Project 2 Jo Spence (self research)

Having spent some considerable time looking at Jo Spence, I find myself pulled in different directions. Firstly I admire her bravery, her work and how she speaks (or photographs) her mind. She is like me. I say it as it is. On the other hand the Libido Uprising project is just not my cup of tea, although I do understand what she is doing and why. Jo Spence appears to have influenced Gillian Wearing, whom I encountered earlier and I am convinced she will have given strength and courage to anyone who has seen her work.

Her life is somewhat tragic, being blessed with breast cancer and then leukaemia. My heart went out to her when I read her story. The illnesses have also been a catalyst for some of her best work.

The Cancer Shock project, must have been hard to work with, but also cathartic. Is there an element of exhibitionism again in there. I’m not convinced that many people I know would bare all. I understand why this is done but again this is not my cup of tea. I’m also unsure if the general public wold understand what the project is really about or the necessity get get one kit off.

Below is my favourite image that I have seen relating to Jo’s work. My reasons for this are laid out below the image.


  • I am of an age where I actually remember using Squeezy washing up liquid. It was cheap and naff.
  • The images behind Jo also add to the message about the role of women in life and society.
  • I’m not sure but in the capitalism works poster, the main character appears to be the macho man Clint Eastwood.
  • The mask adds to the fact she is saying woman are being suppressed.
  • The gloves hint at what would have been classed as “women work”.
  • I think artists like Jo, will have awakened some ladies to take up the fight to strive for equality.
  • She is also wearing a wedding ring to add to the fact that she belongs to a man.
  • I am a believer in equality for all.

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.

Project 1. Exercise

I have been asked to reflect on the photographers I have looked at and add some notes and thoughts on their works. These are added below.

  • All the photographers I have looked at are ladies. May be this is due to self-expression being more socially accepted amongst women. They are also all white!!!
  • Is there some evidence of self exhibitionism in there?
  • Nakedness is a metaphor for vulnerability, baring your soul, being comfortable with yourself, expressing sexual frustration, exhibitionism.
  • When looking at Woodman’s and Brotherus’ work, I have asked non-photographers for their opinion, which ranges from weird to perverse and pointless. Therefore does this mean such images need to be captioned or further written context should be added?
  • I believe that Woodman is addressing her own feelings, and is also talking to others about sexuality, vulnerability and empowering women to be more bold, not only in their work, but in their lives in general. Brotherus is speaking to all people, so they can try to have empathy with being involuntarily childless and not to be afraid of who we al are.
  • Clearly all of the works have some element of self-indulgence in there, but self portraiture gives you a willing subject that is constantly accessible.

I will try to look at some male photographers as I progress through the course to gain a balance.

Part two reflection

What could have gone better.

Due to being in the process of setting up my own business I have been unable to do the as much self-research as I would have liked. I have therefore limited this and will strive do more next time. However, following my tutor’s feedback my research should concentrate on quality and not quantity. I need to focus on maybe one photographer per week and no more. I should then be able to critique their work rather adopting the broad-brush approach that I did on my previous unit.

What went well.

I am particularity happy with assignment two and the preparation that this assignment required. I feel my images raise questions, rather than answers and anyone to whom I have shown them have been intrigued to say the least. The images invoke a variety of feelings in me and most viewers and their location, i.e. Auschwitz, meant they were not easy to shoot.

I will draw on this experience in my work and I have plans to link this work back into to future assignments.

My blog appears to be working and I have tried to act upon the feedback from my last tutorial, although I am not convinced it is as well laid out as before. I am looking forward to further feedback from Helen.

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.

References for part one

Akash, G (2014) Gmb Akash, Available at: (Accessed: 28/03/2017).

Artnet (2017) André Lhote (French, 1885–1962), Available at:é-lhote/ (Accessed: 05/04/2017).

Artnet Worldwide Corporation (2017) Philip-Lorca diCorcia | art net, Available at: (Accessed: 31/03/2017). (Not known) Robert Frank / Biography, Available at: (Accessed: 28/03/2017). (2014) Helen Levitt / Biography & Images – Atget, Available at: (Accessed: 27/03/2017).

Bate, D (2016) ‘Documentary and Storytelling’, in Bate, D (ed.) The Key Concepts Photography. Great Britain: Bloomsbury, pp. 53-79.

Cascone, S (2017) GARRY WINOGRAND, Available at: (Accessed: 28/03/2017).

Casper, J (Not known) John Szarkowski Photographs Old and new photographs made by the legendary curator and critic., Available at: (Accessed: 28/03/2017).

Chillee (2009) photo from Omaha, Available at: (Accessed: 21/03/2017).

Columbia College Chicago (2017) Museum of Contemporary Photography, Available at: (Accessed: 31/03/2017).

