Week 7 – Independant Reflection

Things are coming together and falling apart. They are coming together in the sense I can see some great projects ahead. They are falling apart as I can see so many directions to explore. I am ok with both of these ideas as I have decided I am now in play phase. It now feels like time is passing quickly.

Two types of photobook are trending. The first is diaristic and the second is a question of identity. (Gerry & Parr. The Photobook; A history. Phaidon. Chapter 7 p214). These distinctions are useful to think about in terms of my project. Another I took from Arles was as witness. That could be to walls and fences going up in the world or environmental disasters.

I didn’t want to do a physical photobook this week but was so glad I did. I also learnt lots. I was daunted reading Understanding Photobooks by Jorg Colberg as the number of specialists needed to produce a photobook looked big and expensive. Editor, designer, curator and binder together with almost infinite choices. Then I saw that there are a number of steps to go through.

I played with images on my dining table. I asked for input from anybody willing to discuss it. I had a go at a zine. I thought about what my message was. I was inspired by this week’s guest lecturer Lukas Burk. He simplified the whole process of bookmaking. He illustrated the importance of learning from each effort we attempt. He also asked very clear questions like what is your work about and who is your client. I loved the genuine way he admitted to answering these questions incorrectly in the past and then learning from the mistake. He took a lot of the mystery out of making a photobook.

I eventually had prints of my work on pink paper. An Amazon package arrived so I thought I could reuse the cardboard as a cover. Then I assembled. Quickly realised I should have double side printed so had to stick pages together. Then realised that I should have reinforced the hole punch holes so the book might last. In the end I felt pleased with the result. It was my first photobook and I will treasure it. In respect of the distinctions mentioned above this book is a question of identity.

I have also been working on my exhibition for Landings. States of Mine. I went to a local printer to begin to understand the infinite range of options for printing. The biggest struggle is what I want to see in my print versus the cost. Boy it can get expensive. I think it is important to set a budget and then stick within it. Also come back to the Lukas Burk questions about what I want to achieve and who the customer is.

I am in a play phase with my photography. I have been experimenting with so many of the parameters this week. In or out of focus, clear or unclear perspective and using shadows to obscure and highlight things within the image. With every variable I explore there are then so many more available within the editing process. For these images I found a spot with dappled light coming through trees on a walk last week. I set up my tripod and got in to the dappled light. With the exposures I then took exposure drastically down and brought hightlights up to obtain an effect.

I am now coming to the conclusion that all a photograph can ever do is evoke a projection from the viewer. Nothing is ‘true’ about the photograph. It is all an individual projection. This is exciting. What do I want my viewers to project?

Categories: Coursework, Surfaces and Strategies

LEN

I am a Photographer. As well as taking many photographs I am currently studying for an MA in Photography at Falmouth University. I will direct my attention through the lens of my camera for the next couple of years and see what shows up. I see a photograph as a little bit of magic capturing a moment in time. If successful it surprises and engages your emotions. It tells a story about the wonders of being alive or tells us what we need to change to make it a better world to live in. That is enough for me to get going and then like walking a 1000 miles, which I did across the UK in 2010, or walking 200 miles across Cyprus, which I did in November last year, it is one step at a time.

I was a writer. The title of my unpublished book was ‘You Would Have Done The Same.' It is about a successful guy in love with his wife who lets her die when he discovers her in the process of committing suicide. The title gives a clue as to what I think you would have done. The book is 200 pages long. I found it cathartic to write it but after two years of work and reviewing with agents decided it probably needed another 2000 hours to get the whole book up to the standard of some of the pages. Writing is great but it is a lot of sitting down so I decided to get out and walk, play tennis, play bridge, go birding, watch football at Nottingham Forest, Arsenal and Valencia and anywhere else if I can, meditate, cook and eat. I was a writer who has so far failed to become an author.
I was a young man who loved Mathematics and thoroughly enjoyed getting a BSc at Liverpool University. While there I went often to Anfield and the Philharmonic Hall. I was all set on doing a PhD until I went for interview practice at BP and got seduced by the excitement of an International business career. BP was a great adventure building trading teams and businesses in London, Antwerp, Cleveland Ohio and Singapore. Fabulous people and some great challenges and also very hard work, constant jet lag and lots of fun along the way. I married Karen, my stunning wife, and had the most amazing time with her and our three boys Alex, Tom and Dan. She has multiple sclerosis and we have taken on many challenges together but somehow keep creating a new normal against the horrors thrown our way. She is the love of my life.

After BP I decided to coach senior executives and quickly realized I had a lot to learn
about what makes people tick. I had a fantastic 18 months on the International Programme of the Cleveland Gestalt Institute. A great faculty and a
wonderful group of people on the programme. We studied and worked in Dingle, Singapore, Holland, Cape Town and
Lisbon. This also got me interested in the way we think and make decisions so I studied for an MSc in Psychology atUniversity College London in 2010. The
Masters was in Cognitive and Decision Sciences and I found it fascinating what
we do know but also how much we don’t know about how we think and make
decisions.

I loved coaching and making a difference. I got a number of people to hear themselves, remove some of their own chains and free up the way they thought about the world. I remain fascinated by how people react to and engage with the world. My Masters thesis was why do two people given the same information make different decisions? Put simply, it is because each of us are unique in the way we are constructed.

Since returning from Singapore I found English winters tough so moved to Spain where I now live. The people are lovely, the scenery amazing, food delicious and the sun shines all the time. Almost.

All of these experiences will feed in to my time now as a Photographer. Three motivations I am lucky to have are enthusiasm, curiosity and a continuous interest in learning. All the time I look forward to meeting old friends and making new friends and experiencing this wonderful life together.