PHO705: Group Critique with Module Leader

While the focus of late has been on writing the Critical Review of Practice and on ‘plussing’ the visuals, this post relates to a switch back to the public presentation of the work.

Switching tasks like this may be less efficient than running each task to completion. Professional development of photographic work might call on multiple resources, but here for the MA Photography, the author becomes or has become the sole resource for all of the work.

Collaboration practised as a professional specialism has yet to flow into the making process, so it has become quite a busy time. Considering research turned to image-making only a month ago then a lot of ground has been covered.

The making in the digital darkroom had been akin to the process of creating a painting. Now with the change of methodology and processing, the mental task of visualising and the way time is consumed is closer to photographic sculpture.

A National Portrait Gallery Friday evening drawing session attended last year, was conducted with white pencil on black paper, the process of observation and drawing likened to making sculpture.

Guest Group Critique

In presenting the work it was noted how exciting the development of the project has become and how this easily extends the work beyond the time available to us on this MA Photography course. With practice development, the project is likely to undergo further extension and presentation beyond May 2020. It is very exciting at this stage

A minor comment was the all-important selection of the sans serif Granville light font for use in the book and in the PDFs – the Critical Review of Practice assignment PDF and the book PDF hand-in.

As for the work shown in the critique an original InDesign file was shown having evolved through a one to one session, to the recent book designer session, to the subsequent splitting out of themes into individual files and finally and importantly the addition of more new work.

The project had all along used but now re-presented as having a trace of author’s DNA both as glow and as a graphic sequence.

There was a call to make a model in order to experiment with the layout of images. This would be more of a demonstration or proof exercise. In practice, the author has ongoing access to the studio/exhibition space and so does not require the intermediate step of modelling layouts. In an earlier module, a summer exhibition was held in the same space over a period of 8 days, it will be four days this time.

What is different this time is that access has been gained to the material for constructing exhibition walls from a stand kit. In a one, to one review the author was advised to set this aside, for an unexplained reason. It would be easy advice to take as it makes life easier. It is felt that there was a misunderstanding in communication via the online medium used.

Style, Paper and Framing

The critique was missing much in the way of content as the reviewer needed to see actual prints in front of them. The previous comment was of the look of charcoal on antique paper and was an accurate description of the aesthetic. This is produced both as an adjusted filter and is reproduced as a homemade PS action.

The vignetted borders were said to act against normal framing methods and would require consideration.

A test print was made a little while ago, was on matte paper and set out on the surface of the stock off white mount board used in the Summer exhibition. It all went together well.

There was a call to make a pile of prints as the quality can be more readily viewed and prints allow the order and sequencing to be done. This is an imminent action.

The project is the same one from the start of the course and has recently taken on more of the surreal. As image making began little more than one month ago the thrust has been towards image-making to gain images in sufficient numbers, higher than in the past with quality and with enough spares to support an 18 image exhibition and a book.

Recombinant Rhymes

From recombinant DNA and an artsci process of creating poetry. A decision was made to discover all or as many dictionary words as possible containing base pair letters A, C, G and T together. In order to form two or three-word crossword sections, words were gathered into themes.

There are sufficient range and sophistication of meanings linked to the work as photographic, biological and socio-political. The book would be expanded with facing blank pages set to contain word pairs or triples. No rhymes are intended.

Word Cloud

A simpler approach is the word cloud.

A variation might be to take advantage of scale in order to emphasise selected words. Chosen words correspond with a facing image. The method can be used with my DNA results in two cases; autosomal and mtDNA

Author’s Autosomal DNA and error rate

The Autosomal DNA chromosomes 1-22 are over 99% identical to all other human beings. Above are the mismatch errors in a 600,000 sample from 1.3 trillion base pairs in each DNA strand.

Author’s mtDNA

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) samples for the author scaled by position in the DNA chain. mtDNA exists within the female line, is passed on to offspring female and male offspring and is very very stable. By remaining constant for thousands of years it easily spans the century of ancestors to whom the author identifies with. The Past Present.

Vision 2020

The forthcoming Vision 2020 Symposium and gathering at Falmouth University would have been a great opportunity to unveil the prints. However, the finite risk from the current virus spread and attending an international conference, combined with having caught a virus three times last year, making attendance undesirable.

Campaign

A social media campaign is planned and the first post made on social media using Instagram account foto_graphical. An Easter exhibition has been announced with the title: Past-Present.

Strands are coming together in consistent form.

Practitioner Comment

The advice given to another student was not to go overboard in obtaining practitioner input. A note I’d sent in earlier indicated that one remote critique was booked in, while a contemporary journal editor had responded as a potential attendee. A multi-genre, multi-award-winning professional had also volunteered to comment. Three others are on the back burner, so perhaps this is what was meant as going overboard – two of the three are recognised, art photographers.

PHO705: Book Designer Meeting

We had privileged access to Book Designer Victoria Forrest in a group session. It was useful for me although I’m erring towards a handbound artist book dummy and an exhibition in a box, a repeat of a successful approach from tyhe summer exhibition.

