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: Week 16 Reflection

Guest Lectures – GLs

Two recent GLs were attended. The first related to online dating and second-hand wedding dresses the second GL looked at life in an eastern European country under what was effectively martial law.

One to One – Critical Review of Practice

There was also a Supervisor session that turned activity on its head in changing direction from project development to one of the main deliverables, the Critical Review of Practice. It mattered not that anticipatory work had begun as nothing of a deliverable standard was yet available. A previous mention was made about having to make a late start this task due to circumstances beyond normal control.

The CRoP task has a dependency on the planned exhibition as that is where the behind the scenes shots are to be obtained and practitioner critical comment received.

The work that was progressed was made to the drumbeat of “No work – no exhibition – no book” etc.

Project Development

A session was conducted to split the overall InDesign file into themes:

  • ghost landscapes
  • ghost images of people
  • narratives of biology around cell division

This is not to mention subdivision into individual Surreal images, and Animals. There are also Ancestral Family Archive images to restore and reprocess as own DNA (base pairs) and glow image.

A lot of this is still in the melting pot as it is a natural development stage as an image set forms, plus there are influences from the book designer session.

There has been some reaching out to practitioners in advance of the Exhibition.

Print is becoming a more imminent activity. A preliminary decision is required over further tests of print making using the matte paper stock.

To create atmosphere, work on a video storyboard was started but somewhat frustratingly dropped, for now, to give precedence to the Critical Review of Practice.

PHO705: Creating Draft Critical Review of Practice

Two items have been held up pending 10 weeks of illness then need to create portfolio work.

These are the Video that should have been made over the break and the Critical Review of Practice CRoP.

These have been taken together, but oddly manage to support the work. The following PDF is the mind map. A CRoP is a CRoP but it has to be about something so the overview of working practice and methodology is given as a mind map. The CRoP requirement (or part of) has been mapped onto it and requires further development like issuing a draft. However, there is some referencing to other practitioners still in research. Despite having this for earlier incarnations of the work (in earlier study Modules) the work has progressed on so time for the update.

To an extent I can argue about originality and a need to mask off external influences as the work is quite unique in its standing as a branch of Art based on Science. As blogged previously I’m never surprised anymore to find original thought crop up in other places of which two examples could be cited.

CroP-WIP

  • Top left hand in the mind map is the Critical Review of Practice from an earlier module assignment.
  • The bottom left hand is a storyboard outline for a useful video resource that is being created. (This proved very helpful to visitors to the summer exhibition).
  • Above this is the connection to the CRoP linked to Ghost Abstract Figurative Themes. While Ghosts per se have been dropped since the review with a book designer, the landscapes remain ghost images.
  • Practice location top right is the piece being updated for this dynamic project. It does need to settle down urgently prints, book, portable exhibition and talk to be worked on.

There is quite a challenge here as none of the work has been subcontracted to printers or anyone else so all of the skills from the photography through to all branches of making have been absorbed and this alongside all of the marked assignment work. For anyone wishing to embark on an MA Photography Course they may wish to consider how much work to outsource to specialists. Personally, outsourcing the Book making to an online offering is not preferred over an artists book dummy and hiring a book designer would lose some of the original intent to someone else’s view of what the market would stand. The work is still too dynamic for this.

Bottom right is the remainder of the CRoP assignment requirement, which pertains to the public showing.

In terms of evidencing the work as mentioned here in an FMP lecture video then on the subject of gaining public feedback, there is a need to reach out to practitioners to elicit attendance or somehow provide comment on the work.

I now have a date of the Easter Weekend for showing the work over four days at Amersham Studios tradesecrets.live Only now can approaches be made by reaching out.

As image-making is fundamental and has been a major focus, work has been flooding forward and is now starting to receive critique (two critiques were missed through technology issues).

There is scope for an earlier pop-up exhibition at the same location. No promises yet. Details will be published and a campaign run via Instagram account foto_graphical and Facebook.

<placeholder> for draft CRoP

PHO705: Week 15 Reflection

Now that was what is called busy. The connection with the University has re-established big time. There was a gap over November, December and January. To be fair there was the end of year “holiday” and the so-named 3 week assessment period – needed for the other Modules.

Thinking about this in reflection then, several group lectures were attended and there was the follow up from the previous week’s module leader one2one meeting that led to running a consistent aesthetic right across image set.

We also briefly held a peer to peer meeting, the first known of in several months. We’re a small cohort with 10 of 13 starters still around. Only 8 signed up for these meetings. A connection has also been made with a student from another cohort who was passed in my direction by a tutor.

