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).