Category Archives: Assignment 2

Assignment 2:Tutor Feedback

I am really happy with the positive feedback from my tutor , Keith .

He found my assignment “ really interesting and moving ” adding that “ the images and messages being communicated through them really struck a chord with me

I am so glad I persevered with reading Camera Lucida (Barthes) , as recommended following my 1st assignment . He commented “ it was reading how this text had influenced your assignment that really brought the work together in my opinion”

I love printing my work and posted the prints to Keith who said “The first thing that stood out for me when opening the box was the print quality. A really nice weighted paper with deep blacks and a full range of tones–all uniformly formatted with a close detail to attention” . I use Permajet fibre Base Royal 325 paper and an Epson R2880 printer. I have often thought about experimenting with other papers but am reluctant to do so as I have such good results using this particular paper.

The use of movement in ‘One More Time and ’The One and Only’ worked particularly well ” . Keith has suggested looking at ‘Past Lives’ by Lorie Novak , and researching other techniques that are used.

I have already started reading one of the books on the suggested reading list , Hirsch ,M 2012. Family Frames: Photography , Narrative and Postmemory.

My blog “is developing nicely” . I need to write up my thoughts on any journal /book/ papers etc I read , something I neglect a bit. I read loads but don’t always reflect on these on my blog.

Interestingly Keith’s current research and particular interest in the field of photography is Memory and Post-Memory.

As I really want to expand on this conceptually I am looking forward to following up all the recommended reading/ links etc .

Suggested reading/viewing

Hirsch, M. 2012. Family Frames: Photography, Narrative and Postmemory. Cambridge (Mass). Harvard University Press
ISBN 13: 978 147000 7485

Gibbons, J. 2007. Contemporary Art and Memory: Images of Recollection and Remembrance. New York. IB Tauris & Co Ltd.
ISBN 13: 978 184511 6194

Bate, D. 2010. The Memory of Photography. In Photographies. Vol 3, No. 2, September 2010. Pp243-257. London. Taylor & Francis Ltd

Livingston, D. & Dyer, P. 2010. A View From The Window: Photography, Recording Family Memories. In Social Alternatives. Vol 29, No.3, 2010,
Pp20-28. Queensland. University of Queensland Press


Assignment Two: Reflection

Demonstration of technical and visual skills.

For the assignment I have used a variety of different focal lengths and techniques. All the images were taken indoors with a black background , chosen in order to create cohesion throughout because although these images do not as a whole form a narrative they do have a common theme . It was frequently frustrating and time consuming setting up the scenes , One More Time and The One and Only both relied on the use of a slow enough shutter speed with just the right amount of movement. The self portraits sometimes took hours ,Testimony of Time took a whole Saturday afternoon , my cable release broke , therefore I needed to use the camera’s self-timer which caused problems with actually getting myself in the frame whilst focusing and composing correctly. Unfortunately my plan to use Photoshop to merge images fell foul of my limited skills but I did manage to ’tattoo’ myself !

Quality of outcome

I spent a lot of time planning the assignment , trying out ideas, and considering how best to use and present them. I used diptych, triptych and tetraptych images to help convey my chosen concept of time. I am pleased with my final chosen images , as prints and on my blog , a print is always the final step in my own personal workflow. I processed and printed a lot of the images into both B&W and colour to compare in order to make my final decision and choose which to submit for the assignment. I made quite a few different versions of the diptych , triptych and tetraptych images as it was quite difficult to decide where to place the different photographs. I feel I have managed to fulfil the brief and produce images that translate a concept visually. I have gone way over the 200 words commentary needed to accompany the assignment and hope I have not waffled too much. However this became such a personal piece of work I felt compelled to not only use photography but words too , they help me visualise the unseen.

Demonstration of creativity

I enjoyed experimenting with surrealist techniques , using old photographs and possessions to explore deeply personal thoughts and inner feelings , something I rarely share. The photographs are subjective but I feel that hopefully ,  despite this , they visually convey the universally experienced consequence of time on memory and loss. I originally conceived the idea of using my case of photographs as the basis of a body of work during my previous OCA photography course, but failed to follow it through. Returning to the project has been cathartic and I really do not want this to be the end but the beginning of a long term undertaking.


I do struggle to keep up to date with coursework as I have a lot of personal commitments and still work 3 full days a week. I took far too long to complete the second section of the course and due to a couple of episodes of illness fell even further behind. Although this could not be helped I am frustrated that I have only managed to finish two assignments in a year so have set myself a target date of three months to complete the next section. Despite this I feel my blog is now progressing quite well and is easy to navigate. I really do need to attend more exhibitions and additionally have a pile of photography books to read but I did read , finally understood , and felt moved by Camera Lucida. As well as benefiting from the research during the 2nd section of the course I enjoyed discovering the work of both Priya Kambli and Annu Palakunnathu Matthew whose photography had a huge influence on my approach to the assignment. As suggested by my tutor I also looked at , and immensely enjoyed, the work of Julien Germain , but have not as yet had a chance to look at the other photographers he suggested.

