PHO705: Similar Works 1

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.

Bibliography

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.

PHO705: Book Design

Having completed most of the research behind the project work is moving forward rapidly as more focus is gained and a single line of visual narrative / aesthetic is settled upon.

The previous work product for a Module Leader one to one session simply gathered together themes that had been evolved. With direction the rate at which outputs are created has increased.

In what follows there is a settling on the aesthetic of “charcoal on antique paper”. Here the aesthetic has extended across a set of evolved themes going into the book review.

After the review, the aesthetic has remained and the direction has been advised on:

  • drop abstracts with added newsreel stills
  • focus on DNA results for self
  • avoid any feminist reference as too hot a topic(?)*

It was decided that a book would be hand bound and advice was obtained on paper weight.

The focus would be as before (at the Summer exhibition), a set of 18 prints on 40×50 mounts, with a miniature exhibition in a box to take beyond the gallery setting. Notes were compared on box production.

From a recent talk by Victoria Forrest it was clear that time would be tight for a full book design and production phase. Whilst it is possible time would be a tight squeeze and the intention was anyhow to hand make the prints, book and boxed prints as artist materials. Past experience of making provided the proving ground. It should be possible to make all of these outputs.

Where time becomes a squeeze is in making supporting materials: contextualising video/moving stills, exhibition guide, online portfolio, marketing leaflets … busy, busy, busy.

Single Pages (scroll to view, hover and click to download)

PDF-for-VF-ver-0.1

Spreads (scroll to view, hover and click to download double page spreads).

PDF-for-VF-spreads-ver-0.1

note:

*“Men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at. This determines not only most relations between men and women but also the relation of women to themselves. The surveyor of woman in herself is male: the surveyed is female. Thus she turns herself into an object of vision: a sight.” (Berger, 1972) page 47.

In my work, men receive their energy-making biology from their mothers. Men are viewed as agents of women. More specifically Men as sons are agent to their mothers.

The stability of the genetic code of energy-giving (mtDNA) is key as is the male being blocked from passing this gene to their offspring. The theme is of a Mother-line.

Bibliography

Berger, J. et al. (1972) Ways of Seeing. re-issued. London, [England]. Available at: http://www.greenpenguin.co.uk.

PHO705: Module Leader Group Critique

The Forth cohort attended a group critique, our first. 

So to take forward something of the way of telling a story by a compositional layout of three parts or by layering an archive portrait with a glow picture. What feedback would the Module Leader and the audience give? 

The PDF attached can be downloaded. It contains two frames, one for each method of interest.

Group-Leader-Critique

This file displays correctly as two pages: View – Page Display – Two Page View for side by side comparison and to show a two-page spread. 

Making a PDF was practice for the 1 May hand-in but at a small scale. 

The intention is to obtain a PDF with the best resolution images saved as an Interactive PDF format. InDesign frames also ensured even sizing of the pages which of different dimensions from Word and Photoshop were made consistent.

(TBD Here is the work of the previous module:)

#Advice

Here is the update promised following today’s critique. The idea is to obtain greater clarity and something actionable. 

We learned from each other’s presentations as much as our own. Five presentations were made:

  • Skye rushes
  • Balloon metaphor
  • Mitochondria 
  • Book diptychs
  • Urban regeneration

Reaction to presentation – mitochondria

Preparation for the presentation was done well in advance and meantime it may have answered its questions on the layout options.

There were no audience comments. Module Leader comment went beyond layout, drawing attention to the importance of mitochondria as a theme. Agreed this is the foundation and deserves elevating.

The work could be helped along by adding a family tree. Privacy issues prevent this. However, a generic chart is something I would entertain.

David Fathi did some work concerning the impact on moral actions of using a genetic sample for modelling disease.

The family mitochondria theme does have a historical element as that is what stirs a feeling of identification with family. It is more of a driver or motivator than the actual purpose of the work which is forward-looking in terms of light reemerging as a means of detecting disease. It may be infeasible in the time to go too far with this science as the interest is really in creating art. The art is from the digital sensor capturing glow in a way the eye tends to ignore which given a style of processing can emphasise the hidden.

General learning points

The advice given related to the current point we are at on the course. Our work needs to be research-driven. So back to the books.

Also, no work is ever complete until we present it to the public as the audience. It is then we start to gain feedback.

