Saturday, 11 December 2010

Late 2010

2010 is marching toward an end. It has been a fairly productive year and after receiving confirmation of passing my MA, I think it is a good time to update this blog.

Overall, I received a 60% pass mark for the MA in Digital Imaging and Photography which i'm satisfied with and would put down as a fair reflection of my effort and ability. Looking forward to the graduation in January.

Academic marks aside, way back in October I applied for an unpaid internship with Sheffield's international centre for contemporary art (The Site Gallery). After finally attending an informal interview on Friday 10th December, I left with a buzz and a sense that working in a gallery space whether it be arts administration or technical set up, is a path i'd like to venture down.

The people I met at Site were genuinely some of the most welcoming i've been in contact with and made me aware that undertaking an internship with them would be a great opportunity to plug gaps in my CV and hopefully equip me with an understanding of similar environments.

I was incredibly pleased to get a call not long after the interview offering me the chance to undertake an internship with a focus on technical setup with elements of arts admin. I've accepted and am due to start in January. I'm going into the Christmas period geared up for a fresh challenge in the New Year.

It is worth noting that currently at Site there is a thought provoking installation from Richard William Wheater. Wheater works with glass and neon signage requiring a great deal of skill to achieve half decent results. The material I read described his current skill level as basic. During the time I spent with the installation, the artist tinkered with his portable neon-making equipment and pondered a multitude of tubing while intermittently heating and manipulating glass. In summary, Wheater is spending a two week period honing his practical skill in neon signage, with each day's result being displayed and illuminated behind him. The displayed work should chart a personal progression. Although the piece sounds fairly basic, the noise coupled with the artist's concentration makes for an a mesmerising yet unnerving viewing experience the longer I watched on. Very much worth popping in if any readers visit Sheffield. A final evening event takes place on Friday 17th December at 6pm.

My own production of work has ground to a halt in all honesty. I've captured a few images for no other reason than to get to grips with some new Cokin filters. They all depict rural South Yorkshire countryside.

I'll update in the New Year unless I venture out with the camera anymore.

Monday, 4 October 2010

What next?

Since finishing the MA, I have applied for an internship with contemporary art gallery, 'Site Gallery' in Sheffield. I feel an internship will give me an understanding of how galleries and exhibitions operate, and provide me with an avenue into arts administration and technical setup.

I plan to keep producing work of my own and will use this blog to store my thoughts.

Exhibition Comments

It is now over a week since the exhibition and i've had a bit of time to reflect on how it went. The main points to stem from exhibiting my work are;

* Pleasing that the piece evokes more than just basic sympathy/interest. Much of the feedback speaks more of empathy.

* Tension and unease was present with some audience members. The opposite to what i'd thought, but on reflection, peering into a strangers home whether permitted or not raises an element of voyeurism. I'd expected boundaries between audience and image to be weakened, welcoming them in.

* Although it was not an aim of the piece to play on emotional tension, it has added an extra dimension to the work and contributes to its success.

* The voyeuristic thread was overlooked during production.

* Being uneasy yet curious is something the images tap into effectively.

* Semi-objective captions strike a balance between being far enough away from the images and adding poignancy.

Images from the exhibition are shown below. Harsh reflections from the poor lighting were massively detrimental, if the work is exhibited elsewhere lighting needs to be considered carefully.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Printed and Framed

Yesterday was spent under the guidance of Mike Downing (many thanks), resizing, applying minor image adjustments and finally printing my exhibition images.

In total the exhibition piece is to feature 12 images, as 18-20 was felt to be too many. Also, using 18-20 images would mean the images having to be split into two locations.

Early issues included the white border of a printed image being too large. This resulted in it being visible when mounted. The was worked around by enlarging the images proportionally and having them fill a larger area on the paper. Even this did not leave much margin for error and it was fairly time consuming to ensure the images were mounted correctly.

After resizing, the printing process started around 10:30ish in the morning and I had the last image in its frame around 2:30ish. On average, each image took about 20mins from print to frame. An image was printed in a little over 10mins meaning another 10mins was spent mounting and framing each.

The next steps scheduled for this coming week will be to re-screw the hanging hooks into landscape configuration and clean the outside of the glass. The inside of the glass was wiped over with a microfibre cloth to pick up any loose debris at the time of framing. I'm a massive clean freak so if I notice any bits inside the frame they'll have to be opened up again during exhibition set-up.

