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?).








Hanging and Responses

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


Figure 1

Surface : Exhibition Time

As my part in Landings2017, the peer group international work in progress exhibition first day dawned on 11th August I arrived with my hanging kit (drill, plugs, screws, brass hooks and dust-sheets) at Opus Restaurant in Birmingham.

The planned 4 areas of wall had been cleared in readiness for my 4 framed prints; 2 at A2 and 2 at A3.  Al matching the original measured and photographic survey I had undertaken.

I created a guidance sheet for the restaurant staff to give to interested parties and customers.  This provided a context, title (The Pause Project) and details of the printing and the decision I made following discussions with one of my tutors David Ellison about getting the pitch right.  I also provided a labelling guidance sheet as the restaurant wanted to use their house style to label each (although on a revisit I had to reposition these correctly!).  Each print is limited to 3 with one artist’s proof.  The only other available format would be postcard size published as my self assembly photobook (see separate post).  I took advice on costs and value for sale and pitched sale prices accordingly.

I asked a restaurant team member to use my camera to capture the proprietor and I in front of the two principal prints.


Figure 2

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Figure 1 shows the simplest print hung on the visually most striking backdrop of Spanish wallpaper.  Figure 2 is against a grey wall above the waiting counter and Figure 3 on a mustard coloured wall which worked well with the two principal prints.

Before leaving I posted on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The responses were positive; I was pleased with the coverage. LinkedIn showed 2,170 views (as of 14th August 2017).  Facebook had a reach of 804 with 23 likes, 2 comments and 4 shares.  Samples are shown, figure 4

The restaurant tweeted the picture from its own account on 14th August.


Figure 4

Learning: planning, negotiation and communication paid off.  Paying attention to lighting (noting this is not a gallery venue and hence lighting is at times problematic with reflections being evident) and colour were strong defining factors when deciding what work to display and where.

Figure 5 shows the text of the guidance note printed for the front desk of the restaurant.

Screen Shot 2017-08-15 at 19.51.07Figure 5


A Collective Invitation

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

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Figure 1

Here I am with an opportunity to expand my ‘surface’ of delivering workshops and my engagement evening with Mat Collishaws’s show Thresholds during this module.

I have been invited to talk about my current exhibition at Opus Restaurant, Birmingham on 22nd August as part of the Developed In Birmingham summer festival of photography Figure 1

The second piece of good news is that I gave been invited into the Developed in Birmingham collective as the fourth member (currently Pete James, photographic historian, Jenny Duffin, producer and promoter, Jo Gane, artist) that devised and delivered the programme with an emerging plan creating new future activities, our ‘statement’ reads;


Developed in Birmingham is a collective collaboration between Pete James (Curator and Photo-Historian), Jenny Duffin (Creative Producer), Jo Gane (Artist and Educator) and Philip Singleton (Photographer, Architect, and Urban Planner)

Following the successful delivery of a programme of events and activities in the summer of 2017, the team will combine their knowledge, experience and complementary skills to create, develop and deliver a series of dynamic projects including exhibitions, talks, and public engagement events.  These activities will focus on devising creative contemporary responses to the history and future of photography in Birmingham, through photography, in collaboration with diverse partners.  We seek to engage, provoke and reward by enlisting interactive audiences.


In response to the social media profiling of my talk on 22 August, Argentea, Birmingham’s photography gallery owner has announced today (17th August) that she will be in attendance, via the gallery Twitter account – which is great news, figure 2


Figure 2



Surfaces : LED screens

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


One of those moments when you step into a coffee bar that you irregularly use early in the morning and they are just ‘switching on’ the photographs that are on temporary display.  With only my iPhone to hand I captured the setting and checked out the source. The screens are very shallow and effectively back lit with LED strips which are vivid when lit.

The Williams F1 racing team has collaborated with Blueshift GP using computational fluid dynamic designs as the source of imagery.  The work details how the airflow around a car can be simulated.

The intrigue for me was around the surface used to display.

Source: Art of Aero Collection.  For sale £1,200 to 3,500


Luvera Surface and Standard 8

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 3, Surfaces and Strategies, Week 4

Two very contrasting surfaces for work.


Anthony Luvera’s practice, centred on collaboration (see previous post) resulted in a free newspaper in the case of his Brighton based project, Not Going Shopping, I obtained a copy, fig 1 & 2, it contains his collaborators’ images but also extensive text taken from the project Facebook group and blog posts, thus combining media in an engaging read.

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figures 1& 2


I have posted before about the proposal I have made to create a fixed digital screen in the public realm in Birmingham (a surface of a distinct type – requiring several years of curation as part of the plan). There has been a small step forward in that I have uncovered a store (fig 3 & 4) holding numerous stands by Standard8 ( I have made a proposal to the main sponsors that we use a small number of these as an interim photo project in the allotted city Square and allow this to promote the location for potential additional funders. The content is likely to be a selection of images from the South Asian show due to start at the Library of Birmingham in August 2017 (a new partner to the project).Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 18.18.54Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 18.18.43

figures 3 & 4


Thinking about ‘Surfaces’

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 3, Surfaces and Strategies, Week 4

I have been actively visiting as many photographic shows, events and galleries in the last few weeks to catalogue the style of surfaces that are used to show work.

I will make brief comments on each entry; I have made images as I perambulate around various spaces.


Hung printed fabric, in series, suspended.  BCU Visual Communication Degree Show.  June 2017


A wet plate collodian demonstration at Redeye Hothouse 17, Sheffield, June 2017


Contemporary Daguerreotypes by artist Jo Gane – part of this programme Summer 2017 BOM 


A wobbly iPhone image – Sophie Hedderwick’s work (reviewed by me in a previous CRJ entry) now hanging and for sale in Bar Opus, Birmingham. June 2017


Head and body gear for Mat Collishaw’s VR show Thresholds, Birmingham launch June 2017.

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Beat Streuli – translucent window transfer imagery, main entrance, Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow May 2017


Inserting myself into a gallery installation, Krakow, May 2017, image by Simon Fremont


Main Programme Curator Gordon Macdonald, Krakow Photomonth Festival, May 2017 show in a contemporary gallery space Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art


Myself being interviewed for Falmouth University, talking about the MA in Photography


Main Programme Curator Gordon Macdonald, Krakow Photomonth Festival, May 2017 describing French street dance.  Large scale paper print fixed directly to gallery partition.


4 images.  From the UFO Show, Krakow Photomonth Festival, May 2017 papers and books in cases, wall mounted prints, video and slides, plus reflective wall finishes.


National Museum, Warsaw, May 2017, medium scale acrylic panels and publications in boxes.



Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA), Manchester, May 2017 work by Michael Wolf, intimate show with the theme of gloves and mops


The remaining images are all from the show Strange and Familiar at Manchester Art Gallery – devoted to a whole floor at the top of this city centre gallery.

Work was all mounted behind glass and hung, with a small number of exceptions, plus a dark room with the video by Hans Eijkelboom

Extract from

Curated by the iconic British photographer Martin Parr, Strange and Familiar considers how international photographers from the 1930s onwards have captured the social, cultural and political identity of the UK.

From social documentary and portraiture to street and architectural photography, the exhibition celebrates the work of leading photographers, including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Rineke Dijkstra, and Garry Winogrand. Bringing together over 250 compelling photographs and previously unseen bodies of work, Strange and Familiar presents a vibrant portrait of modern Britain.

Exhibition curated and organised by Barbican Centre, London.

In each case I photographed the introductory panel then chose the image that, to me, reflected intent to the greatest degree.  Note – as displayed here each artist is cited after the image.  Visited in May 2017.

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