Abstract Photography

From a taught session on photographers who practice abstract photography. A practical interlude took place. This post serves simply as a reminder of a day’s education.

There was a lot to do with names in photography with examples of their work or their book publication was mentioned.

Albert Dros – abstract landscape

Michel Kenna – long exposure landscape

William Egglestone – Egglestone’s Guide

Aaron Siskind

Minor White

Cig Harvey

Edwards Weston – Day books of Edward Weston

Eric Meala

Practical session images

Jocelyn Lee

Man Ray

Thomas Ruff – Transforming Photography

Wolfgang Tillmans – Tillmans 2017

Valerie Belin – Pris Pictet

Daido Moriyama

Previous attendee Stan Farrow FRPS had his fellowship panel shown ‘Graffitti’

Charlotte Cotton

Example images made during the practical session:

Introduction to Photographic Histories 29/6/2020 to 27/7/2020

Run by the Photographers Gallery over 5 Monday evenings this overlapped and gave a different slant to learning on the MA and was an opportunity to refresh knowledge gained.

Week 1: Origin stories of photography

Week 2: Blurred lines, clear visions: Movements of 20thC photography and their legacies

Week 3: Portraiture and Identity

Week 4: Beyond Evidence: Documentary photography

Week 5: Expanded photographic practices

Source 2020 Graduate Show

Source provides wider industry exposure of graduate work. My Falmouth University MA Photography project ”Past-Present a mythology of time” is being submitted.

My submission is made in the STAGED/CONSTRUCTED category.

Commemorative work Past Present ends a century of silence held in sadness for ancestors who were repeatedly wounded in battle, and were never to return home from war. In this work, present day images of healing are transformed into visualisations of place. Human connection is amplified as memory is created from a biology shared. As art inspired by cutting edge science, work has been made for individuals bound by the mother line gene. Bonds that were missing, now begin to form. Pictures shown are a selection from an artist’s book, that also includes poetry and prose with these and vernacular images from a family’s past. The book was originally created as part of a Falmouth Flexible MA Photography programme.

The digital version of the artist’s book is located at https://issuu.com/turnerphotoart/docs/past-present_a_mythology_of_time_a4_book_200428

Eight images submitted.

Landings 2020 Metamorphosis

I was pleased to engage in Landings again this year. A portfolio link was provided to www.landings.space. My work can be found under my name Michael Turner by scrolling down the list of 63 participants.

A short-cut is to click directly on the portfolio website link https://www.michaelmturnerphotography.com/fmppastprsentpre-edit

The opening party was on the evening of Monday 27 July 2020 where a series of interviews were conducted on Instagram using Live Video.

Unfortunately I was engaged with The Photographers Gallery in a mock judging of this years Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2020.

The four artists shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2020 are:

Mohamed Bourouissa;

Anton Kusters;

Mark Neville and

Clare Strand.

Post MA

Having steered a wide berth on so-called “Doom scrolling”, interest returned to photography. Photographic activity recommenced.

Given the surprise that studying a visual art resulted in a reawakening of enthusiasm for reading, then it should be no surprise to have gone out and sought a course on the history of photography with the attendant reading. This has been one of my first actions.

Two years was the extended period spent engaging in postgraduate reading extended to art history and the theory of photography as applied to my chosen practice. The Informing Contexts module led by Dr S. I enjoyed so much.

So what am I up to here? A five week course with The Photographers Gallery on an Introduction to Photographic Histories is what. Seeing the subject taught in a different way allied with what I’d already learnt has been the important thing.

There is a bit more bias towards arts with an engagement in social and political issues to a much grater degree. This is not so much in the weekly presentations as the texts we are given to read. So issues of gender, and race and world events. Quite informative really.

Does it have an effect on what I did during FMP, well to be honest yes. My understanding for example of Modernism and the Surreal has expanded wider to Pictorialism and Modernism bridged by Surrealist art. Note there is a difference between Surrealism and the term Surrealist, the former being uncanny say, the latter being more politically driven. It is a fine point but one worth registering and an aid to my ongoing development.

