PHO703: Week 12 Showtime

Oral Presentation Surfaces and Strategies PHO703

I reported in Week 11 the learnings from a dry run of my exhibition versus portable facsimile that allows to carry the exhibition to audiences where my work receives almost constant attention in a number of social situations.

Although I sound like I prefer the accessibility of the portable exhibition, I have a full eight day run of studio exhibition to learn more about context. I do have a challenge in managing the building as well as the exhibition.

Announcements have gone out on social media channels to the wider area in which it is taking place. Notices have gone out to two local photography societies, one of which has its own exhibition running that I’ll need to attend. Lets see if it is a clash or a strength – I imagine the two exhibitions will support each other. I was invited to the other.

Of course on social media channels I’ve gone live across Instagram and several Facebook groups.

Here is the shape of the announcement with details:

Landings 2019 exhibition at Amersham Photographic Studios 16 Aug – 24 Aug 2019

social media tag #landings2019

“Landings” is a collection of current work by students and staff of the Online MA Photography course at Falmouth University.

Michael Turner is displaying a portfolio of work titled GLOW 

In this work, the characteristic glow we emit in healing and repair helps me identify with ancestors who perished in a Great War …

Please do drop in for the exhibition Rear of 15, The Penningtons, Amersham HP6 6EJ


Opening party Friday 16 August 18:30 – 20:30

Saturday 17 August 19:00 – 21:00

Then daily 

Sunday 18 August to Saturday 24 August 12:00 – 15:00 

Note: stair access only. 

PHO703: Week 11 Production WIP

After a delay or mix up in communications (a message I never received), I had not seen some feedback. Given how rapidly my (and others) work has evolved in my case in little more than a week, it proved rather vital. I forever remind of the time and attention that goes into my work being akin to painting.

Anyway, improvements continue as I now separate out from my work the colour work or celebration of life. I’m now focussed down on war and loss and also have a more consistent colour palette, mostly black and white and the red of blood.

There is so much more balance than at any point during the whole 12 weeks of the module. The change was straightforward to implement as it meant reducing to 18 prints, these now I decided to group as triptychs.

I’m sure I will return to my saturated colour work, if that theme takes off in future.

The print in the figure above is a bit small to read so here is the website link. This gives a statement alongside the images.

I found I was never entirely certain as to the bounds of acceptability to the University of mix and presentation of images. It is basically clear. Near the end I overproduced on prints and could tell from a dry run of my Landings 2019 exhibition. This provided interesting interaction especially as my facsimile of the exhibition in a portable box gathered quite a lot of attention.

Learning was about how other photographers read some of the images and the hanging plan. The black and white exhibition catalogue received positive comment.

As it was an informal look at the work I learned it is best to set out the large prints first as a string of one very informed question after another on top of other competing interactions meant I didn’t get as far as a full hanging of either the prints or miniatures. As an impromptu show it was very lively indeed which played to my interests in the social interaction around photography in general.

Given the consolidation down to 18 prints I should be able to show all of the miniatures on a table top, instead of having to actively handle them – not enough hands. I’m undecided on two points. I would like to replicate the miniatures with a back binding, to tie each triptych into a set of three. I’ve had demands for both and I know what works best for me as I get lesser activity while trying to answer questions (binding would suit me). In critique the loose miniatures with some spare images in reserve I find always works better for the reviewer. If I have time I’ll have both. I couldn’t have done this before today due to fixing the narrative line.

I will report back as I gather more learning of gallery versus portable context of how different surfaces work.

As for my abstract re-photography those three images fell out of the mix at this point in time. I couldn’t shoehorn them in without visibly weakening the portfolio.

A case of work ethic versus visual sensitivity and decision making.

A final point, is will I get back to that abstract only world that I truly favour? A case of growing specialisation. I have a increasing number of my colour abstract images and have a growing hints of commercial value to them this past 9 months. I don’t think that can be ignored given the limited returns gained in general photography.

I think of the greatest Scottish landscape photographer and maker of stereograph cards, George Washington Wilson who created a very successful business and reputation before health failed him and the Inland Revenue ravaged the business handed on to his family in a major test case in which almost all was sadly lost then tide and time and technology moved on.

Reflections on Surfaces

There are numerous learning points regarding the making. The intent was to place the surfaces on a trajectory that led to the deliverable assignments for the Surfaces and Strategies module of the MA Photography course.

So how is learning shaping up in terms of the different production methods and contexts I’ve engaged in?

Now I can make publications in dummy form. Additional time and effort would allow many of the finishing touched to be added e.g. page numbers and cover jacket etc.

It has been a real pleasure to take the images from the digital domain and see them in print. I used ZINK 2×3 prints in a portable version of the exhibition, black and white print on matte paper which was also a joy and on gloss paper for the main exhibition.

I had an intent to use backlighting and was halted by the cost of LED light boxes. However, I discoverd that my gloss prints on 280 weight paper allows light to pass through from the back. As a result of this discovery I’ll take two examples and print and mount them for backlighting using studio lights.

During a visit to Arles Les Recontres del la Photographie I recorded many examples of backlighting and hanging and display methods and now have my own accessible and cost effective method.

I plan to use my ready made videos. One is an old vimeo recording that is very short that creates an ambience. The second is the Week 2 Hollywood style trailer I made that [rovides additional context. It’ll be great to see all these parts collected together. I have a feeling of theatre in the making.

What I look forward to is unexpected reactions and comments from and interactions with visitors to the exhibition space. I have to thank my Studio Owner for providing access to the space.

The practicalities of running the the exhibition as staff is that I’ll be overloaded with managing the studio space and fronting the work. It will be a stretch but is going to be exciting.

The exhibition in a box with its new content, I plan to take out on the road. It will go to Bristol for crtique and I have several other venues to go to including groups of walking friends who probably wouldn’t make the journey to the Studio. There is an art interest amongst these folks which I enjoy in conversation and I’m always being asked to show more work. Another visit I’d like to take the box is to a hospital. I can if appropriate interact with someone who has now been a long time there.

I question the culture of gallery exhibition in making the portable version and already I can see how much farther it can reach at the same time as being more tangible than web based presentation.

I have a set of 2×3 prints as handouts or for charitable sale. The mini printer I use and a set of precut cards have been prepared for printing and mounting as orders on demand. I will see how this additional interaction fares – I predict it should go really well although it is another job on top of everything else. It will be very worthwhile.

I’m experimenting with something I was advised to drop, that of pointing a smartphone at an image to play a 15 second video. Were into bells, whistles and I have to work out how well considered this is. Given the biology involved in my work maybe I can get away with the 15 second video of a protein cell research using computational biology. It is easy to pass over, but I think I want to find out how audience reacts.

Work in Progress Portfolio

Image grouping is a late addition to the visual language used. A third gallery template has been selected that nearly works. By dropping the heavy borders that crept in for black and white printing of the exhibition catalogue the web. I’ve taken on board the need for file variants esentially for each surface of display.

The challenge in using Portfoliobox relates to variable sizing as can be see clearly here: WIP Portfolio. The sizing is overcome in the figure below by creating one large summary file of the hanging plan.

Surface – Exhibition

fig: Title: Glow – Hanging Plan for Landings 2019

Artist statement

In this work, the characteristic glow we emit in healing and bodily repair helps identify with ancestors who perished in a Great War. The work is at the intersection of biology, photography and art.

