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Jason Scott Tilley spent two days in the darkroom with me helping me develop my images. We worked incredibly long hours but it has been entirely worth it. I have walked away with images I can be proud of, and can now go onto the next stage of the process.

I have learnt a lot from Tilley in the time I spent with him in the Darkroom, and feel like ┬ámuch stronger practitioner because of it. I genuinely believe my images would not be as strong if it wasn’t for his support.

I have included some of the test strips in my book as documentation of our process.

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FMP My Abuser

I found my abuser online.

I don’t think it was mentally safe for me to do this, and it was incredibly upsetting to see his face after seven years. I didn’t realise just how happy I was not knowing where he was and believing he could be in a prison or dead.

However, I have experimented with it and decided against it for more than just the reason that it makes me uncomfortable.

I never went to the police, so there is no evidence of what he did to me. With this, if I had this picture in my book, it could be accused of defamation of character, and cause me more stress than I wish.

Also, this project is about me, not him. I don’t want his face in it, he makes me feel physically sick.

This is as much about therapy for me as it is creating a body of work, so he will only be mentioned and his actions described.

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On the bright side, he has got fat and bald in seven years. It’s the little things you have to take away in life.

I succeeded in getting all of my photographs printed over Easter, so I am now focusing on choosing my final photographs from the contact sheets I have created. I can then begin developing the images in the darkroom.

I have placed them in order of:
Landscapes/ On Site Locations
Self Portraits
Still Lives

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My talk with Caroline was incredibly useful, and has helped me work out a lot of decisions with regards to the direction of my project.

She believes that the combination of Still Lives, Portraits and Landscapes could work very well, but she needs to see images.

She also thinks that the photograms don’t give any kind of emotional connection for the audience, and I believe she is correct. They are easy to create and aesthetically pleasing, but they do not elicit the same emotional response as normal photos, and are therefore not suitable for my very emotionally charged work.

Caroline gave me multiple tips on how to photograph better landscapes and portraits, and suggested that the self portraits on the white background could be incredibly striking if I could make them strong enough.

I believe they show a level of control on my part and mean the audience isn’t distracted by the background, so I will take Caroline’s advice and work on improving them technically.

I now have a solid plan of action for over Easter. I hope to have all my photos taken ready for development and printing on my return. I also need to experiment with the picture of my abuser if I can find it like David Moore Suggested.

It will then come down to printing and developing a solid idea for the creation of my final piece.

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I had the idea to potentially create my still lives using photograms, so have begun experimenting with some of my chosen objects.

I find it very aesthetically pleasing, but i’m concerned that i’m potentially choosing it based entirely on the fact I like how it looks and nothing else? It also helps that they are very easy to create.

I will discuss the idea with one of my lecturers so I can make a more informed choice.

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The talk I had with David Moore was interesting. He suggested that I find images of my abuser, something that I don’t know if it was entirely appropriate to do. However, I understand where he is coming from, so will consider it an avenue of research at the least.

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Because I am planning to scratch into my images, I needed to make sure that it would be possible with Fibre based images, as their composition is drastically different to resin coated.

I discovered that it is harder to scratch into fibre based, however, it is possible to create a good array of scratches, I just have to be careful of tearing or incorporate it into the image.

I will stick with the decision to use Fibre based, but remain aware of the extra work this will leave me when I need to work into the images.

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FMP Research

I have done more research, focusing primarily on photographers who create different styles of portraits. I am trying to decide whether to create portraits within a setting or with a plain background like my initial shoots were.

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I have reflected on the time I have spent with John Blakemore and Jason Scott Tilley in the Darkroom, and decided that Fibre based printing really is the best for my project. It is of much better quality, and though longer to develop and more expensive, for my final major project it will be entirely worth it.

Jason Scott Tilley has also offered me help when it comes to printing my final images, which I will probably accept, as I also discovered that I have been making mistakes in the darkroom, such as not having the contrast filters turned on, so I have been creating entirely flat and awful images.

I’m happy I was able to discover this mistake now, rather than later down the line when it would of potentially been incredibly damaging to my project.

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John Blakemore, an absolute photographic master, came to visit at the university, and I got to spend two days listening to him talk and working with him in the darkroom with Fibre Based paper.

His work and practice have drastically influenced my current ideas for my work, primarily presentation.

  • I am now intent on a hand made book, the books he created were wonderful and he gave great advice for sequencing
  • I will consider fibre based paper over resin. It is slower to work with but creates better quality photographs overall.

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