I have uploaded a PDF of my course evaluation to this blog.
I have uploaded a PDF of my course evaluation to this blog.
Publication – Project specific website
As part of my publication I have decided to build a project specific website using my current body of work. I was inspired by several websites including Rob Hornstra’s thesochiproject.org, Chloe Dewe Mathews’ shotatdawn.photography, and Simon Roberts we-english.co.uk/
I was very impressed with the huge amount of information on the Sochi Project website although this is due in part to the photographer teaming up with a professional writer/journalist. The Sochi Project website has a blog/newspaper feel about it which I like but in the end I decided to go with a portfolio based look similar to Chloe Dewe Mathews’ Shot At Dawn.
I like the idea of doing a project specific website for my long term body of work as it allows me to focus on one project and not get distracted by other bodies of work that I have made. It will also be convienent for my tutor and assessors to view my body of work in one location online. A lot of work went into completing the project and I want to show this by including essays, research done, archive material and of course the photographs. I can see my self continuing this project indefinitely and adding new bits to the website in the future. August Sander’s People of the 20th Century comes to mind when I think about long running projects.
Here is a link to my new project specific website –
Publication – Book
After receiving my tutors feedback for the fifth assignment, I felt that the addition of a book to my project specific website and the exhibition would make my publication feel more complete. I have decided to initially make a large colour (13″ x 11″) landscape format book with Blurb. The great advantage of Blurb apart from the excellent quality is that they give you the opportunity to market your new book online and even sell copies through their website and on Amazon. You can also create very high quality PDFs of the book that can be downloaded and viewed on a PC, laptop or tablet. Making a book gives me more creative freedom and allows me to emphasise the titles which are so important for the reading of my photographs. I feel that the book format could possibly be the most effective way to display my photographs which rely heavily on the titles to be fully appreciated. Although a book will not be so widely available and easy to access as the project specific website.
I will look at creating something more bespoke, possibly using an independent book printer and binder later this year.
Here is a link to a PDF copy of my new book.
Photographs of book page spreads
(Full resolution image available to view in slideshow).
To improve the online presentation of my book and for improved online marketing of my publication I decided to convert my book into a digital flip page presentation. This creates the illusion of looking at a physical book on a computer, tablet or mobile phone. Ideal for social distancing during these troubling times! I have embedded my digital book on both of my websites. Below is a link to my digital book.
Video presentation of book
Because this years July assessment is all digital I decided to make a short video presentation of my book. I think it is helpful for assessors to see the size, finish, and layout. I am very happy with how the book looks and I am particularly happy with the overall quality of the book.
Publication – Exhibition
Looking at this photograph gives me a feeling of tranquility and peace. Such a stark contrast to the bloody event that happened here nearly two thousand years ago. It reminds me a little of Roger Fenton’s The Valley of the Shadow of Death, 1855. Fenton’s photograph would have been taken not long after the battle happened as he evidenced the cannonballs littering the valley. My image shows no such evidence apart from the physical scar on the landscape itself of the deep defensive ditch. After reading the title I imagine a viewer might ponder the bloody battle that happened here and historical consequences of Julius Caesar’s victory. It is one of my favourite images from a new batch of work I made for my project, not just because of the way it looks but also because of it historical significance.
It’s interesting how the mind works and how memories effect the brain. Although not intentional my photograph looks quite similar to an image made by Joel Sternfeld, for his On This Site project. Central Park, north of the Obelisk, New York, 1993 is a photograph made at a place where young girls body was found. The light in Sternfeld’s image much like mine is very beautiful natural side lighting. I was attracted by the contrast and texture the light produced on the tree truck. I struggled for a while to find the right balance but I eventually found what I thought was the best composition by locating the tree in the first third on the left of the frame. I love the way that the light falls on the leaves on the right hand side of the scene. For me this perfectly balances the composition. I was enjoying using my new wide angle lens which is probably the best I have every owned!
For this photograph I was definitely aiming for a painterly effect. The composition is dominated by the sky, a metaphor for heaven perhaps? Turner’s paintings come to mind, although nothing specific. I’m aware that Turner used to love the light of the South East coast (not too far from Essex) and it was this beautiful early evening light combined with the winding causeway that really makes this scene come alive. The causeway was crucial for the making of this image not just as compotisional tool, but because of its historical use by the Viking’s during a decisive battle with the Anglo Saxons. To emphasise a strong perspective I made sure the causeway started in the bottom right corner of the frame. It then effectively leads the eye into the rest of the scene, the island and eventually the sky.
