Archive for October, 2012

Hinkley Trip and Mark Power Talk

We visited Hinkley college and were asked to take photos of Hinkley based on photos they showed us of Mark Power’s, ‘Black Country’, project. I enjoyed getting to wander around and trying to look at landscapes from different perspectives. Some of my photos are very reminiscent of Power’s work. Others I have chosen to put here because, though they do not necessarily fit with Mark Power’s style, I used them as practice for photoshop and I liked the composition of the image to much to leave it out!









I believe 1, 3, 5 and 14 are the most reminiscent of Mark Power’s work. 5 is by far my favourite image. The mist coupled with the dark colours and old fashioned lamp post create a sort of fantasy-esque theme

Mark Power Talk 

Mark Power – Photographer – Talk at 2

.Black Country Project

  • .Buildings
  • Run Down
  • Simple
  • Isolated
  • Only few people in photos – don’t know they are being photographed
  • Close ups – feet
  • Chairs on there own in studio – from a factory

From Leicester – lives in Brighton (‘Black Country’)

Mark Power – Presentation – Talking about his career

Grew up in Leicester

First photo – 10 years old

Studied painting at college

Left college in 81 – then went travelling and got into photography

Photos about Brightons situation


1989 – close to being bankrupt – quit being photographer

Decided to be carpenter

Friend gave him money (200 pounds) to do photography

Took photos in Berlin – saved his career – Berlin wall falling down

.Nikon 35mm

.Manual film camera

Got work from British magazine afterward

Photographed Nudist Discos – photos got abused by designers

Got offered teaching post at university of Brighton – still teaching there one day a week

Mark Power – super structure – the dome

2000 – Treasury Building Restoration


Airbus – European

Sound of two songs – 2004 – 2009


We were taught how to use the Nikon Scanners that allow you to scan in negatives onto the computer.

I really enjoyed learning this, as I have always preferred the ability to be able to edit images on photoshop. I still need to practice with them but hopefully soon I will be fluent and able to scan in all my negatives to be edited on photoshop.

One of my photo negatives for ‘Homage to a Precious Object’
I practiced some of my newly learnt photoshop skills!

I have always considered myself pretty much self taught when it comes to photoshop, so it was an interesting experience to have someone teach me techniques I was unaware of, such as ways to use layers I had no idea were possible!

We were also told the importance of using raw files, something I haven’t done before and now sorely regret. The fact that raw files don’t lose as much detail when you render them in photoshop is something I really wish I had known beforehand. I have changed the settings on my camera and intend to use raw files from now on.

Lecture Write-Up: What Is Fine Art?

What Is Fine Art?

‘The use of skill and imagination in the creation of aesthetic objects, environments or experiences that can be shared with others.’

  • Aboriginal Art
  • Jimmy Pike – Famous contemporary aboriginal artist
  • Chris Ofili – Traditional Artist, uses paint and canvas, but also adds in elephant dung. Controversy over Virgin Mary Painting. The controversy made him famous.
  • Controversy regularly used in fine art
  • Yinka Shonibare – looks at power relationships in paintings: looked at renaissance paintings
  • John Everett Millais – <3: founding members of pre-Raphaelites – all about costumes, imagery, ideas, exploring ideas that interested them through there art – change from people merely commissioning paintings of themselves: kings used to be the only people who could afford painting.
  • Tom Hunter – recreate paintings: Toms different, titled his work: looked through local paper, find interesting story, recreate the story with hints to old paintings but would title the image based on the contemporary images. New narrative.
  • George Shaw – Nominated last year for the Turner Prize. Took photos around Coventry. Takes photos and then paints it. About lighting, framing, depth of field: Tackles paintings in a photographic way.
  • Eadweard Muybridge – changed how people painted horses. ‘Motion in study’
  • Marcel Duchamp – photo by Alfred Stiegltz – Duchamp was trying to push boundaries and cause controversy on purpose.
  • Tracey Emin – needs help
  • Damien Hirst
  • Gilbert + George – Bend It

We were asked to do a little 5 minute task were we took a photo of ourselves our Macs ‘Photobooth’ function and then wrote over the top what we believed fine art to be. The photos are not meant to be great, I believe it was more of a way of just putting a face to our thoughts instead of always staying anonymous.

I was really quite ill but had crawled in regardless, so was not to thrilled about the idea of having to take a photo of myself … so I resorted to pulling a funny face.

‘Fine Art is both terrifying and inspiring. It is simultaneously infuriating and beautiful. I love it but I wish it would stop giving me a headache’

My thoughts behind this? When I say terrifying I am referring to the hidden intentions that can seem to be behind some artists work: For instance, I genuinely worry that the Chapman Brothers are merely expressing there peadophilic desires through there ‘work’.

