FMP Research – Week 4

I travelled to the Netherlands and Belgium to visit museums and galleries in Rotterdam and Antwerp to further research how work was being exhibited and how those techniques might be applied to my work for FMP.  I also looked at many photobooks and had the benefit of the principal exhibition in the Fotomuseum Antwerp be about the history of Belgian Photobooks.

My first stop was Nederlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam. The main exhibit was a retrospective of the Dutch photographer Ed van der Elksen titled “Lust for Life.”  It was quite differently curated and hung than the Cas Oorthuis, “Dit is Cas” exhibition I saw last September, and I appreciated how the museum’s curatorial staff adapted their techniques to the suit the artist’s work so effectively. Several aspects stood out in the “Lust for Life” exhibition: 1) Simplicity of the photographic installation – edge to edge printing, no mounting except very thin backing board (Fig 1);


Figure 1- Minimal mounting

2) How effective both solid white and solid black walls were in making the colour photos stand out with neither being more or less effective or detracting (Fig 2);


Figure 2- Black and White Walls

3) The use of simply constructed temporary modules to augment fixed wall space and to direct flow (Figs 3-5). Simple, relatively inexpensive, but effective construction that served multiple purposes as display space and traffic director.  Being exposed also provided a contemporary and almost casual feel that suited Ed van der Elksen’s style and subject matter;


Figure 3- Temporary Walls


Figure 4 – Temporary Wall construction


Figure 5 -Temporary construction

4) How effective projected images with either some narration or music were (Fig 6);


Figure 6 – Projected Images with Temporary Construction

and 5) Perhaps my favourite part of the exhibition was a multi-screen projected  series of images set to music and introduced with text slides at the major transition points presented in a ‘living room’ setting with a mix of sofas and chairs randomly arranged (Fig 7).  Viewers were provided with headsets to listen to the music that accompanied the images and it made the viewing very intimate and personal.


Figure 7 – Multi-Screen projected display

This images projected were in many cases the same as those shown in the main gallery upstairs as individual images on the walls, but I found this to be very engaging and dynamic as the images changed at different times on each of the screens and required the viewers eyes to move quickly between images in contrast to upstairs where one could linger with an image and study it in detail.  While upstairs didn’t promote a narrative and the photos were somewhat randomly arranged in terms of location and time frame, the downstairs projected version was far more narrative and organised in logical segments, topically or chronologically.

I can see this as a very viable approach to exhibiting my work if I can find the appropriate space and solve the technological aspects as it would allow a fast paced, coherent narrative approach while the still image prints in another section would allow the viewer to engage with specific images more fully.

Antwerp was the next stop and I took in several venues while there.  Fotomuseum Antwerp was largely between major exhibitions and was a flurry of activity preparing for 3 openings the following week.  However, the exhibit that was open was on the history of the photobook in Belgium. Figure 8 is an except from the exhibition introduction. It describes the significance of the photobook as a media form as well as the history of the place the photobook has held in Belgian history.


Figure 8 – Photobook Belge Exhibition Introduction

Many of the books were understandably behind glass cases, but the curators used tablet computers with video of the books being turned page by page which I found a clever way of allowing the public to see inside these rare books.  There we also a number of books located throughout the exhibition that were available to the visitor to sit and look through selected books.  A large number of the books on exhibit were created during the colonial period and dealt with the African colonies and their inhabitants.  Many were propaganda and the curators addressed the notion of “colonial gaze” head on in the introduction to that section of the exhibit.

Mounted on one wall were pages from a 1911 book that chronicled a vegetation survey in the various districts of Belgium (Fig 9-10).  I found this interesting and relevant in its similarity to work I have been undertaking, but also in something that I have perhaps been remiss in recording in my work; latitude and longitude information.  That is an omission I intend to correct, particularly since the camera can be set to record that information in the metadata automatically.


Figure 9 – 1911 Vegetation Survey Plate


Figure 10 – 1911 Vegetation Survey Plate

The exhibition also touched on the inter-relationship between words and images.  I thought the introduction to this section displayed in Figures 11 and 12 summarised the issue well.