After I frustrating couple of hours looking for the best vantage point in the Northamptonshire countryside my eyes fell upon this stunning scene of large old oak trees backlit by the early evening light. I made a few pictures instinctively, carefully metering on the trees themselves to avoid under exposure. I wanted to make sure the texture of the tree trunks would be clear because this is an important part of the scene as well. I’m not sure of the exact age of the trees, but it is possible they were sidlings around the time of the battle. The three trees balance each other in the scene and create a strong triangle (I remember studying this in year one). I get a strong feeling of depth in this photograph, a common compositional tool used by landscape painters for centuries. The lighting was tricky, but the rays of light breaking through the foliage of the trees create a painterly feel which is quite beautiful. Simon Norfolk’s photographs of ruined landscapes in places like Iraq and Afghanistan also made good use of beautiful lighting and echo the look of traditional landscape paintings.
I saw the long grass blowing in the wind and it reminded me of pictures that I had seen of historical World War One battlefields in Belgium and France. I wanted to create a minimalist feel with my photograph with a dynamic created using the rule of thirds. I love the minimalist work of Andreas Gursky and I was in awe of his exhibition that I went to see at the White Cube many years ago. What I think is important in work like Gursky’s is that they are expectionally sharp and show huge amounts of detail. These details however tiny become fascinating to the audience when large scale prints are seen, for example in a galley space. I wanted my own image to be very sharp and I believe I was successful. The individual blades of grass become a repeating pattern across the bottom third of the image. The line of trees in the mid ground underlines a grey cloudy sky which somehow evokes a melancholy somber feeling that reminds one of a terrible event that once happened there.
Bart Michiels’ book The Course of History was a massive influence for me during the later part of this course. I greatly enjoyed Michiels’ more abstract renditions of historical battlefields. His project much like mine concentrates on places effected by violence many years ago. Passchendaele 1917, Goudberg Copse, 2005 is a stunning example of his more abstract photographs which combine beauty, colour and repeating patterns. My own photograph is beautiful while remaining descriptive. The original castle wall is still visible although nature appears to be reclaiming the space around it. I wanted to capture the various textures and colours of the plants surrounding the wall. Keeping the whole image sharp from foreground to background allows the viewers eye to wander around the scene and take in all the details. This image looked great when printed as a large 24” x 20” velvet matt print for my exhibition.
Taken at the same location as the last image, I wanted to make a less abstract photograph and show a little bit more detail of the castle walls. The combination of a weathered and aged man-made structure and the natural beauty of the overgrown vegetation makes for an intriguing juxtaposition and reminds one of the passage of time. This passage of time takes the viewer back to the time of the siege at Hertford castle. This photograph reminds me of Angus Boulton’s mysterious landscape photographs of abandoned Soviet military complexes. His book Restricted Areas includes several such images although the ruins are from a much more recent era. His historical documents like mine remind the audience of the fragility of regimes, empires and governments. All will cease to exist eventually and the remains will be reclaimed by nature.
Not much remains of the Viking castle which once stood here, but the moat is still clearly visible and a bridge that crosses it. I wanted to evidence the remnants of the castle in my photograph after making another more abstract image. The early evening light created some strong contrast which was tricky to control but made the photograph much more dramatic! Symmetry was key to the success of the composition together with the dramatic lighting. Symmetry plays an important part in many of Paul Seawright’s photographs that he made for his Sectarian Murders and Fires projects. Made during the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Island, Seawright visually documents places changed permantly by tragic and violent events much like my own work. Seawight’s images are often complemented by long descriptive titles, sometimes quite graphic in their detail. At the start of my body of work I started to do this but soon realised it was quite controversial. Later on I revised my titles to be less graphic but kept the essential information.