Practical learning point

The student from the group, three months ahead of us was very informative in terms of their planning. They have already had their exhibition with six weeks to the end of their studies. They had 30 images and proposed editing them down to 20 for their portfolio but add in more for a book. They received interest in their work, and a videographer had even filmed their work.

PHO705: Feedback on Final Proposal

This was a very useful 1-2-1 session guided by a true professional. Thank you for helping me to progress my work.

During the 1-2-1 there were some exciting and helpful turns, that I’d not expected. Thankfully I was able to address each point.

Referencing

Referencing had been deficient in my proposal. I’d not planned it to be a rushed job, but it was what it was, and I accept the comment. I’d since blogged my references, and was able to show these in my fully refreshed CRJ blog here.

In practice, my work is back on track, I just wasn’t able to assemble and organise references in time for the Proposal submission.

Proposal Organisation – Headings

A comment was made on the Proposal organisation. There was a need for more headings. The proposal was likened to a stream of consciousness, a comment which I love. There is a time and place I accept, but to be recognised as writing in the style of Roland Barthes, has to be an honour, surely?

Evidencing

Some assertions in my Proposal required evidencing. I can rectify the problem now, even if only for my own satisfaction. Points relate to detailing:

  • A planned Meeting with a Kodak scientist and specialist in digital imaging and medical imaging who works in the cosmetics industry.
  • A visit to a Digital Imaging Symposium in December – a Kodak scientist I’ve known since 2010 is set to give me an introduction. Note to self, I need to catch up with him on Friday.

My reviewer wanting to know more was encouraging. The project has been moving forward from interpretations of Biology theme and begins to enter a medical world of digital imaging. Why so? This originally was simply to validate a technical point around healing glow and Infrared emissions.

However, this research led me to investigate a bridge between Art and Science. especially following a Symposium back in September.

A further point that required evidencing concerned:

  • Creativity and the subconscious mind.

Direct evidence is present in the making of my work. The process is experiential. Appreciation of how abstract art is created cannot be assumed for the non-practitioner audience.

In academic terms, this is probably insufficient, or so I now realise. With the formal approach, I reference:

(Kandinsky, no date) Page ii on our spiritual relationship with the primitives, “… these artists sought to express in their work only internal truths, renouncing, in consequence, all considerations of external form”. So too I.

(Scarry 1987) page 21. “The human action of making entails two distinct phases – making up (mental imaging) and making-real (endowing the mental object with a material or verbal form).

Scarry ably described then, what became second nature in my work.

The Critical Review Journal CRJ (this blog)

As I’d shown my updated reference post and this later conjured interest in the CRJ. I was able to show a couple of relevant posts and by navigating to the bottom of the page, demonstrate the organisation:

  • Tag Cloud
  • Category selector and
  • Free text search

Next came the test, to retrieve a Portfolio from a prior module. That worked smoothly and was a testament to the preparations made. The search was a genuine thing as the Portfolio was then displayed and discussed. What followed was a connected piece on the next steps of project development. This at the time was a screen share of a prepared PDF on my computer desktop. Since the 1-2-1 the PDF has been posted here:

Group-Leader-Critique

Bibliography

Kandinsky, W. (no date) Concerning the Spiritual in Art. Edited by M. Sadlier.

Scarry, E. (1987) The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World. New York, London: Oxford University Press-23 978-0-19-504996-1.

PHO705: A Quick Look at Learning Outcomes LO3, LO4 and LO6 in Preparation for a 1-2-1 in Week 6

I comment here on LO3, LO4, and LO6 as areas of focus. Perhaps I did not communicate these strongly in my Final Proposal.

LO3 Critical Contextualisation of Practice

I contextualise my photography and image creation in terms of healing and art, an earlier identification with suffering, along with the spirituality of connecting with family and our remembrance of them. The following references I associate my with:

LO4 Professional Location of Practice

The audience breaks down as follows:

  • Family is the immediate audience. My work emerged from family as a collaboration.
  • Our staff and students within the University are audiences. This a step towards going public through assignments, portfolio reviews and critiques.
  • Accomplished photographers and digital artists I would reach out to as my primary audience.
  • Clinical photographers and scientist experts in digital and medical imaging are an emerging target audience. At present, I use the scientific community to test theory and assumptions.
  • Followers of my work, may or may not represent a professional context yet interaction here often brings pleasant surprises. Some from this group are from teaching or an arts and crafts background. They actively express interest in my work and have done so now for several years. Followers have earned special consideration.

