BOW: Image file

I have taken lots of images – most of which were rejected outright and various contact sheets are available under the relevant menu item of the blog. (I might make a new menu button solely for contact sheets as the Research & Reference item has a very long list beneath it now.)

This page is a record of various experiments, many of which are not in the book. Click on the image for captioned information ( Note: will need to reorder these, WordPress changed the order when I changed the format to show the images so now the captions don’t always make sense – think William Burroughs is having a laugh at my expense!)


Earlier versions of the book:

ID book 2

ID book 5

ID book 6

BOW A3: Almost ready to submit

I feel the shape of this element, if not length and content, is moving along. This is like a house that is still waiting for walls and maybe a roof, or plumbing/electricity. I promised Ruth I’d submit something in another 5 days from now (at the study visit last weekend).

Since deciding on the cover I came across a post about Sophie Calle using text before photos – someone at the study visit said they thought of her when looking at my little book.

There is much to say about what I still need to do, will reshoot, rewrite (things spring out the minute I see it online) ditch/develop, how the writing might fit or not fit etc. But for now, I am just going to post it and have a think about over the next couple of days. I also know what I want to get hold of or places to go – various items/objects I might try out and see but not sure if I will be able to get some of these things and certainly not within the next five days – but I am attempting to set things up and organise.

This is No. 6 of this particular iteration. When I submit I will add JPGs of various pages/ideas I tried and ditched.

ID book 6

BOW: A3, what if…

Thinking about shadow puppets and how they were used, and how we make images today – I do quite like this and have no problem with the obvious altering in PS (perhaps as long as there is some stuff included not altered), which there is currently – and relevant. There was criticism of Martins for using PS when he did a series of houses for the NY Timesbut would they say the same about Alma Hassar’s image of Andy Clark in the New Yorker? Where are they cutting their lines between what is acceptable and what isn’t? Thinking always of Hoffman’s book on seeing – which admittedly frustrates many people. I wonder if I would be happier with my puppets looking like this in the sequence… something to think about. It’s the opposite of how they’d have been seen originally, which I really like.


BOW A3: More tests with the film but without the lightbox this time, and blade

Shot by the window with a lamp rather than on the lightbox – can still see the frames but maybe not terribly exciting. Still want to get the film next to flesh but it’s very tricky at this aperture and certainly with the macro doing it on my own. Tied the film round my ankles just to get an idea of the film and flesh together and quite like the result but will need to do many more. Just three shots here – maybe the first will do but will have a go again anyway. But I must give this lens back tomorrow  – however, it may be more manageable with the 50. I like the tiny hairs I’ve not shaved here which match another shot of a blade I’ve settled on. This is probably more interesting than the film on its own below. And I prefer it to the earlier ones I shot before.


(Contact sheet – some enhanced in LR, some not)


Last night I photographed the blade – had to put it in this cheap crappy product box I had lying around but in the end, I liked it with all its little stray hairs from the cloth. Had two versions, one which I edited and PS’d and actually preferred the one that was more honest. I guess that’s what more relevant for this particular project too – because the cut is about what we choose to leave out and/or include.


The contact sheet is not even worth sharing – most of them are completely out of focus. Really struggled with this one.

And after using a cutout remnant from an old project, I photographed and scanned the following.



And just reminding myself of this one…. taken earlier this week on the lightbox.


Lisa Bernard: Chateau Despair

I am pretty sure Wendy recommended this to me in S&O after A2 to try to get me to move away from the pretty ‘studio practise’ I struggled to see beyond then. But I can’t find it mentioned, although for some reason that site it is a bit muddled nowadays, no idea how or why that happened. I have the book though and I’m sure it was after Wendy mentioned it. The other day, fellow OCA L3 student Elizabeth (who I met on a study visit over the weekend) mentioned Bernard’s The Canary and the Hammer. I’d love to look at this book but must make do with what I can find online for now. (I shall ask the photography writer I’m borrowing The Coast from if he’s got this too…)

A pertinent sentence from the FT review:

“The art market is so focused on creating a linear narrative,” says Barnard, who teaches at the University of South Wales. “I wanted to do the complete opposite.” Her aim is to showcase “a very fragmented world” that stimulates and excites. Using a range of aesthetics — traditional landscapes, portraits and still life, plus archival material and digital imagery — she goes on “a personal journey” through the troubled world of gold over different periods in its complex history.’ (Raval, 2019)

Raval, A (2019) Photographer Lisa Barnard’s personal journey through the world of gold Financial Times, [online] Available at: (Accessed 21/01/2020)

Brief comments re what I saw when looking at it again the other day:

  • I see where some of my influences have come from, eg.
  • An interest in ruined images
  • There is a picture of a bare wall which reminds me of a frame I’ve screenshotted from the end of a film on nuclear war -they are pretty much the same picture.
  • I like the repetition – only the increased water/mould mark on the photo of Thatcher changes (love this)
  • Focus on broken, discarded, forgotten bits of life
  • The antithesis of the toothpaste advert image/advertising
  • She keeps text out of the centre – an essay by Sarah James at the end.
  • Wonderful use of light  – not always pretty but often is
  • A good reminder as I work on A3 – and stopped me from going too far in an unhelpful or unsatisfying direction

Thanks to Elizabeth for reminding me of Bernard’s name.