Archive images develop a visual language for the work. 

Career experience in analogue, digital and computing technologies is a constant in the subject area of this photographic imagery. Career also placed me in the theatre exploited in this imagery. 

Fold-out book of exhibition prints

And so to make a fold-out book of the above hanging plan.

Surface – Publications

I’ve modelled publication four in my series of adventures this module.

  1. practice handbinding of perfect bound block
  2. my book of locks for the Ed Ruscha activity
  3. my exhibition catalogue (black and white)
  4. my exhibition prints as fold-out (colour)

I’ve imposed the page order and structure and printed the folding sheets. It is loose bound at the minute as it is secondary to the assignements and I can see how much time and care is needed to cut and sew and glue.

At this stage I’m pleased with the weight of the assembled printed papers but predict the structure might be unweildy on the binding. Already I’m thinking that I should move to A2 paper and fold that in a more sympathetic manner towards a secure binding. Put it all down to practice and learning experience.

Surface – Presentation

My attempt at using the Pareto or 80:20 principle was an optimistic way of engaging my time. The presentation surface was not exactly culled but has had to progress really informally. I’m bound to get a moment during the exhibition and especially after assignment hand-in.

I have practice at doing this informally in the studio environment and I’ll presenbt as the opportunity warrants. The idea would be to demonstrate an end to end image capture through processing to print.

I’d describe also how I use DNA as my theme of information carrier if there was interest and explain how collaboration can be made to work.


Something I want to do when I find the space in my schedule is to longer term look out for others (friends) who specialise in abstract painting and photography and friends who like to make books (or portable exhibitions).

Rather than mingle with a wider general audience, it could be set the world on fire to meet other specialists.

PHO703: Week 10 Production WIP

Week 10 Reflection

Is it just me that reaches an epiphany so close to the end of each module?

In suddenly getting how to resolve the visual language in my portfolio the concern is I’ve gone too far in introducing archive images.

I’ve avoided costly stock pricing and user licensing issues. I declare reuse of a key image. Archive and abstract imagery intermingle and need to be listed out for marking. I’ll take advice as I’ve noticed a wavering in course advice depending on the content, who you speak to and some inconsistency when clarifying and reclarifying.

Week 10 Individual Tutorial

I’d strengthened my research into the subject of place, the spiritual and in science and art to help contextualise my portfolio.

I saw how context fits in book format especially having looked again at the book (exhibition catalogue) produced for Repetition is Truth Via Dolo Rosa, by painter Rachel Howard. Her photo, an interview and an essay with contextualising black and white images. Then there is the bulk of her abstract paintings and contact sheet layout with some text.

I had something prepared that worked over two portfolio web pages but it needed to be one. This was soon spotted in the discussion and there was an epiphany as an archive image and an abstract were paired. Visually, the images talked. I’ve since gone to an archive source and my project archive processed image style and sequenced a smattering of these throughout the web page and changed the template accordingly. I’ve tried to introduce a rhythmical visual style. If it works there are exciting possibilities for book page layout.

For the usual reasons it is taking a big risk, introducing fresh material this late in the module. The risk has been taken and some scope remains for review and rethink/amendment. I have to work smart to prevent making and remaking of material outputs (new book dummy, exhibition in a box and large prints).

figure: Portfolio 7 Aug 19

The contact sheet is a mix of reworked archive images and modernist abstract expressionistic images. Visually the intention is to provide the viewer with a way into the work.

Week 10 Peer Webinar

In my experience of past modules, peer to peer review works well as an extension of the weekly webinars.

It will be late in the week before I can record a draft Oral Presentation, a review of which would be the most useful thing at the moment.

The portfolio has progressed to having the context added to aid the viewer. 

Making is on the plan to be done over the next couple of days (book and remake the exhibition in a box).

Realistically, Monday 13 Aug is best or earliest for me. 

I’d be happy to discuss the WIP Portfolio before then.

Week 10 Introduction Keep Going

A summary of my plans for this week.

I began the week making sure I covered off the activities with 3 Aug closing date as this stops the build-up or backlog. It also helped with CRJ maintenance  

I started writing for the Oral Presentation, but my mind got challenged over context, decision making and risk. With Abstract practice, it takes time to gather knowledge and gain experience. I resolved a creative block, in making abstract landscapes while also having gone to Arles 2019. Work thankfully started flowing but not soon enough for Landings 2019.

Update on Wednesday

Attend Monday Office Hours. Done. There was an enlightening discussion about built-in pressures of the module. And a helpful mention of decision making and risk-taking which we are encouraged to do.


Process enough images to start my edit. Done.

Conclude research/implement (more) visual context to abstract work to aid the viewer. Ready for review.


Do some rephotography in the spirit of the module. Done

Read more history of photography and concerning The Spiritual in Art (Kandinsky) to contextualise my work in the abstract (Rexer and MoMA). Ongoing

Write-up in CRJ on rephotography and context  


Make my second book. 

Make my second portable exhibition in a box.

PHO703: Week 9 Production WIP

Week 9 Module Leader Office Hours (Bridging)

I had considered and finally decided to build an installation in a box and I took it to crit in Arles. It provides a tactile presentation – viewers pick up mounted 2 by 3 Zink prints (Lifeprint Zink links to server and 20sec videos not used at the moment as this is new work and is not yet fully considered.

The viewer unavoidably is exposed to the graphics/visuals of the public for commercially marketed products. This is part of my strategy to bridge to the viewer.

The commercial side of DNA testing is public, we can all participate where it is of interest.

I have waited for results and now have artefacts the viewer can touch. A visual introduction occurs by using the installation box.

First left hand image is of Healing.

Categories installed

  • Ghost images
  • Landscape / seascape
  • Glow images
  • Inner space / outer space

Week 9 Webinar

I’m resolved to concentrate on making enough abstract work for my WIP Portfolio.

I decided to enrol in two sessions this week, one with my tutor to give an update on visuals progress and making since we met last a fortnight earlier (the Arles visit intervened): then I had a second session this time with our Modernist Abstract photography specialist.

Very recently my work has come under increasing fire from non abstract practitioners. And again the general demands of the course call for finished work ahead of the Final Major Project Modules.

My intent with an abstract portfolio is to work on a plane that crosses over between photography and art. It is more demanding intellectually and naturally more difficult for many to access. Imagine a Shakespeare work being reduced to a boy fancied a girl and their families fell out. Easier to understand yes, but such a loss, I say.

As owners of our work we obviously maintain artistic control over our practice. As for us being increasingly challenged, a springboard diver performing, does not accept a late input from their coach to add a somersault to the run up.

PHO703: Week 1 to 12 Development Project

Week 11

For the upcoming Oral Presentation and as support to the WIP Portfolio, it became clear that an Artist Statement was missing. The normal pitch is succinct and so to a longer statement. I shall edit down from this:

Artist Statement

In this work, I use the characteristic glow we emit in healing and bodily repair to identify with ancestors who perished in a Great War. The work is at the intersection of biology, photography and art.

Archive images I made are used to develop a visual language for the work.

The concept that guides the work is one of exploiting the lens-based digital camera and processing software. I make the invisible, visible and modern capability to identify with a time past.

Landscape portrayal when sought links to my heritage left behind in Scotland, yet ghost images or signs of belief are found in a glow.

Earlier career experience at the sharp end of technology is a constant influence alongside design authority experience in the subject area of my photographic imagery.