I have always admired the way that Walker Evans would photograph vernacular architecture in simple but effective way. He would often compose the scene looking straight on at the main subject. His precision and craftsmanship would always shine through and he could transform a fairly ordinary setting into something quite special. His book American Photographs has many example of this. Although he worked mostly in black and white, towards the end of his life he started to experiment with instant colour film. At Corpus Christi College I was instantly drawn by the strong perspective made by the cut grass. It leads the eye towards the front of the building which is lit by the late afternoon sun. It brings out all the details of the building perfectly. The small sign in the bottom left of the image acts like an anchor and also adds a little bit of textual information (a bigger print reveals what it says). I feel that this photograph perfectly depicts the college and the composition is made stronger by the symmetry of the building and the shapes found within the scene.
‘Late photography’ does not normally include a lot of movement or people featured in the image. Being a busy market town it was hard to avoid people in St Albans town centre, but I enjoyed the juxtaposition between the people and the achitecture. I decided to compose the image in a similar way to my Corpus Christi photograph and used the people walking through the scene to add colour and hint at the modernity now present in this ancient city. I set up my tripod and then took a number of frames, trying to balance the composition as the people passed through. I liked this image the most because the woman in the bottom right corner adds a vibrant colour accent with her bright red jacket. What fascinated me here was how little the town centre had changed since the War of the Roses. The movement of people in the scene reminds me a little of Henri Cartier Bressen’s work and the way he would balance a scene with people and archetecture.
According to my research the clock tower seen in this image was the location of some fierce fighting with bowman killing many soldiers as they tried to navigate the narrow street to the right. Again this image juxtaposed architecture and people in St Albans city centre. The woman in yellow added a subtle colour accent to balance the clock tower. I spent about an hour in this one spot and made many images until I felt that I had captured one with the perfect balance. The flat lighting works perfectly to emphasis the details in the buildings in particular the brick work of the clock tower itself. Stephen Shore was the master at photographing urban landscapes when he made his book Uncommon Places in the 1970’s. He would use a large format camera mounted on a tripod and take great care in making his photographs. Every lamppost, kerb, building, and signpost would play a part in his intricate compostions, colour as well would further enhance his imagery.
This road was barricaded during the battle and bloody struggle continued here as soldiers attempted to breakthrough it. I made the most of the strong perspective created by the road and building to the left. Throughout this project I have refrained from ‘beautifying’ my images by using Photoshop. I wanted to create photographs which depict a place as they are in a documentary/journalistic way. I want to see the real place not a fiction. I think this ethic comes from when I used to used analogue cameras exclusively and make prints in a darkroom. I also kind of enjoy little unexpected punctums that so often litter photographs. It’s these unexpected details that I enjoyed so much when I viewed Guy Tillim’s Yangtze, The Long River which was also featured in the same exhibition also displays these little details that I find so fascinating.
Another one of my original photographs made on a film camera. The former garage seen here is the likely place where a young man was killed and I wanted it to be central in the image. The composition is minimalist with beautiful early evening light creating a painterly effect. The drum scanned film has created a very sharp and detailed landscape image. The long grass blowing in the wind draws the eye into the scene. Zooming in on the digital image or looking at a larger print reveals huge amounts of visual information. I enjoy looking at the larger print and studying all the little details. I feel like I have drawn subconsciously from the New Topographics for this photograph (researched while completeing level two landscape). Frank Gohlke’s Near Crowley, Texas, 1978 has a similar feel about it although the building is much more prominent in Gohlke’s image. Alec Soth’s Johnny Cash’s Boyhood Home, Dyess, AK, 2002 also looks familiar but with less dramatic light.
Shot on film and drum scanned, the detail and clarity in this photograph is abundant. This image demonstrates how a landscape can change dramatically over time. This location was originally much more rural looking and at the top was a large barn that burned down. I think the winding road and curb make a strong perspective while the lamp posts, telephone pole and wires create some interesting vertical and diagonal lines. I really like how the telephone wires stretch out diagonally across the top half of the image. Actually quite subtle, it might not be obvious to the causal viewer. Since completing the level two landscape course I very much enjoy photographing urban landscapes. The New Topographics have been a massive influence on my work. English villages often have a quaint mixture or rural and urban which gives an artist lots of subjects to include in an image. It’s hard to ignore Stephen Shore’s influence on my work here.
Installation shots –
Promotional literature and handout –
Video presentation of prints
The quality of this video is not as good as I would have liked. Please refer to the photographs of prints below at full resolution to a get a better idea of their exceptional quality.
