Monday, January 31, 2011

Anthony Gormley

Whilst visiting Canterbury Cathedral last weekend, we visited a sculpture by Anthony Gormley.

The piece, called Transport, is suspended at the cathedral above the site of the first tomb of Thomas Becket, the archbishop murdered at the altar on December 29, 1170.
The 2m work uses antique iron nails from the cathedral’s repaired south east roof to construct a membrane outlining the space of a floating body.
Gormley, who won the Turner Prize in 1994, is best known for his works such as the Angel Of The North and Another Place on Crosby beach.
Speaking about Transport, Gormley, 60, said: “We are all the temporary inhabitants of a body. I hope to have evoked this in the most direct way possible.”
Several factors which made this work special was the materials used to create, the choice of location of the display and the accessibility. Rather interesting that to view the work you need to pay the £10 admission to the Cathedral (unless you are worshipping) All these factors play a part in my understanding of the art gallery system. (please note pictures are from camera phone)

Facebook becomes more than just a social network

I was given the opportunity to look through an album of images posted via a friends facebook profile. The images are a collection of photographs featuring women engaging in protest in Cairo.  Gender is important to the people who posted the photos.  Those who comment appear to take slightly different messages from the photos:  'when women protest you know that change is coming', 'go sister' and Leil who posts the photos claims that the women's involvement has been largely ignored by the media.  It is certainly true that the protests have been presented as a disaffected male youth who are struggling to find work in some media.  Her efforts to redress this have featured on an Al Jazeera blog so she has had some success.  Following our reading this week, it occurs to me that there may be some hint of primitivising 'the other' in some of the posts from those with more Western names who assume that women in Cairo play no part in public life or protest and I wonder how accurate that is.

As well as the political importance of this issue, the consideration must be credited that a social networking site can become an important means of communication without an editorial control. Further more as Facebook allows comments to be added, debates and support is shown thus becoming an important social document for future reflection.

A worthy note is that I have no copyright to these image nor know of the photographer to credit. I have however posted a link to the album which has been made public.

Friday, January 28, 2011


I have been questioning my direction this past week. I am not sure where I should be directing my skills. I have always believed that 'Jack of All - is Master of none' - But I have a diverse skill set. I have passions where I would like to aim. It is hard to create a name for yourself in many different genres, and make money on a regular basis.

I'll never turn away a job regardless of the subject, of course if ethics are called into question, then this is a different matter.

At present my interests are:

A Social Portraiture that mixes into Documentary Photography. Not necessarily in Studio Photography, but more on location as it happens with natural surroundings. This feeds into my passion for a reportage style of work.

I still enjoy Wedding, Group, Corporate and Studio.

I've come to the conclusion that it is not wise to label myself as a 'Wedding' or 'Documentary' Photographer, but more of a Photographer in the general sense. I'm searching for the words, but I know I need to redesign my website and look at making a portfolio site; something I can update and change on a daily basis.

Photo assignment (existing client) - International Students.

I've been given a chance for a photo assignment photographing international students on campus. I still have to receive the brief in full, however from my understanding it will be over a week period. I need to capture the students throughout a variety of task, studies and leisure pursuits.

My first deadline for three students is the end on next week, so starting Tuesday morning - then Wednesday, and Thursday I'll start work. It shouldn't be a massive task; but it builds on a clients relationship that already exists. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

L'Autre (the other)

