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.


  • 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 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: Digital Darkroom Analysis for Motherline

This post follows on from PHO705: Symposium – Good Picture 2019 “Imaging Revealed”

A detail was examined of the source of image glow in humans

Michael Turner based on UV image by Dr J Crowther

Access to imaging scientists led to emanation being discarded as it is undetectable. Instead, attention is brought to body reflection in the visible light spectrum. The scope was introduced for a secondary effect caused by visible light having triggered bacterial fluorescence.

Further research and reflection have guided change and resulted in the adaption of digital darkroom processing that now uses simpler steps that are easier to manage and more flexible in fine-tuning the healing wound image.

Motherline (mtDNA) and Glow

The ancestral basis of identification between individuals had been established through the Motherline as an image Aura or Emanation.

The method still stands, but as trace rather than direct emanation. Trace is in cellular heat created by mtDNA / ATP processes. This is largely through the increased blood supply at a healing wound. Blood contains levels of mtDNA as do all of the other cells but does not contain nuclear DNA. Direct emanation by humans is a measurable process but it is only detectable using scientific instruments.

We have to discount bacterial fluorescence. Bacteria are necessary to our existence and are present in great numbers alongside our human cells. However, bacteria are not genetically human and so the glow created by bacterial fluorescence cannot be attributed to the ancestral link but to the general population instead. Bacterial glow does not develop the psychological process of identification with ancestors.


Equivalence has been found between:

Process A

In HDR Tone

Compress (gamma) and simplify (slider)

In Levels

Spread and decompress (gamma)

Process B (new)

Simplify (ACR Clarity)

Colour layer | Luminance

In Levels


Comparison A versus B

The effects are equivalent and the number of steps the same. Method A can lose image data by compressing and decompressing where Method B preserves data. Method B. This gives more scope to subtly enhance the through colour channel (RGB) adjustments.


Processing Method A (HDR Tone) remains valid although there is no direct detection of IR. Method B can be adopted in its place for improved data retention and colour processing. The effect applied can be more readily followed.

Visible light detection is what is present and derives mainly from the blood supply to and around the healing wound and is connected to Motherline mtDNA although. As nuclear DNA is not presented in blood this makes the detection a close.

PHO705: Symposium – Good Picture 2019 “Imaging Revealed”

Note concerning project naming:

The name Motherline is introduced into blog usage below as it is now being adopted. Motherline refers to the photography of healing wounds and the resultant abstract glow images from a digital post method.

Imaging Science

Long-awaited, the Symposium on imaging science took place at the University of Westminster. on Saturday 14 December 2019.

The opportunity existed to be introduced and meet people from the scientific and medical community. A number of those present were from the Kodak or Ilford companies and from the Universities or other professional bodies.

Imaging science participants were generous in giving their time to listen to the Motherline image glow and the post-processing techniques used.

Michael Turner based on UV image by Dr J Crowther
Michael Turner based on UV image by Dr J Crowther

A processed image was created from a UV image portrait captured after the Symposium talk Imaging the Skin – UV, visible light and IR

As preparation for attending the conference, research was conducted into image compression and decompression, as the techniques used in enhancing glow in Motherline photographs.

It became possible to describe to a medical forensic imaging expert the art interpretations of glow in healing and in return obtain vital and conclusive feedback.

A detailed discussion was had on the processing steps for potential infrared detection. The wavelengths for emanations from healing wounds at human body temperature are very long wavelength, well beyond consumer camera detection capability. The conclusion was that there will be no detection of IR emanation.

Where IR is received by a smartphone camera, in the example of the domestic remote control, the wavelength is short enough to be detected depending on the exact optics of a specific camera, lens and bayesian filter.

Blood Supply |Bacterial Fluorescence

However, in the project photography there is a glow present, so where does it come from? A general news article explains (Hrala, 2016).

Foremost is the presence of blood supply around a healing wound.

Potentially there is fluorescence present. Bacteria gather in the region of a healing wound. When excited by an external light source a glow will appear in the visible spectrum. A Japanese research paper examines this in detail (Koboyashi, 2009)

Detection used a cooled CCD in conditions of complete darkness. With a prosumer camera, there is no detection of direct bodily emanation from a healing wound. Rather than emanation, an external light source excites the bacteria and produces fluorescence in the visible light spectrum.

Both of these effects are the likely cause of the glow that appears in the photo project images.