Generally i'm pleased with the way the images printed. Minor criticism (and maybe i'm nit picking) is that some areas of some images are a little bit dark. This might be to do with the lighting in the room and may not bother me too much in a better lit location. Also, the image of the wooden camel seems to be a bit yellow, again this might be to do with the conditions i'm viewing it under so it will need to be looked at in the exhibition area before any thoughts are turned to a reprint.

Screenshots below were taken on my phone while waiting and show the images being printed and some already in frames;

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Plugging the research gap - Dennie Eagleson

I found a practitioner called Dennie Eagleson during research undertaken for earlier portfolios. The portfolios were effectively designed to propose what I planned to do for the final piece, how it was supported etc. Problem is, some research made it into the portfolios and not onto here.

As the evaluation document refers heavily to this blog, I need to add research only appearing in portfolio 1/2 to this online repository too. But i'll be brief.

The images are scans from;

Eagleson, D. (2008) “Dennie Eagleson: Archaeology of a Life (2004)” , in Belt, F.A (Ed.) Understanding and Creating Sophisticated Images, Oxford: Focal Press, pp. 136 – 139

Eagleson ventured into the home of her mother after her death to document it and explore a personality. The exploration of her mother's life and personality has been conveyed through still-life photography. I found the use of natural lighting, minimal lighting and angle particularly interesting. It also made me consider that I needed to be careful to have a continuous thread running through my still-life piece to give a complete, true and informative reflection of a life. Something that I feel Eagleson only partially succeeds in doing.

Anyway, visuals;

3 weeks until exhibition

With the book finalised, the checkpoints below need to be met too;

Saturday 4th September: Decide which 18-20 images are to be exhibited in print and transfer to their own folder.

Wednesday 8th September: Meeting with everyone involved in the MA exhibition at 1300. I personally need to conclusively decide where my images will hang. Ideally the private viewing should be confirmed as 24th September 1700 - 1900.

Friday 10th September: Resizing, printing and framing final images.

Monday 13th September: Place the order for promotional flyers.

Monday 20th - Friday 24th: Clearing of areas, final setup and hanging of images.

I'm also in the process of putting the final evaluation together, the sections i'm writing under are;

- Introduction
- Recap and overview
- Overview of key research
- Process reflection
- Post shoot workflow and RAW conversion
- Readying for book
- Book layout
- Summarising development
- Exhibition setup
- Closing summary

The write-up is time consuming but i'm being careful to be reflective, critical and direct regarding the development of the project. Where possible i'm referring the reader to this blog for major parts of research to save repeating myself.

Book progress update

The start of September has seen the MA programme gather yet more pace and on Friday 3rd September I received the test book from Blurb.

The image quality is manageable but if i'm honest I expected more, some are a little grainy which i'm fairly sure isn't a problem my end. Also, some images are annoyingly dark. This really is a pain as I did everything to avert it. As mentioned in earlier posts, I calibrated my screen, used the correct ICC profile and soft proofed correctly.

To try and resolve the darkness issue, i've raised the brightness in all images to a maximum of +20 depending on the image. These brighter images have been replaced in the book creation software and a new order (the last before exhibition) placed with Blurb. There is no guarantee that the next batch of books will be printed on the same machine which is a little worrying.

On a positive note, I like the relaxed and intimate feel to the book. The white, clean layout with emotive captions works really well and focuses the audience's attention to where it should be.

Images below are not exactly great but have been quickly taken to illustrate what the test book looks like;

Friday, 27 August 2010

Online presence

One point to come out of the last tutor meeting was that most photographers have some sort of online presence. It would help my project to have a web address that visitors to the exhibition can visit to view the work in their own time.

Thanks to staff on the programme, a server has been set up in conjunction with Slideshow Pro Director to store and recall images as required. I've implemented a basic Flash slideshow to access the images once a piece of software called 'cyberduck' receives the relevant .swf file and .html file

I did something similar for the second project but this version is cleaner, smoother and has more impact. One reason it works better is because the images uploaded are not terribly large files meaning that they load quickly on a variety of browsers. Some quality is sacrificed but not a lot.

