Monday, 25 September 2017

Post Submission - A continuation of learning.

Since I have submitted my learning log for the course, I have decided to try and keep it a live working log for a while.

I was pleased and surprised to find in a local newspaper a feature on Magnum photographer Raymond Depardon, about his new book Glasgow. The book features a number of street photography images from the Govan, Maryhill, Gorbals and Calton areas of Glasgow,

His images capture the rougher edges of life in these areas of Glasgow which were undergoing a tumultuous change of depopulation due to slum clearances and high unemployment due to the deindustrialisation of the shipyards and surrounding supporting industries.

Depardon cleaverly matches the drab hopelessness of the area with images of children playing happily, a continuation of a community which refuses to go under.

While it has been criticised in some quarters as more"Poverty Porn" I disagree and say that the images capture a Glasgow that I remember, a rougher but friendlier city.


Scotsman Newspaper. 2017. Raymond Depardon photo book captures Glasgow life in 1980. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 25 September 2017].

Magnum Photos. 2017. Magnum Photos. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 25 September 2017]., (ANAÏS BRÉMOND). 2017. The Slums of 1980s Glasgow Through the Lens of a French Photographer. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 25 September 2017].

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Notes for Assessors

I have kept my original assignment submissions as they were when I submitted them to my tutor. I
have prepared versions of these assignments which I feel contain the appropriate changes following
feedback from my tutor.

Assignment 5 has been updated after tutor feedback but no major changes were made to the assignment, just the insertion of a link to a contact sheet and an update in references.

These have been made available on my learning log within the same location as the rest of the assignments and are labelled as "Final" this way it clearly shows the changes and updates made.

Conclusion on the course

This has been quite a journey during this course,

I have found myself with highs and lows and have at times struggled with parts of the course, not in finding my voice butt with having to flex parts of the course to fall within my personal abilities.

Of all the topics covered I am most comfortable withthe self view especially with "Seeing the Unseen".

During the course I was surprised to find that Peter Mansells work resonated so deeply with me and
it helped me to find and express my voice and show that I can be an activist by expressing myself
through my work.

I did find that I struggled at first with the constructed image as it felt the furthest away from my own
position, but as I worked through that part of the course I found myself drawn closer to the subject
and I discovered another way to express my thoughts and emotions.

I have discovered a bit about myself during the course and I was able to draw upon that, this is
something that I want to continue to explore as well as well as continuing to find and express my
own condition and its effect on my life and the life of those around me.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Assignment 3 - Edited for final Submission

This Assignment has been edited following feedback from my Tutor and prepared for final submission.

The main detail of this assignment was to create a diary recording at least 2 weeks of information and then examine the recorded memories, facts and details and then create a set of images which were either based on the diary entries or were influenced by them.

Since I already keep a diary which details my pain levels, the management I am using to cope and information on my sleep patterns I am used to recording my day, and initially I thought that it would just be a small step to add in the extra data.

My diary was all over the place, during the time that I was recording what was happening and how I was feeling, I lost my job, my aged mother's mental health declined and I myself felt that I had hit rock bottom.

As with the previous assignment, I knew that I wanted to continue to examine the issues of my life long illness and its affect on my own personal life. Using this as a basis of an idea I started to do some extra research and at first I wanted to take images and text from my diary and place them together so that the context of the image could then by driven by the narrative of what I was feeling at the time. However I felt that the text was dragging the viewer in the wrong direction and not allowing them to examine the image and draw their own conclusions based on the visual stimulus and a minor amount of narrative to start the process.

The following images are from this first attempt, I was influenced by a set of images from Nancy Borowick whose book "The Family Imprint" was detailed on the Metro Website, M. L. (2017, July 6). Photographer captures the final years of her parents' lives. Retrieved July 17, 2017, from

However my own images could not capture the intimate and personal aspect; when I started to examine the first of the images I could see that the did not gel together and were lacking in the narrative structure.

Sometimes I am hit with the deepest depression; out of nowhere I will suddenly become morose and withdrawn. The tiredness and brain fog does not allow me to express myself clearly and I just stop interacting. I sit and wonder what happened.

Having to time-slice my energy causes my levels of energy to collapse, I cannot handle the loss of energy and I fall down or just lie down and wait for it to pass. I do not sleep, it is more a complete loss of consciousness. I do not dream and I awake not knowing if a minute, an hour or a day has passed.

