From Landscapes to Nurdles Workshop 8-8-2018

Despite the publicity being late for the workshops (due to circumstances beyond my control) I had two enquiries about the second one. I contacted them and one person was available this week. Fortuitously the weather held and although we did not manage the lowest tide due to other commitments, it had just turned when we arrived. I like to catch the tide about an hour before its lowest point as what remains on the sea bed can be quite interesting just as the debris infested sea weed is on the highest point. However the purpose was not to pursue my project work about debris on beaches but rather how to take land and seascapes and ways of capturing small items such as nurdles on the beach. I tailored some of the images in the handout as well as the suggested competitions based on our pre-workshop chat and my knowledge of what the person was interested in; gardening and wildlife.

From Landscapes to Nurdles workshop

Landings to Nurdles handout

I prepared a what to bring and expect information sheet as well as a handout. The former was and the meeting arrangements were confirmed by email. On meeting we parked at the beach carpark and an expectations form was completed. This was used to have a discussion about what they hoped to get out of the session followed by a look at their camera and mobile phone and discussion about the controls. Reference was made to the handout, particularly the contents referring to exposure and composition. I should at this point out that on this occasion the participant is a friend who did genuinely want to advice on improving their image taking and had hardly used the phone to take photographs. They were interested in learning more about my project work as well. So in terms of getting to know someone and establishing  honesty and trust between us before we set off for the beach….it was already present.

With people I have not met before I would be careful to find out more about them beforehand and have a longer introductory session before venturing down to the beach, particularly if working alone with a stranger in what can be a relatively isolated place depending on time of day. Thus thinking about potential risks as well as health and safety events is really important. We both carried water and I took a first aid kit in my bag the contents of which are displayed.

We agreed to cover one beach that is river estuary-side and then a linked second one facing the English channel. In all we spent 2.5 hours on the beaches, walking and talking about ways of photographing scenes and small items at our feet. I had taken a few things to experiment with; an empty photo frame, a crystal ball, tissue, tracing and ordinary paper and kitchen foil. I also took a very small set of three lenses for use with a mobile phone; wide angle, macro and fish eye. These were all enormously helpful and fun to play with as well as  focussing our discussions about the use of light and composition, reflecting the contents of the handout I had made. We also had success with nurdle hunting while being watched with curiosity by all the holiday makers.

Sarah Newton From Landscapes to Nurdles Workshop, 2018

The session concluded with a coffee and cake at the location. I sent my images of them for their approval and this came with a completed feedback sheet and some of the images they had taken during the workshop.

“Did it meet your expectations?

Yes, it did – and more.  Lots of hints for the camera settings, which was very helpful to me.  Very interesting to learn about the rule of thirds – it makes you think much more before just clicking the button!  Also, thinking outside the box – not just “pretty” pictures, but using items that are lying around.

What would you have liked less of?

I think the balance was just right, between theory and practice.

What would you like more of?

Again, I think it was well balanced – I particularly liked exploring the use of different lenses, as well as other objects to make a more interesting photo.  Also, I haven’t used the camera on my phone very much, so this was a useful addition to the morning.”

I had not realised until I prepared the what to expect and handout sheets that I did know a fair bit and could talk to someone else about photography and my chosen project. This was reinforced during the workshop when I found myself spontaneously offering information and advice without reference to the handout. I still do not know enough to be able to answer very technical questions but this activity proved to me that I know enough to make a workshop interesting, informative and fun. I thoroughly enjoyed myself as did my friend who communicated with me directly and on the feedback form.

Landings 2018 Design Team: Part 4

A quieter week with chance to catch up a little on my own course work and assignment preparation. Answering queries from participants and regular communications with Ant and Andrew continued through the week.

2nd August designers meeting from 19:40 to 22:00pm or so!

All three of us met this time and worked principally on the publication and finalising the video but also going through the draft front entrance page to the exhibition. This page appeared as if our design features had not been taken into account (i.e. fonts, colours, placement of items etc). I noted the points to raise with Gary (done on 3rd August) who is the link or ‘go-between’ with the webmaster. Ant had a list of things relating to the publication layout and Andrew was to proof read everything so far and contact a tutor we had hoped would be able to contribute a commentary page to the side:line. Challenges included having to ask for better resolution images as we heard that some were not high enough as thumbnails and others not good enough for the publication. We do want to show work of the best quality knowing the images will be seen far and wide. It is not only Falmouth University and our reputations as designers at stake but most importantly, the reputations of the contributors.