BOW: A3 dummy booklet

Making this  – bringing the work off the screen was incredibly useful. I was asked if it will be this size… no. (This booklet was handy – I owe my son a stocking-filler though). I will make the book in ID over the next ten days or so and fix a size but whatever happens in the making of it is open to need and further development.

This is not a fixed sequence, in fact, I scanned it in the wrong sequence because I’m tired and kept missing pages – it’s not a fixed anything, just a step in the journey. There is lots more writing which I never got to include in this initial manifestation plus some images but that is what I need to work on some more. The writing is driving this at the moment rather than photography. That’s ok. I have countless notes on my phone, phrases and thoughts, sentences, ideas which keep coming (see example below) and so I have to let that continue. No, this colour scheme is not it. The book is from Tiger…


Dummy book 1001
I like the idea of having a random paragraph on the cover and no title in fact. that can go on the cover page. It breaks the boundaries and establishes the fact of the alternative cut immediately. My son (interested in design) liked the raggedy cut due to a borrowed guillotine –  which I now understand is in the cupboard not being used for a reason. But I will try to photograph a tear with the macro in daylight as a result of our conversation.
Dummy book 1002
This is a real blade and I would very much like to include it as such in a version. I wonder about making an expensive version of the book which has this and other interesting things like a fold-out page  (see below) for assessment but if/when exhibiting make a zine run which will need it to be a photograph. I would need help with a book and have mentioned this to another student who made a very beautiful book. I know where my skills lie and bookmaking is not one of them.
Dummy book 1003
I am likely to use either a frame from processing for this or the shot with the female scattered. or a sequence
Dummy book 1004
Folds out because of the size but in a finished product would not.



Dummy book 1006
Mistake with printer which I liked split over two pages in fact, then didn’t like all the yellow on this and next page, so tried the red. My son loves this colour mix, I don’t, and will remake using specific negs I have identified. Scanned.

Dummy book 1005

Dummy book 1007
Will use something from Three Sisters or Uncle Vanya. Wasn’t sure but then realised the unconscious entanglement meant something – this book is about meaning emerging out of entangled interactions so will keep but not sure what passage.
Dummy book 1008
Like this combo but will play with other versions of selfies

Dummy book 1009

Dummy book 1010
Mistake covered up with something lying around  – like it. but need to find another or make sure I can take this out and scan it well enough. I do like these colours and wall paper.

Dummy book 1011Dummy book 1012


As mentioned, some notes from my phone with ideas, writing, things I’ve heard etc. I actually like the randomness and unstructuredness of some of this as-is, there is a freedom to it that isn’ in the earlier stuff:

The traumatised grown up

Sons hand me their hatred to carry around 

To the academics who fail to recognise their privileged booty 

Manifesto for the digitised self/age 

/ Alexa I’d like a wife

Sure, it’s fine for Philip Larkin to peer out of his train window and scoff at cheap fabric and gaudy hats 

Behind the shopfront, beneath the surface  everyday consumer 

Transactions – film world 

Trapped inside these words which cannot entertain a different world  

Split atom









Reality is fucking with you 

Void realm 


Deity, divine, godhood, diabolical, decapitation, apotheosis, Ex rain god, enchantment  / Zeus sat down with Greta Garbo  – they don’t know how to create gods anymore, they worship objects. Laughter/ Zeus, my children don’t listen to me, I might as well not exist, I despaired then you and your friends came along, but then it was like the old days, not like that guy who wanted sole charge. He got it all wrong, 

There are no photographic records of my Czechoslovakian relatives, brewers who perished under the Nazi’s, in camps and ghettoes – missing images 

Mushroom, beige, magnolia 

Cut advert, cutting room floor, shiny nose, cut hair, terrible ‘boyfriend’ jerk, more money than any other job, least money with the BBC – most recognizable.

Floor, my entanglement with Tom 

Artist: More thoughts on Edgar Martins, Soliloquies book

Some fellow students may recall my angst about spending money on an Edgars Martins book just after Christmas. I had already seen a few books advertised which I knew might be helpful for research but out of financial reach right now – but this particular book seemed so pertinent, I couldn’t let it go. I was lucky enough to get hold of the last copy from Moth House and it has indeed been helpful.

