Category Archives: assignments diary

Assignment 5 Diary: Constructed realities and the fabricated image

8 April 2016

Just received fellow student Chloe Chalk’s collaborative video on Spring time where you are. I was happy that I took part as so few students did.

Got my assignment 4 sent off. So now to assignment 5…

Am still thinking about alternative bacteria images but am getting no where….

The students of Visual Arts, here on the island, are setting up their work for their final assessments.

10 May 2016

Off to see Highgrove garden in UK. May meet Prince Charles!!! No camera as Aer Lingus have a 7kg restriction on baggage…. Will keep eyes open and reflect on things. Uo at 7 a.m. to mow the grass after two days of torrential rain and intense heat.

20 May 2016

Back in Ireland after a fairly traumatic week. Highgrove shut due to flooding and little alternative offered. Family problems so Highgrove seem incidental…. Grass coming in the windows on return, rain coming down in sheets, no possibility of mowing…

So it was on with my research. Read masses about Gregory Crewsdon. Jury is out on his work. He gives me the creeps as a person but I don’t have to like with him, just research his work…

23 May 2016

Spent the whole weekend visiting the exhibits of this years graduates of the BA Visual Arts degree course held here on ‘my’ island. I have written a review of the show.

24 May 2016

I made some video material of the student show which I will need to edit before using. This resembles cleaning the oven for me. I keep putting it on the long finger – but I WILL get there. I need to buy an idiots guide to editing videos. Too many people have never bought this book and their video material reflects it!!!

Amazon have informed me that they will refund my money for the book Aftermath as it has never arrived. The outsourcing shop they used apparently sent two copies but these have never arrived – maybe they are coming by Royal Mail donkey….

31 May 2016

Worked all yesterday on research for assignment 5. Really enjoyed it. Have written it all up but need to organise the sub posts. Hoping to go to the Grayson Perry exhibition, here in Maastricht, today. Childminder doing the minding today so grandparents have a day off!!!.

6 June 2016

Did my recording for this assignment with Terry Farnell, another photographer who lives on the same island as me. He is a very reticent guy but he agreed to do this and I found it very interesting. He understood what I was trying to do as he had studied for his degree in Photography. I then wrote it up later that night after a couple of hours had elapsed. I found it interesting as I feel my memory is suffering as I get older.

I now want to re-read all the work done up to this point before I set out on the final assignment. I will use my physical log to set up story boards and to try to assemble my ideas. It is all going round in my head at the moment.

Had an opportunity to try to advance my “Unseen” images this weekend. It is one I would rather not have had but nonetheless one always has to be open to opportunity…. My husband had to go to the local hospital on Saturday due to a fall in the garden. His arm was badly bruised and cut and since he is on medication it bled copiously. While we were there I asked the nurse if I could photograph her cleaning and applying the bandages. I felt this was a perfect bacteria image. i want to find some newspaper headlines about bugs in hospitals to add to it…

7 June 2016

Managed to set up a Skype with Chris Coekin, my tutor. It was very useful and good to put a face to a name.  He had no serious issues with my essay. He agreed to advise when I was ready to submit encouraging me to defend whatever decision I made on presentation. The whole experience was reassuring.

He asked about what I intended to do for Assignment 5. I outlined what I had in mind. I told him I needed to put various options down on paper before I could decide on whether to present this as a video, a single image or a sequence of images.I also discussed my limitation with lighting, living as I do on an island. He encouraged me to record all my efforts and to include these.

10 June 2016

I had hoped to do some story boards for my upcoming constructed image(s) while working in the craft shop yesterday.. No chance I was crazy busy. This was good since I work on commission… I am thinking of roping in my son who will be visiting for the weekend and is about the age of my bassoon player when I first knew him. My son is also a whizz with projects – nothing is a problem.

13 June 2016

The weekend came and went and only got to make a couple of  photographs of my son down at the abandoned caravan. The rain hardly stopped long enough while we were at home…..

Decided to check out weather forecast for tonight looks reasonable. Will have to use husband disguised as he is a bit old for the part!!!! Bur he is willing which is great. Grandchildren were fascinated by the idea….

Need to get down to the site during the day and strim down the grass which is now as high as the windows of the caravan. My tutor thought this will  add atmosphere but I need space to place the tripod and lighting.  Am getting excited about this. Have been apprehensive up to this.

Will do some story boards today.

14 June 2016

Great fun last night setting up my “Making it Up”. We rolled out three extension leads from our electric buggy park down the road to the site of the abandoned caravan. Got my husband dressed up in a black top and my black bonnet. Used my big garage mechanic’s light and brought some LED lights. Took some shots and a couple of videos. I have collected all I have made into one file now and had a brief look at it all. The task of getting something out of it is a bit daunting  But I have ordered iMovie, the book, from Amazon. Let’s hope that it comes, not like, Aftermath, which never came. They refunded my money. I decided to order directly from Amazon even though it was more expensive. Secondary outlets seem to be the problem.

Weather behaved more or less as it had been predicted in the forecast. Some rain but generally OK. Windy…

Garden open to the public on Saturday and Sunday so that is keeping us very busy too. With changeable weather we have to keep running in and out….

15 June 2016

Reading up about editing videos. Am a bit confused but will get there. Updated (or updating at the minute) my iMovie. Unfortunately I need to update my whole system to get most recent version. Will do this after I backup.

16 June 2016

I found this video this morning which might be fun to try with my caravan. in the moonlight.

The weather is lovely at the moment so it will be no hardship to be out and about in the night. just need to check the moon – full or otherwise.

Have ordered 10 x 15 cms paper for small prints

Am checking my videos of the caravan to see which pieces I want to use. I will try to make about 2mins. I wonder if I could have the soundtrack of Summertime running in the background since it was the bassoon player’s music partner’s great song…. Have to think about how to do this. I will use my physical log to note down which few seconds of which videos I want to use and try to work out an order. This will save time and avoid too much confusion when my IMovie book arrives.

19 June 2016

Yesterday dawned bright and sunny. I even had my breakfast in the garden at 7.30 but by mid-day the rain was hammering down. When it rains no one travels to an island no matter how interesting the day might have been……. And it was an interesting day. “Sherkin Creates” saw all the artists studios open to the public and a general exhibition of the island crafts in our Community Hall.

The Open islands continues today but the weather looks very un-promising. So I intend to spend the day reviewing my videos and images for my Assignment 5 as I wait for garden visitors… I have created thumbnails of the images so far and I have 15 video clips some of which I will just bin. Then I will go through each and try to pick out the bits I want to use. i will note the point on the video and note this in my physical diary. Then I will work out in order where I want to use these clips to make a story. I will review the still images and try to see where these will fit into the story.

Then hopefully my iMovie book will arrive tomorrow which will guide me through the process of creating a meaningful video. I will keep it short and sweet in order to try to keep the quality high.