So what was learned:

  • focus on my DNA – I’d downloaded it pivoted it and searched it for transcription errors. It is an interesting error rate. There is some research out there about various diseases and these kinds of errors. My genome is good though as it is 99% shared with other human beings.
  • there’s the work I mentioned before on making visuals from base-pair sequences. As mentioned, there is a legal requirement to look after the genome data for my own protection and that of my offspring. Dry data is a bit too graphic for my liking but can be made to work by skilful handling. I prefer it as a blank verso decoration. Too much of it will be samey or overwhelmingly and potentially take away from the visuals I reckon. 
  • develop an offshoot of an artistic work recombinant rhymes. My take is I’ve gathered all the words containing a letter A, C G and T (base pair letters in DNA) and pick salient words in pairs or threes to describe a context around the project (photography, Great War, etc. but the layout of a crossword puzzle element. 
  • don’t associate with the Berger quote I made for being too inflammatory. Very strange on a Visual Arts course that the subject of reversing Berger’s observation should seem difficult. Surely art should challenge its own foundations. There is nothing illegal that couldn’t be published and after all, why waste a founding pillar and key inspiration to my work?

What else?

  • something on paper gsm was answered 300 gsm is too much and 175gsm is preferred
  • mtDNA is something Victoria is comfortable understanding but leave it out in preference to using own genome work
  • Victoria wanted to know details of my method of making. Seemed a bit cheeky a question in a public forum but unless the person you are working with really knows your work how can it be successful?

That was it in a nutshell, and very good considering five students were on in under two hours. Victoria must have been exhausted by us but thank you.

PHO705: Fonts

Supporting Discussion

The choice of font for FMP submission remains firm as Granville Light. A return to inspect the style after a cooling-off period only confirms this. The use of a Typography Insight App allowed a detailed comparison with a standard sans serif font. The Granville Light style is very much being enjoyed.

Original Post

Time has been spent researching san serif fonts for the FMP assignments and two fonts have shortlisted and have been installed and are being trialled:

  • Granville
  • Auster

Both fonts are very clear and Granville is being preferred on several counts including style which is more apparent on the lower case letters f and t, but also for being from a French designer at a Paris foundry given the project theme of loss in the Great War. The slight dagger-like flourishes in the lowercase letters f and t, also act as a metaphor for me as references to the Dirk and the Sgian Dubh, sheathed pointed daggers carried in Scottish national dress.

I won’t install the Granville font in this blog but provide a PDF example here:

PHO705-Fonts

Looking at this example a reservation emerges to do with font width, even as something that makes it more readable. Is it too wide? The answer becomes clear when the font is viewed at the required 1.5 line spacing where indeed it looks fresh and clean as seen in th ePDF above.

PHO705: Module Leader Group Critique

The Forth cohort attended a group critique, our first. 

So to take forward something of the way of telling a story by a compositional layout of three parts or by layering an archive portrait with a glow picture. What feedback would the Module Leader and the audience give? 

The PDF attached can be downloaded. It contains two frames, one for each method of interest.

Group-Leader-Critique

This file displays correctly as two pages: View – Page Display – Two Page View for side by side comparison and to show a two-page spread. 

Making a PDF was practice for the 1 May hand-in but at a small scale. 

The intention is to obtain a PDF with the best resolution images saved as an Interactive PDF format. InDesign frames also ensured even sizing of the pages which of different dimensions from Word and Photoshop were made consistent.

(TBD Here is the work of the previous module:)

#Advice

Here is the update promised following today’s critique. The idea is to obtain greater clarity and something actionable. 

We learned from each other’s presentations as much as our own. Five presentations were made:

  • Skye rushes
  • Balloon metaphor
  • Mitochondria 
  • Book diptychs
  • Urban regeneration

Reaction to presentation – mitochondria

Preparation for the presentation was done well in advance and meantime it may have answered its questions on the layout options.

There were no audience comments. Module Leader comment went beyond layout, drawing attention to the importance of mitochondria as a theme. Agreed this is the foundation and deserves elevating.

The work could be helped along by adding a family tree. Privacy issues prevent this. However, a generic chart is something I would entertain.

David Fathi did some work concerning the impact on moral actions of using a genetic sample for modelling disease.

The family mitochondria theme does have a historical element as that is what stirs a feeling of identification with family. It is more of a driver or motivator than the actual purpose of the work which is forward-looking in terms of light reemerging as a means of detecting disease. It may be infeasible in the time to go too far with this science as the interest is really in creating art. The art is from the digital sensor capturing glow in a way the eye tends to ignore which given a style of processing can emphasise the hidden.

General learning points

The advice given related to the current point we are at on the course. Our work needs to be research-driven. So back to the books.

Also, no work is ever complete until we present it to the public as the audience. It is then we start to gain feedback.

Practical learning point

The student from the group, three months ahead of us was very informative in terms of their planning. They have already had their exhibition with six weeks to the end of their studies. They had 30 images and proposed editing them down to 20 for their portfolio but add in more for a book. They received interest in their work, and a videographer had even filmed their work.