One of my main interests was exploring how Martins uses material from a range of sources in the same project. He does this across his projects but the suicide and death topic reminded me of my own Self & Other A5, so I was keen to see the book, shown as prints in an exhibition and can include video format there and online too. The series contains found, original, archive and text. There are tropes and conventions in his work which I have found myself engaging with over the last couple of years, and that is absolutely what I am interested in too.

The essays have been excellent resources and will undoubtedly be referenced in my CS work. Here I want to point to two sentences that are of particular significance.

From Roger Luckhurst’s essay (118): After discussing various sources for images including ‘found’, ‘puzzling insertions of landscapes’ ‘stereoscopic views, vintage newspaper photographs’ ‘odd theatrical and enigmatic visions’, he writes, ‘These seem to work to derail the over-coherence any series or display or exhibition of book inevitably imposes, fighting to keep the grid of meaning open, defying the dread determinism of forensic files.’

(114) ‘tugging at the links that have been reinforced by dominant theories of photography, since at least Sontag and Barthes.’ (I find the phrase ‘at least’ a bit odd actually – yes these names are the dominant ones, but photography has been around for a nanosecond of time in the grand scale of art – its own sense of grandiosity belies its infancy. However, it echoes the status quo, of course.)

Martins is, like me, looking at ‘the cut’ – how we define things, how we are entrained to catalogue and categorise – and asking us to not make assumptions. He does this here through the doorway of death, suicide, forensics. It didn’t take long when I started looking at his history to find references to quantum philosophy but where I look at the concept of indeterminism (Barad, Rovelli, Bohr) he ‘sacrifices’ cohesion for the notion of countless probabilities (Heisenberg). Whichever, there is an interest in overcoming the fixity of Cartesian thought or Newtonian certainty.

In 2018, ex OCA student (now studying with Oxford Brooks) John Umney sent me a message and he has agreed I can share our interaction here. (29/09/18)

Screenshot 2020-01-19 at 17.37.50

I had been experimenting with blocks of colour, filters, covering up faces as the filters do, the ease with which we can all manipulate images, adding new/modernity/digital tropes to old images, intervening on analogue surfaces with digital animation. I guess my main interest was how easy it was becoming to intervene, to manipulate and to be manipulated. In fact, I started a project which I then abandoned called Manipulated. It seemed too trite a title and I wasn’t that keen on the images I was making but the idea of moving image with still, audio with still, and layering has stuck, modern and old together has stuck. And the filter we place over our faces, the regular circle of profile pics. Below, one of my own examples from that time – curated, found, added to. (Lots of this in 2018/19)


It is hard not to notice the tropes in Martins’ work running through my own. I must be frank, I took a very brief look through the book and stopped, heading instead to the essays. The images were too familiar and similar to what I have been doing with scans and negatives and paper for my current project. I was worried if I kept looking, I’d be frozen with fear of being too similar. I have continued to worry about this – but I know Martins is one of several artists such as Eric Kessels, Alexandra Lethridge, Joe Rudko and Thomas Hauser to name a few who make work in this way, using these non-conventions, sourcing the old and adding to it with the new. Something Catherine said about one of my efforts having the air of forensics worried me as Martins’ work is highly influenced by that – but again, how can mine not be when I have been reading Tagg and Sekula? So I will keep going and hope to goodness my writings and feminine view give it something that is just me. But what I have noted about his work is that it is very clear contained and demarcated  – the indeterminism is held quite securely. I don’t think mine is. We shall see. And I will look at the beautiful book more carefully when I have completed this project. Incidentally, it’s not for resale – I think I will come to love it. But I have some others by popular artists that are if anyone is interested!

On another note re-books, I am going to borrow Hura’s The Coast which I was so keen to look at which pleases me immensely. I think the combination of text and image plus his interest in context and relation will be useful.


BOW: A3 Today’s​ efforts

Dummy booklet – have created a dummy to demonstrate what I’m aiming for tomorrow when I attend a study visit run by my BOW tutor. I will make a little video and upload in the morning when there is some daylight to do it with.

Shadow puppets and Processing Managed to shoot the puppets and put them through one Processing thing I learnt while on the course. I like the fact of making shadow puppets – an original moving image narrative device, far older than photography, but requires light – into still images, then animating the stills. Playing with time, back and forth. I suspect I will make a little very slow stop motion with them at some point – it won’t be very long. But it might be good for one of the texts I wrote. Or all of them? Who knows…

The following is all very rough, as playing. I will obviously need to make sure the dimensions of the sketch match the image in future. Below is a rough screen-recording of the Processing sketch and a screenshot of it at the end plus original image.

Screen Shot 2020-01-17 at 22.50.21.png