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.

PHO705: Week 23 Reflection

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.

Critical Review of Practice CRoP Update

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.

Picture Edit and Book Draft

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.

This is a practice for the FMP PDF book submission part.

Past-Present-a-mythology-of-time-V0.4-spreads

Narrative Lines

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.

Poems and Interview

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:

  • a short section of prose relevant to the theme
  • a poem about place and archive picture
  • an interview
  • the core pictures
  • repeated as miniatures with caption and print details as an index

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.

Final Major Project FMP PDF document

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.

Audio

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.

External Practitioner Reviews

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:

  • a fellowship art photographer
  • a fellowship fine art photographer
  • a fellowship book collector and editor
  • a journal editor and
  • a multi-genre, multi-award winning and twice professional photographer of the year finalist.

PHO705: Week 22 Reflection

Reflections, Reflections, Reflections

A Writing Review

Never make this mistake. Go to review early but not too early.

FMP calls for multiple unplanned writing requests. Show me the ticketing blurb. What does your artist’s statement say? What is the context of this work? Random creative scribblings for the book front stuff with raw poetry, a collection of quotes and an interview. Add to this list this very CRJ.

An outcome has been the abrupt realisation that the writing needs to be planned

Reflections on the pandemic spread of SARS-CoV-2

Handwashing

Hand washing is Government advice and in turn, frequent hand washing has led for some to minor healing from drying and cracking.

Colour has returned to my work on this latest adaption to my FMP:

Deep Sequencing

The outbreak of the Corona Virus on a cruise ship was sampled and deep sequenced by scientists in Japan:

SARS-N-COV-2

Despite the length of this nucleotide, a virus is a very simple molecular mechanism compared to our genome. Here is a visual rendition created for the virus to summarise all of the nucleotides you see in the PDF:

Factoids – Genetic Research

My FMP work can get really deep and intense and involved and I’m sure the intensity can be too much for the casual viewer of the work. This is becoming ever so clear as a result of making a synopsis of the Critical Review of Practice and book content.

A bias entered the FMP by deciding to place focus on own DNA (at a meeting with Victoria Forrest). I have since analysed 680,000 lines of my genome and revisited the book “Your DNA Adventure” (Living DNA, 2019). The language used there is straightforward to follow. It is better than my own writing that is based on two months of genetic research made possible when being laid low twice (or thrice) last year with the visit of a nasty virus.

Here are the snippets that inform. I like to call them factoids.

Motherline MTDNA Haplogroup T1a Subclade T1a1a arose in a woman in the Mediterranean 17,000 years ago. Inherited directly from mother.

Fatherline Y-DNA Haplogroup R-L21 Subclade R-DF25 Atlantic shores of Northern Europe. As male inherited from father.

Autosomal DNA cover the last 250 years. The FMP covers just over 100 years to the Great War. The first 22 (of 23) chromosome pairs form the autosome.

680,000 markers are analysed from my genome.

I am of Scottish cultural descent and now certified as Irish with Norwegian trace from the Viking invasions. This links me to Celtic legend and a tribal genetic legacy.

The genetic signature has a quality unusual in the British Isles linked to migrations in the 1600s but intermixing occurred before then with natural migrations across the sea.

Remarkably DNA can be traced back to nomadic Stone Age people at the end of the last ice age. The signature is found in Western Germany, Northern France and Belgium. It is therefore ironic that brothers from my family who fought in the Royal Highland Black Watch Regiment, fought their ancestral brothers and died fighting in France and Belgium.

I have a common motherline ancestor with peoples living in Udmurtia, Romania, Tunisia, Iran ant the Caucasus.

My common ancestral mother would have been a hardy hunter gatherer. Competition for resources would have been fierce. This character lived on in my mother and was present in her representing southern Scotland in as a sprint runner. The hunter gatherer tradition lived on in living memory in the Scottish community I was born into and lived within. A tradition that lasted for 17,000 years of which I may be the last in line to witness these events.

My fatherline hails from Ireland, Wales, Brittany, Scotland, England, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and Germany in an Atlantic Celtic migration arriving in the early Bronze Age. In fact my father was lined up to be the village blacksmith before he left to join the Parachute Regiment.

Mitochondrial DNA exists as circular cells outside of the chromosome nucleus. The egg contains thousands of mitochondria and the sperm very few. These are mostly in the tail which is lost during fertilisation adn so mitochondria is inherited from the mother. It is thought there may be one or two individuals alive who improbably inherited the mitochondria of the father. Mitochondia are very stable and can be assumed to mutate once in every 1,000 years. The Salamander and even wheat have greater DNA diversity than humans.Genetic diversity is very limited in modern humans outside of Africa.

Africans who are resistant to malaria received a gene 33,000 years ago. Europeans had already migrated and so do not share the resistant gene.

Although my DNA is unique, it is over 99% in common with every other human being alive. Our genetic connections with those in different regions have more in common than in our geographic separation.

While Crick and Watson won the Nobel prize and are credited with the discovery of the DNA double helix, their work actually used the results of X-Ray crystallography created by Rosalind Franklin at Kings College London, who was not credited.

Last year at a Symposium led by women on the subject of the parallels in thinking behind the art, and behind science, I met a husband of one of these eminent scientists. The husband took my research question and replied, and I asked if he had been at Oxford. No, he was Professor in X-Ray crystallography at King’s. But if that was not enough coincidence, when I said I’d been at the Oxford Department of Zoology on the Computing side of X-Ray crystallography, it turned out he was there doing his degree that same year.

And finally, when the 1951 discovery was made what knowledge previously existed? Plato (428 BC-348 BC) a philosopher and mathematician in Classical Greece wrote in “Tinneus” of the creation of man and used terms that directly parallel the modern science.

Bibliography

LivingDNA (2019) Michael Turner – Your DNA Adventure.

PHO705: Week 21 Reflection

The exhibition will now take place in a silent studio and plans are afoot to make a video presentation. Maybe in expansive mood perhaps also an artist talk.

Silent Exhibition

What to say when narrating the exhibition? Some plans are afoot as to how to conduct this but what to say. Perhaps make a reading of the book front stuff: prose going into poem and artist interview.

Versus Alternative Venue

Plan B would be to leave the studio and use brick walls and lighting I have lined up. Would it make a difference to the interpretation of the work, well yes?

A venue change to a brick built environment reminds of the following with lyrics following on to some kind of parallel to the pandemic:

Inspired by music and the feel of an alternative venue and the reason behind the change of venue:

Empty Spaces – Pink Floyd

What shall we use to fill the empty spaces
Where waves of hunger roar?
Shall we set out across the sea of faces
In search of more and more applause?

Shall we buy a new guitar?
Shall we drive a more powerful car?
Shall we work straight through the night?
Shall we get into fights?
Leave the lights on?
Drop bombs?
Do tours of the east?
contract diseases?
Bury bones?
Break up homes?
Send flowers by phone?
Take to drink?
Go to shrinks?
Give up meat?
Rarely sleep?
Keep people as pets?
Train dogs?
Race rats?
Fill the attic with cash?
Bury treasure?
Store up leisure?
But never relax at all
With our backs to the wall