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