Figure 11 – Photobook Belge exhibit section


Figure 12 – Detail of above

So while the prints in the Nederlands Fotomuseum exhibition were unframed and uniform in size and placement, the Saul Lieter exhibition at Gallery FIFTY ONE and the exhibits in the Antwerp Museum of Contemporary Art (M HKA) were decidedly different.  While the Lieter photos were all mounted and framed in a similar way, they were not all the same size and they were hung quite differently on different walls.  Some were evenly spaced and set at uniform height, while others were arranged in patterns nearly symmetrical, but not quite (Fig 13).


Figure 13- Lieter Exhibition at Gallery FIFTY ONE

I was unable to discern a reason for the arrangement and order in which these photos were hung, but it shows that it is not essential to have symmetry in a hanging plan.  Similarly at M HKA there were exhibits that demonstrated asymmetry, but also there were others that were more traditionally arranged (Figs 14-16).


Figure 14 – M HKA asymmetry example 1


Figure 15 – M HKA asymmetry example 2


Figure 16 – M HKA symmetry example 1

As is evident in Figures 14-16 all the photos were mounted and framed in a similar way, however, in other areas, simple thin backing with edge to edge prints were used (Fig 17), and in another area bordered prints were pinned to the wall with no mounting at all (Fig 18).


Figure 17 – M HKA thin backing, edge to edge print


Figure 18 – M HKA pinned print

The final point from M HKA was an installation of newspaper clippings that occupied 4 walls in a large section of the gallery.  The clippings were seemingly each randomly mounted on coloured backing paper and then arranged according to the colour together on one wall (Fig 19).


Figure 19 – M HKA Newspaper clippings

As I am considering using references to on-line and print media as part of my exhibition, this was informative.  I don’t believe I would choose to replicate this format, but it was interesting to see how current news was gathered and collated to create an art installation.

In summary, this research provided some valuable insights into the ways exhibitions can be staged and proof that there is no one correct way to stage a successful exhibition.  It also offered some stimulating ideas that I plan to explore further in coming weeks.

Photographer Research – Chrystel Lebas

While Ms. Lebas had been recommended to me earlier on the course and I had looked at her work, I didn’t find it as relevant to what I was doing at the time.  Now, as I move into FMP and the work of prior terms is coming together into a conceptual framework that brings together elements from each of my prior sets of work I find her work especially relevant and directly related to work I am doing.  I am particularly interested in her publications and exhibitions, but also how she has revisited places and used rephotography to show how those landscapes have changed over the intervening years.

Her website is Chrystel Lebas.

I am also interested in how she has incorporated video into her exhibit installations; something I believe is important to mine. Video provides a a perspective and is by its nature immersive, drawing the viewer into scenes they could not otherwise have experienced.

Another interesting element is now that my aesthetic has evolved over the course, I see similarities with much of her work.  When I first looked at it many months ago, I discounted it in part because the aesthetic and way she approached her subject matter was quite different than what I was doing and the way that I was doing it at the time.  Re-examining it now, Lebas’ work bears some commonality with that of Daniel Gustav Cramer with the slightly darker feel that I have evolved to embrace i much of my recent work.  I find it much more evocative and moody, and it encourages the viewer to linger a while in order to really see what is in the photo and feel what is in the scene.

Research – Exhibitions

Over the next week I will be visiting museums and galleries in Rotterdam, Antwerp, Liege and Brussels with an eye toward seeing different ways of exhibiting work that will help to inform the way that I will chose to exhibit my FMP.  I will be looking specifically for effective exhibition strategies, particularly with a series of work that includes a narrative sequence.  I want to see how artists and curators create a visual narrative and to see how much it depends on explanatory or accompanying text, or whether it can also be done without.

As I refine the theme of my FMP and begin to collect the work that will be required, I am also considering how it will be edited, curated and displayed. Among the ideas for my exhibition is a concept published in my FMP proposal and repeated below.


I look forward to reporting on what I will have seen next week.

FMP Pecha Kucha

The first task for Final Major Project (FMP) was to create a Pecha Kucha presentation (20 slides, 20 seconds per slide) to explain briefly the project I intend to undertake as an introduction for the Module Leader and other students.  I spent much of the interim period since the end of the last module wrestling with how I was going to approach FMP.  The original intent of the Coul Links project was to show how the natural state of the site was affected by development.  Since the development decision is now not expected until late summer at the earliest the FMP project needed to take a different direction.

For more information, please have a look at the following link.

