PHO703: Week 3 Strategies of Sharing


I go back to Week 3 (from Week 7) in catch-up on some gaps in my coursework as I’d spent my time helping someone back to their feet so they could get around. Something to do with sports which are meant to be good for us.

Week 3 Resources

Week 3 Independent Reflection

I’m currently in the first phase of my project, and in doing abstract work, I still need to resolve essential issues.

Colour versus black and white I’m conflicted over although this is working itself out.

Visual narratives as they apply to my engagement with the viewer needs further attention too. It was suggested I create a bridge or provide some way into the work.

I tend to finish my Portfolio work with a Title and Captions. I’ve investigated visual language related to science and have been researching commercial visual language around DNA analysis.

An interest in other students works led me to analyse and discover more concerning my work.

(A) I read the SAGE Handbook of visual research and realise I may need to do more with the Integrated Framework. It is not directly applicable to me, I thought. I have now started to build my research on Visual Social Research.

(B) I need to forward think my strategy for engaging a museum and work collaboratively, possibly with funding. The idea is one thing; putting a structure around this is something else.

Week 3 Webinar Opening Up

This week my abstract visual work, that connects to the past through the biology of DNA is beginning an attempted transformation inspired by my ongoing contribution since 2004 to the world community grid and visuals of computational biology originally under the project called Human Proteome Folding phases I and II that completed in 2006.

If I ask why, then this ongoing contribution is now recognised by me as a subtle influence on my making of images that I did not acknowledge until this week of the module and that may help visually direct the narratives in my work that had previously been covered through text captions that ran in a rhythmic call and response alongside hand-drawn glyphs layered into my work.

With the ability of scientific microscopy to resolve down to 3 to 5 angstroms, and the power of supercomputers to model cellular structures then there is a modern world of imagery like those shown below from projects as far-ranging as cancer markers, ziko virus, and many more through to the development of treatments for autism.

Whether to appropriate or license materials to sit amongst or alongside my abstracts or whether possibly unavoidably now, to transform my photographs in these and other visual directions, is the question at the moment.


Fig 1 computational images from World Community Grid

Week 3 Activity Making Zines

If there is going to be a coincidence, there might as well be more than one.

Concept eZine

While an earlier week of the module was running, I’d independently been in communication with the Contemporary Photography world. Having seen the need for an editor for a Contemporary Photography Zine titled Concept, I offered to help, although I wouldn’t be fully available until June 2020, when this MA Photography course should complete for my intake.

Photo chain eZine (the Module group I joined)

The initial idea proposed by one of the students had good uptake, and work commenced right-away on a photo chain. We waited for our turn to respond to a photograph received from a member of the chain.

I took a received image that exhibited the idea of containment of time and moved it further into the surreal by looking within.

London 23-6-2019 21:13:10

Version 1 of the Zine can now be found on Issuu at this link

iPhone Zine – Cranes

In response to an open request to collaborate, the following winter nighttime scene of a crane in the snow, with moon present, was sent in.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this out of camera photograph didn’t make the edit. Being a dark, blurry image, it might not fit in.

Week 3 Presentation 3 Help from the Crowds

(A) How can crowdsourcing aid my project without causing concern?

I’d spawn the template for my work for use with other families. In that sense, we are isolated or disconnected. Later generations of my own family may wish to continue to extend the work as they please. If they obtain genetic results as raw data, they’d need to protect their data. These are early days, and higher analytical power will make connections we might not expect today. Also, the raw data may inadvertently reveal information to third parties about close relatives.

Fortunately, my method does not require DNA testing, per se.

Crowdfunding could aid the ongoing development of my project beyond the current stage of the MA Photography course. I have seen an example of an Army medical museum that allowed in an artist to work with children in creating work under National Lottery funding. I gain encouragement for my next phase work — one thing at a time.

(B) What could I learn from my participants through crowdsourcing or mass participation?

There are numerous learnings I’d categorise under psychological factors. There are raw feelings I have experienced that others may potentially suffer.

Potential participants may form defensive strategies, around dignity, and other resistive arguments. The work can affect knowledge, experience and beliefs. Some will wish to forget the past, leave the dead behind and focus on the now and potential future.

Week 3 Presentation 2 Helping Others


(A) Within my projects, how much agency do my subjects have in the creative decisions?

None insofar as genetic research is modern and did not exist for my subjects. It was only in the middle of the 20th Century that Watson and Crick discovered the double-helix structure of DNA.

As I interpret visually using glow, it is hard to know what other methods might work. Onward abstraction allows landscape/seascape or inner /outer world re-presentations. Within this, I sometimes introduce the form of tartan subtly. There is nothing culturally awry. Perhaps my perceptions of battle and the fading memories of home would meet with resistance as it can be hard for survivors to relate to traumatic conditions. The National War Memorial in Edinburgh is a great outpouring of the Scottish peoples’ loss. The memorial inscription says, for now, they are in God’s hands they shall suffer no more. I feel able to portray conditions without causing harm.

As a matter of choice, I portray healing as opposed to injury or wound. Healing has a direct connection through the warm glow I process of the physical body.

(B) Who is my primary audience and subsequently, my secondary audience?

Family is the immediate audience, as the work already causes us to unite or join together and reflect in thought and conversation as it affects our identity.

Once concluded, I can go public.

A growing interest in heritage through DNA has seen several commercial start-ups such as LivingDNA and AncestryDNA. There are numerous others. An upswell in interest is apparent, and individuals pay to have DNA analysed.

As part of my research, I’ve now obtained a view of the related and growing area of visual culture and representation. My method operates at around four generations and around a hundred years and is suitable for very much longer. This concerns recognising the connection with mitochondrial DNA.

The application of Y chromosome or YDNA provides a parallel for self as male. I’d considered this from the perspective of sisters of a male person having a one-sixteenth connection with fourth-generation male ancestors. I’m barred by nature from this connection.

Mitochondrial DNA fits my work as an energy giver in the context of action associated with War.

I’ve validated my method and built my knowledge base so gradually prepare for future application.
I’ve considered this at greater length than I’d anticipated when I started writing but supporting research has helped confirm my approach.

I’ve also just had the opportunity to discuss my photography and genetics with a medical practitioner who was somewhat interested in this work. By now, I can gauge people’s facial expression for engagement with the message as it affects their interests. The medic showed genuine interest. I didn’t get the specialist referral I was openly fishing for so will follow-up at a later point. I respect and value their time.