Inspiring refers to so many artists that I cannot even begin to list them. Infuriating is either through simply there artwork portraying something that stirs an emotion in me or I cannot get it out of my head (this can be good artwork). This can also simply be when I look at some modern ‘art’ and wonder how in gods name it could be considered as such.

Sometimes it gives me a headache, it is so vast and I love it so much. But it is very much a love hate relationship. I love having fine art in my life, but with all the awe inspiring goodness, you have to put up with bad.

What Is a Portrait?

What do you think a portrait is?

–        Image that depicts a person

–        Representation of a person

–        It doesn’t have to be a person

–        Could be an animal etc.

–        Essence of a person (essence, who a person is)

–        A picture with something that identifies that identifies the person

Where are they found?

–        Books

–        Passports

–        Family Albums

–        Publications

–        Galleries

–        Anywhere

Who commissions them?

–        Books

–        Family

–        Model

–        Brands

–        Companies

–        Bands

–        Newspapers

–        The photographer

–        Anybody

Purpose of the picture changes use. Who’s deciding to commission a photograph? Will decide on how that picture is used and how useful it is.

What should a portrait include/ exclude?


–        Subject

–        Identity


–        Person doesn’t have to be in portrait

–        Depends on what it is being used for

–        Exclude nothing

–        Depends on purpose

A portrait is?

A representation of a person or animal, esp. of face, person, animal


Historically photos were commissioned for two reasons:

. As Forms of identity/ surveillance

. As a remembrance/ generally commissioned to flatter

Photos were sometimes used to ‘collect’ ‘unusual’ people – very much a Victorian thing

-> Lavatr – believed you could tell a criminal type by facial characteristics

-> Irving Penn – worked 1919-late 90’s:

  • Social thing to take portraits
  • Took photos of friends/ family – many were famous

-> August Sander

  • German
  • Documented german ‘race’ by type
  • Nazi’s didn’t like his photography – not Arian enough – did not fit in with the elitist ideals
  • Took photos of people of the edge of society

-> Diane Arbus

  • Photographed people on the edge of society
  • People considered abnormal
  • Hard lighting
  • Not flattering
  • Style considered quite isolating
  • Had the ability to make normal people look abnormal

-> Richard Avedon

  • Would put adverts in papers for the ‘right’ kind of people
  • Isolate somebody from background
  • Only looking at them

-> Mary Ellen Mark

  • 20 Years later than Arbus
  • Makes Abnormal people look normal

-> Nicholas Nixon

  • Took pictures of the brown sisters each year for 25 years

-> Steve Pike

  • Philosophers – Project
  • Strong, distinctive style

-> Nick Wapplington

  • You don’t have to be formal for portraiture

-> Thomas Struth

  • Only uses daylight
  • Large format cameras
  • Known as a great portrait photographer for his day and age

-> Tina Barnley

  • Europeans
  • Upper Middle Class

-> Dayanita Singh

This project was given to us with a much shorter time than usual to complete it. Never the less, I feel I have completed it with some very promising photographs.

The concept was quite simple: A homage to a precious object. This could be anything, and for a while I was stuck on what to pick. I decided on taking photos that was a gift from someone important to me, and my mind immediately went to a metal flower I own. It was made for me by somebody very important and because it is completely one of a kind and very important to me, it seemed the obvious choice.

We were told by our tutor that he would look at the photographs without reading any text about them, as he wanted to merely infer what the photograph told him. This leads on from our recent lecture on what a photograph is, as he explained that the way you manipulate a photograph can change the relationship between the three people involved in a photo: the subject, the photographer and the viewer.

With this in mind I tried to look at my object in a different angle. Instead of just the details, what about the shape? If I have a blurred photo does that better show the shape of the object without the viewer being distracted by technicalities? If I crop the image in different ways, how does that make the image feel? What does the viewer infer from my photographs about the subject?

This is something I have tried to consider in my images, and will continue to do.

For this I used my digital camera and a light meter, I then edited the photos slightly in photoshop.

I liked the idea of having a blurred image, with the intention of removing details from the equation and merely giving the viewer a concept of the shape of the subject.

A continuation, of sorts, of the first image. This photograph was even more blurred, so I removed colour from the photo to obscure it even further. I really like this photo, its abstract feel and minimalistic style make it, to me, feel quite old fashioned and beautiful.

I wanted to try and get as many different angles of the object as possible, to really give the viewer a good perspective of the image and properly translate how precious it is to me.

Very similar to the above image but I manipulated the levels a bit more. I can’t decide what photo I prefer.

I cropped this image to mimic how the ‘flower’ is more closed off in this photo. I think doing so creates a more intimate photograph that better translates the feeling I have for the object. If something is precious you keep it close, look after it, I wanted to try and show that here. I am not completely happy with this image. The thought behind it makes sense to me, but the details and colours did not turn out as successful as I would of hoped.

