out in during battle. Again I don’t know.

I’d been advised of the psychology of the method called Family Constellation Therapy, as a way of working with narrative. I followed up this to find out what might be taken from it. There is a parallel to a communication planning method I’m familiar with, I can consider. There is also, I find anyway a parallel with the male influence versus female influence on individual which runs alongside my themes of matriarchy and patriarchy.

I took a look at the presentation of the (near pornographic) work of Nobuyoshi Araki as an example of image pairings for visual interest. My work was seen to be uniform, which of course was exactly what I rebounded to after struggling to get more than a few images that went together in my previous work. Seems I might have overdone it.


My colour work :

My b&w work:

Family Constellation Therapy

Nobiyoshu Araki

PHO703: Week 2 Strategies of Mediation

Week 2 Independent Reflection

I had a crit during the Module Leader Office Hours meeting:

a) the project appeared to be resolved. It is entirely decided and undergoing refinement. In retrospect, with themes of commemoration and celebration of life running alongside each other, they may need to be separated, and I then focus on one subject.

b) the work is set to undergo levels of refinement. As ideas introduced during Week 1 were unconstrained, and the established practice has a serious tone, I don’t want to undermine this. I have to avoid new ideas fraying the edges of my work.

The project survived the rigours of my first module, possibly against the odds but did shine enough and adapt and has developed with a series of refinements over another two modules.

This is a project that has to go ahead irrespective of the MA. It is a life’s work and needs to complete while living memory remains. I had to test if it were possible to continue without visual repetition and knowing it is not a final work, I needed to think clearly about how it might proceed.

I’m gaining increased confidence, these doubts never go away, that there is more than enough development remaining to carry the work forward through this module now I’m getting a clearer sight of what the module has to offer. It is a lot more than a book, exhibition and workshop.

Week 2 Webinar Where are You Going

For students not familiar with my work:

My project statement

I commemorate ancestors I missed, who gave in the Great War. As they were injured and healed and fought again, I identify with them through abstracted images of the minor injury that we meet in daily life.

Through natural glow and healing, I connect with them in a shared process of repair.

Moving Forward

Sketch1: refinement, visual quality and hot buttons
Sketch 2: context, support and making
Sketch 3: new directions, message management and unresolved intent

Work in progress

Contact sheet: previous week

Challenge activity

Contact sheet: 100 Locks (Ed Rusha challenge)

Week 2 Activity Make a Trailer

Week 2 Presentation 2 Remixing

My practice takes my photographs and layers in reprocessed copies of the background as layers and may include hand-drawn glyphs. As the inclusion of narrative develops, there is scope to consider the learning of the current module. This has yet to be developed. I begin to wonder how remixing might apply as I’m sure there must be scope. Ultimately there are photographs created in prior modules, such as the museum work that came to a halt as close-up photography didn’t seem to do the business, but inclusion at some later point, perhaps even beyond the course, seems inevitable.

My practice links to other work, such as a published research document of historical narratives.

In a sense, the influences I gain are through the trainers who teach at the north-west London studios where I work as Studio Manager and get to interact with many professional photographers and digital artists.

Week 2 Presentation 1 Appropriation

We looked at appropriation by many visual artists and viewed the many ways they made this work, controversially in the case of Prince or in more subdued ways by other photographers/artists/curators and we looked at some of the argument that needs to be carefully considered, things we need to be mindful of.

This covered a vast range of approaches from official photography being re-photographed through to Google Image search for download images hopefully of quality, through to the use of Google Earth outtakes.

The approach of Ruff ignoring or even making a play on pixelation and still conveying an image resonated with an aspect of my work. I photograph small scale minor injury and need to think carefully about scaling my work, especially when comparing with painters and in particular Marc Rothko in attempting Art as an Experience.

There are opposite strategies like removing any reference to the original image through to wanting to identify the subject and context or recreate more of the original meaning.

