Category: Photography In Context

This project has tested me more than any previous project, and has made me come to some realisations about myself and my working practice.

I began the project by researching the given maps, and eventually began to narrow my research fields to more in depth analysis of desirable locations. This eventually led me to choose areas of nature as my desired locations.

What came next was development of ideas and research to back up my concepts, such as artists Kirsty Mitchell. However, my ideas changed and so did my chosen site. This shift happened relatively suddenly and I felt quite uncomfortable with acknowledging that I was changing my focus in a direction that was unfamiliar to my previous work. But, with that, I felt I had to move forward and explore the idea that would test me in ways I had not experienced, so after extensive research into the history of my new location, The Lady Herbert Gardens, and research into artists who supported and informed my new idea (e.g Tim Noble and Sue Webster), I moved forward into making my thoughts a reality.

Collecting the materials and creating the necessary props (my metal and glass, flowers, leaves, mushrooms) for my idea became an obsession over the course of the project, as the act of collecting the rubbish from the Lady Herbert Gardens had developed into being an incredibly important aspect to my endeavour, with my concepts and reasoning based around this act of removing the rubbish from the location and then placing it back in as something beautiful. I focused my efforts on the beer cans and the vodka bottle I collected, as my research into the gardens showed a large proportion of the complaints commented on antisocial drinking behaviour that was ruining the gardens atmosphere.

My intentions for this project were to create work that commented on the state of my specific site, and our involvement in it’s creation and degradation. The Lady Herbert Gardens are a man-made slice of nature in the centre of Coventry, yet we are destroying something that we created. I wanted my metal and glass works to not only be a physical representation of the fact that the Lady Herbert Gardens are man-made, but also a comment on the irony that we created something that we are destroying with the very rubbish I used to create those beautiful reminders. And how, inevitably, the gardens will no longer exist for us to make beautiful again, despite it being a conservation site.

In conclusion, I am in two minds about my final work. I spent so long creating the things necessary for the photographs, researching and developing my ideas, but I don’t know if my final images are striking enough to allude to point I am trying to make. I think my metal and glass creations certainly work the way I wanted them to in the photographs, and that the time and effort I put into there creation shines through in the high contrast, macro shots. Though, I am concerned that I spent to long making my imitations of nature and not enough time on the photographs. I get the impression the images are possibly to dark, and in the future I intend to create merely one print that is as large as I wish it to be, and then the rest as smaller maquettes, instead of settling for six images that are large, but not as large as I would really wish them to be.

This has been a stressful project for me, and I genuinely felt that the world was conspiring against me when it came to trying to just get the work done. But I am impressed with myself that I got it finished to the standard I did, and was capable of pushing through. So, on that note at least, I am incredibly happy with my work.








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Responding to a live research brief on location


Artist in Residence


Timespan Museum




May-July 2013





  • Aim to give artists time to focus and develop their practice
  • Offer space for personal creative exploration and experimentation
  • Raise artists profile
  • Career development


  • Sponsors and programmers providing them tend to expect something in return for pricing artists with fees and also studio space, accommodation and a production budget.
  • Interface with the public in some form or another is an inherent part of many residencies.
  • Can have very strict deadlines


Artist in Residence


Residencies can be self-funded


About her work


  • Homes
  • Invasive TVs
  • ‘Semi Detached’
  • Belonging
  • ‘Realm’ (2009-2013)
    • Double Exposure – layering of reality
    • A lot of
    • ‘Realm XI (Shapeshifter)
    • Photographing areas suspected of having supernatural happenings.
    • Derelict areas
    • ‘Sites of myth’
    • Involved solo show and funded residency in May 2013


