Week 4: Begin at the beginning

Week 4: Begin at the Beginning


Today I want you to rediscover why you love to take photographs.

Review your earliest work an reflect: What do you see in it? Can you find a theme that connects it to the work you make today? What do you like and dislike about the early work? What was it about these photographs that made you want to be a photographer?

Use the space below to share and discuss these photographs with your classmates. Comment on the work of your peers – especially if you are familiar with the kind of work they are doing now. Tell them what you see in their early work and how it connects to what they do now.



Sunday 15 Oct 2017

Here’s one I took of my French exchange penfriend from Paris, Carole, while visiting my grandparents in Derbyshire. I think I must have been around 14 years old. I still recall this image despite not seeing it for years and wonder what she is doing now. I remember being very impressed by her red great coat which she wore stylishly on her shoulders without putting her arms in.

Looking at it more closely for this exercise I can see that I had some natural inclination towards thirds both vertically and horizontally! There is also something about objects in front and in the distance, seeing natural complex patterns in the branches and using them to frame the near and far features all of which I think my current work embodies. Choosing to take Carole in the countryside rather than against the wall of a building or indoors for example is perhaps something I still prefer to do. I think this image captured a ‘”timeless” moment in time when we were enjoying learning about each other’s cultures and languages.

I did not then know I would come to photography in the way I have now. I was keen on art but not very good at drawing and enjoyed being able to capture teenage moments accurately through photography. This has continued throughout my career as a psychologist. So there was not just one eureka moment but a gradual growing strength of interest and intention to maintain my passion, improve my ability and develop my confidence; enough to start sharing and leaning from others.

Having posted this image and my thoughts I was pleased to have received several comments from course colleagues and my tutor either commenting on how it evoked memories for them, was an example of a time before SLR and DSLR and the quality of images that could be produced then or how the composition and interest in nature comes through in my current photography.

I commented on images posted by colleagues both those that were of a similar age to mine and those that were since the early 2000s. It seems that some did not have /could not access any early records for various reasons and others had come to photography later in life or were young so their images did not go as far back as mine!

Week 2 Challenge: Let’s talk business

Week 2 Challenge: Let’s talk business

In this week’s presentations you have learned a little bit about the importance of running your business properly to be successful. For this week’s activity therefore, I want you to think about the following three areas in relation to your own practice:
• A Mission Statement
• The Product
• The Market
You will have thought about these things previously in the course but this is an opportunity to consider them from a more commercial angle.
Write 150 words for each of these points. You will informally present the outcome in this week’s webinar. Feel free to post your thoughts below and discuss amongst the group.

Week 2 Let’s talk business

4 Oct 2017

Business Plan
Prepared for: MA Photography Prepared by: Sarah Newton
4th October 2017
Version: 1

To explore beaches and waterside locations noticing and recording both the beauty of the landscapes and the potential for harm that debris can cause to animals, humans and the environment.
• Images are of three types:
• Landscapes
• Debris
• Landscapes with debris present
◦ The photographic images are presented using and on a range of materials. The materials include various papers, wood, canvas, foam, aluminium, glass, light boxes and billboards.
◦ They are accessible in both physical and digital forms for to the public consumption as free information as well as being available to purchase. 
◦ Market research of similar businesses state their existing customers and interested parties include children and adults, males and females, local, national and world-wide populations and corporations.
◦ This business attracts new audiences and potential customers through information drops (paper and digital), media coverage and illustrated talks in schools, to local organisations in villages, as well as at beach festivals and cleaning events.
◦ Exposure routes include exhibitions, online gallery and blogs. Exhibits are displayed on beaches or in towns (open air mobile display) with appropriate council permissions.
◦ Agreements are in place about copyright and payments with reference to the use of the images by organisations involved with promoting visitor numbers (e.g. Councils, National Trust) and others directly tackling coastal debris (e.g. Surfers against Sewage, Marine Conservation Society).

Week 13:

Week 13: Assessment break challenge
The (Photographer’s) Apprentice

During the assessment break, you are invited to work with another photographer or creative practitioner. This could just be for a day or even half a day, or it might be longer if you are able to arrange this.

