Linen book V2

At the end of the Body of Work course, I rather rushed into creating a book from my linen prints. As it happened, that was fortunate because when the lockdown arrived in March I was just able to collect my book from Bristol Bound before travel restrictions would have made it impossible.

I say that I rushed into it because I more or less just created pages like the ones I had made for Body of Work and had them bound into a book by Bristol Bound. I did spend some time working out how to make the linen pages but I did not give the book as a whole much thought – it was little more than a collection of pages. I concentrated my efforts on the technical aspects of the book – linen printing, page construction and binding. At the time, I was still envisaging an exhibition as the final outcome of this course, so the book was more of a means to an end.

As it has become clear that an exhibition was not going to be possible, I have gone back to the idea of the book, which will now be the main resolution of my body of work. The original book was an important proof of concept – although Bristol Bound make many specialist books, including photography books, they had never made one with linen pages. Now that I know it is possible, I can give some more thought to the design and take into account feedback I received on the work.

One of the main comments I took away from portfolio reviews and then showing the work to people as it progressed into a book was the amount of text. Some people could see the point of the text as a kind of reference – you could skim through the text at first reading and then return to read it in more detail later. Others, notably Martin Parr, thought there was too much text. Martin felt it would be better with just one headline per page.

The text has always been an integral part of the work to me. The challenge I gave myself was to put across the significance of the Irish Border now that there is so little visual evidence of it. I had in mind Sekula’s view that a photograph always requires cultural connections in order to be understood. Sekula writes of a ‘hidden’ or ‘implicit’ text, but for my purposes I need to make the text explicit.

In researching newspaper articles through the history of the border I tried to capture the mixture of politics, tragedy and humour in everyday life on the border. A single headline per photo would just not work for me. So the challenge was to retain enough text to tell the story but t integrate it better with the photographs.

I had the idea of printing the text on translucent overlays, so that the image would be visible through the text – in a literal as well as a metaphorical way. I sourced several different kinds of paper to experiment with printing on them and assessing the degree of transparency and the feel of the pages. I was pleased with the results, so I continued to experiment with editing the text and trying different layouts. Hopefully this will lead to a better version of the book.

Having established that I can use a translucent material for my text overlays, the next stage was to design the pages. As I have shared the work with various people through portfolio reviews, one aspect which I have kept under revision was the amount of text. Resisting some views that that I should have only one piece of text per page, I have nevertheless reduced the amount of text from my original design.

One of my concerns has been the way that the text breaks up the visual flow of the book. Now that I have come up with the idea of translucent overlays, I feel that the text is more integrated – it floats above the images rather than being completely separate.

I now need to consider an additional aspect of the text layout – the image is visible behind it. Rather than stick to a kind of scrapbook aesthetic, which is where I started, I could make the text follow the form of the stream in the image behind the text.

Figure 1 Text overlay from book with image behind

Assignment 3 – tutor feedback

This is the feedback from my tutor on Assignment 3:

I am encouraged by this tutorial and the feedback from my tutor. I was concerned that my original plan for a work placement had been scuppered by the Covid-19 restrictions, but I in the end I managed to come up with a plan which has resulted in much more experience over a longer period. As well as learning new skills, the contacts I am developing should prove useful in the medium to long term.

Work placement – Dewi Lewis interview

Photo: Dewi Lewis

For the second interview in my series for Photo Meet, I interviewed the photo book publisher Dewi Lewis. Was fortunate enough to spend a few days with Dewi last year during a workshop. He was very complimentary about my book 100 Women, 100 Years, which I showed to him as part of a portfolio review.

This meant that I felt able to approach him to ask for an interview and I am pleased to say that he agreed. As with the procedure I established in my previous interview with Tracy Marshall, I interviewed Dewi via Zoom, recording the session and transcribing it later. I sent this text to him for approval and he returned a clarified and expanded version with the benefit of hindsight.

Not having the benefit of any training in journalism, I am approaching these interviews as essentially a conversation. I have a list of prepared questions as a starting point, but I let the conversation develop as we talk. I asked Dewi fro an hour of his time but in the end we talked for two and a half hours.

Although it may seem obvious, one thing I am conscious of is that not everything said in conversation can be included in a published interview. There are also differences in tone between the spoken word and the written word, so in transcribing the interview I try to steer a line between accuracy and adulting to the slight more formal language of a written text. For these reasons I prefer to get the final text approved and adjusted if necessary by the interviewee before publishing. These interviews are a collaboration, not investigative journalism.

The interview can be seen online here:

https://photomeet.org/dewi-lewis-interview

and in PDF form here:

I was pleased to see that Dewi wrote about the experience of the interview on his blog:

https://www.dewilewis.com/blogs/news/looking-back-003-martin-parr-the-last-resort

Assignment 3 submission

Assignment 3
Work Experience

‘Option 1: Submit a 1,500-word account of a work placement with a professional photographer or complementary role within the industry. Briefly summarise your experience and reflect upon how the role or the business that you worked with relates to the visual arts and/or economy more broadly. You should also reflect upon the role’s position within the visual arts.

The purpose of this assignment is to give you the luxury of exploiting your student status and gaining valuable work experience in an area of the photography industry that you would like to be situated within in a professional capacity. Your work experience will be an important step in learning about your industry and where you hope to be positioned within it and will help you to begin making contacts towards your goals
.’

This is my submission for Assignment 3:

Work placement – Photo Meet ‘Body’ feature

My latest work with Photo meet was on the latest feature from the Photo Meet / Northern Narratives open call, entitled ‘The Body’.

My job was to work with Mimi on the selection process and the page layout, request high-res images from the selected photographers, finalise the list of questions for the photographers and contact them for their answers.