Photographs of prints –
Completed essay –
Tutor feedback –
Response to tutor feedback:
After reading my tutors informative feedback I amended my essay. I have attached the new copy of my essay below,
Amended essay –
Future planned exhibitions
Broadway Art Gallery, Letchworth Garden City –
The new curator at the Broadway Art Gallery (Kristian Day) appears to be working hard to put on new art exhibtions and promote the gallery generally. A new photography competition Photo Letchworth was held for the first time this year. Unfortunately it was not that well advertised so I didn’t know about it until after the shortlisted photographers were choosen. The shortlisted photographers were featured in a group show in the main gallery and the winner received cash prize of £500.
I plan to submit several of my images to the 2020 competition. I have contacted the new curator of the gallery in regards to putting on a small exhibition there. I was informed that a smaller Foyer Gallery sometimes has work on show made by local emerging artists. I feel that this could be an opportunity for me. I hope to meet with the curator soon to discuss this further.
Update: I will be meeting the curator to discuss putting on an exhibition next week.
Baldock Arts Centre and Museum –
I have been offered the chance to display a selection of my prints in the museum. I will also be presenting a conflict photography and history talk to coincide with the display on 12th March 2021 (this will be an event that the public have to pay for). I believe that this opportunity is a direct result of my publication at the nearby library and the marketing that went with it.
My name is on the waiting list for a solo exhibition in the main gallery (one and half year wait). No fees but they take 15% of print sales.
St Albans Museum and Gallery –
I am currently in talks with curator Sarah Keeling about a solo show at the museum. She has told me there is long wait with no spaces available until 2022. This is okay as it gives me plenty of time to make new work, plan the exhibition and get funding. I hope to make the exhibition interactive with the local community. I plan to do a talk and history walks to some of the locations where I made photographs. This is an exciting opportunity not only because of interation with locals but they also have a shop where I could sell my works.
Prix Pictet 2019 – Victoria & Albert Museum
Prix Pictet’s predominant theme of sustainability is continued this year with the title of ‘Hope’. Now in its eighth year the positive theme allows artists a wide range of creative possibilities. Although we are bombarded with negative news on a daily basis, it is important that we sometimes focus on positive developments around the world. This could be in the form of advances in medicine, science, or falling levels of poverty.
The exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London showcases the portfolios of the twelve shortlisted artists. The winner announced on 13th November 2019 is Joana Choumali for her series Ça va aller (it will be ok). The photographs made three weeks after terror attacks in Grand Bassam on 13th March, 2016 feature the unusual addition of stitching. The stitches which she did herself ‘are a way to recover from negative emotions after the attack’ she explained. I surprised when I read thst she made the series using her iPhone.
Walking into the darkened exhibition space ‘Hope’ isn’t a would that springs to mind. The walls are grey and the feeling is subdued. The lighting is low, just enough to illuminate the prints. The first large prints I see on entering are by South African photographer Gideon Mendel and are part of his series titled Damage: A Testament of Faded Memory, 2016. The prints look like blown up 35mm negatives. The negatives have been damaged in some way, so much so that the image itself is quite hard to distinguish. I actually really like and it is an intriguing introduction to the show.
I have to admit I found the rest of the show a little bit underwhelming. I’m not sure if this is because I had earlier visited the colourful and exuberant Feast For the Eyes at The Photographers Gallery? The quality of the work is very good but a lot of it is displayed in a similar traditional way. White borders and white or wooden frames. Arranged either in grids or in a linear arrangement. I always enjoy viewing grids I’m not sure why.
Alexia Webster’s Street Studios 2011-18 seemed to best fit with this year’s theme. The popup street studios see set up in various places around the world documented in both an intimate and public way families and friends bonding and in love. The ‘fake’ front room’s Webster creates add a splash of colour and possibly a social commentary?
Lucas Foglia travelled the world and visited projects where work was being done to make a positive environmental future. It features rainforests integrated into Singaporean high rise buildings and research into air quality on the big Island of Hawaii. His collection of images are eclectic but intriguing.
Altogether a bit of a mixed bag but enjoyable none the less. I liked the scale of the prints on display, they are big and fill the space well. The wooden frames used by Ivor Prickett make a change from the usual back or white and suit his work.