We have some hope that the video and publication can be hosted by Falmouth but we need more details and confirmation about this. Further discussion about what to call the publication (zine, catalogue, book etc) culminated in a tired me flippantly suggesting ‘side:dish’ as it is an accompaniment to the main course, Landings 20128 site. Much to my surprise Ant and Andrew liked it and it seems to have stuck although my addition of a colon rather than a hyphen to match the colon in the Landings products titles does not seem to be sticking. Meetings flow easily with each of us able to air our opinions and reach consensus without issue. They also seem to be getting longer!

HighIights of the week included approval from Rachel Akerman to use one or both of two of her packet ship illustrations in the publication. I feel this is a brilliant coup as she attended Falmouth for her degree, thus there is a double connection with Landings. After further research I found two stamps with images of packet ships, one mentioning Falmouth. Andrew and I checked the correct referencing for the stamps and selected the Falmouth one as the best to meet our needs.

No Camera Workshop : Part 2

No Camera Workshop: Part 1

Due to run on 5th August there were no attendees for a no camera workshop planned to include experience of pinhole camera work, making cyanotypes and scanning to make images. I advertised in the Parish magazine which was delayed at the printers so was only distributed a couple of days prior to the workshop which was also due to take place a day after the local garden and produce show (which many people were very involved with) and many others are on holiday.

Photography events for the Parish Newsletter

However, I have had enquiries for the second one I advertised and hope that can go ahead in the next couple of weeks. Landscapes to Nurdles, ways of photographing while on a walk on the beach, relates directly to my project. I have obtained approval from the owners to take a small group out for this purpose.

Although a little disappointed at first I have used the time allocated to do my workshop myself! This has been invaluable in making sure with the leader hat on everything is organised and with the participant hat on I enjoy the experience. I did not talk out loud to myself but did think through conversations as both workshop leader and participant trying to anticipate what might arise.

Preparations included the advert, a what to expect sheet to give people beforehand and an illustrated technique booklet for people to use during the workshop and to take home. In addition I ordered chemicals and paper for the cyanotypes and a small wooden pinhole camera. I also made a pinhole camera from a wine box and one from a matchbox. The kitchen table was the work bench and the bathroom was darkened with a torch and red gel to make a dark room. Plastic trays were set out with the developer and fixer and water wash ready for the pinhole and cyanotype results.

What to bring and to expect for the workshop on xx August 2018

No Camera Workshop Sarah Newton

I have benefited from this exercise in having ideas about smooth running of the workshop as well as having produced images for my own use as well as demonstration purposes when the workshop runs. I will consider running it during the recess after this module although if any interest is shown in the next few days I may run it before then.

Part 2 gives an account of my experiences.

Week 7: Publication

Week 7 was about making ‘dummy’books

Starting with Shelfies and Pilibraries we took images of our own shelves and piles. I have both. The shelves tend to be associated with my profession and piles with the growing pile of photography publications including mine made Ed Ruscha style. I also showed how a book can be a shelf as one acts like a docking station ’tilt’ for my laptop! I think about this book and its contents everyday, good news for my learning as it is authored by the course director!

Sarah Newton My photography Pilibrary, 2018


Sarah Newton My very useful docking station tilt shelf, 2018


Selecting images relating to our projects was the next more substantial challenge. Going back through mine since the start of the course I initially looked at those I had submitted for Work in Progress assignments. I then went back through to pick up all those not included in the assignments but for which I had a memory and this would be their opportunity to be ‘shown’ too. With nearly 200 I was starting to get lost in the forest!

Sarah Newton Selection of Beauty and the Beach… images, made 2017-2018

Moving them around on screen and draft prints outs on cheap paper they began to work into themes over time then groups or collections that crossed the time boundaries. I started to see a progression in my development with diversifications into sub-projects along the way.

