PHO705: Guest Lecture with Andy Hughes

Introduction

Andy Hughes is an artist based in Cornwall and he investigates the relationships between consumption, plastic waste and the defilement of the land and sea. Hughes is interested in radical conceptions of materialism and the implications this has for politics, ecology and the everyday way we think of ourselves, others, and the world. 

As preparation, the audience was asked to watch the film Plastic Scoop on Vimeo. There is also a Zine about this film. It is on Issuu.

The FMP Photo Project

Following the viewings above the immediate question must be about the Video Documentary and Video Gamification post that introduced Verdun a successful WW1 game on XBox. There is a possibility of cutting scenes into the photo project. Given the work is about the What and less so about the How, then this could become a diversion. The intent would as always be to contextualise the Abstract Expressionistic images at the core of the project to give the viewer more scope to follow the theme or themes.

Plastic Scoop above is a collaborative effort taking 6 months to create and demonstrates the scope to be largely beyond that of a Final Major Project FMP.

Lecture

A summary is provided here of some of the main points from Andy’s guest lecture and with particular reference to MA Major Project practice.

Early work was in part didactic as a way was sought of helping campaigns. The way an artist works is different though.

The book Novascene (Lovelock, 2019) was given as a recommended reading in terms of the theme connecting the past, present and future. Lovelock is the author of the Gaia Principle.

It was noted that in Aboriginal culture, thinking does not have to be linear as in Western culture. The image below depicts the concentric and a representation of thinking moving in any number of ways.

The area around Castleford which Andy has a childhood connection with transformed from coal mining to businesses’ that feature single-use materials (McDonalds and KFC).

Interest was found in the sport of surfing and this led to an awareness of beach litter. In photographing surfing comparison was drawn between the UK and the classic portrayal of surfing in sun-baked climes.

A new series of work was created using colourful plastic waste.

Also, in travels to the USA an unravelling golf ball was shot and in the background is the menace of a polluting plant.

Work was also made based on the waste found at outdoor events such as Glastonbury.

As an artist, there is a connection with making and so still life photographs of waste were combined with paintings.

Nostalgia was raised as a topic. Nostalgia is popular at the moment as it makes people feel comfortable in uncomfortable times.

At various points, during the presentation, there was a prescience: subjects photographed (e.g. rat, glove, stick) photographed as the same composition decades earlier.

In a comment about carbon usage, it was noted that Photography has in its DNA this thing about travel. So what can be done to limit the carbon footprint?

Working on plastic scoop meant spending 6 months in the studio and that limited travel.

There was work currently close to being exhibited. There is the whole question of how you keep in contact with the curator as there is a balance. Big-name artists can probably call the shots while the lesser-known have to be more patient.

Bibliography

Lovelock, J. and Appleyard, B. (2019) Novascene The Coming Age of Hyperintelligence. Kindle. UK: Penguin Random House. Available at: http://www.penguin.co.uk.

PHO705: Week 8 Reflection

My reflections on Week 8

Influenza may have slowly begun to pass but it has left behind a frequent loud cough. Keep on resting and keep away from others until it clears up is the idea for now. Sadly I’ll miss the Bristol trip to MPF and RPS exhibitions.

Written more as a progress report this reflection continues on from Week 6 Research-Driven Practice. This self-directed activity ran across Week 7 and Week 8.

As blogged earlier the research is being opened out in a number of areas.

After the last module Surfaces and Strategies, emergent themes are being researched to identify areas of contextualisation:

This work deals with the emergence of ghosts, historic places and inner or outer spaces. These are recurring outcomes when healing images are abstracted.

Further contextualisation taken or taking place include: 

  • video documentaries concerning molecular biology around genetics and DNA and
  • a research trip to the Wellcome Museum and Library.

(Instagram: foto_graphical or michaelturnercrj.blog for photo updates)

There is a catalogue of archive photographs recovered relating to the family maternal lines (mainly) linked to mitochondrial DNA. The stability of common mitochondria is the basis for time collapsing into a moment and creating the experience of identification. Finally, there is the unchanging flora of the Scottish lands and coastal areas of concern and again a metaphor for collapsing time into a single moment.

Really, there are lots of strands here that need to be brought into a consistent theme. The abstract visuals in the project have a strong element of randomness – results are hard to have any control over.

Lots of new healing sites have been photographed.but these need to be processed for glow and then be sorted through. Until this is done it won’t be known if there are enough good images to use in a publication edit. The best public work at present would likely result from taking selected abstracts from previous portfolios alongside new work. 

