Assignment three – Write up

The title I have given Assignment three is “focus”. What is the focus of the assignment, who is focusing on what are they focusing and what focuses an individual’s focus.

The images are untitled as I feel the inclusion of the word focus in each image needs no further captioning.

Unusually I have chosen to portray these images as a selection of square images, as I feel that this format adds a little tension to each of the images. They do not confirm to our usual perception of an image being in the horizontal format. It makes you search the frame.

Black and white was chosen rather than colour, as this was simply my preference, I feel that given the subject, settings and my story, this is where I wanted to go.

My diary will not be submitted for this part of the course and I shall explain my reasons behind this.  I am a PTSD sufferer and have been receiving therapy for this, part of my treatment was to keep a diary, relating to my trauma and this was crossing over into my degree work. I have kept a diary, kept it private and will not be sharing in this format as I do not feel it is appropriate.

I have not really enjoyed or overly engaged with this assignment probably down to my health, the subject (which is not particularly appealing to me), changing tutor at my request and striving to maintain my own business.

In saying that I have throughly switched on to the assignment and have given this my best shot.

My series images is entitled “focus”, even though many of them are not fully focussed due to the use of slow shutter speeds, with the aim of creating a dream like feel and adding some motion blur.

The series simply tells the story of a morning run, some preparation from waking up and the outset of the run. I have added the word “focus” to each image, as this point should be my focal point i.e. the time, toilet,  coffee cup etc. This is not necessarily what I focused the lens upon. The addition of “focus” to each image gives the image an unusual twist and focuses the eye of the viewer making them think what the word is doing there. They work as a series and can also work on a individual basis.

The nine images I have arrived at, from my contact sheets are the ones which I feel tell the story as a whole and lend them selves to the insertion of the word focus.

I have learned that elf portraiture is an important part of the photographic world, but one that is not my favourite genre, but one which is usual for getting across your message in a very personal way.

Having swapped tutors during this part course, I would be extremely grateful for feedback on my blog and any other hints and tips that you can supply.




Project 2 Masquerades Trish Morrissey

First thing that I want to say is that I am commenting here on the Front series (2005-2007) and nothing else.

This work is similar to Nikki Lee’s as previously commented, but for me this takes it one step further, she actually wears the clothes of the missing person within the group. She transforms into to that person. The family snap becomes the non family snap, but something from the film, The Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

They are a performance and a snap shot, that is not a snap shot, but something that is well planned, well executed and a snap shot that includes a 4×5 camera, a tripod, an expert in photography to stage the overall image. It is a great big whopping lie, with humorous and yet serous connotations.

Her work has echoes of Cindy Sherman and I am more drawn to these than the work of Nikki S Lee, possibly due to the subjects and the settings used. They also make me feel easier about the image than Lee’s work, although I can’t explain why. It’s simply a gut reaction.

I would love to know what thoughts were going through the mind of the kids in this image above. They both seem relaxed enough,  although I can see some stiffness and awkwardness is Morrissey.

Image taken from : – Morrissey, T (Not known) Trish Morrissey, Available at: a gut reaction. (Accessed: 02/08/17).

How would I feel if I were approached, well that would depend on who was asking, the weather and the overall project. Having seen these images I would also ask why they were recreating work that has already been done.


From now on I will discuss some of her other work.

The Failed Realist series, is simply childish expression in the form of face painting by Morrissey’s daughter, from something that she has just experienced. The paintings are pure innocence, yet to an adult they conjure up different ideas than what were intended at inception.

If this is the tooth fairy, I would hate to see the clown from It!

Clearly when viewing images our own psyche and consciousness takes over and may give the viewer a different perspective of the truth. The truth is specific to the viewer and shows how images can be interpreted.

Image taken from : – Morrissey, T (Not known) Trish Morrissey, Available at: (Accessed: 02/08/17).

Seven Years is a prop driven series pulling apart the traditional family photographs. It explores the differences between relatives and explore how these differences can create tension. They are all a lie that aims to give answers, but I am not sure the answers you get are the truth as the foundation for the images is does not start with the truth.

Clever work, that creates tensions that may not exist in an original image. The series are thought provoking and not displeasing to look at. They have made me think, but once more this type of work is not my bag.

KL – Nikolaus Wachsman


This is the most comprehensive book I have ever read on the Nazi’s Final Solution and the concentration camps that were established.

It documents  the inception, the running and the demise of them and looks at individual stories of survivors and those who died, including Kapos and Nazis.