Methodology: Challenging the Limits

Three components of light are my interest. Surface reflected light, surface penetration light and my greatest interest, light emanations from the (heat) of the body. I alter the balance between the latter and the former. I consider the environment with the subject, the lens-based digital camera and the digital processing in post as an integrated whole. Taking this together with elements of chance in the data capture and my imagination leads to the final results.

In summary and in line with the thinking of Flusser what I do is subvert the process of image making.

Stage 1

The lens creates a shallow depth of field for the close-up work I do, So I control the lighting for balance and luminance and work at higher DoF, which actually is still quite shallow. I focus stack to bring the contours of my recent work into sharper focus.. Without controlled lighting, I stacked 61 individual photographs which caused me to adapt the lighting and lens aperture. In my portfolio, some images are 6 photographs. The reason I mention this is because I define that as one type of re-photography albeit with a very short time interval between shots. The tripod position is exact. There are correctable and minute differences in perspective as the lens motor is commanded to ever closer position of the glass. This is handled in the automatic software.

Stage 2

Next, I subvert the digital sensor and the associated filter. Sensors readily detect infra-red IR spectrum light and manufacturers install a filter to cut out as much as if practically possible. Filters have technical limitations in a drop off of effectiveness. The fraction of IR passed can be viewed for example in holding a tv controller up to a smartphone camera. The IR is made visible live on screen.

Stage 3

I subvert the processing software. My professional experience has been in algorithm design as well as in more recently in generative digital art. I have a sense of where coded features will break down and readily observe the effects. Analogies might be in television with the style of picture breakup on the original analogue sets and again on modern digital platforms.


There is no surprise that odd things happen to images by chance, but the magical thing for me is that it is the original data in the photograph that drives the final image output, albeit with a high degree of subversion applied by the author.

Unlike glitching techniques, which which are popular with some, I do not undermine file integrity as in searching and replacing bytes to mix it up and potentially break the file. I use the high power of modern computing to create abstracted glow layers I combine.

I apply a level of digital art to enhance the magic of what I can see in the subverted image. Maybe this is characteristic of the photographer as a frustrated painter. I land up with a consistent mix of re-presentations of landscape or seascape or mountains, or simply glow effects, or of inner space and outer space and more recently a growing series of images of ghosts. Something subconscious must drive the outcomes.

Week 10

With enough images made I could now contemplate an edit and apply myself with some seriousness to the viewer and the impact of mixing archive and abstract work.

It took me several steps including examining how the painter Rachel Howard approached the problem in the exhibition guide/book for Repetition is Truth via Dolo Rosa. It is a good example and I can use it in my book, but I need to figure out what to do for my web portfolio of images.

I now have something worth review.

Here on ISSUU is the latest mix of my portfolio work. I’ve introduced archive images to break out the visual language and give an access point for the viewer.

Portfolio on ISSUU as of 7 Aug 2019

Week 9

I had a break in productivity by engaging in abstract re-photography.

I took my subject matter for photography, that of healing wounds and with the original person and new healing (from mosquito bites) I recreated the methods of producing saturated colour abstracts of a type from an earlier module.

This gives a stark comparison with my current work is the first thing. The second had to do with recreating steps for what is a destructive editing process. So I got to compare the working method with that in the earlier module.

Commercial Production and Standardisation of Process versus Creativity

What is plain now is how hard I’ve tried to contain the wilder aspects of abstraction bringing technique under control to allow reproducibility. It was great for knocking out sets of images that go together or at least it improved the chances of such. However, I’d forgotten how much freedom I used to express with my earlier imagery and how much of the enjoyment I’d lost. Freedom and joy returned with this attempt at abstract re-photography.

A downside of absolute consistency I have discovered is to do with viewer focus. When they see a stream of consistent work I understand that they might stop looking any further and give up on the work. By being more expressive, I take a chance and reintroduce variety.

Week 8

I had at this stage created a large catalogue of photographs as abstract material. With one foot in photography and another in art, it does take me appreciable time to “paint” from the original.

I needed to work quickly and it seemed a good idea to stop myself from spreading out into too many areas by setting a constraint. I opted to do abstract landscapes, but in the event, inspiration had dried up or I’d lost something on the intuitive selection of the right photographs to work on and maybe through my learning instead of making, I was lacking practice.

It took me a whole week of concentrated effort and finally, I got back the inspiration. Along the way, every other subject type appeared in my week’s work and so I had to use once more a variety of abstract topics.

Time pressure and learning activities and making a book and an exhibition in box were probably the distraction behind this.

My work was still short of images for a portfolio and given the importance of this in the MA Photography marking scheme I had no choice but to continue on. Meanwhile, crits (somehow I fitted in a 5) placed me under increasing pressure to adapt to the viewer and I was being encouraged to task risks. Not quite yet though.

Week 7

Abstract Landscape

Improbabilities and chance (file size, false colour and fringing)

A long term fascination of processing in the abstract for the author concerns the direction obtained on examination of the data within an image. A deliberate engagement in this activity provides eternal fascination and is allied with my other practice as a technologist. With experience, it is possible to pre-visualise then begin to press an image in a given direction. It is about seeking out the effects of non-linearities when working in post. Seen when extracting the red healing glow of the subject matter. Some might view these actions in terms of unintended use.

This week I implemented resolution improvements to my working methods. This was previously avoided but needed to be addressed for large scale print. Why avoided? It is known that standard filters respond less well or not at all with modern higher resolution equipment and resulting images. I don’t use standard filters but nevertheless, the software response holds true. The glow images I seek, through levelling now contain a lot more fine detail and this visual style persists across images that are subject to the new method.

In summary, I began improving my method and unintentionally obtained previously unseen effects and I now observe new branches in visual direction.

Outcomes regularly relate to chance hence my past comments about non-repeatability and my resorting to batch processing to get consistent images within these sets of images. My attempt to get images that go together.

The methods of improving resolution naturally lead to larger file sizes. What I didn’t expect was a 1.2GB layered file of what on the surface amounted to a black tile.

There is scope for rationalising this down to a smaller file by removing layers that can readily be added back. Maybe I need to stage my work by keeping all of the original processing but make a subsidiary flattened file. I’ve not been caused to (forced to) go down this route just yet as machine and network performance can cope. The slightly slower performance  is acceptable given the retained flexibility to create (I’m in a phase of exploration of abstract landscapes) retained

I now get images with the look of black sandpaper. What I pre-visualise has more structure, something to lead the viewer’s eye. That has now gone it seems.

I tried downscaling to lower resolution. No success so far.

In my search for abstract landscapes, a colour effect (false colour) and fringing effect (moire) appeared on the screen. The effect was literally that, on-screen. It could not be saved or copied to a layer. The fringing is not present at higher magnification. When visible fringing is fixed at other magnifications. Moire fringing might be expected to produce continually altering patterns not a fixed pattern. Anyway, I need to think about what is going on and meanwhile, I captured the effect by taking a photograph of the screen.

Abstract moire red

figure: transient fringing effect (magnify to view full effect)

The false colour is not the false colour found in infra-red photography, but more like a selection mask style (without invoking a selection mask and not responding to commands to remove the mask if that is what it is). I’ll investigate. There was a software error that affected an earlier portfolio where a small red rectangle appeared in Lightroom images and persisted. A software update resolved the error in my images. I did take inspiration from the effect as at the time I sought to layer in glyphs and other effects as a visual narrative construction.