Schmid curated typologies and self-published and also noted what I might call fashions in taking photographs around food and selfies for example and how this allows an analysis of changes in time like the cost of photographing.

It is worrying that recent snaps may have been taken as conceptual art in earlier times.

The playful alteration of images was also considered. I can relate to this in one picture where I had a bit of fun (and won a competition with it).

There are so many examples of approach and learning from such exercises. Critical appraisal was also given through critics comments on some of the work demonstrating the polarisation of views that can occur and how we as photographers ought to remain aware that this can or will happen with our work.

As for my practice:

I do have an inspiration that is based upon being able to reach back and touch the history and people linked to my narratives as I do so before living memory is lost. I also mention verbally the narrative text I take inspiration from in connection with a researcher I work with and am married to. I began wanting to support the book with illustrations until I realised there is more that we can do as photographers than that. I’ve moved off now as a separate visual exercise in the abstract.

As for the longer future, there should be some longevity once my work is fully resolved. For now, based on family, it can then be opened up publicly to others as a methodology concerning the stories of their lives. There is educational potential as support material in biology education. However, what is uncertain is the effect of reconnecting with migrant members of the family as this cold stir interest in North America. Who knows?

Week 2 Forum Joywar

Rather than use a visual for this, here is a linear approach

0. Note the remediation of a photograph and a painting above (displayed one above the other and captioned left and right on my screen).

1. Read paragraph 1 openly and suspend judgement.

1b Acknowledge there was a valid legal assertion.

1c Note commercial entity Harper’s Magazine interest.

2. Wonder why Harper’s material is not presented on Canvas.

2b Search the article, as requested in paragraph 2.

2c Harper’s website located. Note one-year subscription required to see the article / read the pdf.

2d Decision not to proceed with this line.

3 Inspect a second search result as Google identifies a pdf download.

3b Consider virus risk.

3c Consider if this is fair educational, non-commercial use/intent.

3d Wonder at students reactions to downloading this.

3e Resolve by getting a sense of perspective as the request to search is made in good faith. Technically though it does say search, not download.

3f Enough of this moral consideration / taking high ground.

4 Another search result is to a Wikipedia article, perhaps read that as a safe alternative?

5 Read paragraph 3 Post a diagram relating to this topic. I investigated in a linear step by step manner so provide this list instead of a layout or sketch.

5b Comment on three peer posts – TBD/in progress

I hope this perspective is sufficiently different!

For a visual I thought I’d return and add the Harper’s subscription request, but isn’t their website copyright? #confounded

6 Read paragraph 4 and respond in a way that challenges practice.

I initially started out in digital photography, creating my own stock for my planned work on business websites. Now my practice is to abstract my photographs and hand draw my individual glyph layers taking a wide berth of copyright issues. My other work has been copied before and each time caused no more than a raising of an eyebrow as I muttered congratulations regarding good taste (through gritted teeth). #chill

Now, if I decide to contextualise my abstract work with representational photographs, I could reach out to our family photographs.

Photographs of ancestors in uniform were found in the national newspaper archive. The pictures appeared in a local newspaper, in an article that was a precursor to further sad news. This is from over a century ago, and a researcher’s permission request led nowhere. Best measures have been taken to clarify ownership without any claim, and so my understanding is there is no issue.

I hope that the context given is both different and relevant.

Week 2 Introduction Remediation

I’m wrestling to with some new term:  Immediacy and Hypermediacy as the foundations of Remediation. There are many examples from the media over time (Bolter, 2000). Having read this, there is much to commend the summary (Immediacy, Hypermediacy, and Remediation – PUB401, no date)

Regards the question as to whether any photograph is finished or not, in the case of my own pictures, they are definitely not finished. In post-processing, I first have to process the glow, then layer if required, e.g. cultural references or imaginings of home, plus I may include hand-drawn glyphs or an image section transformed.

With the medium I use, I describe this to others as best I can, conscious of the fact that I continue to refine my earlier experimental approaches. Once these solidify, I can be more transparent.