My workflow for those interested was;

1. Export PSD files as small-ish JPEGS to be suitable for web delivery
2. Upload images to server (
3. Switch on the required images in Slideshow Pro Director
4. Create slideshow container in Flash, make cosmetic changes.
5. Publish the .html file (index.html) and .swf (aaron francis.swf) to a folder with the .fla file.
6. Drag and drop the .html and .swf files into a cyberduck connection pointing to

It has been a little complicated to get it working this morning but i'm pleased i've managed it. The image below shows how jumbled my workspace had become in the lead up to getting it functioning;

Jumbled workspace prior to success.

Just incase i've published the required files to the wrong folder, not entered a valid name or if the server explodes, the screenshot below shows the online slideshow working;

If everything continues to function correctly, all the images used for the book can be viewed online here;

For my own notes, the stage i've used that works is 1024 x 768. I'm now experimenting with 1344 x 840. Not sure it will work on most displays though.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010


I figured it might be helpful to promote my part of the exhibition with flyers. The designs i've come up with are basic and to the point, but use an image that is part of the exhibition. I've downloaded and worked to's PS flyer template meaning they should print well. As yet I don't have an opening time for the exhibition but it will be essential to add this to the information side of the flyer when I have it. Below are the designs i'd like to use;

Back of flyer with info

Possible front 1

Possible front 2

Test order placed

This morning i've placed an order for one of my finished books. I've only ordered one initially as i'm worried some colours may not be reproduced as desired. If the book isn't what I expect i'll have time before the exhibition to change things around, sort the colours out etc and reorder.

Another point to note is that I contacted my brother (the subject of the work) late last week. As i'd written the introduction/closing section about him, it was only fair that he read through it and rubber stamp what i'd said about him. The sections detail his personal struggles so I was expecting to have the pieces heavily censored and in need of re-writing. When I spoke to Matt last night I was really pleased that not only was he fine with what i'd written, he genuinely liked it and thought it was good.

I take great heart that he was positive about the written pieces as it isn't everyday parts of his life are there to see, printed in black and white. Basically i'd tried to be to the point and non-judgemental, in the spirit of a documentary photography piece.

The written pieces are too long to cut and paste on here so you'll either have to come to the exhibition to read them, or buy a copy of the finalised book! More images that made the final book are given below. The images have been edited in accordance to what has been displayed on a colour calibrated screen, if they are viewed on different screens i'm not sure how they'll appear. You'll have to trust that the colour is accurate.

A starfish sits on a ceramic-drawered chest purchased by mum from Barcelona. Once used to save her spare change

Sunlight streams over jewellery once worn by mum. Matthew has made a start in organising the pieces

Cream leather sofa donated by a friend's mother. Matthew reads in preparation for a foundation science course here

Matthew's calculator and organiser lie used ontop of a pile of books and papers. One about early inventions is visible

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Further colour management and gamut comment

So, after double-soft-proofing my images using Blurb's ICC profile (for the printer my images should be printed on), I feel that the colour is being washed out more than i'd like. To resolve this i've been working with a copy of the original PS file next to the original. The copy has soft-proof turned on, this then allows me to try and match up the colours with the original accordingly. Thankfully, the differences are not too drastic and generally only requires the contrast boosting up.

I am a little concerned that some images display areas of colour that are out of gamut (tones that wont be represented accurately in print), but after reading through a LOT of Blurb forum discussions, this shouldn't be too detrimental. I initially tried to bring out of gamut shades back in but it affects the whole image and seems a bit invasive. The general consensus with the Blurb community is that shades that are out, actually print fine.

At worst, out of gamut colours will appear duller than what I see on screen and it really only affects areas with a large amount of green. This could prove annoying with the example below. Areas that are out of gamut are greyed in.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Colour management

Bit of a dull post but just a note regarding colour profiles/management. I'd been working in Adobe RGB during photo editing, so I needed to convert my final PSDs to sRGB ready for the JPEGS to go into Blurb's software. I also downloaded their ICC profile in order to soft-proof my images in Photoshop. Although difficult to say for certain whether the images will be ok in print, the soft-proofing gives a good guide.