Week 6

My work is seen through another lens as I start to churn out work for this module. I’ve sorted through and tagged 310 photographs. These are candidates for processing into abstract landscapes.

I changed or should I say improved my method. Using a more configurable tripod and computer software for a remote live view, I can now obtain even inaccessible shots with improved resolution and focus. I do this in a conflicted situation where I need to be able to scale to very large (art as an experience sized) prints, starting from a small scale subject matter. No one wants or wishes for large scale injury or healing sites. While I know that my methodology calls for removing details in favour of glow. I’m forever destined to be conflicted.

Week 5

Two things have gained influence. Now I’ve created a trailer I realise the importance of imagined landscapes in my work. I also realise how much work there is ahead and so decided to use the Pareto 80 to 20  principle as it should allow me the scope to engage with all three surfaces: Exhibition, Publication and Workshop to gain valuable experience ahead of the FMP modules.

The discussion also grew around the visual language of science. Side by side stereograms has a closer match to my work than red/cyan anaglyphs. The incorporation of photos of some of the apparatus I concocted could be of interest. I’d have to make sure it didn’t dominate. I’m still not resolved as to what to do around glyph layers. I found these quite effective in my last module work. I have been distracted by moving towards then away from text captioning of abstract work. There is resolution required over the narrative.

Collaboration has been present in the background of my work and came to the fore as I created the video trailer. I’ve never seen such excitement. This does have future or should I say immediate scope for inclusion.

Week 4

During this week, I explored the relation of science, the biology I refer to in my work, and this allowed me to explore a new visual language. A side by side stereogram fitted better alongside my work than anaglyphs. For large scale presentation, I would prefer anaglyphs. I do understand that red and cyan edge representation does grate against black and white work.

Where does this leave me? I think I have to be mindful of the facts concerning visual language.

Update: subsequent conversations lead me to unpack my actions (our / student actions) when working between black and white and colour. I also begin to bring to the fore collaboration.

Week 3

The narrative development of my abstract visuals is intended to take on an element of political and social direction as I identify with roots in Scotland I share with brothers Andrew and Richard and others from the soldier ranks who made the greatest sacrifice and go unrecognised for their bravery in the worst of condition that was the Great War.

We are from the same lands where there is a quiet beauty and shared cultural identity and so I look to add something to my work, either as a brief essay or as supporting installation. It is still early in the project development as I have three modules in which to gain resolution. I have yet to figure this out and critique how it fits. Well, it fits, but how so with abstract work?


figure Week 3 my first attempt at reestablishing colour in my practice

Having been through a development stage of portraying monochrome images, which I admit support the sombre, my instincts cause me to return to a celebration of life and of course, this brings back colour. For me, it is a respite and is a valid expression of my second narrative (celebration) that has been on hold for a couple of months.

However, monochrome is not dead.

Working with black-and-white, I can confirm, is an important skill and I continue to develop this through:

a. Metering.

b. Camerawork (fine-tuning settings)

c. Post-processing (dodge and burn, contrast enhancement).

I’m currently publishing black and white mainly to Instagram and colour can be found back inside my project.

As mentioned before in my CRJ blog, I continue to process like images together, to get the consistency I seek. Using this with colour is different as it allows me to pick the best of the bunch by this method, then edit groups of colour images. I have to find out how successful this method will be across a portfolio.

Week 2

I have a number of new photographs to process. On this occasion bodily impressions are used. These were originally substituted in the past, for a minor injury and as a technique works as the effect of glow is the same as for minor injury. I need to post-process.

I began looking at my work in wider ways and discussed this in Module Leader Office Hours. I need to be careful that I understand where my work comes from and maintain the resolved nature rather than take my work and cause it to fray at the edges. Resolved means resolved.

Week 1

For me an unexciting start this week. I lack orientation over what the present new module will lead me to. This is my base image process and is at least serves as a baseline for comparison with future weeks. The contact sheet images are in effect part processed. Update: by Week 5 I had elected to create more imaginings of landscapes. In which case I can return to do further layering.

PHO703: Week 8 Guidance Workshops

Week 8 Resources

Week 8 Webinar WIP

I concentrated on my making of new work for edit as is necessary for follow on activities such as Landings 2019 Exhibition and doing my Work in Progress Portfolio for assessment.

I managed quite late to get the first set of images together, and I built myself an exhibition in a box.

The exhibition in a box and my photobook dummy were taken to Arles for the crits. I benefited from this, and it has done the obvious and generated more work for me to complete! Should have stayed at home? No way, I’d have missed so much valuable input. However, progress on this front has been at the expense of teaching in a workshop.

Week 8 Independent Reflection

The exhibition I made in a box, and my photobook dummy was taken to Arles for the crits. I benefited from this, and it has done the obvious and generated more work for me to complete! Should have stayed at home? No way, I’d have missed so much valuable input. However, progress on this front has been at the expense of teaching in a workshop.

Week 8 Activity Teaching

My preferred approach is informal and takes place in a learning environment. I get to spend time with accomplished pros. It is excellent if an exchange is in response to being quizzed about my photography. When the opportunity arises, then there is already some buy-in, and from there it is down to me to respect others’ time. Similar questions might occur in different contexts, and so I get a chance to be challenged and work out a slick answer.

Another approach is to show interest in others and discover areas of interest that overlap, and then I may get the chance to ask the questions, and so the communication continues. At times I can take other learners particular challenges and relate them to my methods and compare notes, probably on technique. There is a specialist audience for abstract work, but at the same time, there is leeway if people are concerned with mindfulness or photography as therapy, both very popular at the moment.

The subject matter can range across, macro, art photography, portraiture, photographic projects, product photography, light painting, studio lighting, and more besides.

Week 8 Some Considerations

Week 8 Introduction Thinking About Helping Others


Working independently and collaboratively



Studio lighting

Street photography


Digital technologies including photoshop (Adobe qualified)

Interacting with people, in public and one to one. 

Working with professionals and teams on set. 


Practice at teaching outside the business and technical sphere

Photographic marketing and sales 

Practice curating 

Alternative processes

Darkroom printing


PHO703: Week 7 Guidance Photobooks


Week 7 Resources

Week 7 Webinar WIP

Week 7 Independent Reflection

Week 7 Activity Dummies

My first dummy in progress is on ISSUU at the moment:

Locks photobook dummy
This is purely for practice as it relates to the earlier Ed Ruscha challenge.
I’m working on the page imposition.
An update: I completed the imposition in Photoshop, having made up a model for the signatures and numbered them by hand. The action gave me a double-sided printing sequence. It was then down to the practical steps of making, which turned out well enough, especially for my first printed book. I haven’t had the heart to slice into the pages to guillotine the edges by hand cutting with a sharp blade. I particularly enjoyed picture matching and have two more of these books to make: one on chains as they form lovely catenary lines and make interesting junctures; the other is of phone entry systems I started to document after poking around Leicester Square hotel night entrances. I’d eventually hope to make a boxed set, for a bit more experience of making. I have to halt myself and get on with the other learnings available to us.

Week 7 Some Considerations

Week 7 Forum Sorting Images

So here I have new work rather than a collection of everything. As I write this, I have a dummy practice book already made, and once my module edit is ready, I will repeat the making exercise. This is an A5 handmade book with kettle stitched signatures, case bound. For an A4 sized book, I would try perfect binding. This would be a good back up position, as it is easier to do the page sequencing (imposition).


