PHO705: Week 5 Reflection

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.

Photographers Researched

Posts have been written on three photographers who were more fully researched: 

  • Susan Hiller – Auras; 
  • Evan Roth, Red Lines; and 
  • David Fathi (also listed in the FMP section below) 

I caught up on three Photography Hub Guest Lectures

I watched the following when off-sick and haven’t written the blog posts yet.

FMP Lectures

In addition to the three Photography Hub guest lectures, four FMP lectures were studied.

Summary

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.

Final Proposal

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.

Shoots and Post Processing

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.

e-Zine and Bound Book

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.

Printing

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.

Look ahead

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.

Bibliography

Colberg, J. (2017) Understanding Photo Books the Form and Content of the Photographic Book. Edited by Taylor and Francis. New York: Focal Press.

Resolved Technical Issues and Improvements

My subject blog was being swamped by notes on technical issues. I decided to segregate these to keep the focus on the main blog on FMP Photography.

A number of improvements have been made to help manage the technical environment. A purchased WordPress update aligned the Dashboard to the Education version used by and documented by the University. I’d only recently become aware of the version differences which are quite major.

This blog is now much more visual after finding out how to adopt the recommendation to use WordPress plug-in MetaSlider.

Other additions include a Tag cloud, and a category list, to help the reader (or marker) select specific information. Language conversion was nice to have and easily added, as was giving the reader edit capability on their comments. A social network connection is pending decision and likely to be linked to the planned 2020 campaign to take the work to the public.

Backups and File Storage

Blog

The blog has now been set up for automatic back-up using the plug-in Updraft Plus. Some additional storage needed to be purchased.

Archive Catalog

Local Disk to Disk

For my archive catalog, the 32-bit utility Scooter Software Beyond Compare stopped working and has now been updated to 64 bit in a free upgrade to be compatible with the computer OS. I can resume copying the attached disk to a second attached disk.

Attached disk to Cloud

Locally held disk storage really needed an offsite backup. Backblaze has been set-up and is running the first backup, hopefully in under the 22 days first quoted.

The Course Calendar on Smartphone and Computer

Canvas appointments defaulted to no Alert on a smartphone. This is now being hand amended.

The computer calendar had not been synchronizing Canvas entries. This has now been addressed. Planning ahead is now much easier. Unfortunately, the computer-style calendar does not allow you to set Alerts for Canvas appointments. The get-around is to set an alert on the smartphone which then syncs across to the computer.

Oddly, the smartphone started to display double entries. This no longer happened after suppressing on the smartphone one of the many Calendars.

Major update to blog structure

I’m now back on the tracks following the restructuring of this blog for best practice. Introduction of blog Categories and Tags has meant tidying up older posts i.e. those from earlier modules as they begin to appear as public search results (external and marking). The time penalty should hopefully pay off.

During my FMP it is good to start more fully leveraging the power of the blog. This is really powerful from the Admin Dashboard which I’ve recently gained access to (for internal management of posts). From Week 5 on it will be best to only go back to make earlier ad hoc change as and when on an opportunity basis. I do now need to really increase my focus on new content, contextualization and project development.

PHO705: Medical imaging

The basis of my Abstract practice is the healing glow captured by the camera sensor enhanced in post-processing. In my endeavour to research appropriate visual language, I’ve looked towards the scientific and medical communities to determine how such work enters the wider consciousness including the public. Through investigation I’d hope to understand how my images might be viewed and how I might layer in certain types of graphic. For example representations of XY chromosome and DNA test strip.

The latter I’d used to give context to the viewer and I’m looking for creative ways to expand the visuals.

Clinical Photography Guidelines

When photographs of healing are digitally processed I often find expression through highly saturated colours. From the heat camera image below there is a similar palette and so there is a consistency. There is a tendency to work in monochrome which suppresses these colours. My research determines if colour trivialises my work or represents a wider consciousness.

Voluntary adoption of working guidelines of Clinical Photography. (Naylor, 2003) creates an association with medical photography. The method leads to a closer inspection of healing sites and sometimes observations are made which can trigger the curiosity but is sidelined. However, the heat camera article in the newspaper serves to remind that medical observation can follow.

