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

The past three weeks since completing the Falmouth University run week long course on using InDesign on 23rd January has been an emotional roller coaster with highs and lows and thankfully highs again. A review of all that has happened is needed to become grounded again.

Part 1: Tutorials 30th January and 12th February: 

  1. I presented the title I have chosen for the project Out-Sight-In with a vertically flipped back-to-front version underneath it tuO-thgiS-nI (the typing corrector flips it back to the right way up!). Approval was gained with a comment about playfulness which to some extent reflects my feelings when working on making and processing my images for the project.
  2. We discussed my continuing to scan and photograph and my limited progress with the selection of images to be included in the FMP and the exhibitions. There is always a solvable problem with too few (shoot more) but my issue was having too many potential candidates.
  3. Obtaining test strips on different papers was encouraged as was including some with a satin finish as I naturally prefer matt for the rubbish and recycling. I was not wanting to give the matter a higher status than it should have and was not sure how the images would be viewed if glossy with the available lighting conditions. Test strips and fabric samples will be discussed in a separate blog.
  4. I was also encouraged to make a 2 minute film talking about the work to be filmed at the exhibition then made available on a monitor at the location. Filming and creating something that could be played back on a loop was a big technical and time challenge and apart from not knowing what sort of monitor to use and the expense I was doubtful that this would be acceptable, at least in the location of the first exhibition. Should I complete other aspects of the exhibitions and FMP then this could be a late addition, although a better idea might be to use a tried and tested formula. I have recorded a Pecha Kucha at the start of this module and could make one available to be shown using the permanent projector used for powerpoint talks at the first exhibition.
  5. I shared my scaled cardboard model of the first exhibition layout with the lit areas or arcs created on the walls by inset ceiling lights. I felt this lighting was important to take into account when displaying the images to best effect and greatest visibility for viewers. I had presented this to my host for the exhibition, discussing my rationale for the layout and sharing some of the images I would be considering using.

    Sarah Newton 2019, Scaled cardboard model for Exhibition 1
  6. We were both critical of my first rough layout for the images set out as paper thumbnails on the model. Helpfully my tutor suggested I access the powerpoint gallery display page and mount images to scale for a better impression. This was easy to do and I could quickly see what images worked together achieving approval for a final layout proposal at the second session.
    Sarah Newton 2019, Model for Exhibition 1

    Sarah Newton 2019, Powerpoint mock-up for Exhibition 1
  7. We had an interesting discussion about the two related but different parts of my exhibition. The single images of recycling containers that could stand alone in contrast with the random beach rubbish and its representation of excessive consumerism. The first lending itself to be displayed as more orderly, the second in a chaotic and unpredictable way. Having played with random sizes and overlapping chaos surprisingly I settled on an ordered display for both parts of the project as visually the shapes and colours slipped into an appealing vision. This initial impact contrasts strongly with the rubbish that is found on closer inspection of the subject matter.
  8. Handouts and zine were also discussed. The former have been made while the latter is reliant on my awakening of knowledge and skills  acquired in the course on InDesign (I hope my notes are still understandable!).
  9. Following up discussed references to Penelope Umbrico’s Suns from Sunsets on Flickr and Alan Sekula’s Fish Story in a playful moment I made a composite image in the style of the former.
    Penelope Umbrico 2006, Suns from Sunsets from Flickr (partial)

    Sarah Newton 2019, Recycling Circles
  10. Reassurance was offered and accepted when I informed the tutor that my second exhibition had been cancelled due to a more lucrative long term customer for the container. I understood the business decision but was disappointed as I felt this was to be an exhibition where I could be more creative in the surfaces my images were printed on and how they were to be displayed. I had already sourced theatrical uplighting to use and tried this out in the location. I emailed the host to express disappointment and understanding and offered to shift my dates if this would be helpful. Two days later was told I had been prioritised but the dates were now from 27th March to 3rd April,  a week later than originally planned. I immediately accepted and agreed to the fee for the week’s hire.