My abstract images are halfway between photography and painting so take a while each to craft. This is the bottleneck I have had to contend with over the past several modules, but it has worked for me even if the project activity is backloaded. This can be quite pressured, of course.


Week 7 Introduction Thinking About Pages

Although I’m an advocate of the library online books and other eBooks, my photography pile library is currently taking up room on my studio sofa, leaving insufficient space for rest. Grief, three more outcrops of piled books surround me. There is nothing in these piles to compare with the sort of publication I would make as the constraints of the MA Photography course seem to limit me to pamphlet-sized books.

I did this exercise already in one of the previous modules: (Links to an external site.)

I love books and have had to meter their use a bit more during the current module. I was starting to sound as if I’d swallowed a photographic dictionary!

PHO703: Week 6 Guidance Installations

Week 6 Resources

Week 6 Webinar WIP

I came out of the webinar with a glow perhaps of having been let off lightly. It was a larger group, and all of the other students’ work came under critical scrutiny except mine. Maybe I felt relief. I also felt that there is more to benefit from with sharp critique. Perhaps it was easier to keep on time if the Tutor avoided causing me to respond or explain the visual motives, or maybe I already had been given the right advice in a previous session and needed more time to explore.

As I have come back from Week 7 to update Week 6, the tale did unfold. More of this in my Week 7 reflection.

Week 6 Independent Reflection

The way the course flows at this stage, I can plan the making of an installation/exhibition.

I can (then) take this work forward into the University-sponsored Landings 2019 Exhibition, plus by Week 12 have this flow into my Work in Progress WIP Portfolio.

Perhaps I make some assumptions in this, but I can see a logical flow of work from one activity into the next in an ideal manner.

So what is the issue I uncover here as there is indeed an issue?

First, to look inside where my perceptions and perspectives intervene. Maybe I seek out the ideal or have a strengthening desire to continue to improve my work. As I carry forward my abstraction into a third module, I feel I need to make progress, by refining the work. The abstracts I make need to be right, of course, but better than last time. My technique may have already reached a kind of pinnacle, and so I press for the unobtainable. At this point, factors arise like actually is it possible to keep turning out work I base on chance, on the data recorded in the original photograph. The presence of healing from more serious accidents or incidents would drive this, but for moral reasons cannot happen. There was a severe injury, but it did not manifest externally other than through puffing up. Ligament and cartilage do not have a steady blood supply. Healing is through adaption by building up strength in the surrounding and supporting muscle rather than through biological repair as we have here an example of slow healing.

With events being immediate and severe, my natural reaction triggered to protect and help, rather than act to make a photograph.

I turn to bodily impression as a fallback, where pressure marks react in a similar way to healing before quickly disappearing. My actions were over a spectacular and geometric pressure mark was frustrated. For whatever reason, perhaps to do with cooling of the area the subject matter was not traumatic, and any heat just dissipated. I processed the photo(s), but my technique failed to extract the heat or any signs of glow. Not always perceptible to the eye, a healing site does need to glow my method to work. I passed over this and reflect now on events.

This learning occurred, but time pressure would continue to build the demand for shareable results. Many other students are not displaying work in progress. Maybe my so-called Pareto based decision to engage with three surfaces is driving beyond what is genuinely feasible at Week 6.

Turning to external considerations, I perceive that critiques build in a natural assumption that we show finished work and so it is judged as finished work. What I have learned quite recently is that I need to be open and say what stage of development is with the second year yet to fully unfold.

We need to remain faithful to an expectation that our work ought to adapt and change with the various contexts of the MA Photography course.

The amount of photography I do each Module is slowing. The presence of healing dictates progress but so too does technique improvement.

I started with consistent lighting, then incorporated flash and improved focus of close-up low DoF constraints. On schedule, I have introduced the Focus Stacking technique.

My first attempt stacked 61 images, far too many. I adjusted my settings to get fully in focus results with 4 to 6 pictures stacked.

While it is still summer, I can flood the subject with natural lighting instead of using flash. The environment is something I have reacted to, and I now get to examine the consequences. In a shorter timeframe, a project’s set-ups would be more stable or consistent. With my work running over a two year period variables, in lighting have to be accommodated.

Events cause me to draw a comparison with the conditions of Vincent Van Gogh. He worked in the beautifully consistent light found in Arles. Van Gogh also was prolific, as he turned out vast quantities of paintings in a short period. There are many differences in our circumstances if we compare painting with photography or more precisely with healing glow photography.

Week 6 Activity Models

Rather than the computer of a constructed model, I looked at setting up a live venue. I’m thinking North West London location.


This environment could work as my practice emphasises the glow we emit in healing etc. I’m sure you‘ve me heard me describe this before. I need to explore and unwrap the requirements and benefits.

I have three elements set up here in the image above. There is more latitude than this for mounted print display, lightbox viewing and large screen presentation. Early thoughts are:

Mounted prints hanging from the top wire. Point lights shown can be on at the start, and be switched off for viewing. Maybe hang translucent prints. Already I’m going over the top but why not explore the possibility as the facility is there but try not to waste time on diversions.

IKEA tables and legs shown are in sets:  hire lightboxes and lay these out on the tabletops. Print on translucent material – I’d have to check how effective or not this would be. Perhaps arrange tables to display photographs on lightboxes set out as a square (abstract fovea?); draw the cables together and tie in the centre (optic nerve like). Ignore the metaphors of seeing, getting carried away in this first exciting stage.

Large screen present/not present? If present, display related portfolio work or with permission of the  Module Leader make a live link to the Landings site as a centrepiece.

Footfall – a drive might bring some folks in. However, as a display of art as an experience, something I aspire to, a video feed could be streamed to the web.

There is scope for an artists talk. Also, the scope must exist to invite a proposal from another student/lecturer. A positive is that alternative works that are taken together ought to enrich the experience.

There’s scope to build a display stand as there are other plain walls.  Alternatively, I could contemplate the hire of a set of easels,  to mount prints.

Enough for now as there are already many unanswered points to be addressed.

Draw up a plan/ to-do list is next.

Ps already I have some other ideas to try out / to simplify matters.

Week 6 Some Considerations


Week 6 Introduction Thinking About Spaces

It was impossible limiting myself to just one alternative space.

Immediately the mind turns to white wall exhibition spaces. But there is a suggestion of using the shoe – an off the wall suggestion (apologies for the pun)?

(A) What impressed me this last fortnight was the portable exhibition in a box. The idea is this. You make a box about the size of a lever arch folder.

Then inside, you include a collection of photographs and materials related to a project. An accordion fold exhibition of pictures would be the eye-catching piece. Then there might be a hand made book about the making of the show. Other artefacts you include are there to be picked up and examined.  Here is a photo of the kind of thing.


(B) Another idea is related to the outside world – thinking outside of the box (stop the puns now). Galleries can be looked on as an exclusive preserve of the few. Why not print on a massive scale on weatherproof material. Hang the exhibition on the outside walls of buildings, such as around a university campus?

Come on Falmouth University, who do we approach for permission?

(C) The technically minded (and well off – I saw some recent costings), might be inclined to procure gallery space in a virtual world. Art curation takes place in Second Life an online space. Sales can be made (I heard somewhere).