There are several tried ways and other potential ways of reaching out. The exhibition has to be the main driving force, as experienced in an earlier module. From this springs the marketing and publicity of reaching a particular milestone. This would lead to a rich media environment and supporting materials and social media campaign.

A book is a recommended outcome for my work having demonstrated strong skills in making in an earlier module. I would create a book dummy and would seek to convert it into a professionally bound work. Numbers of interested parties might tally around ten at a first count. I need to give this more consideration.

Even if I restrict the list to these for now, I klnow from experience there is a whole lot more making:

  • Video for contextualisation.
  • Audio recording as for creating atmosphere.
  • Online gallery

As an emerging digital artist, it would fit to occupy a gallery space in one of the online communities. At present, this has to be aspirational as there is so much more to find out. I’ve participated in virtual world exhibitions several times, explicitly using Linden Second Life, a virtual world. 

From an online world perspective creating a gallery is untried for me. I’m sure I would need to involve a virtual world developer. This is exciting, really exciting, even it flies in the face of materiality. I’m thinking through how the name Second Life becomes connected with the theme of my work which is really an aside. However, I see a great connection with the title, as sentiment and as the digital presentation of digital making. This would be a true mark of progress, given ancestors could never have predicted the rise of the internet and the discovery of knowledge of genetics. At some point, I was going to get carried away and here we are. I really need to focus right down on making rather than being distracted by technology. This can be saved for later.

LO6 Written and Oral Skills

My chosen area has been hard to convey to a general audience. This circumstance has been a constant for my time on this MA course and it is only through repeated practice that I hone this skill. The starting position each tome involves a trap. It is always too easy to over-elaborate and justify my work. In subsequent iterations this communication becomes more crisp.

Bibliography

Batchen, G. (2004) Forget me not. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. Available at: http://www.papress.com.

Kandinsky, W. (no date) Concerning the Spiritual in Art. Edited by M. Sadlier.

Scarry, E. (1987) The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World. New York, London: Oxford University Press-23 978-0-19-504996-1.

Tammi, M. (2017) Sick Photography Representations of Sickness in Art Photography. Edited by M. Tammi. Lahti, Finland: Aalto University Publication- Aalto ARTS Books Helsinki. Available at: https://shop.aalto.fi/.

Major Update to Blog

A major update has been completed including a retrospective change to posts from the earlier modules that impact on my FMP.

#Advice

A video resource made available showed how the staff of Falmouth University approach a Critical Review Journal and especially during assessment, so it became clearer how I might adapt some details of my own blog.

Step by step guidance is provided in the document MA Photography CRJ Guidelines (September 2019).pdf is designed to help new starters as well as more advanced users.

A second video resource provides an example of one students work.

A result of using the above resources, videos and guidance document is that the FMP blog has now been restructured and is more professional. It should be easier to research as work continues.

At Week 5 the restructuring is basically complete:

  • tag cloud search is introduced
  • category filtering is introduced
  • FMP posts structured and scheduled (use tags and categories)
  • backup is automatic (security)
  • language selection included (quick win)

PHO705: Week 4 Reflection

These are my reflections on Week 4, the Week in which the Final Project Proposal was submitted to Canvas Assignment.

This is slightly back to front in that the assignment submission was Monday and so the remainder of the week saw other activities take place:

  1. Shoot 4 – a combination of healing and recording family archive images.
  2. WordPress restructuring took place and was a major overhaul.
  3. The P2P meeting was attended on Tuesday.

A 121 meeting has been booked to receive Proposal feedback from my Supervisor and eminent photographer Dr Wendy McMurdo.

Item 1 above was a very significant step forward in the development of new themes for the portfolio visual language and has been blogged here and here. This is the most important take-away point from the previous module, exhibition and portfolio. Acting early is key in order to avoid running out of time after Christmas. Something I reflected on afterwards when contextualising and in particular in following a podcast was the need to avoid, I feel, the move of primary focus towards a theme of NOSTALGIA. This needs unwrapping as it could in one sense become the project’s downfall. However, archive photography has proven its worth too and as well this is a time for experimentation. A second concern is around the idea that women have been portrayed in photography by men. This was pointed out in a podcast discussion with exciting, emerging women photographers Juno Calypso, Maisie Cousins and Sophie Green.

Item 2 WordPress activity became a major undertaking. The inspiration and resources were also blogged.

PHO705: Guest Lecture Victoria Forrest

Pre-amble

Watch back on the video and comment.