And in Practice? It would be great to make Surrealist art.

So how about casting wider to genres that were not fully developed. Well that has been another progression. In terms of Landscape I did two things during the MA, I photographed place in figurative or perspective form then inspired by this moved on to completely abstract place.

This was a great confirmation of Landscape being more than the sublime or picturesque. It became a place of shared experience separated by a whole century. That was fundamental to my work alongside the genetic tracing of mtDNA – the glow that can be photographed as lens based photography that links to the biology that transcends time.

Now I revisit Landscape but as a Fine Art. In particular developing the need to slow right down and get the exact image intended in the circumstances of tide and weather despite rigorous planning. And then to process the image to create such drama and feeling of perspective as three dimensions are represented on a flat “canvas”. As the expression goes “I need to get out more” and capture some images to work on diligently in post. For me post has is a draw.

Anything else, well yes. Books, I’ve returned to learn more about making. The person who taught me bookbinding or at least covering laid on another course on the print side and double-sided paper selection and other means of crafting a physical work.,

I learned by trial and found for example the double colour correction issue and solved it during FMP delivery. I do all my own printing and print mounting. What it was, was for the Surfaces and Strategies summer task or the Ed Ruscha task I had the colour issue which was maybe okay for a book dummy but certainly not for a FMP final version. Although this aspect of the craft is not taught I did learn quickly through practice through some very detailed research. Now I have it all happily under control as far as paper goes. Chalk that up to experience. When something worked and was stuck to fine but change one of the print elements, ink, paper or print workflow and it can go horribly wrong, but that is in the past.

I’ve got a post MA plan. It is good to have created a plan, especially in light of the drift that will ensue without one. In this plan it is quite exciting as there is more book making and I’d like to expand the presentation methods for my work. If nothing else it is refreshing or indeed motivating.

So why sign up to further bouts of learning? because that is what has been allowed to happen. Well, I discovered a course that is intended to help produce an RPS Associate panel submission. But is that necessary as the MA has led to ARPS by Exemption already. What it is, is the specific course takes a more technical view of digital camerawork than was appropriate to the MA. Having done much on this elsewhere, I feel first that it is good to consolidate learning as it can only increase technical quality. I was right on the edge during most of the MA on this due to subject scale for example. The other hope is to distinguish the genres of submission for RPS distinctions and at the present level casts thought towards the Fellowship distinction. Maybe it is early and I’m not ready but unless you know the way to success how could fellowship ever follow? other than by chance.

PHO705: MA Photography Award

I’m pleased today 1 June 2020 to record my having been awarded the Falmouth University degree Master of Arts Photography with Merit.

I joined the Positions and Practice Module run by the Course Leader on 4 June 2018 and now 2 years later I’ve satisfactorily completed all of the modules and have finished the course.

I thank everyone for contributing to the learning experience and for providing critique for what became an unusual abstract surreal practice which I have thoroughly enjoyed developing.

In the second block of the Final Major Project, I took my work public as a book and have an exhibition pending release from lockdown hopefully later in 2020.

As I closed in on hand in I began a number of short courses to consolidate and extend the research done during the MA Photography course. Hand in took priority, and afterward I took a few weeks rest.

I’ve since returned to these genetics courses. My “research interest” was in human biology and in particular the power cells or mitochondria. I’ve now spread the net wider to learn more of evolutionary biology while gaining access to databases of DNA data including my own genome with a view to creating images related to cutting edge science.

PHO705: Post FMP Activity

The purpose of these Post FMP Photography blog posts is to do with keeping up the momentum.

Actions

Some items needed packing away.

Privacy

For example, given the nature of the project of photographing wounds or minor trauma and the undertaking to keep identity private and especially with the medical-style implications there was something more to do there.

Photo Vault as the selected method has been used to secure access to the work. This way there is no possibility of showcasing the raw work by accident, for example, if showcasing other work.

FMP Peer to Peer Meetings

With another post-grad, (Vincent you know who) we’ve rounded up a group that is interested in the meetings – not everyone is for various reasons of choice. We’ve probably grown and sustained the Cros FMP Group due to the need to remain connected during a COVID-19 lockdown.