Working under a time pressure as this was a task for the week I moved on to the third stage of putting them into a sequence, explaining how they were to be displayed in a publication and presenting a mock up on film. This part of the task was as frustrating if not more so than the overview and selection of images. I wanted more time to be able to get hold of low environmental impact and recycled materials with which to make a physical copy to film. I have come across photorag paper made from cotton, seaweed paper, rice paper, plant based papers and even paper made from stone. I have also seen notebook covers made from recycled plastic bottles and tyres.

Sarah Newton Original design for a publication, 2018

For the purposes of the task I filmed me turning A4 pages on which draft quality images were printed (to save ink). Uploading did not work so I resorted to still images with a flick over effect using Camtasia.

This felt like a very busy week and I was not satisfied with my outcome. However, the review of images was enlightening and my interest in materials to use in a publication has grown and also been inspired by the creative productions of others on the course. Suggestions received from my course varied from including the range of images since the project began to focussing on recent images which are abstractions of beach debris and one that suggested several books! In addition, webinar discussions led to the offer of editorship by my tutor as I was too close to the subject matter and images to see the ‘intrigue’ and ‘Beauty’ (as in the project title Beauty and the Beach…) others were seeing and feeling about them. A week later her editorship made me realise the value of such a task as it is not always possible to predict how viewers will see and respond to your own images. I will take this lesson and her suggestions forward into my thinking and planning for an actual publication.


Twentysix Gasoline Stations. 1963. Ed Ruscha. Available at: accessed [04-06-2018]

Landings 2018 Design Team: Part 3

Communications between us and with Gary have continued this week with a focus on starting to pass on information to the webmaster at Falmouth. Inevitably there were some requests to be filtered back to participants for resubmissions where specifications for the site were not met at a level of quality that was acceptable and would be acceptable, once operational, to participants themselves. With a provisional going live date for the advance publicity a few days away it is imperative that everyone who expressed an interest at the initial stages find an opportunity to send in their information. It would be a shame to miss out, especially if some have no physical exhibition plans. However, having sent out three sets of polite reminders I find I do not wish to be annoying and put pressure on people. Perhaps I would not be terribly good in this role were there high stakes for missing deadlines for publications.

23rd July 19:30pm designers conference
By prior agreement just Andrew and I met to finalise the wording and formatting for the publication that will accompany the Landings 2018 exhibition page. Ant is busy with InDesign, adding ‘best of’ images and colour coordinating them according to their themes. I had sent both a draft which Andrew had added to and I sent out draft 2 before our meeting. With a little tweaked wording and formatting it was ready and shared with Ant and Gary. We also set out a list of tasks still to be achieved relating to the posters, film and exhibition page with responsibilities between the three of us suggested. I also need to seek permission from an artist whose illustration we would like to use in the introduction.

Following various consultations during the week Andrew and I reached what we think is the final draft of the introduction meeting on Slack on 28th July. The film is also at a final stage unless there are late additions. We have asked if the posters, film and publication can be hosted by Falmouth University and therefore be accessible for others beyond the course.

Apart from collecting and uploading late information, proof reading and corrections, the final major task still to be achieved is completion of the publication.

Guest Lecture 24-07-2018: Laura Nissinen

Timing could not have been more perfect. Having diversified and seemingly reached another level or dimension (as my black images suggest to people) I have been thinking about images for the impending Work in Progress Portfolio. Encouraged by my tutor and colleagues I am veering towards a WIP comprising many images originating from scans. I took my concern as to whether this would be acceptable to my module leader in case this was a path I should not tread being without a camera in sight. This is after all a photography course which implies camera use.

Justification through explanation seems to be the key. Photography is the art of capturing light, a camera is a mechanical means to do this. The effects of light can also be caught using other means including using light sensitive paper as with cyanotypes and pinhole devices and importantly, in relation to my query, a scanner. Once imported into the digital darkroom processing can take place regardless of how the image was captured.

Laura Nissinen is completing a PhD thesis ‘Abstraction in Finnish Art Photography’ and staged an exhibition ‘Aleatory Variable at Galleria Huuto from 27 March -13 April 2014 and curated ‘1917-2017 Abstract! 100 years of Abstract Photography’ at the Finnish Museum of Photography in Helsinki 1st November 2017 to 14th January 2018. This latter exhibition influenced Shape of Light 100 Years of Photography and Abstract Art at the Tate Modern, London, which I visited on 18th May 2018. She is inspired by the works of Jean-Luc Nancy, Laila Pullinen and Lucio Fontana.