I found a book in the library which offered some interest. L’Autre is a collection of photographs taken on the Paris Metro (underground/subway). The photographer Luc Delahaye states ‘I stole these photographs..’stole’ because it is against the law to take them, it’s forbidden. The law states that everyone owns their own image.’
 He photographs the sublime, the distant gaze of people transient in thought, devoid of the surrounds, yet conscious of the journey. In essence the photographs become a passport style montage. The faces are not posed or smile, in fact the subject doesn’t even engage with the photographer (the viewer). He feigns absence in that moment of releasing the shutter. He becomes a sham in his mirroring of the subject, removing him from the creative decision.
All the faces are reproduced in Black and White (photographed from 1995-97) and the crop is very close creating a sense of intimacy that will never evolve.
Jean Baudrillard provides a text at the back of the book – Poetic Transference of Situation. L’Autre isn’t quite present, but what remains of the other when, he the photographer, isn’t there: gazes of people who see nothing. The people cannot be understood, what they may be thinking, their lives, history, journey they are upon. So the question lies can photography record the ‘real’ is it ever possible to capture reality? – ‘pure’ reality, if it exists, remains a question without an answer. What we see in these images is just a moment captured, ‘stolen’ from the subject.
Later Jean discuses the work titled, ‘The Adventure of a Photographer’ by Italo Calvino.  Bice, I assume is a woman, Antonnino the Photographer (stated by Calvino) follows her through the street. He keeps his distance using long lenses to capture her.‘The invisible Bice’- Calvino reports;
‘To surprise her as she was in the absence of his gaze, of any gaze. Not that he wanted to discover any particular thing... It was an invisible Bice that he wanted to possess, a Bice absolutely alone, a Bice whose presence presupposed the absence of him and everyone else.’
Antonio the photographer, then contuines over the following days to photograph the studio; Where Bice once was. Where she had been, that no longer signified her, and from what she had been withdrawn from forever. The disappearance of the object in photography has become an almost symbolic murder in the photographic act. The object no longer exists, the subject has gone. A transference of the object, a poetic transference of situation; an invocation to L’Autre to think me, to exist in order to make me exist.
In contemporary Photography the prime medium for this insignificance, L’Ature is stolen captured and taken away, despite it not even being ours to withhold. The raiders and predators, who plunder customs and cultures, stealing from landscapes which they do not even own, unlimited acts of the private exposed in a moment of photographing.
In Delahaye’s collection he does not intend to ‘steal’ or remove from the subject. If anything it makes us question our identity; our ideals, who we are, how we wish to be perceived. Do we wish for anonymity or exposure? The question remains of L’Ature is always evident, it is something we will never comprehend. Through our Aura it will always remain, family albums, photo elicitation evoking memories, providing evidential, tangible judgment of what is missing.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Although this assignment is part of a different module, I felt as it has effected part of my practice, and perhaps starting to steer my aims I'd include a summary.

The project I have just completed and entered into a book format (self published via blurb) was a photo essay, which would hopefully tell the story of my fathers life - which as a child I have very little memory. My premise was that I would revisit the town in Wales where I was born, and raised, and to utilise photo elicitation to recall some memories. The completed book will be on display, at the Equator cafe, Preston along with my fellow students work this coming Monday.

What this experience taught me was multifaceted. I did indeed elicit stories and memories, however just as many by being at that place. Sharing that time and the completion of a book, is something that will always last for a long time. I suppose this is why I have such a firm attachment to photography, it helps retain some memory. speak volumes without breathing a breath. The photographs are not intended to be 'pretty' or of subjects that we would want to see, just every day life. The normal sublime that passes by - however at a given time or moment a memory can be created, and forged into that place to be recounted at another date.

Ed Thompson

Today whilst I was researching other photographers in a similar field chosen by me. I came across Ed Thompson, I had a look through his website and thought I'd contact him. I had a reply straight away, and said he's be happy to answer any questions. I explained that I'd come up with questions and get back to him. I've added a link to his site, as I didn't want to infringe on any copyright.

He studied at KIAD (where Tracey Emin studied) Maidstone, then for his MA the London college of Communications. I've posted a quote from the email when I was asking about the reading matter, that he would have looked at during that time.

"Documentary is life, and your life dictates your photographic style, not just the photography books you read but the music you like, the food you eat, the people you love etc I hate conceptual photographers who go, oh yeah, this work is now about painting and that's why i'm clever and that's why it's valid etc I don't have a set methodolgy apart from the love of life and seeing." - Ed.

