Resolving Work In Progress Portfolio and Intent

Since the start of the year my wife has died, Corona virus has struck and today I am in my 17th day of isolation following lock down in Spain. Here I review the progress of my portfolio for this module and intent.


My project for this module is a visceral immersion in my emotional journey through the traumatic events of this year. My intent is to project what it felt like to experience the trials, tribulations and torments I struggled through in my efforts to achieve homeostasis. In doing so it can help my own process of assimilation of grief and some form of acceptance.

It has taken so long to craft this intent. This is partly due to the work I am doing being part of the learning journey on the MA to broaden and deepen my understanding of the full range of photographic practices. Left alone I would happily have carried on with my love of landscape and essay photography. Cemre would not leave me alone so here I am and I am glad to be here as I have learnt so much more.

A moment of magic with Paul Clements came when I asked him who his audience was for his work. He immediately said ‘me’. Tell me more and he said ‘it is my way to work things out for myself and I am never happier than out with my camera exploring my project and creating images for me’. I loved the simplicity of this as it sounded like the answer I had for myself but was not sure it was legitimate in academic space. The intent above is a powerful one for me to resolve the challenges I have faced over recent years. It does also say the audience is academic.

For my FMP I will give much more thought to audience and packaging.

Work in Progress Portfolio

The submitted work in progress portfolio is titled ‘Alleviation of Existence’.

© Len Williamson (2020) Final Portfolio

It is interesting to compare this with the first collection on the 4th Feb. Not one image from that first portfolio survived to the final set. The process I use is to print off images, put them on my dining table, play with them, post them on instagram, seek views, take to peer reviews and webinar reviews, listen, ask questions and reorganise.

© Len Williamson (2020) WIP Feb 4th

One month later some of the final images are creeping in and a shift towards trace with absence is beginning to take hold. By this time there is a lot of discussion of literal versus personal versus resonant.

© Len Williamson (2020) WIP 7th March

Only ten days later on 17th March the battle between images with absence and personally emotional images with actors is in full flow. I also was torn apart around this time and had to take a break from the MA to just be with my grief. By April 1st the battle is over and the portfolio is beginning to settle.

© Len Williamson (2020) April 1st

What a journey. What learning.

Categories: Coursework IC, Project Development IC


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

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.