Standing back a bit from this failure I decided to read up a bit and went through my library looking for influences.

I was heavily influenced by the book the Camera i (See Influences Page) and I decided to follow the idea of a sequence of self portraits.

I went with the process of black and white after reviewing a number of images by the portrait images done by Dora Marr and Robert Mapplethorpe, especially his self portrait from his collection "On the Edge"

Robert Mapplethorpe - Self Portrait

I really wanted to emulate something like this but not copy the idea, so it stuck with me through out the series of images.

Having to deal with the internal pressure and strife I set down and number of notes and ideas, one of which I was keen to use again; which is talking therapy where you as an individual can talk and express yourself freely without judgement or prejudice.

While at a pain counselling session the councillor recommend that if I was struggling and I needed to talk, if no one was available then I was to set up either an imaginary camera or a real one and talk to an illusionary interviewer and express my feelings, thoughts and emotions to the it.

Using this idea I went with the concept.

Very much like the Robert Mapplethorpe image I wanted to reduce the amount of visual information down to a minimum, so |I also went with a dark background, I waited until the sun had passed and drew across dark curtains to simulate the dark background. I also used only one small flash which I configured as an off camera flash and it was either set on a stand to the left of the camera or was set on a table below and not far from the camera lens. Having set up the camera with an interval timer I stood and spoke, after a few minutes I relaxed into the session and allowed the camera to capture the images.

I did this over a number of sessions to try and get a variety of images.

Having captured the images, the first thing I wanted to do was convert them all to black and white as I wanted to focus solely on the expressions on my face, as I thought this way I could best drive away any distractions on the images and take out colours which may have pulled the eye away from where I wanted it to focus.

I also wanted to try out an idea by projecting words onto my face but this idea failed at the first step when the projections did not work to my satisfaction.

Words on Face.

did not work 1

This just did not work, the projections were too tight and when they were pulled back, the overflow of light onto the background drew the eye away from the image totally.

Overall I was much happier with the "talking" therapy images and chose a number which I felt carried the narrative.


I started to speak about the lack of energy I had having to share the energy out amongst the many problems that I was having to handle. I just wanted to stop and have a proper nights sleep rather than the 20 to 50 minutes that I get just now.


I was truly tired of other peoples problems and having to jump to attention and deal with theirs with no emotional return from them. I wanted isolation and just for once to have someone come and help me.

Relaxing into it.

 After a while I felt less self conscious about what I was doing and relaxed into it. I was able to start freely expressing myself in a location where no one but me had to listen and no one could take what I was saying and give or take offence

 Starting to relax

 I started to be happy with being able to turn the feelings into free words, expression flowed freely.

 Lost in anger.

 At this point I was expressing my anger and frustration.


The frustration robbed me of words and I was lost in the moment , lost somewhere between depression and hopelessness 
 From the corner of the room in wandered the one constant around me, Louie the cat. Not only is he by my side most of the day but he is someone that I can speak to without being judged. 
DSC_0015 (2)-cleaned

When I am tired and low, he keeps me company by either being beside me constantly purring or sitting on me watching to ensure that I am warm.


 In the style of Alexander Rodchenko whose Soviet propoganda work I am deeply influenced by and a small tribute to Lemmy Kilminster


I can only go forward as there is nothing to go back to. I have been kicked out of my job, I have lost my main source of income and I may be unable to continue with my studies. I must remain on the path for if I fail I will be lost to the world for I will withdraw into myself and push everyone away. A danger that comes to everyone who is housebound and isolated from the community.

Return to Serenity.

Having spoken my piece I feel lighter and freer, I may have lost a lot just now but I am back to where I was when I was kicked out of college and was unemployed.


It may be three steps backward and one step forward, but I have a purpose; I may have no job, no income, no support and no one to turn to but I have myself and I can be strong again, I can make this work, I can be me again, no some corporate pawn, a drone worker unhappy with my lot. The bridges are burnt and the fire will light my way.


This was quite a difficult and personal project, having to deal with personal issues, using a diary to reflect on my moods and feelings and having to express myself through nothing more than a mime.

After a few false starts I think I managed to get into the assignment and produce a set of images that I am really happy with, they speak to me of my feelings at the time and looking at them again brings those expressions and feelings to mind.


NHS UK. 2016. Benefots of talking therpaies. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 1 August 2017].

Mental Health Foundation. 2017. Talking Therapies. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 1 August 2017].