Hrala, J. (2016) You Can’t See It, But Humans Actually Glow With Our Own Form of Bioluminescencescience alert. Available at:

Koboyashi, M., Daisuke, K. and Okamura, H. (2009) Imaging of Ultraweak Spontaneous Photon Emission from Human Body Displaying Diurnal RhythmPLOS | ONE. Available at:

PHO705: Recombinant Rhymes and DNA Art

Project development: rhymes, art and naming of the photo project.

Oxford definition.

This post is an extension of the Recombinant Rhymes and DNA Art (McNamee, 2019) feature in the blog post, PHO705: Research Artsci, Communicating Science Visually, Computational Biology and a new Avant-Garde

The intention is to deliver something art-based (rhyme or graphic text or image titles) over the upcoming period between terms as noted in the Final Proposal. An intention is to experiment to discover if contextualisation and visual language can be built with Recombinant Rhymes or DNA Art.

The idea is to use imagination in selecting words like TELEOLOGICAL that contain DNA base letters ACGT and combine them for effect, perhaps making a video with a reading of a rhyme. Words are intended to be selected for their connection to narratives of the project.

Select from the following ACGT words for some connected meaning:



  • Advocating 
  • Fracturing conflagrations
  • Countervailing 
  • Lethargic contagiousness

Interestingly, the validated list contains the terms Abstracting and Photographic.

Project naming

In short, “Motherline” is the name presently chosen. This is less politically charged than the earlier proposed project name “Matriarchy”.

Matriarchy like patriarchy has political overtones, so is not so attuned to the themes of the work.

Motherline is derived here from the post PHO705: Visual Language of DNA Testing and the terms:

  • Family Ancestry (autosomal DNA)
  • Motherline Ancestry (mtDNA)
  • Fatherline Ancestry (Y-DNA)


McNamee, A. (2019) ‘Art of Now Recombinant Rhymes and DNA Art’. A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4. Available at:

PHO705: Colour

The previous portfolio settled on monochrome and red. It is interesting to re-discover the following quotation from an external to MA course, The Power of Colour. KLC School of Design.

The following colour interpretations are there to be agreed or disagreed with.

“According to Benjamin Whorf’s Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis, the language a person speaks determines how he or she experiences the world. This can affect how someone perceives colour. For example, the Shona language in Zimbabwe does not distinguish between red and orange. There seems to be a pattern, however, in the order in which all languages recognise colours: all languages appear to have a name for black and white, and if a third colour is recognised, that is red, and next comes yellow or green. “

“People who live in sunny climates prefer warm, bright colours, whereas those from places with less sunlight prefer cooler, less saturated colours.”

Quotations from KLC School of Design

There is a useful article What Colors Mean in Other Cultures. This proved useful in the past and so is brought into the scope of this blog post.

Another colour reference is marketing related Colours Across Cultures: Translating Colours in Interactive Marketing Communications


Colour Psychology

Colour Psychology has been extensively written about, and again here in Chivers and Wright. However, there is often a willingness to accept what is prescribed yet the verdict around any rules and interpretations is open in terms of there being no absolute scientific validity.


KLC School of Design

PHO705: Modernism

A re-exploration of the roots of Abstract in Bauhaus, Modernism, Post Modernism and Abstract Expressionism. Here, for now, a start is made.

This blog post serves as a reminder to revisit the developments that led to Abstract Art. This research was started in an earlier module. As there is a link to the chosen abstract genre for the final photo project, there is a reason to extend the reading.

Historic references are recorded here from external to MA studies:

  1. Spotlight on Walter Gropius
  2. The Bauhaus Movement (see timeline at the end of this blog post)
  3. Johannes Itten Biography

Further inquiry begins here with Rothko and Albers.

Mapped History of Abstract Art

(Affron, 2012) Inside front cover

Note: attended Tate Modern Exhibition of Natalia Goncharova during Assessment Period 4.

Marc Rothko

Rothko has had numerous mentions in this blog over the past 18 months:

Josef Albers

Albers work gained mention in an external course on colour but did not gain mention within the scope of this MA blog other than a blog this week PHO705: Artist Jake Wood Evans. To right this here a quotation is taken verbatim from (Affron, 2012) Page 302 as it ties together a number of references:

“Itten’s tenure at the Bauhaus was notoriously marked by the increasing incompatibility between the Expressionist and esoteric impulses of Ittenand his cohort and the functionalist ethos for which the school would become known. That tension is latent in Josef Albers’s Gitterbild (Lattice Picture), also known as Grid Mounted … Working on this piece as a student in the glass workshop of the Bauhaus, Albers cut and arranged squares on manufacturers’ samples of glass within a regular metal lattice. On the one hand, this straightforward grid composition foregrounds the materiality and variety of industrially produced glass, divested of the conventional esoteric connotations of coloured glass panes, for example in church windows. (Albers had created a stained glass window for a church four years earlier, and he would have been thoroughly familiar with the mystical connotations of stained glass). And yet, as light passes through Albers’ grid, Kandinsky’s immaterial fantasy of unbounded colour returns, finding subtle expressions through the chromatic emanation of light.”

