FMP Weeks 18-23: Test strips on paper and fabric

From early January I began to contact several companies about the paper and fabric products they offer and obtained test strips of my prints on a selected few. The selection task is complicated by the price differences for final printing with some offering student discount and others none.

The sample packs were helpful in being able to see the products close up rather than on screen, feel the surfaces and consider their compatibility with the subject matter of my images and the surfaces for hanging them.

Sarah Newton 2019, sample papers from The Print Space
Sarah Newton 2019, sample papers from Instantprint

 

Sarah Newton 2019, sample fabrics from Contrado

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The images for the first exhibition at MVV Environment Devonport Ltd were relatively easy to resolve as I decided to match the corporate images already in the venue rather than introducing a style that was not compatible with the industrial surroundings or durable given the high footfall of visitors. Thus they were printed on paper and mounted on pvc board by the printer they use at an advantageous corporate rate.

However the choices for the second exhibition at The Clay Factory invited many more options being a location for artists, small businesses and community activities. While presenting images in the best way possible with quality being a priority, practical constraints can place limitations on the type of printing (inkjet versus light), surfaces (gigclee versus C-type), mounting (foamex/board/wood/aluminium) and framed or unframed. Fixings also come into play with velcro being the best option for the first exhibition on plastered walls and magnets and nails for the second being part on metal wall and partly on a slatted wood wall.

Sarah Newton 2019, Hahnemuhle Photorag, Hahnemuhle Fine Art Pearl & a satin paper test print

Paper: Having scrutinised the sample packs and websites and visited the print shop at Falmouth University to look at samples and discuss prices, my choices for test strips were made. These came from four sources (PhotoLab at Falmouth, Blackfriars in Plymouth, Digital Colour Services in Somerset, The Print Space in London). C-type Matt still had a sheen and felt flimsy. Hahnemuhle Pearl was much more effective (in my mind), better still was Hahnemuhle Photorag with its textured surface and for the beach debris in particular, the Gigclee Hahnemuhle German Etching was the winner. But, and there had to be a downside, the surface is easily damaged and the cost for each of these options was beyond my current budget for the sizes I wanted some of the images printed at. The information will still be used should the images be required for future exhibitions including the MA Photography graduate exhibition 20th June to 2nd July at The Print Space.

Sarah Newton 2019, Gigclee Hahnemuhle Pearl, C-Type Matt, Gigclee Hahnemuhle German Etching
Sarah Newton 2019, Gigclee Hahnemuhle German Etching x 2, Hahnemuhle Photorag

I went on to order small images in poster and mounted poster formats to check the quality of the printing and colours with Photobox. While this organisation may not be considered a competitor in the upper echelons of printing fine art, my feet have stayed firmly on the ground in considering the industrial setting, practical issues with weight and hanging, the time scale for production and costs given that this is a second capital outlay for the project and completion of the MA. Pleased with the results for the posters which are light and should stay put with magnets, I am less happy with a couple of mounted posters and have removed them from the selection for the slatted wooden wall. This firm has also supplied several sets of 7.5×7.5 cms magnetised images which I intend to display initially in grid arrangements but will be inviting visitors to rearrange them to their liking.

Sarah Newton 2019, Gaia Eco Woven, Polar Fleece & Cotton Satin

Fabrics: I shortlisted natural fabrics from the extensive range of products by Contrado. Of the three samples, each on different fabrics, one was too flimsy and silky (Cotton Satin 172gsm), one had a fleecy felt feel and the image looked awful (Polar Fleece 285gsm) and the third was super (Gaia Eco Woven 100% recycled 280gsm). The textural qualities of the image matched the texture produced in the weave of the fabric. Having immediately rejected the first two, the downside of the third came with thinking about hanging by magnets and the possibility of the weight of the fabric causing some gravitational sagging in between the magnets thus spoiling the image.

Posters and flyers: Most recently I have obtained samples for printing flyers and posters. Having tried Instantprint before and being pleased with the A3 posters and the price I have ordered from them again for my second exhibition. While I had some troubled thoughts about use of paper and ink resources (the choice for posters was limited) for the posters I partly resolved my dilemma by having the flyers double sided and on recycled paper. Thus my bio and project explanation are on the back and they can therefore double up as handouts at the exhibition as well as being used for pre-exhibition publicity. The costs will still be less than using my paper, inks and time printing them at home.