Week 12 – Final Thoughts on Informing Contexts

I found this module intellectually challenging, stimulating and frankly fun.  I struggled in the first module with the whole idea of critical theory, but having come to IC as the fourth module, the 15 months of added experience put me in a much better place to both enjoy and learn.  The more I read, the more practitioner’s work I reviewed, the more things began to make sense and I felt my confidence increasing with each passing week.  I believe I have come away from IC much more informed about photography in general and with a much better understanding of my practice and what I intended to accomplish.  It also gives me a clearer understanding of the paths ahead and where I might go in the next phase of my journey.

Technically and creatively I also gained confidence and my work reaped the benefits of both. I began to approach my work with ever increasing mindfulness and purpose.  It resulted in fewer, but much better photographs that required far less post processing.  I slowed down considerably, and even though shooting with a DSLR, I approached my work much more like I was shooting with film.  I became not only more adept at managing the exposure triangle, but more importantly managing the creative triangle; the relationship between me, the photographer, my subjects and potential viewers.  For this modules WIPP, I had my viewers in mind when I went out to take photographs.  I was shooting in a way that would result in photographs that challenged my viewers imaginations, stimulated their memories, and sparked their emotions. I was looking to create ambiguity, moderate abstraction and to take a time and place that was know to me and make it into a space my viewer could inhabit and populate with their own narratives.

I know the considerable effort I have put into these first 15 months of this course, but I must acknowledge the support of my peers within the Cromarty cohort.  The extraordinary give and take have been an invaluable contributor to the quality of learning for all of us.  I also particularly valued the interchange with the tutors and module leader in Informing Contexts.  I found the discussion and support constructive and stimulating.

Finally, I believe I am in a very good place to move into FMP and am looking forward to the challenges the next six months have to offer.

Week 12 – Reflections on the Author/ Viewer Conversation

In writing my Critical Review I used the phrase that my photographs were ‘the opening gambit in a dialogue with the viewer’.  I have already submitted my CR, but was looking to write a bit more on the never ending debate of art or not, and in researching references ran across a chapter in Fred Ritchin’s After Photography.  It begins:

“The real story becomes a conversation, in which the author/photographer is simply the most prominent participant.” (DiNucci, 1996 in Ritchin, 2009: 97)

Ritchin then goes on to make the point:

“Photographs in their ambiguity can provoke, motivating the reader to interrogate their meanings.  The photograph may create enough confusion and curiosity to stimulate the reader to solicit alternate voices, to peruse the accompanying text, or to click on the image and go to another screen.  Digital media, in turn, promises that the viewer can pursue certain ideas that come up in the looking and follow up on interests almost as if in a conversation.  The advantage of this form of exploration is how open-ended it is: the photograph stimulates multiple questions as much or more than it provides answers.  If not overly constricted by a caption or accompanying title, the photograph’s odd appropriation of a fractional second and a rectangular space may serve to engage the reader’s curiosity.” (Ritchin, 2009: 97)

While Ritchin is primarily addressing in this book the shift from print to digital media, the basic point stands and is equally relevant whether one is viewing my work on a wall or page, or as is increasing likely, in an on-line gallery of some sort.  There is an inevitable interplay between author and reader, and if I choose (as I have in my current work) not to constrain the reader with captions or accompanying text, the photograph is an open-ended question(s) that invites the reader to participate in the dialogue, each bringing their own interpretation.

There are indeed times when I as the photographer want to guide the reader; to give them some clue to the purpose or meaning of the photograph, but there are other times, particularly when the work is not intended to carry some specific information that I want there to be no guidance and to allow each reader the freedom to exercise their curiosity, indulge in the ambiguity and revel in the conclusions to which they arrive.



RITCHIN, Fred. 2009. After Photography. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, Inc.

Week 12 – Reflections on Finalising my Critical Review and Work in Progress Portfolio

I began work on my Portfolio and Critical Review several weeks ahead of the deadlines for submissions and as a consequence completed the work well ahead of schedule. These are some of my thoughts now that I have completed and submitted that work.