(C) In sharing my work, how can I retain the agency of the participants for a secondary audience without speaking on their behalf?

I think this comes down to working from factual data and trust in the propriety of relationships.

The historical research has to be of academic standing and use factual information that we have checked. The place never transformed and remains true to the rural nature of peoples lives in this case.

In terms of glow in my pictures, DNA is the information carrier. Mutations occur but rarely so in mDNA. Full visible characteristics are simplified or removed from my visuals. Hair and wrinkles, including effects of ageing, do not confound. In that sense, I do not allow the physical form to enter the work. Recent technical improvement has taken place by focus stacking. Stacking removes out of focus depth indications enabling standardised 2D framing of images. I’m saying this farther simplifies identification to that intended and prevent distortion of persons likeness or difference.

Week 3 Presentation 1 Learning with Others


(A) Thinking about your research, which is of more interest to you: the subject or your view of the matter?

The ancestral subjects were never known to me during childhood the data and narratives of their lives only becoming known through the last decades of research.

My view derives from a place and others, as in early life I was immersed in Scottish culture. Having seen gaps in knowledge get closed through modern research and travel, I interpret the conditions of the lives of my subjects. I can relate based on collective experience.

(B) How could you be influencing your subject and is that something to be avoided?

Rather than glorify the dead, I proudly acknowledge their deeds for I have my freedom. Would they want to be recognised, maybe/maybe not? What is important today is the effect they have in uniting a family as a diaspora.

I do not misrepresent the facts/data. To the best of one’s ability, it has become my place to represent my ancestors before all living memory is lost. I can still touch the past for now. Once established, others can determine any ongoing engagement with the history or adapt the principles I create to situations other than the Great War.

There will always be a gap over their personalities. I have a rounded view. If as a child, I had met them, my presentation would be different.

Week 3 Forum Collaboration or Participation

A contact sheet of images below provides a visual sample from the World Community Grid, a computational biology project I have participated in since its inception in 2004.

I participate in a group where we donate spare computing power to a grid I get to see where we stand in a league table of returned results.

I recently gained some individual bronze awards and shifted my league standing from around 400,000 up to about 200,000. I can choose which projects to participate in (originally in Human proteome folding) and now for Cancer markers, Aids and Ziko virus.

The reason I mention this here is because of the subliminal impact my participation has had on the Biology within my practice. Interest had become ingrained in over at least a decade.

Week 3 Introduction Working with Others

My efforts are allied with collaboration in my current photographic practice. I collaborate with a History researcher to illustrate a text and now move on to make standalone work in the abstract for the same subject.

My work evolved to use Biology to connect close family members and myself to narratives of specific others related in the past. I now photograph healing. I shoot family member healing as so they act as willing (mostly unwilling) participants.

If I consider the idea of voice, more precisely, that of subjects and collaborators, it does get interesting. From over 100 years in the past, these subjects are not alive to participate. I have researched data about their lives. I interacted with their close relatives within Scottish culture and society. The place is important too as I lived here as a child and on revisiting as part of my project, very little has changed in the landscape.

I become a proxy for my subjects’ voices. One participant has a loud guiding voice in the research but also adapts to the demands of tracing specific relatives. My children have a link through Biology and understand their contribution, and they ask if particular images are of themselves. The source becomes anonymous through abstraction, which is the working principle I adopt.

As work in progress develops, it will surely gain sophistication and get to a point where I can present the work back to them. I can then invite my family to relate to the experience and perhaps with a substantial body of work, ask them to present the perspectives they each have gained.

I care enough to sense how family and my more full family might engage or have the work presented. Already family have been encouraging and become emotionally involved in the practice as it evolves. Close family are sometimes very engaged while at other times they want distance from the work. The context has to be right.

PHO703: Week 1 to 12 Surface and Strategies Reflection

Improvements in the blog.

I moved on from the base template to simplify the blog appearance and to allow the use of Tags. I also had a problem with structuring Reflections as I have this hanging section. Reflections crop up within my Coursework blog right now.

I updated the template at Week 7 spurred on by various things including Landing 2019. I also started a new website for portfolio work but have taken on quite a bit of work through this. The site in its first incarnation is almost an eCommerce site allowing visitors to purchase my work via the internet. That came about more through intrigue and future intent than an immediate requirement.

So in terms of reflections, they remain in the coursework section of this blog for the moment. I will need to rationalise this to make the content clear to visitors, especially as the staff of Falmouth University expect to see a laid out site where everything is readily accessible.

Week 8

Reserved for insight into the computational biology aspect of what I’ve done since 2004 and how it helped inspire the work I make.

World Community Grid

Week 1

Week 1 Independent Reflection

My current practice is abstract expressionism with the aim of scaling images for art as experience as demonstrated by Mark Rothko in his painting.

During the week I was caused to revisit why I’d been conflicted and why I had settled on black and white images. There are two things running together a) the motivation which has sadness and darkness and b) celebration of life with vibrant colour which along the way got lost last module.

My methodology is a maturing process of controlled lighting with hints of clinical photography practice in the taking of photographs then in the digital dark room transformation of image texture and glow takes place (my IR processing method has developed). At this stage a glow image may be the end result I have in mind or an imaginings of home landscape may be the other form I have in mind. I allow the image to dictate my choices.

What I do could be described as an abstract form of rephotography through the surreal connection created by threads of common biology.

I was asked about developing the narratives in my work. Standard methods I had intended to use or reuse are captions in call and response (I dropped this last time I published a WIP portfolio). I was also experimenting with incorporating hand drawn glyphs and was yet to decide what symbols to use.

I didn’t get round to saying this week but do now, that I have a methodology I was now beginning to refine for improved visual impact and for clear narrative. I have yet to go back to early thoughts of romantic cultural inputs as my story connects with the song and verse of Robert Burns through location “A mans a man for aw that” etc.

Appropriation is something I’d not considered incorporating at this stage. Anything from stock images of place or similar approach or use Google Earth for sketch background storyline. I don’t know, early days.

There is scope to make that visit to London’s Imperial War Museum to get some contrasting stock imagery. I can seek out abandoned buildings of farm buildings, or park trenches or a mortar range I know of, for example as may have been use to hide out in during battle. Again I don’t know.