What have I learned? Well if I were to advise another person about having their photographic images printed by someone else I would suggest the following:

  1. Get sample packs early, they are usually free although you may need to pay postage. Holding, feeling and seeing the surfaces close up is a world away from looking at a screen and trying to make potentially costly decisions.
  2. Consider the context in which you are displaying the images including the compatibility with other art works as well as the walls and surfaces of the premises.
  3. Take account of the surfaces available for presenting your images in relation to the planned size and weight of the printed product including any mounts and frames, in order to determine the fixings you will need. Adjustments to printing and mounting plans may be needed should there be limitations on the fixings you can use as specified by the venue.
  4. Do invest in test strips. It is a relatively small outlay compared with having made a costly printing decision and found the printed surface does not wok for the image or location for various reasons. There is plenty of advice offered by printing companies online and by telephone on how to prepares your images for test strips.
  5. Print your images and obtain fixings in plenty of time for the exhibition!

 

FMP Week 24: Presenting Out-Sight-In on 10th March at Falmouth Flexible Symposium 2019: The Living Image

Accepting the invitation to present your work is easy. Then the reality hits. Thankfully I was given parameters in which to work; 10minutes Pecha Kucha style. Further clarification confirmed that slides should not be auto timed. Having researched Pecha Kucha for the presentation last October (a film of 20 slides for 20 seconds each with a recorded commentary for assignment purposes: https://sarahnewtonphotoblog.com/2018/10/03/fmp-week-1-pecha-kucha/) I was aware this time was different. Speaking live without reading meant rehearsal with memory retention prompted by the images I had created on the slides accompanied by 4 small cards with quotations I was to use to ensure what I said was accurate.

Deciding on the story I wanted to convey was interesting. The intention of this section of the symposium was for students in the process of completing or who had completed their Final Major Project to talk about their work. The audience in the room were prospective and current students and tutors and unknown others attending the symposium or in some way linked with the university. A remote audience were also able to view the proceedings via the university’s in house system and one presenter Alexandra presented in this way; an experience in its own right presenting without being able to see the audience. In addition, the presentations were live streamed on Instagram. For me this meant family and friends were also able to watch as well as a potentially huge unknown audience.

I could have presented my final project images speaking about the found locations and their identification and subsequent digital processing. I could have spoken about the issues of beach debris and waste management including the horrific statistics relating to marine wildlife and the limitations of our disparate recycling systems. I could have focussed on one area, the beach debris or the recycling and gone into depth about the ways of conveying messages and what we know from public health and other campaigns as to what works and what does not, anaesthetising rather than changing behaviours (Williams, 2009). I could have presented my reflections on the place of my images as visual and contemporary ‘art’ with reference to my choices in selection of equipment, lighting, perspectives for shots, manipulations in the digital darkroom of colour, orientation etc. So many options for fulfilling this remit, each of which has merit and would have been possible and permissible.

Megan Ringrose 2019, Sarah Newton presenting Out-Sight-In at Falmouth Flexible International Symposium 2019: The Living Image

What emerged touched upon many of my initial thoughts. It became a summary of the development of the project since starting the course with personal reflections about my qualities and characteristics and how these are evident in the ways I have approached and completed the work. I was conscious of the need to engage the mixed audiences and so it became a mutli-faceted presentation that not only served a function for me in summarising my work at a significant stage before assignments are handed in but also had appeal for people embarking on the same journey as well as having content that evidenced my research and learning for the tutors who have nurtured my development.