Dangerfield, M B (2015) Power to the People | Tate, Available at: (Accessed: 21/03/2017). (2017) Altrusim | Defintion, Available at: (Accessed: 21/03/2017). (2017) Integrity | Defintion, Available at: (Accessed: 21/03.2017). (2017) Integrity | Defintion, Available at: (Accessed: 21/03/2017). (2017) Objective | Define Objective at, Available at: (Accessed: 21/03/2017). (2017) Subjective | Define Objective at, Available at: (Accessed: 21/03/2017).

Eggleston, W (2017) WILLIAM EGGLESTON, Available at: (Accessed: 31/03/2017).

Erwitt, E (2014) Personal Best , Kempen, Belgium: teNeues.

Gilden, B (Not known) Bruce Gilden, Available at: (Accessed: 28/03/2017).

Graham, P (2014) Paul Graham Photography Archive, Available at: (Accessed: 27/03/2017).

Hostetler, L (2017) Street Photography. in Oxford Art Online, Available at: (Accessed: 27/03/2017).

Howard Greenberg Gallery (2017) Joel Meyerowitz – Artists, Available at: (Accessed: 27/03/2017).

Imperial War Museum (2014) Catalyst: Paul Seawright on Vimeo, Available at: (Accessed: 31/03/2017).

International Centre of Photography (2017) Jacob Riis | International Centre of Photography, Available at: (Accessed: 22/03/2017).

J. Paul Getty Trust (Not known) Joel Sternfeld – Artists – Luring Augustine, Available at: (Accessed: 27/03/2017).

Jardin, V (Not known) Valerie Jardin, Available at: (Accessed: 28/03/2017).

Jeff (2014) Oh, by the way, Available at: (Accessed: 30/03/2017).

Kim, E (2017) 12 Lessons Joel Meyerowitz Has Taught Me About Street Photography, Available at: (Accessed: 27/03/2017).

Kim, E (2017) Erik Kim, Available at: (Accessed: 28/03/2017).

Lee, G (2014) 19 Delicious Examples of Irony In Photography, Available at: (Accessed: 27/03/2017).

Lee, G (2014) Helen Levitt / Biography & Images – Atget, Available at: (Accessed: 27/03/2017).

LITERARY TERMS (Not known) Peripeteia, Available at: (Accessed: 05/04/2017).

Magnum Photos (2014) Magnum Photos Photographer Portfolio – Elliott Erwitt, Available at: (Accessed: 28/03/2017).

Magnum Photos (2014) Magnum Photos Photographer Profile, Available at: (Accessed: 23/03/2017).

Magnum Photos (2017) The Adventures of Guille and Belinda and The Enigmatic Meaning of Their Dreams, Available at: (Accessed: 31/03/2017).

Meltzer, S (2014) The piercing eye of Brassai: the stunning work of a master French photographer, Available at: (Accessed: 22/03/2017).

Merriam-Webster, Incorporated (2017) Truth, Available at: (Accessed: 30/03/2017).

Meyerowitz, J (2015) JOEL MEYEROWITZ, Available at: (Accessed: 27/03/2017).

Meyorwitz, J (2015) JOEL MEYEROWITZ, Available at: (Accessed: 27/03/2017).

MoMA (Not known) Mirrors and windows : American photography since 1960 John Szarkowski, Available at: MoMA (Not known) Mirrors andWindows FORIMMEDIATE RELEASE American Photography since 1960, Available at: (Accessed: 28/03/2017). (Accessed: 28/03/2017).

Morgan, K (2004) Matthew Brady, Available at: (Accessed: 22/03/2017).

Open College of the Arts (2012) Decoding adverisements | OCA STUDENT, Available at: (Accessed: 21/09/2017).

Open Walls Gallery (Not known) Street Photography . From early modernity to street art, Available at: (Accessed: 27/03/2017).

Oxford Dictionaries (2017) Citizen Journalism , Available at: (Accessed: 21/03/2017).

Oxford Dictionaries (2017) Context – defintion, Available at: (Accessed: 21/03/2017).

Oxford Dictionaries (2017) empathy – definition, Available at: (Accessed: 21/03/2017).

Oxford Dictionaries (2017) Narrative – defintion, Available at: (Accessed: 21/03/2017).

Palha, R (Not known) Rui Palha Photography, Available at: (Accessed: 28/03/2017).

Parr, M (2015) ‘All ‘, in Parr, M (ed.) Martin Parr. London: Phaidon, pp. All.

Phillips, S, S (2015) Martin Parr, 3rd edn., London : Phaidon.

Pickering, S (2016) Sarah Pickering, Available at: (Accessed: 31/03/2017).

Ratcliff, C (2003) Cruel and Tender | Tate, Available at: (Accessed: 31/03/2017).

Ritchin, F (2014) Syrian Torture Archive : When photographs of atrocities don’t shock |, Available at: (Accessed: 21/03/2017).

Robert Klein Gallery (2017) Triplets in Their Bedroom, 1963, Available at: (Accessed: 28/03/2017).

Rosler, M (2014) In Around and Afterthoughts (on documentary photography), Available at: (Accessed: 21/03/2017).

