PHO705: Christmas Reflection

The last week of Christmas Reflection before the University three week Assessment Period and course resumption next month on 20 January.

Portfolio Image Processing

The intention during the break has been to build a large enough catalogue of images for the current stage – transition to making.

The plan is to generate enough work to feed the planned public outcomes. This building activity is designed to generate the larger numbers of images required and serve to gather feedback and critique prior to a final edit for the assignments.

Work continued on processing images in light of the outcomes following the Imaging Science with the following developments.

Side by side image comparison

This refers to the outcomes of digital darkroom processing before and after imaging science symposium.

This is a side by side comparison of Method A (original image compression/decompression method) versus Method B (filter).

The reason for this was that whilst outcomes were easier to obtain were they flatter as in looking as a greyscale monochrome effect? The results are in the now-classic red developed for the summer exhibition.

Colour Outcomes

With so much focus on the above, the investigation of colour outcomes had taken a minor role in project development in the making aspect and so this has begun to be righted.

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Colour Abstract Images by Michael Turner

The use of colour became important and was then dropped during an edit. Primarily, this use of colour became a signature style and appeared to have an indication of having greater commercial potential. What could be better, a signature style with commercial potential? One assessment is that we are living in a political age in which austerity is seen to be coming to a gradual close. Perhaps viewers want something with a sense of bright optimism or perhaps simply a distraction from their day.

The use of colour has to remain true to the project intent and colour was introduced because of this, as a way of remaining independently connected with the past and while living our lives find a sense of celebration.

Would those. making the greatest sacrifice have wished us to live our lives with sombre memory. Recognition, yes, if freely given and more nowadays with a reminder given the decline of living memory. The celebration of freedom is something that does not have to be justified but in doing so celebration represents our natural response to being free.

Celebration ought not to be a constant. Just as a grin tires and even begins to appear foolish we ought to as an intent of the Motherline provide the opportunity for the viewer to look upon the work and be given the opportunity to feel more uplifted. This intent has to be more grounded than consequences otherwise: a heavy heart: or even confusion as to why ponder over that which is dark.

Without consideration, the work could become irrelevant too soon.

There again a mixed visual message could be an outcome of mixing the sombre with the celebratory. It could easily make resolved work look unresolved.

To date, the use of colour has stubbornly remained as monochrome plus red (as in the blood spilt). The bright vibrant colours were dropped. However, it is a strong sign that colour was never let go of completely meaning that is an important element for the author.

It is not necessary or always beneficial to have a fixed signature style and yet realising this, it is a stronger motive to have vibrant saturated colour as an uplifting portfolio intent but that has to remain rooted to the past.

A previous line of the study led to Art as an Experience as a way forward but with a final outcome or realisation that Rothko who created work in this style ended his own life. This created a flash response, a rejection of this kind of art due to the association of an act seen as cowardly in some senses and it is linked to themes of bravery. This seemed like a form of ‘contamination’. The wrong word but a countertheme perhaps.

There is also the important consideration of self-preservation when deeply involved in the emotional response to the past events that consumed relatives. Normally, there would be moments of feeling but as an ongoing photography project, the intensity of feeling was heightened time and again through the authorship task. In a sense, this turned the theme away from colour but the themes remained in sombre mood. Something has changed in the six months or so that have passed.

It has to be the taking up again of Family Constellations. Realising that they (ancestors) had their lives, and lived the consequences, there is no need for us (or the author) to allow ourselves to become consumed. We can avoid entanglement with those we loved or would have loved and realise that we can simply live our own lives to the best we can reasonably do so.

What does this mean? Simply that the seeming barrier to using bright vibrant and saturated colour can be removed and colour brought back.

Looking back, is this the whole story? Two modules ago a colour image went for critique and was deemed undeniably to be DECORATIVE. The colour palette was pastel in the image, and not in harmony with the sombre.

Around this time Art as Experience as in Rothko’s large scale paintings in colour fell from favour in learning of Rothko’s demise. Circumstances further combined around the quasi-spiritual way in which an element of randomness in image data, resulted in stronger black and white images tied to emergent themes (of biology and of ghosts). And in such ways the argument swings between colour and black and white.

There is an element of being guided by the quasi-spiritual as this links to the soul of the author. This can be an intense experience. Whether this translates to the viewer is another matter.

What did connect at the practice exhibition was the availability of contextualising material and an artist talk. Beyond this was a strong engagement with activity in the presence of the author. Being able to pick up the prints and the exhibition in a box that was present meant visitors engaged over these. Whether this would stand in the absence of the author is probably a key point. Is the work meant to be a performance, is a key question? In fact, performance is the natural element the author prefers to work with as the socialising element of photography is a key motivator.