Translocation Residency


  • Linked to ‘Clearances’ (farmers evicted from land because could make more money by sheep farming on the land around 200 years ago)
  • Given a loose brief
  • Funding (artist fee and materials budget) and accommodation (live/ work space)
  • Aim of project is to produce work in relation to Timespans Translocation Excavation Project.
  • No photographic evidence of how people lived back them (1813)
  • The stories of what happened have become more like whispered
  • Objectives
    • 2 month residency in Helmsdale
    • Become part of the excavation team
    • Themes
      • Notions of home
      • Kildonan clearances
      • Before the excavation
        • Tranquil highland valley
        • Just visible ruins of longhouses
        • In 1813 before it was a thriving settlement
        • Dig began two weeks into residency
        • Time to research
        • Longhouse excavation at Caen, Strath of Kildonan
        • Looking into what was discovered and examining/ discussing it helped create narrative of evictions
        • Thoughts on art and archeology
          • Archeology: Shadows in a mud – archeologists use poetic term to describe how different types (colours) of mud can reveal different types of architectural or domestic features.
          • Carolyn interpreted this term as being the shadows of the people who used to live here
          • In a way, documenting the derelict houses was like what archeologists do with excavations
          • The way the archeologists photographed there process was slow and incredibly scientific (measuring and documenting everything)
          • Archeological plans: use drawings to document as photographs can cause distortions with the lens
          • Cyanotypes
            • Using two chemicals on paper to make it sensitive to UV light
            • Then place objects over the top to create beautiful images
            • Can be done outside
            • She used the local stream on site to wash the paper
            • Photographs of the descendants among the excavation
            • Make practice of using human forms for reference: had a possible relative to the ancestors standing around the longhouse
            • Image within an image practice: photograph of descendants fireplace printed then re-photographed at the excavation site near where they found the hearth


Had assistants working with her from university of Hertfordshire

They had there travel and accommodation paid for


Community events helped develop project


Key themes

  • ‘If these stones could talk’
  • Diaspora (dispersion or spread of any people from their original homeland)

Prototype: ‘Diaspora Stone’ Using Matte Medium Transfer (Not a very professional finish)

Prototype: ‘Diaspora Stone’ Using Liquid Emulsion (LOOK THIS UP: SOUNDS AWESOME) – SE1 Brand

The Stones ended up being displayed in the museum next to the excavation finds


Translocation Residency Archive

  • Drawers
  • Wanted to keep things together
  • Look like specimens
  • ‘Sun print fabric’ (look it up)



  • There were challenges of being in such a remote area
  • Intensive seven week period of personal development and research
  • Collaboration with experts in other fields
  • Broad brief but related to practice
  • Inspiration of learning about new disciplines
  • Pushed myself out of usual practices

Questions and Answers


  • What first inspired you to start looking at ‘homes’/ derelict areas?
  • Do you already have plans for a new project?
  • Did you have a lot of freedom with the brief?
  • How did the local community respond to the work? Did they enjoy it?


Making a proposal

  • Good practice
  • Makes you think about where you are with your practice
  • Even if you don’t get the submission, it helps move your work forward
  • See gaps in experience
  • Usually about 500 words
  • I want to be a teacher, but this is still a good practice idea.


Creative Writing Lecture 

Often the most arresting photojournalism reveals an emotion you can empathise with.

  • Grief
  • Pain
  • Anger
  • Sympathy
  • Sadness
  • Joy


Your Values


  • Equality
  • Caring for others


  • Happiness
  • Religion
  • Creativity
  • Relationships
  • Intelligence


What would you die/ fight for?


Protecting another: If I saw someone about to die or being hurt I would rather risk my own life to try and help them than live the rest of my life knowing I did nothing.


My family

My friends

My pets probably


Story or Prose Poem

I want to take everything, my family, friends, pets, everyone and everything that I hold most dear. The incapability to do this tears through my heart. But I still have my memories and my life, something others are not so fortunate to have. But I want more, I want to keep a document of everything that happens to me so that, one day, this time I spent apart from the ones I love can still be shared with them. So I will take a camera, so that I can keep these memories safe, and pictures of everything I hold dear so they never fade from my memory.



  • Work on story
  • Use story as inspiration for a series of photos
  • Bring your images so you can read an show your images.

Appropriation Archives and Vernacular 

Why was Duchamp’s Urinal (‘Fountain’) the most important piece of art in the 20th century?

  • It’s a joke on art.
  • It was shocking; we wouldn’t have Damien Hurst’s shark and Jeff Koon’s inflatable bunny without Duchamp’s urinal from 1917

An Archive

A place in which public records or historical documents are stored.

Walter Benjamin’s Archive

  • More than just institutional archive
  • Modern day archives
  • Contemporary archives


Vernacular photography

  • Refers to creations of photographs, usually by amateur or unknown photographers, who take everyday life and common things as subjects.