The photographers are all a beautifully creative bunch and are intent on doing well. Although my Forth cohort is moving on two of us have been invited to continue attending these Peer to Peer meetings. Future meetings had already been scheduled. There is a core of photographers we met from our carousel modules. Two cohorts forward of us have effectively moved on but can still be involved. The two cohorts that have followed us into FMP are more closely associated for now. 

A New Job

I have a new prospect as a proofreader that was discussed with a journal editor a month or so back. It is time to report back and see if my volunteering will be taken up. I’m as good as the next person at leaving a trail of typos, particularly when time-pressured but am highly tuned into spotting others’ errors.

Ideas

Some things are at the idea stage.

Instagram Story

I’ll post a story on Instagram. This will require learning some skills in Adobe AfterEffects. I was going to sign up with Suzannah on the Falmouth courses but my selections of choice were popular and oversubscribed. I have my own fallback position so no problem. You have to ask why do a story? The answer is in parts:

  • close off the build-up of publicity that had led up to the postponed exhibition. That’s just for completeness.
  • announce my impending freedom to reconnect with the photographic communities I was so immersed in until starting the MA studies. I’d rather be confident in knowing my outcome before this step.
  • the post lockdown promotion of the postponed exhibition

Photo Art Website

This is work in progress and will require finishing.

Ongoing Blog

Blogging has become a way of life this past two years and for me has been a successful development as a great deal of experience was gained. What by chance worked in my cohort was the future scheduling of posts based on the FMP week by week structure of Block 1 and 2. Each post became due and dropped into view and spurred me into action if I’d not already blogged in advance.

As long as there is something to say this blog should continue. I feel this would be better than letting the newfound ability wither with time.

Remaking and making books

I want to take my FMP Book to a more commercial level of offering that can be distributed. I also plan to expand the book practice to some other topics. In the queue I have:

  • The Cosh Brothers – the story of our lives. Illustrate, print and make.
  • Ed Ruscha challenge – Book 1 Padlocks. Re-print and hand bind
  • Ed Ruscha challenge – Book 2 Chains. Print and hand bind
  • Ed Ruscha challenge – Book 3 Phone Entry Systems Print and hand bind

Having finally learned a critical amount of the capabilities of Adobe InDesign, given this is was the third involvement since September 2018, I’d like to keep up this skill. There is the possibility with more practice to expand into an Adobe qualification.

PHO705: A Reflection on Colour Correction

Colour correction suddenly became important as printing, which had been going swimmingly well, went wrong overnight a week before the 1 May 2020 hand in. I mentioned elsewhere the saying “leave yourself enough time for contingencies”. Well the contingency was needed as I had to allow time to recalibrate the system and sort out a technical printing issue. Gladly these issues were fixed.

A Year Later at April 2021

A year on and this subject unexpectedly crawled to a conclusion: Talking to print consultants at the highly recommended A2i expressions group it was clear that instead of making all of my own ICC profiles with the Datacolor SpyderPrint I should sort out access to the extensive range of paper manufacturers profiles. On a mac computer these were a) never installed fully and never even identified b) were in a hidden Library c) wrapped up as a package and so very much not present. I discovered the packages in an Epson Library folder, opened them (there were four) and copied each list of ICC profiles to the system colorsync folder. I’d like to think this was all an act of genius but in fact the issue was described and solved in an Adobe support article from 2018. This is what came to the rescue:

https://community.adobe.com/t5/color-management/printer-profiles-missing-for-epson-sc-p800/m-p/10870908#M3033

Immediately I had all of the Epson paper options available in Lightroom and Photoshop and in fact I’m now softproofing in both apps and doing screen and paper simulations in Photoshop and very encouragingly my eye can detect the nuances of colour correction which before was done by hard proofing.