My colours, contrast and brightness seem ok, and I am inclined to trust my screen as I made sure to properly calibrate it. The book should be sent to print sometime this coming week. Initially i'm only ordering one to ensure it looks fine.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Creative Commons Licensing

Another point to cross off the list for the final piece regards licensing. The license selected does not permit external commercial use of the work, or allow modifications. Primarily the license is for an online version of the piece which will be created time-permitting. It has been possible to capture the HTML as regular text for use inside the book.

Below is the HTML generated based on the Creative Commons License selected;

Creative Commons License
Matthew (Final Semester MA Project) by Aaron Francis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Book/Exhibition images

I'm wrestling with which images to include in the book and exhibition. The ones below are three of the most successful, and ones that I would like to include in both the exhibition, and supporting book. The captions offered are almost finalised but may be tweaked and reworded after a meeting next week.

I was initially reluctant to put images up here that are to be used for the finished project but I guess it is nice for people to see how the thing is coming together.

Fruit bowl in one corner of kitchen table, a favourite of Kim Francis. Shattered and glued back together by Matthew

Matthew examines the wings of locally shot bird. A friend brings him a range of wildfowl for meals.

A love of wood and carving has been present since childhood. This camel has a snapped leg but still deserves a place

Monday, 9 August 2010

Alec Soth

I was pointed in the direction of Alec's work by my project supervisor. While not all of his photography is relavent, in some pieces I can see how his use of colour saturation, contrast, a focal point, tone/mood is similar to mine.

It was noteworthy that his images are displayed on pure white as mine will be for the book. A selection of the most relevant are displayed below. They are from projects of Soth's including 'The Last Days of W' , 'NIAGARA' , 'Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (Commission)' and 'Carleton College.' All the projects have a link to mine in the way they hint at a loss, something missing or that elements of the scene are not as straightforward to read as they may initially appear.


Since my last post, i've had a tutorial with two staff supervising my final project. It was fairly productive and a decent chance to get some comments on my image capture, selection and their integration into a book. Obviously it was useful as a checkpoint to the whole semester, as I needed to put markers in my mind of what more needs to be done.

If the meeting was put through a sieve and shaken, these points would fall out of it;

* Interesting images but some stronger than others. Consider re-looking at the shoots and selecting alternate images.
* Seek out some photographs of myself, brother and mother for use in the exhibition and book.
* Scan the old photographs.
* A little repetition with images containing a mirror. Select the strongest one only.
* A pure white background to the book works well.
* Descriptive captions do not work. Rewrite them to explain a backstory (for validity and to engage the audience emotionally.)
* Use a smaller font for the book.
* Lots of blank white space focuses the audience's attention.
* Examine the work of Alec Soth (see following post)
* Consider using to create promotional cards for the exhibition piece.
* Project reflection should comment on why the use of sound was abandoned (to avoid an inadvertent comedic tone)
* Project reflection should comment on the downside to not having access to a pro level camera body for all shoots (full frame over crop factor)
* Identify exactly how many images will be framed and wall mounted. Be thinking about selection.
* Consider when I will be printing and arrange this with a technician/advisor.

The next tutorial will probably be around the 18th August. Currently i'm arranging the book layout and identifying the cost of promotional material.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Book Development

I'm aiming for around 30 images in the book to support the exhibition. At first I thought about using totally different images in the book to the ones that will feature on walls during the exhibition. I now feel that this would not be effective as the book will not always be accesible in conjunction with the framed prints. In essence, the photo book needs to be able to stand alone and feature the strongest images e.g the ones selected for framing.

I've toyed with captions in different places of the book but what works best seems to be a simple, clean and descriptive feel. A clinical, descriptive design supports the desire to portray the featured environment as a museum-like building, in which areas are curated over time. The image name and mundane descriptive language allow for the audience's mind to wander and conjure a sense of place, emotion and a life in their own mind. (See earlier research, mainly that of John R.J Taylor)

The opening page of the book will offer an overview to the project and the subject. This seems important as the images need foundation and background. A screenshot below hints at the feel desired for the finished book.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Beginning to get there..

So I spent last week ensconced along the Norfolk/Suffolk border with a brief of spending a ton of time with my brother to really thrash out some exhibition worthy images. Generally it was nice to catch-up and as the atmosphere became more relaxed, the shoots seemed to flow nicely. He was chipping in with bits of information about whatever I would point my camera at which let me gauge the importance or otherwise of what I was capturing.