Andrew Barrow 2019, Sarah Newton, Yasmin Crawford, Matus Duda, Daniel Simon, Ant Prothero & Wendy McMurdo, plenary discussion at Falmouth Flexible International Symposium 2019: The Living Image

I have received some great feedback and one student who has just started the course and intends to pursue an ecological/environmental project but is still at the thinking/planning stage, was particularly interested in what I had done. What I do not know is what was thought of the content and quality of my presentation; how I might have chosen a different direction as mentioned earlier or how I might have focussed more on the work and left out contextualising references. My tutor did give one piece of advice when I asked for feedback in the subsequent tutorial; let slides of my images stay on the screen longer. This I have duly noted for future presentations. Family also fed back (perhaps easier to be a little more critical than colleagues?) that I waved my hands around while talking and that I said “higgledy-piggledy” (reduplicative rhyming words) much to their amusement and concern that it might not be familiar to those whose first language was not english. Miriam Webster definition seems to fit with my project about rubbish:

“higgledy-piggledy adverb

hig·​gle·​dy-pig·​gle·​dy | \ ˌhi-gəl-dē-ˈpi-gəl-dē  \

Definition of higgledy-piggledy

in a confused, disordered, or random manner

tiny hovels piled higgledy-piggledy against each other

— Edward Behr”

Thank you to colleagues who screen shot images of me presenting (e.g. https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100027122110829). I have edited a film of the slides and my speaking (as I repeatedly said ‘ummm’ and to shorten the recording as I ran over the 10 minutes) and present it here. By the way this is my first attempt at learning and using Adobe’s Premier Pro. Constructive feedback on the project and the presentation itself is welcome and will be noted for future developments and presentations!

MERRIAM-WEBSTER. Dictionary. Available at: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/higgledy-piggledy [accessed 20-03-2019].

WILIAMS, Matt. April 24 2009. Close-up: Does shock advertising still work? Campaign. Available at: https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/close-up-does-shock-advertising-work/900778. [accessed 17-03-2018].

 

 

FMP Weeks 19-21: From cardboard models to the first exhibition Part 2: Selecting images

Part 2: Selecting images

With the advent of the new year I realised I had become rather enthusiastic (some may say verging on obsessed) with containers for recycling, different times of day and lighting conditions and various pieces of equipment to photograph them with. A ‘hunter-gatherer’ approach hoping that significant edible results would jump out at me once uploaded. Despite experimentation with a 14mm lens which did curve the outcomes, a speed light and assistant to dispose of rubbish while I photographed, I preferred the results with the 24-120 lens for its versatility and the use of strong natural light. Capturing the disposal proved somewhat ad hoc requiring manual focussing as auto missed many of the ‘moments’.

Sarah Newton 2019, Almost capturing a moment

In contrast I felt I had not done enough scanning of beach finds, neglecting those from late 2018 and early 2019 when several beach walks were achieved with relatively mild weather. With the arrival of the Epson flatbed came the opportunity to adjust the size of the area scanned and importantly to specify the desired  resolution in dpi dots per inch (as distinct from the ppi pixels per inch) as well as other settings. Playtime beckoned. I feel I have only just begun to explore what can be achieved and am still keen to gain experienced advice (see earlier post on Paul Kenny who runs workshops with Doug Chinnery).

Sarah Newton 2019, Scanning beach finds; note essential coffee, torch and hoover to suck up escaping sand and other matter

Accompanied by the advice from the marking of a previous course submission ringing in my ears I set out to ‘ditch my darlings’! Initially taken aback and feeling as if my favourite sweets were being taken away I now see and accept that I have favourites and these are not necessarily those appreciated by others or ones that can sit alongside others with ease and add value to a whole project in a collection to be exhibited or published.

Determined not to miss any images out of the initial selection I reviewed all those taken since the start of the course. It could have been a lengthy process but the initial trawl was made easy because I was looking for images that had potential to be part of my overall theme of other worldliness (with working titles of Event Horizons for DSLR images and Dark Matter for scanned images). All chosen to shortlist from were taken/made in the previous 6 months. Then came a quality filter which narrowed the field significantly and yes, a few darlings were thrown out. Floors and a large noticeboard were platforms for thumbnails and printed copies to be reduced still further. Living with and rearranging complimentary groupings multiple times can be tortuous but as I found out can also stimulate thoughts and ideas about other aspects of the project.