As an exhibition, this can be managed and through the author’s nature, it would be difficult to resist engagement. Again though, how would the work stand in the author’s absence. There are more occasions possible without the presence of the author, thus it becomes necessary to convey somehow that presence by some other means such as recording and prepared materials (for exhibition activity).

The strongest implementation is the exhibition in a box as it encompasses many if not all of the characteristics thought desireable. The presentation of the exhibition in a box at critique at Unseen Amsterdam was the embodiment. The way that critique ran, was as a result of having had the practice exhibition as a primer.

Public outreach becomes the challenge, So although the performative elements are satisfied would there be little or no residual message for the public, a curator or compared to prize entry.

A book, and it was thought that a book would be a strong approach, could resolve some of the performative and outreach elements. It would have to be more than a picture book and border on an activity book.

At the summer exhibition, it was good to have a book dummy to show the scope of the course, over which there was interest. This time it would be necessary to contain the subject to the Motherline project, where before it was the outcome of the so-called Rothko challenge.

An exhibition pamphlet was also created and was dark printed. Even the red colour was printed in black. This was a very uniform pamphlet in the current trend of the black paper noted at Arles Recontres. It was simple, lightweight in production demands (other than ink) and carried off well in dark mood. The actual pamphlet contained the full 23 image selection rather than the slightly later 18 image edit of the final exhibition. There was also a solution to cover printing.

Another pamphlet has to be made. This is in the final project plan. It could carry off colour printing but perhaps not with the same consistency as the black and white pamphlet. There is an accomplishment in hand binding even for the saddle-stitched example.

After a recent visit to The Photographers Gallery examples were purchased of sheet books similar to the pamphlet. One is unstitched and a plastic cover (Klien, 2019) with a long edge fold to keep the sheets stacked. The other is a small-sized monograph (Atkinson, 2017) with stapled binding.

Also in the portrayal of molecular biology, visuals e.g. DNA authors use colour for visual elements as an artistic choice. Vibrant, saturated colour fits well with this established theme.

Further Image Development

Image abstractions had so far resulted from healing wound photographs as this is the powerful tie between the living and those ancestors from the past. In the current period of reflection, the reading around the Unheimlich or Phantasmagoria, the Weird and the Eerie has had an impact on visual perception. Once triggered the appearance of abstract ghost or landscapes became unavoidable. As a consequence not 100% of abstract ghost images or eerie landscapes have been derived from healing wounds.

Once the mind’s eye became attuned, a few potential photographs began to be gathered and processed. Although only a few such images have resulted, the principle of authenticity has to be considered. Would these images pollute, or even dilute the work? Perhaps it is no different to using archive photographs?

FMP Guest Lectures

It was decided early on to engage in the (optional) guest lecture series provided as FMP resources. Ahead of deadline which if there is one is during resumption in late January.

In looking ahead the following lectures have been watched ahead of updating a blog post for each.

Guest Lecture (Publication) – Christiane Monarchi Part 1

Guest Lecture (Publication) – Christiane Monarchi Part 2

Guest Lecture (Publication) – Jim Mortram

Guest Lecture (Publication) – David Moore

Guest Lecture (Publication) – Guy Martin

Work is being piled up in the break. It will be important to keep the balance of progress right. As a consequence, Guest Lecture consumption has been placed outside of “office hours”. Watching the GLs encourages focus on them and while it would be good to complete the related blog posts this would detract from other key activities.

A video/moving still has yet to be made. The approaches considered for making have two options at present 1) a moving landscape – a file has been processed to enable this to be done. 2) a remake of the video made in the previous module and used in the Summer Exhibition – the materials could bring onboard archive stills, the historic family album and war scene images extracted from video footage.

This serves to expand the related theme possibilities and has been an investment in time. It may be that the time has arrived to begin looking for the most plausible way forward that strengthens the project Motherline.

The examples of other work that comes to mind when resolving this are:

War Primer 2 (Broomberg, 2018) – here pages are media collages of different sources of still including from television or video in one example a tv broadcast is visible. This is the most comprehensive use of materials but likely a challenge to manage as a solo presentation. Is it necessary to use all of the sources gathered for the FMP Module,? Probably no, if the result looks scruffy and the public materials have increased scope of errant decision making by incorrectly pairing when there is a vast amount of images not to mention the appearance of several texts per collage. Broomberg worked with Chanarin and so together they were able to take stock and check more readily for potential flaws. It is not known how long the authors spent creating the edit for War Primer 2 but this could easily exceed the FMP three months work remaining on this MA Photography course.