The project seems daunting at the moment but exciting too….

Have now printed my thumbnails and reviewed the first 9 videos. I have selected the seconds I might use.

When I finish I will try to make sense of the sequence and slot in some of the images…

Wonder how I will add sound to this work???

21 June 2016

My book did not arrive but I finished reviewing the video snippets. Asked permission of the singer to use her song as soundtrack – no reply as yet.

Could not go out at the summer solstice last night as my husband was sick – some sort of a bug and he is totally flattened this morning – poor man. Maybe try tonight if he is feeling better,

There is so much deciding to do that I am happy that the book has not arrived. I can gather my thoughts and try to arrange things on paper.

22 June 2016

Got the singer’s permission to use her music. Book arrived and I am deep into it.

25 June 2016

Learning how to transition from one clip to the next. Hope I can make it professional as at the moment it is anything but. it is so frustrating as I have the whole thing in my head but actually achieving it is not so easy. i would love to have a video expert sit beside me for a half a day. The whole experience is a deja vu for me. My father was an amateur film buff. He spent hours splicing 8mm film together. I can remember the smell of the gum he used – I found it intoxicating. He was a very impatient man except when he was working on his film.

Now to work and try to cross fade my clips. I have managed to add an image and done a Ken Burns effect on it. I am quite pleased with that.

I also want to convert the figure looking at the bike into a phantom

26 June 2016

Well the bike figure is a dead loss – so I will leave it out. I got my cross dissolve transitions in and realised they were too short so learned how to increase the transition time. Am on the chapter “effects” but need to resist the temptation to introduce any of these – I thought about sepia for the ‘photo’ on the bed but think it might be kitsch.

Re-reading my ‘story’ about the caravan I think I might have to leave out some of my favourite clips and stills as they are a bit irrelevant. I will look again at what I have made so far and see how it ties to the ‘story”

28 June2016

Got the video to a place where I am satisfied (sort of…) with it. Then wanted to add the audio. First attempt was a dead loss. Got up at 6a.m. so that there would be less surround noise while I ‘voice’ recorded the song over my video. Had a few attempts and got something which was ok.

Then the fun started. I tried to upload to Vimeo. Three attempts but would not upload. realised my screen was going off and this seemed to cause the uploading to stop. Changed screen to stay awake. The video uploaded. But then I could not get it to playback. I have checked online to try to establish why this is happening. No joy as yet. i have a neighbour who is a video expert but he is on holidays so I did not want to ask him. However I will try once more and then I might capitulate….

Found a solution online. Convert the file to Mp4 and then got a freebee software to compress it. It took 2.5 hours to upload but plays great.

Sent it off to a few family members and friends to see what they think… My son’s reaction was typical “could do better”……. But I really appreciate his honesty and he is a techie…. July 2016

29 July 2016

Have been thinking, for some time now, of how to re-do my video. First step was ot get a friend to record “Summertime” from his CD player. I now have a clean copy on my machine. I am about to set off and take stills to use for my new video. Unfortunately it is not foggy this morning. It was beautiful yesterday but had to go to work…..

4 August 2016

After much time and reading I reworked the video and now C&N is finally almost finished. I still have to change some images in one assignment but I know what I want ot do so C&N will be put to bed…

 

 

Assignment Diary 4: Reading Photographs

28 march 2016

I have started my research for assignment 4. Yesterday I looked at several YouTube videos on semiotics – since I think that that is what this is all about. I loved the quote, in Daniel Chandler’s Introduction in “Semiotics for Beginners”, by Lewis ‘semiotics tells us things we already know in a language we will never understand‘ . I could not agree more. So since I love language I decided I might try to understand this one – at least the basics.

In order ot do this I decided to create a mind map. It is a work in progress…

29 march 2016

The mind map is developing and may even be finished. I am not sure if it is correct. I would like to find someone, who knows about semiotics, to check it out. I have really enjoyed creating it. But since today is Wednesday I was walking the Luberon Mountains this morning with my walking friends and putting the world to rights. No one among them is the slightest interested in semiotics so I avoided the subject…… Instead we marvelled at the beauty that is Provence. It is our last walk before I return to Ireland. Sad to leave friends every six months but the friendship never sours….

Also working on Eliott Erwitt’s image. I have divided it into thirds and that is evident that we have one pair of legs in each of the two left hand thirds. Then the little dog is in the third third. But I also looked closely and discovered other things which I will write up. I don’t like this image as I find it disturbs my head looking at it. I don’t find it easy. I find it rigid.

31 march 2016

Wrote up blog on the Erwitt image. Amazing how one knows an image so well but we still do not notice all the details until called upon to make a written observation. Still do not ‘like’ the image for what that is worth.

Looking at the publicity images with the idea of analysing it. I have been doing this in my head for several nights. I have been applying De Saussure and Roland Barthes’ semiotic principals to it. Having done the mind map I have found this easier.

1 April 2016

April Fools day. I have been reading more on semiotics and have printed out Derrida’s article. I decided to attack the advertisement which I had torn out from Vanity Fair magazine. With all this semiotics terminology flying around in my head I think I could have written a book on the image. However I tried to remain within the requirements of the project 2: reading an image. I hope what I have written makes sense. I am getting quite ‘into’ all these hidden messages in photos. It is becoming like a murder mystery.

Have written an article on Semiotics.

I also read the OCA article on Essay Writing. I will keep it in mind when I come to write my essay. Further to my tutors reply to my request for direction on which image to use for my essay, I think I will go with the Meyerowitz Ground Zero image.

2 April 2016

Woke up this morning with a working title, and first thoughts on my intro, for my essay. Want to write up my research on Semiotics but have guests coming today.

5 April 2016

Made a subscription to Source as it looks very interesting. Was able to access Judith Williamson’s articles about decoding advertising. She certainly has strong opinions about the connotations in advertising. I am not sure I would always agree with her and ask myself if her opinions are not related to the need to produce an article for each issue of Source. I am no supporter of advertising but doubt that those who produce these ads are quite so well informed on the psychology of “the hidden message”. I found this YouTube video scary on subliminal advertising.

6 -11 April 2016

A friend brought us to the TGV in Aix where we got the train to Paris CDG. Because it was Easter holiday time, in various parts of France, the train was full. As always the TGV was fast, efficient and on time. Arrived in CDG, checked in our bags and our flight with Aer Lingus was also on time. Arrived in Cork ahead of time where our son collected us.

We spent four days with our grandchildren. This was a delight. They are very well behaved and lovely children (even though that is a little biased…). We did the usual school runs, swimming lessons and managed to get a shortish walk. The children and I had “Movie Night’ when we watched “Alvin and the Chipmunks”.