In almost every picture

  • Ria at shooting gallery
  • Ria would, every year, go to the shooting gallery at a travelling fair and hit the bulls eye so would get a photo taken
  • Happened for 70 years
  • Vernacular photography

Kesel Kramer

  • Puts images together
  • Swan song for family albums: believes they are over
  • Vernacular

Book: ‘Taliban’ 2005

  • By Dworzac
  • What was officially being done and what people were actually doing was very different
  • Put together the images of the Taliban in the book: quite surreal

Joachim Schmid

  • Very Miscellaneous
  • Made sense of archive with found portraits
  • Drew peoples eyes to the text

Mohini Chandra

  • Book of photographs but only the back of the photograph
  • So you never actually see the photograph
  • Believed all the information you needed about that photograph was on the back

Rachel James

  • I know you Lucy Booth

John Stezaker

Christian Boltanski

  • Uses archive images to tell a story
  • Uses a lot of holocaust stuff
  • Immortalize ordinary people
  • Shows the plight of the jews

Shuka Glotman

Unhistorical moments

Photos of a town that doesn’t exist

  • Time capsule
  • Sees the images as a testament to the towns existence
  • Uses leaves on background of photos because they are indigenous to the area

Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin

  • People in trouble (Contacts)
  • Asked to intervene in the archives of Belfast exposed
  • Kept the tags, dots, circles that were used to highlight images and reprinted them
  • Currently being shown in the Saatchi gallery
  • People in trouble (dots)
  • Peeled back the dots to find out what was underneath and printed what was underneath

Walid Raad

  • Let’s be honest the weather helped
  • Grew up during bombings
  • Took photos of town disintegrating around him
  • 70’s
  • Spots on images corresponds with country supplied bombs to which side
  • As a boy would collect shells and could figure out who supplied the bomb to the militia

Susan Meiselas

  • Kurdistan
  • In the shadow of history
  • Plight of the Kurdish identity
  • How they are being written out of history
  • Kurdish hid their photos underground because they had to suppress that they were of a different ethnic background
  • Website asks people of Kurdish nationality to send in pictures
  • About identity


Giving us two videos made entirely of archives: none was shot by the filmmakers.


Grizzly Man

  • Whose Archive is it?
  • Whose story is it?
  • Who is the Author?

Could these stories be told without found footage/ archival material?


Further Viewing

  • Tarnation 2004
  • Capturing Freemans 2003
  • Look at images put on Google docs: without knowing anything, figure out what you know about the image.
  • Research skills
  • Learn to be critical about labeling, how the work is contextualized
  • Question how things are presented
  • Going to choose two objects in the Herbert and write 500 words reviews of them in the blog.
  • Take notes and reflect on how much we learn about the object
  • Is it represented successful?
  • Does the text and labeling help us understand it’s significance?
  • How is the object lit?
  • What surrounds the object?
  • What gallery is it in?
  • Exhibition critique

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Only reference material that has helped
  • Only things that have influenced your thinking
  • Authenticates what you are thinking

Referencing Style

  • Strict Criteria
  • More than one style
  • University or publisher will dictate what style needed

Specific software’s which can keep your references

  • CU support Reference works – ig you would like to know more about this speak to your subject librarian
  • Zotero: Free web based software
  • Alternative (paid) supported by other universities in Endnote

What you need for referencing

  • Authors full name
  • Title of the book or book chapter in the book
  • The date of publication
  • The publisher and location
  • The page number of any quotes
  • Need to reformat them inline with the preferred style guide.

Coventry University Referencing

If you have to have a chapter, put it BEFORE the book title (the book title will be in italics)

Causey, F. (2009) Education and Individuality: Teaching and learning in the contemporary Climate. Manchester. Manchester university press

Causey, F. (2009) Chapter goes here before title, Education and Individuality: Teaching and learning in the contemporary Climate. Manchester. Manchester university press

Discussing Text:

What’s the text about?

Exploring the different concepts of the gaze.

Discusses how Non westerners and Westerners perceive things differently

How Male and Female gazes are different: men are more dominant


How do you understand the gaze?

Different perceptions


How many gazes are they discussing?

Seven kinds of Gaze.

How many authors in that article are talking about the gaze?

Don Mcullin Video

What drives him?

  • ‘War is partly madness, mostly insanity, and the rest is schizophrenia’
  • Try and justify your presence, what point is of it when these people have already been killed
  • Try not to indulge in picture taking
  • Something I was meant to do, but how far was I allowed to take it
  • Didn’t think it was right to be there
  • People doing these terrible things, perhaps thought I was ok-ing it.
  • Saw an execution 1965
  • Looking back, do I have the right to take pictures of that mans murder?
  • Public executions are just another form of murder
  • Took a set of pictures of the boys I grew up – involved in the killing of a policeman
  • Came from a violent background
  • Having the door open to escape from his background was a fantastic opportunity. He got out of the violent, bigoted place.
  • Took photos of cold war, where Berlin wall was being put up
  • After that, won award for the photographs and got contract with the observer.
  • War in Cyprus
  • Helped save an old woman, made him feel like someone actually helping that just a voyeur
  • Of course he would help people, sometimes just to clear his own conscience
  • When people are in deep grief or emotion, they look up, almost like they can see God offering them some help.
  • Neither an artist nor a poet, I’m a photographer.
  • Much better to be on the side of humanity
  • Crisis in Congo
  • McCullin arrived amongst panic for German magazine ‘Quick’
  • Moral sense of purpose and duty
  • Want to take photos but want to stop it
  • ‘Even My Darkroom Is a Haunted Place’
  • ‘I don’t just take photographs, I think’
  • Got shot once