I’d been advised of the psychology of the method called Family Constellation Therapy, as a way of working with narrative. I followed up this to find out what might be taken from it. There is a parallel to a communication planning method I’m familiar with, I can consider. There is also, I find anyway a parallel with the male influence versus female influence on individual which runs alongside my themes of matriarchy and patriarchy.

I took a look at the presentation of the (near pornographic) work of Nobuyoshi Araki as an example of image pairings for visual interest. My work was seen to be uniform, which of course was exactly what I rebounded to after struggling to get more than a few images that went together in my previous work. Seems I might have overdone it.


My colour work :

My b&w work:

Family Constellation Therapy

Nobiyoshu Araki

PHO703: Week 2 Strategies of Mediation

Week 2 Independent Reflection

I had a crit during the Module Leader Office Hours meeting:

a) the project appeared to be resolved. It is entirely decided and undergoing refinement. In retrospect, with themes of commemoration and celebration of life running alongside each other, they may need to be separated, and I then focus on one subject.

b) the work is set to undergo levels of refinement. As ideas introduced during Week 1 were unconstrained, and the established practice has a serious tone, I don’t want to undermine this. I have to avoid new ideas fraying the edges of my work.

The project survived the rigours of my first module, possibly against the odds but did shine enough and adapt and has developed with a series of refinements over another two modules.

This is a project that has to go ahead irrespective of the MA. It is a life’s work and needs to complete while living memory remains. I had to test if it were possible to continue without visual repetition and knowing it is not a final work, I needed to think clearly about how it might proceed.

I’m gaining increased confidence, these doubts never go away, that there is more than enough development remaining to carry the work forward through this module now I’m getting a clearer sight of what the module has to offer. It is a lot more than a book, exhibition and workshop.

Week 2 Webinar Where are You Going

For students not familiar with my work:

My project statement

I commemorate ancestors I missed, who gave in the Great War. As they were injured and healed and fought again, I identify with them through abstracted images of the minor injury that we meet in daily life.

Through natural glow and healing, I connect with them in a shared process of repair.

Moving Forward

Sketch1: refinement, visual quality and hot buttons
Sketch 2: context, support and making
Sketch 3: new directions, message management and unresolved intent

Work in progress

Contact sheet: previous week

Challenge activity

Contact sheet: 100 Locks (Ed Rusha challenge)

Week 2 Activity Make a Trailer

Week 2 Presentation 2 Remixing

My practice takes my photographs and layers in reprocessed copies of the background as layers and may include hand-drawn glyphs. As the inclusion of narrative develops, there is scope to consider the learning of the current module. This has yet to be developed. I begin to wonder how remixing might apply as I’m sure there must be scope. Ultimately there are photographs created in prior modules, such as the museum work that came to a halt as close-up photography didn’t seem to do the business, but inclusion at some later point, perhaps even beyond the course, seems inevitable.

My practice links to other work, such as a published research document of historical narratives.

In a sense, the influences I gain are through the trainers who teach at the north-west London studios where I work as Studio Manager and get to interact with many professional photographers and digital artists.

Week 2 Presentation 1 Appropriation

We looked at appropriation by many visual artists and viewed the many ways they made this work, controversially in the case of Prince or in more subdued ways by other photographers/artists/curators and we looked at some of the argument that needs to be carefully considered, things we need to be mindful of.

This covered a vast range of approaches from official photography being re-photographed through to Google Image search for download images hopefully of quality, through to the use of Google Earth outtakes.

The approach of Ruff ignoring or even making a play on pixelation and still conveying an image resonated with an aspect of my work. I photograph small scale minor injury and need to think carefully about scaling my work, especially when comparing with painters and in particular Marc Rothko in attempting Art as an Experience.

There are opposite strategies like removing any reference to the original image through to wanting to identify the subject and context or recreate more of the original meaning.

Schmid curated typologies and self-published and also noted what I might call fashions in taking photographs around food and selfies for example and how this allows an analysis of changes in time like the cost of photographing.

It is worrying that recent snaps may have been taken as conceptual art in earlier times.

The playful alteration of images was also considered. I can relate to this in one picture where I had a bit of fun (and won a competition with it).

There are so many examples of approach and learning from such exercises. Critical appraisal was also given through critics comments on some of the work demonstrating the polarisation of views that can occur and how we as photographers ought to remain aware that this can or will happen with our work.

As for my practice:

I do have an inspiration that is based upon being able to reach back and touch the history and people linked to my narratives as I do so before living memory is lost. I also mention verbally the narrative text I take inspiration from in connection with a researcher I work with and am married to. I began wanting to support the book with illustrations until I realised there is more that we can do as photographers than that. I’ve moved off now as a separate visual exercise in the abstract.

As for the longer future, there should be some longevity once my work is fully resolved. For now, based on family, it can then be opened up publicly to others as a methodology concerning the stories of their lives. There is educational potential as support material in biology education. However, what is uncertain is the effect of reconnecting with migrant members of the family as this cold stir interest in North America. Who knows?

Week 2 Forum Joywar

Rather than use a visual for this, here is a linear approach

0. Note the remediation of a photograph and a painting above (displayed one above the other and captioned left and right on my screen).

1. Read paragraph 1 openly and suspend judgement.

1b Acknowledge there was a valid legal assertion.

1c Note commercial entity Harper’s Magazine interest.

2. Wonder why Harper’s material is not presented on Canvas.

2b Search the article, as requested in paragraph 2.

2c Harper’s website located. Note one-year subscription required to see the article / read the pdf.

2d Decision not to proceed with this line.

3 Inspect a second search result as Google identifies a pdf download.

3b Consider virus risk.

3c Consider if this is fair educational, non-commercial use/intent.

3d Wonder at students reactions to downloading this.

3e Resolve by getting a sense of perspective as the request to search is made in good faith. Technically though it does say search, not download.

3f Enough of this moral consideration / taking high ground.

4 Another search result is to a Wikipedia article, perhaps read that as a safe alternative?

5 Read paragraph 3 Post a diagram relating to this topic. I investigated in a linear step by step manner so provide this list instead of a layout or sketch.

5b Comment on three peer posts – TBD/in progress

I hope this perspective is sufficiently different!

