Protected: Assignment 5: Reflection about the ​direction to take for A5 work

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Reflection: Several articles which explore power dynamics

Maurice Pappworth was a doctor, himself ostracised, an outsider due to his religion, who in the 60s revealed how medical practitioners were experimenting on patients. This article describes class-based contempt from so-called educated people and shows their utter disregard for those they perceived to be less valuable than themselves. Although there are now, thanks in no small part to Pappworth, regulations in place to prevent this sort of horrific sounding abuse to take place, the attitude which allowed such events to occur have not, in my opinion, gone away.  (paywall)

Continued negative bias is evident in our language, as explored in an article about addiction and how to reframe the way we talk about it,

An article here about juvenile offenders making their own work, facilitated by photographer, Alonso Castillo:

Castillo circumvents issues surrounding traditional power structure between photographer and subject – relevant to my own ongoing inquiry/plans etc.


Research links

A place to store links for Self & Other A3 onwards

Good search for term ‘new reality art’ – results are mostly a company that makes VR but this looks of interest

From Mathew Aldred after requesting examples of artists who are working with digital pattern like he does

“It seems to me that to navigate consciousness is an important part of the function of art. The journey is always open-ended. We can compare our immersion in this emergent psychic process with the cannon of interactive art, a journey which, in both cases, follows the five fold path of connectivity, immersion, interaction, transformation and emergence.
In the case of art this has resulted in a culture shift of paradigmatic significance, just as a shift in Western thinking about the spirit is beginning to take place. The emphasis by the artist moves from content to context, from object to process, from representation of the world as a given, to the construction of worlds in emergence, from certainty to contingency, from composition and resolution to complexity and emergence. In short our focus has shifted from the behaviour of forms to forms of behaviour.”
“Amis, in invoking species consciousness, was calling for a planetary perspective to be taken on the dreadful events of September 11th. Khatami identified the need for interactivity and dialogue at a transcultural level. What we see in 9-11 is the conflict of two world views, fundamentally opposed to interaction between each other, two separate realities, unable to fuse, resistant to dialogue. How conceivably could the work of artists as artists – i.e. not pamphleteers, aestheticised social workers or political pundits, remotely be expected to contribute to the kind of process of reconciliation, mutual respect and understanding, that these realities must attain? How might we through our practice in art and technology contribute to the emergence of a mixed reality in which values and aspirations of the many contesting parts are interwoven?” (4)

Other links for possible inclusion in A4

To obtain an imagined ‘‘unity-in-love’’, so that the self and the other are merged, this process of mentalizing, and thus distinguishing between self and the other, must be rendered inactive. But critical judgment of others is also often suspended with the trust that develops between individuals and certainly with the deep bonding that develops between a mother and her child. Here, then, is a neural basis not only for saying that love is blind, but for the concept of ‘‘unity-in-love’’. It is not surprising that we are often surprised by the choice of partner that someone makes, asking futilely whether they have taken leave of their senses. In fact, thehave. Love is often irrational because rational judgments are suspended or no longer applied with the same rigour” pg 2577

Yet the notion that we inhabit a space with any mathematical structure is a radical innovation of Western culture, necessitating an overthrow of long-held beliefs about the nature of reality. Although the birth of modern science is often discussed as a transition to a mechanistic account of nature, arguably more important – and certainly more enduring – is the transformation it entrained in our conception of space as a geometrical construct – why any of this needs saying…?!?… it’s so obvious – but it needs saying and needs to be heard too.

“the theory that we are creating an improvised character and trying to stay in our role” See New Scientist January 6 Page 42

Combine the above with Sontag’s quotes re momenti mori in course folder from relevant section

Link above to Barthes, language, signs etc.

