Research: Some images on Instagram that stood out for me

View this post on Instagram

New to the Life Framer Collection and perfect inspiration for our current theme ‘THE HUMAN BODY’: Marinka Masséus (@marinkamasseus) with her stunning series ‘My Stealthy Freedom – Iran’. • “This series reflects on forced hijab in Iran, a literal and metaphorical boundary imposed upon Iranian women. Many Iranian women hate compulsory hijab, they see it as a symbol of oppression, forced upon them not by choice or personal beliefs but by an oppressive regime. For them it has become to represent the inequality and discrimination Iranian women face because of their gender. • Every day, Iranians, especially the women, defy the regime courageously by small acts of defiance. By wearing the headscarf too low, the colors too bright, the pants too tight or the manteaux too short. Together these constant acts of bravery are affecting change, slowly but visibly evolving. The regime responds to this with regular crack-downs – when women are arrested and harassed – and by creating new laws, like the recent ban for women to ride a bicycle. • With the windows of my Tehran apartment covered with tinfoil, to ensure that the flash would not be visible from outside, we were safe to create and let creativity flow. The women threw their brightly colored headscarf in the air and while it inescapably floated back to them, I captured their brave challenge to repressive Iranian laws”. • Image by Marinka Masséus. Follow her on Instagram (linked above) and see more at • #lifeframer #marinkamasseus #inspiration #iran #hijab #humanbody #portraitphotography #freedom #womensrights #feminism #body #selfexpression #conceptualphotography #fineart #visualsoflife #documentaryphotography #socialdocumentary

A post shared by Life Framer Photography Award (@life_framer) on


Reflection: Exercise 1.1 & 1.3 (Some outtakes)

Here are a few images that I took while thinking about the exercises, before and during the day when I shot the ones the I chose. (From seeing other people’s blogs I wonder if I’m not meant to also submit a contact sheet? We were not required to do that in TAOP, and then I moved on to UCV which was a writing course – something to look into.) I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do so tried several approaches. In the end I settled down and worked mostly upstairs with the strobes as I became more confident with playing with them. It was the most beneficial aspect of the day. I will set up more sessions where I simply do that as soon as the assignment is in. Apart from the one directly below these have not been in PS, only Lightroom and some may benefit from a little more processing. I have to say, I have been so busy with work – this week editing and selling a Holy Communion shoot, then Calais/Dunkirk for Just Shelter and then a book launch party for Penguin – which is great but it means this college work has to take a back seat and finding time to edit is proving tricky.

Again this a mixture of people I know well, not much and not at all.

(c)SJField 2017


Exercise 1.1 & 1.3

1.1 Produce a series of five portraits of strangers from a variety of backgrounds. These people must differ from you in some significant respect e.g. age, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic background, social class etc. 

1.3 Gerry badger points out “there are divisions other than class, ideology, race’ etc – using this a framework make five portraits of people with whom you feel you have an affinity, where you could conceivable be on the inside. 

Before I link to the 11 portraits I am including for this exercise I want to talk a little about why I am submitting these together.

I do not like the term ‘other’ at all although I know it is used constantly in this field by philosophers, artists, teachers. I said recently I wanted to stop using it in these terms altogether. The primary and ultimate other in my life, my mother, laughed, and said, “aren’t you on a course called something or Other?” Yes, I mumbled feeling dispirited and annoyed with it all. Click here for a much longer blog about why I feel this way.

Exercise 1 – Produce portraits of strangers. I do produce portraits of strangers as often as I can convince people to pay me to do so. I enjoy doing it most of the time although as I said at the beginning of the course there are times when I have to steel myself to enter into people’s lives, perhaps because of the mood I’m in or because I pick up that I’m different to the clients in some way. Yes, they are ‘other’ to me somehow. But in all but one or two cases during the last 3 years, once working, I am able to overcome any trepidation and can usually find a way to connect and find an affinity regardless of whether I’m in a posh expensive house in Wandsworth, an office in the City or a field in Northern France.

My problem with the word is that all people are essentially other to me and to everyone. I separated from my mother in toddlerhood and thereafter there are in my mind, others and me (as it is for everyone with a relatively sound mind). There is much to say about ‘groupishness’ a term coined by Edward O Wilson, and I will explore that more as we move forward with the course. But suffice to say here, if we keep reinforcing the concept of other in terms of group difference then we only add to the problems humanity faces as it clings to a Hegelian Master/Slave dialectic which is the source of so much trouble.

Therefore I have presented 11 images here that represent both others and people who I have an affinity with. They are a mix of strangers and people I know a little or very well. It is up to the viewer to reach conclusions about who they think is other or not to me. I was intrigued by the Szondi Test – where images are used to ascertain a character type depending on which images the test subject chose, and how they responded to the faces. Rather than being able to tell something about the portrait, a response to the portraits tells us something about the viewer.

I used this exercise to experiment with lighting as I am far more comfortable with natural light and these are taken with strobes. This was a useful task for me.

Some issues with using the particular venue as that it is upstairs and in a pub so not suitable for everyone (but the space is free for me whereas other spaces such as the one I used this morning are prohibitively expensive – a studio space is a luxury). This meant I took some images downstairs and planned to take some more in another venue but in the end, I have submitted the following as they work as a series, and demonstrate something relevant for the exercise. But it is not ideal. I have other images that I may make use of elsewhere.

I have a Release and Agreement Form for all but one of these images and can make sure I rectify that as it is a neighbour. I will not post them online though as they give away personal information.

Click on image to view  (c)SJField 2017


Reflection: Exercises 1.1 & 1.3 (shoot day)

Yesterday I spent several hours working in a space much larger (for myself rather than for work) than I have had the opportunity to before. I was upstairs at the Grosvenor Arms pub, a place which I documented, before, during and after it was refurbished. I wasn’t sure how I wanted to approach the exercises so tried several different approaches in my time there. I could conceivably complete the exercises now but I wanted to include some other people for whom the pub was not an ideal space and will be taking some more photographs next week in a different space. I will take a look at the collection I’ve gathered after that and find 10 to suit the two exercises.

I would like to say in response to a comment made elsewhere about getting out and taking photos rather than writing  – I take a lot of photos on a daily basis, personally and for work, and am working more and more lately. Every single time I do I learn something more. I am also noticing patterns and connecting to the themes and ideas for the assignments and projects. Not taking photos is not my problem. For me this course is of no use whatsoever unless I can use it to expand on and explore the ideas that inform my life, work and the way I can find a way to connect previous experience, the photograph as an object in the world, the activity – a form of expression, artistic practise, commercial practise etc.

Here are a few shots from yesterday – they’ve had a quick breeze through Lightroom only at this point and I will no doubt return to edit.

(c)SJField 2017


Rosie – Natural light through the window


Alfred – Single strobe


Elisa – Single Strobe