For a visual I thought I’d return and add the Harper’s subscription request, but isn’t their website copyright? #confounded

6 Read paragraph 4 and respond in a way that challenges practice.

I initially started out in digital photography, creating my own stock for my planned work on business websites. Now my practice is to abstract my photographs and hand draw my individual glyph layers taking a wide berth of copyright issues. My other work has been copied before and each time caused no more than a raising of an eyebrow as I muttered congratulations regarding good taste (through gritted teeth). #chill

Now, if I decide to contextualise my abstract work with representational photographs, I could reach out to our family photographs.

Photographs of ancestors in uniform were found in the national newspaper archive. The pictures appeared in a local newspaper, in an article that was a precursor to further sad news. This is from over a century ago, and a researcher’s permission request led nowhere. Best measures have been taken to clarify ownership without any claim, and so my understanding is there is no issue.

I hope that the context given is both different and relevant.

Week 2 Introduction Remediation

I’m wrestling to with some new term:  Immediacy and Hypermediacy as the foundations of Remediation. There are many examples from the media over time (Bolter, 2000). Having read this, there is much to commend the summary (Immediacy, Hypermediacy, and Remediation – PUB401, no date)

Regards the question as to whether any photograph is finished or not, in the case of my own pictures, they are definitely not finished. In post-processing, I first have to process the glow, then layer if required, e.g. cultural references or imaginings of home, plus I may include hand-drawn glyphs or an image section transformed.

With the medium I use, I describe this to others as best I can, conscious of the fact that I continue to refine my earlier experimental approaches. Once these solidify, I can be more transparent.

Images I create have an immediacy, as there is an abstraction of minor injury of body impressions. As I build up the image layers with hand-painted effects and hand-drawn glyphs and transformed sections, the hypermediacy begins to build. At this stage in my development, the question is whether I Remediate. Perhaps self-remediation as handiwork is transformed into the abstracted photograph. My original conversation for my practice is in relating through standard biology the contemporary healing with historic wounding.


Bolter, J. D. (2000) ‘Chapter 1 Immediacy, hypermediacy and remediation’, in Bolter, J. D. and Grusin, R. (eds) Remediation: understanding new media. Cambridge, Mass: MIT, pp. 20–50.

Immediacy, Hypermediacy, and Remediation – PUB401(no date). Available at: (Accessed: 11 June 2019).

PHO703: Week 1 Strategies of Looking

In advance I’d taken the request to make a set of three project images. I did this at first as a way of moving on my work as I was keen to challenge myself and wanted discover as soon as possible what new directions might be calling. Here is the panel (discussed but not shown).

Figure showing alternative thinking around my existing project.

Left: an example portfolio image for human genes – I could have picked a stronger one to show at this scale.

Centre: post processing applied to a more structural visually similar subject of red light source on trouser material or Jeans (Jeans or Genes) as a play on words.

Right: plant genes, as seeds of the catkins of willow trees had created blanket cover

 I then relented and took a selection of three of my portfolio images as an illustration of what it is I do. As that kind of work had been critiqued at the Falmouth Face to Face, The Living Image we quickly moved beyond this and the other student had my portfolio images links to hand and posted them to the discussion! 

Attendance of this week’s webinar gave the chance to meet with my new tutor, re-introduce my work and see the work of another student.

At the Falmouth Face to Face I’d described  my work succinctly. In the webinar I was given an extended period to discuss in detail and things can go too deep too quickly. I’m always on guard for this happening. My first practice after a month away from it.

I noted that in the last module, the black and white presentation of my project went against my natural inclination. We discussed how this resulted – basically from tutor feedback, the likeness of my work to paintings and the potential of the Art as Experience approach of Mark Rothko. My work is motivated by commemorative work but really attempts to celebrate freedom based on others sacrifice.  

The deep emotional element of the project and the existence of a text led to a suggestion about finding out about a family therapy method to potentially enhance the work. Here is the link for the resource now investigated:

With a feminist perspective in mind, I’d already identified the power of the matriarchy through the mitochondrial DNA that fuels our bodies compared to the nature of male association that drives paternalism.  

Week 1 Webinar Where are You At

Week 1 Independent Reflection

See reflection blog post:

Week 1 Activity Place Over Time

Week 1 Activity Place Over Time

This activity as it relates to my project is a challenge as the place element of my work is not an absolute geographic location. It is about imaginings of home, the soldiers fading memory and muddy images of battlefield.

Chance is a major element in these images. I have been taking photographs based on minor injury and bodily impressions as a kind of photogram. I could attempt to process to a similar landscape over the weeks using a new starting image each time.

I’ve eliminated some other metaphors for place as in: bodily location of a minor injury or impression, or; injury corresponding to place such as rugby field or football field.

This activity may not be feasible for my project. Think, think, think, think, think.

I can make a start and see where this leads me.

Week 1 Presentation 2 Rephotography

I’ve photographed in the past in the style of the famous for the purpose of social photography in competition and for fun or entertainment. This has made me aware of others and their work and given me an insight into re-interpreting and re-photographing based on what they have done. This has been outside of my practice.

In my project, it is already re-photography, as the glow I capture from minor bodily injury or impressions, is a direct representation of the biology of others from over 100 years ago. When I make a contemporary abstract the design of the one image can go in many creative directions amongst which I select the most likely candidate and best effect, at the time of making.

I did re-visit and remake an image, something to do with the date being in the weeks before the module start. I now understand the original would have been valid. However, the circumstances led me to remake and it was then as I suspected that it would be quite a challenge to make as successful comparison with the original, and the remake was a pale version even with the same subject and same lighting. 

As already mentioned elsewhere, I had to improve my methodology of lighting, and post processing steps. What this does is compromise artistic improvisation for greater scientific repeatability. Maybe this conveys something of the photographer. At best I now take sets of images and process them together. I can take a contemporary subject and re-photograph – take several shots but really for improved framing, perspective or control of shadow or depth of field. It is hard to get away from uniqueness though as apart from the technical difficulty I enjoy having greater freedom when making a personal project.

Further viewing

I viewed several of the further viewing items listed and signed up to re-photos without time to fully explore at the moment. It is a shame about the withdrawal of the app Street Museum. Of course, the work of Ricard Martinez is listed and he featured as a recent guest lecturer.