A further wrinkle in the Epson printer driver setup was found on reverting to Lightroom Advanced B&W where only a limited generic set of paper profiles was present. I thought this had all been sorted out but no. It turns out there is a known problem where Apple default network connection to the printer via Airport protocol. This prevents the full Epson driver from working and hence the limited selection of generic paper types.

The solution is to start afresh by removing the printer from Apple settings and instal it twice – yes twice. First time the system enforces an Airport protocol. On the second attempt it is realised by the system that there is an identical printer already installed and is coughs up the option to have the second instance as an Epson driver.

Here is the explanation: https://www.redrivercatalog.com/infocenter/tips/how-to-fix-missing-paper-media-type-selection-OSX.html

When someone commented to me the problem was my fault for not installing the printer the truth was I hadn’t installed the printer twice. Who would have thought such defective logic would be hidden from the owner of a new printer?

So Case Closed?

When printing had been going so well with review test prints, or in fact, any prints then why overnight a green cast appeared and wouldn’t go away.

There is a little tale to hear. The system, of course, had been calibrated at regular intervals, both screen and print. Monthly updates on screen and a really deep 9-page colour swatch check on the printer a while back.

The regular intervention meant recalibration was only a small chore but then nothing ever changed. The images always looked their best on the system and on the choice of my regular choice of paper.

Almost imperceptibly the recalibration reminders fell silent. But this was a result of the computer OS being upgraded to 64 bit somewhere along the line. The Spyder software simply faded away and stopped working and almost consigned to the bin.

A bit of begrudged time was needed to backtrack over emails to uncover the software suppliers policy followed by some checking on their website. The whole set of equipment was obsolete overnight except I was pleased to discover that the Spyder5 and associated SpyderPrint scanner were the oldest gear to remain in support.

Next followed some tracking down to find the 64-bit drivers on the datacolor website. Never an easy task but they were eventually found. Before locating the drivers in the support area there were several opportunities to purchase the latest all 64-bit offering SpyderX. That would have been a mistake as it was not required.

A bit of usual messing around with technology followed then without any razzamatazz the Spyder5 and SyderPrint were working again.

That gave a sense of ease but did it solve the problem? Well no, not exactly.

Next up was a colour correction problem caused by a double action of printer and computer. I describe this as two bullets in the barrel firing at once making a bit of a mess.

I was printing from Photoshop opting for Photoshop to control the colours rather than the printer. But still, the vital printer driver settings I needed to alter were greyed out and besides, there was no Generic RGB profile on the system. The embedded YouTube video from datacolor explains all.

There was a deep dive investigation required but once the solution was found it worked really well. First I had to find a Generic RGB colour profile. The reason for this is that it is a no-action option, what goes in comes out. The next step on my computer was to find the ColorSync utility and use it to set the Generic RGB setting from behind the greyed out controls. The manufacturer doesn’t want the general user tampering, I suppose.

Having done a full system calibration I now had a new set of icc profiles. I could see in the making of them how a whole range of colours had been inexact. So a new icc profile was made for each paper (and ink)..

In Photoshop I could now pick the exact profile and let the printer add its neutral /no effect correction and all became good.

The thing was I spent a day or so away from my work solving the green colour cast problem.

When things are going well each print is spot on first time. When things are going wrong in printing they really go wrong and you notice by the amount of reprinting and wasted prints that begin to pile up. There are so many adjustment options that dissapoint and it is only when getting behind the software driver in ColorSync that you retake control. At least that was my hard found experience.

The hanging questions have to do with why did it suddenly go wrong. The 64-bit aspect was one problem, the print manufacturer forbidding vital change with greyed out settings and lack of a neutral Generic RGB profile another.

Add to this a change of paper type. I was now using double-sided matte for the book and poster board matte for the exhibition prints. In the past, the solution had been narrow. I’d kept to what worked. For the FMP publications, I needed to learn to respond to expanded options and change.

A year ago I first used double-sided matte for my Ed Ruscha challenge book, which was a summer activity. Some of that printing was off I recall but I brushed it aside and should have dived into the software behind the scenes to correct the problem back then. I’d have placed myself in a better place. for the delivery fo the FMP assignments. The most significant impact of the printing being held up was that less drying time was left for the hand-bound book.