This photo reminded me of the photographs you see of real flowers. I like the idea of the a fake flower being photographed in the same manner, like a juxta pose. To try and differentiate it from these sort of photographs I put it in black and white, as though it is in a way a ‘flower’ it is but a cold representation of the real thing, that will never die.

The colours in this photograph came out nicely. I like how the petals are not in perfect position, something I feel is mirrored by it being slightly off centre. It is not perfect, but it is still precious to me.

I am not completely sure about this photograph. I felt the background was’t right so I posterized the photo and really liked the effect it had. The details are separated and the different colours and tones, though in black and white, can still in a way be distinguished. I am just worried it is over edited and therefore childish looking.

My Favourite is number 6 out of my eight images. I think it is shows all of the scuffs and scrapes that hint to the history of the object, adding to the suggestion of intimacy and love of a precious object that has been owned for many years.

My least favourite is probably number 5. I just don’t like the end result. However, if I had to look at which images least represent and/ or respond to the brief, it would have to be the first two. Though I love how they turned out, they are vague and don’t really represent my object as something precious to me in a way that is readable by the audience/ viewer.

Overall, I am really proud with how this turned out. I think the photos fit in well with the brief and that my manipulations with the light meter and photoshop were successful. If I could change anything, I would probably try and reduce the amount of photos I use, not just in this project but in all of them. I have a tendency to have a lot of photos to show one thing. Maybe try only having a maximum of three.


What Is a Photograph?

  • What is a photographer?
  • What is a Photograph?
  • Expect these answers to change over the three years.
  • Aim: Not to deconstruct a photographic image. Instead to look at what we are actually creating.
  • Physical manifestation of our practice
  • Physical qualities of photographic print in this age have defined our views
  • Photographs leave a trace of the world.
  • Bounded by the edges of a frame
  • Have to choose what is in and what is out of the photograph
  • Photographs are a 2d representation of the real world
  • If you can take one thing: photographs are fixed in time, they age
  • Steven Shaw: Photographs have their own place in the world.
  • Can be seen as Utilitarian: To use/ something very useful
  • Or it can be seen as a work of art
  • Photographs can have very different meaning depending on context
  • Cindy Sherman – Self portraits – adopts film style and takes up roles
  • Will ask us what we see in a photograph – when they do this start with the obvious then go into more depth
  • Starting with what you basically see: explaining what the image denotes.
  • Denotation + Connotation: What is in the image + what the image suggests
  • If there is a drawing of a heart: it denotes a heart … the connotation is love
  • You can adopt an aesthetic in photographs
  • When you frame the world, you take something out of the context it was experienced in.
  • You can crop people out to make someone alone, you can manipulate the depth of field to make someone the only person in focus
  • You create a visual statement
  • The photograph can and does give the illusion of deep space
  • Photographers can use the fact the photograph is 2d and the world is not to create ‘gags’ (pushing the leaning tower of Pisa)
  • Lee Friedlander-Does this a lot
  • ‘Photographers don’t compose images, they solve images’ they deconstruct them
  • Monocular mean single – one lens instead of two (binoculars)
  • What is a photograph: Leaves a trace, bound by a frame, 2d, flattens the world
  • You respond to what is there, you are not thinking of things like juxta – pose: you create those links afterwards. The image just made sense to capture at the time.
  • Photography stops things. It is still.
  • Robert Frank, Garry Winogrand, Steven Shaw, Larry Fink
  • Photography can stop and suspend moments in time that cannot be held and dissolve as quickly as they existed
  • Edward Weston, William Eggleston
  • ‘You should use you camera like you are shooting a shotgun.’ William Eggleston
  • Dye transfer printing
  • Curve of film exposure – two moments to have the perfect exposure – normal exposure + very long exposure (overnight perhaps) No idea why
  • Robert Adams
  • ‘Tilt and Shift’ – make parallels completely straight instead of separating
  • Can frame photographs to deliberately create a tension.
  • When you explain the denotation and connotation of an image, contextualise your connotations – why does it make you feel this way?
  • Sally Manns
  • Mental modelling: Proactive photographers pre visualise
  • Eugene Atatj
  • Andreas Gursky
  • The things you do, the things you make, the way you can manipulate the world – look at all of these things.
  • Three people in a photo – photographer, subject and viewer – you can begin to mess with your dialogue between the three people.

The description of the task was to produce a cumulative portrait of a structure that can not readily be portrayed in it’s entirety in one frame.

I am incredibly disappointed about how this project turned out. It just seemed to go from bad to worse. I had the idea of taking a photograph of a place I was unfamiliar with, with the thought that to really get to know somewhere you have to analyse, look at all the small details. You begin to notice imperfections along with hidden beauties. I chose a small little park like area that i could see the entrance to out of my window. I decided to go there at night to add to the idea of the unknown and also to really experiment with using a light meter and a 35mm manual camera. Not only did I lose the lens cap to the camera in the process, but the camera would not wind properly and all of the film got exposed so I lost my photographs.