We were due to return to our island home on Sunday but the weather was so terrible we decided to sit it out at our son’s home. But as usual at this time of year, in Ireland, Monday dawned bright and dry so off we set.

We only had 30mins to do our shopping in the nearest town and made the midday boat with three minutes to spare. But the Captain waited for my husband to park the car after we unloaded it. Island side we met friends embarking as we disembarked. The island community transport arrived and after greeting with the driver we loaded up.

The weather has been so awful all winter that the ‘road’ to our house was only barely passable. The water level in the garden was just below the grass. We lost a bower and the internet antennae had come down on the TV areal so we are cut off from communication as we have all our communications by WiFi.

Our mobile works. Neighbours and friends began to call by to say “Hello” which is always a pleasure. The heating is fired up and the stove blazing so we are home, in our other home.

12 April 2016

My Behind the Image by Anna Fox and Natasha Caruana arrived so without the Internet I was able to get stuck in immediately. Internet repair man arrived so I opened the OCA site to see my results for EYV were there. I am pleased with the result although I still have no idea how this compares to others. i was surprised by the fuss on Facebook about the results. I do not see the point – the work is down and there is nothing that one can do to change it at this late stage. I sent my result to both previous and current tutors, as advised.

13 April 2016

Am getting back to research for my Ground Zero essay. My ordered copy of Aftermath, by Joel Meyerowitz, has not yet arrived nor have I recieved tutor feedback on my rough essay plan. But I will continue to research as I imagine a book could be written on the subject and the challenge will be to keep the essay tight and interesting.

15 april 2016

Awaiting reply from tutor on very basic essay structure which I sent him. I am reading and ‘looking’ (mostly YouTube material) around Meyerowitz’s Ground Zero work. My tutor was correct – there certainly is more to say on his work than there would have been on my two other possible choices….. I am almost snowed under with material. I am so ambivalent about ‘late’ photography. I have already written about this in EYV. I realise that my opinions are. as yet, very under-informed but I do not want to loose my own integrity  about what I feel about certain genre of photography practice. I feel I need to study, in much greater detail, the work of ‘late’ photographers and write up this research.

16 april 2016

I am trying to keep up with the development of three different essays/reviews, at the same time and my head is imploding and there are not enough hours in the day. So what does one do in these circumstances?

Of course one makes and paints a nesting box….

robin_box

17 april 2016

More reading and pondering before I set out to garden. Then I am met at my backdoor by his guy…

ox

who thinks he lives here and we are the intruders….

18 april 2016

Finished “Behind the Image” and wrote review. I really enjoyed this book. It is well written and very simple. I also re-read David Campany “Safety in Numbers” and got a better understanding of what he was saying.

21 april 2016

Re-read a number of papers on Late Photographers and wrote a review of the subject. After all this research I am still very ambivalent about the genre. However I have done my best to be objective.

Collected my cards, from my lovely printer, for my exhibition and the shop where I work. I am pleased with the graffiti cards. lets hope they sell. Took part in a meeting to arrange an Open Islands weekend. This is an annual affair where each of the inhabited islands displays creative work which is going on on each island.

I am hoping to use the time, before I receive my Aftermath book, to learn more about making videos. I know nothing about video making. My Nikon D800 takes videos but I have never used this facility. Up very early this morning and out in the ‘drizzle’ (that wonderful Irish word  for light rain) to make a video of an abandoned caravan on my road. I have seen this caravan come to the island, be lived in, albeit temporarily, by a bassoon player of a European orchestra, be the site of a liasion, be abandoned and eventually be vandalised. There is a whole book in this caravan….  Extend this to the site where the caravan stands. The remains of another caravan lies smashed on the ground – but that is a whole other story….

I now have a rather jerky video but there is the bones of a really good story there…

23 april 2016

Went on a Deep Topography walk with a young artist in residence Michael Holly, who has just moved into our local art centre in my market town, Skibbereen. I had no idea what deep topography was before this walk. Michael gave us a brief introduction which I will add to my physical log. It was an interesting experience.. I think the term was coined by the London Perambulator, Nick Papadimitriou. He was the subject of a short film, ‘The London Perambulator’, directed by John Rogers, and featuring eulogies from his pals Will Self (Nick provided insight and maps for Self’s ‘Book of Dave’) and Russell Brand.(interview). The documentary is on YouTube here.

Arrived back to find my husband chatting to a Russian guy who was trying to paraglide off the cliff behind our house – that’s a first..

24 april 2016

Have started Ian Jeffery’s A Concise History of Photography – it doesn’t look too concise….

2 May 2016

It has been a busy time with friends – a very special 60th birthday party. I had one of the guests, an artist friend from London so there was a lot of talking and not a whole lot of practical work. However I always try to profit from these encounters and I find them enriching. Two days before the party an islander died suddenly. Although she had lung cancer she was managing to get out every day. Living on a island of 100 people we are all accutely aware of each other. Her partner, whom I have know for nearly forty years, was a member of a traditional Irish band. He plays the bodhran. It is a sad time and no one knew whether to continue with the party arrangements. But the partner insisted it went ahead and we drank to absent friends.

Such an interesting group of people. I am hoping to work with one or two of them on some projects.

I am reading the review of Donigon Cummings work and my head is almost splitting. On minute I think he is great to make the videos he did and then I am angry that he made these videos of vulnerable people.

3 May 2016

Still no sign of Aftermath. Messages to supplier and Amazon but no joy.

4 May 2016

Finally received a direct message from the company in Hay-on-Wye re Aftermath. They will send another copy.

I am looking again at Jo Spence’s work. A strange day for me to be doing this as I have just returned from the cremation of one of our islanders who was also called “Jo”. Our Jo also had cancer, lung cancer, with which she had been diagnosed almost three years ago. Jo was a heavy smoker and she continued to smoke until Thursday morning when she died very quickly of an aneurysm. Her partner, Norman, was a member of and Irish trad group so it was a very jazzy cremation – not sad and sniffly like most funerals. This is a great result of living on an island. As Norman said today you have to be nuts to live on an island but we are a family. When I asked one of the other photographers if he had a photo of Jo he said “No” she always scowled at me when I raised the camera. He is making a life long study of island life.

Back to Jo Spence. I am going off to re-look at her work.

7 April 2016

Today is the day of the Essay….. I have read and viewed so much on Joel Meyerowitz that I feel I know the guy personally. I am not sure he would be my favourite companion on a desert island but that is food for another essay. How to keep this to a 1,000 words may be the greatest challenge.

