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This was a week for handing in the FMP Project Proposal
The next step is to book a 121 meeting with my Supervisor.
Howard Rachel (2018) Repetition is truth via Dolorosa. Edited by A. C. Beard Jason. London: Other Criteria Books. Available at: newportstreetgallery.com.
Week 23 has been about letting the work fall into place given that all the research and the practicalities of exhibition and book had been readied. Now for the resolved body of work.
The Critical Review of Practice had input from a group of reviewers during the week. Review has been especially valuable given the abstract surreal nature of the pictures. The work does communicate! This accords with feedback from the August 2019 practice exhibition although the work did move on.
The CRoP was submitted before the Easter break and one more review was received later in the week which will be incorporated and the CRoP will be resubmitted with a tighter ending.
The picture edit took place during this week. Having tightened this down considerably from the original set of 50 – 80 images I then got productive and created a whole other set of family archive / DNA edits.
So far I’ve resisted adding these as sometimes the temptation is to over embellish at which point it can get out of control, especially if a distraction to the work.
This page-turning video was made. I recycled prints made for an external review which here are made into a brochure.
There was at least 6 months of research into themes and creating a visual narrative. I had believed I’d need to place an abstract surreal on recto pages to keep them from clashing, but have a text to picture or cloud DNA composite on the verso to pick out the narrative with clouds of text or alternatively, text to picture generative art.
What happened during the edit was that picture matching fell into place and some well matched pairs resulted (my view and a reviewer view).
This eliminates the need for the verso narrative with a cloud of text or text to picture plate. The cloud method developed now unused is quite focussed on theme through word selection. Thinking about DNA bases annotated as ACGT, then by selecting 100 words I can make narratives out of the English language set of around 1100 words where those four letters appear e.g. ’photographic’ (phoToGrAphiC). Still singing the praise of the method inspired by Recombinant rhymes and DNA Art (RRDA), it provides the photographer with exceptional flexibility in overlay as narrative creation which is important to my choice of conceptual approach in the abstract surreal, if it helps the viewer along. There is a visual challenge of overlaying the text with an appropriate photograph that blends sympathetically with the work. There is a variation where a poem or song lyric can be overlaid on an image as text to picture (rather than as emphasised words in a cloud). The outcome of RRDA subtlety leads the narrative line as the other of the 300 words are still shown. As the viewers eye scans the composite they may trigger not just on the emphasised words but others they see. By leaving this open to the viewer they do in effect choose their own interpretation as they do normally but each time they return to the verso and recto they can gain more as the method keeps on giving.
So why so much thought on something that didn’t get used in Past-Present in the Artist’s book or the extended Exhibition with multiple themes in separate spaces?
It’s just that the method is contemporary and works in its own right. It is combinatorial in word selection (100C3 for the current approach for the mathematicians amongst us). Out of Past-Present has been created a whole area of endeavour and here the idea is shared with anyone interested in such ways of visual language creation. I have time to consider a side exhibition of RRDA pictures as a standalone group of theme common that contrasts with the figurative forms from my main exhibition of abstract surreal pictures.
I now think these verso images deserve a separate portfolio. An early example of the method was to use poem or song lyrics (in text to picture generative art) overlaid on the source picture. There is no creative limit. The fact I like it so much as photographer was the trap if I shovelled in too much research spoiling the simpler visual narrative that was used in the end. Post-FMP submission I’m going to return to RRDA.
The rules that developed for this included a) not crowding out the central pictures, only allowing then to punctuate transitions in picture style.
The text method is flexible and effective but for ‘Past-Present a mythology of time’, these verso images graphic content I decided would push against the grain of abstract surreal pictures.
What I’m focussed on is creating a resolved body of work.
The textual method formed a valuable part of my research and acted as insurance if there was viewer disconnect. The abstract surreal images paired up well visually and this reduced the need for additional support. That turned out well.
The resolved body of work approach led me to rationalise the use of ghost pictures. Place is represented as ghost landscapes and are core to the work. The people ghosts and the cellular division theme together are dropped as themes in the book. Ghost have a place in the exhibition as a side exhibition.
A-V production that included ghosts was researched as part of the FMP PDF. Again it is interesting and possibly quite dramatic but is not needed for now.
A version of the book has been created as a PDF and ISSUU publication in order to gather in review comments.
I had to resolve different views about supporting pictures with text. For now I’m happy to have:
There are improvements and review inputs to deal with before imposing and collating the pages into the book.
The book will be case bound, with a block comprising kettle stitched signatures. This type of hand-bound book was created in an earlier module. The current book will be the fourth to be hand made.
It is expected that an even tighter edit will arise from this for the Final Major Project PDF submission.
This is the last major assignment to be handed in and is worth 60 points. It is due before 1May. I have this in synopsis form ready to pull together.
Inputs to this will include the picture edit developed out of both the exhibition and the book.
Media will be created to demonstrate the materiality of the book.
In lieu of the exhibition, the 3D model created, for now, will be set-up with the selected pictures and screen captures will be taken from a 3D model I’ve made to synthesize the studio/gallery space.
I’ve been keen to address a requirement to present in different forms. Recently I gained insight. I’d seen the exhibition and book as equivalent when in practice they have very different sets of demands even though the pictures overlap.
I want to avoid forcing the narrative with audio in the FMP PDF. When the pictorial element starts to resolve why then distract the viewer?
When it dawned how different the exhibition and book are then the problems resolved. I enjoyed the learning and it was simply a journey I had to make.