Assignment Two

Precious Memories

Time changes everything and because of that , it is important to make photographs , because photographs , among their other virtues are markers of time” (Nakadate ,p.g 239) .

This assignment has evolved into a subjective exploration of the inseparable link that exists between time and memory . Using family photographs , treasured possessions , self-portraiture , and family members I have tried to explore my inner thoughts and feelings , on time , growing old, and loss. My research led me to two female photographers , Priya Kambli and Annu Palakunnathu Matthew , who have both inspired me immensely. Priya Kambli’s evocative Suitcase series led to my own attempts at still-life photography . Annu Palakunnathu Matthew’s inspirational Regeneration series investigated ” the presumed veracity of photographs to spur a critical reflection on the power of photography and it’s effect on the perception of memory” (Annu Palakunnathu Matthew ) encouraging me to try something similar .I am lucky that I have a reasonable collection of old family photographs, my husband sadly possesses just one from his very early boyhood.

I read , and re-read , Barthes Camera Lucida , of his emotional response to his Mother’s death, which on the third reading moved me to tears. Barthes discusses how a “ photograph does not necessarily say what is no longer , but only and for certain what has been” ( Barthes , p.g 85) . Despite the invention of photography making possible “one of man’s most ancient dreams , to halt the passage of time” (Black , 2010) time does pass , nothing lasts forever . I grow older , my family and friends grow older , eventually we will all , over time , become memories , it’s how we continue to exist. The visual and conceptual techniques used in surrealist photography make it an ideal way to represent the unseen and one I have used in my assignment.

After comparing the majority of my assignment images as prints in both mono and colour I felt that the B&W versions had greater visual impact and a coherence that seemed lacking in colour.
I chose to use the same plain black background for all images to create unity throughout because although these images do not form a story they do have a common theme.

The Time Machine
Old images reignite memories and , like a time machine , take us back to a different time” (Annu Palakunnathu Matthew) .The old leather case contains my mum and dad’s photographs a few letters , and other bits of personal memorabilia. Originally a whiskey casket (full of bottles of whiskey) it was given to my aunt Alice ( one of mum’s sisters ) whilst she was in service to a wealthy Northern mining family prior to the outbreak of WW2. I love looking through its contents and am immediately transported back to a time and place long gone , I see long dead family , lost youth and beauty . So much pathos in a small leather case.

One More Time
An anomaly : my dad , aged about 15 , now long dead , “ is going to die: I shudder ……over a catastrophe which has already occurred ” (Barthes , p.g 96 ) . He died 35 years ago but I failed to ask him about his life, his hopes and dreams, I left it too late. I never told him I loved him , he was (like me) undemonstrative but I knew I was loved , I hope he knew he was too . “ From a real body, which was there , proceed radiations which ultimately touch me , who am here ” (Barthes , p.g 80 ) , I wish I could reach back into the past , touch him , speak to him one more time.

Best Wife in the World
My handsome dad writes a declaration to his new wife across a photograph but its sadness ” exists only for me . For you , it would be nothing but an indifferent picture , one of the thousand manifestations of the ordinary; ……….. at most it would interest your studium; period, clothes , photogeny ; but in it , for you , no wound “ ( Barthes , p.g 73) . My mum has been his widow now for longer than they were married , his words a reminder of all she has lost , what time has taken.

My Mothers Hands
Beautiful in a unique way , my mum’s hands reveal the passage of time and old age , a time of quiet contemplation and remembering.

Testimony of Time
Who am I –daughter , mother or grandmother ? I am all three.Time alters relationships , from cared for to care provider. Time changes the outside shell leaving indelible marks , like a tattoo . These cannot be removed and are always on view to remind us of who we once were , who we have become.

The One and Only
My husband holds a photograph of himself aged about two. He has no memory of this being taken but remembers it hung in his mum and dad’s living room for a few years before being relegated to a box– out of sight and out of mind. Many years later following first the death of his dad , then later his mum , it finally came to join our collection, past and present finally reconciled.

Two Hundred and Six
Our combined ages , four generations of my family , the passage of time visible in our individual faces , the changing textures of our skin.

My Son’s Shirt
This silk shirt was bought back from Hong Kong by my Mum and Dad for my three year old son , he’s nearing forty now, when did my son become a man? Dad died a week after returning from Hong Kong and never saw his grandson in the shirt so carefully chosen for him. I have never been able to part with it , the only item of clothing I have ever kept from my son’s childhood.

