Collins & Baltz

Practice Development : Final Major Project

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 5

I decided to research two artists, triggered by brief summaries in Cotton’s book, from her chapters, Once Upon a Time and Deadpan.  She cites Hannah Collins and Lewis Baltz respectively.

The status and approaches of both artists are relevant to my own practice, as I seek out opportunities to visually document the intimate commentary of spaces that are paused, but in transition. There remains a subliminal query in my own mind over my practice motives, the manner of shooting and image-making; is it neutral, observational, does it make a point and if so what?  Perhaps it is the constant seeking for definition or redefinition, for bandwidth, for the position. A caution about categorisation is given, with the paradox of deliberate fluidity that my concept allows; to move laterally in the future. Perhaps it is a case of calibration over categorisation?

Hannah Collins

Collins as an artist working in photography, film and word; described as “Profoundly democratic, Collins’s work quietly insists on revealing the complexities of life, and the ways we relate to the world around us collectively and as individuals, through vision and memory, to achieve works of subtle power.” has her work in collections including the Pompidou Centre, Tate Modern, Walker Art Center, Dallas Art Museum, Sprengel Museum and Reina Sofia Museum. 

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Figure 1

The body of work created by Collins, known as ‘In the Course of Time’ (1994-6) is a capture of Polish industrial spaces.  Her poetic diary texts that first appeared in the catalogue accompanying her exhibition at the Chisenhale Gallery in 1995;

“Off the dark brown corridor is the brown wooden bathroom. Old string hangs from a white tank, barely visible lit by a bulb hanging loosely against the dark brown stained walls. Torn newspapers are piled on the floor and flowered linoleum is creased, cracked and re-nailed. Water drips very slowly into a small basin caught below in a pale plastic bucket….

Forgotten and abandoned workshops overheat, burning away the seething furnaces they house…

Round staircases swirl up and up into vaulted towers and luminous liquid breath bursts from hidden attic spaces…

Rough thick long hair brushes cobwebs and dust. Bright eyes gleam frightened at the invading light”. 

In his commentary, Günzel, 2015 catagorsies the work “Collins is ultimately not entirely passive, even if responses call for a listening, but bring forth what they show – for which they accept responsibility. It is a profoundly ethical form of research and documentation that renders account of what has happened or is still happening and that was not yet visible or manifested”.  He goes on specifically about using images to hold a moment “‘In the Course of Time’ … expounds a far-reaching paradox of photography, which as a technical medium also has the ‘ghost-forming’ ability to extract a moment from the flow of time – as well as, and necessarily, a chunk of space”. And, on the medium as a whole Photography …has a paradoxical relationship with history since the moment or continuum that they capture that no longer exists although they preserve the past that would otherwise be lost forever. There exists a dual unreality of the medium that seemingly guarantees the link with reality…. in the sense of facilitating a mediated perception of the otherwise imperceptible, which is the past in the present and the present in the past per se”.

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Figure 2

The scale of her gallery prints, figs 1, 2, are in excess of 5m in width; she uses a panoramic technique to create an almost 1:1 scale impact for the viewer, providing the viewer with both a spatial and intimate opportunity to experience the moment of capture of time.  

Collins has provided me with an opportunity to think about, not only positioning, but also the means of display, whether print or projection – a ‘whole wall’ experience conveys here a strong precedent.


William Jenkins, 1975, coined the collective term for a cluster of American photographers; ‘New Topographics’  included Stephen Shore,  Robert Adams and Lewis Baltz, whose pictures had a similar banal aesthetic, a kind of anti-style style. Within the exhibition catalogue Jenkins wrote “The pictures were stripped of any artistic frills and reduced to an essentially topographic state, conveying substantial amounts of visual information but eschewing entirely the aspects of beauty, emotion and opinion.”

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Figure 3

Baltz wrote regularly about images and architecture within the French publication L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui, on that website and archive reference Minimalist and accurate, the American photographer Lewis BALTZ’s perspective on urban and industrial landscapes has maintained its full power over the decades.  His series of photos and individual shots emphasize and question an ordinary and often disembodied world”.

The European Graduate School recalls his work “Lewis Baltz is best known …..showing the images of a world far removed from an heroic vision of America. This move was also illustrated by the subject matter of urban and suburban realities under change, as well as the photographers’ commitment to a critical and ironic eye of contemporary American society. …. Lewis Baltz’ contribution to the show consisted of photographs ….. offer a critical position toward the claustrophobia of urban life. Often displayed in a grid format, it is important to Lewis Baltz that these pictures are seen collectively as a group or series, as for him one image should not be taken as more true or significant than another. Through his original approach, Lewis Baltz most clearly embodies the essence of the movement’s critical depiction of the American landscape. This, according to some authors, makes him more closely aligned with conceptual art than with traditional photography.