What is most likely is that War Primer 2 provides a structure to test against in making Motherline. Then beyond the MA there are materials already researched for potential further development. One possibility is to separate some of the picture sources into supporting work products, as in an extra book dummy which could be useful in further practising bookbinding. or as a video or moving still resource.

It will be advisable to avoid being drawn into this too far before considering the mark. In the previous module, in addition to the three assignments that were handed in, a lot of hard work was done and at the last, there were unmarked items: book dummies (book and catalogue), an eight-day (so-called practice) exhibition with an artist talk and other supporting work; portable exhibition in a box, video, music selection, side exhibition of colour abstract work and extra prints.


Trial PDF making.

Return to video / moving stills making.


Atkinson, C. (2017) London Barbican. 2017 Open. Cafe Royal Books CRB. Available at:

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

Klein, W. (2019) Photographique. 1st edn. Edited by K. Stevens and P.-L. Denis. Available at:

PHO705: Christmas Reflection

This post relates to calendar Weeks 13 and 14. A return was made to reading, PHO705: Research – Phantasmagoria and the Weird and the Eerie in PHO705: Beyond the Unheimlich. This has meant going back to these earlier weeks posts to update them.

The way this blog is structured it keeps to an original plan of delivering posts to a given schedule. A number of blank posts are present that call for attention, for example, reviewing some optional FMP video materials that if reviewed give a wider experience. This brings attention to the activities and should help to get the work done. There is a natural balance developing.

At present activity has been prioritised towards making and this is timely given the Symposium attended and the access gained to relevant expertise and further related research. Meanwhile, sets of images will be needed as a growing matter of urgency, to build a broad portfolio for onward editing. Making also gained importance in avoiding any pitfall in interpreting science. An example that comes to mind is that of Phrenology from the earlier years of photography. The project assumption around IR filtering and processing becomes trace rather than direct as originally postulated. The theme of identification of Motherline ancestors remained true.

PHO705: Digital Darkroom Analysis for Motherline

An analysis of digital darkroom activity followed on from the posts on Art Science and Imaging Science Symposium and concerns the How. This has resulted on a return to making which until now had slowed while research ran on.

A change in method has occurred to an equivalent approach that produces equivalent results and was possible after a more detailed look into the techniques used as well as having been able to enter the discussion with scientific imaging experts. The new darkroom method is more direct and controllable and simpler to work with.

Greater insight has led to more flexible image manipulation and then onto a new approach able to generate image sets. Potentially the extended method could be used to generate wide landscapes or sets of images for moving stills. This is very much in tune with the Final Proposal to generate supporting materials during the seasonal break, to advance the materials available to use in an exhibition or book.

Further work into contextualising the project visuals has been progressed by capturing images from Great War video broadcast material. The capture and initial handling of the numerous images is an enabler to any next stage.

The themes derived have expanded choice and at some point in the next month say some decisions will have to be made. It would make sense to trial the themes where possible and even make them public to get a sense of what gains the best impact while maintaining the original project intent.

PHO705: Recombinant Rhymes and DNA Art

This blog was revisited and research extended from DNA to RNA and the 1100-word set for words containing the letters ACGT of the DNA bases has been extended for RNA bases ACGU with a 500-word set (lists partially overlap each other). It has been informative to learn of the RNA processes and how it connects to the overall picture of life.

The activity is more of a supporting task than the main task of the FMP but will add to the overall impact of the planned exhibition and possibly of a book.


First identified in PHO705: Research-Driven Practice effort has substantially moved to build research around Motherline project development. The natural cycle of research turning into making continues on from two earlier modules and informs the FMP module activity which is given a solid grounding in project-related research. The intent is to take work public and then enter a final stage of refinement and edit stage to ready for submission for assessment.

PHO705: Digital Darkroom Analysis for Motherline

This post follows on from PHO705: Symposium – Good Picture 2019 “Imaging Revealed”

A detail was examined of the source of image glow in humans

Michael Turner based on UV image by Dr J Crowther

Access to imaging scientists led to emanation being discarded as it is undetectable. Instead, attention is brought to body reflection in the visible light spectrum. The scope was introduced for a secondary effect caused by visible light having triggered bacterial fluorescence.

Further research and reflection have guided change and resulted in the adaption of digital darkroom processing that now uses simpler steps that are easier to manage and more flexible in fine-tuning the healing wound image.