While I made a lot of work during this module, I had decided early on what type of work I wanted to make and was therefore able to create photographs with a mindfulness and clarity of intention that I had not before achieved.  I took many more photos than ultimately ended up in the final edit and I frankly left some very good work out of the final submission.  However, one of the things I have learned through the first four modules of this MA is the need to create a visually consistent, coherent body of work for the WIPP submission.  I think I did not fully appreciate that fact in prior modules and as a consequence, the work submitted had a bit of a ‘this and that’ character that detracted slightly from the way the work was viewed.  I can attribute this failing in part to a lack of clarity in my intentions in the prior modules and the fact the project I was attempting to take on was massive and diverse.  It was too big to distil and attempting to ‘cover the waterfront’ I diluted the visual impact of my imagery; good as they were technically.

So for this module, I intentionally reduced the scope of what I was trying to include in the portfolio and was very disciplined in the editing process as I worked to get to a set of photos and videos that were consistent with my intentions and had a sufficiently consistent and harmonious thematic and visual character.  It was difficult initially to eliminate good photos and I went through several iterations before arriving at a final decision.  I did also choose to incorporate three video clips taken from the same vantage points as stills either before or after the videos in the sequence.  I had not done that before, but felt it important to realising my intentions and conveying some key contextual concepts about the dynamic and transient aspects of nature.

Another important decision in the editing process came when I realised the normal landscape format was not conveying the feeling I was trying to achieve with this body of work.  I have been resisting cropping in post-production for some time now and on the rare occasions that I did, I always retained the aspect ratio that I shot originally.  However, the landscape format was not constraining the image enough to evoke the response from a viewer I wanting to elicit.  As I experimented with cropping to square, the photos suddenly had much more impact.  Making them smaller, more constrained actually made them spatially bigger; more universal and more timeless.  It amplified the integrity of what was visible in the frame and in some cases created more ambiguity, but also added more mystery and intrigue as to what was just beyond the frame.  It was these things that I believe will result in the viewer becoming more engaged with the photographs.

Critical Review

I wrote the initial two drafts before I had really narrowed my portfolio selections sufficiently.  While not a waste of time by any means, the first drafts were not as focused as they needed to be.  It was only after bringing my WIPP to the near final edit state, that it became a much more straightforward process to write my Critical Review.  With the clarity of what I had chosen I was able to zero in on the clearest way to convey my intentions and determine which of my contextual references were indeed most relevant to the work I had completed.  I wanted the CR to be clear, concise, cogent, and coherent and most importantly to convey without any question that I had made this work with, and from, a critically informed position.  As I was finalising the CR I was able in parallel to make the final cuts for the WIPP so the two submissions were completely in sync and mutually supportive.

Final Thoughts

I read a great deal during this module and I had to be as discerning about contextual references as I was about photo selection.  I took much better notes as I was reading this term and, that proved helpful when recalling references, particularly on things I read early on in the module.  I intentionally did not read CRJs or CR submissions from students further on in the programme.  I felt quite confident that I could properly interpret the requirements of the assignments and the LOCs to create a document that met or exceeded the standards.  I wanted to do it on my own and not be tempted to follow someone else’s path, particularly not knowing whether their work was really good or just okay.

I also completed work early enough to seek input from trusted peers and tutors and I am appreciative of both groups.  While I didn’t get any huge redirects out of any of the reviews, the combination of little things and my own desire to write a very tight and focused CR that supported the choices I made in the WIPP drove me to a series of revisions that I am very satisfied result in a solid submission.

Critical Review of Practice


I have for the past 15 months been exploring Coul Links through my photography.  In the many hours spent traversing this land I have also discovered places interesting on a smaller scale, some hidden and some not, but which I could photograph in a more intimate way.  This new work is intended less to inform, but to rather evoke.  It is a way of saying something about a place without revealing where that place really is, of transforming place into space so the photographs acquire a universality, or a sense of familiarity tied to each viewer’s own experience.  By creating visual and aesthetic interest in the image and in some cases using reflections or the absence of horizon to create a bit of disorientation or ambiguity that requires the viewer to linger longer over the image to decipher it.  There is not generally intended to be a principal focal point in the images, and they are rather meant to be taken as a whole, with elements of interest across the entire frame (Figure 1).