There were also the preparations for a meeting with a book designer Victoria Forrest. All good as the work is interrelated and the key to the public showing. No images, no public showing. The research was toned down and research-led practice had been in full flow again this week.

So how did the book design session go? (rhetorical question). That’s in a separate post.

It was good and has focussed on incorporating one’s own genome. My DNA has been sequenced and has now been downloaded and is being analysed for transcription errors and an academic publication read on the topic. Although specific to kidney disease and with some reference to mice it was nevertheless useful to learn of the error rates, non-base insertion and the weird folding that results. In the mind’s eye the DNA spiral has an idealised representation. This reading gave the truth.

Anyway, the knowledge gives the photographer some deeper information to back up any talk that might follow?

Scanning became a big thing and a whole weekend was spent learning software SilverFast and i1 colour calibration. The reason for this is/was to up the level of professionalism in reusing family archive photographs. The current set I accessed needs to be rescanned. A hidden agenda exists too. The acquisition of a film scanner and darkroom gear means work can go back to film photography. This will now be after the FMP but it is an exciting development in photography. The Studio where I’m based (less so with these studies) is starting to run combined workshops on Landscape and Street film photography. I’m really pleased with this revival.

With so much digital practice and digital darkroom processing, it will be a relief to turn back to film.

Thinking ahead of the week there is the catch-up to be made on Video making and drafting of the Critical Review of Practice CRoP.

Such is the life that this blog post will need to be cut back as some of the activity reported falls into the Week 16 reflection, due in the next day or two.

So, all in all, a very rewarding and active time on the project with work changing rapidly at this point. Lots of connection with the University has been helpful while consuming more of that rare resource called time. Can’t win.

PHO705: Week 14 Reflection

Trial Assignment PDF

Having published a PDF with an extended payload of hi-res photographs last week, in preparation for the one to one meeting with the Module Leader, it was time to keep to plan and size the file. There is a 10MB file limit for the assessment. Success! Over 50 images, which should be over that needed to submit the Assessment PDF and filesize which was whopping has dropped to 5.5MB with no appreciable loss of quality on-screen.

In contemplating the book publication, a second PDF is required and this would need to be produced at high resolution.

There are some known niggles in the content of the following but here is the ‘same’ or equivalent PDF from last time but in its new reduced size. The PDF has been created using industry-leading page layout software Adobe InDesign:

PDF-trial-v0.1

This was an important trial and it has worked. The picture content can be refined as one image went missing during the day and will be tracked down. Three images processed with marginally incorrect height – width was fine.

The experience improved with some practice. Images untreated, or taken as they were at multiple size, needed to be standardised and this took place using Adobe Bridge – Photoshop to run some automation to fix dots per inch and pixel WxH to fit the page and the adjusted 3mm page margins created.

The more work done in preparation the easier it was to manage InDesign. Not just easier, the experience went from impractical to smooth operation.

Some bells and whistles will be added at the next iteration using available image files – many new items are being lined up to go into work, although the exhibition is expected to repeat the 18 number of prints created at a summer run of the exhibition. A greater number of images would be required of a book. The book number will be limited by shadowing standard commercial offerings in view of the potential cost impact in later in taking the hand bound book dummy to a designer.

Returning to the immediate needs, sections have to be added for

  • captions,
  • text (make an appropriate selection fo text),
  • a bibliography,
  • attribution list for images,
  • content page,
  • interactive elements, next/prev buttons, section buttons and so on.

Exhibition Printing

Paper and printing considerations and mounting without frames become necessary to investigate for the charcoal style sepia images with the given light vignette border style. A lesser paper choice last time, was Epson double-sided matte for the handbound book and laser paper for the exhibition guide.

Hahnemuhle art paper has been suggested, whereas until now gloss was chosen for its handling of deep blacks.

Board mounting needs consideration as well as the method of hanging. A professional exhibition stand lined up for the exhibition – not used during the summer, is not recommended at this stage.

It is recommended to print as early as possible to anticipate the time need for adjustments. A first print was made! The available paper stock was Epson double-sided matte, used in making the book for an earlier Ed Ruscha challenge.

There are numerous actions required in the making process to be visited. ISSUU has been revisited as it is used as a means of simulating the book to aid the design, printing and binding. It also makes an electronic version publicly available.

The https://turnerphoto.art website was trialled in the previous module as a commercial selling site and unexpectedly went offline and has since been restored. At present, the marked assessment items take priority over website building and the selling of photographs is something for beyond the course.

These technical matters are always tempting to get involved in but for now, a reasonably good PortfolioBox portfolio site has been maintained and although there are layout limitations each use, there are get around and the company is meant to be quite responsive, although it has not been witnessed personally.

