Positions and Practice Week 13 Reflection W/C 18th August

Lens Reflection

Welcome to Sustainable Prospects!

So close to handing in the assignment the welcome to the next module was both exciting and nerve-wracking.

I worked through the pieces from this week and was even more excited by watching the video.

This week I contacted a photographer I have been following for a while (19/08/2017) who has inspired me for a number of years. He is also a teacher holding workshops and offers a mentoring service. I thought that this would be a really good route, I am waiting to hear back, but hope to have an update in the coming weeks.

I have also brainstormed some other photographers that I have contact with on Instagram and will consider contacting them for assistant work and using the social media route to see if it is any more effective. I find Instagram to be a useful tool for looking at the photographs of other people. Not only do I find it inspiring but I also makes you feel like you are part of a community through the use of hashtags

This week I have also been considering the journeys that I have been wanting to try out for my final major project:

  1. My Office – My Work Day
  2. Inside the Flowers
  3. Chris’s Day.

I was considering looking at food, as we all eat! I thought the textures of different food might be interesting to explore. Perhaps as this is the case food should be included as part of my say and shouldn’t just be limited to my work day.

Positions and Practice Week 12 Reflection: w/c 11th Aug

This week has been consumed with my Research Project Proposal.

After spending time in the Newcastle University Library – I felt much more prepared and focissed on what my actual goal is.

Following on from this my 1:1 tutorial with Gary really settled the nerves that I am actually heading in the right direction after being seemingly lost for quite some time.

This week has really given me the opportunity to plan where I see myself going on the course. The forums also for good and bad reasons – I think have pointed out my weakness in Critical Thinking. I have put a plan in place to try and rectify these issues and try and clarify what or where I am going wrong in my understanding.

During the production of my Work in Progress Portfolio, I felt that there were a couple of pieces missing, so I took the opportunity to take some more.

This week with handing in my work has felt quite a positive week overall.

Positions and Practice Week 11 Reflection: w/c 4th August

Looking at the proposals has been  a good activity to carry out. It gave me a real insight into what is expected from me.

During my research I have seen many different formats from table layouts to long pieces of prose.

I think what is going to work for my is a simple layout with subheadings, this will make it straightforward to deal with and to read and also to edit throughout the stages of the writing/editing process.

I was able to identify audiences that I may have through my social media followers an also my family.

With regards to my personal progress I thought I had made a break through, but now I am maybe not so sure. I took my work to webinar, there had been previous concerns that I had been taking images of things rather than about things – which was addresses and I was really pleased to have put together the small collection of images that had a story behind them. This had led me to coming up with the idea of having a series of images of journeys in macro and these were ideas that I feel I could have actually taken forward and this felt really positive. I had finally taken some steps forward….there was progression. I felt a little deflated coming out of the webinar, the feedback is always constructive which I appreciate but now I’m just left a little confused! The progress I had made could be seen and suggestions were made to how I could move forward, the only problem is I haven’t figured out how it is possible to execute these!

Moving forward the plan is to figure this out! I am setting myself another mini project on the outcome of the feedback, I see this as the way I am able to achieve the objectives.

I also now have access to Newcastle University Libraries and have planned in a weekend to obtain research to add to my project proposal.

Positions and Practice Week 10 Reflection w/c 28th July

IMG_7615I’m continuing to struggle with the relevance of theory to my practice – if this is the case where am I going wrong?

I think 1 major aspect of this is my understanding and it is my plan to really work on this as I believe it is becoming very detrimental to my development on this course/module.

The most important aspects of communicating and contextualising photography is to be clear whether this in in spoken, visual and/or written forms. My feeling is that if you try to over complicate your language or the meanings of the work, your initial aims stand the threat of being lost in translation.

I was not able to attend the assessment peer review due to other commitments this week (and I am also running a little behind). Whilst I feel this is a set back I will try to get some feedback from the forums/webinar next week. After my results of the oral presentation  (which left me a little disappointed) I feel I really need to find the time to add extra work in to allow me to continually develop and improve.

During this weeks work I came across a quote

“Photography for me is not looking, its feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures”

– Don McCullin – British Photojournalist.

This quote resonated with me as we have been looking at the importance of looking but equally the feeling part of photography is essential if we want to stir up some form of emotion or reaction, I think this has somewhat be bypassed by some of the critical theorists we have covered. I like this more balanced approach it is something that I can relate to.

I think I have made a breakthrough with the aims of my work making them about my life. A series of images in macros of journeys through my daily comings and goings – I will still be able to show things from a different point of view but they will now be about something. I think previously this is the part I was missing – I will try this idea out on my peers or in my 1:1 tutorial is the coming week.

A little bit of a turbulent week but I feel a tiny bit of progress has been made.

Positions and Practice Week 9 Reflection w/c 21st July 2017

  • Making a Picture vs Taking a Picture
  • Taking an image of something vs Taking a picture about something
  • Finding out what you care about.

The webinar this week brought up a few issues for me. It turns out I do have some ability when reading images and applying what a message could be.

I was particularly happy this week with my analysis of the bird-cage. I feel this was my one success of the week.