Sarah Newton 2019, Initial trawl of images for FMP activities
Sarah Newton 2019, Sifting and filtering the ‘best of’ similar images

Seeing the arrangements raised many questions not least of which was what was I selecting for; the course submission, exhibitions, a publication…as all could require different choices? As soon as I had confirmation of two exhibitions I was envisioning how the image groupings might look in situ. Visiting and revisiting and measuring the locations and thinking about the potential audiences began to solidify what could work and narrowed the selection further. A tutorial and discussions with peers about numbers of images and whether the same ones had to be exhibited as in the final FMP portfolio submission helped. Additionally the selection process also inspired further thinking about the overall title for the project, a journey that has had its favourites with my ideas and great suggestions from peers Libby and Andrew over the past few months.

Sarah Newton 2019, ‘Anchoring’ image and 4 complimentary groups for Exhibition 1
Sarah Newton 2019, Out-Sight-In at MVV Environment Devonport Ltd. 18th February to 30th April

Out-Sight-In

Now I have a pool of 25-30 from which I am happy to draw for different purposes. With advice from my tutor and Victoria Forrest last week to stop taking and making (she reviewed the layout for the first exhibition of 16 images and discussed potential publication) now is the time to bring the project to its closing stages for the FMP of the MA. However I feel as if I am only just starting and have much more to discover about what I can achieve with rubbish.

References

CHINNERY, Doug. 2019. Available at: http://www.dougchinnery.com/ [accessed 21/02/19].

FORREST, Victoria. 2019. Available at: https://designbyvictoria.com/ [accessed 21/02/19].

HUXLEY-PARLOUR ARTISTS. Available at: https://huxleyparlour.com/artists/paul-kenny/ [accessed 23-08-2018].

KENNY, Paul. Available at: http://www.paul-kenny.co.uk/ [accessed 23-08-2018].

SEYMOUR, Tom. 2016. Paul Kenny’s Land and Sea. British Journal of Photography. 21 June 2016. Available at: http://www.bjp-online.com/2016/06/paul-kennys-land-and-sea/ [accessed 23-08-2018].

TRIPLEKITE PUBLISHING. Available at: http://www.triplekite.co.uk [accessed 23-08-2018].

WATERSHED. Victoria Forrest. Pervasive Media Studio. Available at: https://www.watershed.co.uk/studio/residents/victoria-forrest [accessed 21/02/19].

FMP Week 19: Royal Photographic Society South West Visual Art Group Members Day 13-01-2019

Following developments in my project work during Surfaces and Strategies module last summer I reviewed my membership of the Royal Photographic Society’s groups and joined both the Analogue and Visual Art groups. My intention is to broaden my knowledge of these areas and gain information to further my development. I have attended a couple of events run by the South West branch of the Visual Art group as a non-member before with guest speakers. Not having attended a ‘members’ day I decided to go along and find out more hoping to not only see the work of others but also possibly make contacts with photographers whose experience may have benefits for me.

In preparation I contacted Linda Wevill FRPS who organises the group to enquire about the day and what was expected of members who might want to present and to explain that I could only stay for the first part of the day. Encouraged by her response but somewhat daunted by the ‘usual’ presentation style of 50×40 mount size to be able to show images on the display structure available, I ventured along with a selection non compliant sized images from my final major project work. I was not necessarily intending to present but had a small portfolio along just in case. 

Offered the first presentation slot on arrival flattery turned immediately to realisation and a burst of anxiety as I had no experience of the expectations of organisers and audience for presentations. Politely declining and then accepting third proved to be the right way to go. Being able to witness two speakers and their distinctly different approaches to visual art not only gave me information about practicalities such as timing and how an assistant supported them by displaying the images once the presenters had shown and described them (each image was individually presented on a baize surface brightly lit from above and below), but also gave me some confidence about presenting images of beach rubbish and recycling facilities.

With no written or rehearsed script (not my usual style) I ascended the stage with a hastily conceived plan in mind. While introducing myself and the project I presented a mounted image of a disbanded rowing boat on a beach to set the scene. Cameraless images of individual pieces of debris found on the beach came next with the DSLR images of recycling facilities following. The images were laid one by one on a long table in contrast to the stand used to display the mounted offering of others.