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Figure 4

Figs 3 and 4 show the unfinished or part destructed spaces that Baltz captured.  No life is manifestly visible, but the tools and detritus of humanity patently are.  These are not about beauty but the facts of the found.  Thus my Pause Project echoes this approach.  It is also notable that Baltz was wedded to the concept of a narrative described by a gridded stream of images rather than the singular approach of Collins.  A challenge for my future editing process.

References (all websites accessed 12.3.2018)

Cotton C.  2015. The Photograph as Contemporary Art. London. Thames and Hudson

On Collins:


On Baltz


Fig 1

Fig 2

Figs 3 & 4



Projection – Developing a Technique

Practice Development : Final Major Project

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 5

In preparation for greater endeavours I have started using a demonstration version of Madmapper version 3.2.3 by GarageCube & 1024 Architecture along with a borrowed Optoma HD67 projector; this furthers my initial exploration.


figure 1

I am fascinated by the concept of light entering the camera, then being emitted to create a new image that is impacted by the form, texture and angle of the imposed surface.  Taking this further I will be searching out precedents and techniques in a wider forum.

The imposition of an image onto planes and details was the first task I set myself, applying it at home in my principal domestic space (figs 2,3); I intended the outcome to be familiarisation with the software and how it interfaced with the projector.  I had already spent several hours watching and applying learning from Madmapper tutorials and those provided by Wesley Buskirk on YouTube.


figures 2,3

Day One

These are the results from my first ‘after dark’ trial on 9th March 2018.  I was pleased with the clarity and brightness, that is to say, the image reproduction; there is an obvious ‘lining’ effect on the images when viewed close up (e.g. fig 4).  I used my Roundhouse (2017) image of an ‘heroically shot’ plastic chair (fig 4), as it had high contrast and very clear structure.  What fascinated was the visual intersect of the ribbed image and the slatted form of the wooden shutters, illustrating the marriage of imagery and form. Figure 5 shows an internal corner projection with the shadow of objects and the reflection from both walls of the image from the glass frames. 


figure 4


Figure 5

Day Two

Here are the 10th March 2018 trial images.  This evening was primarily focused on manipulating the dimensional forms of paired images onto walls at home with the projector deliberately aimed at an angle, to emulate the potential to show dual images in the gallery installation onto internal or external corners. This involved positioning the images on the screen (fig 6) and then manipulating the frame in real time to accord with the eye’s view of the projected image (fig 7).  I learned how to create plural images that appeared dimensionally ‘correct’.

IMG_1960 2IMG_1961

Figures 6, 7


Figures 7, 8

I also tested an abstract image shot in Amsterdam (2017) onto a corner to deliberately distort and further disrupt the image, figs 7, 8.  I created a ‘virtual’ 3D cube in the software and pasted 3 images onto the surfaces then projected these, figs 9,10.


Figures 9, 10

The potential for creating a video within the projection stream is initally tested here, fig 11.

Figure 11

Next Steps

1 I will purchase the full version of Madmapper software with a view to buying a MiniMad hardware companion.

2 I need to understand how I transfer an edited stream of images onto MiniMad, to then connect into and drive a projector.

3 Test the equipment at Argentea Gallery with a view to going the final piece.

4 Search out a building in which I can run a parallel projection project at larger scale, to test the transformational concept.

Shoot – The Pause Project – Jewellery Quarter 2, Birmingham

Practice Development : Final Major Project

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 5

I was able to visit a fourth in the series of neighbouring buildings on 5th March.  The upper two floors of this building were accessed.

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figure 1

The first floor had clearly been a solarium, sauna and massage (fig 1) space.  The upper floor was an open space with heavily marked sheets of polythene that bore the marks of manufacturing, though it was not clear what.

The collage, fig 2 shows the images selected from my website.

figure 2


Projection – Developing a Strategy

Practice Development : Final Major Project

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 5

There is a need to analyse and contextualise my strategy to apply projection within my Final Major Project and its manifestation in the exhibition. It is my intention to create clarity for the viewer, as well as myself as the creator, to conjoin but have an experiential distinction between art framed conventionally, art as concrete form, objects as record and projection.

Within the Pause Project, there is inevitably an opportunity to see sub-sets of images that could be denoted in a multitude of ways, for example by building use, interior/exterior, surfaces, marks, remnants and so on. There are however numerous images that cluster into a veiled view, through windows, some of which are so obscured it as if one is looking ‘at’ a window, or through a fabric; all of which hint at spaces and a presence of life beyond – a form of translucently.  This led me to ponder the strategy of showing on a suspended screen, to emulate a ‘view through’, that would invite the viewer to gaze at the stream of related images on the projected surface, from all angles, such as Edmund Clark’s ‘In Place of Hate’ (Ikon Gallery 2018) figs 1-7. This show largely utilises bed sheets suspended from the gallery ceiling, six in total.

