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: 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