Anxiety UK. 2017. Guide to Talking Therapies. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 1 August 2017].

Artsy. 2017. Dora Maar. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 1 August 2017].

A World History of Art. 2012. History of Art: Dora Maar. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 1 August 2017].

Tate Gallery. 2014. Robert Mapplethorpe. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 1 August 2017].

Wikipedia. 2017. Robert Mapplethorpe. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 1 August 2017].

Guggenheim. 2017. Robert Mapplethorpe. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 1 August 2017].

Assignment 2 – Re-edited for Final Submission

Having taken into account the feedback for Les, my Tutor, I have re-edited this Assignment for final submission.   
Seeing the unseen. 
For me I wanted to use this assignment as a way of Investigating the Suffering from a debilitating condition which is invisible. 
I decided to note how I was feeling in a diary so that I could reflect on it later and then use these feelings as a basis for the assignment. On review I could see common themes repeating, the themes of pain, tiredness, frustration, anxiety and loss of control.  As I suffer from an invisible disability, to look at me you would not know that it is difficult and extremely painful to sit, stand or walk, even lying down has its own set of pain problems so I started to look at the unseen part of being ill, the tiny indicators that perhaps only I see as part of a day to day existence.  From there I was able to choose the subjects and photograph them and then annotate the images with some notes on my experience and emotions. 


The one place that most people feel they comfortable at the end of the day, it is somewhere that they can hide from the outside, the rigors of their work, it is somewhere that the can rest, restore and recover their energy and strength. For me, it is somewhere to lye and stare at the inside of my eyelids in the darkness. I sit late into the early mornings in a state of painsomnia, where the pain keeps me awake and I cannot find a comfortable position in which to rest. There I struggle with the darker thoughts, the ones that 16% of the people suffering from this condition finally succumb to, and end their lives. 


I have a collection of earplugs, I use them to reduce the number of outside influences on my brain and try to trick it into complete isolation so that I can sleep. At times this is the only way that I can sleep, I refuse to take sleeping tablets as the sleep tablet hangover only makes me feel worse and I end up being sick. Since the "neurological incident" I have the occasional auditory hallucination, usually the door bell, the sound of the front door being knocked or a shout from a familiar voice of someone I know who is just not there. They are also useful at times for when I want to concentrate fully on something, I can push them into my ears and shut off all external influences and/or distractions, it allows me to laser focus on the subject in hand. 

I require medication to function on a day to day basis. My life is now ruled by pills, pills to stop the migraines, pills to reduce the neurological pains, pills to stop me being unhappy, pills to stop the pain, pills to sleep. Counting the days by counting the pills 

Hiding the in the corner, unused when inside, tucked away behind boots and shoes not walked in I use the walls, furniture, the floor for balance and movement. When outside, people walk into me as I cannot move quick enough, invisible outside, unseen inside. 

Soiled clothes. One of the unwanted problems of not being able to move fast enough to get to the toilet. A grown man soils himself, embarrassment, anger and anxiety again. Having to have that conversation again about the changing of clothes, having to see the pain and embarrassment in someone else's face. 

Once of the few views I have, blinds separating the view, just as the pain and anxiety of this condition isolates me from the rest of the world.  
Razor Blade 

As I have stated 16% of all suffers from this condition end their own lives. It is something that every sufferer has to face at some point as their bodies fail and they have to face the embarrassing and degrading act of soiling themselves. The isolation of being housebound and unsupported by the health services leaves the sufferer having to cope alone at times, and this can drive the sufferer into deeper depression and sometimes the initial act of self harm. 
Bitten fingernails. 

The anxiety of sitting in limbo, the not knowing what will happen next, with only the local doctor to protect me from the return to work and the inevitable collapse in a corridor due to overexertion. Constantly facing the not known, the unknown unknowns, raises tensions both within the sufferer and the people closest to them, I end up biting fingernails due to worry and concern as well as in a attempt to block my mouth and stop me from saying things, lashing out in anger and fear to the one person who is closest to me and who is trying their hardest to support and care all without external help or support for themselves. 
This has been quite a hard assignment for me, as I have been reduced to the inside of the house for ideas. With only myself for guidance it has been a exercise in self examination and introspection. Looking at where I am not and my future with trying to live with this condition. I believe that I have been able to take some images and have successfully applied my narrative to these images and that with the narrative the images can be seen in context with my notes and also with the viewers interpretations.