End of Year…

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 4, Sustainable Prospects. 

This module has provided me with the foundation to create opportunities which were not visible to me in the earlier half of 2018.  Add to this the confidence and knowledge adopted from the MA as a whole to date, which have allowed one to partake in discussions with fellow professionals and practitioners but also convince buyers and investors that I have a credible artistic standing; that is almost immeasurable.

There are two pieces of news to convey here, on top of the print sales, the third installation (happening in 2018) and the appointment of Okk Arts as my agent, thus;

Firstly, I have secured sponsorship for my work in 2018 to a useful level that will allow me to collaborate and create output that surpasses my means.

Secondly, I have reached an agreement with a contemporary photographic gallery to exhibited my work as a solo show in 2019.

This is extremely satisfying news as the year closes.

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Social Media – Progress Report

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 4, Sustainable Prospects.

During this module I have been developing my activity on social media and I present a number of highlights here;

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figure 1

I have increased my Instagram following to 356 by judicious selection of imagery and hashtags.  This remains, evidentially, my principal point of exposure.

Figure 2, 3

I use two Twitter accounts, one focused on wider professional groups and the other specifically on my photographic practice and interest.  I have increased followers to a combined total of 1,687.  I aim to increase the followers on my photographic account.

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Figure 4

I have a Facebook account for Facilitate Urban Photography as a practice page.  Not only can I track and compare ‘likes’ for each post I am able to note the ‘reach’ i.e. the exposure of each activity.  In the case of figure 4 it is 139.

Figures 5, 6

I have been active also in LinkedIn, not least because this is a different and wider network of people (I have 2,450 plus connections) but also my new agent is active on here as well as all of the above services.  The useful pages on this platform allow you to analyse a breakdown of the exposure of a ‘post’, in this instance, figures 5, 6 there are 76 with a CEO/Executive Director job title that have viewed the entry.  This may prove more fertile as I develop my marketing strategy further in 2018.

ends

Mack & the Art of the Photobook : Parr et al and its Future.

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 4, Sustainable Prospects.  Research.

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figure 1

Michael Mack, interviewed by Alexander Strecker in a recent post in Lensculture, sets out a really personal account of how he ‘ticks’ and what makes the quality of his production such a desirable and tangible thing.  Strecker sums him up thus  “there are three core beliefs that underpin everything Mack has done: first, mentors are essential; second, human relationships are paramount; and finally, that personal enjoyment is the key to long-term success”.

I make no apology in extracting substantial tracts of the interview as they serve a strong purpose, especially as it sets the agenda for my ambition to make a photobook at a future point.

On his motivations Mack says “I’m driven by a very simplistic, life-affirming notion: I want to keep enjoying what I’m doing. I don’t want to only be running a business, because much of that is quite tedious. You could be selling widgets, if all you’re focusing on is the Excel spreadsheets. In the end, the reason we are doing well is because of our attention to detail and the specificity of each design. I don’t want to do more books. I’d prefer to produce fewer titles that are higher in quality.

On the place for the tangible as opposed to the digital “there was a supposed revolution about to happen in relation to the book and ink and paper. This simply did not occur. In fact, just the opposite: the ever-expanding digital realm created the capacity for small, light-footed entities, both publishing houses and individual artists, to create their own content and market it through digital platforms. That continues to define the moment we’re in right now. It has resulted in many, many people returning to analog, physical forms for various art objects”.

A glimpse about his collaborative approach for which he is renown “Whether someone is working on the street or in their studio, we have to be sure that a book is the best possible presentation for their work. It’s never simply a catalog, a gallery takeaway, we have a studio space where the artists come and work. We bring in our designers and we sit, edit, and talk. We’ll do three days of intense work together, and then they’ll go away for a month. Then we come back together, allowing things to distill further. We give things time”.

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Figure 2

A Magnum website discussion between Olivia Arthur, Martin Parr and Fred Ritchen they review the 20 year march of the photobook; here Arthur opines “People still have a huge desire for the book, for the printed object that they can hold.” which is good to read as the future looks positive for the medium. Parr lays down the challenge for both image making and the need for purpose in a publication Photography is the easiest thing in the world but also the most difficult. It’s very easy to take a body of work and in an afternoon turn it into a book that looks contemporary and exciting but it has no soul, no message, no real substance. People believe they have made an important contribution to photography but they haven’t” 

The audience ‘span’ is addressed by Ritchin “Photobooks are having a golden era but the concern is that we are making them for each other,” and he goes on “It’s not sufficient to just talk to each other at this point. I’m looking for something that restates where we are in different ways.” and Arthur expresses her aspiration “I think we see this big cloud which is the photobook audience and what’s interesting is trying to go out and think about things differently and saying I’m going to reach these people because this is what I want to do,” and she volunteers this “We aspire to be like each other, too much so.”

Practice Planning

I aspire to create a photobook on the Pause Project.  I therefore peruse photobooks and seek out, not only the product, but the process to establish the timescale, costs, qualities and, overall, the purpose and visual/textual messaging that would create value in the widest sense of that term.  Both of these articles provide a good context to the qualitative positioning of a book.