One thing which was always going to happen is that his home is ever changing, objects flow like a river around rocks. Meaning that some objects appear in different rooms or scenes depending on the shoot date. I don't think this is a problem as it illustrates the point that he is finding his feet in life and establishing an identity in the wake of trauma. It may add to a deeper exhibition as the audience can view for themselves how scenes or areas of a dwelling have shifted in tone, organisation or layout.

Currently i'm sifting through a lot of RAW files while performing a series of test edits to see what works. Generally the adjustments required in RAW conversion are minimal. Parameters such as exposure, blacks, contrast, white balance, clarity and saturation are being slightly manipulated but not dramatically so. The reason for the tinkering is to create a strong, defined series of images with a distinct feel. Also because it seems the 40D AND the 5DMKII have a tendency to slightly underexpose, an issue with Canon DSLRs I have been aware of in the past.

Bit annoying that for this shoot I had to use my 40D rather than the 5DMKII, but really its the bit of glass on the camera that matters and I was using some decent lenses. Not a lot to be gained from boring the reader with technical details but the 50mm F1.4 generated some sharp close-up shots and the 24-105mm L series was useful for rich wider shots.

At this stage I have around 30 images that I really think have potential after briefly working on them. There are more that will either be used for the book or in some capacity for the exhibition, but I need to consider only around 20 can actually be displayed in large frames. Selecting and discarding will not be an easy task but i'm going to finalise all the images before picking.

Again reluctant to give away all the images that might make the book/exhibition piece, I want to show some new work on here. The two edits below are shots i'm particularly proud of. I think they allow an audience to contemplate a person's life and from a personal view, get to the core of my brother's navigation in life;

Faded Sisters

Lantern and Chinese paintings

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Book layout

As part of the exhibition piece, I plan to use an online based photo book printing company (probably Blurb) to produce a book in support of the large wall mounted images. I've looked into the type of layout that works well for this type of work and it seems to be landscape, fairly minimal text and vast amounts of free space.

I like the idea of adding some text to support the images, probably explanations or quotes offered by my brother with the image name in bold. The blank space works well as it adds to a sense of unease, as if questioning why a particular image is afforded so much focus. The images below show two books i've looked at. The top book in the first image contains some of Peter Fraser's work with the bottom one showing the work of John R.J Taylor. Usefully, the book of Fraser's was used as support to one of his exhibitions in The Photographer's gallery, London.

Alternative layouts are displayed in the second image, again showing the work of Peter Fraser.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

"the inadequacy of treating photographs as random snapshots from an imaginary continuous loop of time and life"

As my exhibition piece is to deal with the life experiences, trauma, soul searching, identity construction and emotional navigation of an individual, i've been wrestling with the issue that my images show neither the past nor the present. Im struggling to define what is being displayed and this morning i've come round to the thinking that they should not be viewed as 'this person is currently feeling' , or 'this person once felt' . The exhibition images should be viewed as an 'is' , 'never' or 'possibility'.

It seems fairly difficult to type out what I mean, but after searching the library for texts surrounding photography and trauma, I found a book from Ulrich Baer (2002) entitled 'Spectral Evidence: The Photography of Trauma.' Baer deals with recalibrating the mind not to view history and time as flowing and sequential. He asserts that by doing this we will recognise what we see/fail to see in photographs.

It seems vital to consider this type of gaze when dealing with an individual's home and life. The book is a little heavy going in places but i'm persevering and will add further comment. Two interesting quotes useful for my project;

"In the photograph, time itself seems to have been carved up and ferried, unscathed, into the viewer's present." (Baer, 2002)

"...photographs are unsettling. Some images bypass painstaking attempts at contextualization and deliver, straight up and apparently across the gulf of time between viewer and photographically mummified past, a potent illusion of the real." (Baer, 2002)

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Research material audit

After noting that a fellow MA student has had the foresight to collate all his reference material to date in an orderly manner, I have proceeded to kick myself as I had not done this.

It has taken a while to collate the sources from previous assignments, scribblings and entries on this blog, but i've come up with a fairly complete (ish) list of all the research undertaken while navigating my ideas for the exhibition piece.

All the references are from items used for final project-related assignments, the blog and those that have had an impact on the project but not used in previous documents.

