Category Archives: Coursework

Telephone conversation

I spoke to Keith last night who told me my assignment work does not need any amendments for assessment . I asked about printing the historical photographs used for my 3rd assignment as standalone images (the same as my 5th assignment ) but he felt they were fine as they were.

We discussed printing at A3 size which he said would be great, just to make sure they are the same quality as the A4 prints I have sent to him for each assignment .

Along with the prints I shall also submit photo books for my 2nd , 3rd and 5th assignments .

He felt that during the course I had discovered my photographic metier and used this successfully in my personal explorations of time , memory and loss. This is something I really want to continue with during my studies , and Keith’s help with this during the course has been invaluable.

I have applied for November assessment which gives me plenty of time to print and label my A3 prints as well as complete the Blurb photo books .

I shall be enrolling on my next course shortly and have decided on Digital Image and Culture.


Review & rework

All my assignments have been printed at A4 size and seen by Keith but for assessment I am considering printing on A3 paper leaving a reasonable sized border all around for handling purposes . I shall present these in an archival portfolio box . I used a Silverprint archival portfolio box for my DPP submission and was impressed with the professional appearance it gave to my submission.

I have also decided to submit photo-books for my 2nd and 5th assignments along with the one I have already received from Blurb for assignment 3, in addition to the A3 prints. I have kept the design very simple and to the same format , a small softcover landscape book , printed on Pro-line Pearl paper , with a white cover. Each small book shares the same themes of time , memory and loss and I think it is important for them to be seen together in this format as a small body of work, and something to be kept by my family.
Assignment 1
A3 prints
+ I shall also submit the 2015 calendar that was produced because one of my images was included (November ) . I was really pleased about this because my role that day was as a ‘behind the scenes ‘ photographer .
November calendar 2015
Nov calendar credits
Assignment 2
A3 prints
+ photo-book
Assignment 3
A3 prints
+ photo-book
I am going to ask Keith’s advice as I am wondering whether to print the historical images on their own , as done for my 5th assignment , or leave as diptych’s .
+ photo-book —which I have now received & am very pleased with.
I was rather worried about the colour re-production but this is fine.
Assignment 4 
This has been very slightly altered as per Keith’s recommendations , and the unforgivable spelling mistake corrected !
Assignment 5
A3 prints
+ photo-book
I have used a couple of double page spreads but for some reason the pdf does not show this , they are seen as two separate pages , unlike how they will appear in the book.
Version 1 (I need to alter it slightly)
Version 2


Post-documentary art

Listen to Jim Goldberg talking about Open See and his exhibition at the Photographers Gallery

Visit Goldberg’s website and reflect on how or if it works as a documentary project within the gallery space.

Goldberg’s project is a thought-provoking and revealing insight into the world of illegal immigrants and refugee populations Goldberg encountered.

Hand written text accompanies many of the photographs and the short testimonials written by the subject are especially poignant
I pray everyday to go back to my normal life
Maria always alone hurt heart

Living on the periphery of society they could remain nameless and forgotten but Goldberg’s collaboration gives them a voice that reaches a wider audience via the gallery arena.

A book of the project contains both colour and b&w images of differing sizes.
Some are printed across both pages whilst others are kept small making it dynamic to view.

Accessed 26/4/16
Accessed 26/4/16
Accessed 26/4/16

Project : The real in the twentieth century photograph


Look at the Cruel + Tender brochure . Core resources :Cruel&Tender.pdf.

Listen to interviews with two of the featured photographers , Rineke Dijkstra and Fazal Sheikh.

The pdf is a Teacher and Group Leaders’ Kit with information and suggestions for visits.
It includes a suggested reading list

Cruel + Tender
Held in 2013 at the Tate Modern this was the first major exhibition dedicated exclusively to photography bringing documentary imagery into the gallery arena.

By presenting documentary photography in an art based environment the images attract a larger and more diverse audience. The difference between art and documentary photography has become less easy to define , the genres frequently overlap .

The exhibition began and finished with a living photographer and was not displayed in chronological order, exploring conceptual approaches to documenting the real, how people are represented, truthfulness. The role of the viewer is also contemplated, the guide reminds the visitor to consider the personal intent of the photographer , the context , political , historical and social circumstances. Composition , form and title are decisions made by the photographer , it is important to consider why and what the photographer is trying to convey by these choices.


– Comparison & classification
– Caught in the lens
– Industry & consumerism
– Far away & close to home

Occupied Spaces
On the Road
Exploring Vulnerability
Industrialisation and Consumerism
Life Stories

Vulnerability : Dijkstra

Life stories : Dijkstra & Sheik

Rineke Dijkstra

Dijkstra’s portraits of mothers who have just given birth can only be described as raw. Powerful , strong , tender and unembellished the new mothers face the camera protectively holding their babies close to their near-naked bodies. The Portuguese bullfighters were photographed as they left the arena , exhausted and bloody. The two sets of images were not originally intended by Dijkstra to be exhibited together , she comments they might seem to re-enforce the cliched view of women as guardians , men as tough and strong .

Yet the women , despite their vulnerability , have such an aura of strength , the emotional experience of childbirth still visible on their face. Reactions to the photographs of the new mothers differed ,the unidealised images were praised by women but men were rather perturbed. Despite their masculinity the bullfighters too are captured at a moment of vulnerability , leaving the arena following a life-threatening experience their faces have a haunted look.