Reflection: Having two tutorials close together was needed and timely at this stage for me. It has been an intense period knowing that all work needs to be ready for submission by the end of April this year. Clearing thoughts and activities that did not directly relate to finishing the taking, making and selection of images has been a priority that has paid off in terms of narrowing and clarifying what I will show at exhibitions, what looks promising for a zine and what should be in the final FMP portfolio. It feels as though I have been in a tunnel and can now see glimmers of light as I emerge.

Sarah Newton 2019, Out-Sight-In at MVV Environment Devonport Ltd. 18th February to 30th April

References

ROBERTS, Bill. Autumn 2012. Tate Papers no.18 Production in View: Allan Sekula’s Fish Story and the Thawing of Postmodernism. Available at: https://www.tate.org.uk/research/publications/tate-papers/18/production-in-view-allan-sekulas-fish-story-and-the-thawing-of-postmodernism [accessed 01/02/19].

UMBRICO, Penelope. Suns from Sunsets from Flickr. Available at: http://penelopeumbrico.net/index.php/project/suns/ [accessed 30/01/19].

 

 

Attending to Andy Hughes

Andy Hughes has been recommended to me many times as people have got to know about my Beauty and the Beach… project as he has and still does create works with beach debris. He is also a leading light in Surfers against Sewage and happens to live in Cornwall, my neighbouring county. Looking for his material on line I was impressed by his website layout and the images therein. I found a second hand Dominant Wave Theory, a rather large tome produced with David Carson and illustrated with Andy Hughes images of beach debris. I understand from Instagram that he sent a copy to David Attenborough and has today posted that he received a lovely letter in thanks.

I was disappointed to have found out about Andy Hughes recent London exhibition too late to attend. I have however emailed him to introduce myself as we may meet at an event for the MA Photography course  early next year. He was kind enough to reply and say that he did not require and assistant at this time (I had enquired about gaining experience with him).

I appear to be going over old ground in the sense that I have taken images and then find that others have taken similar ones a long time before mine. Andy Hughes is another example. I wonder which I should do first, instinctively take my images then read up about other photographers or visa versa. The latter way would be to sub consciously veer toward plagiarism perhaps. On the other hand armed with knowledge about composition, light and other details of settings used by the more experienced photographer I have a greater chance of taking a better shot and the potential to take a similar object or scene with a new twist as to how it was taken and/or how it was processed.

Since viewing the images in Dominant Wave Theory and on the galleries on Andy Hughes website I have begun to get down low when taking some debris as he seems to have done. This has the effect of making a very small object large in a vast landscape and it is also interesting to see the landscape providing the context from afar rather than being a focus which happens to have a piece of debris in it. One example is of a red lighter on a beach which is lit up by natural light and possibly additional lighting to enhance its colour and form.

An image that immediately stood out for me was that of Radion 1991 taken by Andy Hughes. I took an image of a Jeyes cleaning fluid can on the beach and then in grass earlier this summer just after starting the course. His image is clear and carefully set as an orange plastic container against a dark brown background. Mine is photographed as found with not enough thought given to where my focus was when taking it. It was also tin not plastic apart from the top and to my mind very old as I have not seen a can like this since I was a child. I wonder what the back story is to its arrival on this specific beach?

I took my image again on grass having risked taking it home (it still has fluid in it). I think my second image works better, although not on the beach. It makes me challenge my self-rule to date to photograph debris in situ without disturbing it (i.e. to view it in its abandoned stage where I first spotted it) rather than setting it up to showcase the item itself.

I have noted that Andy Hughes is posting examples of new works. Some images appear to have been drawn or painted on and do have the effect of drawing me in wanting to know more about the processes he is using. Maybe I will be lucky enough to meet and ask him soon.

Sources:

http://www.andyhughes.net/site/homepage/ [accessed 2-12-2017]

Carson, David and Hughes, Andy. 2006. Dominant Wave Theory. London: Booth-Clibborn Editions.

 

Jeyes Fluid as found Sarah Newton 2017

 

 

 

 

Jeyes Fluid in grass Sarah Newton 2017