Pre-unit exercise

“Regarding the ‘flood’ or constant ‘bombardment ‘ of images permeating ever deeper into our lives, rephotograph every photographic image that you encounter on a single day.  The quality of the image does not matter – use a camera phone or a compact camera.  You should include videos as well as still photographs; just shoot one frame to document a sequence.

  •  Construct a grid or compile a contact sheet of all your images.


  • ContactSheet-002.jpg



  • Write a short reflective piece in your learning log about this exercise.

What have I learned?

  1.  How to create a contact sheet in PS CS6.  I had used it in CS4 but had forgotten.
  2. That even in my home I have photos around me all the time.
  3. That I did not have the patience to photograph every photograph I saw because some publications, like publicity brochures and the OCA Student booklet & its ‘Live Learn Create’ publications have multiple images on their covers and then at least 3 images per page inside.
  4. That I spend a lot of time , perhaps too much time, on Facebook which exists for image circulation.
  5. That by the end of the day, when I was looking through the images I had taken, I did not remember having seen and photographed some of the images.
  6. That I did not consider the images I had taken and then viewed on my screen as part of the day’s collection of images.  For example, I am recording the building work on the house opposite ours:
  7. IMG_1881.jpg
    The facade of a Victorian house now a pile.
  1. IMG_1883.jpg
    Site labourers playing cricket on a lovely sunny day.

    IMG_1884.jpg7.  That I no longer ‘see’ the photographs displayed on buildings because they never change.

    8.  I have also learned that when I go for a walk, I go to reach a destination rather than be aware of the journey: I took photos of photos at my destination: the supermarket / the beach rather than taking photos of posters on the walls / on sandwich boards / on awnings.

I recorded videos but this website does not support them – unless I upgrade.

Has it alarmed me?

  1.  Yes – I am alarmed at the number of images which are crammed on publicity leaflets – I could not possibly rephotograph each one them because I would be doing nothing else all day.
  2. Yes – I am alarmed at the number of images I consume on Facebook.
  3. Yes – I am alarmed at how insignificant the process is if, by the end of the day, I cannot remember some of the images – even after I have rephotographed them.

Has it confirmed any preconceptions?

  1. That so much of my time is taken up consuming images.
  2. That many of the images I consume are forgettable / forgotten.
  3. That I am confronted by hundreds of images most of which I choose to look at.
  4. That I no longer see the images that have been on the walls of buildings, both inside and out.

What do most of the images encountered show?

  1.  That images are such an ingrained part of my life that I am not aware of them as photos.
  2. That  what I see is a skewed version of what is going on in the world through images of people and animals on FB – there would be very little to challenge my view of the world if I did not follow artists, bodies ( like the Centre for Contemporary Art & the Natural World)  and writers who see the world differently = relationships & relative values rather than individual images.
  3. That there is a limited variety of the type of image: invariably, animals faces are presented in favour of the whole animal;  news are transmitted via images of the faces of people; social media too focus on facial expressions. Even the supermarket images use people to promote their produce.

Does it tell you anything of the environment you live in?

  1. My physical environment is a safe one – there are no arresting / offensive public images of violence.
  2. I spend most of my time at home on my computer because the space is comfortable, warm and I can explore the world from a place of safety. Here I can see what different artists & photographers are doing / thinking / exposing.
  3. That my world is mostly fed by artistic expressions.
  4. When I go for a walk, I don’t see the photographs of ice creams / cafes / clothes on sale possibly because they are banal / part of the scenery.  Instead, I make my own photos because I invariably go to the beach which is never the same two days running.


An incredibly low rainbow over the sea today.


5.  That nature coupled with human nature can create an unexpected, humorous image:

A park bench today.


All the photos were taken with my phone camera except , of course, for the screen shots.



Landscape work at the “artwavewest”Contemporary art gallery, Morcombelake, Dorset.

Some really inspiring landscape pieces at the ‘art wave west’ gallery in Dorset made my hands itch to get going on the landscape module.  Of particular interest for me was Claire Smith’s ‘Aerial 3’  58cm x 63cm (above)

The highly tactile abstracted aerial views show us the artist uses gesso to produce fragmented ‘sculptural’ pieces of the landscape and places these pieces together like a jigsaw to create an aerial view of the landscape. In one of her other Aerial pieces, she has cut away the gesso & replaced it to complete the square / rectangular piece thereby introducing a deeper 3D version of he work.  The dashes at the bottom of the image above are metal sections in bas relief & I challenge anybody not to touch them! They are irresistible!  There are more subtle textures in the piece created by embedding textiles in the gesso.  This work reminds me of the aerial work by Edward Burtynsky and Emmett Godwin who make salient points about how landscapes are altered through man’s involvement in them.

Other work which interested me was that involving oil painting on aluminium sheets by Donna Goold and Feona Ness.

Donna’s very fine brush work lets the aluminium shine through making it look like very fine wood grain.

Heavens above by Donna Goold

Fiona Ness, on the other hand, creates exquisitely delicate work without showing any reference to aluminium, so I am not really sure why she has used such an expensive base, which she primes with white paint, for her work:

Landscape by Feona Ness

Documentary results

The results are out & I have passed with a 2:1.  There were many positives in the summative assessment:

“Overall Comments and Feed Forward

The assignments and related research were clearly laid out and easy to access on your learning log. It was clear that the research carried out during the course of this module has fed directly into your practical work. Your assignments reflect the fact that you have read and looked widely at others who work in similar fields. Good studentship is an important part of the course. As you mention yourself on your blog, further work needs to be done in terms of the quality of your printing. Attending to this in your next course of study will certainly help strengthen future submissions. The assessors particularly liked assignment five, where you presented a coherent concept, with consistent quality throughout.”



If you want to see my assignment 5, go to:


MoMA: Seeing through photographs

I have just successfully and on time finished the 6 week course produced by MoMA & offered by Coursera.   The course was very informative, the reading extensive and the contemporary photographers mostly thought-provoking.

The 3 photographers I found most thought provoking  and who will, in all probability, influence my future work were:

Walid Raad, founder & sole member of “The Atlas Group” (1989 – 2004) & his testing the veracity of photographs in his work “My neck is thinner than hair”(2003 – 2004)




Ilit Azoulay: subjective visual archive of the cities she has visited in which the meaning of the images depends on their context and on the audio support to the exhibitions.  I enjoyed the following work because of its topological layout which reflects the topography of its subject city :


“Shifting degrees of certainty” (2014)

Anouk Kruithof: Subconscious traveling deals with image circulation and obsolescence.  Her work uses empty film sleeves she found in a family album.  She arranges the sleeves in a random manner to depict a fictitious journey.  She photographs the arrangements using a flash which gives a bleached spot on the image and presents the arrangement behind glass: the viewers then project their own fictitious journeys when the see themselves reflected in the glass.  This seemed absurd to me initially until I thought about the panoply of images reflecting where we have all been through other people’s images & here, we take a journey nobody else had taken: one found only in your own mind & it’s that fictitious landscape that interests me.




There were 10 question quizzes on each of the 6 sections & I really enjoyed those.  I have received the following email from the course planners and no,  I am not certificating because I don’t see the point – I was in it for the ride not the ticket, besides which, the email does the formalising as far as I am concerned.