Because of this I had to go back to a previous idea of photographing a simple object. My concept was that we usually clutter up our lives with things we find beautiful yet rarely properly ‘see’ them. So many people take one photograph of something and pop it up on social networking sights but don’t properly inspect the finer details. I wanted to capture something I found beautiful, really analysing the lines and curves of the object. Because of this I chose a tea pot/ cup that I have had for a few years. I didn’t want to just show the patterns or what makes it beautiful, I wanted to show the marks and the dust that has gathered from merely sitting in my room just ‘looking pretty’.


My problem with how this has turned out is that the majority of the photos appear overly ‘pretty’. I know it sounds foolish but I genuinely feel they are to ‘airy’ and that takes away from the photographic ideas and concepts. I don’t want them to be labelled as shallow.

What I feel was a success about this project was my manipulation of the light using the light meter. I also have gained a lot of experience with 35mm cameras and shooting in the dark, even if my photos were virtually destroyed. It’s all a learning curve and I feel this has been an invaluable one.

If I was to redo this project (I may return to it at a later date anyway) I would use a manual camera again and perhaps try some landscape or building photography.

Prime Lenses

  • Fix focal
  • Fix spread
  • Can get a really low aperture
  • Can shoot in very low light
  • Usually attached to most cameras as it is the closest to what you see through your eyes

Different Lenses

  • Zoom lens
  • Fish eye lens
  • Telephoto lens
  • Tilt and shift lens
  • Wide angle lens


How It Works

  • Shutter Speed
  • Aperture
  • ISO


Different Shutter Speeds


Don’t go below 60 when hand holding

Smaller number, longer shutter speed -> lets in more light

Larger number, shorter shutter speed -> lets in less light




Smaller numbers let in most light

Larger numbers let in least light


If you have less light with the aperture you need more light with the shutter speed



ISO = International Standardization Organisation


Light sensitivity of the film

Smaller numbers = not very sensitive to light

Larger numbers = very sensitive to light

We were placed into groups and asked to create a 10 minute presentation surrounding six assigned artists. It was an interesting experience. I enjoyed creating the powerpoint, though I feel it didn’t turn out as good as it could of. I was incredibly nervous and stuttered during my speaking bit. That is something I need to improve on through practice. I should of payed more attention to detail but instead felt quite rushed. I am not sure if this is because we were not given much time or because we as a group didn’t communicate as well as we should of.

The presentation on how to do presentations was very useful, I feel I picked up quite a few tips. Having to do a 10 minute presentation with such little preparation was also an enlightening experience.

We were given the task of writing a 500 word letter to ourselves. We were to write it in the form of it being from our future self, one year from now, to us in the present day, just as we are starting our new degree.

I found this surprisingly difficult, I guess I am out of practice with my creative writing. I will have to keep working and improve on that.

I am not sure If I am completely satisfied with this. However I believe we will be doing another one this year so that will be a good opportunity to take what I have learnt from this task and use it in a constructive way.

Letter to Myself

It has been a year since you started this journey. A year since you uprooted your life to pursue a desire to better yourself and build a future you could be happy in.

The past year has not been easy, the anxiety never completely goes away, but you never expected it to, did you? You learn to control it, live with it without the medication, it’s not easy, but you get there.

You have friends now that you could never give up, people who you trust and they trust you. Your world is so much richer now, you know so much more than you did when you first arrived in Coventry. You were so scared of being alone weren’t you?

Your paranoia is all but gone now by the way. You have grown enough as a person to stop desperately worrying about what everyone thinks. The moment you learn to stop worrying and just enjoy yourself, it is like a weight being lifted that you can’t even imagine.

Just because you have changed though, doesn’t mean you are not still you. You are still with Nathan, happy and stronger than ever. And you still make it back to ‘Skullduggery’ games, see all your friends and have the same strong relationship with your family. You are never forgotten, any feelings of abandonment are mere figments of your imagination.

As for the photography course, it is everything you could have hoped for and more. The course leaders are fantastic, the other students on the course are people you now call friends and you are finally realising and developing your style. You have gained invaluable experience in terms of becoming a teacher, the course leaders have assured that. Just remember that not everything is set in stone. We could change our mind at any time, but if we do, you will have people by you to support you decision.

Remember not to rely on others to guide you with an outstretched hand. We have always worked for what we have wanted, the work ethic our parents taught us is ingrained, and that is incredibly useful throughout the year.

However, don’t be scared to ask for help. You are not alone, no matter what your twisted little mind tells you. Nathan and the family are always at the end of a phone and you will not be considered weak for finding things hard. You are always so hard on yourself; we need a break once in a while!

The next few years are not going to be easy; I don’t know what will happen to us.

But I am not only sure we can realise our goals, I am positive we will be pretty damn good at it too.