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

Watch this Guest Lecture video and comment.

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

Gaps were found in the offerings of:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

t: @photomonitor

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

Some Inspiring Platforms were listed:

Anyone with new ideas is encouraged to get in contact.

Response to Online Publication.

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

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

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

PHO705: Thinking allowed/aloud

As current research continues into Phenomenology and mtDNA, a break is taken to cast ahead to publication. The work has to be taken to the public and is still experimental as shown in PHO705: WEEK 9 REFLECTION. Some of the making stages in the plan will arrive soon enough.

It makes sense to gather some direction even though the desire is there to complete work in progress reading as mentioned in PHO705: WEEK 10 REFLECTION.

Thinking through one idea here has a purpose of creating a Strawman. This will have enough form or structure or clarify the artistic design. This idea is about a book and starts with Ghost images. These creations appear fleetingly and have to be captured before they disappear. There is a need to conquer this and to avoid there being no work of this type to show. Apparitions are always welcome to this work but the nature of creating them is open to the random. A perhaps predictable but nevertheless still surprising element of this randomness occurred during a period of distraction in which Ghost images began to appear in other made work, outside of the main project. Perhaps these intrusions are just another type of Ghost, linked to the main project by occurring during the project timescale.

In the previous module, an attempt was made to help progress by restricting image scope to abstract Landscape. At first, this was a mistaken choice. As with Ghosts, Landscapes are also subject to random process but nevertheless, they regularly feature in the work.

The experience was somewhat worrying as having restricted scope to landscape the theme was worked towards for a solid two weeks and the worst – no Landscape could be made. Letting intuition take over the method of obtaining the desired result was finally fathomed. A way of making at will was settled on which largely depended on recognising the kind of processed starting image that might work. There is an earlier Landscape representation with horizontals and verticals that would have been readily obtained from the start, which may still feature as published work, but what it had led to was a more imaginative scene that required more sophisticated processing more akin to perspective images as compared to earlier flatter images.

All this is taken as a lesson learned around the intuitive making versus something closely allied to a ‘commissioned’ approach.

The Week 9 reflection above turned up a Ghost of the kind sought. But what if that was it? in this case, it might be necessary to showcase the image as a full-page and in a process of categorisation accompany it with earlier ghost images as a plate of smaller inserts.

There is a process of categorisation that would work equally as well with the works other representations (seascapes/mountainscapes and spaces inner/outer). Each theme is linked phenomenologically with narratives of the work but each would stand as page layouts again of main plate and plate of earlier images at a smaller scale.

This is not the final piece, but thus far it has an appeal. It leads to making and it does so in a structured way and way familiar to the author and in some respects reflective of Victorian categorisation schemes e.g. in Botany.

To take this a stage further is to keep a keen eye on an Exhibition element of publication. Having learned from visits of a knowledgeable public to a Summer exhibition of recent work, the idea would be to take from this experience the things that worked well with the audiences especially around sequenced narrative and incorporate it into the same book design mentioned above. A book section that parallels an Exhibition.

There then becomes a substantive element of making to propose and gather feedback on from the University regards the standards of the MA Photography course. It would also be necessary to maintain balance, i.e. not try and squeeze a long term project into the remaining time on the MA.

What this is about is the practicalities of making images of publishable standard, about a book and about an exhibition.

There are extras planned either to assist the design such as using ISSUU as a template for hand, bookbinding. Or, to help create impactfully contextualisation by making moving stills and or a video. This created the atmosphere at the earlier summer exhibition.

The exhibition has some elements that are rooted such as the available space and the possibility for lunchtime pop-ups during appropriate photographic training sessions. Some elements would be more aspirational at present, such as making society presentations at one or both societies with which there is an affiliation. This is a likely outcome but does not have to happen within the timeframe of the MA, it can follow on. Another group or in fact two groups have made approaches although generally so and not so much around a specific project.

The aspirational elements represent To-do action if something is to be achieved. For the purpose of the MA and continuity, it might make sense to negotiate with the various societies and groups, the further taking of the work to public view but time this to allow freedom to complete substantive work for the MA without too much self-imposed overload.

PHO705: Guest Lecture (Publication) – Sarah Davidmann (Uncut)

Sarah is a lecturer at London’s LCC

Here is the lecture. The main photographic project is based on letters between sisters over a hidden relationship that of a secret transgender female Ken married to one of the sisters known as aunt Hazel. All this was at a time when there was no recognition or language to frame identities.

Identity was sympathetically dealt with and Ken becomes K(ay) and her or she.

There is a book “Ken – to be destroyed”. This began as a small personal project but created an unexpected level of interest. The conversation led to working on the project and exhibiting in Liverpool. There were uncertainties from gaps in the texts.

Sarah found more including family photographs. As she worked with the materials this led to working physically in the darkroom as a natural extension of handling physical materials. The working with a family archive was a first for Sarah.

The work is robust having nowadays a universal message of identity. The work presents well as small groups of images and as a book.

The book was a collaboration with Val Williams who helped with the edit that combined family archive material with Sarah’s work. Working collaboratively proved very useful.

Both Sarah and today’s host began their artistic lives as painters.

The personal aspects were seen to be of interest to audiences. There is a universality of family with all the problems family present that viewers can insert themselves into.

Another aspect of the German Jewish family is the next piece of work. It is still, based on family history but now covers the Holocaust. The project is approached from a very personal perspective and in an intimate way. An album carried on the Kindertransport is a material source for this new work.

Final Photo Project

Sarah’s project was allowed to develop and that is important compared to planning exactly how the work should be from the outset.

A point in common is the use of family archive photographs. High-resolution scanning, alternative processing of the images and concentrating on the surface condition are strong elements of Sarah’s work. Obliteration of identity became a step in which aunt was translated into clothing only or into the uncle.

This compares with using the photos for the final photo project which are scanned for smaller size reproduction. The idea was not to overwhelm the abstract images at the core of the project. Recently one image from the archive was layered with an image of mitochondrial glow and connecting thus with an ancestor from the maternal line. This has a key significance.

The history of a family is also common as is the impact of 20th-century war.

Bibliography

Photographs Sarah Davidmann from Falmouth Guest Lecture

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.