How will this study visit effect my practice:
Sometimes bigger is better and the large displays at the Victoria & Albert seem to suggest that, it is a large space to fill though. I enjoyed the grid displays, it allows the artist to show more work on less wall space. Displaying some of my work as a grid could help me as my exhibition location is a bit limited space wise. I seem to be noticing a move back towards frames at recent photography exhibitions and I am thinking about framing a few of my prints for my display. I still have not settled on a preferred frame colour though. The lighting at Prix Pictet is deliberately subdued this year and it made me realise what a difference lighting makes. My chosen exhibition venue has good natural and artificial lighting being in a library. I have to consider if I need to any extra lighting and whether this is feasible.
Feast for the Eyes: The Story of Food in Photography – The Photographers Gallery
The idea of an exhibition of food photography did not exactly fill me with excitement but I thought it would be a good gallery visit to assess the way the group show was curated and designed. I was pleasantly surprised by this show, and is probably one of my favourites this year!
The show could be described as a history of the very best food photography made since the invention of photography itself. Photographic prints by an array of influential practitioners were included in the show: Andy Warhol, Wolfgang Tillmans, Stephen Shore, Martin Parr, Nobuyoshi Araki, Cindy Sherman and Nan Goldin to name but a few. Many of the Photographers in the show probably wouldn’t be thought of primarily as ‘food photographers’ but it seems food is such a universal subject it can be found in the majority of artists oeuvre. The pictures in the show include commercial, fashion, fine-art, documentary and vernacular photography and display the history of food photography and it’s association with the arts.
The show takes up two floors of the Photographers Gallery and includes more than 140 works. The curators Susan Bright and Denise Wolff have created three themes: Still Life reflects on the relationship between photography and the tradition of food in painting, Around the Table explores cultural and social interactions associated with food and Playing With Food includes more humorous, and ironic works.
What immediately hits you when you enter this show is the colour. The walls are painted either bright red, blue or yellow depending on the theme. These colourful backdrops give the show an almost pop-art feel which is lively and cheerful, great when the weather is so grey and miserable! The show really is a riot of colour when you combine some of the vibrant and colourful works by the likes of Parr, Tillmans and Shore with the colourful backdrops. Historical works by the likes of William Fox Talbot, Paul Strand and Edward Weston anchor the exhibition with some important historical context. Their smaller framed black and white prints display strong a relationship with still life painting and a reliance on light and form.
It’s hard not to like the colourful works of Stephen Shore and their commentary on American society. I was surprised to see the two colour prints by Russell Lee made in the 1940’s for the Farm Security Administration. Historically interesting it is reminder of the fragility of the food chain and the unfair distribution of food throughout the world.
I have to admit I was much more intrigued by the more contemporary artists in the show whose full colour large format prints offer an immersive experience to the viewer. Wolfgang Tillmans ‘Summer still life’ 1995 is a firm favourite of mine. The unusual viewpoint, precise composition and some unconventional objects enhance the viewing experience. Tillmans print is very large and unframed. Cindy Sherman’s ‘Beach Picnic’ offers an unusual and colorful commentary on society and it’s sometimes complicated relationship with food.
How will this study visit effect my practice:
Something that made an impact on me while viewing this exhibition was the coloured walls and the huge amount of quality works on display. I am so used to going to galleries and seeing the standard white walls it seemed quite refreshing to see a different approach. It made me think about how my work could look with a different coloured background. The venue for my own exhibition has a display board that is coloured red. This could be perfect for my own project as the red could be symbolic of the blood spilt at all the places that I have photographed effected by conflict. Also it has made me consider how my prints will be displayed and whether they should framed or not. I feel that the smaller prints that are grouped together benefit from being framed while larger stand alone works work well unframed. I am considering making a mixture of smaller framed prints and larger prints mounted prints.
Going to a show of this quality was very enjoyable and inspiring. It reminds me how much I love photography and what can be achieved in this medium. The quality of the work and the way it has been presented inspires me to make something of similar quality albeit on a smaller scale.