(Affron. 2012) Page 302
Gitterbild (Lattice Picture) / Grid Mounted Josef Albers

The above plate is from the book Inventing Abstraction (Affron, 2012)

Alfred Stieglitz

Stieglitz work (Birgus, 2002) Pages 44 and 45 have visual similarities with the earlier portfolio images created for the MA as well as the current crop of images. Interestingly the 4×5 print format is common.

Images – Alfred Stieglitz

Laslo Maholy-Nagy

Having read photographic theory expounded by this writer and artist, and now having viewed a particular image, a chord has been struck. It concerns the appearance of the Christian symbol of the cross as it recurred in earlier work in the build-up to the MA portfolios.

In memory of Sibyl Maholy-Nagy – Laslo Maholy-Nagy

Wassily Kandinsky

Kandinsky is linked in the quotation above and has been previously blogged.

PHO703: Week 1 to 12 Surfaces and Strategies Contextualisation


Affron, M., Bois, Y. and et al (2012) Inventing Abstraction 1910-1925. 3rd 2014. Edited by D. Frankel. New York: Department of Publications Museum of Modern Art. Available at:

Birgus, V. et al. (2002) Die Kunst der Abstrakten Fotografie The Art of Abstract Photography. Edited by Jager Gottfried. Stuttgart, Germany: Arnoldsche Art Publishers.


PHO705: Visual Language of DNA Testing

There are different commercial services that provide DNA testing connected with ancestry. One service is mentioned here as they have an option to have a personalised book and that fits well with researching visual language of DNA. Two services were inspected:

This is a continuation of earlier research. It looks at a specific book product of commercial DNA testing. The idea is to gain awareness of public perceptions around DNA by examining the visual language used by a company promoting DNA testing.

This current phase of research is prompted by the order and eventual arrival of a personalised analysis “Your DNA Adventure” (LivingDNA, 2019).

The content is predicated on three types of DNA we possess.

  • Family Ancestry (autosomal DNA)
  • Motherline Ancestry (mtDNA)
  • Fatherline Ancestry (Y-DNA)

As the photo project majors on the Motherline (a term now preferred to matriarchy as it softens potential for feminist bias.

The motherline is highly stable over thousands of years and once a change does occur it is passed down to descendants. The top-level term used is Haplogroup within which exist Subclades.

Descriptive language then takes over preventing opaqueness and is a strategy noted elsewhere for keeping others engaged.

There is a very good reference section to explore.

Within the publication the visual themes range across:

  • trees on African savanna (covers)

Note: The visual references are probably best viewed as a publication rather than my translate to text here.


LivingDNA (2019) Michael Turner – Your DNA Adventure.

PHO705: Research Artsci, Communicating Science Visually, Computational Biology and a new Avante-Garde

Following the visit to the Wellcome Museum, it was clear that others must be working in an area where art is created from science.

Artsci is the term coined in the book (Miller, 2014) where Artsci acknowledges a convergence of Arts, Science and Technology.

Colliding Worlds – How Cutting-Edge Science is Redefining Contemporary Art (Miller 2014)

The work in bulk extensively sells the market for Artsci, by giving innumerable personal reflections on individual contributor after individual contributor, yet this is rebalanced in the final chapter by doubts over the acceptance of Artsci in restricted / specialist galleries being deemed almost gimmicky as an art form. However, examples are made in the ending of the rejection of Picasso and the Impressionists who had to set up their own groups. And so it is left to the reader as to whether or not to take up the “cause” of Artsci.

Millar describes the technical evolution of technology in computing in this book (Millar, 2014). So much resonates with my early career in technology as a world in which artist and scientist no longer are viewed strictly different disciplines. Art and science and engineering are disciplines seen as having a conceptual touchpoint in terms of methodologies e.g. minimalism and cubism.