This list will change as I read more pieces and examine other works. As I will need to refer back to much of it during the final evaluation, it seems the right time to get it all into one list. Bit boring but necessary.

Barrett, T. (2000) Criticizing Photographs: An Introduction to Understanding Images, Third Edition, California: Mayfield Publishing Company.

Barthes, R. (2000) Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography , London: Vintage Books.

Baudrillard, J. (1968) The System of Objects, London: Verso

Brown, C. (2006) “Looking at the Overlooked” , in K. Newton and C. Rolph (Eds) Stilled: Contemporary Still Life Photography by Women, Cardiff: Ffotogallery Wales Limited, pp. 72 – 75.

Bryson, N. (1990) Looking at the Overlooked , London: Reaktion Books.

Bunnell, P.C. (2006) Inside The Photograph: Writings on Twentieth-Century Photography, New York: Aperture.

Eagleson, D. (2008) “Dennie Eagleson: Archaeology of a Life (2004)” , in Belt, F.A (Ed.) Understanding and Creating Sophisticated Images, Oxford: Focal Press, pp. 136 – 139

Fraser, P. (1988) Two Blue Buckets, Manchester: Cornerhouse Publications.

Fraser, P. (2002) Peter Fraser: The Photographer’s Gallery, London: Arts Council England/London Arts.

Friday, J. (2002) Aesthetics and Photography, Hampshire: Ashgate Publishing Limited.

Glanville, T. (2002) Actual Life, Kent: Photoworks.

Goldin, N. (1979, 1985, 1991) Empty Beds, Hafen, The Parents Wedding Photo. [Photographs] (Vakat)

Gross, L et al. (2003) Image Ethics in the Digital Age, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Hardy, A. (2004) Interior Landscapes Exhibition, Saatchi Gallery.

Hope, T. (2001) Still Life: Developing Style in Creative Photography, Switzerland: Rotovision.

Lee, YJ. (2003) Still-Life Portfolio, Deutsche Borse Group

Lury, C. (1998) Prosthetic Culture: Photography, Memory and Identity, New York: Routledge.

Lunsford, P.C. (2006) “Still Life: A Visual Interrogation of Habitation” , in K. Newton and C. Rolph (Eds) Stilled: Contemporary Still Life Photography by Women, Cardiff: Ffotogallery Wales Limited, pp. 29 – 33.

Martin, R. (1999-2002) “Curating the Museum of Sources: Stilled Lives, Memory, Mortality and the Domestic Space” , in K. Newton and C. Rolph (Eds) (2006) Stilled: Contemporary Still Life Photography By Women, Cardiff: Ffotogallery Wales Limited, pp. 53 – 59

Morris, W. (1999) Time Pieces: Photographs, Writing and Memory, New York: Aperture Foundation Inc.

Price, M. (1994) The Photograph: A Strange Confined Space, California: Stanford University Press.

Prosser, J. (2005) Light in the Dark Room: Photography and Loss, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Roberts, J. (1998) The Art of Interruption, Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Scott, C. (1999) The Spoken Image: Photography and Language, London: Reaktion Books Limited.

Shafran, N. (1999) Dad’s Office: Nigel Shafran, Netherlands: Veenman Printers.

Taylor, J.R.J. (1989) Ideal Home: A Detached Look at Modern Living, Manchester: Cornerhouse Publications.

Thompson, J.L. (2003) Truth and Photography: Notes on Looking and Photography, Chicago: Ivan R. Dee Publishers.

Wheeler, T. (2002) Phototruth or Photofiction? : Ethics and Media Imagery in the Digital Age, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Williams, V. (2006) “Death, Disorder and Melancholy in the Contemporary Still Life.” , in Kate Newton and Christine Rolph (Eds.) Stilled: Contemporary Still Life Photography By Women, Cardiff: Ffotogallery Wales Limited, pp. 6 – 8.

Sunday, 4 July 2010


The final piece is very much underway with key dates to work towards.

Shooting is due to take place between 19th - 26th July. After this date it will be necessary to have a rough idea of which images to work on with a view to exhibiting. The target for the identification of final images is a tutorial meeting scheduled for 4th August.

After the meeting, it will be necessary to identify which images should be included in a Blurb book and work towards getting this produced. Ideally, the book order should be sent for printing by 18th August. This is also the date for a further tutorial meeting.