The heat camera item is a newspaper article and doesn’t carry the same weight as funded medical research. The Medical Photography heading though, does have weight. A reading shows there to be a new or emerging science of light in diagnosis. Even as a visual only there is close correspondence to the art images I make within the project.

In conclusion, it seems valid that I should anchor my work to medical science at least on a visual basis. This gives hope that the viewer of abstract art may read and correctly interpret the signs given.

The last item below, In Conversation, brings attention to the crossover between biological sciences and art. I feel this validates my choice of subject of healing glow as it sits at the boundary of art and science.

Commercial Heat Cameras

What has triggered the post were two more coincidences. A newspaper article reported on heat detection of cancer (Parker, 2019)

Bal Gill / PA

Medical Photography

Notice has been sent out regarding How light “of many different colours and flavours” can be used to diagnose disease in a number of remarkable new ways. (Macdonald, 2019)

RPS Medical Group

In the photograph above the red coloured left-hand image is very similar to the appearance I create within my image sets. The structure also has a correspondence with my work. This means the abstract practice is quite well founded in colour and form.

In conversation: Viewing the Invisible

Scientist and artists were brought together to explore the similarities in their working methods in Viewing the Invisible. (NPG, 2019) I was able to talk with a number of scientists about my art perspective on mitochondrial DNA.

In Conversation – National Portrait Gallery

Bibliography

Macdonald, J. (2019) Optical Imaging – a new horizonRPS Events. Available at: http://www.rps.org/events/2019/december/03/the-combined-royal-colleges-lecture-2019.

Naylor, J. (2003) Clinical Photography: A Guide for the ClinicianJournal of Postgraduate Medicine. Available at: http://www.jpgmonline.com/text.asp?2003/49/3/256/1145 (Accessed: 8 February 2019).

NPG (2019) Viewing the InvisibleNational Portrait Gallery. Available at: https://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/event-root/september/in-conversation-15092019.

Parker, C. (2019) Heat camera spots day-tripper’s breast cancerThe Times.

PHO705: Guest Lecture (Research) – David Fathi

Early mention was made of this guest lecture in a 121 session blogged here.

David is a scientist breaking free into a world in which he makes art.

As always an important element of these resources is to identify with practice in the Final photo project.

David summarised three projects using these bullets which served as a useful summary:

Project summary – David Fathi

David’s art allows him to take up his interest in the areas of knowledge, politics and science.

Three works are presented: Of these the first two projects, Anecdotal and Wolfgang are books. The next project, The Last Road …” moved on to become an installation.

  • Book: Anecdotal … nuclear bomb testing on own lands e.g US Nevada
  • Book: Wolfgang … Pauli Quantum physics, anecdotes of things going wrong, CERN archive
  • Installation: The Last Road .. Henrietta Lacks archive HeLa cells

In presenting Wolfgang in different contexts, David began to explore the installation as a way of publicly showing “The Last Road …”. 

David felt he could have continued on in the vein he started (in some respects poking fun) but he was driven to do more serious work. Whilst earlier did poke fun it was also factual. 

The work relating to Henretta Lacks, controlled the viewer experience as the installation layout meant the viewer walked between Dark landscapes with Hela cells opposite Intimidating text. A video played at the exit end in this liminal space. The video comprised film stills with an audio track that played louder closer up.

The migration to installations fell out from presenting Wolfgang creatively in numerous settings. Don’t let the form of archives seduce you. It is a danger. Maintain control. Control also by viewer walking between Dark landscape/Hela cells opposite Intimidating text. Video at the end shows film stills. The music gets louder with proximity.

Examples of stills given included the Film Godzilla as metaphor for the atomic bomb.

The talk highlighted ideas of balanced pairs:

  • mortality – immortality
  • personal – political
  • science – art

#Advice

Some take-away advice was “Don’t let the form of archives seduce you. It is a danger. Maintain control of your work”.

On the subject of abstraction, David quoted an observation by Stanley Kubrick:

Be self-aware of one’s art and the impact it may have. Stay true to one’s intent.

It is important to remain aware that work can transition from a book publication to an installation