Motherline (mtDNA) and Glow

The ancestral basis of identification between individuals had been established through the Motherline as an image Aura or Emanation.

The method still stands, but as trace rather than direct emanation. Trace is in cellular heat created by mtDNA / ATP processes. This is largely through the increased blood supply at a healing wound. Blood contains levels of mtDNA as do all of the other cells but does not contain nuclear DNA. Direct emanation by humans is a measurable process but it is only detectable using scientific instruments.

We have to discount bacterial fluorescence. Bacteria are necessary to our existence and are present in great numbers alongside our human cells. However, bacteria are not genetically human and so the glow created by bacterial fluorescence cannot be attributed to the ancestral link but to the general population instead. Bacterial glow does not develop the psychological process of identification with ancestors.


Equivalence has been found between:

Process A

In HDR Tone

Compress (gamma) and simplify (slider)

In Levels

Spread and decompress (gamma)

Process B (new)

Simplify (ACR Clarity)

Colour layer | Luminance

In Levels


Comparison A versus B

The effects are equivalent and the number of steps the same. Method A can lose image data by compressing and decompressing where Method B preserves data. Method B. This gives more scope to subtly enhance the through colour channel (RGB) adjustments.


Processing Method A (HDR Tone) remains valid although there is no direct detection of IR. Method B can be adopted in its place for improved data retention and colour processing. The effect applied can be more readily followed.

Visible light detection is what is present and derives mainly from the blood supply to and around the healing wound and is connected to Motherline mtDNA although. As nuclear DNA is not presented in blood this makes the detection a close.

PHO705: Recombinant Rhymes and DNA Art

Project development: rhymes, art and naming of the photo project.

Oxford definition.

This post is an extension of the Recombinant Rhymes and DNA Art (McNamee, 2019) feature in the blog post, PHO705: Research Artsci, Communicating Science Visually, Computational Biology and a new Avant-Garde

The intention is to deliver something art-based (rhyme or graphic text or image titles) over the upcoming period between terms as noted in the Final Proposal. An intention is to experiment to discover if contextualisation and visual language can be built with Recombinant Rhymes or DNA Art.

The idea is to use imagination in selecting words like TELEOLOGICAL that contain DNA base letters ACGT and combine them for effect, perhaps making a video with a reading of a rhyme. Words are intended to be selected for their connection to narratives of the project.

Select from the following ACGT words for some connected meaning:


  • Advocating 
  • Fracturing conflagrations
  • Countervailing 
  • Lethargic contagiousness

Interestingly, the validated list contains the terms Abstracting and Photographic.

Project naming

In short, “Motherline” is the name presently chosen. This is less politically charged than the earlier proposed project name “Matriarchy”.

Matriarchy like patriarchy has political overtones, so is not so attuned to the themes of the work.

Motherline is derived here from the post PHO705: Visual Language of DNA Testing and the terms:

  • Family Ancestry (autosomal DNA)
  • Motherline Ancestry (mtDNA)
  • Fatherline Ancestry (Y-DNA)


McNamee, A. (2019) ‘Art of Now Recombinant Rhymes and DNA Art’. A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4. Available at:

PHO705: Guest Lecture (Publication) – Christiane Monarchi Part 1

Watch this Guest Lecture video and comment.

Christiane set-up Photomonitor and explained how this was set-up from her getting involved in Pluck and Portfolio and a desire to find out what was on. across a range of areas over and above the large institutions. She would advise in how to set up a niche.

Gaps were found in the offerings of:

  • Art List – large institutions
  • Art – global and no UK focus
  • New Exhibitions Guide – major mostly historic items
  • British Journal of Photography – stopped doing listings
  • Photoworks – annual, great read but infrequent

Christiane’s requirement was UK and Ireland centric, for artists and emerging writers and all in an up to date guide of what’s on now. Here need was to bring people to photography and go and see it, think about it and spread the word. All without ads and is free.

The result in 2011 was From the front page, key links are the Portfolio link written by the artist rather than mediated, there are listings sometimes with reading more depending on the gallery and their subscription. There are Reviews including of live exhibitions. Interviews talking to artists. Essays that have been researched. Auctions cover smaller upcoming auctions. Collections are interviews. Book reviews cover self-published and large publishers.

Christiane encourages artists to take a break and listen to others.

In terms of making a publication the 5 Years’ statistics were given:

The right hand column draws funding and that pays for commissioning the items on the right as community members.

In summary there are many many opportunities to see work that is shared.