It is a slow burn process at the moment and hopefully well matched to the current stage of the Final Major Project FMP.

PHO705: Wellcome Museum

Following my 1-2-1 Final Proposal Review, I planned to visit the Wellcome Library and Museum. There are regular Insights Sessions held.

There is a useful Blog that has an older item from 2018 from the Broadcasting Health and Disease Conference.

A successful visit was made during the Being Human exhibition.

Wellcome Library Reading Rooms

“Glass Microbiology” Luke Jerram, 2014

l-r “Ebola”, “Giardia”, “MRSA”

photographs Michael Turner

These glass sculptures “challenge the virulent artificially-coloured depictions of bacteria and viruses seen in the media and popular culture.” Examples of the media representations with colour can be found in (Salter, 2017)

There is an ongoing tendency to fall into engaging conversations with artists and others. On this occasion, it was a certain Patricia who engaged in conversation around arts, whilst setting out easels for a class as I photographed the above. Subject matter ranged widely across subjects such as contextualisation, the so-called, death of the author, and Portrait Gallery open sketching sessions (my first ever portrait black paper white pencil):

Sketch from National Portrait Gallery (Patricia asked to see a photo of this (if anyone wondered why it is reproduced here))

The Being Human Permanent Exhibition – Genetics

Here on display was a CRISPR gene-editing kit. CRISPR allows cost-effective gene editing or even biohacking. Alongside is a portable gene sequencer as a smartphone app and attachment. Since the human genome was sequenced at the turn of the millennium, gene editing and sequencing has become portable and cost-effective. Devices have come out of the specialist laboratory and are entering the public consciousness. Such images lend to the genetic contextualisation of the abstract photo project.

A number of references were identified.

  • Trauma (in relation to close relatives, of victims of war, who withdrew emotionally) (Kolk, 2015)
  • Art in Science (in relation to the photo project visual contextualisation) (Salter, 2017)

Bibliography

Kolk, B. Van Der (2015) The Body Keeps the Score Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Trauma. Penguin. Great Britain: Penguin Random House UK. Available at: http://www.greenpenguin.co.uk.

Salter, C. (2017) science is beautiful disease and medicine under the microscope. London, [England]: Batsford. Available at: http://www.pavilionbooks.com.

Photographs Michael Turner 2019 unless work is otherwise attributed

PHO705: Guest Lecture Laura Pannack

Artist website: https://laurapannack.com/

The website has a shop portal with items that can be purchased. There is also an image of the week blog which Laura endeavours to update each Thursday or best she can.

Laura is an artist whose work is based on portraiture. At first, there appears to be no overlap with the photo project, yet when archive images are included for contextualisation, then there the overlap may become apparent. Laura makes her own portraits of course, where those with a connection to the photo project are from the family archive.

The introduction – a social documentary photographer, producing self-initiated, private projects for Laura.

Two questions – how do we make work? Why do we make work? Laura’s work is Fine Art, Social Documentary.

She was encouraged to try every genre while studying at university. Having a younger sister enabled Laura to explore an interest in teenagers especially given there was access. Noted characteristics of teenagers were awareness and lack of self-awareness.

Laura is engaged in commissioned artworks and short term projects. She always has a desire to learn about her subjects. Consideration is given to “what is it that interests me about the subject?” Working on a commission means working to a deadline, which depending on the individual, can be really useful. It has often led to good research done on time and the commission ensures work is completed.

One commission Digital Self Esteem, Selfies and self-worth, related to the selfie culture and was produced for the Saatchi Gallery. This used two-way mirrors and allowed the teen to settle their gaze on themselves for 20 minutes for each shot. Another commission Separation, What does Brexit mean for love, was for the BJP. The first thing was to realise a limitation over politics of not being well-read enough or intellectual enough. It made sense to go back to what the artist knew and the work rested on relationships and love. Tests were made using a latex screen in a studio. Photographs depicted couples likely to be torn apart by one of them having to return to their country of origin. The chosen approach was not too controversial.

Working Methods

In determining the working method, there are the following: what’s your voice? What is your sense of style?

Sometimes it is a relief to not to think too deeply, but normally Laura does research long and hard.

Searching for a sense of style

We were challenged to think about our sense of style and comment on what our signature style is.

Sometimes you can look at an artist’s work and recognise the style. You then may wonder if they will ever break out and do something dramatically different, do something really wild.

Hockney was able to paint on an iPad and was able to take the risk. HE can do this as he has done everything else so well.

People

Sometimes it has been a case of learning the hard way. You need to be clear about your reason for approaching people.