Schmid, J (2017) Joachim Schmid, Available at: (Accessed: 21/09/2017).

Science Museum (2008) Henry Mayhew 1812-87, Available at: (Accessed: 22/03/2017).

Seawright, P (Not known) Sectarian Murder — Paul Seawright, Available at: (Accessed: 31/03/2017).

Tate (2008) Street & Studio | Exhibition at Tate Modern | Tate, Available at: (Accessed: 31/03/2017).

Taylor, A (2016) Winners of the 2016 World Press Photo Contest, Available at: (Accessed: 21/03/2017).

The J. Paul Getty Museum (Not known) Lewis W. Hine | Getty Museum, Available at: (Accessed: 23/03/2017).

The J. Paul Getty Museum (Not known) Walker Evans, Available at: (Accessed: 05/04/2017).

The Street Collective (Not known) Vineet Vohra – The Street Collective, Available at: (Accessed: 28/03/2017).

The Sun (2017) SHE WAS HORRIFIED, Available at: (Accessed: 30/03/2017).

Unknown (2017) August Sander | The life, history and work of August Sander, Available at: (Accessed: 31/03/2017).

Vesprini, G (2016) Giacomo Vesprini’s Beautifully Surreal Street Photography, Available at: (Accessed: 27/03/2017).

Vintage Everyday (2012) vintage everyday , Available at: (Accessed: 23/03/2017).

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.



Reflection on Projects 1 and 2

Context – definition (Outside the frame)

The circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood. ‘the proposals need to be considered in the context of new European directives’

Definition taken from . accessed 21/09/2017

Narrative – definition (Within the frame)

A spoken or written account of connected events; a story. ‘a gripping narrative’

The practice or art of telling stories. ‘traditions of oral narrative’

A representation of a particular situation or process in such a way as to reflect or conform to an overarching set of aims or values. ‘the coalition’s carefully constructed narrative about its sensitivity to recession victims’

Definition taken from . accessed 21/09/2017

Citizen Journalism and Photojournalism will have both Context and Narrative for images to work, either a series or as a stand alone image.

The representation (Narrative) of the image(s) will take a variety of forms. Certain forms will be in vogue, whilst others will have fallen out of fashion i.e. atrocity versus last war photography. Neither representation will be wrong, but some will be current and some will not. It is also possible to buck this trend and do something different as long as you justify why. There have been may an expert who will offer view and opinions, such as Sontag and Rosler, but no one expert will be 100% accurate. The narrative will depend on the context, including the audience and what such audiences have seen and will understand. It will also depend on the context in which you would like the narrative to be displayed. Some exponents of the art will have one way of photographing and will never change. Are they wrong to remain constant if their work is successful or could they have been more successful with a change of what is displayed within the frame.

Trends need to be understood and embraced, but they are not the definitive. The definitive way on conveying the narrative needs to be left to the artist. If this is dictated to be other experts in the field are we not falling into the realms of censorship.

Reflecting upon this has cemented my view, that there is not one answer to the C and N debate, and that each photographer’s style can have both positive and negative elements to it. What I want to discover is how to combine the best of the best and to use this to my advantage.

Key to understanding this is to look further into the work of a multitude of artists and expand my horizons further. I will do this as I progress and evidence of this will be in my progression and my reference lists, which will be comprehensive and demonstrate my thirst for knowledge.

Introduction to Context and Narrative

Some opening thoughts on C&N are below, which will be referred to during the course.

Context – definition (Outside the frame)

The circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood. ‘the proposals need to be considered in the context of new European directives’

Definition taken from . accessed 21/09/2017

Narrative – definition (Within the frame)

A spoken or written account of connected events; a story. ‘a gripping narrative’

The practice or art of telling stories. ‘traditions of oral narrative’

A representation of a particular situation or process in such a way as to reflect or conform to an overarching set of aims or values. ‘the coalition’s carefully constructed narrative about its sensitivity to recession victims’

Definition taken from . accessed 21/09/2017


is the work of signification that is performed within a sign – its specific signified. As the process where a signifier means or denotes a specific sign.”


a similar process but where the signifier is itself the denoting sign; the sign in its totality points to something else. That something else, I term a referent system.”

Denotation and connotation taken from . accessed 21/09/2017

My aims :- To formulate and improve upon my personal voice. To reflect upon my work and to challenge myself on all projects. When reflecting, aim to be relevant and concise. When being critical do not be too negative but reflect with a little distance.

Start a diary.

Think about my technique, personal intention, contextualized imagery, make compelling and coherent work.

Be a thinking photographer and not a zombie snapper.

Assessment criteria

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills Materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills.

Quality of Outcome. Content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, with discernment.

Demonstration of Creativity. Imagination, experimentation, invention, personal voice.

Context. Reflection, research (learning logs)

I will now add to the debate about photography and the truth as I flow through this course.