Commissioned pieces are paid at 20p a word to a maximum as a budget constraint. 500 words on a screen are practical.

Commissioning is wider than London covering Wales and Ireland. Timeliness is key as mentioned to get people to the exhibitions. Social media is important for sharing.

t: @photomonitor

Christiane talked about potential for growing Photomonitor including into streaming of live audience talks.

Some Inspiring Platforms were listed:

Anyone with new ideas is encouraged to get in contact.

Response to Online Publication.

It is always exciting to see the smaller business venture establish itself and succeed. Any personal involvement would be to read Photomonitor and assess how it stands alongside say for example, major gallery memberships.

The online element is approached as a Portfolio website and as Instagram for marketing (planned) not to mention this blog site created for the MA Photography course.

There is still more to discover in Part 2 of Christiane’s guest lecture.

PHO702: Assessment Period 2 – Christmas 2018

Note to self on visual side: return and add photographs selected as time permits – it has been a surprisingly busy period.

I had established a way forward in my first module on a Commemorative Historical project based on ancestors and common land of upbringing and livelihood. I had lived here as a child and shared in the culture. The project with its visits created renewed cultural connection. A deep sense of emotional tie resulted that now at times borders on being overwhelming.

As my work moved towards the end of my first module it changed form from Close-up photography mixed with Conceptual work.

Why did the project change?

It was clear that by the Final Major Project FMP stage there would be difficulty in sustaining the work. That’s not to say the work cannot complete satisfactorily in its original form – an illustrated book narrative had been the plan.

A challenge related to the Conceptual work. I transformed the cultural home location colour and texture, into attempts at atmospheric scenes from a far location in the theatre of war: scenes from the trenches and memories of home.

I’d practiced a method of abstraction that gave horizontal and vertical treatment to photographs of place, of being or of artefact. Edges might be added back in, for form.

I quite enjoyed the work insofar as my own needs were concerned. It seemed quite inspired and especially creative.

I was using ideas from filmmaking that were not felt to hold true to photographic work. In filmmaking you might stage a scene near London that represents Norway. Whilst this fits in with the storyline the equivalent in photography can be challenged in terms of authenticity. Perhaps now I understand in terms of Barthes, “a photograph is a record of something that has been” or words to that effect.

Both Close-up and Conceptual work had been carefully devised to overcome constraints of resource of time, cost, travel. Originally the work being made as a way of supporting an historical text narrative.

So how did the project change?

A style evolved of colour or saturation processing to create highly colourful and vivid work and sits alongside other more muted but glowing images.

The change occurred around assignment hand-in time, as these fresh ideas were sparked. This took the work to a different level. This had the purpose of connecting living individuals to specific others and narratives from the past. Given records of wounding and repeated return to action, connections are made across 100 years or more by abstracting starting photographs of minor everyday trauma.

The viewer is presented with sets of strikingly colourful images. A subset follows a red theme from my earlier Poppies are Red … project.

There is a process of identification with the past that helps to sort of bring it back to life. As descendants including the author have different degrees of connection to the particular ancestors, then we identify with specific individuals and narratives of their lives in a way that we can contrast and compare with.

This led to a Project “Poppies are Red …” and the limited trials I did on my photographs led in the direction of red themes which tied in with the theme and the project name.

The project for a while took on the title Life’s Glow.

With areas of minor trauma there is obtained a degree of visual structure to the work. The camera sensor is capable of detecting IR. In my work I bring down the colour before bringing it back in and in doing so appear to raise the level of glow within a photograph.

This uncovers visual aspects not seen by the eye alone and lead to a fascination surrounding the effects

Two methods of abstraction had resulted during the unfolding of the work. Now these can be combined where it makes visual sense. In one example this contains otherwise wildly saturated colours.

The effect of shadow:

When drawing colour back into an image, having deliberately drained it, I noticed an effect due to shadow. Shadow seems to alter the direction of the colour as it is brought back, perhaps having altered the low level hue which then goes off in its own direction.

I’m now in a position of continuing with refinement. This becomes necessary for reasons of visual consistency across the portfolio. In drawing comparisons with a painter and an abstract practitioners my work needs to to gain a level of improvement. Or at least that is what I seek.

Refinement is necessary to enable any move from a book context to a gallery context. What is acceptable in one medium may not be scalable to the other.

In retrospect it occurred to the author that a magical connection was being made that helped fill gaps in communication from those early years as a child.

In summary:

Stories of deep personal sadness and loss had been held back by surviving relatives. Individuals who were missing amongst them as contemporaries did not gain mention. Now those gaps are being filled and so their lives are not forgotten.