(D) There is something starchy and rigid suggested by the term exhibition. Print on material and silk would be another choice. Then the images primarily if abstract, become much more portable and more manageable to store.

(E) Following on from (D) the silk or other material could be in the form of clothing or accessories like a scarf or shawl and of course could be worn.

Click here for Contrado (Links to an external site.) cloth printing.

(F) How about this thought, which I’ve already started to look at for some inexplicable reason. I took a cereal box containing wrapped Shredded Wheat. I carefully unwrapped the contents and gauged the printing area and folds and glue points. With this information, the cereal bars/biscuits can then be re-wrapped in a print jacket. We are talking one step up from tissue paper here. You have to question why and how applicable this is to a given project. I just liked the materiality but not so much the scale. When the exhibition is over, you can grab a bowl and some milk and eat the display contents!

I hope someone on the course takes inspiration from one of the suggestions or at least has fun reading this post.

PHO703: Week 5 Three Surfaces Curation

Week 5 Resources

Week 5 Individual Tutorials

In the space of around two working days, I had a fantastic run of three meetings that challenged my thinking and direction and yet in a supportive way.

As these meetings acted together, I draw them together here along with two activities in the same period.

I began with the 24-hour challenge where I’d pre-visualised and had then adapted. In short, an intent to expose photo paper or burn paper under a magnifying glass. The forecast led to a change of plan.

I linked my activity to my project through scientific imagery of biology by appropriating images and mixing them in a way to create a stereogram and some anaglyphs. I had so much enjoyment, I must say. For one day, I loosened the shackles and departed from the structure and intensity of abstract work.

The plan to make a sundial, sketch the gnomon shadow and read out the grid of light and shadow automatically, went ahead.

We had our first meeting, and I listened to the challenge of finding a way to link the scientific how to connect the 24-hour challenge activity to my project. I could include photographs of the apparatus and contraptions I’d used.

Next up, the office hours meeting. The discussion was necessary, and I tried to get a grasp of one area the Workshop task. The task is versed in the practicalities of photographic technique, yet the debate became focussed on pedagogy. I had a few doubts about the delivery intent and became resolved that the weeks to follow would lend clarification. We accepted the advice that allowing ideas to settle can be productive compared to pushing ahead. Finally, I took from the office hours meeting thoughts of a potentially hot topic of faulty intent.

We were advised to carefully unwrap why we might shoot in colour to only to go on and remove the colour from the photograph in post-processing. Be warned. I had earlier considered running with both black and white and colour. At the present stage, I do not yet have to resolve this completely.

And so back to the current topic, and the one to one meeting. The 121 meeting was short though contextualised by all that I’ve written in the above paragraphs. We discussed the black and white or monochrome approach versus colour. The pioneers of photographers used black and white as a means of abstracting the world around them as we see in colour. My return to colour took place based on the theme of the vibrant celebration. I felt I had justified by my actions.

However, I did take the next set of images back to black and white. Perhaps the data in the photos led me in this direction or possibly at heart, I remain soulful and so cannot break free. The conflict continues.

I can rationalise the topic down to lighting or light if rationalising is indeed the correct approach. I’ll adopt the term unpacking and proceed with the analysis. The light in my work is surface, penetrated and emitted, the latter being unique within my digital work. So far as I have learned from my practice, I shoot in colour and reduce it by digital post-processing, although not eliminate tones. I take the tonal element down to allow the emitted light to gain presence. I often refer to the glow of life. I reach back thematically to feel the presence of ancestors never met. Again, I sometimes refer to the handshake with the living being a manifestation of specific others in the past.

So colour is an essential step. Then to the aesthetic and decisions about historical commemoration which suits black and white, the celebration of our lives that suites colour. I conflict this thought with my long term assertion that ancestors worlds get depicted in black and white, yet they lived their lives in colour.

My photographic heritage is an influence. My extended-term career as a digital technologist evolved while I was away from photography. When I returned to photography, I was different from others in being open to breaking the limits in post. Post often leads to discussions of moral issues, but I have no regret because digital-first, is my world. A photograph is a data set. I know modern photography through this lens as being at the intersection of science and art.

Looking ahead to the next six weeks, I stated my intention to self-publish. I’d done some research or reading into the domains of books and exhibitions. I arrived at an intermediate point that intersects the two:  an exhibition of say ten identical books. Only the cover colour designates the preferred order and the page number to be displayed.

The intent is several-fold. People rarely experience ten copies displayed. The viewer can then disrupted the exhibition. If a viewer wishes to move from stand to stand to change the pages viewed, they can. I also disrupt the convention of the gallery space of spacing the viewer away from the walls to prevent touch. I invite touch. I am not so precious about my exhibition to want to protect it from contact.

Thinking it through maybe I place prints on the wall with a book in front of each to establish a starting visual structure.

I might need spares. If there is no interaction, so be it. If there is destruction or theft, then the spares can be called upon as replacements. I’d love to timelapse film unfolding events.

I have to realise the risks of the extremes, no viewers or interaction through to over-involvement. There will need to be a definite means of enticement if it is to become a game. On writing that last word, game, I now realise the impact the game would have in undermining the intent that goes into my work. I must avoid gaming books versus exhibition. I’ll save the idea for a more appropriate subject.

Finally, I should consider collaboration, for example of family.

I next set about mixing images of my own with some those of a family member, for my film trailer. This activity was triggered back in week 2.

From the finished film trailer, my collaborator contributed photographs of Highland cattle and one of the birds. We had walked the lands of my ancestors. Apart from learning something new about my work, the trailer generated a lot of enthusiasm and engagement of a level I’d not previously experienced in my practice.

Altogether I have made a lot longer a write up than I ever anticipated. I can justify the length as evidence of the critical unfolding and changing of my work within this MA Photography course. I do switch activity a lot by engaging with the Course. It is so easy for me to be distracted and forget a critical insight. These things are too valuable to lose.

Week 5 Independent Reflection

Well, let’s hope I can manage this optimistic plan. Failing in parts of one or more tasks is not an absolute failure. If I learn from the experiences, and they help towards the ultimate aim of producing successful outcomes in the FMP modules.

What I now need to do has become clear:

  •  Engage with the newly released materials.
  • Read into the provided references.
  • Make work on Abstract Landscapes of War, of faded memories.

I’ve done most of my reflecting below and need to make a start.

Week 5 Activity Roadmaps

I’m going to attempt a work called Abstract Landscapes of War. I say attempt as I have to read the data in my photographs and find the means of continuing to abstract landscapes. These have arisen in most unexpected ways and should be feasible, although time estimation will be tricky.

I wrote in my CRJ about scoping work over the next weeks and about how I need to limit to reasonable expectations around the MA. I intend to use the Pareto 80 to 20 principle and by achieving 80% of the defined outputs with 20% of the effort. The total amounts to 60% just for the Exhibition, Publication and Workshop, then there is a further 20% making 80% effort for photography and digital post-processing.

I have other activities such as attending Arles photo festival at a fairly crucial time in the delivery schedule.

My priorities are Book over the Exhibition, over Workshop for my MA Project. I wish to gain from the learning experiences of each to help me progress later in the Final Major Project modules.

I have to shoot continuously throughout the module for a successful abstract landscape edit. Existing photography during the module has been developed to a level that requires further refinement. My abstract landscapes developed through several stages and now at Week 5, I have decided on a theme so I need to revisit already processed abstracts.