Describing the images and how I made and processed them came easily and with a level of humour as I encouraged audience participation by welcoming suggestions as to what they depicted. Once identified questions flowed which I was pleased to find I could answer about the methods used including reassuring concerned questioners about my health and safety measures when shooting. It ended very quickly and just within the allotted 10 minutes. I had felt a little anxiety to start with being in front of an audience of about 50 photographers and guests of whom I had only met two before. Their reception was welcoming and put me at ease while presenting. During the break the audience were able to look at the work of all the people who had just presented. While I looked at others work I noted significant interest in mine and received a number of enquiries and positive comments over coffee.

I have two regrets both of which can be rectified before a ‘next time’. Firstly my portfolio was too hastily selected and prepared, falling short of the professional standards of others. Secondly, in the heat of the moment I did not think to ask if anyone could record my presentation on my phone to provide material from which I could learn and improve my presentation skills and also present in my course work. On realising this my colleague kindly took a couple of photographs during the break when I was discussing some of the images.

Sarah Newton 2019, talking about my work at the RPS South West Visual Art Members Day 13-01-2019

I was pleased I had plucked up courage with a ‘nothing ventured nothing gained’ attitude. It certainly paid off with this experience giving me confidence that not only do the images provoke intrigue and encourage investigation and discourse but also reinforce the awareness of the impact of debris and in particular plastics, on land and in marine environments. However, while spontaneous presentations come naturally to some speakers I will be mindful of preparing thoroughly for future events where I am sure I will be presenting.

RPS South West Visual Art Group. Available at: http://rps.org/special-interest-groups/visual-art/about/south-west-visual-art-group [accessed 02/02/19].

Weeks 11-12 FMP: I think I am getting GAS (gear acquisition syndrome)

Continuing with Event Horizons, the recycling centres part of my Final Major Project, I have now acquired a transmitter and receiver and a new lens. Experimentation is still the main word of the day while I try to finalise my methodology and achieve greater consistency in terms of quality. I must now keep in mind an overview of how each composition may fit into the jig-saw that is to be the ‘set’ of project images. However, the overview is only just starting to emerge and I realise that there will be many adjustments/tweaks to the conceptual arrangement before finalising a publication and an exhibition.

Using the speed light flash unit with a receiver has advantages and disadvantages. It does what it says on the tin and can successfully light up a dark place. It is enabling me to see places that have hitherto been only partially lit by the camera’s internal flash and torch light. With little processing colours emerge that have not featured strongly in my previous images. One or two appear to be gaining attention (likes and comments) on instagram.

What I have not yet mastered are the correct settings with three modes and several levels of intensity. I am tending to favour the lower (i.e. less powerful) end of the illumination. Directing the flash beam is another area to pin down in relation to the desired end result.  Pointing the speed light  through the same aperture as the camera is restrictive. Unfortunately using the flash is getting rid of the interesting effects of natural and street and car lights coming in through the apertures and bouncing onto the inner walls of the containers. 

Some technical details are eluding me with this equipment. It does take a time to be ready with the receiver attached and does not always want to flash into the areas I am interested in. Having checked and double checked the connections on the speed light and the camera and that the batteries are all working, I am a little mystified and will have to research further and then rehearse using the equipment at home before venturing out on a wasted journey.

Health and safety wise I am very aware of the need to be vigilant and not use my camera or flash when the containers are being used by members of the public. I can envisage shocking and traumatising someone who is depositing waste. They will not be expecting a sudden flash and light damage (temporary and possibly more permanent) to their eyes.

I will be engaging the support of an assistant to point the beam of the flashlight from an aperture on an alternative side to that of the camera, ensuring it is not pointed directly at me and that no one else is using the facility at that time. That way I may be able to reconstruct some of the effects I achieved with natural light before. With the duller days of winter now here, strong beams of sunlight are few and far between. 

Despite not being very pleased at losing the effect of natural light entering the container I am liking the tunnel effects through light exiting and the colours I am able to achieve with minimal post-processing.

Sarah Newton 2018, Event Horizons series with flash
Sarah Newton 2018, Event Horizons series with flash

 

Weeks 5-6: Visit to the Martin Parr Foundation

Finding Martin Parr Foundation was a little like finding Nemo. Once I had spotted a small sign attached to a lamppost saying Paintworks I knew it must be close. Turning into the vast complex of buildings adorned by huge coloured Paintworks signs I felt this was a special location to have set up an exhibition space, library and archive.