The website had a different purpose earlier in the course, where now, like during the Summer exhibition practice run, it is intended as a support to the exhibition in terms of proving multimedia in promoting it and in generating atmosphere.

In the same vein, social media is being lined up for promoting going public. Instagram has been quiescent for a while ready to roll once the exhibition date is decided (third week of March or first week of April) depending on making more work of publishable standard and whether or not to attend the Falmouth 2020 Face to Face ‘week’.

The outbreak of coronavirus and its spread through international travel could be a risk with this year’s event. A watching brief is being made at present. This is particularly sensitive personally having contracted a bug several times last year in spite of being vaccinated.

Not considered yet is a video recording of an artist talk and the remaking of the moving slides video with better images. An artist talk was run several times during the Summer exhibition.

The making of the portable exhibition in a box continues to be important in moving beyond the studio confines to take the discussion wider to allow it to continue. An unexpected benefit last time was it generated an invitation to attend an art sale. The commercial element whilst welcomed was a little ahead of practice development at that stage.

PHO705: Week 13 Reflection

One to One Preparation (and now for Group Critique)

In preparation for a “one to one” session, a range of portfolio work has been prepared in advance. Beware, if you download the PDF file it is a large size even if already reduced*.

For presentation, it has been decided to screen share in Acrobat page edit mode to give both a visual overview and page by page viewing depending on the zoom setting.

Status is a decision needs to be made to proceed with one theme. of which several are shown.

Probable preference for priority is indicated as

  • sepia landscape & family archive
  • cellular theme
  • abstract with still from newsreel
  • surrealism and other
PDF-trial-v0.3

There is a display of:

  • a scene-setting image of current theme is on page 1
  • sepia ‘Landscape’ prints at the start on pages 2-13
  • a transition from cellular to landscape is at pages 14 and 15
  • the earlier ‘landscape’ style variations are at pages 16-19
  • a venture into the surreal is at various points starting at pages 20-22
  • a family archive crossed with ancestral biology on page 23
  • a theme of ghosts is explored at pages 24-28
  • a non-human variation is on page 29
  • a montage series with newsreel extracted stills begins pages 30-32
  • a lesson learned is on page 33
  • the pan cellular ex cellular series runs over pages 34-40
  • running on to rather surreal examples of work on pages 41-42
  • the cellular continues on pages 43-47
  • the re-use of earlier work is broached at page 47
  • an emergent theme example ‘animal life’ in b&W and colour pages 47-49
  • random elements end the series pages 50-52 with page 52 a caricature

*Learnings at this point prior to the meeting concern the first collection as a PDF and files size being 8x over the allowance. It is the first collection and the solution is to use Adobe InDesign and the save to animated PDF format. This was taught at the university and the subject of an FMP video.

in the transition to professional quality (a lot of the earlier work has been experimental) standardised sizing has been arrived at and needs to be worked retrospectively across the whole image set for display consistency.

PHO705: Assessment Period Reflection

So what has been happing of late?

  • Making new work.
  • Planning going public. (which requires new work)
  • Ramping up the professional
  • Ramping up the quality of work

Overall, an exciting period of practice development.

Concluding, is the intense period of reading and learning putting substance behind research based practice. Going are the days of creating themes in support of project narratives.

For visual language development samples of themes have been created.

  • Father mitochondria layered on mother image (mitochondria as transmitter). Biological markers ready to be layered in next stage.
  • Stills dropped out of newsreel of 100 years ago montaged into project examples
  • Family archive motherline photograph layered with glow image (mitochondria)
  • graphic development of DNA and cellular imagery and text

A rather busy and very worthwhile period indeed.

Three months of work to finish off a professional portfolio of high quality to be taken public Reacquainting with the MA Photography requirements caused a close look at example work created so far.

There were then many ups and downs hinging on the practice of being fully digital in the making. With much time spent in the digital darkroom the methodology was fully re-examined and especially following the digital imaging Symposium at Westminster University.

The Symposium was good and gave access to several key scientists in skincare and medical forensics. For those that know about the project the relevance should be clear. Much was confirmed around the artist’s assumptions of biological science as applied here.

The quality of the work then came under deep scrutiny anticipating cramming a lifework into a meagre 10MB PDF file without undue loss of image quality. The answer is InDesign and the methods documented in the FMP block.

However, any signs of a borderline quality entering the process and the situation will only worsen. Were there signs in current work?

Previous bad experience of transferring to mobile working and lack of connectivity in the Scottish Highlands led to a deliverable quality issue. It was never planned to be like that – the cohort will remember those events.