Although the audio has been dropped it may well find its place in the exhibition later on where the physical space benefits from creating a conducive atmosphere with linked but contrasting works. The thing is our aim is a professional body of work of high quality. Adding media, audio in this case, that produces a Ronald Dhal-esq scary story feel which he did aimed at the child audience then it clearly goes wrong. The work would start to emphasise the child in me and while the creative child never went away the style goes against the level of publication required for this FMP.
I did additional external studies on sound recording and on podcasting and set about practising technique within my practice. It proved to be quite sustaining and a) took my mind away from being too focussed on my practice. This led to a breakthrough with selecting the edit and b) settled my thoughts during the lockdown.
My work was not halted because I’d chosen at the start of the degree second module to work on a subject that was sustainable. However, there are many distractions to photography while comprehending the impact of the lockdown.
External courses, applicable to my practice proved a welcome distraction. There has been knowledge and skill development that I’m glad to have had even if audio is dropped.
The reviewers have adapted to circumstance with the COVID-19 move across from physical exhibition to making of a book. I shouldn’t complain that the project changed emphasis as in a last year critique I not only began to be recognised as a maker of books but was strongly advised to make a book. Why didn’t I listen? It would have been too easy to follow the guidance but once more I had a journey of learning to embark upon. I came into the course with a specialism in books and it would have been my loss to only had done books and not have explored what this course has to offer to practice development.
I met a chosen art photographer reviewer at the exhibition space before lockdown and they kindly went over an extended set of test prints and later the draft portfolio website. I decided to engage early and bring my external reviewers back in towards the end. It is a delicate art interacting like this as it chews up the time, and actually had to disengage for a fortnight to get on. Usually it saves failure and avoids starting all over again.
The practitioner reviewers onboard I’m delighted to say are:
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):
And my earlier effort in more sombre mood:
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 DNA, National Geographic.
Stavenger, J. (2010) Mapping of Switch Recombination Junctions, a Tool for Studying DNA Repair Pathways during Immunoglobulin Class Switching, ScienceDirect.
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 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.
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?
Some assertions in my Proposal required evidencing. I can rectify the problem now, even if only for my own satisfaction. Points relate to detailing:
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:
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.
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:
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
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.
My reflections on Week 5.
This has been a week for consolidating and catching-up and a time to start looking forward too. After a poor start to FMP, there is a recovery and so a lot of activity of seven guest lectures. Three on the Photography Hub, four on the FMP Module.
Posts have been written on three photographers who were more fully researched:
I caught up on three Photography Hub Guest Lectures
I watched the following when off-sick and haven’t written the blog posts yet.
In addition to the three Photography Hub guest lectures, four FMP lectures were studied.
This was a lot of lectures (seven) that were caught up. This took me away from preparing photographic work. There is more catch-up with, two more Photography Hub guest lectures to write-up (Forrest and Labas) and a forthcoming FMP research lecture featuring Caroline Molloy.
on post-processing from several shoots to catch up on. So a very hectic week ahead. It is just a case of maintaining this level of focus.
Our Supervisor published the scores for the Final Proposal and I rightly gained a low pass. My excuse is an illness that I’m now over and an unprecedented set of personal circumstances.
Applying for Extenuating Circumstances EC is something offered by the University but I didn’t entertain this. I didn’t anticipate the barrage of further circumstances about to unfold. I wasn’t able to plan and progress my proposal and did not have it reviewed prior to submission.
Overall, there were already too many other activities to catch-up on and EC would only have compounded.
Instead I scraped together a submission and got on with fixing my blog, began advance planning and substantially caught up on coursework and research.
Thinking aloud. I’ve managed to keep shooting and even do some practice shooting as circumstances proved favourable. Practice shooting was with local Flora with new techniques I wished to hone before going farther afield, e.g. back to Scotland should this transpire as my method. As yet it is undecided. In a sense, it would be easy enough to arrange to do this, but the purpose and intent need to be clear and robust compared to other approaches I have on the go.
Post-processing, a key element in making a useable image, has only been lightly pursued. Why so? The obvious question of available time but also of needing to know more of the direction I want to take-up. Ideas are still being formed.
On the subject of an eZine, I need to communicate my interpretation of what this is about. My practice is such that when I begin a bookbinding task which of course is only a part of the book publication workflow, I have so far made an eZine using the online tool ISSUU. This is so I can maintain clarity by modeling the book. The vagaries of page imposition are such that the ordering looks completely wrong at every single stage until the printed signatures are assembled in sequence at which point the eZine version and the book-bound version match in page sequence. I’ve been accurate on this so far.
I researched imposition tools and my findings were around expense, software incompatibility and the distraction of learning a third-party application when a direct method in tools I already use would be about as good. There are always refinements to learn including dealing with page creep.
I did go out and find a print shop and talked to them about book production and would need to go back and sort out PDF image format etc.
Something I discovered from a recent announcement by a camera manufacturer is their flat spread binding offering. There is a special appeal for me in the two-page spread that is continuous across the join. If the claim is true it could work for me depending on what I decide to do. I should probably create a dummy to check this out.
There are several activities scheduled for next week, Week 6.
On Tuesday, I have my final proposal feedback – I said I’d analyze the marks (against the Learning Outcomes, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6, LO7. These are searchable categories within this CRJ blog. I elaborate in the following blog post.
Colberg, J. (2017) Understanding Photo Books the Form and Content of the Photographic Book. Edited by Taylor and Francis. New York: Focal Press.
LO4 Professional Location of Practice
Establish an understanding of the range of professional contexts for the dissemination and consumption of contemporary photographic practice, and identify opportunities to engage with audiences and markets.