Where my Practice is Now

At the start of my third module I consider where my practice is now and that is in the genre of Abstract Impressionism. As new photographic work recently evolved, that remains within my chosen subject area, for me it is down to a process of refinement. I work to enhance scale, control colour and finish. I am on a trajectory of developing a personal style and I continue to match the standards of other practitioners I connect with be they painters or photographers.

Image Success

In terms of successful images and not so successful images, the early images were the most creative and tidy. Some images were made after the previous Module submission and so were new work made in the last break. However, a ruling that work had to be made from the first day of the new Module, meant some of my most creative work was out of scope, sadly. With these images my Portfolio edit may have strengthened. It would have strengthened as the reshooting and digital darkroom work did not result in the same level of creative images.

As I rely on everyday minor trauma, it would be unethical to deliberately cause damage. If there is no subject material for a while then there is no material. In these times I concentrate on portraying Life’s Force and the glow that we emit as means of identifying with those in the past.

My work is such that the steps in the digital darkroom cannot be repeated (without recording every step on video) so each image is unique. When I reshot, the out of scope photographs, this not only led to a loss of time, the results were not quite as strong. It is entirely natural to follow the flow of image creation in post but a challenge to set up a pre defined target image and try and craft it. There is a skill and learning process and it is intuitive and is made possible by knowing how to read the start image. In my very early work only one in 5 images say would yield results. Current work is more focussed in intent and more reliably creates results. But again the work is not repeatable as the techniques require destructive editing.

I’ve firmly believed the bespoke nature of this photographic work increases its ‘value’. Each edit of an image is unique. Whilst reprints can be made, the ability to process identically from the start is largely impossible.

Support to Visual Narrative

As my work moved away from illustrating a test narrative towards a stand alone work, it became important to find a way of supporting the visual narrative. Initially and for many weeks all means were open for consideration as I experimented with different approaches. I tried sound effects; thought of taking some research on a poet with cultural link and select lines of poetry as titles. In the end I decided on a Call and Response technique in titles and implemented these in my portfolio.

Contextualisation of Practice – three reviews or interviews for three visual references.

The sources I’d contextualise are painter Rachel Howard, the work of photographer Ellen Carey and the photography phase of David Hockney. My work is original and here I seek to contextualise as best I can ahead of the Module providing the scope for this research

Rachel Howard painter

Art Review (Januszczak Waldemar, 2018)

Rachel Howard in conversation with Anna Moszynska (Howard Rachel, 2018)

Ellen Carey photographer

Interview series (Carey Ellen and Lyle, 2009)

Interview for Aesthetica magazine (Barry Tim, 2016)

David Hockney as photographer

Television interviews (Hockney David, 1998)

Financial Times arts review (Hodgson Francis, 2015)

Artists website with bibliography (Hockney David, 2019)


Barry Tim (2016) Aesthetica Magazine – Interview with Ellen Carey, Poet With A Lens, Les années 1980, Centre Pompidou, ParisAesthetica. Available at: (Accessed: 21 January 2019).

Carey Ellen and Lyle, R. (2009) Ellen Carey: The Edge of Vision Interview Series on VimeoAperture Foundation. Available at: (Accessed: 21 January 2019).

Hockney David (1998) David Hockney on Photography & Other Matters (Secret Knowledge) – YouTubeSky Arts. Available at: (Accessed: 21 January 2019).

Hockney David (2019) Photographic Collages : Photos : Works | David Hockney. Available at: (Accessed: 21 January 2019).

Hodgson Francis (2015) ‘David Hockney: Painting and Photography’ | Financial TimesThe Financial; Times. Available at: (Accessed: 21 January 2019).

Howard Rachel (2018) Repetition is truth via Dolorosa. Edited by A. C. Beard Jason. London: Other Criteria Books. Available at:

Januszczak Waldemar (2018) Art review: John Copeland and Rachel Howard at Newport Street Gallery | Culture | The Sunday Times. Available at: (Accessed: 21 January 2019).


Excuse any repetition during this edit. My work never lost continuity from its beginnings, starting at Falmouth as Poppies are Red … a Commemorative Historical piece with both close-up work and early abstract practice. The work was becoming Conceptual for reasons of practical constraint and resource. Practice is now closer to Surreal and has been throughout my second Module Sustainable Prospects. Behind the scenes I steer my work through “rules of genetic connection” which leads to specific narratives unspoken. In effect I link abstracted minor traumas to repeated woundings of my ancestors closing a gap of over a century to the Great War.