I'll update a post soon with a follow up.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Anthony - Exhibition

The exhibition was complete and finally presented on the wall. We had great help from Darren who worked really hard, and seemly quite slow; however when you stood back and absorbed the layout the time taken was evident.

We opened slightly later than planned, however a good turn out of students and lectures attended. I’d like to think we had some members of the public, although we didn’t really advertise the exhibition. Although this is fundamental to any success, I felt that the main consensus was that it wasn’t so important; as more the journey getting to exhibit was intrinsic.

I am writing this and posting on day two. I’m sat at the exhibition, and have just shown several people around. It was enjoyable explaining about the project, and providing some background to each work. I had a nice comment from an international student, he said “it’s a good thing that you did” – in response to my project ‘Anthony’ – I took pride in receiving this as I believed him to be sincere.

I’ve also quoted two other comments left so far:

Lots of ideas, lots of emotions and memories captured and shared! Brilliant! Good luck. Anna.

Interesting documentary work, with an anthropological element. Some I found to be very technically strong. Well done. Chris F.

The exhibition will run for another three days. Already I have plans for other projects relating to creating more ‘photo essays’ but with a wide appeal. The medium for a book is something I would like to exploit further. I enjoy the level of intimacy it creates, although for my own preference I prefer a print for impact.

Upon reflection I am excited in the opportunity it will bring, but also saddened as it marks a point in our course. The next exhibition of course will be greater and include more images, so the cycle continues, but what a good start!

The venue from the 17th of January until the 21st, 2011
Carl's Sensorium a video installation
Theresia's 'The Real Woman?'
Marrianne's 'Collective newspaper'

A view of the Gallery
'Let Skype in'
Livia's book 'Skype'
My own project 'Anthony' - The book
Postcard produced with my email
The delayed print arrives today!
 And finally the proper print arrives (see posting dates) - so tomorrow I will have to take my frame down and re-mount the intended print.

Lifft update

Louise approached me from Lifft slings for product shots of her packaging. It seemed that Boots wanted to feature her product in their catalogue. The call was unexpected and the required images wanted for a tight deadline.

I met Louise in the morning, and later that day I took the images. What made it more difficult is that it wasn’t of a final package; but a mock up in a very basic phase. This made it more challenging, as I would have more postproduction. 

I’ve attached the final images sent. Although I had lights at home, I opted for natural light and what available artificial light was in the room. I then adjusted the colour cast in editing.

I emailed them the next day and the catalogue was produced. I have yet to obtain a copy, however I am looking forward to seeing the product on sale.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The complete Bible reading 28th of November 2010

The complete Bible reading.

In the Church of St.Johns, Preston. The Minster took upon the task of reading the entire Bible. This was of course split amongst members of the congregation, visiting Bishops and priests and many members of the Parish.

I've actually added the text from Father Andrew's blog. (priest featured in the images below) It sums up the reasons and event better than I can. However I will 'speak' with my own images:

"Over the past few days, we have read the entire Bible in Preston Minster. Why? Firstly, to mark the Year of the Bible which is just beginning and secondly and more importantly, for grace - grace for the Diocese and the Church and grace to respond to the words of God. We used the King James version mainly and it took about 82 hours, non stop, all day and all night. "

I took about an hour to complete this assignment, using my tripod  - I also allowed the exposures to become very dark as I wanted to capture the atmosphere of night and reflection.

A break for Christmas...

This has always been in my mind that I needed to update my blog and keep projects rolling. I'm going to post assigments that took place over the period. Although moving home, new puppy and parents for the Christmas period all made good excuses... not forgetting a project for exhibition.

This coming year is going offer even more challenges. We have been given the go ahead to use Canterbury Cathedral for our Wedding. This year will see the end of the Masters course, and the start of a new direction in my career path. So right now as I sit here just waiting and thinking, I know that a lot is going to happen all of which is amazing. I feel really lucky that I have this opportunity, and for once in my life I'll not let it slip away.

Okay enough of that and back to the following projects. I'm going to try and post in order of completion so as to keep the narrative flowing.