Images I create have an immediacy, as there is an abstraction of minor injury of body impressions. As I build up the image layers with hand-painted effects and hand-drawn glyphs and transformed sections, the hypermediacy begins to build. At this stage in my development, the question is whether I Remediate. Perhaps self-remediation as handiwork is transformed into the abstracted photograph. My original conversation for my practice is in relating through standard biology the contemporary healing with historic wounding.


Bolter, J. D. (2000) ‘Chapter 1 Immediacy, hypermediacy and remediation’, in Bolter, J. D. and Grusin, R. (eds) Remediation: understanding new media. Cambridge, Mass: MIT, pp. 20–50.

Immediacy, Hypermediacy, and Remediation – PUB401(no date). Available at: (Accessed: 11 June 2019).

PHO703: Week 1 Strategies of Looking

In advance I’d taken the request to make a set of three project images. I did this at first as a way of moving on my work as I was keen to challenge myself and wanted discover as soon as possible what new directions might be calling. Here is the panel (discussed but not shown).

Figure showing alternative thinking around my existing project.

Left: an example portfolio image for human genes – I could have picked a stronger one to show at this scale.

Centre: post processing applied to a more structural visually similar subject of red light source on trouser material or Jeans (Jeans or Genes) as a play on words.

Right: plant genes, as seeds of the catkins of willow trees had created blanket cover

 I then relented and took a selection of three of my portfolio images as an illustration of what it is I do. As that kind of work had been critiqued at the Falmouth Face to Face, The Living Image we quickly moved beyond this and the other student had my portfolio images links to hand and posted them to the discussion! 

Attendance of this week’s webinar gave the chance to meet with my new tutor, re-introduce my work and see the work of another student.

At the Falmouth Face to Face I’d described  my work succinctly. In the webinar I was given an extended period to discuss in detail and things can go too deep too quickly. I’m always on guard for this happening. My first practice after a month away from it.

I noted that in the last module, the black and white presentation of my project went against my natural inclination. We discussed how this resulted – basically from tutor feedback, the likeness of my work to paintings and the potential of the Art as Experience approach of Mark Rothko. My work is motivated by commemorative work but really attempts to celebrate freedom based on others sacrifice.  

The deep emotional element of the project and the existence of a text led to a suggestion about finding out about a family therapy method to potentially enhance the work. Here is the link for the resource now investigated:

With a feminist perspective in mind, I’d already identified the power of the matriarchy through the mitochondrial DNA that fuels our bodies compared to the nature of male association that drives paternalism.  

Week 1 Webinar Where are You At

Week 1 Independent Reflection

See reflection blog post:

Week 1 Activity Place Over Time

Week 1 Activity Place Over Time

This activity as it relates to my project is a challenge as the place element of my work is not an absolute geographic location. It is about imaginings of home, the soldiers fading memory and muddy images of battlefield.

Chance is a major element in these images. I have been taking photographs based on minor injury and bodily impressions as a kind of photogram. I could attempt to process to a similar landscape over the weeks using a new starting image each time.

I’ve eliminated some other metaphors for place as in: bodily location of a minor injury or impression, or; injury corresponding to place such as rugby field or football field.

This activity may not be feasible for my project. Think, think, think, think, think.

I can make a start and see where this leads me.

Week 1 Presentation 2 Rephotography

I’ve photographed in the past in the style of the famous for the purpose of social photography in competition and for fun or entertainment. This has made me aware of others and their work and given me an insight into re-interpreting and re-photographing based on what they have done. This has been outside of my practice.

In my project, it is already re-photography, as the glow I capture from minor bodily injury or impressions, is a direct representation of the biology of others from over 100 years ago. When I make a contemporary abstract the design of the one image can go in many creative directions amongst which I select the most likely candidate and best effect, at the time of making.

I did re-visit and remake an image, something to do with the date being in the weeks before the module start. I now understand the original would have been valid. However, the circumstances led me to remake and it was then as I suspected that it would be quite a challenge to make as successful comparison with the original, and the remake was a pale version even with the same subject and same lighting. 