This was a day out for Falmouth Flexible MA Photography students arranged and lead by the head of the course and a tutor. About 10 of us attended from all cohorts including those who had just begun to one recent graduate. Louis our host was generous with his time and was extremely knowledgeable about the photographers whose work is now in the archive and library as well as the development of the Foundation and the work of Martin Parr himself.

Paul Trevor 2018, In Your Face

The current exhibition ‘In Your Face’ by Paul Trevor 26-09-18 to 22-12-18 stems from work he completed 1977 to 1992 in the City of London and Brick Lane. Notable for the close proximity of the camera and photographer to the subjects, the work was considered radical at the time it was made and is now highly regarded within the genre of British documentary photography. I understood how the proximity brought the viewer up close and made a very a personal connection with the subject. I appreciated the quality of the images and how they had been printed. However this style is not one I would wish to engage in as it felt a little intrusive (and there will no doubt have been people who refused this ‘up close’ approach) and was largely devoid of context which would facilitate an understanding of time and place. Mind you the clothes and hairstyles that could be seen were pretty indicative of their periods. We heard how the images were intended to be attempted with a fixed distance from subject to camera of 12 inches (if I recall the measurement correctly).

Being permitted into the storage archive felt like an honour and privilege. Entering a cool room (literally a cold storage facility) full of wooden crates, metal chests, archival boxes and framed and packaged items which looked as though they were off on tour or had recently returned, was an eye opener. Not only that but a small room at the end which was even cooler housed box upon box of original film negatives. We quickly learned that Martin Parr is a prolific photographer of all sorts of subject matter taking up opportunities to use his cameras as experiences unfold before him (as evidenced by the variety in the publications he has for sale in the shop). Louis showed us work donated to the archive and stored in these chilly conditions to preserve them. Chris Killip and Graham Smith being two examples.

Robin Maddock, Dummy and published God Forgotten Face and III
Robin Maddock, Dummy and published God Forgotten Face and III

While a large section of Martin Parr’s archival material is in the Tate in London, there was still much to see in the library. This houses a wall on photography in Britain and two others. All contain work of photographers that has either been bought by the foundation or donated by the authors, with glass doors on one section denoting irreplaceable or very expensive items. It was within this sacred place I found a little dummy book no bigger than my hand about Plymouth, made by Robin Maddock. Louis immediately produced the final book ‘God Forgotten Face’ (published in 2011) for me to compare the dummy with and ‘III’ his 3rd book shot in three US cities and published in 2014.. This showed me that no matter how small and ‘roughly’ the DIY dummies may be done they can be very important in visualising the layout for the published product. In addition, thinking about my project I found some appeal in his images of individual items such as a pair of shoes and a sheet of paper.

Masafumi Sanai 1998, Wakaranai
Hiroshi Yoda 1994, Obsession
Hiroshi Yoda 1986, Tea For Two

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also made two further discoveries, names I had not come across before. Masafumi Sanai and his publication in 1998 ‘Wakaranai’ (I don’t know) and Hiroshi Yoda’s 1994 book ‘Obsession’ and 1986 book ‘Tea for Two’. Both attracted me with their use of colour either of the subject or as a complimentary background. Hiroshi Yoda also presented images of deterioration which resonates with my beach debris project and showed me that colour can enhance as effectively, if not more so in some instances, as a background setting for the focus of the image thereby broadening my thoughts for experimentation beyond black or white.

Oh and how did I forget to mention being permitted to visit the studio and of course browsing the wares in the the shop!

Now I know how to find the Martin Parr Foundation I will certainly visit again and be much more focussed in accessing the archive and using the library for my project work. Thank you for setting up this marvellous facility Martin.

MADDOCK, Robin. Available at: https://www.robinmaddock.com/gff [accessed 01/11/18].

MADDOCK, Robin. 2011. God Forgotten Face [online]. Available on: https://vimeo.com/91401789 [accessed 01/11/18].