Week 1 Presentation 1 Repeat Photography

We are asked several questions on this topic, in relation to our own practice. 

In terms of repeat photography helping me think in a different way, my response is several fold.

As injury, even if of a minor nature is my photographic subject, then clinical observation could be a thing. Clinical photographic practice, something I adopt, maintains consistency of lighting of the subject. My original was a portfolio of regular appearance, images that stand together as a set. If the same injury is revisited, during healing then change should be observed. Observation of change is part of Clinical photography regards progression of disease or healing. Over increased time, skin is susceptible to damage such as wrinkling, scaring, or other ageing effects.

One thing I cannot, or will not do from the ethical standpoint is harm or self-harm. 

In some cases tattooing might show change. This is not within my current subject and is not immediately related to bodily glow.

In an earlier module I switched to pressure marks, the act of memory on the skin as a kind of photogram that fades. Harmless pressure can induce the same redness of glow I photograph. I adopted this when there was a “drought” of injury.

As my work extends to post processing in the digital darkroom, repeat photography calls for less avant garde attitude to creativity. In my work, each image can evolve different visual qualities. Repeat photography failed in the past as I was unable to obtain the same visual outcome again. I tried to replace a photograph I thought at the time violated the course time constraints.

Standardised recording of my dark room procedures has to be enforced. I once saw this limiting experimentation and creativity depending upon fixed parameters rather than following the eye. A solution I did introduce was to batch process like with film working, on many images (5 or 6), as one image later splitting them back down to individual images. 

As for what I can learn from my subject by recording it over time. 

I can work out post processing limitations.

I could mimic effects such as Andy Warhol did with his lithographic work. 

I could by chance make medical observations.

I could determine gender or age effects around smoothness or softness or the effects of hairs in an image.

The patience of the persons being photographed probably wouldn’t extend to repeatedly photographing so the work would become wholly self-referencing.

I’m wondering though if collaboration might somehow become possible. A group of suffers of a condition might participate as if in a trial or promotion of a disease for example. My project hasn’t yet extended to the public.

Reversal of the effects of time or ageing become visually possible if skin care treatments were tested.

As for an agenda influencing how images are viewed.

Beauty might turn to disgust as a result of creating my version of punctum.

It would be necessary to prevent the visuals becoming over dramatized or shocking.

An attempt at being overly intellectual or scientific could switch off the casual viewer and limit appeal.

Repetition might call into question artist judgement and motivation.

Further Viewing

I got the chance to go over some of the multitude of references for further viewing. The Balog TED talk helped bring some gravity to the subject through the Extreme Ice Survey indications of Climate Change

Week 1 Forum Looking Back

I took up the Ed Ruscha challenge to work with the mundane and learn some of the skills of making a handmade book. Here I’ve taken the subject of security and in this context owners make attempts to protect property or access. Having decided on what to prepare for the challenge the first thing encountered was quantity and ability to maintain focus on the specific objective and finally learning to handcraft a book.

Ed Ruscha challenge – Security

When I set out to photograph padlocks, there were a limited number to be discovered on each shoot. As a matter of efficiency related subjects were photographed. Chains make a strong visual impact given the way they drape so I photographed these too. As the photographic method can readily translate the mundane into the beautiful there is a thing here wanting to stick with the mundane i.e. avoid eye catching compositions of chains. Diversification continued and material for several books was encountered.  On a London shoot I found numerous padlocks in and around Trafalgar Square, but in the urban environment, access became a stronger theme and so I found more entry point methods and entry phone systems. In a rural environment the subject matter further diversified to hausers of steel ropes and steel fittings related to adventurous outdoor activities related to climbing, swinging and aerial transit – there is a wealth of compositional elements that work well in close-up and with interesting background blur. Artistic representation becomes a strong element of this work but again runs against the mundane objective. 

The above is more or less a random layout for the purpose of this post. I have learned to image match photographs when creating a book. At the time of learning, this was meant to lead to standard book creation using InDesign and one of the standard publishing platforms. For the current challenge, my intent is the handmade book for which I’ve amassed some tools and methods. This is an area of discovery for me and one I am enjoying. I did some research for this and resolved to use an adhoc method of allocating layouts to signatures. I’d then be able to use Adobe Acrobat booklet printing method without having to use specialist software – keep it simple and start with something you know I said to myself. I know there are a mass of considerations to manage in book production and for now I want to create a raw looking product. 

When I return to base, I intend to give this a go and in trying to think how best to communicate the result, perhaps I should make a page turning video. 

The biggest challenges are both in closing the skills and knowledge gap whilst making sure I’m not my worst enemy in enthusiastically venturing off into related diversions of chains, hausers and entry phone systems.


I got the chance to go over some of the multitude of references for further viewing. The Balog TED talk helped bring some gravity to the subject through the Extreme Ice Survey indications of Climate Change. 

Alternative challenge

As this was offered, I decided to do both challenges.

I have something for the re-photograph, challenge in addition to the Ed Rusha challenge. This photograph of a photograph was taken instinctively.

Alternative challenge photograph

Although a Vivian Maier self-portrait, the meaning for me was in once having created such an image in the window of the Oxo Tower on London South Bank. It was for a Photography social competition and having been taken at night time was rather dark and mysterious.  For some reason I recall the date as about the 5 Dec 2015, so should be able find my original in an old catalogue when I return to base. So back to the Vivian Maier self-portrait reproduction. This was displayed at PhotoLondon 2019, and when it aroused interest it became a “Rephotography Trap” automatically capturing the photographer’s reflection on Maiers. Many decades have passed since the original was taken. Would Maier ever have envisaged a large-scale reproduction behind glass ensnaring future photographers? – if she did what brilliance. You are allowed access by having your reflection automatically superimposed, but you are not given access to the silver disc, at least without deliberately plotting some way in. The least I was able to do was to included my silver hair. Another meaning concerns a piece of geometric transformation. Instead of the silver disk, there is a reflected rectangle. The decider would have been If I’d worn my hat indoors, which naturally I don’t. So, there is a sign of the outdoor then, and indoors now. Wearing my hat would have topped it all off, but then that would have forced the new image. The result might lose authenticity. Let’s stay with the natural and instinct and move history on a step.

Notes about tutors and CRJs

I currently have over 500 photographs on the subjects discussed, and if I decide to progress a collection of books it would make sense to divide the labour. It would let me concentrate on the photography and use specialist software or an editor (person!) to help produce the overall set of books.