As already mentioned elsewhere, I had to improve my methodology of lighting, and post processing steps. What this does is compromise artistic improvisation for greater scientific repeatability. Maybe this conveys something of the photographer. At best I now take sets of images and process them together. I can take a contemporary subject and re-photograph – take several shots but really for improved framing, perspective or control of shadow or depth of field. It is hard to get away from uniqueness though as apart from the technical difficulty I enjoy having greater freedom when making a personal project.

Further viewing

I viewed several of the further viewing items listed and signed up to re-photos without time to fully explore at the moment. It is a shame about the withdrawal of the app Street Museum. Of course, the work of Ricard Martinez is listed and he featured as a recent guest lecturer.

Week 1 Presentation 1 Repeat Photography

We are asked several questions on this topic, in relation to our own practice. 

In terms of repeat photography helping me think in a different way, my response is several fold.

As injury, even if of a minor nature is my photographic subject, then clinical observation could be a thing. Clinical photographic practice, something I adopt, maintains consistency of lighting of the subject. My original was a portfolio of regular appearance, images that stand together as a set. If the same injury is revisited, during healing then change should be observed. Observation of change is part of Clinical photography regards progression of disease or healing. Over increased time, skin is susceptible to damage such as wrinkling, scaring, or other ageing effects.

One thing I cannot, or will not do from the ethical standpoint is harm or self-harm. 

In some cases tattooing might show change. This is not within my current subject and is not immediately related to bodily glow.

In an earlier module I switched to pressure marks, the act of memory on the skin as a kind of photogram that fades. Harmless pressure can induce the same redness of glow I photograph. I adopted this when there was a “drought” of injury.

As my work extends to post processing in the digital darkroom, repeat photography calls for less avant garde attitude to creativity. In my work, each image can evolve different visual qualities. Repeat photography failed in the past as I was unable to obtain the same visual outcome again. I tried to replace a photograph I thought at the time violated the course time constraints.

Standardised recording of my dark room procedures has to be enforced. I once saw this limiting experimentation and creativity depending upon fixed parameters rather than following the eye. A solution I did introduce was to batch process like with film working, on many images (5 or 6), as one image later splitting them back down to individual images. 

As for what I can learn from my subject by recording it over time. 

I can work out post processing limitations.

I could mimic effects such as Andy Warhol did with his lithographic work. 

I could by chance make medical observations.

I could determine gender or age effects around smoothness or softness or the effects of hairs in an image.

The patience of the persons being photographed probably wouldn’t extend to repeatedly photographing so the work would become wholly self-referencing.

I’m wondering though if collaboration might somehow become possible. A group of suffers of a condition might participate as if in a trial or promotion of a disease for example. My project hasn’t yet extended to the public.

Reversal of the effects of time or ageing become visually possible if skin care treatments were tested.

As for an agenda influencing how images are viewed.

Beauty might turn to disgust as a result of creating my version of punctum.

It would be necessary to prevent the visuals becoming over dramatized or shocking.

An attempt at being overly intellectual or scientific could switch off the casual viewer and limit appeal.

Repetition might call into question artist judgement and motivation.

Further Viewing

I got the chance to go over some of the multitude of references for further viewing. The Balog TED talk helped bring some gravity to the subject through the Extreme Ice Survey indications of Climate Change

Week 1 Forum Looking Back

I took up the Ed Ruscha challenge to work with the mundane and learn some of the skills of making a handmade book. Here I’ve taken the subject of security and in this context owners make attempts to protect property or access. Having decided on what to prepare for the challenge the first thing encountered was quantity and ability to maintain focus on the specific objective and finally learning to handcraft a book.

