FMP Week 32: Presenting and discussing Out-Sight-In at MVV Environment Ltd to visitors on 1st May 2019

My host and I seem to have developed a routine whereby I greet visitors to MVV (aka the incinerator) as they arrive and show them around the exhibition while they have coffee before their official tour of the premises. I will be repeating this on 3rd May and this will also mark the end of the exhibition at this location as I will be taking it down after the visit.

Sarah Newton 2019, Out-Sight-In at MVV Environment Devonport Ltd. 18 February -3 May 2019

An enthusiastic informed group they provided feedback on the thumbnail sheets for each image and in the visitors book. While I was once again asked how I got inside a bottle bank I was also given advice about selling the plastics images by one of the group who happened to be a professional photographer. Framed and in a smart London gallery he could see there might be a market. An interesting discussion followed about my aims and whether I had succeed in making the images too beautiful for viewers to realise what my intentions are. This is a key issue I have been challenged with since using the scanning methodology with the debris.

Sarah Newton 2019, Feedback at MVV Feb-April
Sarah Newton 2019, Feedback at MVV Feb-April









Sarah Newton 2019, Feedback at MVV 1st May 2019

Not labelling the images to encourage viewers to question them coupled with having some of the items present as well as myself to explain the aims of the project has emerged as the way to ensure the narrative is heard and understood. This is clearly an area for me to work on.

Sarah Newton 2019, Image from Out-Sight-In at MVV Environment Devonport Ltd. February – May 2019
Sarah Newton 2019, Image from Out-Sight-In at MVV Environment Devonport Ltd. February – May 2019
Sarah Newton 2019, Image from Out-Sight-In at MVV Environment Devonport Ltd. February – May 2019
Sarah Newton 2019, Image from Out-Sight-In at MVV Environment Devonport Ltd. February – May 2019
Sarah Newton 2019, Image from Out-Sight-In at MVV Environment Devonport Ltd. February – May 2019












I have recently inspired by Hanks and McCurdy’s ‘Dirty Beach’ installations and Katie Paterson’s project work with a grain of sand and representations of time and space to raise awareness of what we are doing to our planet (Paterson 2010; Larsen 2016). Learning more each day about the problems with plastics, the research on what factors drive behaviour change is an area to investigate in relation to the development of my project in the future ((e.g. Hawkins 2005; Pahl, Wyles & Thompson 2017; Pahl & Wyles 2016).


HANKS, Chloe & Lou MCCURDY. ‘Dirty Beach’. Available at: http:// [accessed 24/04/19].

HAWKINS, Gay. 2005. The Ethics of Waste: How we Relate to Rubbish. Lanham, MD: Roman and Littlefield.

LARSEN, Lars Bang. 2016. ‘Astronomy Domine. The Anthroplogical-Cosmological Squeeze in Katie Paterson’s Work’. [essay]. Available at: wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Katie_Paterson_Lars_Bang_Larsen_essay_2016.pdf [accessed 27/04/19].

PATERSON, Katie. 2010. ‘Inside this Desert Lies the Tiniest Grain of Sand’. Available at: [accessed 27/04/19].

PAHL, Sabine, K. J. WYLES. and Richard C. THOMPSON. 2017. ‘Channelling passion for the ocean toward plastic pollution’. Nature Human Behaviour, 1(10), 697-699.

PAHL, Sabine & K. J. WYLES. 2016. ‘The human dimension: how social and behavioural research methods can help address microplastics in the environment’. Analytical Methods, 9, 1404-1411.

FMP Week 29: Photographer for the GB Spring Clean at MVV Environment Devonport Ltd. on 12th April 2019

MVV (aka the incinerator) in Plymouth is surrounded by Blackie Woods and a tidal Creek. My role in photographing the litter picking event on 12th April had originally been planned for February when I set up the Out-Sight-In exhibition in the visitors centre. Thankfully the weather was good, probably better than the earlier date would have been.

Sarah Newton 2019, MVV Environment Devonport Ltd.

The poster encouraging people to take part in this voluntary event included reference to the exhibition. Those taking part were also promised afternoon tea at the visitors centre for their efforts. Over 50 people of all ages attended from the local community and beyond and in three hours 0.25 tonne of litter left behind by others and the tide was collected.

Sarah Newton 2019, Litter
Sarah Newton 2019, Litter
Sarah Newton 2019, Retrieved Litter

I was taking photographs for MVV and not only was I pleased to have been asked but considered this was my thank you to the organisation and host Jane Ford for inviting me to exhibit from February to May. Taking two cameras, one with a 24-120 lens and one with a 55-300 lens as well as my phone I hoped I was covered for all eventualities. All participants signed consent forms to be photographed, with parents signing for young children, on forms organised by MVV. Needless to say I got involved in spotting and picking up litter myself while capturing others doing the same.

Sarah Newton 2019, Campfire at the Story Telling Circle, Blackie Woods

The afternoon was a voyage of discovery with people who were not necessarily known to each other beforehand working in several small groups unified by their common purpose. A variety of additional activities were provided with storytelling and craft making around a camp fire in the woods and back at the visitors centre.  Over tea at the end I was able to talk to a few about my images and to show them the actual beach finds, prompting discussion about the issue and size of the problem.

Sarah Newton 2019, Retrieving litter
Sarah Newton 2019, Retrieving litter





A set of around 90 images were given to MVV who will use them crediting myself. It was a learning opportunity for me with on the spot decision making about capturing the litter and/or the litter picker in action. Hopefully I succeeded in having some of each in the set. I realise that some photographers would have charged for their time or issued a licence to allow use of the images I had produced. However, although I have photographed beach cleans before I saw this as a learning opportunity for myself and with future experience of such events would consider a formal arrangement about using the images.

Sarah Newton and Jane Ford 12 April 2019

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


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.


CHINNERY, Doug. 2019. Available at: [accessed 21/02/19].

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

HUXLEY-PARLOUR ARTISTS. Available at: [accessed 23-08-2018].

KENNY, Paul. Available at: [accessed 23-08-2018].

SEYMOUR, Tom. 2016. Paul Kenny’s Land and Sea. British Journal of Photography. 21 June 2016. Available at: [accessed 23-08-2018].

TRIPLEKITE PUBLISHING. Available at: [accessed 23-08-2018].

WATERSHED. Victoria Forrest. Pervasive Media Studio. Available at: [accessed 21/02/19].

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


ROBERTS, Bill. Autumn 2012. Tate Papers no.18 Production in View: Allan Sekula’s Fish Story and the Thawing of Postmodernism. Available at: [accessed 01/02/19].

UMBRICO, Penelope. Suns from Sunsets from Flickr. Available at: [accessed 30/01/19].