Nigel Ready CRJ here worked on a book on his FMP worked with Victoria.

Introduction

We’re now into the new year 2020 and a good time to have looked back at this video of the making of a book on the landscapes of Seamus Heaney, for now, MA graduate Nigel Ready.

There is more activity with Victoria who is returning to give another talk in her series followed shortly afterwards with a review session which has been ‘booked’.

Addressed during the break has been the limited numbers of pictures available to publish and so this has been worked on. Still not satisfied, there are now more images where each theme has a limited to draw upon. Making a book is going to be a big challenge notwithstanding having hand bound a book already for the course.

Challenges also are cover embossing / cover image as that craft has not been tried out.

Victoria’s Guest Lecture

What follows are some key points and a few images that serve to remind.

Apart from the introductory slide showing some of the scope of Victoria’s work, the others cover: the brief, reply, embossing of cover, the outake with shovel that determined something of the cover design.

Production steps

This outlines some of the points when working with a book designer.

The brief in the slide above was accompanied by a tight edit. The reply slide content widens what the book designer gets to see for the edit.

At the early stage the photographer has cropped in to images and they have a significance that can be lost on the viewer. The scope was quickly reduced to poet Seamus Heaney. Victoria twice used web resources to get a feel of the poet speaking/reading his poetry and of the styles of cover others had used before taking inspiration from Nigel’s photos.

Resolve what you are saying.

Determine emotional response and voice.

Allow wider selection to depict the subtleties of a complex subject. This used 150 photographs. It was only 64 at the start.

Get a feel (YouTube readings).

Work always starts with the photography and cases of two images saying the same thing reduced to one image.

Choose top images in editing down.

Made pairings and made a run (narrative).

Narrative shouldn’t be forced.

Go by the run of the images. Outcomes could be adjust, re-create or reshoot. Probably best is to stick to the run where possible?

Title VERSO inspired by listening to the poet. Digging the earth and turning the soil, turning words and in bookmaking verso is the left had turned page. So a name and a narrative.

Developments led to borders and lines and visual themes.

Some photographs remain personal to the photographer yet fall outside the narrative e.g. being not moody enough. These are separated out.

With a PDF and printed pages, many hours are spent re-arranging pages and tweaking.

Next were design features. The photography informs the design, Accompanied by the Google search of visual language others have used.

Decide on graphics and type to create a mood and tone. The cover design was embossed as ploughed fields with typography inspired by the poet’s gravestone.

Summary in relation to the Motherline project.

The starting position was alluded to at the top of this blog. Book experience has included being published in a group photographic project, and having learned how images are laid out and paired up, along with an awareness of typography being important as well as transitions etc. Finally, rudimentary making has been done by way of a practice book, a dummy and an exhibition pamphlet. A number of other books have been witnessed being reviewed.

In essence, the subject matter of design has many varied parts and practice is neat but fairly elementary, especially compared to what is on the shelves of the bookshop.

An attempt will be made at preparing a piece of work needed for the meeting with Victoria. The base question is whether there is enough image content to fill a book in a consistent manner.

Related activity around a module end and the lead in to a book and an exhibition was an experience gained. The challenge is over what can be done in the available time and being ready.

PHO705: Pecha Kucha

I’d given a public talk on Photography in the past, around 2016, where I talked mainly about my focus on Abstract Art. I mention this not just because of the consistency in the practice choice but because more to the point I’d used an automatic slide advance approach to time my talk to an allotted time period.

That was very much like a Pecha Kucha, which differs in having a defined 20-second slide duration, but given I’d practised my talk, it turned out on the evening that apart from fairly blinding lights there was no lighting for my notes and so I proceeded to talk off the cuff. It went surprisingly well and the overall presentation was second perfect.

For the Falmouth FMP, preparation was somewhat different as for a start I’d been overseas, well to Amsterdam at least and with the many distractions of the Unseen exhibition, other exhibitions and travel.

Well, of course, I’d planned ahead and had set about an initial structuring alongside several goes at scripting from various angles to see what might work.

It only needed to be assembled and polished but for a bout of influenza that laid me low for a week, so there against all my plans I found myself cobbling the presentation together at the last moment. What with several confusions over my booking, I ended up with an earlier slot than anticipated. No time to record over audio and file on YouTube but made it in the end for another off the cuff presentation.

The PK did it’s job.

Slide deck only