I was pleased to learn I’d been assigned to a Tutor who’d critiqued my work at the Falmouth Face to Face “The Living Image” event earlier in the year.

I posted the link for my Critical Research Journal CRJ blog

For reference the review images were also posted to my portfolio website temporarily.

Welcome to Surfaces and Strategies

There is quite a challenge ahead in the module. Alongside the learning there is the prospect of making book dummies, creating an exhibition or doing a workshop or indeed engage in all.

There is also a trip to Arles, trip to Amsterdam and Landings2019 curation that is looking for volunteers. 

I’ve been away from my base all of the first week, with very poor internet connectivity. Good connectivity is essential for the online delivery aspect of the course and particularly as I use cloud storage for portability and photography deals with larger sized files. The nightmare is over as I’ve since returned and I’m rapidly catching-up.

PHO703: Surfaces and Strategies Student Introduction

Hello, I’m Michael Turner, a student of the Falmouth Flexible MA Photography course. I’m moving into my second year having started in the May 2018 intake. Within the industry, I’m Studio Manager at Trade Secrets Live.

I’ve been published in a London Group photobook and group exhibited twice in London during 2018.


My portfolio is in the abstract. I re-present minor bodily injury in order to identify with lost ancestors who continued fighting in the Great War despite injury and wounding. I trace shared mitochondrial DNA connections as this is what converts nutrients to our bodily energy and I use this to express a connection through Life’s Glow.

Task – Ed Ruscha

In the run up to the start of the Surfaces and Strategies Module we were asked to prepare some work in line with Ed Ruscha’s portrayal of the mundane in his book 26 Gas Stations.

I’ve taken the topic of visible security and photographed an array of locks, padlocks, chains and entry mechanisms.

Ed Rusha challenge – security

The idea is to create a handmade book for which I’ve learned some of the basic skills and obtained the simple tools necessary.

I thought I would have finished this by now as I’ve been working away at it regularly for a month. In principle all is straightforward.

What I have done is to take stock of visual portrayals that hang together and have kept shooting to increase the number of images. Currently the total stands at over 400 and surprisingly only now provides enough for what I need to edit down. This is over 12 times what I’d expect for an edit. It is just that I have mixed items within the subject brief.

There is no automatic count of each category so I had to keep going out to increase the numbers of compatible images. Unsurprisingly, I still came back with a mixture, probably as a result of hedging and waiting to see in which direction things would go.

Initially padlocks were the objective, I keep seeing them wherever I went. I felt that they were mundane and so met the brief but expressed something deeper about modern life around protecting property and access.

Chains are often associated with padlocks can make more interesting visual compositions. Then I photographed an array of entry devices with all manner of constructions.

This rapidly expands to several books.

I now have to draw a line as I proceed further with processing images for the edit.

Handmade Bookmaking

I’m for now avoiding standard photobook offerings in favour of the handmade.

I learned about using signatures, sewing and gluing and got so far investigating layout software. I have a bookmaking course scheduled for August. Skills currently need to be developed and decisions made around printing and making the cover.

For now I again need to draw a line and get on with the making. I won’t yet have full control of bookmaking in all its aspects, more of which I discover at every turn. I intend to have a go and learn, then later build on this start.

Second Challenge

I have something for the re-photograph, challenge in addition to the Ed Rusha challenge. This photograph of a photograph was taken instinctively.

Although a Vivian Maier self portrait, the meaning for me was in once having created such an image in the window of the Oxo Tower on London South Bank. It was for a Photography social competition and having been taken at night time was rather dark and mysterious.  For some reason I recall the date as about the 5 Dec 2015, so should be able find  my original in an old catalogue when I return to base. So back to the Vivian Maier self portrait reproduction. This was displayed at PhotoLondon 2019, and when it aroused interest it became a “Rephotography Trap” automatically capturing the photographer’s reflection on her’s. Many decades have passed since the original was taken. Would Maier ever have envisaged a large scale reproduction behind glass ensnaring future photographers? – if she did what brilliance.You are allowed access by having your reflection automatically superimposed, but you are not given access to the silver disc, at least without deliberately plotting some way in.The least I was able to do was to included my silver hair. Another meaning concerns a piece of geometric transformation. Instead of the silver disk, there is a reflected rectangle. The decider would have been If I’d worn my hat indoors, which naturally I don’t. So there is a sign of the outdoor then, and indoors now. Wearing my hat would have topped it all off, but then that would have forced the new image. The result might lose authenticity. Lets stay with the natural and instinct, and move history on a step.

PHO703: Week 1 to 12 Surfaces and Strategies Contextualisation

Week 10

I’m spilling over into the ideas around external influences – reaching out from my work to other partitioners or genres. Also, I’m thinking aloud over some of the points necessary as inputs to the Oral Presentation.

I need to go back over this and tidy it up and add more of the reading I’ve been doing and some ancillary research I’ve conducted.

I derive my work by subverting the camera (filter and sensor) then undermining the external processing software. I challenge the algorithmic and break its limits. I recombine an image in myriad ways with itself to create something new, in part unexpected but linked to my intent.

Kandinski – the Spiritual


It is comforting to read Kandinski on The Spiritual in Art as the work I make springs from the soul. It is symphonic with strong inner value, and does not readily explain itself yet can be appreciated by those who are patient. Since writing this, I have ventured into mixing archive images with abstract to create access for the viewer to make their interpretation of the visual language.

My work has long now been subject to a spiritual influence that tracks back over decades something I attributed to chance although history drew me in. Presence became heightened in recent times, and still, I attribute events to chance. Chance worked to prevent my return to photography. An art gallery experience threw me with remarkable resemblances to my work in abstract photography. A discussion with Olympia in Damien Hirst’s gallery challenged my belief in God and led to a debate on chance events having such implausibility alongside a direct comparison of the artist’s paintings and my photographic work.

I subsequently watched Rachel Howard’s interview with Will Self, and it is clear that her work uses “the hidden hand of gravity”. It is that universal which linked our work.

There are more coincidences one with a Pentecostal Pastor, and each time I have to rationalise what happened. Events taint how I look at my work. It is easy to suspend judgement and accept conversion. I can see how that operates for some.