Portfolio Reviews

Portfolio reviews are an excellent way of gaining feedback and need to be structured: what is your reaction to this and why, then how can improvement?

Long Term Projects

Young British Naturists

Young British naturists was a long term project and involved an immense amount of relationship building, organising and planning. The personal project gave the opportunity to take control. “We’ll be shooting over here if you can gather”. Then when a shot seemed likely, the lighting was set-up.

Over a two week shoot, 36 rolls of film were used, but due to a camera fault, only one image was salvaged. A great deal of care was taken to adjust the positions because of the nudity.

Purity

Purity ran over eight years. The intent was to bring out love, family, traditions and femininity within the Jewish community. Preparation included working in local clubs to get into the community. However, barriers remained – Jewish women did not want to be photographed. The work initially focused on three families but this reduced down (or was reduced to) just one. Photographing meant going back to the same room every time.

Youth Without Age

Youth Without Age, An exploration of the fragility of life derived from a sense of age slowly advancing. Sketchbooks were kept. The subjects also sketched. Old Romanian films and theatre productions were watched. Cynically, perhaps other artists work was analysed e.g Alec Soth and his use of water.

The Cracker

Just be with people and shoot. A voice in the back of the head kept asking, “Why are you shooting”.

Projects in General

Some projects ran over 8 or 9 years, while with others it was a case of just shoot.

A visual notebook is kept with images stored on Dropbox. Here they are always available for inspiration. This is useful when making new commissions.

One project involved selecting a railway destination at random i.e. selected with eyes closed. A day would be spent shooting at the selected location. The weekly image blog is updated every Thursday with one picture with a reason why.

Laura is a guest on A Small Voice podcast.

PHO705: Omnis Cellula ex Cellula

… all cells come from a previously existing cell.

This research arises from a connection established with a geneticist. The value here is in the development of visual language for contextualisation of the photo project.

Mitotic Division is examined by augmented reality with the following app and educational workbook:

Note: Select English under the triple bar menu
mitosis_guide_english

The emphasis moved closer towards an interest in mitochondria explored in another recent blog post. While there is an abundance of archive images that explore the matriarchal lines of family, the visual context around genetics is being developed having been more restricted materially and in terms of ideas, which are constantly being expanded.

Use

The pdf says to print off the guidance – the app seems to work when reading the graphics directly from the screen graphics when Adobe Acrobat (or another reader is used).

PHO705: Guest Lecture Nick Dunmur AoP

Nick Dunmur on video.

Students are able to join the AOP. I met Nick at the 2018 Birmingham Photography Show. The guest lecture is well-timed as the Forth cohort begin to take their work public.

Your pictures your copyright

Copyright automatically belongs to you. Exceptions exist for images used in the US which need to be registered with the US Copyright Office USCO.

Cover exists for 70 years from the end of the year the author survives.

Assign is like selling your house. License is like rent.

Copyright exceptions:

  • employment (full-time salaried staff)
  • incidental inclusion
  • criticism and review
  • research and private study

Other exceptions:

  • parody
  • private use
  • orphan works

Edges are not clearly defined and funny is subjective.

If you blew up a Crewdson print and put it on your wall, you’d have to safeguard it from anyone else seeing it. That would be difficult to get away with.

A fee can be paid to the IPO for orphan work in case there is a later challenge,

Different ways of contracting exist in different areas.

Advertising, Design and Corporate sector

  • Media
  • Territory
  • Time

… are the basis of charging

  • Exclusivity
  • Base Usage Rate

BUR wants to start at a daily rate. You’ll never negotiate up from a low figure but may wish to negotiate down from a higher figure.

Editorial Markets

There are many titles and only a few publishers. They may offer you a contract. It is not an employment contract.

First British Serial Rights FSBR would say cover one issue and thereafter the photographer regains the copyright for Second British Serial Rights. Check if Syndication is mentioned as this could cause your work to be reused. Check if a fee is mentioned and whether or not the fee level is acceptable.

If versions of paperwork appear then check and refute anything that is out of line. Anything issued once the work has started is post-contract and not acceptable.

Moral rights

Assert your moral right to be credited as the creator of your own work. Assert in writing. They are obliged to give you credit. You may have knocked off a percentage of the fee for this so it would be a loss.

You have a right to prevent derogatory use of your work, for example with a portrait if they resize an image to fit a box or crop an edge off and it makes your work look amateurish. Similarly, you do not want someone else’s work to be attributed as yours as it may affect your professionalism and stop a client from hiring you.