Glade 1_02-0571Figure 1 – Rose 2019, Glade 1_02

My prior work was focused on providing the big view of the unique land forms that comprise the 850-hectare site.  It has been important to capture and catalogue the nature of the site as it exists before any potential development and the aerial views and broad landscapes were what was required (Figure 2). That having largely been shown in my previous WIPP, it was time to explore a different way of representing a place with which I have become so familiar.untitled-0282Figure 2 – Rose 2019, Culkin Burn South Coul Links

My landscape work, not uncommonly, is absent people and yet I as the photographer am always there, not in the final frame, but only just out of it.   It is in this creative space just behind the lens that the interactions of camera and photographer combine through the choices made to capture a moment in time and space.  It is in this creative space that I begin the dialogue with a viewer of my work.

Liz Wells proposes, “… our relation to the environment in which find ourselves, and of which we form a part, is multiply constituted: the real, the imaginary, the symbolic, memory and experience, form a complex tapestry at the heart of our response to our environment, and, by extension, to landscape imagery.” (2011: 2) I believe we are intractably connected to the world around us, and while it seems as more and more people move to more urban settings that they become disconnected from the wilder places, they remain part of Nature.  And yet for many, the only feeling of connection to the natural world beyond the cities comes from images and the responses those images stimulate in the viewer’s imaginations. I created images that are real, but that will also evoke memories and stimulate imagination.

My relationship with nature and place, as a person and as a photographer, is fundamental to who I am and when I choose to take a photograph, I do it because there is meaning for me.  But each of our journeys are unique and I want this work to trigger memories, inspire reflection and stimulate the imaginations of those who view it. As Allan Sekula states “The photograph, as it stands alone, presents merely the possibility of meaning”. (1982: 91)  My photograph is the opening gambit in a dialogue with the viewer, where it is now to each one to bring their own meaning to what they see as they ask questions such as “Where is it?”, “What is it”, “Have I been there or does it remind me of somewhere I have been?”, “What do I imagine lies beyond the edge of the photograph?”, and as they examine the emotions and ideas the photograph stimulates (Figure 3).

Glade 1A_01-0835Figure 3 – Rose 2019, Glade 1A_01

Context and Reflection

 “The Japanese have a unique understanding of landscape.  The term for ‘landscape’ in Japanese is fükei, which combines the notion of ‘flow’ or ‘wind’ (fü) and ‘view’ or ‘scape’ (kei) – hence ‘flowing view.’  Landscape is not considered static, but transient, ephemeral, never stopping. The flow of time is a vital part of this understanding in the Japanese arts, time’s passage in nature, and the changing seasons, are central motifs.” (Vartanian, 2006: 42) When I release the shutter, I am of course completely aware of time and place, of the before, the after, and the during that results in my photograph. This is yet another aspect of ‘flow’ inherent to photography. The photograph is but a momentary peek into constantly changing scene. By choosing to frame more closely, I take what is a known and concrete time and place and abstract for my viewer a space that is relatively timeless. The photograph in Figure 4 conveys a palpable sense of movement and flow caused by wind and a more subtle hint at the flow of the change of season without ever revealing precisely where or when it was taken.

Slack 1_04-0784Figure 4 – Rose 2019, Dune Slack 1_04

“A photograph shows only a single moment in time. Yet when viewing a photograph, one is strongly aware of the flow of time to which this moment belongs.  Even when viewing a still image time does not stand still. When we give ourselves to the act of seeing, incoherent memories and thoughts of all kind come to mind, accompanied by a swelling of emotion.  Herein lies the richness of seeing.” (Suzuki, 2015: 009) There is an unspoken distinction being made between the act of looking and the act of seeing. “In Zen philosophy the mind should be a window, rather than a mirror, so that the world is seen directly and not through the filters of the intellect.” The Zen monks “absorbed themselves in the activity rather than in their ego’s understanding of the activity.” (Juniper, 2003: 26) To me, this is the essence of true seeing and to which as a photographer I aspire. To be able to be fully absorbed in my surroundings and with the full scope of my senses, feel that it is time to release the shutter is when I have achieved harmony between myself, my camera and the world before me.