The amount of research done to complete this book must have been immense as Wachsman source list is lengthy.

In parts the book describes in detail the treatment of hundreds of victims from the gassing, to the vile experiments that such “people” like Mengele carried out.

72 photographs are added to the book in two places. They show a wide variety of KL related scenes and some are obviously very upsetting. The photographs themselves are simply incredible as a result of the fact that photography was banned in most places these we taken. They are a remarkable record of this shameful event in human history.

Of all the books I have read of the Holocaust this has surpassed all the others.

If anyone shares my interest on this subject, this is a must read.

Assignment Two Planning part 3

Here are some iPhone shots of a number of books I have bought and read prior to my visit. There are also a couple of tickets to museums that formed part of my research. Please note this is an ongoing project and I will return and learn more.

Page 4 of the book which is immediately below states “photographing in Auschwitz-Birkenau museums is strictly forbidden”.


Below are a number of online resources used in my research and all appear in my references list.

Auschwitz-Birkenau (2017) Auschwitz-Birkenau, Available at: 01/04/2017 – onwards).

Below, L (2017) Auschwitz The Holocaust Photos, Available at: (Accessed: 01/04/2017 – onwards).

Sawicki, P (2017) Auschwitz The Holocaust Photos, Available at: (Accessed: 01/04/2017).

Pitogo, H (2014) Auschwitz The Holocaust Photos, Available at: (Accessed: 01/04/2017 – onwards).


Assignment Two Planning part 2

What kinds of subjects can be classed as unseen?

  • drug addicts/alcoholics/drop-outs
  • socially deprived people
  • food banks
  • the poor
  • the sick
  • the disabled
  • police brutality
  • minorities
  • abuse
  • mental health
  • Christianity
  • the truth
  • unbiased photographs
  • concentration camps e.g where some of this is off-limits to the public
  • faith
  • the past
  • my mother

How do you go about photographing the unseen.

  • research the subject
  • see how it has been done before, it is has and think how you will do it in your style
  • apply for permission, be honest, be open and be prepared to accept rejection
  • believe in what you want to do, so others will have your conviction
  • pursue your dream with vigour
  • highlight the benefit of your project to the owner/person responsible
  • be confident in what you want
  • have an understandable goal that others can see and understand

Country Doctor compared to The Dad Project

Country Doctor by W. Eugine Smith


  • Black and white
  • Followed one person interacting with people he cared for.
  • Actions were photographed
  • Expression and feeling were captured directly
  • Not much left to the imagination
  • Central character of Dr Ceriani featured in most shots
  • Documentary/reportage style
  • What was in the frame was the story
  • Easy to read
  • Excellent way of reporting what a country doctor in the 1940s did
  • Informative for the public
  • Had acceptance of the photographer
  • Did not have a beginning, middle or end
  • Not chronological
  • Shot over a definite period of time.
  • Informative at the time it was shot
  • Not abstract
  • Dramatic
  • Not beautiful, but factual
  • Each image has context due to the angle it has been shot from i.e. you can see the surgery or the car where an impromptu needle was required.
  • Each image can be a story in its own right
  • Not what I understand as postmodern
  • Cropped
  • Captioned, but factually
  • Educational

The Dad Project by Briony Campbellcampbell.jpeg

Image taken from Campbell, B (Not known) The Dad Project, Available at: (Accessed: 11/04/2017).

  • Colour
  • Includes self portraits
  • Follows one person through to end of life. Has a conclusion of sorts.
  • Feelings were portrayed rather than actions
  • Images such as the empty milk bottle used to portray thought, feeling and emotion, rather than this being shown by a face.
  • The images work very well together and add to the narrative, where as on their own some do not have clear meaning
  • Captioned in a way that portrays the artists feelings
  • Postmodern
  • Not so easily read. You need to think more outside of the frame in reading them and referring back to other images
  • Beautiful, poignant, meaningful and delicate.
  • Had a starting and an end point
  • Is the artist using the camera as a tool to deflect, or collect her grief. Is it a proxy for holding her dad’s brief case that she used when dressing up as her father, when she was a child
  • The series took amazing strength, character and courage to shoot
  • Was abstract at times
  • Inspiring
  • Insightful
  • Personal
  • Not all the images will fall into one genre as in the image above

Chronologically Briny Campbell’s story does has an and, due to the sad death of her dad. However there is no end to how we all react to death, as this is one certainty in life, and the learning process in how we grieve will also carry one. It may be that she sees death as not end, but another part of the human journey and she may believe that she will be reunited with her dad. I also feel that she means her story making, was inspired by this brave project and that she will continue to reach and make inspiring stories. This is evidenced by her other projects on her website such as “Love in Translation”.