Written by a female photographer – references the gaze, self-victimisation, coming to terms with death by painting and photographing the other,  being subject and artist at the same time  in a collaborative approach to working

Posted by student Holly Woodward on FB – may be useful regarding the use of filters, as well as the sense of superiority that can sometimes come across when people deconstruct people’s behaviour. (see intro to first-person action book, re arrogance)

Creepy Pasta

I’m Poppy:



Reflection: Moving Image course with Photofusion

I was pleased to be accepted by Photofusion onto a free video making course designed for photographers who want to extend their skills. The course was financed by the European Union. There was a range of different sorts of photographers there, such as journalists, both freelance and contracted employees with well-known publications, fashion photographers, jobbing portrait photographers, and artists. I was pleased to be included in the group if not a little daunted too.

The course was split into 4 days;

Day 1 – preproduction, storyboarding

Day 2 & 3 – filming days

Day 4 – editing, (yet to take place)


We spent the day discussing the sort of planning which ideally needs to take place, prior to making a film or video – or rather, learned how this stage is an integral part of the making. Yesterday when I spoke with Wendy, one of the things she said to me about moving image, is that I will be forced to plan beforehand, which will be good for me. Planning, I must admit, feels daunting because it requires thinking through hundred of details before you’ve even shot a single frame. (Saying that one of my jobs used to be all about planning and I did it well  – but it didn’t entail exposing my creative ideas at the same time, so it was far less scary. And it was also before I had three children to think about it, which seems to have dismantled my brain entirely).  I can see, however, even after doing a small number of potential cutaway shots for a tiny five-minute film I’m attempting to make, how having some kind of vision and practical outline will save time in the long run. But I feel like I am faced with a dialectical problem here; on one hand, I need to ‘let go’, learn to play more (as I always did need to, and the cause of much distress at drama school) but I also need to start with a vision which requires actions to bring it into being. Combining those two aims feels rather difficult to me.  Starting with a vision is something I have tried to avoid in creative work, even when such visions come thick and fast at times. A director who worked with me a long time ago told me it was good to be an intelligent actor but I that I needed to let go of my intellect in rehearsal and allow instinct and ‘un-thinking’ to take over. My head was getting in the way. A director has the vision, he implied. An actor is a puppet in that vision in many cases (but not all). A photographer recently asked me if I’d started the Oxford House work with an overall vision and I said, no. Phew, she said, as she also didn’t begin with a vision of what she hoped to achieve, and instead felt her way through. I think with me it depends on what I am working on, and the more commercial, the more of a fixed vision I might allow myself.

As well as having an overall plan, we discussed all the many, many technical, legal, budgeting, and staffing issues, amongst many others we might need to consider. After day 1 I had a stab at a storyboard: Storyboard Photofusion (minus pictures though) for a two-minute narrative. I’m not intending to make this film but it was a start.

Day 2 & 3

We spent the first of these days listening to a presentation and being shown various clips to illustrate points. One of the most memorable and pertinent to what I’ve been thinking about was how film is ‘impressionistic’, even though we might not always recognise it as such. This is because we are used to seeing 25 fps (frames per second) since that is how film has been recorded since its early days when it became the standard due to limited technology. Modern technology can easily cope with more fps and the industry is trying to move us towards accepting it, but our eyes/perception miss the slight albeit imperceptible jumps in time as the image is relayed back to us. When we see 35 or 40 fps we perceive it to be ‘cheap’ because it looks like video rather than film. We have a choice how many fps we use on our SLR but must be aware of how our choices affect the final look. We also need to set the video system appropriately for UK or US use and I think this may have had an impact on YouTube but I need to recall or look into it further to fully comprehend what is required here. I will definitely need to play around with all of this to make sure I take it on board.

Must remember – shutter speed needs to be set at double the fps rate for a smooth recording. And 1/4 ss will give you the effect of CCTV.


We went through the various camera moves available as well as discussing all the equipment one might able to use, plus the realistic ideals we might aim for, to begin with.

Pan; POV, subjective POV = fast, unstable, a more objective POV – slow, steady; Tilt – on a vertical axis; Zoom – this does not replicate a human action; Trombone effect – zoom in and dolly out at the same time, not fashionable at the moment; Static shot; Pedestal (I think – can’t read my writing, and have no idea what I mean by it other than it says close-up nearby); Tracking/dollying; Handheld.