I have printed out a large version of the image Steps Down to Plaza and tried to read it in detail. This is in my learning log. A photograph below.

learning log

Assignment Diary: 3 Putting Yourself in the picture

15 February 2016

Today will be the official first day of my Part 3 of C&N. Although I have already read through the notes and have started to keep a diary. I decided to do this as I was travelling to Paris this weekend and wanted to include that experience in my diary. I have also been thinking about “putting myself in the picture. This will be some experience as I hate photos being taken of me and very few exist. I assumed this was some sort of vanity but now I am beginning to think it has a deeper significance. Do I not want to be faced with the inevitability of my aging appearance. I have always claimed that age is of no consequence for me. But is this really true. The more I think about this subject the more I realise that with age

  • we become invisible.
  • we start to disintegrate
  • we loose our faculties

any one of these could apply to me. (I need a sad face symbol here!!!)

However I think I had better start with the recommended research. There should be no shortage of photographers to research for this part of the course.

17 February 2016

Lots of looking at self portraits online yesterday. Am fascinated by what has changed in society over the past number of years which now makes the ‘selfie’ – the norm?? Almost no one shies away from being photographed by a mobile phone held in front of their face while at the same time it is more and more difficult to get people to accept being photographed in the street by a photographer.

18 February 2016

Wrote up my exercise 1 of Part three Putting yourself in the picture. Have really enjoyed looking at this self portraiture. Then tried out some self portraits of ‘invisible me’… We will see what that gives.

23 february 2016

Am reflecting all the time about how to represent ‘invisibility of age’ in images. Read this this morning which I found sad(1). This one made me laugh (2).

Another idea for my invisibility – a portrait of me in black against a black background. Here is an interesting set of images.

Going to Africa at 51 meant a totally new life. People respect age. I was an elder, listened to and respected. This may have helped me to miss that move to invisibility.

24 february 2016

Am becoming addicted to looking at self portrait sites!!!!! There are so many inspiring self portraits out there it is daunting. Since I am away from home with my grandchildren I do not have a lot of opportunity to actually make any self portraits. But I do have time to look up other people’s work and to reflect. This is precious time.

26 February 2016

Yesterday I visited the Toon Teekan exhibition in the Bonnefantenmuseum in Maastricht. This is  beautifully restored building which has a permanent collection of Dutch Old Masters and host solo and collective exhibitions. This weeks exhibition was on the works of local artist Toon Teekan. It was interesting, especially to see the video in which he explains his work.

brughel_1

I visited the old masters also and was pleased to see the original of this Bruegel which I have never seen previously:

 

 

A Grayson Perry exhibition was due to open last night. While we were there Grayson Perry swept into the building dressed as a woman which he likes to do.

grayson_perry_1

What caught my eyes were his shoes which I managed to snap before he swept out of the building again and disappeared into a black windowed taxi.

grayson_perry_shoes

Grayson Perry is a well known British artist best known for his vases. However he is also known to be a transvestite and likes to appear, in public, in women’s cloths. He is a work of art himself…(4)

26 febuary 2016

My sons 43rd birthday. It is a lovely cold bright day here in Maastricht. We have a day planned in town and a visit to the photographic exhibition in the library of Maastricht, is planned.

Before going out I have done some research on Nikki S. Lee’s work. I have to say I m a little puzzled by it. I don’t find it either interesting or attractive. But I will continue to research her work to see if I can get behind her ‘raison d’etre’.

29 February 2016

We are flying back down south this afternoon after a week with our daughters family. I have not managed to keep my written diary every day but most days. I have found being here with three generations of my family, an interesting insight for this project. I have managed to visit some exhibitions and to do some research. It is always sad to say ‘goodbye’ but we will spend time together this summer in Ireland.

3 March 2016

I have been working on completion of my graffiti images for my exhibition in Ireland in August. I needed to have a couple more printed and I also needed to track down the alu-fix for hanging them. First thing I learned is that this is called Poster snap in Ireland and UK. I did locate a couple of places in Ireland but they only have standard poster sizes. Located one in UK. Will check before ordering.

I am now ready to take up my OCA research again. I have asked my sister to send me some photos of our childhood. There is one I remember very well. It is of my First Communion day – a very special day for a seven year old in the Ireland of my childhood….. She will send me a couple of photos which may trigger some memories. I have moved about so much, in my lifetime, that I do not store many family heirlooms. I like to travel and live light. I try to avoid accumulating ‘things’. My time in Africa taught me that I am happier when I am not burdened down with material possessions. I never felt the same sense of freedom in Europe as I did in Africa. Racing across the bush on the back of  a motorbike with wild pigs running alongside, it does not get any better…. But back to the project in hand.

5 March 2016

I have been struck down with a horrible cold and am struggling about. Doing some reading online, mostly of other students blogs. Ordered some books having read a fellow students review. Made some contacts of my self portraiture on ‘invisibility of age’. Printed out the contact that will form, I think, at least part of, my final assignment submission. Decided to convert some to B&W. Made contact of these. Cut this contacts up and will paste into my physical log but as yet I am still unsure which images I will go with in the final selection. Am moving them about to see which hang together as a set. Am quite interested in how the photographers, we were asked to research, made their final selections. I never seem to have the perfect sequence. I am still all over the place with a million ideas I would like to try out……

7 march 2016

Got assignment 2 feedback. So right I need to push my creativity. Have been trying to do this today with my self portraiture. Loving it. Trying writing on the images – found an interesting pen on Photoshop. Tried all sorts of modes but ‘normal’ worked best!!! So much to learn. Have been re-reading my diaries from Africa with the idea of including some pages in my present diary for this assignment. They read so normal and life was anything but normal in the heat and poverty that was the Gambia…. I suppose this was our way of dealing with it all. Interesting that my husband got an email from aGambian  friend today to say he has started his own bakery in The Gambia. He was fired from GamTel, the telecoms company, because he was getting near retirement and they did not want to give him a pension. He is a wonderful, kind, honest  man – a rarity among Gambian males. But he is naive and we must resist the temptation to try to help him as he has to make it himself. Nothing to do with OCA and creativity….

10 March 2016

I am not happy with the image I created of my present self and my childhood self. I will revisit it.

14 march 2016

Redid my images and am now satisfied. (sort of…) Spent a wonderful day on Friday last in Marseille visiting my printer and La Friche. There was an exhibition of Ostkreuz agency photographers. The space is wonderful, the whole concept so french. I wrote a review of the exhibition which underwhelmed me…. This was because I had looked at an interview with Steve McCurry just before I wrote it and was blown away by his portraits.

While I was in Marseille I saw a lovely man reading a very old newspaper so I stopped to talk to him. He was the owner of the antique shop, outside which he was sitting and he was reading through a box of old newspapers that someone had just delivered. He was 84 years young and quite happy to be photographed. A lovely encounter.

Marseille antique dealer

Marseille antique dealer

On the bus on the way to and from Marseille I read “Ways of Seeing” and apart from the annoying print I really enjoyed it. I’ll write a review as soon as I have looked at the TV programmes from which the book was written.