Scanning is a feature of Laura’s methodology and has been used to produce results from water damaged negative, burned black and white film and film developed in artist’s urine (paying homage to Andy Warhol and friends urinating on paintings using copper paint). In addition to speaking about her work, Laura spoke about stages in the development of Abstract work referencing key artists, their styles and methods of production.

Informative, insightful, inspirational and affirming of the direction I have been moving in, my question has been answered. Thank you Laura Nissinen.


Fontana, Lucio. Available at: accessed 30-07-2018

Fontana, Lucio. Available at: accessed 30-07-2018

Nancy, Jean-Luc. Available at: accessed 30-07-2018

Laura Nissinen. Photography exhibition Aleatory Variable. Galleria Huuto Jätkäsaari 1. 27 March – 13 April 2014. Available at: accessed 24-07-2018

Nissinen, L, Aleatory Variable, 2014, Exhibition.

Pullinen, Laila. Available at: accessed 30-07-2018

Pullinen, Laila. Available at: accessed 30-07-2018

Warhol, Andy. 1978. Oxidation Painting (in 12 parts). The Warhol. Available at: accessed 30-07-2018

Warhol, Andy. 1978. Oxidation Painting. Saatchi Gallery. Available at: accessed 30-07-2018

Laura Nissinen Aleatory Variable, 2014

Landings 2018 Design Team: Part 2

In preparation for making decisions about colour schemes I googled colour wheels, both complimentary and contrasting, watched the Wes Anderson video and researched his work, and looked at the Tate exhibitions.

Wes Anderson Colour Charts
accessed 05-07-2018 Credit: RICHARD WAREHAM FOTOGRAFIE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY Venn diagram and colour mixing C029/3137 Rights Managed accessed 05-07-2018 phillips-matching-colours-struck-by- heatwave-p03204 accessed 05-07-2018

09th July 20:30pm designers conference
14th July 17:00pm designers conference
In both we looked at early drafts of the poster and the video, discussing colours, fonts, positioning and images. I had collected and collated and shared data on the excel sheet, Andrew having set up a shared one drive for the submitted images. I shared an update of our activities for Gary on Slack.

Early on we agreed to have three alternatives for the posters having used an excellent blue wine rack image of Andrew’s as a basis for the design. Each of the three would be what we considered the best ‘best of’ and most suitable for the poster design from each of the three themes. The three theme posters were finalised with unanimous agreement as to the images to be used.

Continuing over the following week we met several times on Slack and by email, with Gary at times. The focus moved to the background colour and titling and ending text for the video, keeping some familiarity with the poster and exhibition page designs while showing individual’s ‘best of’ images in the best way albeit for a brief moment following the style of……. Ant rightly pointed out that the location and release timing for the video would be important as it was not an alternative to visiting the galleries in the exhibition. We agreed it had to be a complimentary and ‘fun’ reinforcement of the exhibition and might be better issued as advertising rather than as a button on the exhibition page.

With agreement I sent out emails to individuals who had initially expressed interest on two occasions as gentle reminders requesting the designers information as our deadline for completion was imminent. A few were able to respond.

This week felt as though we had a little breathing space for our own work. Gary has sent on some of our information to the webmaster and clarifying the format he would like further information passed over. We have agreed the site will be live adverting the coming of the exhibition from 6th August.


I have been learning about; sharing on One Drive, Slack and Excel; that when a team has complimentary skills deciding who does what flows naturally; that there is a level of excitement that comes with the responsibility of achieving something for others; that taking part in something with others who are also committed to doing as good job and are willing to ‘go over and above’ requirements all sharing the work and all willing to put ourselves under added pressure to achieve the outcomes, is both satisfying and a confidence boost (when such a design task has not been experienced before).