Ed Ruscha challenge – Security

When I set out to photograph padlocks, there were a limited number to be discovered on each shoot. As a matter of efficiency related subjects were photographed. Chains make a strong visual impact given the way they drape so I photographed these too. As the photographic method can readily translate the mundane into the beautiful there is a thing here wanting to stick with the mundane i.e. avoid eye catching compositions of chains. Diversification continued and material for several books was encountered.  On a London shoot I found numerous padlocks in and around Trafalgar Square, but in the urban environment, access became a stronger theme and so I found more entry point methods and entry phone systems. In a rural environment the subject matter further diversified to hausers of steel ropes and steel fittings related to adventurous outdoor activities related to climbing, swinging and aerial transit – there is a wealth of compositional elements that work well in close-up and with interesting background blur. Artistic representation becomes a strong element of this work but again runs against the mundane objective. 

The above is more or less a random layout for the purpose of this post. I have learned to image match photographs when creating a book. At the time of learning, this was meant to lead to standard book creation using InDesign and one of the standard publishing platforms. For the current challenge, my intent is the handmade book for which I’ve amassed some tools and methods. This is an area of discovery for me and one I am enjoying. I did some research for this and resolved to use an adhoc method of allocating layouts to signatures. I’d then be able to use Adobe Acrobat booklet printing method without having to use specialist software – keep it simple and start with something you know I said to myself. I know there are a mass of considerations to manage in book production and for now I want to create a raw looking product. 

When I return to base, I intend to give this a go and in trying to think how best to communicate the result, perhaps I should make a page turning video. 

The biggest challenges are both in closing the skills and knowledge gap whilst making sure I’m not my worst enemy in enthusiastically venturing off into related diversions of chains, hausers and entry phone systems.


I got the chance to go over some of the multitude of references for further viewing. The Balog TED talk helped bring some gravity to the subject through the Extreme Ice Survey indications of Climate Change. 

Alternative challenge

As this was offered, I decided to do both challenges.

I have something for the re-photograph, challenge in addition to the Ed Rusha challenge. This photograph of a photograph was taken instinctively.

Alternative challenge photograph

Although a Vivian Maier self-portrait, the meaning for me was in once having created such an image in the window of the Oxo Tower on London South Bank. It was for a Photography social competition and having been taken at night time was rather dark and mysterious.  For some reason I recall the date as about the 5 Dec 2015, so should be able find my original in an old catalogue when I return to base. So back to the Vivian Maier self-portrait reproduction. This was displayed at PhotoLondon 2019, and when it aroused interest it became a “Rephotography Trap” automatically capturing the photographer’s reflection on Maiers. Many decades have passed since the original was taken. Would Maier ever have envisaged a large-scale reproduction behind glass ensnaring future photographers? – if she did what brilliance. You are allowed access by having your reflection automatically superimposed, but you are not given access to the silver disc, at least without deliberately plotting some way in. The least I was able to do was to included my silver hair. Another meaning concerns a piece of geometric transformation. Instead of the silver disk, there is a reflected rectangle. The decider would have been If I’d worn my hat indoors, which naturally I don’t. So, there is a sign of the outdoor then, and indoors now. Wearing my hat would have topped it all off, but then that would have forced the new image. The result might lose authenticity. Let’s stay with the natural and instinct and move history on a step.

Notes about tutors and CRJs

I currently have over 500 photographs on the subjects discussed, and if I decide to progress a collection of books it would make sense to divide the labour. It would let me concentrate on the photography and use specialist software or an editor (person!) to help produce the overall set of books.

I was pleased to learn I’d been assigned to a Tutor who’d critiqued my work at the Falmouth Face to Face “The Living Image” event earlier in the year.

I posted the link for my Critical Research Journal CRJ blog

For reference the review images were also posted to my portfolio website temporarily.

Welcome to Surfaces and Strategies

There is quite a challenge ahead in the module. Alongside the learning there is the prospect of making book dummies, creating an exhibition or doing a workshop or indeed engage in all.

There is also a trip to Arles, trip to Amsterdam and Landings2019 curation that is looking for volunteers. 

