Part 4 – Project 2 – reading pictures


Rip out an advertising image from a newspaper supplement and circle and write on as many parts of the image as you can. Comment on what it is, what it says about the product and why you think it’s there. You could use this as the basis for your assignment if you feel it’s taking you somewhere interesting. Or you could adopt this method for your assignment preparation.
Come back to this exercise when you’ve reached the end of Part Four and see if you can add anything to your analysis.

this image is actually advertising a TV, but it’s not immediately obvious when you look at the picture. This advert is displayed in the Caravan and Motorhome Club magazine and therefore, the image is definitely targeting the kind of people who would be reading this magazine.

The leading lines taking your eyes to the motorhome in the centre of the image, also carry on to take your eyes to the DVD on the right hand side.

I think the message is that even out in the wilds, you have great ‘tech’, it’s kind of the marriage of countryside and the modern world.

Jacques Derrida

“Who is more faithful to reason’s call, who hears it with a keener ear… the one who offers questions in return and tries to think through the possibility of that summons, or the one who does not want to hear any question about the reason of reason?”                                                                                      (Jacques Derrida)

Derrida coined the term Deconstruction.  He said that there was no ‘one’ meaning to a piece of prose.   An element within a picture might mean one thing to one person and something entirely different to another. He asks us to not take an image a face value, or the obvious interpretation but to consider all of the elements to make our own understanding of it.



Part 4 – Project 1 – The Language of Light

Exercise on Erwitt’s New York 1974

look carefully at Erwitt’s image and write some notes about how the subject matter is placed within the frame. How has Erwitt structured this image?

What do you think the image is ‘saying’? How does the structure contribute to this meaning?

Erwitt was born in Paris in 1928 but relocated to the US in 1938 with his family. His trademark was depicting surreal or absurd moments in a candid style, owing much to Henri Cartier-Bresson’s decisive moment.

This image is cropped so that you can’t see who the legs belong too. At first glance it looks like a couple walking a dog along a path. When you look closer you see it’s actually a human and and a large dog which contrast against the whole of the little dog. The little dog is linked to the other legs by the straight lead.

Each of the elements have a human touch, i.e the legs next to the human and the hat on the little dog. The main focus of the image is in the centre, but you scan the image from bottom to top, starting with the foreground that goes from a shallow depth of field to sharp at the feet and then up to edge of the photo and across to the bright blown out back ground. Having the image back lit really helps with highlighting the shapes of the legs. The blurred tree in the background gives the image a feeling of depth.

I really like this image, it tells a story, but leaves an element of mystery. I like that the dogs and humans have equal status in the image.

Part 2 – Project 2 Image and text – Exercise 2.

The aim of this exercise (and Assignment Two) is to encourage you to develop metaphorical and visceral interpretations rather than obvious and literal ones, to give a sense of something rather than a record of it..
Choose a poem that resonates with you then interpret it through photographs. Don’t attempt to describe the poem but instead give a sense of the feeling of the poem and the essence it exudes.
Start by reading the poem a few times (perhaps aloud) and making a note of the feelings and ideas it promotes, how you respond to it, what it means to you and the mental images it raises in your mind. Next, think about how you’re going to interpret this visually and note down your ideas in your learning log.
You may choose to develop this idea into creating a short series of images reflecting your personal response to the poem (or another poem). Write some reflective notes about how you would move the above exercise on.
The number of pictures you choose to produce for the exercises and assignments in this course, including this one, is up to you. Try to keep in mind the following tips for knowing when you have done enough/not done enough:
• Are the images repeating themselves? Are there three versions of the same picture or example? Can you take two out?
• Does each image give a different point of view or emphasise a point you want to make?
• Do the images sit well together visually?
• Have you given the viewer enough information? Would another picture help?

Metaphor – “a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.”

Viceral – “Relating to deep inward feelings rather than to the intellect.‘the voters’ visceral fear of change”.

I understand this to mean that I am to create images that represent the feelings I experience from the poem rather than try to create literal images of things mentioned in it.

For this exercise, rather than a poem I have chosen the words from a song, which I consider a poem set to music. The extract below is the part that am I really connecting with right now:

Defying Gravity from the musical wicked

Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I’m through with playing by the rules
Of someone else’s game

Too late for second guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It’s time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes and leap

It’s time to try
Defying gravity
I think I’ll try
Defying gravity
And you can’t pull me down

I’m through accepting limits
‘Cause someone says they’re so
Some things I cannot change
But till I try, I’ll never know

Too long I’ve been afraid of
Losing love I guess I’ve lost
Well, if that’s love
It comes at much too high a cost


“Something has changed within me” . . .

“I’m through with playing by the rules of someone else’s game”

“Too long I’ve been afraid of

“I think I’ll try
Defying gravity
And you can’t pull me down”

the contact sheets for this set can be seen here

This project was actually more fun than I thought it would be.

With this exercise, I started by selecting the specific lines in the song that I connected with and thought about how I could represent them. I think I picked the phrases that had a visceral meaning for me.

I chose the egg because it lent itself very well to the idea of change within, which I could represent in the images.

I decided that the images should progress from dark to light to show the change in mood. The images are deliberately surreal as I wanted them to be representations rather than ‘real’ images.

The images of the egg were taken on a white board with a camera on a tripod overhead. I lit it what an LED light. I then added an overlay and adjusted the brightness in each of the images,

The images are very much a set. Having done the planning and having the ideas before I started the photography it actually made it quite quick to produce. I was also able to adapt as I produced the image and compare them with each other as I made them, which helped with the overall feel of the set.