There is a right of the commissioner to prevent publication. A newly married couple could return from honeymoon to find their wedding photos all over social media before they have even seen the photographs.

Moral right cannot be sold but can be wavered.

Put a statement on your website to assert your moral rights.

When a contract is given to you it may be boilerplate and not be suited to your contract. Rebut if it is wrong. The person issuing the contract typically has a second, third and fourth version where you cannot agree.

Read everything in a contract before you agree or sign. Send copies of your terms to different departments as finance may never talk to the creative group. If you give them a PDF include a layer to remind them of the terms of use. Otherwise, include a terms file with the JPEG.

Software plug-ins

These plug into Lightroom. There is a plugin to populate an image with meta-data. Another to track and manage image use.

PHO705: Week 7 Reflection

My reflections on Week 7

Due to catching influenza (twice now since Unseen Amsterdam) there will be a brief reflection given here and more detailed account in Week 8. This makes sense as research was continuous throughout the fortnight period.

On reflection, it was interesting to see how much ground was covered as self-directed study/research and other coursework.

Week 7 blog posts

Wellcome Museum and Library Reading Room visit. There is a bit more visual research to write-up relating to stained colour images although the point is made succinctly in the text.

Guest Lecture with Laura Pannack. Laura’s website was viewed before the lecture. Afterwards, a podcast was replayed title: episode 006 Laura Pannack. Here Laura is in an interview with Ben Smith for the Small Voice podcast.

Omnis Cellula ex Cellula presents a visual app on Genetics viewed through Augmented Reality AR. There were other independently found smartphone apps and a recheck shows there to be an extensive list.

Some apps look as if they might support rather well, the binge in video watching on genetics. Binge-watching is far from a normal practice but tied in with resting with flu.

Guest Lecture with Nick Dunmur AoP. We were given cause to seriously review our Critical Research Journal contents as the blog face out to the public.

PHO705: Museum and Library Research

In pursuing a World War 1 theme, or having done so, it would make sense to expand on the photo projects context by building a stock of images and other research. This was done earlier at IWM Duxford (IWM, 2019) and The Black Watch Castle and Museum Perth. These visits proved useful in contextualising abstract work.

Options have recently been generated to expand themes in new directions in other words, other than military. In the interests of keeping shooting, it would be useful to visit a number of sites.

  • Imperial War Museum London
  • The Museum of Military Medicine, Aldershot
  • Wellcome Library

Bibliography

Black_Watch_Museum_Trust (2018) The Black Watch Castle and Museum Perth. Available at: https://theblackwatch.co.uk/about/.

IWM (2019) Imperial War Museum Duxford. Available at: https://www.iwm.org.uk/visits/iwm-duxford.

IWM (2019) Imperial War Museum London. Available at: https://www.iwm.org.uk/visits/iwm-london.

Museum_of_Military_Medicine_Trust (2019) Museum of Military Medicine. Available at: https://museumofmilitarymedicine.org.uk/.

Wellcome_Trust (2019) Wellcome Library. Available at: https://wellcomelibrary.org/.

PHO705: Video Documentary and Video Gamification – WW1

Gamification

The topic is an odd strand of research concerning how if at all, images from a gaming platform could be considered for use within an MA project. A look-see reveals a YouTube review. (Zommin, 2016)

  • Take-away points from this research are:
  • The most brutal war didn’t get much attention in gaming.
  • When it is represented, there is an element of caricature borrowed from gaming
  • Of the few games, there are rendering WW 1; the tendency is towards flying and air combat.
  • An early technology implementation of one flying game was put forward for crowdfunding but failed to raise sufficient funds

One game stands out as a modern technology representation, and that is The Battle of Verdun France, in the video game Verdun. (Blackmill Games, 2017) Pursuing Verdun as a game on XBox video console is likely to be unfruitful. Rather than be critical and halt the further investigation of video gaming, it would make sense to at least experience the game and see what can be found in the visuals. Already found is a reminder of the quote “You will be home by Christmas”.

Verdun as a video game proved relatively unpopular and can be taken as an indicator of the dying interest at least amongst the game-playing public.

Perhaps implied is an only minor public interest in the theme of WW 1. The observation is reflected in comments received during a review and again at an external presentation. For many current generations, there is no personal experience or recollection of WW1. It is a play on memory loss that caused the project to be taken up. Dry data records are transformed into tangible memories of people, of the remote family, before living contact is lost, and all that remains is data, certificates, files and the like with nothing to connect the these into a story.