Assignment one reflection

This is the first assignment where I have used my own printer. I have printed the images on A4 matt paper and the prints are slightly darker than I would have liked, however they are still of an acceptable quality. I have allowed an equal border round the images so they can be easily handled without the image actually being touched. The size of my prints allows the images to be compared side by side and does give the feeling of the “two sides of the story”, which I have created. I am not sure if I like the matt finish and will use Gloss for my next assignment.

The assignment was planned in advance by searching the internet for the boundaries of S66 and where would give the the two different sides of the story and a complete juxtaposition.

On reflection it may have been more interesting to have more people in the images, however there was no one around in the rural settings and at the industrial estate, I was subject to some unwarranted abuse! I can cope with the verbals, but I did not want my camera damaging.

I am pleased with my final selection of ten images and the choice of keeping them in colour has added to the narrative.

Thinking about being a “thinking photographer” is interesting and something that has crossed my mind before, but this has never been a conscious part of my workflow. It now is.

Part one has given me the opportunity to view many different artists’ work and their styles and this is evidenced by my comprehensive reference list. I have particularly enjoyed looking at the work of Sander, Parr and Paul Seawright’s work. Some of this was familiar and some was not. The number of hours spent on this section has been immense and more than more previous course, Expressing Your Vision.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this part and have learned so much e.g. how captioning can change an image, as in Seawright’s work, how context can affect how we read an image, how to think about the photographer’s (political/personal) perspective in taking the shot etc.

I am looking forward to starting part two.

Part 1 Research



“These photographs are very different from Cartier-Bresson’s as they are theatrical performances rather than decisive moments. Brassaï’s subjects are not only aware of the photographer, they collaborate with him. Brassaï’s unique style gave Paris de nuit its distinctive intimacy and led to its huge public success.” Image and text taken from Meltzer, S (2014) The piercing eye of Brassai: the stunning work of a master French photographer, Available at: (Accessed: 22/03/2017).

I have come across the work of Brassai before and I feel this collection of Paris By Night embraces something new in photography for the age and that being night-time photography. He appears to have intimate relationships with the buildings, areas and the people in his images. He is not distant as was Cartier-Bresson he appears to know the subjects well and having read much about him, I believe some of his subjects were well-known to him.

Henry Mayhew

He was influenced, apparently, by an outbreak of cholera, which seems unusual these days, but was a common occurrence during his lifetime of 1812-1887. He was a great social reformer and he wrote many articles on the poor and was criticised heavily by the right-wing press of the time. It’s nice to see something never change.

Matthew Brady


Image of Abraham Lincoln taken from Morgan, K (2004) Matthew Brady, Available at: 22/03/2017).

His work was very interesting and he was the first photographer to record the American Civil War. The pose above is a very stable photograph giving off an aura of power and self-confidence,  with interest being added by the desk to the right hand of the president.

His photographs of camp life during the Civil War, were interesting as it was clear from them how the different classes of people were treated and how black people were shockingly dealt with and treated in that period too. The officers’ photographs were given great prominence and there surrounding matched their ranks, where as a photograph of a black cook, shows rubbish and other detritus at his feet and is in stark contrast to the images containing the white officers.

Reflection of the above three people.

Brassai’s storytelling methodology is very different to that of Brady, but then the developments in the art were significant in the two different ages of photography researched here. Both used posed images, but the context of the narrative is very different in approach. Brady’s images are daytime, maybe due to technological issues, where as Brassai uses the cloak of darkness to emphasise the mood in his images. Brassai’s images for me, create a feeling of movement and being in the scene, where as Brady’s images make me feel I am looking at a photograph and I am not party to the scene but merely an observer. The context of the images of both artists can easily be read, but what is excluded from the frame in Brassai’s images make me think more deeply about the setting than Brady’s. Brady’s images show a gulf in classes between different subjects, where as Brassai’s subjects all seem to be night people.



Project 1 Eyewitnesses?

What is citizen journalism?

Definition: – The collection, dissemination, and analysis of news and information by the general public, especially by means of the Internet.

The above definition was taken from Oxford Dictionaries (2017) Citizen Journalism, Available at: 21/03/2017).