The trailer activity highlighted how the landscape and seascape are ingrained in my work, so I would like to explore further. There is a risk as I’d need 20 images to make a successful edit of a final 15.

Activity Roadmap

Week 5 Workshop BriefWeek 5 Publication Brief

Examples of making from RPS Handmade Bookbinding Course

(A) What do you want the publication to say/do?
(B) How do you want it to achieve that?
(C) Do your pictures (critically) support / contradict that intention?

The requirement is to handmake publication material. At the moment, the breadth of what could be published is in its entirety greater than what needs to be in scope. A brainstorming would allow me to consider the full extent.

An illustrated text of commemorated histories
Book for Ed Rusha task
Boxed presentation of three books: locks, chains and entry phones
Pamphlet for exhibition
Catalogue of exhibition prints with an introductory essay and a quote
Leaflets promoting the show alongside social media
Business Cards (consider logo design)
An art book containing abstract images
An electronic version of some of the above items using ISSUU
A boxed portable presentation
An InDesign publication ordered through Blurb

So, not all these are within the scope of the Surface and Strategy tasks, but it is helpful to know the potential extent of work when provisioning tools and materials and when deciding formats.

There are various decisions over softback versus hardback
Cover illustration (can do softback)
Perfect binding versus kettle stitched binding versus stapled saddle stitch.
Quality of materials
Composition tools
Professional printing – already decided I will handmake
Paper type and quality
Cover thickness 2-3mm versus 3-4mm for more substantial work
Size A2/A2+ folded, A3/A3+ folded, A4 folded and possibly smaller for a boxed portable show of work.
Colour versus monochrome – I’d been highly conflicted working in monochrome when it was against my instinct.

At this point, the task has yet to run. The questions A, B and C posed above will then be addressed. I still have some reference reading to do.

For now, suffice it to say that I’d endeavour to exercise taste and demonstrate visual awareness. There will be an opportunity to apply a growing experience. Constraints on cover illustration and branding would direct choices unless I elect to use professional services, especially for cover design.

Week 5 Exhibition Brief

Turning first to the Landings Exhibition 2019, I said I’d keep in mind the Pareto 80 to 20 principle.

A brand new set of work would be fantastic, and there lies the hope.
Maybe I need to think what my project is in the whole and in relating to it see if there is a part I can do and that uses some pre-existing work.

After the Trailer making exercise, I have gained an insight into the content and how I might emphasise place.

I always introduce my practice in two parts: a historical element commemorates bravery in a war; a celebratory feature as an expression of our freedom gained.

Within my work lies the consideration of travel and place. The full scope covers Scotland, Canada, United States, India, France and Belgium.

I had yet to expand photography to overseas locations and currently have placed a brake on travel.

So of place, I have the homeland as representational photography (type A) and the trenches as an abstract battlefield (type B) and home as abstract (type C) captioned as fading memories of home.

I believe these representational and abstract forms would work in an exhibition. My absolute best work is yet to come in the FMP part once the coursework element eases. So for now, Landscape it is.

There is quite a lot of work I need to do. I also need to clarify my use of project work from before the course. My current quest is to resolve visual narrative, something that a representational and abstract combined might ease.

Ultimately, I have two candidate places for an exhibition, but I might want to save these for the FMP. I need to start looking. Perhaps I begin with an online show as I have prepared already for my portfolio. An eZine could work well for the exhibition catalogue.

If I did make an online exhibition, I would still want to make physical objects.

Physical objects have the advantage that I can carry them to reviews. Objects I can keep as a tangible reminder of this critical phase of the development of my project.

At this point, I feel that a physical exhibition has to be preferred. I need to reconsider this for my plan.

Week 5 The Weeks to Come

And so now to consider three surfaces and what to commit to for this module. The idea is to gain experiences ahead of the impending Final Major Project.

If I think about how I might respond to these tasks, there is a natural approach I could take and a more intense planned approach.

The natural approach ultimately is the style that I would be most creative at. I would have time to explore, to read the data contained within the photographs I process and to make something of an edit. I’m thinking here in the first instance of creating a book. A book was on my agenda before I began this MA Photography course and is something I wish to make as part of my collaborative historical work. I have committed to skills development and am ready to practice bookmaking. Already I find there is a minefield of detailed considerations in the editing, layout and making. I gained experience ahead of this point by engaging in the Ed Rusha activity before the module start and which is still ongoing. A primary behavioural consideration for me is being satisfied with knowing without the compulsion to make. I have to plan my activity to prevent my interest from merely moving on to the next big thing. It shouldn’t dictate my actions, though.

A planned approach, however, is a necessary part of photographic practice, and so it is clear that I need to adopt a plan. My enthusiasm in the first instance would lead to the incorporation of three surfaces from the Surfaces and Strategies module. Experience within and beyond the course tells me intuitively that doing all three tasks to a level of perfection is not going to be feasible. The repercussion no doubt will be an immediate rationalisation process kicking in, late in the plan as reality dawns when time runs out on this project.

A solution I like is to adopt the Pareto principle, also known as an 80, 20 rule. You create 80% with 20% effort, and this seems most appropriate to what I have to do at the current stage of my development. Three surfaces are the way forward. By the Pareto method, I’d use a 60% slice of effort. There is more. Add another 20% for continuing my photography, in which I need to invest time, especially when making allowance for digital post-processing activity.

I need to decide how much of each surface activity to do. I ought to state my intended cut-off to make sure I gain a lot of experience both of the making and my response to workload. I could timebox and pull up short on surface tasks. I understand this approach would not be satisfactory for the Final Major Project FMP. The Surfaces and Strategies Module, though, is an introductory module to the FMP and so timeboxing could work. The weakness in timeboxing would be the lack of definition of what the 80% achievement represents. More clarity is required.

PHO703: Week 4 Strategies of Freedom

Week 4 Resources

Week 4 Webinar 24 hours

I have taken all of the opportunities presented to meet my tutor and other students online. I did so again this week in the context of a 24-hour challenge the course had set for us.

I decided to explore how to supplement the visual narrative of my abstract work and ended up using photographs from the realm of scientific and computational biology and synthesised 3D images.

I had appropriated and mixed ideas in line with course discussion about such practice. I started with an exploration of what the public or viewer might expect to see generally in biological images. How could I expand visual narratives to reach out to the viewer?

I could adopt 3D, although this was not my intention. I’ll think about that. I have time to try out some ideas during the current Surfaces and Strategies Module.

Colour images I make, I envisage being presented as transparencies on lightboxes for best effect. At £33 x 20 that is an expensive option and I still have to establish the feasibility of printing on translucent material. I read somewhere that Epson printer using pigment ink should work although drying takes longer. With this in mind, what I discovered by synthesising 3D for myself was a new effect I liked. The red-cyan anaglyptic images I made presented as if light poured through a transparency layer and cast a shadow on a wall behind.

I shall also be mindful of the science being something separate to the art in my work and try not to let it distract. I learned that I need to exercise care and balance the inter-disciplinary visuals.

My first response to the activity this week failed due to poor weather conditions. As a cameraless approach, I’d wanted to time how long paper took to burn under a magnifying glass. Afterwards, I did go back to this but stopped because the method is exceptionally crude (lacks any finesse), there is a risk of fire and the risk of the bright sun causing eye damage. I stopped that. A mind experiment only.