Communication Complete

Again excuse any repetition during this blog edit. There is an act of completing communication I had as a child with close others in those lands of my ancestors. Sadnesses and losses unmentioned were characterised only as gaps as is how these adults chose to communicate with me as a young child. Modern research tools show those gaps and factual narratives were derived from records. Now as an adult I identify with those I might otherwise have met or at least have heard mention of or connected to and whose losses went unmentioned. And now, I remember them. I remember them all. I have a growing sense of identity which those around me seem to also share in.

Variations in Ongoing Practice

I established above my strong intent in my endeavour to develop further and refine the finish of a work that has deep emotional significance and meaning to the author.

I also follow advice to continue shooting intuitively to see where this takes me. Developments are very interesting and yet do not engage at the emotional level I experience from the current practice.


An aspect of abstraction and in this practice, the recording of minor trauma, there develops an unease, a sense of wanting to change and take more conventional representational perspective photographs. In a sense I gain some refuge from the emotional wear and tear of the practice.

Return to Nature – Competition

And so I have done this. I have turned to several directions. I photographed nature and gained recent successes with a Highly commended print and two Advanced competition winning projected images. This tweaks the competitive side lost in studying photography. That may not be an appropriate direction for now but it was refreshing to go back to.

Return to Nature – Instagram Takeover

In photographing nature I also focussed towards the MA Photography. In a faltered attempt I started reshooting and nailing work for an Instagram Takeover. I reshot a theme of the juncture between large cultivated shrubs and the vital mechanical support introduced by park gardeners. To me there was a metaphor here of supporting the weak (in human society). These were big thoughts if not a step too far. As the body of work progressed the creative compass moved the images back towards digitally processed work. I re-entered the abstract world once more. I’ve not submitted the work to my Module Leader as regardless of how much I like the effect and overall consistency across photographs, I did not consider that using a filter created by someone else unknown to be a very good way to proceed. I prefer that I make my own effects and exercise a level of practice and skill.

I’m not done with this completely as I started yet another reshoot of the same cultivated gardens. Last time out I was confronted by a dog before being befriended by the owner. We teamed up and walked a lesser route to an early show of Witch Hazel flowers before parting company. As is so often is the case, my photographic intention was distracted. On that day light conditions which had been important began to pass then I was in danger of being locked in. I still have to return if I’m going to nail some conventional photography to my chosen narrative.

Street Photography – and a surprise

Now this is an area of practice I could be said to specialise in. At least I’m published and have exhibited in this genre and support teaching out on the streets of London. I let go of my Street endeavours a bit while studying the MA Photography. In the break. I went back but found I’d lost a bit of my mojo. Instead of piling in with energy and nailing lots of shots I had slowed down, wanting to make more considered work.

As my abstract work was becoming increasingly insular, it was really refreshing on a social front to reconnect with some street buddies over the Christmas “break”. The MA does seem to be changing me. During the street shoot a full reset of the camera ditched the less conventional settings after which I started to get into my Street photography again.

Street work as a backstop has the advantage of being sustainable. Whether or not remarkable enough work would result is open to conjecture.

Shadows Within – a return to a favourite project

As described above, my main abstract practice, turns out to be sustainable. This is true also of Shadows Within an ongoing recording of a variety of shadows I have photographed around the home over a period of time. This is a regular one I go back to often. I’m always amazed how a characteristic layout leads to the walls, floors and ceilings acting as if the inside of a camera (maybe mostly without the lens).

I happily record darker images alongside ends of rainbows and moving dots and patterns. It feels so kaleidoscopic, so alive. There is joy is in the making.

The light changes progressively throughout the day as well as with the seasons. The work goes straight back to my abstract preference.

Would I continue with this in the MA Photography, maybe not? No matter how much creative fun it is, there is nowhere near the beginnings of the engagement my main practice has. Shadows Within (so far) lacks a level of social comment such as I’d expect to need to engage in. This judgement is based on personal discussions with MA graduate and also in judging the very high quality of work I see by fellow postgraduates students at Falmouth. I’ve decided I’m not here just to have fun with photography.

What I do take from this is minor digital darkroom practice and recognition that whatever I do in photography, my imagination, my eye is constantly drawn back to abstract work. This reinforces something about my style. I ought to recognise and develop further in abstract to become accomplished.

A Gathering of Some Resources and Ideas

The following was under construction ahead of the 16 week Informing Contexts Module starting on 25th/28th January 2019.