In an attempt to avoid technical issues deep scrutiny was performed on the work. A solarisation filter is quick to pick up on banding faults and pixelation (not in the original but from processing).

How to resolve this? Some very detailed analysis and comparison trials showed how and where different algorithms broke down affecting an unacceptable number of images.

During the last week of the “break” or so called University Assessment Period, and to which this blog post pertains work continued urgently to sort out technical issues. A number of workshops and external resources were called upon and a growing amount of time was soaked up.

This continued into Week 13. The current blog post is a retrospective. That is how important it was to resolve quality, instigate testing and build a professional approach to practice. Time normally spent learning and researching art and photography began to make way to working the critical methodology during the FMP blocks.

It would be great to have visual examples accompanying this post but for now it is important to continue making and delivering images elsewhere. Return later when priorities resolve.

There has been much catching up to do. After 10 weeks of being slain by the aftereffects of two bouts of flu, it is sad to note the passing of two more family members in the run-up to year-end.

In a way, the losses underline the importance of the project being made complete to pass on to others. The pay-off would be in gathering the technique that others may wish to use with their own, alongside forever unfolding events on a world stage, whether that be a 9/11 or something else.

PHO705: Assessment Period Reflection

The Helter Skelter that is Making (of late)

The research period moved into the making phase within the digital darkroom.

Many up and downswings have been encountered in the making, from renewed optimism to unexpected problems arising that needed to be resolved.

More structured recording of image statuses has now been established on Evernote as a wider body of work has emerged, none of which is entirely satisfactory at present.

Direction around abstract outcomes such as landscapes for some images fell foul of image banding as well as encountering more editing suite false images on the screen versus print.

Being guarded and mindful of this resulted in changes. A solar checking layer is used to detect banding where it might not be immediately visible to the eye followed by a step by step expansion method and 100% viewing (or do and undo merge layers).

And so too, subject matter bias changed in moving to the biology theme with the development of skill in making cellular images alongside associated graphic elements. Maybe too this was an avoidance strategy as avoidance of quality issues which and it led to switching the major theme to and fro ghost/landscape/biology

The methodology has changed through this as methodology currently biases towards forms as Surrealist imagery.

Another branch in the period in between these stages meant conducting a series of trials of merging stills dropped out of newsreel video. That presents challenges with the mixed resolution, edge problems and differential lighting when integrating. Time out was taken to practice overcoming these challenges but as a major wartime theme production has stopped for now. The problems can be tackled with more confidence having gained more practice on different methods. Whether to return to this or not is the question. There are probably too many themes for a book or exhibition and so something has to go. If the biology theme of cellular imagery went ahead then maybe too many similar images result. There is no obvious solution at this stage and so work continues with the numerous themes,

Reading the course requirement for quality scanning and professional making at this level on top of evidencing this does lead towards a situation of panic in these matters.

Thinking through the image merging the experience from the Summer exhibition weighed. Separate archives (of the author in this case) and abstract expressionistic images led to triptych layouts that worked in exhibition but not as a book (the weight of paper in a signature with not enough strength in the stitching. Signatures are complicated, always looking wrong at the earlier printing stage but turn out right, where triptych became unmanageable in the handling and ended up being complex or not practicable as a dummy.

PHO705: Assessment Period Reflection

This reflection is made during the break otherwise timetabled as the first of three weeks of a University assessment period. No work on the Final Major Project FMP module is under assessment at this time. It is simply a break during which work is able to be progressed.

The activities conducted have been:

  • Guest Lectures and
  • Post-processing photographs.

Guest Lectures

The (optional) lectures watched back are:

  • Christiane Monarchi Part 1
  • Christiane Monarchi Part 2
  • David Moore
  • Guy Martin

The guest lecture by Jim Mottram was viewed last year. These lectures have been very useful and represent a blogging task that competes for a limited resource (time) when working on the priority task of making work. It will be necessary for completeness to return and write up the blog posts. It is interesting blogging this point of view when it is still the break.

Post-processing

The methodology employed is to post-process photographs of healing wounds into surreal/abstract style. Subsequent to this is a choice of theme that is essential to building a narrative.

There needs to be an oversupply of candidate images for various outcomes:

  • Exhibition images (for subsequent edit/reduction for the assessment PDF)
  • Book dummy in particular for a group meeting with a Book Designer.

Progress in post-processing

From the outset, time was taken to make the project a research-based project. This has matured and could go on longer than the permitted time for the course but now is coming together as a whole and so making has resumed.

A mixture of figurative images or images with other referents can be seen here. In these images above the referent relates to themes of ghost, inner/outer space, landscape/seascape/mountainscape.