MARTIN PARR FOUNDATION. Available at: https://www.martinparrfoundation.org/ [accessed 01/11/18].

SANAI, Masafumi. 1998. Wakaranai. Available at: https://www.photobookstore.co.uk/photobook-wakaranai.html [accessed 01/11/18].

YODA, Hiroshi. Available at: https://www.hiroshiyoda.com/ [accessed 01/11/18].

FMP Week 2: Hestercombe and Helen Sear

A day out with Falmouth and Plymouth MA students and tutors hosted by Tim Martin, Art Director and Curator at Hestercombe House and Gardens near Taunton was delightful. The occasion was an exhibition by Helen Sear ‘Prospect Refuge Hazard 2’, and an afternoon seminar ‘Disrupted Views’ with presentations by Helen Sear, Laurent Chatel, Professor of British Art, Culture and Visual Studies at Lille University who specialises in 18th century English landscape gardens and Gareth Evans, writer, editor, film and event producer . Additional bonuses included catching up with course colleagues the day before the event and having an optional portfolio review in the morning chaired by Jesse Alexander.

 

Sarah Newton 2018, Symmetry in Places 1
Sarah Newton 2018, Symmetry in Places 2
Sarah Newton 2018, Symmetry in Places 3

Who could not fail to be impressed by Helen Sear’s work. Such a variety of subject matter, focussed on the natural world and in particular her work with the forestry commission presented on film, with moving projection, as murals and in framed images. Learning how she made the mural adorning the beautiful staircase walls leading up to the first floor gallery made their viewing all the more interesting.

Helen Sear 2018, Staircase at Hestercombe House
Helen Sear 2018, Moving floor projection at Hestercombe House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Hestercombe House and Gardens. Available at: https://www.hestercombe.com/gallery/. [accessed 05-10-18].

CHATEL, Laurent. Available at: https://pro.univ-lille.fr/laurent-chatel/. [accessed 05-10-18].

EVANS, Gareth. Available at: https://spotlight.picturehouses.com/author/gareth-evans/. [accessed 05-10-18].

Hestercombe House and Gardens. Available at: https://www.hestercombe.com/gallery/. [accessed 05-10-18].

SEAR, Helen. Available at: http://www.helensear.com/works. [accessed 05-10-18].

FMP Week 1: Pecha Kucha

In preparation for submitting a proposal for my Final Major Project we were encouraged to make and submit for discussion in a tutorial a Pecha Kucha presentation (20 slides each shown for 20 seconds accompanied by an informal narration about plans for the FMP).
I set out to complete this in powerpoint and was expecting to run it alongside a live narration. I then realised a recorded voice over was probably expected and part way through loading images found I did not have a recording facility on the version I accessed via Falmouth. I later read that such a facility is not available on Apple systems as an integral part of powerpoint (perhaps others know better than I how to achieve this). So here it is, ultimately recorded on Camtasia, informal in style of presentation and hopefully short enough to avoid death-by-powerpoint.

 

I found the process very helpful despite the initial technical issues. Coupled with the previous module’s feedback and having to get straight to the point in 6minutes 40seconds I feel more prepared for writing the proposal. The final element of insightful wisdom to add before completing this task was the tutorial on 2nd October. I thought I had focussed my thinking and plans considerably and have now been encouraged to narrow my intentions even further so as not to be over ambitious in attempting to achieve more than maybe possible given timescales and the course requirements, thereby risking non-achievement of some intentions, or even (my interpretation), poor quality through being thinly spread over various activities. My understanding, having reflected on the tutor’s advice, is that by drilling down on my methodology and the items I am working with and aiming for one specific format for a public display (at least at this stage) quality will reign over the quantity and diversity of options I was thinking about in the Pecha Kucha.