Science and Art

People I link to from a hundred years past have a direct information carrier through DNA. Not just the link that Barthes noticed is seeing a likeness, but in mitochondrial DNA that powers our bodies. We share common mitochondria and it diverges infrequently. It remains static for thousands of years. By comparison, X chromosome alters and mixes at each generation and so lacks connection over time that mitochondria have.

My photography method begins with the lens-based digital camera and captures information as the camera sees in a different way to the eye. I process the image to reveal and emphasise infrared light that manages to passthough and create data via the sensor.

I align passthrough infrared with the human healing process in a merging of science and Art.

Making Art is next. The glow images I obtain have an aesthetic that can be quite dramatic, but this is the stuff of Flickr groups and the like with categories such as the spectacle of bruising. I go beyond this through early discovery and subsequent pre-visualisation of how I can transform the data to make images in several well-defined categories. These originally were abstract landscapes and ghost images, and I now extend to seascapes, the inner space and outer space.

Those who died in the early 20th century would never have known of trace conducted through DNA relations or of internet record searches nor carriage by personal vehicle.

From the start, I worked with my Generally Accepted Rules of DNA inheritance focussed on mitochondria. I identify the dominant driving force of the Matriarchy and assume propriety in families. It may come as a surprise to learn that the male action dominated world, especially of 20th-century warfare, was powered biologically speaking by the female of the species.

Only recently have I adopted DNA testing with the specific intention of learning the visual culture of commercial testing companies. Commercial entities use marketing and advertisements to build public consciousness. I’ve now brought this into my practice.

I have worked in an interdisciplinary manner and deduced a biological interpretation. I have done so without medical qualification, and by closing in on commercial testing; this research has critically strengthened my analysis.

We remain naive even today when participating in DNA testing. If we allow the raw data to be set loose, there can be repercussions. If health insurers obtain the raw data, they could use it to penalise. Beyond this are discoveries yet to be made by science. We could leave ourselves open.

Week 8 and 9

During these study periods, I visited Arles 2019 Les Rencontres de la Photographie.

While I appreciated many many works, I also had a keen eye for the variety of presentation methods on display and for books I specialised in looking out for the various approaches to pamphlet style books. The display method is vital regarding my impending exhibition if I’m ever to get an edit in place in time and then for the book I have a limited number of pages to fill (around 32) hence the interest in pamphlet-sized presentations.

As an interactive aside and in the spirit of the course, I interacted with a Helen Levit poster then rephotographed an interaction with the actual print.

At another venue, I took over a blank wall for short photo session involving an evocation of a crucifixion (as one does?), then proceeded to photograph several linked items including crosses and a couple airing themselves by a fan in cruciform style. 

In what follows is a reminder to self of where I visited which I can tie into the Exhibition Catalogue for a further reminder. Without this record the details would disappear into a fog, I’m sure so this way I can relive the experience and resurrect the details.

Day 1 Friday 26 July

1. Espace Van Gogh: Helen Levitt: Eve Arnold, Abigal Heyman and Susan Meislas

2. Eglise Des Trinitaires Toute un Historie ! Arlse A 50 Ans

3. Eglise Sainte-Anne Libuse Jarcovjakova
6. Salle Henri-Comte Tom Wood


8. Chapelle de la Charite

9. Maison des Lices

Then a walk over to the station and visits to:

18. Monoprix: Mohamed Bourouissa

21. Ground Control: Prix Decouverte, Louis Roederer: Kurt Tong

19. Le Jardin: Mario del Curto

Day 2 Saturday 27 July 2019

16. Croisiere: Camille Fallet, Marjan Teeuwen, Lionel Astruc and Erik Bonner, Des Clics et des Classes, France Inter, Nuit de L’Annee, La Sage des Inventions, Clergue and Weston, Pixy Liao, La Zone, Yann Pocreau,, Guillaume Simoneau, Laurence Aegerter

17. Maison des Peintres: The Anonymous Project, Home Sweet Home, Christian Lutz, Arles, Au-Dela D’une Rencontre; Explorer L’Image.

24. Grande Halle; Mecanique Generale: Photo ! Brut, Marina Gadonneix, Valerie Belin, 50 ans 50 Livres, Prix Du Livre, Dummy Book Award, Une Attention Particuliere

25. Les Forges: Lei Lei, Corps Impatients

15. Couvent Saint-Cesaire: VR Arles Festival

Day 3 Sunday 28 July 2019

Critique – I took along my handmade book and my Exhibition in a box and obtained vital feedback (see Project Development blog page)

Final afternoon of Exhibition visits:

13. Commanderie Saite-Luce: Randa Mirza

10. Chapelle Saint-Martin du Mejan: Varietes, Revue D.Avant-GardeEvangelia Kranioto, Claud Martin-Rainaud

5. Cloitre Saint-Triophime: Emeric L’Huissset, Germaine Krull

4. Palais De L’Archeveche: La Modiva, Chronique d’une Agitation

7. Fondation Manuel Rivera-Ortiz: Hey! What’s Going On?

Week 5

The book (Rexer, 2009) arrived after me writing, “No sign of The Edge of Vision the Rise of Abstraction – Lyle Rexer, appearing for a month. It does seem ever unlikely that the book will arrive in time to have any impact.” I was writing having had two orders frustrated by transportation damage at the sender end.

On the first inspection, I wonder if the book is a copy. Signs are, lack of copyright page discovered when I entered a citation. Next up the index was wrong when I used it to look up specific topics. I’ve written to the supplier. Being an expensive item it would be an attractive book to copy. I could be wrong, so let me see what transpires.

Already I have been inspired by the content, and it is helping me deepen my understanding as I further contextualise my abstract photography.

I was pleased to see my entries for artists; whose work I already follow: Ellen Carey, Gary Fabian Miller, Susan Derges and some recent arrivals on my scene, Gottfried Jager et al.

I have two other books on backorder. Jager, I wished to follow up as I’d studied Generative Art and wanted to find out the specifics for photography.


Rexer, L. (2009) The edge of vision : the rise of abstraction in photography. Aperture.

Week 4

I ordered twice and failed to have delivered Lyle Rexer, The Edge of Vision, The Rise of Abstraction in Photography, having been disappointed by two bookshops declaring damage in delivery to them (book dropped and damaged, book contaminated by wet chemical). I’m waiting for a second refund and my third order to be processed. These events fall into the category of superstition as it has affected my work at essential points in my practice.