I have chosen to illustrate the Miners’ Strike for this exercise as this happened close to where my granddad lived and I had many friends who were miners at the time. I also saw first-hand what happened. I have a view that this was simple bloody-mindedness on behalf of an evil dictatorial prime minister, in the shape of Thatcher. I could not have taken any objective images.Therefore, it will be interesting for me to form arguments both for and against objectivity in such imagery. Let me explore this further. (This travesty of justice occurred on 18th June 1984.)

OrgreaveJeremy Deller The Battle of Orgreave 2001 Colour video Still frame Photo: Martin Jenkinson © Artangel

The above image was taken from Dangerfield, M B (2015) Power to the People | Tate, Available at: (Accessed: 21/03/2017).

Is this photograph objective? What does objective mean in this sense?

Definition of objective “not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased, an objective opinion”.  Definition taken from (2017) Objective | Define Objective at, Available at: (Accessed: 21/03/2017).

Can pictures ever be objective and if not, they must be subjective?

Therefore, what does subjective mean?

Definition “existing in the mind; belonging to the thinking subject rather than to the object of thought (opposed to objective). Pertaining to or characteristic of an individual; personal; individual: a subjective evaluation. Placing excessive emphasis on one’s own moods, attitudes, opinions, etc.; unduly egocentric. Philosophy. relating to or of the nature of an object as it is known in the mind as distinct from a thing in itself.” Definition taken from (2017) Subjective | Define Objective at, Available at: (Accessed: 21/03/2017).

For Objective photography.

  • Photographers and film-makers may start out feeling they will remain objective, but due to the nature of the human spirit and soul, it would be very hard, if not impossible to remain fully objective in times of abuses of power and with documentary scenarios . There are two sides to every story and we, as people will have our own views. That is what makes us human and is what separates us from our closest relatives in the animal world.
  • X-ray photography could be classed as objective, but does the radiographer think about the person who needs the X-ray? Does the image remain without feeling? Is an X-ray not open to interpretation and feeling? Does the manipulation of body of the person being x-rayed not count for anything? Does the radiographer treat the person as a piece of meat, without care for hurting them? Not in my experience.
  • If the artist shows any sign of empathy or sympathy with anything in the frame, for me this will close down the possibility of the image being objective. Therefore, what is empathy and sympathy and is it possible to take an image without either. “People often confuse the words empathy and sympathy. Empathy means ‘the ability to understand and share the feelings of another’ (as in both authors have the skill to make you feel empathy with their heroines), whereas sympathy means ‘feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune’ (as in they had great sympathy for the flood victims)”. Taken from Oxford Dictionaries (2017) empathy – definition, Available at: (Accessed: 21/03/2017).

Before I explore my arguments for and against objectivity, there are an infinite number of questions that can be asked that will affect someone’s ability to remain objective and the example below relate to the image above.

  • Who was the photographer? We have a name but that is all.
  • What was the purpose of his visit to Orgreave?
  • What was his political bias?
  • Who was he?
  • Was he a miner or an ex-miner?
  • Was he a working miner?
  • Was he an undercover policeman?
  • Why was he there?
  • How did he get to Orgreave and who did he travel with?
  • Was he from the local area?
  • What was his family situation/history?
  • Why would he be taking the images (moving or still)?
  • What was his intention when filming?
  • When did he arrive at the scene?
  • Did he support the miners?
  • Did he have a grudge against the miners or the police?
  • How was he affected by what he saw?
  • Did he feel either side was justified in their actions/thoughts/arguments?
  • Did he understand what the strike was about?
  • Was he a Northerner or a Southerner?
  • Did he try to intervene?
  • Was he attacked by the police?

Having spent some time this subject, my current view is that all photography, that highlights some form of abuse of power (documentary photography too), and in fact any citizen photography cannot be objective. It is the human part of us that makes us press the shutter at the time we do and this must be driven by our inner feelings, even if these are subconscious. Why was the shutter mechanism trigger by the taker? We decide when to press the shutter, based upon what we see. It is why we press the shutter. A locked off camera can produce objective images, but the reason behind the positioning of the camera and lens would bring into question the true definition of objectivity. Just because an image is not posed and the artist has no control over the situation, i.e. the subjects are non-actors, this does not mean an image was taken objectively.

I have therefore not added a list of points for and against objectivity, as my thoughts above fully explain why I feel this is not possible to complete in this given scenario.