A package of work was set before the start of the Informing Contexts Module,  and just after my work for the Sustainable Prospects modules, Work was to be scheduled over the Christmas period. These work items are progressively blogged in this blog post.

This module will be based on theory and research. Books and referencing move to front on stage.

Art Reviews

On discovering a series of FT Art Review podcasts, I was drawn in. Over the Christmas break one managed to go back all the way to the earliest edition. Interest was 99% outside of photographic art, but nevertheless it is interesting to hear groups of critics and reviewers interact.


One exhibition was attended during the break at, the V&A Museum where they now hold the RPS collection. I tried out 10 questions to ask when analysing a photograph. With a bit of effort, the list, or actually the bare list, was committed to memory and review commenced. This analysis proved to be rather mechanical and slow. It must improve with practice. It will be necessary for discernment to weave it way into in one’s work.

Another London exhibition is being lined up.

Harvard Referencing with Mendeley and plug-in for Word

Within some technical constraints the user doesn’t control. Referencing is just about sorted or at least usable, reasonably automated and if nothing else consistent. Personally, it has been a struggle and held me back on my reading whilst bringing this under control.

I’ve practiced this more than once during the break as a recognised area of skills development. To be honest it does drive me to distraction. However, I need to master citations and bibliographies (books, website, photographs and journals mostly) and before too much more reading and researching has taken place.

The software has been set up on computer, and not without challenges (like software debug level intervention). This in part is a repercussion from the failed computer technology and change of system following a disaster during that very hot summer we had in the UK.

What with getting the tools working I still had to manually create a lot of entries putting my time at the service of the software where really it should be helping me work more efficiently.

I’m not at all confident that these tools will serve me well enough yet. It is early days whilst exploring first uses. Let’s see how it goes. Citation and Bibliography creation is now getting easier.

Up till now, I’ve gotten by using manual referencing and to a large extent my creative development has been independent of any other practitioners. No matter how original I aim to be, it is still a requirement of the course to bridge my work to photographic practices and practitioners and more so now with the start of a more highly research intensive Module, Informing contexts.

Learning Outcomes and Assessment Criteria

I did read through these during December (last month) and it is probably time to go over this all again to refresh.

Reading Lists

Module Information Form MIF

From the Module Information Form MIF is a recommended reading list. There will be other sources within Talis so the MIF list is not exclusive.:

BARKER C. (2011) Cultural Studies: Theory and Practice. London: Sage

BARTHES, R. (1980) Camera Lucida. London: Flamingo

BATCHEN, G. (2002) Each Wild Idea: Writing, Photography, History. Boston, MA: MIT Press

BURGIN, V. (1986) The End of Art Theory: Criticism and Postmodernity. London: Palgrave

DURDEN, M. (2013) Fifty Key Writers on Photography. Abingdon: Routledge

ELIKINS, J. (2007) Photography Theory. Abingdon: Routledge

EVANS, J. & HALL, S. (eds.) (1999) The Visual Culture Reader. Milton Keynes: Open University Press

FONTCUBERTA, J. (ed) (2002) Photography: Crisis of History. Barcelona: Actar

GEFTER, P. (2009) Photography after Frank. New York: Aperture

HEIFERMAN, M. (2012) Photography Changes Everything. New York: Aperture

LEVI-STRAUSS, D. (2005) Between the Eyes: Essays on Photography and Politics. New York: Aperture

STURKEN, M. & CARTWIGHT, L. (2009) Practices of Looking. Oxford: Oxford University Press

PHO702 Resources List

PHO702 Resources List

There is a good deal of referencing and citation involved with the Module so I took an action towards this early and have downloaded the available RIS file for the resources list and I’ve loaded it into the Mendeley database for use with the Word citation plugin as required. The idea is to be organised and save time later on. As deadlines eventually loom, this action should avoid panic setting if trying to retrace vital readings.

This is divided into a list of subheadings each with multiple resources linked.

Fantasy shopping. Podcast outtake from the original radio broadcast


There is more than a tentative connection between advertising photography and this BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour feature. I was captive as it was on the radio in the car – honest.

There is an interaction between two women, both of whom suspend reality when out shopping in upmarket stores and a lady who is an ex-shop assistant. One lady feels guilt about entering a shop and suspecting the shop recognise her immediately as not intending to purchase any good and imagines security following her around. The other lady imagines the security presence as her body guard. What is revealing are the stories they make up in their minds fantasising. One even turns to a sales assistant as the phone rings, “Sorry it’s a call from Victoria Beckham”.

Photography in advertising may be designed to encourage the viewer to imagine their life with the product – reality being suspended.