A list of vaguely expensive items was recommended as part of a basic kit if planning to provide video services regularly, although everything can be hired.

In addition to a decent SLR which offers video capture, the following would be useful; a sound-recording device, a contraption to help steady the camera when moving – there are several available; a monitor such as a Black Magic Video Assistant, and lots of battery packs. Reflectors and boards are always useful and, of course, continuous lighting.


We have been asked to take some footage and recorded sound in for the editing day in December, where we will learn how to use Premiere Pro. I wanted to try and do something that ties in with the work I’m attempting to head for here on this course but felt overwhelmed. So I’m beginning with something a bit more manageable. I will interview a couple of people and edit a short informative film for someone I work with. Then I will have had a bit of a practice and will begin to put together some work I’m hoping to do for A3. I’ve planned to shoot very short clips for that in January and will hopefully be able to edit that together with relative ease, having had some practice first!


I did the course because I really want to take my previous experience in acting, also teaching drama, and my love of writing and combine it with my photography in some way.  I ended Day 3 wishing I were younger and could go to film school.


Research: Further thoughts about photography and death or the dying

Following my post about Godé-Darel last week, fellow, student, Catherine Banks suggested I look at Leibowitz’s work about Sontag, as well as Briony Campbell’s The Dad Project

I found an essay titled Mortality in Photography: Examining the Death of Susan Sontag and was struck particularly by the comparison between Tilda Swinton’s performance, The Maybe – where she slept periodically inside a glass box, and the photographic object.

“For Leibovitz, the “glass box” here is represented through photography itself which articulates both the same distance and invitation to the audience. Curation in itself, as illustrated by Araki, with no semblance of emotional input, alienates the audience through the sense of distance already established – between object and audience. Thus, audience participation may be reduced to voyeurism, whereby what is perceived is framed and objectified. A comparison can be drawn between such voyeurism to animals held in glass enclosures. Visitors on the other side of the glass maintain a sense of superiority over the subjects in the glass enclosures, as there is an observer and object relationship that is created, with the observer being the one with the intellectual capability to link such observations to associated experiences, actions and thoughts. Similarly, in photography, the audience looks at an image as they would at a spectacle.” (Lim, 2105)

Campbells’ work contrasts enormously, with a great deal of emotional input in her own curation in The Dad Project. These images are extremely intimate in ways that Leibowitz’ of Sontag isn’t. I don’t mean to suggest there is less or more pain in either work. (See image at top of page here). Leibowitz’s image reminds me of some of Joel-Peter Witkins’ photographs, with the black, deeply impressionistic style. In Campbell’s, which unlike Leibowitz’, is in colour, soft and intimate due to wide aperture, and also close-up in many, there is a clear reciprocal relationship between subject and photographer which one can also see in the paintings by Hodler of Godé-Darel. In fact the subject is that relationship. This work can be relatively easily read as being about facing death, inspecting it, about the dying father allowing the grieving daughter to travel along as far as possible. I can’t help feeling those who would find this type of work offensive in any way are likely to be people who find the idea of death itself intolerable, or simply far too frightening to explore in this way. Whereas Campbell and her family, in particular, her father, have so generously allowed others in to witness their experience, Leibowitz and Witkins seem to be delving into, exploiting and showing us the very human sense of terror surrounding death and the lifeless body (or body parts*) – which in Leibowitz’ case is perhaps another way of dealing with grief.  *Witkins uses parts of bodies in his images, and Leibowitz’ image is in separate pieces stitched together perhaps echoing not only the decomposition of the flesh but the disintegrated illusion of a cohesive self, in Lacanian terms.

Returning to Lim’s comments above, I continue to think about correlation and information in Rovelli’s book and try to work out my thoughts about the way in which we humans deal with death, and also about ritual and fetish. When we take a photograph of someone else, we are taking a photograph of ourselves. These images of death, however they are read, are ultimately images of the photographer’s own inevitable death as well as anything else one might see in them.