FMP Week 1: Salient Points of Feedback from the Surfaces and Strategies module

  • ‘Killing my darlings’, a phrase used in relation to the Surfaces and Strategies WIP Portfolio and relative strengths of the images. I can only guess which were preferred by assessors and therefore seen as stronger. I assume they include scans where the subject matter needs interrogation to understand the narrative, thereby excluding my seascape and documentation of immediately recognisable debris images. Interestingly, the latter may be more saleable to a wider market at affordable prices, as activity during and post my exhibition has shown, while the former may have greater appeal to arts aficionados and communities who are prepared to pay more for more ‘obscure’ pieces.
  • ‘Imprinted artefacts’, again used in relation to my WIP portfolio, which I have been referring to as products that can be bought suggests another way of thinking about how my images can be presented. For example, rather than planning to work on items of use around the home such as mugs, bags and coasters, use surfaces and materials that do not necessarily have functional daily purposes. These could perhaps be seen as more closely akin to sculptures which can be looked at on a pedestal, floor, hung from a rope etc, but not ‘used’. At Unseen in Amsterdam in 2017 I saw wooden ‘rocks’ covered in prints rendering them 3D. I have been researching different surfaces as well as scanners including 3D options excited by the thought that I could print in 3D and what would the items turn out like. However, such technology is well beyond my means in the context of completing my assignments…unless there is an organisation with the facilities and willing to take the risk to let a student experiment…
  • ‘Physical outcomes as installation views’. Having created what I called an installation with items made using my images and incorporating some of the debris I had collected as well as a few props I had at home I would like to do this again. I enjoyed the process of coming up with ideas, mapping out a plan, running a rehearsal at home and then installing the piece in situ in the gallery. Already I have ideas bubbling and emerging, but am anxious about costs. I can envisage several that could go on tour. For example, surfboards, windbreaks and towels on beaches each beside a bin for a specific type of debris depicted in my images (eg. one for tin, one for glass, one for paper, one for material, a large one for plastics, a large one for fishing lines and nets etc.). I would be happy for my images to be displayed in this way and to be invited by a sponsor to coordinate a series of travelling events if someone or a corporation would like to step forward… 
  • ‘Images are ‘skins’’. What I did not show in my WIP portfolio were the images and other physical outcomes being made. That is, the manufacture of the photo products. The processes were easy for me as I engaged various companies to ‘make’ them for me. I see  that I will have to focus on ‘making’ things myself and possibly going to see how these companies apply my images to various surfaces. If I am to go down the road of creating ‘artefacts’ I will need to be doing and photographing the ‘making’ as there may not be a company in such a specific line of business (ie working with the surfaces I have chosen) to call upon. 
  • ‘Be more ruthless’. Differentiate the work I do from that of others. Put aside modesty and publicly proclaim the added value my work has. Features of my personality and natural tendencies to put others first and see others as more competent in some areas seems to be being challenged. These directions link in with a particularly interesting suggestion to write a short piece incorporating how my past profession has influenced my current approaches to taking and making with my photography to help with my focussing for the FMP. A kind of looking back to the past to reflect on the present and project into the future. Mmmmm food for thought…

In summary; have a narrower focus on what I take, continue to explore what I create with the images, examine how my images differ from those of others in more detail and depth highlighting the ways in which mine excel and have confidence in what it is about me and my past that is influencing the direction and impact of the imagery I am producing.

Sarah Newton 26th September 2018, Three ways of seeing Stoke Beach

FMP Week 1: It’s started

Well here I am at the end of week 1 of the Final Major Project. Double the size in terms of duration of time in comparison to the previous 4 modules, it feels more than double the challenge already. Despite not having weekly tasks that lead up to assignment completion there is plenty to do. I am venturing forth with a mixture of anticipatory anxiety as to whether I can achieve the dizzy heights required for assignments and excitement that I can focus on creation, publication and reflection about my own work.

During the break from my total immersion in Surfaces and Strategies I think I had what some might call a ‘photographers block’. I reached a point where I wondered if I had done as much as I could on my project Beauty and the Beach… and found it hard to visualise ascending to producing images that could meet the exacting expectations of the FMP criteria. In addition to not being confident about my images, I started to doubt if my plan to continue to use scanning and produce a photo-book together with another exhibition were the right way to go forward.

I am pleased to say that I feel I am now getting back on track. Feedback from the Surfaces and Strategies module assignments has helped along with having to produce a Pecha Kucha presentation (20 slides each shown for 20 seconds accompanied by an informal narration about plans for the FMP).