I’ve been away from my base all of the first week, with very poor internet connectivity. Good connectivity is essential for the online delivery aspect of the course and particularly as I use cloud storage for portability and photography deals with larger sized files. The nightmare is over as I’ve since returned and I’m rapidly catching-up.

PHO703: Surfaces and Strategies Student Introduction

Hello, I’m Michael Turner, a student of the Falmouth Flexible MA Photography course. I’m moving into my second year having started in the May 2018 intake. Within the industry, I’m Studio Manager at Trade Secrets Live.

I’ve been published in a London Group photobook and group exhibited twice in London during 2018.


My portfolio is in the abstract. I re-present minor bodily injury in order to identify with lost ancestors who continued fighting in the Great War despite injury and wounding. I trace shared mitochondrial DNA connections as this is what converts nutrients to our bodily energy and I use this to express a connection through Life’s Glow.

Task – Ed Ruscha

In the run up to the start of the Surfaces and Strategies Module we were asked to prepare some work in line with Ed Ruscha’s portrayal of the mundane in his book 26 Gas Stations.

I’ve taken the topic of visible security and photographed an array of locks, padlocks, chains and entry mechanisms.

Ed Rusha challenge – security

The idea is to create a handmade book for which I’ve learned some of the basic skills and obtained the simple tools necessary.

I thought I would have finished this by now as I’ve been working away at it regularly for a month. In principle all is straightforward.

What I have done is to take stock of visual portrayals that hang together and have kept shooting to increase the number of images. Currently the total stands at over 400 and surprisingly only now provides enough for what I need to edit down. This is over 12 times what I’d expect for an edit. It is just that I have mixed items within the subject brief.

There is no automatic count of each category so I had to keep going out to increase the numbers of compatible images. Unsurprisingly, I still came back with a mixture, probably as a result of hedging and waiting to see in which direction things would go.

Initially padlocks were the objective, I keep seeing them wherever I went. I felt that they were mundane and so met the brief but expressed something deeper about modern life around protecting property and access.

Chains are often associated with padlocks can make more interesting visual compositions. Then I photographed an array of entry devices with all manner of constructions.

This rapidly expands to several books.

I now have to draw a line as I proceed further with processing images for the edit.

Handmade Bookmaking

I’m for now avoiding standard photobook offerings in favour of the handmade.

I learned about using signatures, sewing and gluing and got so far investigating layout software. I have a bookmaking course scheduled for August. Skills currently need to be developed and decisions made around printing and making the cover.

For now I again need to draw a line and get on with the making. I won’t yet have full control of bookmaking in all its aspects, more of which I discover at every turn. I intend to have a go and learn, then later build on this start.

Second Challenge

I have something for the re-photograph, challenge in addition to the Ed Rusha challenge. This photograph of a photograph was taken instinctively.

Although a Vivian Maier self portrait, the meaning for me was in once having created such an image in the window of the Oxo Tower on London South Bank. It was for a Photography social competition and having been taken at night time was rather dark and mysterious.  For some reason I recall the date as about the 5 Dec 2015, so should be able find  my original in an old catalogue when I return to base. So back to the Vivian Maier self portrait reproduction. This was displayed at PhotoLondon 2019, and when it aroused interest it became a “Rephotography Trap” automatically capturing the photographer’s reflection on her’s. Many decades have passed since the original was taken. Would Maier ever have envisaged a large scale reproduction behind glass ensnaring future photographers? – if she did what brilliance.You are allowed access by having your reflection automatically superimposed, but you are not given access to the silver disc, at least without deliberately plotting some way in.The least I was able to do was to included my silver hair. Another meaning concerns a piece of geometric transformation. Instead of the silver disk, there is a reflected rectangle. The decider would have been If I’d worn my hat indoors, which naturally I don’t. So there is a sign of the outdoor then, and indoors now. Wearing my hat would have topped it all off, but then that would have forced the new image. The result might lose authenticity. Lets stay with the natural and instinct, and move history on a step.