Shot in Soho – The Photographers Gallery
I have alway had a fondness for Soho ever since my late teens and early twenties when I was affiliated with the the Metal/hard rock scene. Going to a gig in London wasn’t complete without a visit to Carnaby Street first. Soho has an almost village like feel to it and a sleazy glamour that has continued to lure the curious traveller and bohemian characters for many years. It is historically associated with diverse and vibrant arts, fashion and music industries. More recently it has become a popular location for the LGBTQ scene. Of course it is hard to ignore it’s association with underground crime syndicates and the sex industry.
This exhibition curated by Julian Rodriguez and Karen McQuaid showcases rare and unseen work by seven photographers that have made memorable photographs in this unique part of London. William Klein, Anders Peterson, Corrina Day, Kelvin Brodie, John Goldblatt, Clancy Gebler Davies and Daragh Soden have all made bodies of work that are very different in their approach. The photographs on display highlight the chaos, eccentricity, unpredictability and quirkiness that exists there. The curators chose to ignore the more obvious and well known bodies of work made in Soho and instead opted to show photographic works that are less well known.
This quite small exhibition takes up one floor of the Photographers Gallery. As you enter the gallery you are greeted by a large colour print by William Klein. Almost comedic in appearance, it shows men covering their faces as they exit a sauna and massage parlour at number 69. Apart from this large print on display at the entrance the rest of the prints on display are relatively small but impeccably presented. The show is interesting even if it seems a little bit predictable. John Goldblatt’s series ‘The Undressing Room’ 1968 and Kelvin Brodie’s series of street portraits also made in 1968 for The Sunday Times Magazine look back through tinted glasses and reminisce about a part of London which is rapidly changing and in danger of being swallowed up but rapid development and gentrification of the area.
Surprisingly I found myself enjoying Goldblatt’s series of work the most. It is a fascinating insite into the mundane surroundings of beautiful strippers and performers as they get changed and wait between performances. They appear to be completely at ease in the presence of the photographer. This has allowed him to document some remarkably candid and revealing images of the girls who at times appeared to be bored and killing time. He does a great job of showing the personality of the girls who are very obviously at ease with their own nudity.
How will this study visit affect my practice:
Viewing this exhibition has made me think carefully about print quality and presentation. The prints by all photographers were exceptional. Corinne Day’s prints were framed in white without borders while others were presented in a more traditional way with a white border and black frame. Looking for Love (2018) by Daragh Soden is presented in a more unusual and contemporary way, he simply pinned the prints to the wall. I’m not sure if I like that approach I feel like it is trying too hard to be different and does not best present the work in a professional way.
Also how does the colour of the background wall where the prints are hung effect the presentation. Clancy Gebler Davies’ ‘The Colony Room Club’ 1998-2001 stood out because of the green wall it was mounted on. I liked the blast of colour, it added a contemporary twist to a body of work that looked like quite traditional black and white photojournalistic prints. This is something I could include in my own exhibition by either painting a wall (unlikely) or by using some type of display boards or panels.
Evidencing traditional promotional techniques for my publication
This will be emailed to local media outlets.
Evidencing online promotion of my publication
Website and social media screen grabs:
Project specific website –
I have finally completed my project specific website. I am very happy with the layout and design of it! My portfolio looks very effective and I feel that it provides visual impact when contacting galleries and museums in regards to exhibiting work. I consider this website to be an integral part of my publication as it opens the door to a much wider, even international audience. My publication should be viewed as a combination of this new website, my exhibition and a book that will soon be completed and self published. Modern practicing artists appear to combine all three of these things when making a publication of a new body of work. Each one complements the other. It allows the artist to reach the maximum amount of people and allows an audience to view, absorb and even respond to the work in some way.
My project specific website http://www.conflictmemorylandscape.com
My artists website –
A slightly older website but still an effective marketing platform for my work. As a practising artist it is important to stay inspired. I feel that creating multiple bodies of work is an effective way to remain creative. As I worked towards the end of this course all my energies have focused on one body of work and other projects have been sidelined. It is still important to consider my other projects that I have started but not completed. I am very keen to expand on some of my older work in particular Camden Dreamers and Subculture, Identity and the English Landscape. Showing these quite different projects alongside each other on one website reveals to a wider audience how diverse my photographic work is and my willingness to explore artistic concepts that draw upon a multitude of influences. The idea of combining text and photographs to create a stronger narrative is a theme that I keep returning to and ultimately find rewarding. Jim Goldberg’s Rich & Poor, Alec Soth’s Niagara and Chloe Dewe Mathews’ Shot at Dawn have all been key influencers on my work.