Axel Hütte, Daniel Gustav Cramer and Risaku Suzuki all inform my work.  Each has done a variety of prior work and each has done work quite similar to that which I am currently doing.  Hütte, a Dusseldorf School contemporary of Andreas Gursky and Thomas Struth, brought me an awareness of a different way to represent a place, a way that made that place become “space”, somehow bigger than life, and that by reducing the frame the relevance expanded in both time and space.  Hütte’s early works were his night cityscapes which were striking, geometric and starkly absent the people that inhabited those spaces, but it was his later landscape work that caught my eye.  There isn’t any kind of story behind the pieces. The viewer is lost in time and space, sucked into the beautiful world of photography. He will sometimes use a reflection on the water just to irritate the viewers, so the flames of their imagination could shine brightly. There is no need for any detail in the photographs to be rendered or treated specially, as the image is viewed as a whole, without emphasis on any of its parts.” (Widewalls, 2018) This notion of no story is important and one which Suzuki, Cramer and I have also adopted. To caption or provide words removes the possibility for the viewer to create their own story for each photograph and the dialogue becomes instead a didactic.

Axel-Hütte-Aranjuez-02-2006-detailFigure 5 –  Hutte 2006, Aranjuez-02

This Hütte photo in Figure 5 could easily be mistaken for an Impressionist painting of Monet or others such is its painterly quality. It is clear to see in the Monet painting in Figure 6 how the Hütte work in Figure 5 could be compared to it, and while my work is less painterly it nonetheless builds from this heritage. Hütte for me embodies most of the qualities, framing, masking of place, visual interest across the frame and use

Monet (1897) - Morning on the Seine near Giverny

Figure 6 – Monet 1897, Morning on the Seine near Giverny

of beauty to create an image that stimulates imagination, that I am working toward.

Daniel Gustav Cramer’s Trilogy series is an even more contemporary and superbly representative example of my intentions; “images shot through with story and place, but which demand we ignore both place and story. This is what we are, they say, but what are we?” (Darwent, 2007) It happens by coincidence that I have been working with my own trilogy of the dunes, glades and dune slacks.

I realised how significant Risaku Suzuki’s work was while doing further research after I had begun my current work.  His 2017 book Water Mirror is a lovely expression similar in many ways to that of Hütte and Cramer.  Like them, there is no desire to reveal a specific place or advance a particular narrative, but rather to evoke a mood, revive a memory or stimulate an imagination.  Yuri Mitsuda at the end of Water Mirror describes Suzuki’s approach: “Just as with a mirror, the trees are captured in the water that reflects them.  The result is a simulacral mime that exists only within the photographs. These scenes would not exist without the intervention of the camera and the lens.” (Suzuki, 2017) (Figure 7)

Suzuki WM_653 2016

Figure 7 – Suzuki 2016, WM-653

Mitsuda continued: “When the photographer tosses a rock into the water, the rock creates rifts and turns the water inside out, rustling the surrounding trees.  A fluid image resembling an abstract painting appears in the photograph…When the water surface is cut up by a fallen tree, moving water is juxtaposed against still water, bringing disparate temporalities of the material in contact with each other and producing details that fascinate endlessly.” (Suzuki, 2017) My photograph in Figure 8 illustrates the abstraction effect of the rippling water to which Mitsuda refers. There is indeed an interesting departure from the still water reflection that in the series provides a visual counterpoint and adds an additional layer of abstraction and interest across the frame, and it is an example of a photograph I thinks successfully captures my intentions.

Glade 1_04-0719Figure 8 – Rose 2019, Glade 1_04

Nature’s nearly endless array of subjects exist in transitory states dictated by light, dark, weather, seasons, time, elements, life, patterns of growth, and death. These phenomena are universal and every person on Earth is aware of them.  Photographs that capture fragments of these elemental truths resonate with viewers because it reminds them of similarities to their own experiences.  Hütte, Cramer, Suzuki and my current work all abstract from reality just enough to create in the mind of the viewer questions. Are Hütte’s or Cramer’s mountaintops in Europe, Asia, America?  Are my glades along the eastern US coast, a tropical island, or Scotland?


Portfolio – Approach to Work and Editing Choices

I always try to do my compositions in camera to minimise cropping in post, but something seemed wrong, like there was too much in the frame (Figure 9). By moving to a square format, it constrained the space more effectively and removed the traditional landscape format from a landscape photo making it feel like something else entirely (Figure 10).  I think it gave the photos a stronger sense of something beyond the frame at the same time enhancing the integrity of what was in frame. Cramer’s work in Trilogy successfully employed the square format, constraining the image and adding to the intrigue causing the viewer to need to linger longer with the image to decipher it. I believe this has been equally effective for my work. Additionally, I included several short video clips either before or

no post-0800Figure 9 – Rose 2019, Slack 2_01wide

Slack 2-0800Figure 10 – Rose 2019, Slack 2_01square

after stills to emphasise the transience of the moment I choose to release the shutter and make a point just how dynamic the environment can be. 