The emphasis on flying for a publicly accessible game probably says something about a lower interest in land warfare.
Thinking this through also expands the idea to other more standard forms of broadcast video as evidenced by various series of documentary programmes.

Video Documentary

Reference broadcast television.

  • World at War
  • They Shall Not Grow Old (Jackson, 2018)

The latter has helped address a problem of why close relatives did not mention their loss.

An assumption is challenged as to the cause being an immense sense of loss and need to protect well being and that of others. From the quotations below, the light is shone on the demobbed soldiers reports on the attitudes of civilians:

  • People never talked about the war. It was the thing that had no conversational value at all. 
  • Most people were absolutely disinterested. 
  • When I got home my mother and father didn’t seem the least interested in what had happened. They hadn’t any conception of what it was like. 
  • There was no reason anyone of a million of us should get a thank you for getting a little bit muddy and having lost touch with good manners. 
  • On occasions when I did talk about it, my father would argue points of fact that he couldn’t possibly have known about because he wasn’t there. 
  • Every soldier I’ve spoken to has experienced the same thing. We were a race apart from these civilians and you could speak to your comrades and they understood but with civilians, it was just a waste of time. 
  • However nice and sympathetic they were. The attempts of well-meaning people simply reflected the fact they didn’t really understand at all. 
  • I thin the magnitude was just beyond there comprehension. 
  • They didn’t understand that people you’d known and played football with were just killed beside you. 
  • My friend who enlisted with me just lay there like a sack of rags until he went black before anyone thought to bury him. 
  • They knew that people came back covered in mud and live. But they didn’t know the strain of sitting in a trench waiting for something to drop on one’s head. 
  • You couldn’t convey the awful state of things where you lived like animals and behaved like animals. 
  • People didn’t seem to realise what a terrible thing that war was. I think they felt that the war was one continual cavalry charge. They hadn’t any conception, and how could they? 
  • It started off in a reasonable manner but with horseback with swords but they didn’t know it developed into something ghastly. People don’t realise the potential of military equipment. 
  • A man’s life wasn’t worth anything at the end of the war. 
  • None of us were heroes you know. We didn’t like this business of being killed at all. 
  • We were talking amongst ourselves. We used to say Christ we won’t have any more wars like this. 
  • How did we endure it? The answer must be partly the fear of fear. The fear of being found afraid. Another is a belief in human beings and colleagues and of not letting him down. 
  • There may be right on both sides, but I think war is horrible. Everything should be done to avoid war. 
  • I still can’t see the justification for it. It was all really rather horrible. 
  • I think history will decide in the end it was not worthwhile. 
  • The only thing that really did annoy me was when I went back to work after I got demobilised. I went down the stores and the bloke behind the counter was a bloke who I knew. He said where have you been? On nights?

From: They Shall Not Grow Old (Jackson, 2018)

Summary

The issues and the ethics of incorporating other work within a photographic project come to the fore. Balancing this is:

  • Acceptance that family archive material may be incorporated
  • A work such as War Primer 2 (Broomberg, 2018)

Bibliography

Blackmill Games (2017) ‘Verdun’. Netherlands: M2H Blackmill Games. Available at: https://www.ww1gameseries.com/verdun/.

Broomberg, A. and Chanarin, O. (2018) War Primer 2. London, [England]: MACK.

Jackson, P. (2018) They Shall Not Grow Old. United Kingdom: BBC TWO. Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0brzkzx/they-shall-not-grow-old.

Zoomin, G. (2016) Top 5 – World War 1 gamesYouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgw7WEHAock.

PHO705: Visual Language Development

This strand of research has lost out in the competition for resource during the course catch-up phase.

There is a theme that emerges from showing work. If the abstract images within the project that are the core of the work, are not understood by viewers, then there arises a need for the abstract images to be carried by archive figurative images.

Strands of research interest break down into:

  • The public visual perception around commercial DNA testing including branding and illustration
  • Metaphors around stability running parallel to mitochondria: flora and landscape.
  • Laboratory visual characterisation of chromosomes. Some of the work being done in Brazil by a researcher who has been contacted and given outline permission to use scientific imagery around the photographic project.

Visual language development from the laboratory or from science expands to the chemical expression of genes through epigenetics. This week, Week 5, inspiration was taken from the sourcing of visuals seen in War Primer 2 which uses archive material. It was decided to experiment as follows:

Epigenesis A C G T

Bibliography

Cowell, I. D. (2019) Epigenetics – It’s not just genes that make us. Available at: https://bscb.org/learning-resources/softcell-e-learning/epigenetics-its-not-just-genes-that-make-us/.