An electronic signal called a butterfly transform, photographed on Polaroid film, was one of my earliest technical visualisations. I designed and built an electronic circuit to automatically tune to a signal frequency of a type used to communicate with deep space satellites. The active tuning process was viewed on an oscilloscope and the overall capture presented on film. During development one of the early characteristics was that of a squegging oscillator which pulsed on and off due to design tolerance issue in this automatic circuit. This was around the time that a successful MSc application was made to study the subject of Cybernetics that involves the control of machinery using feedback and software controllers. A funding issue arose that prevented the place from being taken up. Besides this, an economic downturn occurred that would certainly have blocked an immediate return to research and development within the industry.

The book runs a direct parallel to my early involvement in computing, discusses the various technological art movements and the establishment of schools for such art.

The book also discriminates between Media and Fine Art the former being linked to crafts and it notes the rejection that occurred on many fronts.

However, with repeated incursions of technology into art and advances in the modern world, it is argued that contemporary art can no longer exist without the structures and knowledge of the scientific world and they are seen to combine.

Artists are seen to look towards science and without getting directly involved with expensive equipment instead read the ideas and then through contemporary art communicate these ideas. Scientists look towards artists to understand how they approach a topic e.g. Nils Bhor and the wave-particle dichotomy of physics and the resolution of this through Picasso and the advent of Cubism, where it is fine to have multiple perspectives present all at once.

The question has to be where does this lead to in terms of the Final photo project? Well, it resolves why the author takes a technological view of art and provides an independent and solid standing. The intent of the work becomes understood in the wider context.

The book identifies the avant-garde as being the convergence of art, science and technology and it is seen as an exciting frontier in Contemporary art.

There is a summary for Antony Gormley, his influences including in science, and his work which was on display in London during visits there.

Another outcome is a strengthened resolve so as to honour or be true to one’s life experiences. Otherwise work would remain conflicted.

Had this work been uncovered earlier in the course, there would have been the time need to develop programmed work such as animations. These would be over and above the glow images attributed to mtDNA. What there is also are elements of identification (determined through psychoanalysis).

The book has been difficult to put down and yet the historical side has to stop at some point to allow time for project progress.

Computational Biology – Human Proteome Folding

Following a career in research and development in electronics and computing, sometime later, there was a formative even if only a side involvement in grid computing donating spare machine cycles to do then return completed calculations to researchers in computational biology. This was in the search for new drug treatments.

Specifically, spare machine cycles were donated to human proteome folding projects. These projects are highly visual as protein formation and attachment is shape-dependent.

These projects go back to around 2004 and there is little visual material remaining. In lieu of this, a TEDtalk was discovered that ably shows the visuals (Dill, 2013).

For 50 years, the “protein folding problem” has been a major mystery. How does a miniature string-like chemical — the protein molecule – encode the functions of living organisms: how our muscles exert force, how our immune systems reject pathogens, how our eyes see our surroundings, how plants convert solar energy, and all the rest. Huge progress is being made. Moreover, these amazing nano-machines could play important roles in health and disease and commerce in the future.

(Dill, 2013)

What this post identifies is what is behind the intent in making the photo project.

Art of Now

Research uncovered a BBC Radio 4 broadcast Art of Now. (McNamee, 2019)

Recombinant Rhymes and DNA Art

The successful sequencing of the human genome has not only had huge implications for medicine, bio-technology and the life sciences – but it has also provoked a great and growing reaction among artists and writers.

Anna McNamee meets poets, visual artists and scientists collaborating creatively on the frontiers of DNA science in a genre that Pulitzer Prize-nominated author of AI Renaissance Arthur Miller calls Art Sci.

In Melbourne, the bio-animator Drew Berry tells how his dramatic but scientifically exact visualizations of cellular and molecular processes have earned him fans around the world – including the musician Bjork. 

The poet Sue Dymoke and the structural biologist Pietro Roversi reveal how their creative partnership has resulted in a three-dimensional, topsy turvy poem called DNA Time that mimics DNA’s unique and complex structure. 

In his lab, the Canadian experimental poet Christian Bök has successfully encoded his work into the DNA of a bacterium creating what is essentially a living poem.

While at the European Bioinformatics Institute near Cambridge, the artist and filmmaker Charlotte Jarvis and the scientist Dr Nick Goldman have stored music in DNA which they then suspended in a soap solution and used to blow bubbles, quite literally, bathing their audiences in music.”

(McNamee, 2019)

Drew Berry

Drew Berry is a biomedical animator at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia. He produces animations of proteins and protein complexes to illustrate cellular and molecular processes (Berry, 2011).