16 march 2016

Wrote the Berger book review. This is a book that will stay with me. I keep thinking of snippits and nodding my head. Just received my “Auto-Focus” by Susan Bright. Am very excited. However today is the eve of St Patrick and I have invited a load of people for drinks and bits at mid day so will not get much else done.

21 march 2016

It was a busy but very enjoyable weekend. My husband is an MG sportscar enthusiast and we are part of the MG Club du Sud. This weekend was the “Sortie des Truffles” which is a regular springtime event. I am not a classic car head but because the trip offered a visit to a private collection of old airplanes “de chasse” (war planes). I liked the possibility of photographing some of these.

It turned out to be a super weekend. The sun shone and the food and company was great. French outings tend to be very boozy affairs and this was no exception…. The ‘gendairmes‘ tend to ignore a string of ancient voitures on the roads so  no one has ever been breathalized….. The sortie set out from Sault which is on the north of the Luberon and is best known for its lavender fields. Our first port of call was to a truffles farm and restaurant where I have never eaten so many truffles. I also got a chance to make a little video for a project one of my fellow OCA students is engaged in. I have no experience in video and am looking forward to learning something about this technique from my little effort.

I also looked for opportunities to take some self portraits for thou shalt not age….

22 march 2016

A day of cleaning printer heads and installing ICC’s. Also I tried to work on the short video clips I made for another student’s Spring project…. Not very successfully as I have never done this before. I really want to know how to edit videos.

24 march 2016

A whole day spent with Victor Burgin……… My head is spinning but pleasantly so. I also made some collages of childhood images which I used to cover my diary.

my_diary

Frightening how I can see my grandson, who looks so like my son, in myself….

28 march 2016

There is more to this video business than I had realised. I made simple videos years ago and it all seemed to be easy. I think iMovie have complicated things.. Now having done this .MOV is not allowed by WordPress I’ll have to put it on YouTube or something….

 

 

  1. Boomers’ cloak of invisibility continues to grow as they age | The Spokesman-Review. 2016. Boomers’ cloak of invisibility continues to grow as they age | The Spokesman-Review. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2013/nov/18/boomers-cloak-of-invisibility-continues-to-grow/. [Accessed 23 February 2016].
  2. Denise Snodell: Women of a certain age often don the cloak of invisibility | The Kansas City Star. 2016. Denise Snodell: Women of a certain age often don the cloak of invisibility | The Kansas City Star. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/community/joco-913/joco-opinion/article13245461.html. [Accessed 23 February 2016]
  3. The Invisible Age:Photographic Self-Portraits by Women Aged 50-65 – Curated by Jan Potts and Beth Keintzle | LensCulture. 2016. The Invisible Age:Photographic Self-Portraits by Women Aged 50-65 – Curated by Jan Potts and Beth Keintzle | LensCulture. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.lensculture.com/articles/invisible-the-invisible-age-photographic-self-portraits-by-women-aged-50-65#slide-1. [Accessed 23 February 2016].
  4. Sketchbooks by Grayson Perry review – from bikers to Little Bo Peep | Books | The Guardian. 2016. Sketchbooks by Grayson Perry review – from bikers to Little Bo Peep | Books | The Guardian. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/feb/22/grayson-perry-sketchbooks-review-alan-measles-alter-ego-claire-bikers-to-bo-peep. [Accessed 26 February 2016].

Assignments Diary: 2 Narrative

26th December 2015

Spent some time today reading  Briony Cambell’s “The Dad Project“. Having read it I was in a see-saw of emotions. I remembered my own father’s dying. I was nineteen years old, in my final year in college. My family and I had spent a great part of the year taking care of him. My father had cancer – not a rare form but in 1963 cures were rare. He had been a 60 cigarettes a day man so his lungs had given out, then his kidneys and then the rest of his organs one after another so he just wasted away. He was 56 years old and my idol. He had been born in a city centre slum to an alcoholic father and his mother died when he was four. He always realised the value of education and read everything he could lay his hands on. His family were great survivors and very theatrical they sarted their own theatre group.

I cannot imagine that I would have had the distance from his dying to make a project of the experience.

This is not a criticism of Cambell’s project. It is just how I think I was at nineteen. My father had given me my first camera when I was twelve. He would probably have understood what the project was about but I was wracked with grief and a sort of guilt, wanting his suffering to end.

I then looked at the Country Doctor by W. Eugene Smith which I found interesting. But I now realise that I need to get the difference, if any, between Photo Essay and Photo Story into my head.

27th December 2015

I found this site on the Time Lightbox site which contained some amazing photo essays, many of the refugee crisis but one which was of particular interest to me was Tomas Munita’s Walking in War’s Path. (3) I am reading the second of Dervla Murphy’s books on Israel and the Gaza strip at the moment. I have finished her first book A month by the Sea (4) which is about the strip. This photo essay is presented as several walks on either side of the Israel/Palestine divide. It is beautifully presented with the minimum of information on each paused video walk. A truly moving story.

28th December 2015

I am reflecting on what I should do to create my own story according to what I have learned from this research

We all know the famous adage that a picture tells a thousand words. With this as your premise, think about how you can use pictures in the best way to forge your own stories.

I am not yet sure what is the difference between the ‘genres’ of narrative or even if they can be described as ‘genre’. Which genre does my Spiders webs, posted on the  Photography Level 1 Facebook site, fit into.

I am reflecting on ideas for a photo essay so I turned to Dr Google and he came up with this site:

10 Ideas for Creative Photo Essays

I am not sure I like any of these. Having looked at the Time Lightroom site the above suggestions look “Noddy”…. But I am not in a position to head off to mingle with refugees either north in Calais or south in Italy even if I had the courage to do so.

I have been tinkering with a book idea for some time now. It involves photographing people who have interesting occupations. I have already photographed two different friends, one makes willow baskets and the other is one of two brothers who are oyster farmers. Both of these live on the island where I live in the Summer.

My neighbours here in Provence are an interesting bunch but I am still a little shy to ask them if I can follow them around for a day. Sadly one of the most interesting was struck down with motor neuron disease and died last year. He made violas in his home. He invited me to visit his studio a couple of years ago. It was magical. He demonstrated how he made the violas and inlaid each one of them. He made about six per year and was, apparently, world renowned. He was a beautiful, shy, self-effacing man but my opportunity to capture him at work is now gone. I will approach Claude who is a ‘ferronier’ – an artistic metal worker. My other neighbour, Romu, is an artistic glass blower. He and Claude work in the same atelier. They collaborate on projects. They would make an interesting subject for my book.

Some good ideas in this site:

The 12 Most Amazing Photo Essays Of 2013

especially the Chinese one about carrying stuff.and the Japanese Micro apartments and what agriculture is doing to some land.

Claude has just agreed to allow me to photograph him working in his atelier – yippie.

