Context and Narrative Introduction

“I think it’s certain that one doesn’t only photography with the eyes but with all of one’s intelligence.”

Brassaï (interview with Tony Ray Jones, 1970, quoted in Brittain, 2000, p.39)

Context: noun (oxford English Dictionary) – the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood.

We are to think about who, what, why, where and how we create and communicate our work. To take a critical approach to other photographer’s work as well as our own and be alert to the messages contained with our own work whether or not they were intended.

Judith Williamson’s ‘Advertising’ articles in Source give some examples of this approach:

in this article, Judith critiques the content of the image and the text with the realities of the production of the tablets.  My observation is that she also brings her life view and opinions to this critique. So not only must you read the image in the context of your own experience, but also Judith’s view.

Souce:  [accessed 06.10.18]

Joachim Schmid and Erik Kessels have both gathered much research and work into why people love to take the same images and tell stories.

I found ‘An Interview with Joachim Schmid’ an interesting article: Not only has he evidenced the fact that we all take the same images, but that they mostly tend to be photos of the world being ‘just fine’. He makes the conclusion that “it’s more comfortable to base your life on the assumption that things will be all right”.  As someone who has now photographed a number of weddings and family events, this resonates with me and I wonder if having images of us doing the same thing as our ancestors is something that also gives us a connection to our families but also to the wider human race.  I know i didn’t feel as comfortable when I wanted to take a photo at my father’s funeral it wasn’t so acceptable, but that one photo remains one of my most personally memorable photos. 

source:    [accessed 06.10.18]

Erik Kessels’ on the other hand downloaded and printed every image uploaded to Flickr during a 24 hour period in 2013.  He then created an art installation with them 

Erik Kessels, 24 hrs in photos, Arles 2013

The comment being made is one of volume and how much our private lives are made public now.  We all have access to so much information, should we? why do we as photographers continue to take photos knowing this?

Narrative: noun (Oxford English Dictionary)

• a spoken or written account of connected events; a     story: a gripping narrative
• the practice or art of telling stories
• a representation of a particular situation or process

We are asked to think about the elements within the frame that add to the story of the image. The author argues that in order to deconstruct a narrative you must first understand how the story holds together. Even elements in documentary images will be held up for critical review at some point as everything in the image and outside of the image adds to the story it conveys, but the context in which it is taken may alter the meaning to the viewer.

Finally we are asked to reflect upon some of the conceptual myths about photography, such as ‘the camera never lies’ or ‘fact is stranger than fiction’.


Meeting Les

So today I took the opportunity to have a ‘Hang out’ 1:1 with my new tutor, Les Monaghan.  

Having only spoken with my last tutor once, I was determined to start off making time to do this for this and subsequent courses and I’m so glad I have.  Les seemed really nice and was able to give me some no nonsense advice right from the get go.

He is more than happy for me to work at my own pace and submit my assignments once I have met the brief and they are ready for discussion.  He doesn’t want me to think about them as a finished piece of work at the time they are presented to him.  In fact he felt that the real work starts after we have had the chance to discuss the work and then it can be reworked and amended as necessary.  For me this is great, but it takes the pressure off it having to be perfect first time.

So now to crack on and really get going on this course.  I have set myself a first deadline of submitting Assignment 1 by the end of October

Work Schedule

I have set myself a deadline of 30th June 2019 to submit the last assignment (assignment 5) so that have time in July to apply for the next course before the funding cycle changes and I have to reapply for a student loan again.

initial work schedule for CAN course

I have created this schedule to try and hold myself to account for getting the coursework done.  On paper it looks easy, in actual fact I know life will get in the way so having this schedule will hopefully keep my eye on the ball!  Gosh how many metaphors can I get into one paragraph lol!


Your tutor is your main point of contact with OCA. Before you start work, make sure that you’re clear about your tuition arrangements. The OCA tuition system is explained in some detail in your Student Handbook. If you haven’t already done so, please write a paragraph or two about your experience to date (your profile). Mention any skills you already have that you think are relevant to the course. Comment on why you want to study this particular course and what you hope to achieve as a result of taking the course. Email your profile to your tutor using your new OCA email address (maximum 250 words). Your profile will help him or her understand how best to support you during the course. Also arrange with your tutor how you’ll submit your assignment work (e.g. whether you’ll email images as JPEGs or send prints in the post) and how you’ll deal with any queries that arise between assignments. This will usually be by email or phone. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of submitting at least some images as prints to help you prepare for assessment, if you choose to go down this route.

My Profile (Debra517222)

I’ve just looked back at the introduction I wrote about myself last year when I started the Expressing Your Vision course.  I still work for the NHS full time, I have continued to photograph Weddings, events and wildlife, and still love editing and fine art photography.  However, over the course of the last year, I have had much more exposure to different photographers, partly through this course and partly through attending talks by a variety of different photographers at Brighton and Hove Camera Club. I have discovered working in sets or series of photos rather than individual images and I have started to shape what it is I want to say as a photographer.

Looking forward to getting into the Context and Narrative course, although the self portraiture element may be a struggle.

Getting set up to kick start course #2 – Context and Narrative

So here we go again!

It feels pretty good setting up my new blog for my new course.  So far I’ve just had a quick look at the material and it looks like it picks up where part 5 of Expressing Your Vision ended.  

Assignment 1 looks really interesting so looking forward to getting to that and already thinking about what subject I could use!

I’ve received an email from my new tutor Les Monaghan  and hope to speak to him via a Hangout within the next couple of weeks.  I’ve noticed he’s also exhibiting at Brighton Biennial, so I might even get to meet him, which would be really great.