Key dates include;

Framing and printing week: 13th - 17th September
Exhibition implementation: 20th - 23rd September
Opening night: 24th September
Evaluation hand-in: 20th September

Since the last post, some exhibition requirements have been established. These include;

- Ground floor area of MHAC building comprising 10 large framed prints with the provision of a Blurb book of supporting material.
- Direction to a further, more intimate area of 8 large framed images on the 2nd floor MHAC.
- Old photo album containing further images. Chair for use by audience members

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

No glass?

For the exhibition, I am toying with the idea of removing the sheets of glass from the frames. I came to realise that a piece of glass will reflect the lights in the room and more importantly, it will reflect an image of the audience member. Both these points distract the gaze and affect the intimacy associated with the work.

A reflection of the self while looking at the work shuts off the opportunity to really ponder the person who occupies the space depicted. Usefully, Camilla Brown comments on the interior photography of Anne Hardy who actually wants to use glass to make the viewer aware of the self;

"Hardy's work when printed large and covered in reflective plexiglass, similarly shows the viewer's reflection as they look at the work. This not only disallows the viewer's 'entering the scene' , but it also makes them self-conscious of their process of looking, reflecting their gaze back at them." (Brown, 2006 in Lury, 2006: 74)

The obvious issue with removing the glass from frames is the possibility of audience members touching the prints and leaving finger marks. Hopefully they won't. I quite like the idea as it assists with earlier notions of not forcing a person to gaze on the work, it aids the desire to simply invite a person to consider the work. It offers a warmer, less clinical feel.

While navigating texts regarding audience viewing, I found Anne Hardy's work quite inspiring. Although the scenes she photographs are imaginary and created by her, they offer similar unsettling and uneasy undertones present in some of my test images. I really like her work and it is useful to dissect components relative to camera angle, lighting and mood. Some of the images looked at are displayed below;

Hardy, A. (2005) Untitled VI

Hardy, A. (2003-4) Lumber

Hardy, A. (2003-4) Swoop

Audience considerations

Still life photography in the context of this project, requires constant thought regarding how an audience will interact with it. I felt it useful to consider how still life painting is received, what a closed and intimate scene presents an audience with. Norman Bryson (1990) in his book 'Looking at the Overlooked' comments;

"Still life is in a sense the great anti-Albertian genre. What it opposes is the idea of a canvas as a window on the world, leading to a distant view...the vanishing point is always absent...It proposes a much closer space." (Bryson, 1990: 71)

The images for this project must consider that although there is a backstory to the scenes and objects depicted, the nature of the genre to an extent shuts this off. This kind of research is bolstering the need for a concise context for the audience. Text, captions and a written piece need to be available within the exhibition to support the images.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Context thoughts

I keep returning to the core of the project to consider what exactly my images mean and what I desire to communicate to an audience. It is crucial to understand and pinpoint the audience appeal for a successful exhibition piece, I need to keep this in the forefront of my mind and balance the personal resonance accordingly. A key point is that the project plays on the voyeuristic tendencies many of us associate with looking into new rooms and spaces.

From a personal stance, the piece is a cautious peek into the turbulent and unpredictable life of my brother. The whole project has been in many ways difficult to carry out, and after much thought the audience should be given the information that the images are partially a personal exploration of a space that was once familiar to me but now is virtually unrecognisable.

The transformative element is useful as it underpins the initial idea of examining how a young person has gone about curating his personal space since the loss of his mother.

The transformation and evolution of the space is fluid and will probably continue as such, the sequence of images can be viewed as a snapshot of a point in a journey. The journey is of personal and emotional development as the occupant carves out his own path. The images seek to illustrate the navigation of emotions while living alone in a rural cottage.

The points conveyed in this post will be given to the audience with additional information within the exhibition setting. This is to ensure that the audience has a handle on what the images are about. It is now more apparent than ever that a defined series of images is essential to the project's success as one or two on their own would have no context. An attempt has been made to select and edit some images from the two shoots to date to give the reader an idea of what the exhibition will entail.

With the images displayed, it is clear that the provision of strong context (as summarised above) will be important for an audience.

Mother's Room

Mother's Room 2

Mantle Piece and mementos

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Frozen Kingfisher