I have started discussions with the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce about presenting the Pause Project, with a view to widening shooting opportunities but also the potential for sponsorship of a book project.  To maximise this I will be researching the sponsorship model, knowing full well that it will be often seen by sponsors as a return on investment and as such may be viewed as a form of crowd-funding modelling that will require the offer of a tangible benefit/asset upon completion.  Watch this space in 2018.

References

All quotes on Mack and image, figure 1,  taken from (accessed 11.12.2017);

https://www.lensculture.com/articles/mack-books-the-enduring-power-of-the-printed-page-thoughts-from-michael-mack

All quotes on Mack and image, figure 2,  taken from (accessed 11.12.2017);

https://www.magnumphotos.com/theory-and-practice/future-of-the-photobook/

 

One Shoot : Many Carpets

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 4, Sustainable Prospects.  Shoots

During my slightly unsatisfying shoot at 123 Hagley Road, Birmingham (John Madin’s own office/studio, now vacated and due, in the long term for demolition) where I was uninspired by the shoot in general (for example only one image has found its way into my work in progress portfolio) I noticed, especially during the download and review phase, that I had collected a group of images of floors in the radio station and other spaces.  Marks of use, trailing cables, spillages, tape, light, textures wear and some tears.  These create a small but interesting sub-set to the Pause Project.

 

Work in Progress Portfolio

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 4, Sustainable Prospects.  Submission.

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From six shoots undertaken during the sustainable prospects module I have selected 18 images to submit as my work in progress portfolio.

The Pause Project is in full flow, currently in Birmingham; five new buildings in the pause state have been accessed, along with the underbelly of M6 junction 6, that is Spaghetti Junction and the gallery in Walsall.

 

Images 1 – 7

Reviewing this group, these collectively reflect not only a maturing of a consistent ‘visual language’ but also the period which most were created, as Autumn approached and, in the case of The Roundhouse, captured in the melancholic state and deep light from the sun onto and into spaces.

As is consistent with the Pause Project to date, the spaces were vacant, life was absent but the humanity was demonstrable in the perambulations, ruthlessly so within image 4 where only the trace of a multi-level stair case and landings remained as they had been removed, leaving the visible marks on the walls in what is a disconcerting view.  Abandoned chairs feature in image 1 and 17, perhaps not seen as precious and thus abandoned, they serve to provide scale to those two spaces.

 

Images 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 17, 18

Of the many quotes on light in photography “Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography” attributed to George Eastman, was on my mind in these shoots. The first seven images, in diverse ways, visually identify the source of light into the spaces and through the translucent panels, the latter group reflect light. All the images reveal the use of ‘found’ light, there is no supplementary lighting.  The image that has drawn more time from me is image 2, the Roundhouse window; this is the most ‘painterly’ in the group; I use this term as I believe this is the nearest image I have made to date that dwells on the cusp of the immediate ‘surface’ manifesting the image as if looking ‘at’ a painted asset.  It is its apparent translucency that reveals an actual or implied depth, seeing ‘though’ to a faint but bright, almost spectral form, or series of shapes.  It is this translucency that one adopts in viewing that evokes the nature of a photograph.

 

Images   11, 14, 15, 16

My amplified interest in concrete as a medium to form space but also as a method of fused image making is contemplated in this portfolio by the intimate quality of the surface, countered by the enormity of structure in images 11, 14, 15 and 16.

It is the surprising, the unpredictability of visual stimulus and the emotive response one holds when visiting much planned and anticipated shoots.  There has been a sharp variability in this autumn’s shoots, with the Roundhouse laying before me a plethora of textures, detritus, views and depth whereas the negotiated access to John Madin’s own office and studio, 123 Hagley Road, was little more than vacuous with a simplicity of, well almost everything, even uncovering a vacated radio station studio did not create the richness in practice that one may anticipate.  This in part explains that the Roundhouse holds the majority of this portfolio than other shoots.

The submitted package includes the index slide, thus;

Image Titles – shoots August to November 2017

Intro slide 1

Intro slide 2

1 Roundhouse – chair

2 Roundhouse – window

3 Herbert House – main space

4 Herbert House – stair trace

5 Roundhouse – mirror

6 Herbert House – window

7 Herbert House – roof light

8 Herbert House – basement

9 Roundhouse – carpet

10 Roundhouse – socket

11 M6 Junction 6 – concrete surface

12 Roundhouse – ember

13 Gilders Yard – sink

14 New Art Gallery Walsall – stair

15 M6 Junction 6 – soffit

16 M6 Junction 6 – pipe

17 123 Hagley Road – chair

18 Gilders Yard – 3 spaces

Concluding slide

An Impromptu Shoot

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 4, Sustainable Prospects. 

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I was able to access the vacated Coventry Evening Telegraph building days before the city was celebrating its new status as City of Culture 2021.  I was armed only with my iPhone as I was in the city for my portfolio reviews

The building was both cavernous and intimate and the perfect candidate for a more serious and planned Pause Project shoot, but the quality of the iPhone justifies the entry of these images here; it forms a recce for a future idea. No flash lighting was used, all light was ‘found’ as is my normal mode.

All images are mine.