29th December 2015

Listening to this lecture by David Cambell on Narrative and Context, Cambell says a narrative must be connected to  an event?? You make the connection between event and the person or persons. It all seems to be about wars and tragedy and illnesses. .

Cambell does admit that a narrative has characters and a sense of time and an arc. Will mine have these?? It will be an exercise mostly for me and not necessarily to fulfill an assignment or exercise.

31 December 2015

This is the last time I am going to write 2015 on my diary entry…. I spent some time changing the theme of my blog as I was very unsatisfied with ‘Minnow’ with which I had started. I found it difficult to navigate myself. I returned to “Twenty Twelve” which had used for EYV. I tried to give C&N a completely different look. Since this is about context and narrative I wanted to have header photographs which had some context or narrative…

I read Roland Barthes article The Death of the Author by Roland Barthes (5). I had to read it twice for it to make any sense. I then found a great ‘simple’ sort of list of the difference between Modernism and Postmodernism by Martin Irvine (6). I cut it out and pasted it into my physical log so that I can refer to it continually. I helped me to understand Barthes whose writing tends to be convoluted at times.

1 January 2016

2016 and I am still alive…. Had a great walk up in the Luberon mountains.

I read through the whole of Part 2: Narrative today before I started on Project 2. I am quite perplexed as to how to tackle the rest of this section but it looks exciting. I like being challenged. I decided to get going on ‘Images and Text’ – it looks pretty straightforward. I do not have access to English Newspapers so I decided to look some up online. I will purchase some French ones and cut out the images and put them into my physical log to give them some headings.

The two main pieces of news today were the burning of the hotel in Dubai in which it is still being alleged that no one lost their lives – incredible…. The other big news was that Munich shut down two train stations after a tip off that there was going to be a terrorist attack…..

3 January 2016

Spent the best part of yesterday reading Barthes Rhetoric of the Image. I had to read all around it to make sense of it. Wrote a review of it with which I was not satisfied. Thought about it over night and re-wrote it this morning. Then I decided to correct and update my work from yesterday on Image and Text and I inadvertently trashed it. I have just finished re-doing it but need to read it to make sure I have reworked all the information I had there originally. I am usually very careful about updating but this was because I was using my MACBook Air without the big screen and the slip of a finger on the small screen deleted all my work….

7 January 2016

Spent several days reading and researching for conceptual artists and photographers. I learned a lot… Completely bowled over by Duane Michals (aged 83!!!!) and his work

Now I am enjoying re-reading all my old poetry books to find a suitable poem for the exercise in Part 2 of Narrative: The image and text. Since I live in two places half of my poetry books are in Ireland and half in France.  For the exercise I was drawn to one of my oldest and favourite poets James Simmonds. But then I remembered a book my husband had got for me, signed by the poet himself Pat Ingoldsby. This had to be it. I loved his poetry when I was first introduced to it  and he is even older than me…

I decided on the poem/non-poem it had to be and set up a story board for the exercise to get into practice for the main assignment. The poem is entitled “What “The Daffodils” looked like before William Wordsworth wrote it”. I love the audacity of it… I have made a few test shots and decided to use the colour of the real page from the image I took of it and create a background empty sheet on which to print the title  and then the other shots on which the real poem is printed and the one with my spectacles posed on it or maybe not..

I think I will use Bristol print paper and print these images on it. I will then maybe hand write Ingoldsby’s second poem on these sheets. The second poem I want to use is entitled ” This is for you”

8 January 2016

Not happy with some of my images from yesterday for My poem. Will redo. Am giving much thought to my assignment already. Spent some time reading my Book Bindng Book which my son gave me for Christmas – good boy!!! Probably to prevent me asking for his help again if I decided to make another book….

Parceled up my material for assessment for EYV. Will post tomorrow.

I found this site useful when I was looking for inspiration about my poem work (7)

10 January 2016

Spent most of the day working on NetGen slideshow on my own site. I think I have it sorted now. I have ordered some photographic printing paper which will be delivered tomorrow and Tuesday. I want to try to do Poem exercise in sepia and want to try three different papers. I also want to add text but am not sure if I should do this in Photoshop or hand write it on the images. I will have to try these out.

11 January 2016

Am deciding not to do sepia now as I did some test shots yesterday, on cheap paper just to see what they were like but I do not like the result. So I re-did the original images in B&W. I like the result better. So I have to re-do the set. First I need to decide on the set…..  I will paste the trials I did yesterday into my sketchbook with the comments of why I do not think they will work.

14 January 2016

Last few days have been busy doing stuff. I sorted and published my work on Poem. I may still add another image as I have an idea of how i want to extend the story. I am a little nervous about this work as it may seem pretentious to have included a poem without words but I feel there is a sort of double ententre with unseen. I will add this observation to the written explanation. I am suffering flakey Internet connection.

I wrote a review of The Photographers Eye (click)

I also spent some time, I am in bed with a bad cold…., reading and looking at the three photographers’ work recommended for Unseen. I have to admit I was a bit disappointed. Only Jodie Taylor’s work impressed me. Having found the Vimeo of her work, presented by her tutor, I could see exactly from where she was coming. She re-created the whole ambience of the time in which she wanted to place her work. Maybe this is what is missing for me from the other two photographer’s work. We get no sense of a busy China from which Botha is escaping on his Ring Road nor do I get any sense of the difficulty of Peter Mansell’s life from his images. This is probably a lacking in me rather than in either photographer’s work.

Yesterday while waiting for my hairdresser (I hate having my hair cut) I had my notebook with me so jotted down some ideas for Assignment 2: Photographing the Unseen.So here goes:

  • Aging
    • Effects on the body
    • Old people out and about with walking aids
    • retirement homes
  • Addiction
    • Family history of addiction and its effects
    • family member’s addiction experience and its effect on us
    • Film “My Name is Jo”
    • AA, AlAnon, 12 steps
  • Sexual Difference
    • friends
  • Mindfullness
    • demonstrate in images what it is about
  • Kindness
    • demonstrate in images acts of kindness
  • Space
    • photograph the night sky
    • study other images of space online
  • Bacteria
    • try to represent bacteria visually e.g spots
    • where bacteria is found
    • good and bad
    • products to eliminate bacteria
  • Birds nests
    • images of abandoned nests

I looked up other work on the unseen in Photography and found this interesting site of Edward Thompson’s work. (8). i am still not sure if I will do Unseen for this assignment of if I will do “a white shirt”…

15 january2016

Progress being hampered by bad head cold. Having given the above list some reflection I am settling on Bactria as my Unseen theme. I have created a mind map in my sketchbook

mind_map_bacteria_sm

Have enlisted the help of my daughter who is a ‘bug’ specialist. Unfortunately we live in different countries so it will only be suggestions rather than any practical help. I am trying to concentrate my mind on how to represent this. Should I stay with good bacterial or bad. Should I stay with bacteria and humans or expand this into food and drink e.g. yogurt, cheese or water for example. Would this hang together? I am making little squares with ideas and will try to create different story board sequences in my sketchbook.