Very recently I have been experimenting with older analogue images by cropping them more radically and removing colour. This ‘revisiting’ of older images is proving to be uplifting and enjoyable. One challenge that still keeps me awake at night is the best way of combing text with photographs. The book format does seem the logical path to take although the gallery context allows for a lot of experimentation with presentation. I will continue to expand my artists website and update my blog when possible. Online interation using a website and social media is essential for contemporary artists to promote their work and build a network of professional contacts in the industry.
My blog –
A blog is a very effective way to update followers of my new work or to promote events or new books. I have to admit rembering to update my blog is a bit of challenge sometimes. I find social media sites like Facebook or Instagram (which are really mini blogs) more accessible and bit more fun. My blog is an extension of my website so it should be easy for visitors to my website to click on the the link and find the latest updates on my blog.
IMag (Yumpu) online digital book presentation software –
IMag is a professional online digital flip page presentation platform. It effectively uses high resolution PDF copies of a book and transforms them into viewable digital flip page presentations. I did this so that I could make all of my books viewable online via my websites. It is also an excellent way for assessors to view my digital book. Another great feature of iMag is the online marketing opportunities. The books that I make using their software go into a vast online library of books which can be viewed on their website. I have only just created my first book and can see that over a hundred people have viewed it online already! Another great feature of the software is the ability to share my digital books on social media and embed them in my websites. It adds another visual element to my websites and makes a change from the standard slideshows.
Facebook still remains an important online platform for artists to stay in contact with peers, and build social networks with industry professionals like curators, book publishers and editors. Facebook allows you to make a business page where events can be created and promoted. I found this feature very good as it allowed me to instantly invite all my ‘friends’ on Facebook and advertise more widely to non friends. It is easy to see how effective your promotions are as it tracks visitor responses and the number of people reached. You can even view audience demographics though I’m not sure if I capitalised on that feature. I feel that Facebook is not as popular as it once was though. Because of this I regularly update my Instagram and Twitter accounts as well to reach as many people as possible using social media.
Instagram is probably my favourite social media site. It focuses on imagery and short videos so it’s great for photographers and other visual artists. I can share Instagram posts to Facebook which saves me time. A feature I like about Instagram is that images you post can be seen by anyone, it’s not like Facebook where just friends or followers will see your new posts. Instagram is heavily used by artists and it is easy to quickly build up a network of likeminded peers. Curators, publishers, editors and other professionals in the industry regularly use Instagram so it is good way for emerging artists to show their work. A feature on the app allows you to add filters to pictures which I find a bit gimmicky but is fun if you are just uploading personal pictures. I regularly upload new pictures to Instagram and also use it to promote events and anything new I am working on.
Twitter has been around for a long time now but it is still very effective for self promotion. It is not as image friendly as Instagram or Facebook but it’s strength is in how you can tag words or phrases which then can become trends. I found it quite easy to build up a substantial amount of followers. I rarely post directly to twitter instead I normally share Facebook or Instagram posts. The hashtag is king here so it’s important to use it next to key words. You can also direct you comments directly to specific people by simply adding their profile name in the text (startin with @). Twitter is simple and effective. Most posts include a link which then open more detailed information, pictures or videos.
Kickstarter campaign –
I started my Kickstarter campaign as a way to get some money to help find with my publication. The knock on effect of promoting my Kickstarter online was that I ended up promoting my publication more widely as well. That includes on the OCA forums and OCA Facebook groups. This additional promotion led to some helpful feedback from fellow students. It also made me consider more carefully my artists statement and introduction which accompanies my work.
Forum and chatroom screen grabs:
OCA chat rooms –
The OCA chat rooms are a good place to get feedback from peers and the occasional tutor. One student called Jennifer found my project particularly interesting! I found the interaction with her to be confidence building and it was nice to know some people found my body of work fascinating.
Facebook groups –
I am a member of two OCA Facebook groups: OCA Photography and OCA Level three students. I found that these two groups are quite active with lots of students posting and commenting on them. I have had some great feedback on these groups. It is my goto place when I’m a bit unsure of something and want to get the point of view from someone else at a similar level.