Meanwhile, I have reading ongoing around Curating (George, no date), Photobooks (Colberg, 2017) and Exhibitions (Marincola, 2006)


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

George, A. (no date) The Curator’s Handbook. Kindle. Edited by A. George. Thames and Hudson.

Marincola, P. (2006) Questions of Practice What Makes a Great Exhibition?Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative. Available at:


Week 3

Towards a philosophy of Photography, Vilem Flusser

I’ve analysed the reference (Flusser, 2012) a bit further following a group discussion. A recommendation was made that having read this, return to it and have another read. It is considered quite an important document.

What I do here on second reading is to gist the content for a fresh perspective in terms of the language used by Flusser, to describe photography.

Flusser concentrates on photography from the standpoint of the image, and he focusses the writing on the camera or apparatuses.

There is an existential theme where Flusser considers the human being, in conjunction with another discussion around the universe (photographic universe) and the magic that exists.

There is a concern for the technical aspects of the apparatus.

There are also many other factors introduced in a wide-ranging analysis covering anything from anthropology, and too many to mention considerations such as signs and signification, the qualitative etc., through to the identification of stakeholders to build reasoned actions and opinions coloured with emotional overtones of devastation and collapse.

From this body of analysis, Flusser makes many assertions including one about the camera as a tool, being technically complex and having constraints, but how otherwise a camera is simple to use as he considers the logical limits in terms of numerous references to “everything”. He is concerned with the lack of criticism that images receive.

He makes references to Lebanon, Jewish prophets and Greek philosophers but also mentions the Kodak brand.

Thinking about the negative assertions Flusser makes, these cover a vast range of considerations again and includes Marxism, ritual acts and fetishisation, Luddite just to mention a few aspects of his language. He also makes negative connotations around change, that which was that is no longer, and we return to indicate the electromagnetic.

There is just so much more that can be written about this reference, and so for now I settle for this summary that gives the gist of the topic. In essence, Flusser writes down on paper a personal life of experience of thinking about photography, and it is quite personal as he does not reference other work. Thus he takes ownership of a philosophy of photography. Clearly, other authors to cover the subject area, and there are many points where the various works inflect. Flusser makes a significant contribution to his aim, I would say, to fuel meaningful critical discussion about photography which as mentioned he found generally lacking.

You don’t know how much he was able to read of others, and in the end, there is no assumption that Flusser is actually a photographer. He may be more the thinker than a photographic practitioner.


Flusser, V. (2012) Towards a Philosophy of Photography. Kindle Flu. Edited by V. Flusser. London, [England]: Reaktion Books.

Week 2

Check out George LeGrady who’s earlier career was in digital computing and software or the like. The reason for making an association is to determine similarities in the approach I might find between our work methods.

I began looking at my work in more full 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.

Several word definitions looked up to inspire various ways forward with my work.

Montage: 1. The act or process of making a composite photograph 5. Frequent cutting of camera viewpoint to create action cf mise en scene

Tableaux and tableaux vivant Vivid, suddenly created, action frozen for dramatic effect.

Guest Lecture – Victoria Forrest

It is a more than happy coincidence that we were able to gain advice from a practitioner in Bookmaking, particularly as my attempt to make my Ed Rusha hand made book has stalled. Apart from time pressure, I need to find a supply of doubled sided matte or gloss paper to print on. Gloss will emphasis the blacks in my Padlock series.

In allocating pages to so-called signatures, I probably need to work in the Adobe InDesign software and manually assign pages.

I need to work backwards from whatever format, e.g. start with 35mm format images then select a paper size that works. Images for full bleed want to be 3mm oversize to prevent unplanned white borders.

The cover could be a graphic of one of the images in reduced colour bearing in mind the challenge of printing on coloured paper/card. It is good to have some texture, and it is possible to stick on a sticker to the front cover.

Any book I make could be standalone, for exhibition or perhaps special edition. Contents remain the same, covers alter.

Note: look up Sally Mann Ambrotypes of thumbprints to check any parallels with my current practice.

Week 1

Nothing to report – too early.

PHO703: Spring Assessment Period


My first visit to PhotoLondon. I used the virtual tour previously. That was good but left me slightly disorientated. Nowadays, I appreciate physical attendance perhaps as testament to increasing awareness of the making, purpose and the impact of the exhibition.

It was absorbing to witness the variety of display methods as well as the seeing montages and other types of work. No doubt my time will come so a chance to think ahead.

On the day, and in terms of an icon of photography, it was Ellen Carey and her talk on the Avant Garde that resonated strongly with me.

Socially, the event was very rewarding. As usual I was not backwards in striking up conversations where appropriate and then in a flood of happenings, met a photographic colleague and then fellow student with family member, all whilst exchanging business cards with an artist photographer.

Highlights were numerous, especially as I carried with me ideas and artist information from earlier times. This expanded of course. I enjoyed Shore, and saw displays of Matthews, Davey, Fenton, Tripe, et al.

There was a noticeable interest in black and white and vintage prints amongst those attending.


Sorolla lost out to the emerging Modernist movement and towards the end the growing interest in Picasso.

Many paintings are of family, of the beach and later of reflections on water.

From a critical perspective, I noted that given that painting is an additive process, one portrait had cropped the top of the subjects head. In another portrait an ear appeared to have at least a stop to much brightness.

The paintings are of impressionist style with dynamic elements in a number of them. A stronger sun in Spain proves advantageous yet at the same time shadows can be deep contrast. Where the camera would lack the dynamic range of the eye, the painters vision and technique would win over.

I’m reminded of the long sitting times for subjects in paintings, compared to the much faster exposure of film or today he digital sensor.

I felt a sense of calm and warmth from the paintings. It was an excellent experience to contrast and compare painting with the photograph. Although Sorolla was not a portrait artist as such, portraits were a necessary means of income.

The paintings are on loan to the National Gallery and as such cannot be photographed even for reference.

I’d not heard of this Spanish painter before and so welcomed the viewing.

Sorolla painted that which appeared before him, and was not quite in the right era or did not keep up with fashion is painting and so was overtaken by others. So you make the very best of work and not achieve full recognition.

I will take the opportunity to attend the exhibition again.