You should research photographers whose work you admire, and who you feel like you could learn from, and – if at all possible – lives somewhere near to you. Contact him or her and offer your services. This can be in whatever shape or form you like: you could be asking to assist them, shadow them, help them in the office or with their archive. Whatever seems appropriate, and whatever you feel comfortable with.

Think carefully about each step. Consider who you are writing to and why, and the way you contact them. Document the process from beginning to end.

Depending on your location and circumstances, some will find this a lot more difficult a task to organise than others, and we do not wish for this challenge to be a distraction from getting on your own work. But time will be allocated at the beginning of week 1 of the next semester to share your experiences.

I wondered how I was going to achieve this task as I had several activities including visitors planned for the break. Three opportunities emerged and an additional one is to be considered for the future:

I had already booked onto a product photography day workshop at Plymouth College of Art and Design on 25th August. There were 8 attendees and one tutor. Most attendees in were producers ( e.g. three jewellers and an interior designer) or in retail and wanted to know how to better photograph and present their wares on line. One was a tutor and fashion photographer at the college. I was there to learn more about the photographic techniques in relation to taking images of debris I have been photographing for my project. Ultimately the prop I had taken along (a rusty Jeyes cleaning fluid can with its’ danger poison sign) was used by the tutor for demonstration purposes and then one of the two groups we were split into used it in their depiction of sugared doughnuts and how bad the sugar is for you. In addition no one else had a DSLR camera with them so I set up mine and adjusted settings according to what the second group wanted. We had been asked to show doughnuts as delicious and inviting. So although I was an attendee I was also contributing in a small unplanned and nonarranged way. Photo courtesy of the group and tutor:

One attendee on the workshop worked at the college and agreed to let me assist with a fashion shoot she had planned the following week. Unfortunately this was cancelled as the model was unwell and although promised a rescheduled opportunity did not emerge. I did not pursue this either as I did not want to push the arrangement in case the person had changed their mind about having me alongside. I may contact her again in a more general way without asking directly for her time at some point in the future.

I contacted the Leader of Yealm U3A Photography Project, Sue Brown. Sue is a well known and respected photographer who specialises in fine art landscapes and seascapes. http://www.susanbrownphotography.co.uk . My initial email enquiring about the possibility of time with Sue was not received. Having corrected the email address I sent it again. Sue was very generous and offered me three opportunities: to spend a few hours on office based tasks, to have time accompanying her on an image taking outing to the beach and to assist in mounting an exhibition. I replied asking if to experience all three  would be acceptable and although Sue has known me for a little while, I included the link to the Adobe Spark video I had made for the first module to show where I was coming from and a little about my project. Sue responded with a link to a togcast  in which she was interviewed which informed me about her photographic career www.thetogcast.com .

4th October 2017 10:30am to 13:30pm. I was found myself keen to be on time, to be prepared (boots, coat, cameras, water, notebook, pens etc all packed into car boot) and to make sure I thanked Sue for her time (bottle of wine). My first task was attaching backings to already mounted images and placing them in cellophane wrappers to be displayed for purchase. My second was to hand write luggage labels with the names of framed images and the prices ready to be attached to and hang down from the frames. We then loaded the car and went to the location (Chicken Shed) for the Arts Trail which features 60 artists in 18 workshops, galleries and exhibition halls organised by the South Hams Arts Forum 14th -29th October 2017 http://www.shaf.org.uk/the-arts-trail.html. Sue exhibits as one of a group of 6 local artists who specialise in sculpture, ceramics, paintings, vintage materials and wearable art. I organised the display of Sue’s cards for purchase and assisted with labels on frames and discussed plans for arranging locations for the rest of Sue’s contributions. I enjoyed all the activities, learning some of the tasks I will need to be familiar with as I develop my own photography. I am very grateful for Sue being able to spare time for me. Sue is away for a while now but we have arranged to meet again on 6th December when I will be assisting her with her exhibition organised by  the Devon Guild of Craftsmen at Bovey Tracey 9th December 2017 to 15th January 2018.  http://arenaphotographers.com/news/exhibition-news-susan-brown-at-showcase-gallery/ . Hopefully when weather permits we may be able to fit in an outing to the beach.