Pending still is yet another method of recording that doesn’t use a camera. I wanted to make a sundial and sketch the gnomon shadow for different hours. A grid would act like pixels and be light, or under the shadow, they would be dark. A computer would be used to speak the pattern. An update has now been provided immediately below.

Week 4 Independent Reflection

This weeks content has an applied element and helped to develop my practice. Practice explored new visual presentation, which is a development point. I do not appropriate and yet was challenged to, and this made me feel uncomfortable as well as mindful of licensing and permission. I needed to examine visuals for reasons for exploration.


In summary, audio rather than visual output was the result, and I didn’t use a camera.

If you listen to the track, maybe 30 seconds or less is to be advised. It even drives me crazy.


I copied the light and dark squares as text into Adobe Audition and generated speech (Audition – Effect – Generate – Speech). I had previously discovered a Flanger effect called the Crazy Clock of Doom, which sounds a little more exciting, and the name appeals to my sense of humour. (Audition – Effects – Flanger – The Crazy Clock of Doom.

Week 4 Activity Hands Off

I decided to take some media images from the realm of human biology and computational biology and apply some technical methods to obtain 3D visuals. That helps me explore visual themes as my abstract expressionist work uses common DNA as a link to the past.

In 2004 my desktop computer worked away as a part of the World Community Grid. The first thing I chose to support was the then Human Proteome Folding project. My machine is now working on finding Human Cancer Markers.

I did not realise until this week how my photography had gained influence from this field of computational biology.

And so from the Science Museum, I took the model of the famous double helix and used it to create a stereogram pair. I landed on this presentation after trying several different approaches, and this was the best result for such a delicate subject.


I find I can Freeview and get the depth using just my eyes. The London Stereoscopic Company sent me a simple viewer designed by Brian May (of Queen) that cost about £5.

I had seen red and cyan anaglyphs in the past and found today this method worked well on a set of cellular images I grabbed from the World Community Grid facebook group.

A friend gave me a pair of cardboard viewing spectacles, and in trying to get the 3D effect, I stumbled upon a layer visual that took me by surprise. I like it. The result is a wall with the image on it, then a nearer version of the image as if on a transparent surface.

I’m so excited about this because I recently considered using light boxes to display my abstract work.

Until you look at the following with specialised specs, it is hard to gain access. However, there is a more latitude on image size, and that is important in my work as I still have in mind the idea of the viewer looking closeup to become immersed in art as an experience.  These are still early days.

I’m glad to have done this activity as it seems like now I make the progress I was seeking to make in starting this new module.


My earlier venture into microscopy took me to x80 magnification which is nowhere near the 3 to 5 Angstrom units of resolution used in scientific research, so for the supporting images, I need to appropriate, and remix the work of someone else. If I go much further, then I need to sort out rights and permissions. The stock images I looked at have a cost of £50 for a base image, and I would still need to create the 3D They are less visually stimulating.  The license is a lot when, as a student, you don’t yet know what you’ll end up doing.

I’ve got some more lined up to make the five images by the end of today. At the moment, I’m wrestling with third party images and mixing them to sample the visual language of cellular biology.


Week 4 Presentation 4 Turn Away

When I engage in my photographic practice, I scan for bodily injury/repair and may need to use a mirror to check specific framing and focus. Although I take a photograph, the situation often requires someone else to be a photographer. I created strategies to use in place of a second photographer. When I photograph a family member, the constraint becomes one of acting directly and with speed as the subject is only willing to cooperate a short while.

Week 4 Presentation 3 Force

I do not use force for the satisfaction of exercising power over the medium. Instead, I interpret the data in an image and try to read the direction in which it will go if I process it. With experience, I choose which stills I can work on to make a significant effect. I have had to practice a lot. Ever since my first digital camera and post-processing suite, I have practised, and I continue to do so. I previsualize style or type of outcome but let the image data provide the direction.

I am selective and respond to the data in a photograph.

Others may view my approach as passive. I would ask the question, is aikido passive? Aikido is a martial art and philosophy and is a way of unifying life energy. I would settle for that.

Week 4 Presentation 2 Smuggle

I explained below how I use my intent. The outcome is a visual effect of glow, in the underlying image. I reject the need for a high pixel count in my practice. Medium resolution is better suited to my intent. The photography software I use is passive when there is a lot of detail. Filters no longer have a good effect.

I look at the sensor data for the living glow of repair. Detail of a wound or human hair would be distasteful in my art and would serve as a distraction. I wish to create an experience in looking.

There is a concept of a one-pixel cinema, which I see a parallel to my work. Let me explain what the one-pixel cinema is. It acknowledges how to manage colour in film scenes. It goes beyond the use of LUTs. Films from companies such as Disney deploy a recognisable tone aesthetic that harmonises across the film catalogue. I’ve described what is behind a one-pixel cinema and will now explain how it works. The programmer identifies the dominant colour in each scene. The programmer would reduce each frame in turn, except there are some complications.

Several frames can invoke change and make visual sense by overlaying an original full frame.

The programmer reduces the whole film to a single-pixels that cycle through the dominant colours from the scenes.

I deconstruct my images but not to the extreme just described.

Week 4 Presentation 1 Outwit

I started with the lens to begin with and then thought turned to the camera. I realised that it’s code is designed to read the sensor, but in doing so, it compensated for allowable lens aberration. That way, lens manufacturing can stop short of absolute perfection. I take an integrated view of the apparatus and so thought now turns to the software designed to read the camera files once on a computer. Today this could be a smartphone, tablet, laptop computer, or a workstation. And so I view this as a whole, at least in terms of apparatus.

Photography is, therefore, about the lens, the camera, and the processing software. I then identify the constraints in the processing software, and I will force an algorithm to generate an unintended effect that I can use.

I have designed algorithms and so am tuned to finding limitations that create useful results. For example, I initially mute the effect of colour to give way to the infrared light that the filter inside the camera fails to stop getting through. I get my pictures to glow where there is a source of heat, for example, where the body acts to heal an injury.

I’ve given one example of what I do with the software. I do not de-privilege the apparatus by seeking alternative processes.

I do not advertise my methods so yes there is a black box but may relent once the experimentation matures into a technique, Nothing is firm just yet.

Week 4 Forum Human

I responded to the forum over whether it is possible to have non-human photography.

Movement detection software as an app running in tandem on the pairing of an old smartphone and a new smartphone can auto-trigger and send the user an email containing each snap.
This brings into focus a modern dilemma of consumerism, what to do with old equipment that still works. In this example, the first and second apparatuses become linked thanks to the convenience of wifi and the availability of unlimited internet data plans alongside the accessibility of integrated camera and networked computer functionally.
This approach is based on machine detection of the moving target and the extension of technological innovation into the field of a machine on machine integration based here on a consequence of a consumerist society.

Week 4 Introduction Playing Against the Camera

I suppose the freedom I experience is a result of knowing that the photography software designed to allow the photographer to improve an image will begin to breakdown at absolute extremes. I seek to find useful ways of breaking the software. I act intuitively with the data the camera has captured, and I test how it responds to my actions.

I do look elsewhere, as I attempt to return to film and photo paper. I do not have the full facilities of a darkroom, but I am gradually building up my expertise and equipment. There is a certain amount of politics at home about turning a space into a darkroom and especially in introducing chemicals into the house. I can force the issue, but there again, I am a digital worker and create lots of exciting challenges without an absolute need to find real alternatives.