figures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

I am however enticed to consider an alternative, or additional, strategy; projection onto walls.  Whilst this may seem a simple notion, it has a conceptual shift, as there is an implication of both sculpture and transformation. Lucy Reynolds in her Tate Etc article Experimental fields of Light and Shadow describes the progress of multimedia art” occurring outside the auditorium, among the freely moving audiences of alternative art spaces and artists’ studios during the 1960s and 1970s, projection was being reinstated as a visible component of interdisciplinary art practices, finding new potential at the confluence of performance, sculpture and installation.” On reading this I foresee the architectural forms of the gallery, and indeed other planned experiments in wider spaces, as the three-dimensional surface that can be projected onto, i.e. a sculptural opportunity.  The choice of projected images provides a fertile opportunity to transform and thus modify the viewer’s perspective of the architecture and its enveloping space.  Taking this beyond the gallery has significant potential. There needs to be a dual understanding of the dimensions and juxtaposition of the wall planes as well as the imagery and its precise projection.

figures 8, 9

Cotton, (2015: 41) in her chapter If This is Art, cites Georges Rousse who works within disused architectural spaces, meticulously crafts an image almost in reverse, thus applying Wall’s maxim of a farmed tableau, by setting up a viewpoint from a fixed camera point, then manipulating the space through the application of surface treatments such as paint to create a shape that only defines itself from the fixed viewpoint that is then recorded on camera. Cotton,“Rousse’s act is about making a discrete table within a physical space, crafting another dimension into the picture plane.” These two stills, fig 8, 9, from the short film about Georges Rousse and his Loin Cafe work show the finished star form obliquely and as captured by his camera at the final stage.  The Herculean effort that is invested into Rousse’s image making is no less than the scale and management that Gregory Crewdson commands. My strategy will be conceptually different (involving the temporal projection onto three-dimensional surfaces and then recaptured images to record the effect) however, I cite Georges Rousse for his interventions into disused space and his ability to challenge visual perception in doing so.


Through judicious editing, I have the opportunity to think sculpturally, and thus three-dimensionally, about the projection onto surfaces that, if successful, will offer a rethinking and temporally reconfiguring of spaces in both the gallery context and beyond.  It is a demanding surface to work on and the technology needs to be harnessed to perfect the construct of this form of display. 

There is also an opportunity to position the imagery as a memoriam to past existence of space and place.

I will be drawing out further research and experimentation as the project matures.


Reynolds L. 11 May 2012. Light projections in The Tanks. Tate Etc (accessed 4.2.2018) Tate Etc. issue 25: Summer 2012

Cotton C.  2015. The Photograph as Contemporary Art. London. Thames and Hudson

List of Figures

fig 1 – 7  Philip Singleton, February 2018. Edmund Clark exhibition, Ikon Gallery, (accessed 4.3.2018) Gallery front page:

fig 8, 9 from Documentary / Georges Rousse Art Project in Miyagi(accessed 4.3.2018) 


Shoot – The Pause Project – Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham

Practice Development : Final Major Project

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 5

hamp 2

figure 1

My risk assessment thinking was an important preface to this shoot in late February 2018, as whole floors were missing, pigeon guano was prevalent and external doors had to be jammed open upon access to ensure my solo shoot did not leave me locked away for hours. Fig 1 shows a part floor missing above that vantage point.

This shoot was of three neighbouring buildings; a retail unit full of sex aids, a cafe and an over-the-shop residential space.  The detritous from all those uses were laid out before me.

The collage, fig 2 shows the images selected for my website.

Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 16.54.12Figure 2



Shoot – The Pause Project – Coventry

Practice Development : Final Major Project

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 5

I have ventured, as a deliberate strategy into Coventry given its new pulse on the cultural scale; this shoot, in February 2018, was the second visit that had been negotiated over several weeks.  I was able to access a disused club with flat over, a vacated car service garage and return to the newspaper printing works.  There was on this occasion a palpable ‘spirit of presence’ of humanity, not easily explained.  It ran counter to the oft-felt melancholia that I encounter on shoots as part of this project.

It was an addition to my new Squarespace website, launched in January 2018, fig 1

All four buildings feature in this collage, fig 2.

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Figure 1

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Figure 2




A Cyanotype Experience

Practice Development : Final Major Project

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 5

Another review of a workshop at the Face to Face event at Falmouth University.  This session was led by Jesse Alexander.

Figure 1 shows the red-lit space where we had coated paper with Potassium ferricyanide and Ferric ammonium citrate blended together and applied with paint brushes. Items were placed onto the paper then left in the ultra-violet machine for 7 minutes.


Figure 1

The fascination for me was the discussion about printing onto acetate to create a suitable contrast level for the UV process to succeed.  I have been experimenting with Inkaid acetate as part of my concrete adventures, thus this was a useful discussion about the type of printing that I need to undertake to optimise the image transfer process. The acetates are seen under glass for gentle compression in the UV machine, figs 2, 3.

Figures 2, 3