References / Bibliography

Barthes , R (1993) Camera Lucida . London: Vintage

Black , C ,ed . (2010) Ghosts of the Black Chamber . Chicago USA:University of Chicago Press

Burnstine , S. (2015) American Connection Black + White Photography (Issue 174) 22-23

Fox , A. and Caruana , N . (2012) Creative Photography: Behind the Image, Research in Photography. Lausanne:Ava Publishing

Kambli , P. Priya Kambli Accessed 6/4/2015

Matthew, A. Annu Palakunnathu Matthew Accessed 2/2/2015

Nakadate , L. (2014) Time Capsule. In: Fulford, J and Halpern ,G , eds. The Photographers Playbook.New York :Aperture pp.239-241.

Short , M. (2011) Creative Photography:Context and Narrative. Lausanne : Ava Publishing.

Happy accident

My husband has only got this one photo of himself as a small boy and last night I decided I really wanted to include it in my assignment.

Bill age 2-1

Planning to perhaps blend it with an image of him now , or create a diptych , I needed to take some new photographs of him. He is not the easiest person to photograph (he never keeps still) and was just getting ready to go out for a bike ride when I coerced him to pose for me. I only really needed to just get one or two of him on his own but decided to take one of him as he was holding his picture— of course he moved as I took the first shot !

Reviewing the image before I took any more I was surprised by the double exposure effect but really liked it —however he was holding his old picture upside-down !


Suffice to say his bike ride was delayed for a while longer as I made him sit with his old photograph in front of his face moving it around –the right way up — as I re-took it a few more times until I was happy that I had got what I wanted and shall be including one of these with my final assignment pictures .

Assignment 2 –still in progress but nearly there !

Friday 17/4/15 —Sunday 19/4/15

I have spent the weekend taking my final assignment images , printing and gathering my thoughts. My concept of time has evolved into something a bit more complicated , more of a personal exploration of time and memory.

Attempting to emulate Priya Kambli’s Suitcase series , and taking photographs of my own small case of memories , was actually more frustrating that I originally thought it would be. How hard can it be to take a photograph of a static object –very as I found out ! I shot quite a few frames altering the composition slightly until I was happy with the result, still life photography is not my forte. I really like the colour version but have finally decided to present my assignment in B&W .


Rufus and suitcase

The black velvet backdrop I used throughout was a source of much frustration –I am still unable to fold it away without assistance , it has a life of it’s own. But much worse I really should have made sure it was free of any white fluff before I took any photographs , it would have meant a lot less time removing the visible white dots during post processing !

I have created and printed some diptych , triptych , even tetraptych images and will be including a few in the assignment. I really liked Annu Palakunnathu Matthew’s use of diptych’s throughout her series An Indian from India and considered using the same approach , but I felt that some of my own were better viewed as stand-alone images.I also tried adding text , i.e. the title but again decided not to do this. A scanned photograph of my dad paired with one of my new images caused me a bit of a conundrum , I was uncertain what size and where to place each image to be printed and I tried a few different combinations.

Best wife in the world jpeg 2

Best wife in the world jpeg 3 Best wife in the world jpeg 1

Best wife 5 small and large Best wife 4 same size

206 1 206 2 2006 3


My son's shirt 3 images colour version 2 My son's shirt jpeg colour version


Doc jpeg my Son's shirt

The research section on surrealism interested me very much , I was not really expecting to discover a link between this and documentary style photography at the start of the course. However the visual and conceptual techniques used in surrealist photography make it an ideal way to represent the unseen and one I have used.

Weds 22/4/215—Thursday 23/4/15
I am busy writing up my final notes to accompany the assignment which will be completed by the weekend and ready to post to my tutor . All my final chosen images will be printed on A4 Permajet fibre Base Royal 325 in landscape mode and posted to my tutor.

For the assignment the photographs need to be presented on a blog page with thumbnails linking to high res images and I shall be posting these along with the write up onto my blog in the next few days.


Research : Priya Kambli

Priya Kambli

Born in India Kambli migrated to the United States aged 18 following the death of both her parents.She took with her only one 45kg suitcase packing items and objects that had “ the ability to vividly conjure memories of the past” (www.Kambli). Her father was a keen amateur photographer and as a reluctant but frequently photographed subject she describes feeling “as a child I was certain that being photographed by my father was my punishment” (B+W p.g 22). Kambli herself prefers to use self-portaiture and photograph artefacts to investigate the themes of memory and loss.

The Suitcase Series
Sparse constructed images of suitcases and their contents enabled Kambli to investigate the memory of her migration and re-consider her choice of objects that travelled with her to a new life. The self contained individually themed photographs are all taken against a black background that additionally form a coherent set due to Kambli’s conceptual approach. Through her photography Kambli attempts to understand and create memories , the suitcases and their contents personify her journey from past to present.

