PHO705: Effects

This post surprisingly is about layering and effects as it is starting to become late in the day for further development. Finished work will be required imminently.

Follow-on Work from Book Design Meeting

The meeting with book designer Victoria Forrest had taken the direction towards using own genomic data. A 700,000 sample of the human genome from my own test results has been downloaded and secured. It remains to decide how and how far to extend its use and this could be via layering as in three examples created to date.

  • Great grandmother and boy outdoor portrait with glow image overlapped
  • Grandmother posed by rock with glow image and DNA base pair layering
  • A tablet of DNA base pairs overlaid on mono glow image.

Other possibilities are an illustrative option for use for example to add content to a facing page. The theme can either punctuate change or run continuously. This compares with amending each work created to date to incorporate base pairs.

The DNA test data contains autosomal, Y-DNA and mtDNA data. Apparently the test no longer lead to the latter two being made available.

Themes and Use of Effects

Some of the image themes within the overall project lead to the possibility of going to the next level of visual presentation by working with Adobe After Effects. Specifically the Ghost persons themes work well with Spotlight enhancement with motion. Music has also been composed for this. The overall production should be very emotive. However much this is lining up as the next evolution of this work, it kind of was dropped from the project scope for now.

Another thematic element is the use of Effects alongside the inner/outer space visuals or cellular portrayal falling under the heading of Pan Cellular Ex Cellular – all cells are made from cells a reference to the DNA transcription process that enables life and link made to the past.

The cellular theme is ripe for working in Adobe After Effects with Trapcode Particular from Red Giant. Practice in this domain as part of a course or courses completed in advance of the this Falmouth MA Photography course.

For now, this blog post has to be limited to a record of strong intent as expansion into 3D and VFX must not detract from the Assignments. Keep to the plan and the timeline for now.

PHO705: Guest Lecture (Publication) – Christiane Monarchi Part 2

Watch this Guest Lecture video and comment.

This is a lecture designed to help artists/photographers take their work forward and is based on experience in the art market and photography competitions.

The idea is to think of the product and object product quality. Lower quality can be of greater value. Long-lasting ink helps as does a small edition size where 3 might be better than 20 is unique. Start with low prices and grow with later editions after sell out.

Consider mounting so collectors can store as archival photographs and longevity affects price.

Another consideration is to prepare a statement for later to be condensed. Have own words ready to go.

It’s better to have updates on the website rather than separate CV. It is valid to have an interchange say with other students and record their interpretation of work. It is very different to only the artist’s own words and less emotional and personal.

Social media should be about you and promote others exhibitions. Link back to the website.

Advice from an RA talk was given. Then different types of gallery were classified.

In another part of the guest lecture consideration and advice was given over Competitions (and residencies) and of Collectives where people foster creativity and show together.

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: Guest Lecture Sebastian Bruno

The video can be watched here.

An Argentinian photographer based in Wales from Newport University, Bruno is now based in Paris.

Bruno photographed in a dance club above a place he waited in. Using flash created an aesthetic he seemed to use extensively but disliked so turned to black and white.

This reduced the number of images and was more hands-on in developing and printing. He preferred the timeless look with few signs of the modern world.

light breaks where no sun shines pictures from Wales 2013-2019

Duelos y Quebrantos 2104-2018

In another project, Bruno contrasted a small Spanish village that represented his culture with Castilla La Mancha. He followed the places visited by fictional character Don Quixote (and Sancho Panza). This required a lot of travel by foot and sometimes other means.

A book was published, Grief and Sorrow.

The project took 4 years and Bruno needed to obtain part funding for an otherwise self funded project.

Bruno started some editorial work that allowed him to maintain complete control. He tried to work collaboratively and started to create some staged images. The outcome was that some staged images looked un-staged and vice versa.

Here is the library link to the book.

The Dynamic Newspaper 2015-present (Bruno, 2019)

The story of two people who tried to keep the last Abertillery newspaper alive. A commission was offered by the BBC but they would not let Bruno create a film without any previous video skills. In the end, he acted as director and collaborated with a videographer.