Work Placement – Photo Meet contact management

This task was to trawl through all the submissions to the Photo Meet . Northern Narratives Open Call on the Printspace Creative Hub and collate all their email addresses, websites and social media links. Although some photographers had provided details many had not, so I had to obtain the information through a combination of messaging them on the Creative hub and tracking down their websites from their names and project details. I then compiled a spreadsheet with all the information.

One thing I learned from this exercise is never submit work without providing your contact details. Not all curators would be willing to take the time to track you down I’m sure.

The purpose of this exercise was to be able to contact all those who had entered the Open Call, not only to thank them for entering, but to ask them all to participate in one last feature, to be entitled ‘Postcards from Covid’. For this feature, all the entrants to the Open Call will be asked to select one of their own images for inclusion in the feature.

I have now taken over all communication with the Open Call entrants on behalf of Photo Meet.

Assignment 2 – tutor feedback

This is the formative feedback from my tutor following my tutorial on Assignment 1:

The feedback is positive and encouraging. There are two main points to consider:

  1. Going forward, I should be pitching my work as a photographer, not as a student. The artist’s statement I wrote frames my body of work as part of a BA, but at this stage I need to forget about that context and try to promote my work on its own merits.
  2. Although this assignment included a draft publication plan based on production of a book from scratch, I should not ignore the work I have already done on producing a book.

Work placement – interview with Ilias Georgiadis

This morning I interviewed Greek photographer Ilias Georgiadis via Zoom about his series Over.State (Georgiadis, 2019) as part of my work experience with Mimi Mollica and Photo Meet.

I prepared a list of questions and then talked to Ilias for about an hour, recording the conversation with his permission. The questions served as a starting point for our conversation, but I revised and annotated them during our discussion so as to bring out what seemed important ate Ilias about the work, and ensure that the interview included aspects that he wanted to talk about or the opposite. This was my brief from Mimi.

Questions for Ilias Georgiadis -revised

 

After the interview I spent some time going through he recording and creating a concise written record of the interview. I then sen this to Ilias for his approval and he made some minor changes. Then I submitted this to Mimi and he created his layout for the article around the interview.

Interview with Ilias Georgiadis 10 June 2020 reviewed

The interview was published on the Photo Meet website today (Photo Meet, 2020).

References

Georgiadis, I (2019) Over.State Warsaw: Blow Up Press [online] at: http://www.iliasgeorgiadis.com/index.php/works/overstate/
Accessed on 10th June 2019

Photo Meet (2020) Ilias Georgiadis
[online] at:
https://photomeet.org/ilias-georgiadis

 

Work placement – Photo Meet Open Call

Since the Photo Meet event in June was sadly cancelled, and with it my work opportunity,  Photo Meet has launched an Open Call in conjunction with Northern Narratives to offer a platform to artists and image-makers whose work has been interrupted by the lockdown.

Northern Narratives is an arts organisation set up by photographer Ken Grant and curator Tracy Marshall to promote the creation and experience of photography.

Together Photo Meet and Northern Narratives set up this open call in conjunction with Printspace, using their creativehub site. Photographers were asked to upload a selection of their work, together with a short piece of text describing how their work had been affected by the pandemic.

Since I will not be able to work at the cancelled Photo Meet event, I decided there would be no harm in asking Mimi Mollica if there was any was I could help with his work on this open call. Mimi said I could help him prepare for the latest feature, which was on a series of work by Greek photographer Ilias Georgiadis called Over.State.

Mimi shared the work with me via Zoom, and we talked about layouts. During the conversation Mimi asked me how I felt about interviewing Ilias, and I said I would be happy to. I asked Mimi to give me an idea of the questions he would like to ask, and from this I prepared a list of questions for the interview, adding some of my own. Then I ran the list of question past Mimi by email and he made a couple of suggestions for changes.

Tomorrow I will interview Ilias by Zoom.

Assignment 2 – submission

Assignment two
Publication proposal

Following the points listed below, write and send to your tutor a comprehensive proposal showing in detail how you intend to resolve and deliver or disseminate your major project. Refer to the brief for Assignment Five for more detail about what is expected of you for the resolution of your major project.

Your proposal should include:

A timeline for the development of your project, your marketing strategy and the resolution of your work, including installation if appropriate.

A description of the work. Use the work you did for Contextual Studies to help you position your work in its critical and/or commercial context. Briefly explain your motivations and how the project fits within your practice more broadly.

A budget, detailing the costs associated with the resolution of your project and identifying any payment in kind.

A description of how you intend to maximise the presence of your work and engage with your audience, such as your plans for a private view, screening event or artist’s talk.The whole document should not exceed 2,000 words. If you’d like to explore a more experimental approach to the proposal, send any ideas to your tutor.

I confess that I have been prevaricating somewhat over my publication proposal for Assignment 2. Before the lockdown I had expected to submit it in early April and all was going to plan until the country started to shut down in late March. Fortunately I had already done some work on the creation of a hand-made book, so I am able to do some planning for that, but an exhibition during this course now seems out of the question.

I was hoping to get a clearer idea of what the rest of the year holds before submitting my publication plan, but I gradually realised that even the immediate future is so uncertain it is impossible to plan for any kind of physical exhibition of work at the moment. I am not even to submit my physical work to my tutor, let alone for assessment.

So I decided to bite the bullet and make a plan based on the creation of a book, with as much planning as I can reasonably do at the moment, and then update the plan as events unfold through the year.

This is the plan I have submitted to my tutor. There are two documents: a descriptive text document and a Gantt chart. Since they are very likely to change I have given them a revision number.

OCA SYP Publication Proposal rev 1

OCA SYP Publication Proposal timeline rev 1