I first looked up information about size, shape and numbers of bacteria. Below is an image of different bacterial shapes

Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 14.42.18

ref (9) below

I need to be clear about the difference between Bacteria and Viruses. I learned here (10).  Bacteria are relatively complex. They can live independent of a host and in many different environments whereas viruses are simpler and need a host. Some bacteria are good like some  stomach bacteria but most viruses cause disease.

I am thinking of doing some photos of:

  • how bacteria spread: (11)
    • sneezing or coughing or rubbing infected parts of the body
    • not washing hands after using toilet and then preparing food
    • not washing hands in medical environment such as hospital (MRSA – Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus) spreads this bacteria to people who are already in a weakened state. It is antibiotic resistant
    • from raw food such as chicken to hands
    • nappy changing of a baby with diarrhea without washing the hands afterwards
    • animals to people
    • hot tubs – pseudomonis
    • trauma to skin e.g rubbing of a toe against shoe causes bacterial infection (Staphylococcus aureus ).
  • Good Bacteria (Probiotic) (versus Bad Bacteria):
    • Lactobacillus in probiotic yoghurt
    • Streptococcus used in the manufacture of yoghurt, mozzarella cheese other fermented products
    • Bacillus coagulans is used for veterinary purposes
    • moulds
    • decomposing vegetable matter like leaves produce good compost
  •  Antibacterial Products (useful of otherwise…)
    • hand wipes
    • antiseptic hand washing liquids in hospital/at home
    • surface cleaning products
    • laundry cleaners
    • antibiotics
    • apple cider
    • listerine
  • Food or drink and Bacteria
    • cheese
    • yoghurt
    • water
    • beer
    • sour dough
  • Research
    • penicillin
    • moulds
    • antibiotics
    • antibacterial products
mould on my fig jam....

mould on my fig jam….

I will try to develop some story boards from these so that the end set will hang together.

19 January 2016

Sent Pat Ingoldsby, the poet whose poem I used for this coursework, a letter last week. I was surprised and delighted to get a call from him today. I had asked his permission to use his work. He was absolutely charming and agreed wholeheartedly that I could. I have long been a fan of his work so to talk to him today was a great treat.

21 January 2016

Time spent trying to get together some images for bacteria. Unfortunately the images I prefer will not be the ones that I will submit for the assignment. This is because they do not creative a good narrative. Individually they are reasonable images but I need the story to hang together. Hence I am having to be more create with the first story – the spreading of bacteria and its consequences.  I so did not want this narrative to be about me and my ailments but it is looking like it might have to include that scenario…. But stories like food and drink bacteria is just not giving me enough material at the moment. The other story Medical and Research would necessitate my having access to a hospital which I do not have and don’t wish to become a patient in order to further this narrative.

As light relief I researched the photographers recommended by my tutor. Brilliant and interesting I have written a review of them here.

22 january 2016

Trying to expand my story of spreading bacteria. Instead of making bacteria models, which I had intended to do, I thought I would open the sequence with a picture of a model, probably a magazine cut out as I will not be meeting any models soon, and superimpose the information that she too is carrying one kilogram of bacterial on and in her body……  Then instead of a single shot of my hand on the door after bacteria has been put on it, I will make a collage of all some things I touch in a day which carry bacteria. I learned that there are more microbes on one persons hand than there are people on the planet – could I somehow visually represent this in my sequence of images?

23 January 2016

Did a couple of shots for assignment. Meat on a chopping board beside cheese on another board and onions on a third. Will this be sufficient to indicate two things. First that raw meat carries a lot of bacteria and second that raw and cooked food should never be handled without washing the hands. The other shot I did was washing my hands with suds. I want to do a triptych of had washing

  • with just water,
  • with soap
  • with an antiseptic wash (which I need to purchase!).

I found a kiddie health site where cultures were made by a trace of the finger tips on agar. Will see if I can use these agar plate images beside my hand washing images.

I am working on a loose structure:

  1. the omnipresence of bacteria
  2. How easy it is to spread
  3. Demonstrate the spreading by handling material
  4. Demonstrate receiving the spread bacteria by touching
  5. Infection gets into lungs
  6. Cured with antibiotics
  7. Eating good bacteria to boost immunity
  8. Avoid bacteria by washing and cleaning

Now the challenge is to create images which will stand alone to tell this story…..

27 January 2016

Visited the Serrano exhibition in Avignon yesterday. Wrote a review.

28 January 2016

Trying to work out how to frame the images for Unseen sequence. I am restricted because of the magazine image. I have put some on a background so they will hang together. Will review again tomorrow when I have some time away from them. I can’t tell now if they actually tell a story. Will have to run them by some friends.

 

2 February 2016

Although my tutor has said he is satisfied with an online version of my images for this assignment I decided to print them ready for final submission. This opened a whole can of worms which I have been keeping a tight lid on for some time… The ‘black art’ of printing. With the great help of a fellow student whose set-up I had seen on one of the OCA forums entitled “where you do it” and from which I realised he was a pro in printing, I have been able to print half way decent B&W images. They are at least as good as the B&W professional prints I had done for Part 1 EYV. Nigel gave me a link to a site (12) where i was able to read up how to get the best from my printer.

Now that I have printed my images I am not sure whether to add copies of the printed images with their large borders to the log or to add the originals which show up better on the log. I really need to rethink some of these….

This study is certainly not a sexy subject….

Have decided not to use the big borders. Where did I read that printing your own images is neither financially nor time saving!

10 February 2016

Despite not writing here I have been writing up my diary for the next project. I am no stranger to diaries. I keep sporadic diaries for my grandchildren. I always write travel diaries and make books of them and give them to the children.

I have also been thinking a lot about self portraiture. I am making a mind map in my physical log with ME as the centre. What makes me, me, who am I?, where do I fit into this world? How do i feel?. It is fascinating (to me but probably not to anyone else – I have no illusions….).

12 February 2016

Learned of the imminent death of a friend this morning. She had a great life and was a larger than life character. She is leaving us with that same spirit surrounded by her family for a last champagne party……. What a lady.

Am continuing to mind map for my portraits. Want to add professional life. Will close this diary and move on to Part three: Putting Yourself in the Picture.