Apart from the film, there was an exhibition in Cardiff that included a recreation of the newspaper office. A phone would ring and a voice would direct the viewer around the office.

Julian from the Dynamic is helping to write part of the book. Seven months were spent filming. At the end of this Bruno was very tired and took off a whole of September to rest.

Bruno’s inspiration for storytelling comes from film and literature.

Bibliography

Bruno, S. (2019) The Dynamic Duo. Wales: BBC TWO. Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00098mm.

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.

PHO705: Video Documentary and Video Gamification – WW1

Gamification

The topic is an odd strand of research concerning how if at all, images from a gaming platform could be considered for use within an MA project. A look-see reveals a YouTube review. (Zommin, 2016)

  • Take-away points from this research are:
  • The most brutal war didn’t get much attention in gaming.
  • When it is represented, there is an element of caricature borrowed from gaming
  • Of the few games, there are rendering WW 1; the tendency is towards flying and air combat.
  • An early technology implementation of one flying game was put forward for crowdfunding but failed to raise sufficient funds

One game stands out as a modern technology representation, and that is The Battle of Verdun France, in the video game Verdun. (Blackmill Games, 2017) Pursuing Verdun as a game on XBox video console is likely to be unfruitful. Rather than be critical and halt the further investigation of video gaming, it would make sense to at least experience the game and see what can be found in the visuals. Already found is a reminder of the quote “You will be home by Christmas”.

Verdun as a video game proved relatively unpopular and can be taken as an indicator of the dying interest at least amongst the game-playing public.

Perhaps implied is an only minor public interest in the theme of WW 1. The observation is reflected in comments received during a review and again at an external presentation. For many current generations, there is no personal experience or recollection of WW1. It is a play on memory loss that caused the project to be taken up. Dry data records are transformed into tangible memories of people, of the remote family, before living contact is lost, and all that remains is data, certificates, files and the like with nothing to connect the these into a story.

The emphasis on flying for a publicly accessible game probably says something about a lower interest in land warfare.
Thinking this through also expands the idea to other more standard forms of broadcast video as evidenced by various series of documentary programmes.

Video Documentary

Reference broadcast television.

  • World at War
  • They Shall Not Grow Old (Jackson, 2018)

The latter has helped address a problem of why close relatives did not mention their loss.

An assumption is challenged as to the cause being an immense sense of loss and need to protect well being and that of others. From the quotations below, the light is shone on the demobbed soldiers reports on the attitudes of civilians:

  • People never talked about the war. It was the thing that had no conversational value at all. 
  • Most people were absolutely disinterested. 
  • When I got home my mother and father didn’t seem the least interested in what had happened. They hadn’t any conception of what it was like. 
  • There was no reason anyone of a million of us should get a thank you for getting a little bit muddy and having lost touch with good manners. 
  • On occasions when I did talk about it, my father would argue points of fact that he couldn’t possibly have known about because he wasn’t there. 
  • Every soldier I’ve spoken to has experienced the same thing. We were a race apart from these civilians and you could speak to your comrades and they understood but with civilians, it was just a waste of time. 
  • However nice and sympathetic they were. The attempts of well-meaning people simply reflected the fact they didn’t really understand at all. 
  • I thin the magnitude was just beyond there comprehension. 
  • They didn’t understand that people you’d known and played football with were just killed beside you. 
  • My friend who enlisted with me just lay there like a sack of rags until he went black before anyone thought to bury him. 
  • They knew that people came back covered in mud and live. But they didn’t know the strain of sitting in a trench waiting for something to drop on one’s head. 
  • You couldn’t convey the awful state of things where you lived like animals and behaved like animals. 
  • People didn’t seem to realise what a terrible thing that war was. I think they felt that the war was one continual cavalry charge. They hadn’t any conception, and how could they? 
  • It started off in a reasonable manner but with horseback with swords but they didn’t know it developed into something ghastly. People don’t realise the potential of military equipment. 
  • A man’s life wasn’t worth anything at the end of the war. 
  • None of us were heroes you know. We didn’t like this business of being killed at all. 
  • We were talking amongst ourselves. We used to say Christ we won’t have any more wars like this. 
  • How did we endure it? The answer must be partly the fear of fear. The fear of being found afraid. Another is a belief in human beings and colleagues and of not letting him down. 
  • There may be right on both sides, but I think war is horrible. Everything should be done to avoid war. 
  • I still can’t see the justification for it. It was all really rather horrible. 
  • I think history will decide in the end it was not worthwhile. 
  • The only thing that really did annoy me was when I went back to work after I got demobilised. I went down the stores and the bloke behind the counter was a bloke who I knew. He said where have you been? On nights?

