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




The Pause Project : A Shoot in Birmingham : The Roundhouse

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

RH 22

Following my afternoon in the Birmingham archive researching concrete design and construction I decided to treat myself to a coffee and cake at Ikon Gallery and the serendipity of networks came to be.  I met an old colleague who is now working with the Canal and Rivers Trust along with the National Trust; we chatted and I described my Pause Project and the response was, “shoot The Roundhouse on Monday morning as that afternoon we commence our inventory and clear-out ready for the redevelopment into a fully fledged visitor facility”.  So I did, today, 6th November 2017.

The Roundhouse was constructed in 1874 to provide a canal-side facility for stabling the horses that served the web of canals that run through Birmingham.  It is now Grade 2* listed.  The background and prospects are summarised here

The shoot was ripe for the Pause Project as the building had surfaces and materiality typical of its age and interim uses (such as small offices, studios and shops) that have created an array of interventions and interruptions to the simplicity of the original architecture.  The timing was fortuitous as the pause was about to end; this dormant structure was about to lift from its decade of slumbers and draw a deep breath to revive.

I shot 331 images plus a cluster on the new iPhone 8+ to trial its capacity.  This is the first edit which needs to reduce to circa 10 images as I take the ruthless editor’s knife to it during a second round.



Planning and Delivering an Exhibition : The Pause Project

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


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figure 1

My summer period was consumed in the most part with the planning of my expanded exhibition at Bar Opus in Birmingham.  It was made more valuable in my mind as the restaurant agreed, upon my request, to keep the four larger framed prints hanging in the restaurant (also owned by the same group) – this created the opportunity to double the level of exposure and also simplify the formatting of my work at the Bar.

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figure 2

I surveyed the main wall at the bar and noted its gallery hanging system.   I used Sketchup software to achieve the drawing of the elevation (figure 2) and sent to that to the bar owner and her hanging contractor.  Simultaneously I made the final selection of work as follows:

The main ‘set’ a chose as a group of 9 images as these would create a ‘grid’ over a large area of the wall 2,115 mm square (figures 3, 4, 5).  I chose my normal frame type which is a robust black section and a through-colour white mask.  This combination was designed to achieve a clear, simple buy muscular counterpoint to the dramatic Spanish wallpaper that forms the backdrop to the whole wall (figure 1).  The prints would then sit within each mask and allow them to be focused.  In addition two smaller frames were planned for a central column and a large 2m x 850mm poster were planned – this being the ‘signature’ image for the space, the invitation, information postcards (figure 6) and the social media.

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figures 3, 4, 5

Perhaps inevitably I realised that I was needing to create a critical path time schedule for the delivery of the exhibition as there was no room for failure.  The hanging date was set as 18th September and the opening party was set for the 19th.  Some 300 hundred invitations were to be mailed out and a press release was due to be drafted.  With the desire for an assistant (one day..?) in my mind I set forth and made progress and managed the printer, framer and my own delivery plan for the 18th.  Having built up a working relationship with the printer over the last 15 months it paid dividends when I was able to sit alongside the principal as we fine-tuned the 12 files in readiness for printing on the 50” (imperial measurement!) machine.  I was able to see the machine and understand a more deeply the process of exposure and development onto the C Type Kodak paper.

I collected the prints, took them to the framers and then, after 10 days, I was excited to collect all 12 prints including the poster which had a surface lamination resinous finish to make the media resist to damage from splashes in the bar.  I had two days to inspect the images and found that, despite my labelling all the images, a number had the hanging eyes the wrong way round.  These I corrected.

The hanging was a 4 hour procedure.  The highly experienced contractor had worked in the same space before and also hung work at Ikon Gallery in Birmingham and was thus extremely precise about the dimensional management and created the grid to 1mm tolerance accuracy.  My emotional response to that day was a balance of excitement and anxiety. I had no precedence for this and I was keen to ensure that all my planning decisions were correct.  The main alteration I made to the plan was to laterally relocate the poster so that it was centred on the line of axis from the public entry door and between two pendant light fittings, thus ensuring maximum impactful visibility across the bar.

figure 6