Summary

Through making FMP publications and both as a photographer and hopefully some may allow artist, I’ve been able to develop printing skills even if progress was hard-won.

As a self-professed print-virgin only two years ago I was aware of the benefit of the photographer printing their own work and always made my own prints. From review comment on the paper selection, I’ve expanded the wider creative options.

What started out as a preference for letting Photoshop control colours turned around. In spite of giving Photoshop colour control, it made more sense to let the printer do the work. I have more confidence with my new choice at the moment at least as the printer tends to control the hidden variables like ink drying and paper feed and size detection.

There was another benefit in that the December Digital Imaging Symposium I attended that helped me sort out issues of residual Infra-red IR detection had a session of colour spaces with lots of examples and comparisons. So the knowledge is building and with practice, it is leading to controlled higher quality publication.

As a consequence of all that is said, I can now confidently go public with my photography in a wider range of forms.

PHO705: Week 24 Reflection

Done. The work has been done. Everything was handed in well in advance or in advance.

It proved important to leave enough time for checking as the inevitable was ready to happen – the screen freeze and colour printing going all wrong with an unexpectedly deep dive into ColorSync print technology.

Restart work on the Exhibition items put on ice

The video refresh, the music, the exhibition in a box were all in work but lost out as publication turned to book when the exhibition was postponed. Now there is time to prepare for a new date.

I’ll continue to check this blog for any mistakes. I know there a few.

Reflection

At the current point, much has been taken from the course. Starting with a new passion for bookbinding. Things there are going wild with three more hand bindings lined up.

Practice in using media tools with a vengeance was a highlight too.

Fulfilling the objective of making a portfolio of publishable work was the aim at the outset and how that has been helped along.

Making pictures as Art based on cutting edge Science ArtSci became a revelation in the area of genetics This genre is ripe for new picture making.

PHO705: Assignment Final Major Project (PDF)

Submit Assignment here

Depending on the nature of your practice, your resolved project may take one of a variety of forms, however, and it will be an original, authored piece of creative practice, of a publishable standard. It will have been developed over the FMP module and will extend from or otherwise draw upon work created throughout the course.

The FMP submission will evidence and document your critically informed project that is resolved to a professional and publishable standard.

The form that your project takes will depend on the nature of your practice and should reflect your creative intent. It should be resolved as appropriate to the work itself and with considered purpose. As the consideration of audiences and markets are key concerns throughout the course, you are strongly encouraged to present it to an appropriate public audience.

This may include, but not be limited to:

  • An installation
  • Solo or group exhibition;
  • Editorial feature;
  • Book;
  • Online project;
  • Workshop;
  • Performance, screening or talk;
  • Symposium or conference presentation.

These artefacts and/or activities should be clearly evidenced in your FMP submission.

The document should include:

  • A concise description of the work,
  • The final images of the project or an edit thereof,
  • Documentation of the publication (e.g. installation shots, tear sheets),
  • Critical feedback or analysis from other professionals (if applicable),
  • URLs to relevant video or other supporting material.

You may wish to remind yourself on guidance for documenting your FMP submission.

Format

It should be:

  • A colour, page-numbered, PDF document
  • Text should be 1.5 line spaced and use a 12 point, sans serif font
  • Fully Harvard referenced throughout, where applicable
  • All images should be fully titled and referenced
  • No more than 15MB

Assessment

The Final Major Project accounts for 60% of the final grade for the FMP module. It will be assessed on the following Learning Outcomes:

LO1: Technical and Visual Skills

Demonstrate an awareness of a range of photographic and image-making processes, and display accomplishment of photographic skills relevant to your practice specialism.

LO2: Visual Communication and Decision-Making

Exercise discernment in the making, resolution and presentation of practical work, and an ability to communicate ideas through creative visual strategies.

LO3     Critical Contextualization of Practice

Apply a critical awareness of the diversity of contemporary photographic practice to the development of your own work, and inform your practice through historical, philosophical, ethical and economic contextualization.