This is a bird cage.

One interpretation is that it is ornamental, something to look upon, in the traditional sense of a birdcage, it would symbolise the beauty of looking at a bird, decoration, hopeful, whistful

On the otherhand – this symbolises a prison/entrapment to a point slavery. It would not be a symbol of hope.

In the webinar critical perspectives were described as trying to catch fog in  box – I can completely identify with this analogy – I am really struggling with the theory.

With regards to my own work I think I struggle to apply the theory for a couple of reasons.

  • I don’t take images with the intent of making a statement
  • I don’t have an urge to be controversial with my work

This seems to be a trend in the people that we have come across in this weeks reading and subjects.

I want to make images that are beautiful – from the critical perspectives view this will likely be seen as vacuous.

I would like to perhaps cause debate with my work but not in a Political/Socio-economic or cultural sense. More in a…

  • What do you think this image is?
  • What can you see?
  • Can you see something in the image that you haven’t seen in a picture of this subject before?
  • Do you think it is effective?

We did discuss that my pictures put into the webinar this week were more of something than about something and I can completely see this. We did discuss some techniques that I am going to try – I want to get much closer to the subject and reverse lensing was suggested.

From this I have done some research and reading and ordered the parts required and we will see how this works for my practice.

I was also set a kind of mini project – sourcing inspiration from my administration background – I really enjoyed this and it did give me insight that my photographs were now about part of my story rather than just of something.

My work world

I felt quite frustrated whilst reading this weeks presentations Hodgson to me I did feel came across as a little elitist in the views displayed and this once again made me question my work, along with the worry that my work was vacuous as mentioned earlier.

There are many times that I don’t find it easy to take a photograph and my work would probably not be deemed as quality looking at Hodgson’s views. – Perhaps I should just have faith in my convictions that my work has merit.

I disagree that there should be discrimination in photography – I feel everyone should be able to express themselves without judgement an experience joy in the arts. I agree some will be of a better standard than others…but if you don’t like it don’t look at it!!

Perhaps I do fit in somewhere though in the critical perspectives, in the viewpoint that my photographs are dependant on the reader really looking at my images, or learning how to look at something. This is part of the perspectives wok

Positions and Practice Week 8 Reflection w/c 14/07/2017

The various different people that we have covered this week have been interesting. The article by John A Walker was particularly relevant to the work that I am planning to do with my Final Project piece.

Looking at the different types of curating images especially Atlas by Gerhard Richter (1962-2013) was particularly interesting, I think I learnt a great deal in terms of how I attempted to put together my gallery.

I looked at the work of Jo Spence and how she had presented or had her work curated by others. A great deal of it felt documentary/reportage to me and I think this was because she was trying to convey certain messages with her photographs perhaps more so in Work (Part II) and Part (III) “The History Lesson” and Beyond the Perfect Image.

The kinds of photography that I admire are the areas that cover nature and wildlife. I like when online galleries are unfussy. I like a gallery where you can look through images without having to click around too much or any thing that can cause confusion. I think that I admire this type of work because having tried it a little I know how difficult it really must have been to obtain the beautiful shots that have been achieved.

I also have a keen interest in Macro Photography and the photographers that carry out this type of work amaze me. It also means it is really important to keep your gallery uncluttered as the nature of the  type of photography encapsulates so much details you want as little around the images as possible.

I have put some details of some photographers that have inspired me below:





This Week

I felt a little deflated this week overall and I feel in certain ways I had taken steps backward instead of forwards.

I pulled together my gallery in a way that I felt happy with but I think that perhaps my vision was a little way off what was wanted or was felt suitable.

I fully take on board all of the criticism and I took it and reproduced my whole gallery, hopefully getting somewhat closer to what is wanted. It is however weeks like this that make me heavily question my abilities, so many of my peers have worked as professionals and have a real insight to who they are as practitioners. I feel a little bit lost as I don’t really know who I am yet as a practitioner but it all certainly gives me something to work with and somewhere to take my photographic journey.

One disappointment of the week was my first foray into film photography! It failed! The film that I had taken was blank so this gives me another area to work on to 1) find out what went wrong and 2) find out if it was me and not the camera. I also need to discover whether the camera is able to take pictures, this means another learning curve.

There was the added stress with the oral presentation deadline looming, mine is very much still in development and having never done this type of work before I am finding it utterly terrifying .

This week has been a bit challenging for me personally. I did get to take a nice image this week and this gives me something to keep working on.

Wylam Brewery

Positions and Practice Week 7 Reflection: w/c 7th July

This week felt like a bit of a struggle.

I understand the concept of chance and how some people would carefully plan their work.

I found the faux pas activity interesting and have actually grown to like my faux pas image. Especially after some of the feedback from the forums which made me look at it in a different way.

From the presentation I feel I can relate more to Adams over Cartier-Bresson. I really enjoyed the work of Sophie Calle and Boris Mikhailov and feel that this might be something that I would like to try in the future.

I felt challenges by the peer commissioned Micro Project the brief set required me to do a bit of research and it is this that I enjoyed. I think some of my images could maybe have been better and I think this is possibly an area that I need to work on – completing a brief in a timeframe.