Position of Practice and Audience

The fundamental nature of this portfolio is in some ways more impressionistic and occasionally moderately abstract than any of my previous work, which of course changes the potential audience from that of my earlier more documentary and science-based work that aligned more with the Modernist aesthetic.  This work, while still very much about a place, has successfully masked its actual location and could easily be abstracted to a place in a viewer’s memory or imagination.  This work is well suited to larger scale prints that on a wall would allow a viewer to almost feel if they were in the place.  I have also incorporated a few short video clips to give an even more complete sense of place which could be looped on video screens or projected nearby the large-scale prints. As demonstrated by practitioners like Hütte, Struth, Suzuki, Cramer, Murray and others like Southam, there is clearly an interest in and a market for this type of work, when and if it can garner the attention of a gallery or publication, and subsequently a buyer. It is also work that could be adapted to a book.  It would be done with full page or double page prints and no accompanying titles or captions.  Possibly a short essay at the end could be included to talk about the making of the work along with a table of the plates and their catalogue numbers for reference.  But remembering that my intent involves allowing the viewer to create their own narrative is the reason behind minimizing any influence on their interpretations.


Peter Henry Emerson wrote “The value of a picture is not proportionate to the trouble and expense it costs to obtain it, but to the poetry that it contains.”  (in Trachtenberg, 1980: 102) In my introduction I noted the photographer is always present if only just out of the frame and it is in that creative space just behind the lens that the interaction between the camera and photographer combine through the choices made to capture a moment in time and space.  Risaku Suzuki wrote: “When we give ourselves to the act of seeing, incoherent memories and thoughts of all kind float to mind, accompanied by a swelling of emotion”. (Suzuki, 2015) My interactions and choices have resulted in photographs that reflect my unique journey through the world and my way of seeing and representing a place. It is my hope that I have indeed created some visual poetry and thereby stirred the memories and imaginations of others with this work.


List of Figures

Figure 1 – Rose 2019, Glade 1_02. 1

Figure 2 – Rose 2019, Culkin Burn South Coul Links. 2

Figure 3 – Rose 2019, Glade 1A_01. 3

Figure 4 – Rose 2019, Dune Slack 1_04. 4

Figure 5 –  Hutte 2006, Aranjuez-02. 6

Figure 6 – Monet 1897, Morning on the Seine near Giverny. 6

Figure 7 – Suzuki 2016, WM-653. 7

Figure 8 – Rose 2019, Glade 1_04. 8

Figure 9 – Rose 2019, Slack 2_01wide. 9

Figure 10 – Rose 2019, Slack 2_01square. 10


List of References

‘Biography of Axel Hutte | Widewalls’. 2018. [online]. Available at: [accessed 24 Nov 2018].

DARWENT, Charles. 2007. ‘Weblet Importer’. [online]. Available at: [accessed 1 Apr 2019].

JUNIPER, Andrew. 2003. Wabi Sabi – the Japanese Art of Impermanance. First. North Clarendon, VT: Tuttle Publishing.

SEKULA, Allan. 1982. ‘On the Invention of Photographic Meaning’. In Victor BURGIN (ed.). Thinking Photography. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

SUZUKI, Risaku. 2015. Stream of Consciousness. Tokyo: Edition Nord.

SUZUKI, Risaku. 2017. Water Mirror. Tokyo: Case Publishing.

TRACHTENBERG, Alan (ed.). 1980. Classic Essays on Photography. Sedgewick, ME: Leete’s Island Books, Inc.

VARTANIAN, Ivan, Akihiro HATANAKA and Yutaka KAMBAYASHI. 2006. Setting Sun: Writings by Japanese Photographers. New York: Aperture.

WELLS, Liz. 2011. Land Matters: Landscape Photography, Culture and Identity. London; New York: I.B. Tauris.

(Figure 5: Available at [accessed 25 Mar 2019]

(Figure 6: Available at [accessed 17 April 2019]

(Figure 7: Available at [accessed 25 Mar 2019])





Informing Contexts Bibliography

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