Attack on Cambridge University
Evaluation and reflection:
I knew that trying to make photographs at Corpus Christi College in Cambridge would be challenging but it is often more rewarding if there are hurdles to jump! The college itself was closed to the public that day so I could either take a picture of the exterior or try to shoot through the entrance way. In the end I did both. The college building itself looks quite different to the original buildings that were attacked in 1381. Because of this my photographs document visually how the place has been transformed since then. The element of change and transition are key elements in my body of work.
My favourite two photographs below are quite different. The first image has an almost street photography feel about. Because of the long exposure some of the figures in the scene are blurred, it does not matter, in fact I like it. For me it echoes the classic imagery of Atget’s Paris street views. The people are of secondary importance to the buildings. It is almost a reminder of the ephemeral nature of human life and the longevity of structures created by man. After framing the scene in the viewfinder of my camera I had to wait until the people walking through the scene were in the ‘correct’ positions for the image to be balanced. I took many pictures until I felt that I had captured one that I was happy with. I recall from my previous research how Henri Cartier Bresson would frame a scene and wait for people to enter it. This approach requires a lot of patience and a little bit of luck!
The second photograph made while looking through the entrance way captures a frontal view of the college. The strength in this image lies in its symmetry and the early evening light falling on the front wall and windows creating contrast and accentuating the details. I always liked how Walker Evans’ photographed buildings head on. His pictures were nearly always technically perfect and created a strong symmetrical balance that emphasised shapes. I also admire the precision and perfection in the photographs of German photographer Thomas Struth. His photographs of buildings using large format cameras are awe inspiring and I always strive to reach his level of craftsmanship.
The Battle of Tempsford
Note for assessors – This post is one of several which discuss and explore my new work. The text in my ‘New Work’ posts demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of professional contexts relevant to my practice. Here is a link to my other ‘New Work’ posts.
Evaluation and reflection –
Visiting this historical site in Bedfordshire proved to be both surprising and intriguing. I knew from my research that a small dry island existed with a moat in the location where King Guthrum was killed during a battle. Unfortunately when I arrived the playing field which accesses the site was locked up and closed even though it is a registered heritage site. Luckily I managed to access the site via a field at the back, I just needed to do a little bit of trekking.
Quite often the places I visit retrospectively have no visible signs of the battle or fortifications. But here I was welcomed by quite significant evidence of a fortification. Simon Norfolk often utilised the ruin as a trope in his imagery made in war torn Afganistan and Iraq. His ‘late photographs’ explore in a pictorial way the devastation of war a short time after the event. I on the other hand am visiting this site more than a thousand years later. It left me thinking what do I photograph? Do I try to evidence the ‘ruins’ or should I try something less obvious? I decided to try and capture the aura of the place by studying the early evening light falling on the old oak trees that stand prominently on the island. These trees signified for me the essence and perseverance of nature. In a place where hundreds of men fought and died a quiet calm has now descended onto this location. Knowing the history of the place allowed me to consider what had happened here and the effects on the local area and the whole country. I believe the Vikings defeat here led to to them eventually being evicted from Britain altogether.
After looking through all the images I made here I settled on the one below. I love the light, the details on the oak tree and in the lower third of the picture the edge of the moat can be seen. The composition hints at the pictorialism that Norfolk is so fond of. I like the beauty of the scene as it is in stark contrast to the horrors that once happened here.
Kickstarter crowd funding (Professional context)
Putting on an exhibition is an expensive business even when it is quite small. Because of the cost of printing, mounting and advertising I have decided to start a crowd funding campaign with Kickstarter. I have never done this before, so it is a very new experience for me. I have seen some campaigns by friends and family that have been successful so this inspired me to give it a go. I have set my goal not too high at £300 because Kickstarter have an all or nothing policy, I will only receive pledged money if I reach my goal. If pledged money goes over my goal I will receive all the money. I have already started promoting my Kickstarter campaign on social media and I also hope to promote it on some online forums including the OCA forums. I feel that this is an exciting opportunity for me to help fund my publication and also unexpectedly it is another opportunity to advertise my exhibition as well. Their is a time limit on Kickstarter campaigns, I set mine to the maximum of 60 days which means it will finish just before my exhibition.