Edit Phases 1 and 2 – as if Preparing Dinner!

Installation : Final Major Project

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 5


Figure 1

Phase One

The first phase trawl to select images was dual purpose; to achieve a long list of images for concrete work and a longer list which I chose to entitle ‘ephemeral’ for projection.  My ultimate target was 15-25 for the former and 60-80 for the latter.

I created new folders for each shoot from my MA work, the Pause Project.  This represents some 16 buildings and circa 2,500 images.

Using screen work I wrapped up 132 images on the concrete long-list and 90 in the ephemeral list.

Working with Freinds – Phase Two

I asked my photographer friend Stephen Morgan for his opinion on my long list of 132 and he offered to host a session for half a day where I could reprise my purpose behind the project and the dual selection of images for the two media selected.  I expand on Stephen’s background and practice in the footnote below.

The session was challenging (my favourites were deliberately dissected) and highly informative (we found pairings, fig 1, and groupings by sliding images around in groups on the screen, figs 2, 3) and included some minor post-production helping me size up the Capture One software I adopted 4 months ago.

Figure 2, 3

I describe this second phase of editing as somewhat raw, as if preparing a meal with a large, if sharp, knife; the finessing and fileting was yet to come (see phase three and four CRJ entry).

I ended up with a folder of 57 images representing a cull of 75.  A good few hours of productive looking, talking and thinking.

I enjoy Stephen’s company, perhaps indulgently as in this instance, I came away feeling as though I had a strong set of images with numerous interlinks.  I find image making as a solo practice the purest form of work, yet I notably feel an emotional disappointment as I rarely fall in love with my work, the self-criticism pervades too often and I strive to do better; thus I seldom feel affection and strength from the work.  Having as the second opinion can help, as if refining the fishing net, to pursue the food analogy, letting the good ones go for another day and the dead ones sink.


Stephen Morgan is a Brummie by birth and followed in his father’s footsteps as a photographer.  He has lived in his home city, Amsterdam and London.  His website is http://www.stephenjmorgan.com/

He has a melancholic style reflecting on historic memories, nationally and personally.  His work blends people and spaces, often inviting one to inform the other.  The images of the ordinariness of place invite the viewer to contemplate what is captured and why.

Morgan takes enormous care over his process with a real focus on the printing selection. It is something of a privilege t meet him over the last year and I have been able to introduce him to the owner of Argentea Gallery which resulted in him holding an exhibition there this year and latterly to the Director of Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, so I have been able to give something back.

IMG_2516 2

Figure 4

Morgan has descriptions of his practice in both Carroll, fig 4, and Phillips books;

Carroll H. 2014. Read This If You Want To Take Great Photographs. Laurence King Publishing. London
Phillips J. 2012. Collect Contemporary Photography, Jocelyn Phillips, Thames & Hudson, London


Thinking and Planning Ahead

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 3, Surfaces and Strategies

Screen Shot 2017-08-17 at 12.31.08Figure 1

Reflection and Anticipation

As this module, with its absorbed learning and practice draws to a conclusion, I am considering these six things as look to new horizons.

Methodology and Strategy

I was able to share my work in progress with a photographer and he made these comments;

“Moving forwards l feel something else needs to be brought into the project. I know you “Don’t do people!” but l feel a human presence may need to be introduced. I felt that in the last module where you introduced the Priest and the guide to The Freemasons Hall, it really worked… people who had a real connection to the building. 

Also, a little context may help in that you could introduce an image of the outside of the buildings to each subject matter.. as you have done with the “Icknield Port Loop” series… but with something from a little distance? Something that may help in this regard is Donovan Wylie’s work on “British Watchtowers” in Northern Ireland…. not sure whether you are familiar with his work but well worth seeking out”.

This was useful and progressive advice.  My strategy of applying the opportunities that are emerging as part of my residency in an architect’s practice will reveal people in the studio as well as on site, thus ‘personifying’ a number of the images.  The ‘Pause’ methodology prevails. Figure 2 shows work that includes a Mason, from my previous shoot.

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Figure 2

I have started to look at references to Wylie’s work, see figure 1 taken from the Guardian (accessed 17/8/17).  He shows strong consistency in terms of viewpoints, colour and exposure and expresses the context for the watchtowers globally.

Figures 3 + 4

I also met with the photographer Stephen Morgan who has exhibited at the Wapping Project and he explained in detail his strength for shooting and presenting his work and his very thorough method of editing (figures 3, 4).  Of my portfolio he said “Really loved the work, it had a real print quality to it, and I think you are right not to do wider shots of the outside. You get the feeling you are viewing something that has not been seen in a long time and is about to disappear, very intimate” So I am deciding how to arbitrate ‘outside views’ without diluting the intimacy of my work.  Morgan’s website

Making a Return

I am considering approaching the developers of Icknield Port Loop and seeking a commission.  I am pondering how to do this with the intention that I make imagery that is worthwhile for them to use in their development work.

Printing and colour

I am researching an uplift in self-printing technique to create archival prints of my work under my own control which is likely to necessitate investment in screen and printer.

Workshops and public engagement

I have written a blog here about the Developed in Birmingham Collective and there is a plan to deliver another photo walk around Birmingham city centre, expanding on the successful delivery of the workshop as part of this programme.

Figures  5, 6, 7, 8

Exhibition : Phase Two

I have surveyed the walls and hanging system at Bar Opus (figures 5, 6, 7, 8) and we have a PR meeting imminently to plan the launch event on 19th September 2017.  I anticipate delivering 18 new prints, framed, plus a large A1+ printed sheet of one image to act as a divider between the existing set and new sets of frames.


Taking a long view of future book making,  I am reading through these 4 photobooks (figure 9) for lessons on binding, narrative, editing, margins, fonts, length and paper quality.


Figure 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

I choose these for their diversity of scale, quality and subject matter.

On The Night Bus (figure 12) is published by Hoxton Mini Press 2016 features  the work of Nick Turpin.  It is a singular theme – views from outside buses through the, often steamed up, moisture running, windows to people in various states of melancholic and dreamy states.  It feels like a quality object to handle.  There are margins to each image and there is a mix of an image per page with many double spreads, working across the binding. A foreword by Will Self helps seal the profile of the book. It is created in a ‘portrait’ format.

Topologies (figure 11) is published by Aperture 2008. It covers a breadth of work by Edgar Martins.  The paper used has quite a slippery sheen and images (there are 111) are placed consistency on each page with an identical margin throughout.  It is a ‘landscape’ format.  There is an interview with Martins by David Campany at the rear of the book.

Ming Jue. Photographs of Longbridge and Nanjing by Stuart Whipps (figure 10) is published by New Art Gallery, Walsall 2008.  It accompanied the exhibition of the work 4th April to 1st June 2008.  It documents the fall of MGRover (2005) and the subsequent transfer of production to Nanjing Automotive, China.  The photobook is square format throughout and each image is also square, making for consistent margins. Two essays conclude the book.  The paper has a matt feel which is very pleasant to touch and turn. The cover too has a grain about it.

Zones of Exclusion Pripyat and Chernobyl (figure 13) is published by Steidl 2003. It contains the work of Robert Polidori and records access to the aftermath of the nuclear fallout.  Its ‘landscape’ format is strident in scale, creating space on successive pages of consistently scaled images of schools, homes and other buildings all vacated for a long period (since the disaster struck in April 1986). There is an exception to the editing rule where 14 pages are devoted to a series of detached homes amongst the chaotic landscape. There are over 100 pages containing images.  The paper is glossy.  The lack of narrative leaves a space for one to translate what is seen, with the exception of a list of captions (a notable point of debate; captions per page or not?).