Kitchen Gods
Kambli’s reconstructed family images are intriguing and personal. Losing her parents at such a young age “her images are a response to their loss and her subsequent migration to America” (B+W p.g 22) . Memories of a photograph mutilated by her mother , who cut her own face out of the image but not those of her children, stirred emotions , that as a child , she found difficult to interpret. She continues to try to make sense of “marred artefacts” (B+W p.g 23) by creating her own impaired images using original family photographs. The scanned images are cut or pierced , or a still life is created scattering materials such as rice on top of the original image then reworked in Photoshop. Mirroring her mother’s actions Kambli uses her technique “to modify the stories they tell” (www.Kambli) .

Color Falls Down
Altered family photographs , self portraiture , and personal objects , “reveal the correlations between generations , cultures and memory” (www.Kambli) .Kambli explores and attempts to come to terms with her individual past , divided ethnic identity and impermanence. The images are rather beautiful to look at , each showing a connection between past and present that unite the generations.

Burnstine , S. (2015) American Connection Black + White Photography (Issue 174) 22-23
Accessed 6/4/2015
Accessed 6/4/2015

Work in progress for Assignment 2.

Having delayed completing Assignment 2 once I have had to delay a second time as I have been too unwell to do any of my college work for a few weeks. I have had a really nasty chest infection , two courses of antibiotics later and I am only just beginning to feel ok , a life-long non-smoker I sound like I have a 50 a day habit !!!!

Hence I am behind with coursework , I am panicking slightly (understatement) as I will only have managed to complete two assignments in a year. I want to complete this assignment by mid-April . I had done some more work towards the assignment in February so have finally got around to gathering my thoughts and looking at some of the photographs I had taken. I have taken far less photographs than usual since beginning the course , there is such a lot of reading/research to do.

I am still unsure whether to work in B&W or colour but have quickly processed a few (see below) mostly in B&W.

 I took this image back in 2013 , one of my personal favourites , but one
never used for an OCA assignment.

My Dad as a young man—let me hold you in my arms one more time.

I realise its important to create new images hence I have taken new ones but using the same  concept as I really would like to incorporate this idea into my assignment. He was about 15 in the image , a professional portrait , his life ahead of him.  How I would love to be able to time travel, reach into the past , see and speak to my Dad once more. He died 35 years ago , I never asked him so may things about his life , I try to gain a sense of his past through old photographs. I took 65 new images a few of which are below.

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Sunday 1/2/2015

I took a series of self-portraits—nearly 40 but only kept 6 —  how I hate photo’s of myself. Time may have altered my physical appearance but its not what I think I should see ! I am sure a lot of others can identify with this.

I plan to perhaps merge one of these with portraits of Mum , my daughter(s) , perhaps granddaughter(s) too. Each generation fading into the next. I need to arrange to take their portraits over the next few weeks , everyone is so busy it is difficult to catch them . My PS skills are not brilliant but I learnt a lot during my last OCA course — DPP.

I have only posted one self-portrait –that is more than enough!

Web doc assignment 2 in progress

I am really grateful to Catherine for making me aware of the work of Annu Palakunnathu Matthew.

Thursday 12/2/2015

I re-took some pictures of Mum holding a photograph of herself as a young woman. I have decided I want a plain backdrop for each individual image and was not overly happy with the ones taken in November. I think by using the same background I can create a cohesive set of single images that provide a narrative and work on their own but that also , if visually consistent , can  “take on greater relevance when presented together” (Short, 2011, pg. 102).

I mentioned in an earlier post my son when he was a small boy (he’s 38 now) commented on the photograph Mum is holding “Grandma was nice when she new” , this has always amused me and will be the title of the image.

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Sat 21/2/2015

I finally managed to get my mum , both daughters and eldest grandaughter all gathered together for a photo-session, including myself this makes four generations of family members.

All the photos were taken inside using a black velvet backdrop. I was forced to shoot indoors due to the bitterly cold weather and we were rather restricted for space in my make-shift studio in the spare bedroom. I took each individual on their own and will try to merge , as planned , our four family generations but this will involve quite a bit of work , I hope my PS skills are not too rusty.

As I had the opportunity I did try to take a photograph of us all together—this proved difficult , and  I’m afraid I got rather frustrated with my ‘models’ ! It was impossible to get a decent group photo of them , one or other of them either giggled , moved or had their eyes shut as I pressed the shutter . so I have abandoned this idea—for the time being anyway.

A few from the session below.

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Short , M. (2011) Creative Photography:Context and Narrative. Lausanne : Ava Publishing.