I have thought about contacting an artist and photographer I met at an arts fair locally some time ago Nigel Grist  http://www.theunseenview.comI then saw his images displayed in an exhibition space. He   is a member of the Creative Collective and  his interests are natural history and landscapes https://creativecollectivesouthhams.co.uk/nigel-grist/. I think he would be a very useful contact for my project.


Week 1: Looking Back

Anna-Maria Pfab
“This forum activity is an opportunity to discuss project work produced during the break.

In the space below, please use the following structure to tell us where you are with your projects:

Introduce the topic of your project
Introduce the area of concern or your angle
Summarise work made in previous modules
Describe the intentions you had for the break
Share work produced during the break: three – five images is enough
Make sure to look at the work of your peers and comment, help, brainstorm together.”

week 1- My project and work achieved in the break

My project is Beauty and the Beach…

The three dots signify that it is not all that the words in the title may convey as I am photographing debris, including plastics, on beaches and waterside locations. Having monitored in situ and collected some rubbish from various locations in Devon, Cornwall, London and now the Netherlands I am starting to think about how to process, present and display in ways that capture attention.

The visit to Amsterdam and Unseen gave me some ideas as did my subsequent visit to the Dutch seaside where I found a huge set of billboards on a public walkway at the beach all showing data and images of the damage to animals and the environment that debris can cause. Several images promoted taking rubbish off the beach whether just visiting or attending a beach clean event. One of my ideas in my proposal was to do something similar at the entrance to beaches and in city centres in Devon and Cornwall so finding such a display has been helpful.


I have started to experiment with processing but as yet I only seem to make the images interesting and to invite discussion about the back story but with no impactful message to avoid littering in the first place.


In July I attended the 5 day Adobe Photoshop course at Falmouth. I have not spent as much time practicing what I learned over the break as I had hoped. However, I have managed to visit more beaches and waterside locations both taking visitors and on my own. I have also attended two formal Marine Conservation Society/National Trust beach cleans recording and collecting debris. On each visit I have found debris or wildlife or views that I had not “seen” before. I am keeping an open mind as to the final direction and focus of the project as it is offering up so many possibilities.

Landscape: In Amsterdam I presented a landscape image taken on one of the beach cleans, this having been taken because I liked and wondered about the structure in the foreground. I am planning to gain experience as an “apprentice” next week and in December with a local landscape photographer.

Products: I attended a one day workshop on Product Photography on 25th August at Plymouth College of Art and Design with the intention of improving my ability to present my beach finds. Interestingly I was the only “photographer”, others were producers of things wanting to take better images, mainly on phones, for their websites. Hopefully the contacts I made will lead to some collaborative work.

Portraits: I am pleased to report having taken an image of a person (with their permission) facing me. My previous images of people have tended to be at a distance or with people with their backs to me.


Wildlife: I am still drawn to my pre course love of nature and wildlife photography albeit mainly associated with watery locations now. This image was taken on the same Dutch beach just after dog walker passed me. It is a seagull dive bombing a seal for the fish s/he had caught.



Week 1: One image a day holds the photographer at bay!

Week 1 Challenge : Time to Play
Anna-Maria Pfab

Throughout this module we will be asking you to carry out activities from The Photographer’s Playbook. All of these activities are carefully selected and aim to make you think about your practice and where it might be positioned in a professional context.

This week’s activity is from Michael Christopher Brown, an American photographer represented by Magnum Photos. He has gained an international reputation, especially for his documentation of the 2011 Libyan Civil War, which was published in a monograph titled Libyan Sugar, by Twin Palms Publishers in 2016.

“For much of my career, photography was more of a way to make money than a compulsion. I spent a lot of time communicating ideas that were not my own. Two years ago, during the Libyan Revolution, I began taking a more honest path with regards to photography. It had to do with finding a voice. An interesting exercise that anyone can do is to take one photograph per day for a week. The idea is to be focused enough to only photograph what is absolutely necessary. What are the seven pictures that not only define the week, but yourself? What if you were to die next week and these were to be the last seven pictures of your life? This exercise can be an important analysis of the self in relation to life and photography.”


Post your seven pictures in the forum space below and discuss what you have discovered.

I have presented my seven one a day progress in Keynote not having used this format before. Please click on the link below to see my response to this challenge.

One image a day holds the photographer at bay!