Robert Frank

Robert Frank Dies; Pivotal Documentary Photographer
Was 94

Mr. Frank, who was best known for his groundbreaking book, “The Americans,” had a visually raw and personally expressive style that made him one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century.

This was interesting article, might try and find out a bit more about Robert Frank


McDonald, W. (2019). Robert Frank Dies; Pivotal Documentary Photographer Was 94. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Sep. 2019].

Muse / Vision Board

Muse boards are something writers use to help them focus on what’s important in their story. They can keep looking at it to help them keep on track.

I think this would be a great idea for my assignments, a way of bringing together my ideas in a more visual way than a mindmap for notes spread throughout my notebook.

10 REASONS TO CREATE A MUSE BOARD gives a good description of what a muse / mood / vision board can do and how to create one.

link to my Pinterest Muse Board

started my Muse Board, sitting right above my computer screen

Beneath the surface

In this blog , Sharon Boothroyd uses some photographic theory to deconstruct Jeff Wall’s Insomnia and deciphers some of the levels of understanding that can be applied to one single image. [accessed 30.08.2019]

This is an example of how to write a critical essay in a formal manner.

She has drawn on the tools described by Derrida and Barthes, but expands to link in her own research into the artist and others in order to support her theories and points.

I can see examples of PEEL writing in this piece . . . for example: ” I see a kitchen, denoted by the cooker, fridge freezer and table and chairs.  That much is communicated clearly by the use of props.  However what we miss in the denotation is the connotation of the type of kitchen that it is.  The cold colours of the cupboards and the starkness of the scene, the harsh lighting and the hotspots, give a kind of eerie feel.  It connotes a place of discomfort; of coldness and unease which we can sense even though we cannot actually be in that kitchen”.

David Campany’s video about the book he wrote about Jeff Wall’s Picture for Women, is a picture he has tried to understand for many years and gives him a feeling of unease.

CAN Student Niamh Farrell’ assignment 4 is another demonstration of writing an essay about reading a picture.

Whilst researching Naimh’s blog, I came across a link to the work of Noemie Goudal, whose work ‘Haven her Body Was‘ really struck a cord with me and with the image I have chosen to write about for Assignment 4. In this set she has make large photocopies of beautiful places and hung them in old and derelict places.

Promenade, Noemie Goudal.

Goudal’s work in Fictional Spaces reminds me a bit of my first assignment where I merged images to make a new reality.


  • Boothroyd, S. (2019). Beneath the surface. [online] The Open College of the Arts. Available at: [Accessed 7 Sep. 2019].
  • Farrell, N. (2019). Assignment 4. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 Sep. 2019].
  • Campany, D. (2019). Jeff Wall: Picture for Women • One Work • Afterall. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 Sep. 2019].
  • Goudal, N. (2019). Noémie Goudal. [online] Noémie Goudal. Available at: [Accessed 7 Sep. 2019].
  • Goudal, N. (2019). Noémie Goudal. [online] Noémie Goudal. Available at: [Accessed 8 Sep. 2019].
  • Wood, B. (2019). Fictional spaces by artist Noémie Goudal. [online] The Spaces. Available at: [Accessed 8 Sep. 2019].

Theoretical Tools for Reading Photographs

Deconstructions – Derrida – to fully understand how something has been made, you have to take it apart before you can put it back together. don’t take things at face value be prepared to delve deeper and be opening to alternative meaning.

Semiotics – Barthes – the study of signs and language


The signifier is the element in the photograph that signified what we think we are seeing or feeling in an image. Together they are the sign that contributes to the overall effect of the photograph

Denotation – states the facts, the literal translation of an object, the accepted version of what something is. ie there is bucket in the picture, it holds water.

Connotation – interpretation of the facts, (open to our experiences, knowledge and preconceptions of what that object could mean on an practical or metaphorical level). ie. the bucket holding water could be interpreted as life giving drink, or a means to clean yourself. This is a more personal take on the element.

Studium – another term coined by Barthes in his book ‘Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography’. to describe the general status quo of an image. The studium is the photograph’s cultural, political and social meaning. By this he means the overall feel of the image that places it in a comfortable, understandable space for us as the viewer.

Punctum – as opposed to Studium, punctum is an element in an image that ‘punctures’ the meaning. It the thing that doesn’t fit or draws our attention to it. It’s the element we are viewers are drawn to that makes the image more interesting and creates a connection.

Intertextuality – the individual background, education and experiences that you bring to your interpretation of an image that you view. Each person will read a photograph and bring it to life in a different way. Barthes says that sharing these readings with others will also enrich the experience and the understanding of the meaning.


Whilst researching for Assignment 4, I came across some feedback from another student’s tutor, which advised that he PEEL it when writing his essay.

PEEL acronym

This is great advice for constructing a paragraph, which I am definitely going to use.

Assignment 3 – Shoes – Tutor Feedback and Reflection

Notes from tutorial with my tutor

This set presented me with quite a challenge and having made a conscious decision to try and get away from the ‘stock’ type of images I created in Assignment 2, I was actually worried, Les would thing they were a bit boring. (or maybe that was just because they were about me!)  

I was pleased that he thought they work as a set and were held together by the concept as well as the colour tones and light.  This is something I had thought about so was glad it was noticed.  I must remember to include these decisions in my write up of the assignments.

One thing that intrigued me, was that Les said that my photos actually gave viewers more of an insight into my spaces than they would ordinarily see.  However, by placing the legs in the image it formed a barrier to them seeing it all.  I found this a very interesting point of view and I had seen them as a lead into my life.  So the fact that he saw them as a barrier gave me pause for thought around how much I allow people into my life.

The other point that made me think was the point that I had obviously set up and posed the images in order to take them of myself.  However, as a viewer we accept them as a ‘real’ captures of my life.  I think that’s what his comment about smartphone images refers to in his feedback.  I had wanted to create a more ‘real’ type of image in this set as opposed to the last assignment, so I am satisfied that I achieved this. 

Les suggested I look up a photographer call Leah Schrager, as he felt that the image with me looking at the screen reminded him of her work. 


Infinity Selfie - Leah Schrager

In her series 'Infinity Selfie'; Schrager is places a picture within a picture which is reminiscent of my picture on the screen of the computer. In my case this was a happy accident, as I had been checking my first attempt at the image when I took that image. I didn't notice the screen until after I'd taken the picture. This is a learning point for me for Assignment 4 & 5 and remembering that everything in an image can have a meaning and impact for the viewer.

We discussed the image with the red boots and agreed that it didn’t need to text, so I have removed it and uploaded it to my Instagram feed. This has changed the order of the images, so I wondered if this will change the impact of the set?  Actually I think it works better with the placement of the boots as the first picture and the blue shoes in the last image it looks like bookends for the set.

orignal post
updated post

we discussed assignments 4 & 5.  He suggested that I pick an image for A4 that might link to something I’m interested in that will lead into A5.  Therefore, I have read both assignments to get a sense of what I might need to do next.

All in all I am relatively pleased with the outcome of this assignment.