 

  1. /03/The_Dad_Project_Briony_Campbell.pdf. [Accessed 26 December 2015].
  2. The 10 Best Photo Essays of the Month. 2015. The 10 Best Photo Essays of the Month. [ONLINE] Available at: http://time.com/4016306/photojournalism-links-august/. [Accessed 27 December 2015].
  3. Log In – The New York Times. 2015. Log In – The New York Times. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/08/22/world/middleeast/gaza-israel-walk-war-anniversary.html. [Accessed 27 December 2015].
  4. Murphy, D, 2013. A Month by the Sea. 1st ed. UK: Eland.
  5. . 2015. . [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.tbook.constantvzw.org/wp-content/death_authorbarthes.pdf. [Accessed 31 December 2015].
  6. The Po-Mo Page: Postmodern to Post-postmodern. 2015. The Po-Mo Page: Postmodern to Post-postmodern. [ONLINE] Available at: http://faculty.georgetown.edu/irvinem/theory/pomo.html. [Accessed 31 December 2015].
  7. Multimedia Poetry. 2016. Multimedia Poetry. [ONLINE] Available at: http://petapixel.com/2010/01/21/multimedia-poetry/. [Accessed 08 January 2016].
  8. The Unseen – | Photoworks. 2016. The Unseen – | Photoworks. [ONLINE] Available at: http://photoworks.org.uk/unseen/. [Accessed 14 January 2016].
  9. GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF BACTERIA . 2016. GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF BACTERIA . [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.researchfaculty.com/2015/06/general-characteristics-of-bacteria.html. [Accessed 16 January 2016].
  10. Bacterial vs. Viral Infections: Causes and Treatments. 2016. Bacterial vs. Viral Infections: Causes and Treatments. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/bacterial-and-viral-infections#1. [Accessed 16 January 2016].
  11. 5 Common Ways Germs are Spread – Minnesota Dept. of Health. 2016. 5 Common Ways Germs are Spread – Minnesota Dept. of Health. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.health.state.mn.us/handhygiene/why/5ways.html. [Accessed 16 January 2016].
  12. Printing from Photoshop | Jeff Schewe on Making a Digital Print | Peachpit. 2016. Printing from Photoshop | Jeff Schewe on Making a Digital Print | Peachpit. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.peachpit.com/articles/article.aspx?p=2119011&seqNum=2. [Accessed 02 February 2016].

Assignments Diary- 1. The Photograph as Document

Friday 9 October 2015

I am setting up my new blog today for Context and Narrative. I will tweek it later but at least it is set up.

I have also looked up the war images which were recommended.

Sunday 11 October 2015

Spent yesterday reading Rosler’s article and several others. Am about to set off to re-read it as it did not make a lot of sense to me. I do not understand why Universities think that students have to read these badly written complicated essays. Simplicity is so attractive. This is why I liked James Curtis article “Making Sense of Documentary Photography” so much better. I was also impressed by the OCA student, Catherine Bank’s, review of a the 2013 Thames Valley group discussion meeting.

Thursday 10 December 2015

It has been two months since I wrote up my diary. I have spent five amazing weeks backpacking around Chile. This was my second visit. After the first visit I wanted to return. The first visit involved starting in Arica in the north and traveling by bus and boat the entire length of Chile. I wanted to go back and just wander around the country staying where I wanted and moving on when I wanted. It was totally amazing. I took many  photographs and tried to use what I had learned in Part 1 of this course. On my return I had to get on with getting my material from EYV ready for assessment. This is now done and I can get on with Context and Narrative.

Friday 11 December 2015

I have been reading and researching for Project 3. I had also given a lot of thought to where I would photograph the street that interested me most. I had no doubt that Marseille would be my favourite place to do this set of images. But I was also strongly aware of what had happened in Paris during my absence. Marseille has a very distinctive North African flavour. I love it for this reason but I knew it would be on ‘tender hooks’ after the Paris massacre. Despite my reservations I wanted to use one of my favourite streets there for this assignment exercise.

I had to visit my printer anyway so I took my camera along. There was a sinister atmosphere.

My route from bus station to printer

My route from bus station to printer

This street runs all the way from Gare St Charles almost to my printer – about 2kms. It is in a fairly poor part of Marseille although not the poorest or toughest. The shops along this route are a mixture of fast food, cheap restaurants, motorbike shops, spare parts shops, sex shops, and a plethora of other outlets. The people using this boulevard are a compete mixture of the Marseillaise residents. There are the tough hoody clad youths, the veiled mothers with their children, the garage hands and every skin colour under the sun. I always walk along this route although I could take a bus. I love its’ slightly seedy atmosphere.

So camera in hand I set off. First problem – the sun was directly in my face as I left the station. I decided to try to get images of people going about their normal business. I was acutely aware that raising a camera to my eye could be mistaken for a firearm. Such is the level of nerves in this part of the world at the moment. The first thing I noticed was the lack of people. There was almost as many gendarmes as ordinary people. I had to be careful not to raise the camera near any of the men or women of the law. Female gendarmes were whizzing up and down the road on bicycles.

But I did manage to get the required number of images. I have not yet processed them but will do so today. I intend to make colour and black and white images and to use contacts in my physical learning log to see whether colour or black and white works best for each image. I do not think I will get anywhere near good enough images. My major problem was that I was too nervous to take my images close enough to the subjects. I may crop some of these.

Sunday 13 December 2015

I have been researching more street photographers and wrestling with when to use colour, and when black & white. I have sort of worked out a rule of thumb which I will try to apply to my street photography images.

  • Does the colour add anything to the image
  • Is the image a close up of a persons expression if so use B&W
  • is the image a ‘fun’ image if so try colour
  • would the use of B&W make the image look old and perhaps more authentic?
  • Is the image too cluttered with colour if so change to B&W

I have converted all my colour images, taken in Marseilles, to B&W. I have divided them into two main catagories – with or without people. Then I have divided the people images into colour and B&W.

I will now make contact sheets of each set and put them into my physical learning log where I will try to apply the above criteria. Then I will put the final choices into my Exercise.

I am also reflecting on ideas for Assignment 1: Two sides of the same story. Contrary to my normal procedure with these assignments I have looked at a couple of OCA students interpretations of the assignment. I am a little surprised that all of their work seems to take the assignment very seriously. I am tending towards the absurd. I will list some ideas

  • a murder scene involving me as victim versus me going about my normal business.
  • a restaurant kitchen versus the guests at table – although I cannot see how this could have anything to do with proving which was true – both are true.
  • a newspaper article about the finding of a two headed dog versus me doing the digital manipulation for the story.
15 December 2015

I took my first images for the murder scene this morning….. Watch this space…

Now I will get on with the research for Project 4 The Gallery Wall. I have just received John Szarowski’s book ” The Photographer’s Eye” as a birthday gift.

17 December 2015

Have sent tutor a brief outline of what I have in mind for Assignment 1. Meanwhile I will continue with ‘setting-up’ my images for my murder scene…. Found an oldish T-Shirt and made a stab wound in it and surrounded the hole with red dye.

26 December 2015

I have been sorting out my ideas for ‘Two sides of the same story’ and think I have now settled on how I want to present it.

At the same time I have been reading for Part Two: Narrative.