I have also thought about whether our symbiosis means that we have not enough diversity of opinion in the group (I raised this in one of our webinars but no comments were made) and whether I personally have done enough for my part. I have been rather envious in very brief moments that I am not creating (although facilitating the creations) in having taken a more administrative role. I then rationalise that we have had a very limited time scale, we also have our own course work to do and expediency has necessitated getting on with ‘it’ and remembering it is a course activity and not a marked assignment. An additional concern about the role I seem to have taken in keeping Gary informed, making suggestions re themes, colours and wording to get discussions going between us, is that I may have been seen by Ant and Andrew as a bossy headmistress! We did not discuss leadership at the outset. This was not a deliberate omission but probably an assumption that we would all be contributing as equal partners as a collaborative venture in a flattened hierarchy recognising the different qualities and abilities we brought to the design table.

Additionally, as the task has unfolded and we have learned that the template is set for the exhibition page I do not feel we have experienced as much of a designing experience as I would have liked. However, that said having complied with the template and decided colours and background, the creative side of designing has emerged with our making posters, video and a ‘showcase’ zine cum catalogues cum exhibition publication (final title to be decided) to which I have loved contributing.

Landings 2018 Design Team: Part 1

3rd July Exhibition Designers announced and I am one of the three with Ant and Andrew. I am delighted to be working with these two great guys and experienced photographers (in the same cohort who I met at the Amsterdam and Falmouth course events) and really appreciate others’ trust that we will get the job done by voting for us.

For me I expected it would be a journey of discovery, challenges and leaning new things, not having done this before. The journey started straight away with needing to arrange a designers meeting through canvas and organising live webinars to inform all those associated with the MA Photography (staff and students) what our three themes are and what those who want to take part will need to send to us.

4th July meeting with Ant and Andrew to decide themes and the information we required from participants. What a great meeting to start the process. Not only did we complete the planned purpose and agenda but we also added plans for additional activities beyond the initial remit and specification for our roles.

I shared ideas I had had based on studying the five words, sentences and two images people had submitted to express an interest in taking part. These were Identity(ies)=9 Memory(ies)=8 and Transformation/Consequences=7. From these with Andrew’s ‘way with words’ emerged the theme titles.

Expressions of Consequence

Narrating Identity

Elements of Abstraction

Ant had been in touch with Gary and shared the Landings 2017 information which showed the format and potential design specification and limitations set by the webmaster. Ant’s suggestion that we have circles rather than squares for each person/theme was agreed subject to the template allowing this deviation (we later found out this was not possible). Ant also informed us that Gary had set up a Slack sharing platform through the Falmouth system for the four of us to communicate.

We also looked at Wes Anderson’s Color video by Andres Pena  as used in his films ( suggested by Andrew and agreed to research more on colour combinations and ideas for those relating to the themes and background for the exhibition page. Ant directed us to a brief video of an exhibition viewed while a man was on a running machine for a minute which became a source of inspiration for our film.

We also agreed that we would ask participants for the information needed for the template; up to 14 words describing each individual’s work, a thumbnail image, name and url link to their own site where they would show their work for Landings 2018. In addition we were to ask for a ‘best of’ image that would be in each person’s exhibition that we could use to make an accompanying film, showcase in a zine/catalogue and using our designer hats judge one to be the best of the ‘best ofs’ to place on a promotional poster. Ant and Andrew suggested they use InDesign and Camtasia respectively to start work on these activities. Given my lesser competence in these areas (not knowing InDesign although I have used Camtasia) I agreed and offered myself as a port of call for the information to be returned to as I could set up a shared excel sheet for the data collection.

A great start to our working as a team with each of us contributing ideas and shaping those of each other and naturally falling into undertaking activities within our competencies that reflected the different tasks we needed to achieve.

5th July I held the first webinar for those interested in taking part. We had agreed each of us would host one to maximise opportunities for those based in different time zones and with working and family commitments to take part. Due to the proximity to the designers meeting the previous evening I did not have a well prepared presentation but did manage to post up brief notes about the themes and what we required. Unfortunately due to audio difficulties communicating well was hampered. I was also not as familiar with the operation of webinars to know that my logging out and then in again would not stop the webinar altogether. I also forgot to ask people to close down their video and mute their microphones which would have helped, an omission for which I kicked myself afterwards!. …attended.

Andrew created a page of information for participants which included our agreed clarification of the themes and this was made available at the next two webinars. I placed copies on the Surfaces and Strategies and Photography Hub pages where people were signing up to take part. We began with a sub-title in addition to the themes (following the pattern of the previous year) and dropped this following discussion when Gary pointed out it was not essential.