April 21st, 2020

An early exercise in The Self Portrait Experience (SPEX) workshop with Cristina Nuñez. I am six weeks in to lock down due to Covid and in this moment I am angry. There is no covid within 70 kms of us. I have kept myself together by establishing a daily routine that gets me from 6 am to midnight. Occasionally, in moments like this I lose it. A trigger was talking with tutor Paul Clements today and considering the work of Francis Bacon. In particular looked at some essays by David Syvestor which got me to look again at Bacon. Then I thought wow how that captures how I feel.

© Francis Bacon – Triptych – 1972

The middle image captures how I felt this afternoon. Bacon’s images represent many of the words I might use for myself – broken, damaged, wrecked, sad, incomplete, lost and hopeless. What holds me together through this is nothing for myself. I need to hold myself together for my children and grandchildren and for the memory of my princess and of course my mum and dad. But this is a hard tension to hold.
Branden (1994) in the Six Pillars of Self Esteem says ‘without self acceptance self esteem is impossible.’ (p90). He defines self acceptance as ‘my refusal to be in an adversarial relationship to myself.’ (p91) With my life experience over the last ten years (wife chronically ill) and the last three months (wife dying followed by isolation alone during Covid 19) I am finding self acceptance extremely difficult.
The emotion I chose out of anger, despair, terror and profound joy was profound joy. By a long way this is the most difficult for me to contemplate. As I look at them and consider them I almost feel as if actually anger, despair and terror is what comes out. My selected 5 are the following.

Profound Joy

If this is profound joy I am not sure I want to be this person. He looks disturbed and deranged. Tinged with Munch’s scream.

© Munch – The Scream

The image I am going to pick is the following.  It has punctum that is screaming for help.

Click on the following link for Cristina’s analysis of this image. Cristina Nuñez Analysis

Every fibre of his face and neck is screaming for help.  His eyes are piercing, the tongue positioned for a scream and the muscles of the neck tense and taught with aggression.  He is fully in the moment in his terror and his state has been created by events of the recent past.

His Left Side

• Anger
• Fear
• Horrified
• Troubled
• Hopeless
• Overwhelmed

His Right Side

• Agitated
• Passionate
• Lively
• Excited

The Inner Mother

This is an artistic work on your “inner mother”, that part of all of you that takes care of you, that is and will always be with you, that loves you unconditionally.

The image I select for analysis is the following.

Cristina Nuñez has given an analysis of this image in her analysis on this video .


Branden, N. (1994).  Six Pillars of Self Esteem.  Bantam.  New York.

Categories: Final Major Project, Self Portrait Experience 2020 FMP


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.