From: They Shall Not Grow Old (Jackson, 2018)

Summary

The issues and the ethics of incorporating other work within a photographic project come to the fore. Balancing this is:

  • Acceptance that family archive material may be incorporated
  • A work such as War Primer 2 (Broomberg, 2018)

Bibliography

Blackmill Games (2017) ‘Verdun’. Netherlands: M2H Blackmill Games. Available at: https://www.ww1gameseries.com/verdun/.

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

Jackson, P. (2018) They Shall Not Grow Old. United Kingdom: BBC TWO. Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0brzkzx/they-shall-not-grow-old.

Zoomin, G. (2016) Top 5 – World War 1 gamesYouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgw7WEHAock.

PHO705: Guest Lecture (Research) – Caroline Molloy

This is the link to the Guest Lecture video.

Caroline studied Visual Anthropology for her MA. She now teaches (third-year student photographers) and is researching for her PhD.

Two main projects were discussed:

  • The Untouched Copy and
  • The Deportment Guide – photographs from a flea market but with identity hidden by hard cropping tops of heads)

The first project shown was about studios based initially in India. On a personal note as a Studio worker, it remains true that the MA Project is conducted outside of the studio environment.

By re-visiting India, to re-photograph what was revealed were the numbers of studios impacted by digital, and how this led to closures. Backgrounds had been traditional Victorian (photography had been a Victorian export to the colony).

The project themes were; studios, the owners, and the transition eventually from photographic film. Some research objectives firmed up during the project. In order to get permission to photograph the studio owner Caroline needed to agree to being photographed. This made the genre Autoethnographic. There were many norms to be learned in making the work. Communication and cultural norms had to be learned.

The work moved from studio to studio, following recommendations. Interviews were to be had with owners, their families. The work spread wider as the story and structure were forming.

Studio owners made a living but may have had to also sell gems or even slippers. There is a clear commercial side to photography in addition to the academic.

Caroline was very open about her work. The work went through a transitional phase and entered a liminal space. She adopted socially engaged conversations.

Cultural aspects mentioned:

  • Sending a business card with a model’s photo (not her own)
  • Mother Teresa played down by the official photographer
  • Owner not wanting to be photographed with flowers
  • Photograph me I’ll photograph you
  • A backdrop of English garden scene

Each point involved an unexpected re-interpretation or potential misunderstanding.

While the work was being made and interviews were obtained a notebook was kept that became part of the published work.

As an autoethnographer, it took time to learn. Knowing the kinds of questions to ask is important.

The work went public and was exhibited in Jaipur. Initially, there was a book made on Blurb with a page layout of; photo, photo, notebook, notebook.

After a series of annual trips, it became clear that Autoethnographic communities needed to be more accessible i.e. within walking distance. Carolin’s work turned to the Turkish community in London. This project examines Turkish studio practice, English studio practice and the emerging mix of the two.

Access to the subject is key to our MA students. The work still has to be true to the students’ ambitions and be authentic.

Bibliography

All photographs courtesy Caroline Molloy Autoenthnographer from Falmouth University guest lecture (research).