With research ideas in place, making by intuition took take-off once more. As this progressed, that state of flow that is spoken of returned and a variety of outcomes were generated.

Variations sprang forward as in the case of the mind interpreting the outcomes as weird and eerie then finding this feel worked its way into non-healing as you recognise the characteristics in source photographs that likely produce an aesthetic. In particular, there has been an emphasis on synthesising a project theme of inner/outer spaces.

Also, by expanding reading into the Surreal it quickly becomes apparent how geometric manipulations used appropriately can expand the scope of work produced. There is a personal appeal and education bias here. At present, more general acceptance and a decision to proceed will be down to making more geometric manipulations. The purpose is to stimulate structural interest in the original glow images from the trace of healing and life energy.

Module activity has firmly progressed from ArtSci into digital imaging, and from outcomes into how they arise in the conscious mind supported by a reading of the weird and eerie and of the unheimlich and of place.

Another branch being touched upon is a return to further artist research to aid the positioning of practice amongst contemporary photographers.

In the digital post action, it is necessary to limit change if the image becomes overprocessed. For example, banding can occur. In a project that encompasses the real and the imaginary, there is the analogous of realistic depiction and an imaginary version of the image found to be displayed sometimes on screen.

Artefacts first noticed in some processed images in an earlier module returned to haunt a number of edit in FMP. The previous observation was of fringing, now it was of banding.

Eventually, this was traced to image zoom level affecting how the software adapts. The software creates in effect, fleeting visual outcomes that do not exist in reality when saving a file or printing and image. This seemed quite ‘haunting’ until an explanation was found on a technical forum.

The software maker in its attempt to reduce the processing load for a displayed image that is zoomed interpolates the pixel data and injects impermanent changes. Surreal/abstract imagery developed for the FMP Project can be prone to showing the desired finish but it is not possible to save or print.

It is not just the camera that sees differently to the eye, but now the editing software which is deemed an integral part sees differently to the author The camera never lies can be extended to the editor software never lies?

In defence of the software manufacturer, the product is intended for general purpose use within particular specialisms. The type of processing used for the FMP project is susceptible to showing up the problem discussed. It is especially true where there is an openness towards challenging the computing limits.

Integrity checks are now performed on new images during the making. An integrity check would be defined as confirming what is intended is what you see on screen and what you get as a result. We are used to JPEG saves adding artefacts in performing destructive processing when reducing file size. We are already aware of this. It is more of a surprise to see transitional effects that exist completely within the editing software and then vanishes.

If the effect is desirable and needs to be made permanent, then this involves using a camera to photograph the screen. This may or may not be successful by individual image.

Two checks have been routinely incorporated.

First is to add a curves layer with solarisation characteristic. High contrast shows up transitions and identifies banding. Fringing, by comparison, is already directly obvious to the eye.

Curves solar characteristic makes subtle banding more obvious.

Second, as an alternative is to merge layers – the difference is immediately obvious. If editing layers have to be retained then unmerge once the check has been performed.

Finally, try to work at 100% zoom for the true image or switch zoom to check the render. Full zoom at 100%, however, is usually less desirable than fit-to-screen that allows the overall image to be viewed.

Depending on the aesthetic and theme, some forms of banding are referent of DNA testing and so may be desirable in a print.

Reprocessed Photographs

Some photographs taken before FMP have been reprocessed to use more refined techniques that have been developed.

This increases the variety of source material and is consistent with good ethics given the nature of the subject, healing wounds.

More reprocessing is in progress and as the number of outcomes increases a decision can be made.

Narrative

The decision is pending at present around the visual theme. Adding archive to the mix is felt to really strengthen the presentation making it more accessible to the viewer. One processed image has had a second processed image layer added where the still was dropped out of video footage. The combination works well. There is a judgement needed in such pairings and whilst a second paring was found it still remains at present to increase the stock of surreal/abstract images.

PHO705: Christmas Reflection

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

Portfolio Image Processing

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

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

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

Side by side image comparison

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

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

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

Colour Outcomes

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

Colour Abstract Images by Michael Turner

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

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

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

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

Without consideration, the work could become irrelevant too soon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Further Image Development

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

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

FMP Guest Lectures

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

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


Guest Lecture (Publication) – Christiane Monarchi Part 1

Guest Lecture (Publication) – Christiane Monarchi Part 2

Guest Lecture (Publication) – Jim Mortram

Guest Lecture (Publication) – David Moore

Guest Lecture (Publication) – Guy Martin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reminders

Trial PDF making.

Return to video / moving stills making.

Bibliography

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

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

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