With regards to my major project I had a pretty big failure. I worked with film for the first time and when I took it for development it was completely blank. I now need to try and figure out what I have done wrong, and how I might fix this. I also need to decide if this is now something that I would definitely carry on moving forward with.

I found this weeks readings quite difficult especially the Rebecca Solnit extract. I struggled to find the relevance of the reading and perhaps need to revisit this in the future.

Here is hoping for a better week 8!!

Positions and Practice Week 7: Peer Commissioned Micro Project

In this weeks work our activity was to complete a Peer commissioned Micro Project, we were to partner up and set each other briefs to fulfil taking inspiration from the content we had covered throughout the week. All the while keeping track of our creative thought process.

I paired up with Alexandra and this is the brief that I was set:

“Your brief is to produce up to 6 shots demonstrating the Yin and Yang of an object or subject or scene or something else.

The idea is to see the bright and the dark side or the good and the bad connected to your subject.”

My first steps was to research Yin and Yang, I then started to brainstorm what would be achievable in the couple of hours time frame that was suggested for this task.

I though of:

  • Caterpillars vs Butterflies
  • Medicine vs Drugs
  • Love vs War

The idea I thought was achievable however went with the title “Every rose has its thorn”

Luckily I have a rose-bush in my garden and a very good florist locally. I was thinking about the softness of the flower and the sharpness of the thorns. The birth of a flower bud and the then the decay of the flower dying. Roses are stereotypically as sign of love given at weddings but also used at funerals. The beauty of the flower yet they can draw blood from you if your catch a thorn.

I then went exploring taking some preliminary pictures, some that I wasn’t particularly happy with so I tried again the next day and managed to get some I was more pleased with.

I decided to put together my work using both black and white and also colour so that there is a difference that can be looked upon.

Whilst the timeframe was quite small I did enjoy this project and hope I have fulfilled the brief somewhat.

Positions and Practice Week 6 Reflection w/c 30 June

We didn’t have to write a reflection this week, but since I am finding them to be a really useful tool I thought I would write one anyway.

Last week we briefly went through our Oral Presentations with our peers to gain initial feedback. This week our presentations were to our course tutors to get another set of feedback.

I discovered a few things and also made some decisions.

  • I’m going to need a title for my presentation.
    • We are telling our photographic stories, so this should explain like a short narrative.
  • I am also going to need a little bit more text.
    • It’s a little bit sparse in that area.
  • On a plus point:
    • my layout is good and got positive feedback
    • the  balance was good – I have chosen an unobtrusive texture.
  • What I need to do:
    • Keep asking questions of what I would like to achieve.
    • Make my images bigger – In particular on my research page.
    • Expand my research – tell a story that will link the people that I have chosen to look at.
    • Show in the slide the equipment that I use.
      • What is an olloclip
      • how does the kit change your work
      • what else can i experiment with
      • talk about my images in more depth
      • Don’t worry about including images that we were proud of but we have now moved on from.
      • be a reflective photographer
    • Criticality
      • What more can we explore
      • using light/shadow how will this develop my work.
    • Research
      • Karl Blosfeld – Plant Specimens
      • Think about looking into perception
        • How a human processes images
        • Ernst Gomblich
          • Art and Illusion
          • Art Perception and reality
          • the story of art
        • Psychology and marketing on perception

This all means that I have quite a lot to do in the coming week, but I have set up my vimeo account and a big challenge will be the recording my video. I had technical problems during my presentation and so this has me worried.

On a photographic front, I have taken some film images. I don’t have the skills or equipment for self-development of the film so I have to play the waiting game to see how they turn out. Oh my!

this will be a major development in my project work when I see how they are coming out.

Positions and Practice Week 5 Reflection w/c 23rd June

This week has been a tough week trying to get the work study balance as well as get my thoughts together to show what I would like to achieve with my presentation.

I sometimes wonder if I am asking too much of myself, but then I also surprise myself with my resolve to get things done.

This week I have also set about sourcing the equipment that I would like to use in my major project. I am now the proud owner of a Canon AE-1 with lenses including a macro lens and also extension tubes, I now just need to find the film that is going to best fit my needs. I feel that this is going to be a really exciting journey for me as in essence I learn a new skill.

I have also learned what I feel my ethics and responsibilities are. I always thought that because I didn’t take photographs of people the rules that apply to that type of photography were not really relevant to me, but now I realise that nature can also be exploited and I have a responsibility towards conservation and how I look after the nature that I so enjoy photographing. It is not that I didn’t know that I should look after my environment I think I just had not thought deeply about it in this context.

I think the realisation from this week will improve and enhance my ethical practice.

I have also enjoyed creating some images and making them black and white in preparation for my project work and I realised just how distracting colour can be to a viewer. I also learnt some skills on Lightroom which I have not tried before and this was very useful.

I was challenged by writing the script for my presentation and the ASK section of the study skills on the University website proved helpful. However I still think that are areas for improvement in my script and will continue to tweak it until do our presentation next week.

Having our group get together as a presentation trial run was really helpful and proved to me again that group work can be beneficial.