Animation Development

Berry describes the molecular level being sub-light wavelength and how he gained inspiration from the accurate scale drawings of David Goodsell:

Beyond this Berry incorporates measurements of cell dynamics and microscopic observations of larger cell structures to create his animations. His intent is to make work that viewers can take-in with avoidance of technical descriptions and acronyms which otherwise make the subject opaque and turn off the viewer (Berry, 2012)

Animations from Berry and molecular biologists and cell biologists:


Berry, D. (2011) Animations of unseeable biology. Australia: TEDxSydney. Available at:

Berry, D. (2012) Communicating Science Visually. USA: The Broad Institute. Available at:

Dill, K. (2013) The protein folding problem: a major conundrum of science. TEDxSBU: TED Talks. Available at:

McNamee, A. (2019) ‘Art of Now Recombinant Rhymes and DNA Art’. A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4. Available at:

Miller, A. I. (2014) Colliding Worlds – How Cutting-Edge Science is Redefining Contemporary Art. New York and London: W. W. Norton and Company. Available at:

PHO705: Omnis Cellula ex Cellula

… all cells come from a previously existing cell.

This research arises from a connection established with a geneticist. The value here is in the development of visual language for contextualisation of the photo project.

Mitotic Division is examined by augmented reality with the following app and educational workbook:

Note: Select English under the triple bar menu

The emphasis moved closer towards an interest in mitochondria explored in another recent blog post. While there is an abundance of archive images that explore the matriarchal lines of family, the visual context around genetics is being developed having been more restricted materially and in terms of ideas, which are constantly being expanded.


The pdf says to print off the guidance – the app seems to work when reading the graphics directly from the screen graphics when Adobe Acrobat (or another reader is used).

PHO705: Guest Lecture Nick Dunmur AoP

Nick Dunmur on video.

Students are able to join the AOP. I met Nick at the 2018 Birmingham Photography Show. The guest lecture is well-timed as the Forth cohort begin to take their work public.

Your pictures your copyright

Copyright automatically belongs to you. Exceptions exist for images used in the US which need to be registered with the US Copyright Office USCO.

Cover exists for 70 years from the end of the year the author survives.

Assign is like selling your house. License is like rent.

Copyright exceptions:

  • employment (full-time salaried staff)
  • incidental inclusion
  • criticism and review
  • research and private study

Other exceptions:

  • parody
  • private use
  • orphan works

Edges are not clearly defined and funny is subjective.

If you blew up a Crewdson print and put it on your wall, you’d have to safeguard it from anyone else seeing it. That would be difficult to get away with.

A fee can be paid to the IPO for orphan work in case there is a later challenge,

Different ways of contracting exist in different areas.

Advertising, Design and Corporate sector

  • Media
  • Territory
  • Time

… are the basis of charging

  • Exclusivity
  • Base Usage Rate

BUR wants to start at a daily rate. You’ll never negotiate up from a low figure but may wish to negotiate down from a higher figure.

Editorial Markets

There are many titles and only a few publishers. They may offer you a contract. It is not an employment contract.

First British Serial Rights FSBR would say cover one issue and thereafter the photographer regains the copyright for Second British Serial Rights. Check if Syndication is mentioned as this could cause your work to be reused. Check if a fee is mentioned and whether or not the fee level is acceptable.

If versions of paperwork appear then check and refute anything that is out of line. Anything issued once the work has started is post-contract and not acceptable.

Moral rights

Assert your moral right to be credited as the creator of your own work. Assert in writing. They are obliged to give you credit. You may have knocked off a percentage of the fee for this so it would be a loss.

You have a right to prevent derogatory use of your work, for example with a portrait if they resize an image to fit a box or crop an edge off and it makes your work look amateurish. Similarly, you do not want someone else’s work to be attributed as yours as it may affect your professionalism and stop a client from hiring you.

There is a right of the commissioner to prevent publication. A newly married couple could return from honeymoon to find their wedding photos all over social media before they have even seen the photographs.

Moral right cannot be sold but can be wavered.

Put a statement on your website to assert your moral rights.

When a contract is given to you it may be boilerplate and not be suited to your contract. Rebut if it is wrong. The person issuing the contract typically has a second, third and fourth version where you cannot agree.

Read everything in a contract before you agree or sign. Send copies of your terms to different departments as finance may never talk to the creative group. If you give them a PDF include a layer to remind them of the terms of use. Otherwise, include a terms file with the JPEG.

Software plug-ins

These plug into Lightroom. There is a plugin to populate an image with meta-data. Another to track and manage image use.