With minimal background and isolating her subject in the frame there are no personal details that might be used to glean any personal information . Her subjects are not in control of their situation and she aims to capture this experience. She discusses the difficulty of portraiture and how this lack of control reveals more of her subjects character but because we have become used to having pictures taken and react or play to the camera she believes it has become harder to capture moments such as these.

Fazal Sheikh

Photographing Somalian refugees Sheikh returned to re-visit families on several occasions building up a relationship with the people he was documenting and gaining their trust. He was angered by the media’s cliched images that made these people victims , frequently seen as starving and helpless.

Whilst each subject is shot in their own setting there is minimal background detail , the resulting portraits emphasise their individuality, they are not portrayed as casualties of circumstance. Additionally Sheikh returned after 8 years to re-photograph some of the children whose images he had originally taken at feeding centres in 1992 , despite their seemingly hopeless situation they had survived.

The majority of the photographs were taken with a Polaroid camera and by allowing his subjects to participate in how the images were presented it became ‘a communal affair’ . Sheikh believes text is crucial because the photographs alone ‘don’t tell the whole story’ , a combination of powerful image and expressive text ‘creates the overall piece’ . Each sitter is named , their individuality acknowledged , and written information details the circumstances that led to their exile.

Project 3:Post-colonial ethnography

Mid-nineteenth century anthropologists and ethnographers began to systematically use photography as a method to show evidence of the disparate connection between indigenous inhabitants and the new settlers.

The Curtis Syndrome
In 1986 Edward Curtis , an American ethnologist , set out to document the indigenous North American Indians. Spanning 30 years the 20 volumes of 40,000 photographs of idealised images provide a record of what was a rapidly vanishing people. Anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski held the view that when an ethnographic subject is identified it is at the same time as that way of life coming to an end.

Browse the catalogue Tribal Portraits:Vintage and Contemporary Photographs from the African Continent , Bernard J Shapero Rare Books.
Core resources TribalPortraits.pdf

Write a brief commentary.

Described as ‘a celebration of African culture ‘ the vast majority are of semi-naked or naked subjects whom are traditionally dressed and /or photographed performing customary rituals. The images adhere to Western perception of ‘the other’ and whilst they are undoubtable fascinating to look at I felt rather uneasy viewing them, which brought to mind an earlier project and exercise ‘the gaze’ (notes here ) .

However two images stood out to me :

1.This conceptually distinct and visually striking studio photograph by Malik Sidibé  here particularly struck me. The playful image with its connotations of starving children with swollen bellies and tribal ceremonies parodies the usual depiction of indigenous African people.

2.This portrait agains a black background by Antonine Schneck here

I like his photography very much , portraiture is favourite genre of mine I think these are fabulous. See here.

Primitive typologies

Nothing changes and images of unsophisticated indigenous people remain fascinating to Western eyes. Yet they continue to romanticise and perpetuate the perception of these people as ‘noble savages’ .
See here and here

Nudity becomes acceptable when presented as ‘art’ or study of an indigenous society. See here.

References / Bibliography

Accessed 4/3/16
Accessed 3/3/16

Exercise: To print or not to print

Ethics of photojournalism.

The photographer rarely makes the editorial decision of what may be deemed ethically suitable to be printed in the press .This photograph here of the Madrid bombings in 2004 taken by Pablo Torres Guerrero was published by newspapers , but the graphic image , which included a severed limb , was considered too horrific by some publications to print in its original form. The ‘offending’ limb was airbrushed out by some , printed in black and white , or print was placed over that area of the image. The Guardian chose to alter the colour of the bloodied limb to grey.

Read Clare Cozens’ Guardian article here about Guerrero’s photograph
What would you have done had you been the editor of a British broadsheet newspaper?

I must be honest I find this a really difficult question to answer. However despite the fact that I feel uneasy looking at the image I believe that by choosing to alter the original the truth has been manipulated , albeit only fractionally , but something that was there has been removed. I feel readers of newspapers , especially broadsheets , are intelligent enough to feel slightly insulted that what is deemed acceptable to view is censored on their behalf . Readers want , and should be , kept informed of current affairs without bias. Admittedly the context was not altered by each individual editors choice of how to print the image but the fact remains something was omitted. Yet I can too easily understand why some made a choice to use an altered version of the truth because images like this are distressing. Perhaps the answer would have been to not use this particular image at all .

+ Read ‘But Should You Print it?’
Core resources:ShouldYouPrint.pdf

The ethics of journalism

Sensitive areas:
2.Invasion of privacy
3.Sex & public decency

Considerations to be made before making the choice to print .
Not all need to be answered in the affirmative but should fit at least one of the listed criteria.
1.Is the event of such social/historic significance it warrants being printed
2.Is it necessary to understand the event ?
3.Does the subject consent ?
4.Is it indicative of humanity?

Using the criteria above against Guerrero’s photograph should it have been printed in it’s original form?

The event was a terrorist attack on a large scale so yes it was justified insofar that it was a significant attack by terrorists .

However even without the severed limb the context remains which makes me wonder if the decision made by several editors to not show the original image was in fact perfectly acceptable.

Yet I still cannot help thinking the decision somehow challenges the supposed integrity of the free press.

Accessed 14/1/16
Accessed 14/1/16