Category Archives: Assignmne Diary 2: Narrative

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


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: [Accessed 27 December 2015].
  3. Log In – The New York Times. 2015. Log In – The New York Times. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 27 December 2015].
  4. Murphy, D, 2013. A Month by the Sea. 1st ed. UK: Eland.
  5. . 2015. . [ONLINE] Available at: [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: [Accessed 31 December 2015].
  7. Multimedia Poetry. 2016. Multimedia Poetry. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 08 January 2016].
  8. The Unseen – | Photoworks. 2016. The Unseen – | Photoworks. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 14 January 2016].
  10. Bacterial vs. Viral Infections: Causes and Treatments. 2016. Bacterial vs. Viral Infections: Causes and Treatments. [ONLINE] Available at: [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: [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: [Accessed 02 February 2016].