Masquerade 2


Recreate a childhood memory in a photograph. Think carefully about the memory you choose and how you’ll recreate it. You’re free to approach this task in any way you wish.

  • Does the memory involve you directly or is it something you witnessed?
  • Will you include your adult self in the image (for example, to ‘stand in’ for your childhood self) or will you ask a model to represent you? Or will you be absent from the image altogether? (You’ll look at the work of some artists who have chosen to depict some aspect of their life without including themselves in the image in the next project.)
  • Will you try and recreate the memory literally or will you represent it in a more
  • metaphorical way, as you did in Part Two?
  • Will you accompany your image with some text?
  • In your learning log, reflect on the final outcome. How does the photograph resemble your memory? Is it different from what you expected? What does it communicate to the viewer? How?

It might be interesting to show your photograph to friends or family members – perhaps someone who was there at the time and someone who wasn’t – and see what the image conveys to them.

Little ears hear . . . .

little ears hear . . . .

I have a vivid memory of a conversation between my mother and another woman. Although i don’t remember exactly whether I was in the room or not and can’t remember who the other woman was, the memory of this conversation has affected my confidence and self image all of my life.

My image represents the feelings that I felt, rather than a depiction of the actual event. The image is pretty much out of camera with a few tweaks to highlights and shadows and the addition of a shadow in room to allude to people being in the room. the blue shadowy area is alluding to being out in cold.

When I originally took the image I took it from my current eyeline, but then I realised I was a child and therefore, I needed a lower vantage point as I was a child when this happened. To be fair I’m only 5ft 2″ now ! Keeping the image in a portrait view also helps with the feeling of being small, looking up. The image is exactly what I had hoped to portray.

Assignment 3 – pre-feedback reflections

It has taken me a long time from making these images to finalising the assignment for submission. I’m not sure if I really don’t want to have to put myself in the picture, or I wasn’t happy with the concept. Eventually though, I came to the conclusion that if I don’t submit the assignment and get feedback from my tutor, I’ll never improve them and probably won’t finish the course!!

In actual fact, I do like the set, it’s new thinking for me and very different to the two pieces of work I’ve already submitted, so in that respect it is a success.

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

In this assignment, I have used a variety of technical and compositional skills to capture the images. I wanted to show the shoes in the context in which I use them, so this required me to plan the shots for each pair of shoes and consider how best to compose them.

  • Images 1, 3, 5 & 9 were taken using a camera on an tripod with a timer and / or a remote control.
  • Images 2, 4, 8 & 10, are taken from my point of view
  • Images 2 & 4 are taken with an apple iphone, whilst the remainder were taken with a Nikon D810 dslr camera. I have edited them in a way that means it’s not obvious.
  • The images were all taken in a 2×3 format and have been cropped to a square format in photoshop.
  • I created a 3 x4 template in photoshop to mock up how the images would look on Instagram and had to remember to post them in reverse order, to achieve the layout I wanted.
  • A new Instagram account was created in order to display this work.

Quality of outcome

As I always intended for this set of images to be presented in a digital format on social media, I used my knowledge of the Instagram App to present the work in a way that I felt best displayed them as a set. The composition of each image was considered as an individual as well as part of the set. I am very happy with the subtle toning of the images and feel they work well as a set.

Demonstration of Creativity

My aim was to create a set of images that said something about myself, without giving away the whole story. Having reviewed other student’s responses to the brief, I feel that I have found an innovative and creative response. I do think I could expand on this and may continue to add images to the thread, ready for the final assessment. I haven’t yet explored other times of the day or even other seasons, when I may well wear different shoes, so this could add more to the story.

I have also shown creativity in the composition of the images, making the shoes the main focus of the image in some and incidental in others. I have also tried to vary the viewpoint and ensure that each image adds something new to the story.


I have researched a number of photographers for this work, with particular interest in Eva Strenham’s idea of hiding part of the person in the portrait in order to make the viewer have to look at in more detail to make out what is happening. My images do tell a story, but are not particularly intimate, in the way that Elinor Carruci’s are. This issomething I would like to consider emulating in the future.

In posting them on Instgram, I am putting a bit of myself out there and also giving others the opportunity to comment. A fact I am both reticent and excited about!!

Although I am now waiting for Les’s feedback, at this point I am happy with the outcome of this work overall and what I have learned in making it.

Self-absented self portrait

Self-absented portraiture is the artist telling the viewer who they are without being in the photo. Some use objects and some use other people. Maria Kapajeva took images of other women with whom she feels a connection, whilst Sophie Calle’s Take Care of Yourself series was a response to a break up email she received and was her way of working through her emotions using other women.

View of the French Pavilion of the 52nd Venice Bienale, 2007

View of the French Pavilion of the 52nd Venice Bienale, 2007 – Sophie Calle

“I received an email telling me it was over.
I didn’t know how to respond 
It was almost as if it hadn’t been meant for me.
It ended with the words, Take care of yourself.
I followed this advice to the letter 
I asked 107 women (as well as two handpuppets and a parrot), chosen for their profession or skills, to interpret the letter.
To analyse it, comment on it, dance it, sing it. Dissect it. Exhaust it.
Understand it for me. Answer for me.
It was a way of taking the time to break up
A way to take care of myself”.

Nigel Shafran – used images of his kitchen to say something about himself and his life.

Nigel Shafran – Washing Up (2000)