This video is heart wrenching, especially about the Congo. He saw people, young boys, murdered, skinned alive and brutalized. Hearing him describe it and talk about the horror of wanting to take the photos, but wanting to stop it and not being able to, sheds light on a difficult perspective of how much ability the photographer has to interfere, and the moral issues that come along with it.


  • Ethics of the photographer.
  • Compare Don McCullin to Cartier-Bresson
  • Both capture the decisive moment
  • Goya Artist – mentions him in video around Cyprus time
  • Wanted reach the people reading the newspaper – wanted to really shock them

Stuff of interest

Bill Viola

Steve Edwards: photography a very short introduction – book

Photography and Evidence

Conflicting Perspectives

  • What’s my perspective?
  • What do I see it as?
  • Where is my perspective?
  • Do I have the whole picture?
  • What am I bringing to the table?


Cartier Bresson

  • Believes you shouldn’t edit photographs
  • ‘what you see is what you get’


Don McCullin

  • Biafra 1971
  • Biafra no longer exists, it lost the war and got absorbed
  • Don McCullin proved that things were as bad as people in the country were saying


Kevin Carter

  • Pulitzer Prize winning image 1994
  • Killed himself afterwards
  • Carter believed it was not his place to intervene, but to observe


W Eugene Smith

  • Believes that it doesn’t matter if you get slightly involved.
  • Set certain scenes up to an extent
  • thruthful, but he believes the essence of the photograph
  • Tomoko in the bath 1971: banned
  • Horrors of fetal mercury poisoning
  • Became a symbol rather than a reality
  • Family asked for image not to be used because audience forgot that they were real people in the image


Photography as a Witness

  • If it illustrates a point, does it actually miss the point
  • Compassion fatigue: we see so much horror that we don’t react to it


Paul Hanson

  • World press photo award winner 2013
  • Emotionally evocative
  • Despite it winning an award people questioned authenticity because it looked to professional
  • Argument was that, he laid different images over each other to get everything right
  • People argued that because of the editing it was no longer a truth


What then is truth?


Russian History of Rewriting History/ evidence


You can edit


If we won’t trust images if they look to good, what can we trust?



Iraq War: Prisoners of War being tortured by American Soldiers

  • May 2004
  • Our biggest threat, as image-makers are amateur photographers – Ritchin
  • People trust an amateur photograph more than a professional photograph


If you are watching something intently, do you really see the big picture?


Photography and Death

How do you show death in photography


Indiana USA, 1930

  • Two black men being hung
  • People come out to see it
  • It got distributed as a postcard


Photography and Death

  • Photographing death was the last taboo
  • Everything is photographed now
  • We actually had a better relationship with death in Victorian Times than now.
  • Not uncommon back then for there to be dead loved ones in your photo albums


Briony Campbell

  • ‘The dad project’ 2009
  • Dad died of cancer, wanted a way to make that experience real of that happening real.
  • ‘Attempt to say goodbye to my dad’
  • How do you memorialize and make sense of death today
  • Attempt to make sense of death


Andres Serrano

  • Mortuary photographs
  • Looking at uncomfortable subjects and beautiful images
  • Named the photographs by how the people died.


Doesn’t matter what you are photographing, matters how you deal with it. Be respectful.


In Your Research Groups


Each of you take a subject


Add to your shared resource (google doc) by adding a paragraph on the following photographic movements


  •  Mass observation photography
  • New Topographics
  • Farm Security Administration Photography
  • Objective Style Photography from the Dusseldorf Kunstakademie


References and Further Reading


  • Barthes R 1980 Authentication (85-89) in Camera Lucida Vintage classics
  • Linkman A 2011 Photography and Death Exposures
  • Olin m 2013 five stories OF 9/11 IN touching photographs Chicago Press
  • Ritchen F 2013 Bending the frame aperture
  • Sontag S 2003 Regarding the pain of others, Penguin Books