PHO705: Book Designer Meeting

Assignment, Block D, CRJ, Final Major Project, Week 15 (21)

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

So what was learned:

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

What else?

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

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

PHO705: Fonts

Assignment, CRJ, Final Major Project, Week (16)

Supporting Discussion

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

Original Post

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

  • Granville
  • Auster

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

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


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

PHO705: Creating Draft Critical Review of Practice

Assignment, CRJ, Final Major Project, Week (16)

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

<placeholder> for draft CRoP

PHO705: Similar Works 1

Assignment, Block D, CRJ, Final Major Project, LO3, LO4, Week 15 (21)

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

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

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

Photograph Richard Hammond

And my earlier effort in more sombre mood:

DNA Sequence Overlaid with mtDNA Trace
Photograph Michael Turner

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

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

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

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


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

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