First Thoughts

Preliminary Exercise

Re-photograph every photographic image that you encounter on a single day

We’ve had no central heating for the last couple of days and so were reminiscing about the ‘olden’ days when all there was was a coal fire in the living room and hot water bottles to take to bed. We didn’t have a telephone so had to use a public call box or write letters. Efforts had to be made to keep in touch. My dad brought home two newspapers every day and then there was Reveille and Picture Post. TV was BBC1 and ITV and we were regular cinemagoers. I’m talking up until the 1960s here. Change was slow until the internet and email arrived at the end of the 1990s.I completed the exercise yesterday – a day when I didn’t leave the house apart from walking the dogs where I saw an advert stuck to a tree.  No shopping where I might have seen adverts, bought a newspaper/magazine or go to the cinema as I did the night before. Apart from the photographs I see on my shelves everyday, some reproduction prints, and photographic images on book covers everything else was about me being on the internet or (not) watching TV. I did do some reading in-between though – in real books, but they didn’t have any pictures inside them. Here’s a selection.




I’m reminded how much I rely on the internet for information nowadays and that I am flooded by images on a daily basis, as Erik Kessels so imaginatively evoked in his installation of one day on Flickr at the Arles Photography Festival in 2013. I wrote about it here . Looking at the News programme I noticed how everything is fast-paced, switching from one speaker to another and utilising what seemed often to be stock photographs to illustrate an event. I was reminded as well how many times I now click onto Facebook, after resisting for a long time, because a lot of my fellow students now comment there as opposed to the OCA Flickr site. There is a constant stream of images to look at. I may have made a couple of telephone calls but, then, it’s easy to message on Facebook and you don’t need to worry about structuring paragraphs. Everything is fast and easy. Facebook, Yahoo and Google track me and then offer me all kinds of products on the screen to tempt me to look and buy. The internet draws me in to it’s plastic world yet I quickly dissociate from watching TV in the evening unless something really interests me, and turn to books and reading.

I used to buy books and go to the nearest University library to do academic research. I still buy books but the internet is now my library. Looking at my grid I can see how one website led me to another as I did some research on Mishka Henner for example. A fellow student had written in her blog about a talk at the Photographers Gallery, on Appropriation after the Internet, where Henner had expressed his opinion that images are not photographs on the internet – they are something else. I found a 2015 website interview on Elephant Magazine where he was asked the question “So is what you do photography?” One of his three responses was

“I do take photographs – that is, I take other people’s photographs. I take photographs from the network. But they’re not really photographs. They’re mostly data, they’re digital bits. When I think of photographs I think of chemicals on light-sensitive paper, you know. And of course that’s not what I’m working with.”

This linked in very well with my current slow reading of What Photography Is (J. Elkins, 2009). There was a post recently on Disphotic   where Lewis Bush was noting something for the future and his view on the difference between photography and Photography. His view of the former is that this applies “….in the sense of the mechanism and media of photography” whereas the latter, Photography,  is  “… where the image has been thoughtfully constructed, selected or organised by a person to achieve a well defined impact”. Does this then make Henner’s work Photography whilst Google Streetview is photography?  There’s much to think about there as I work through the Module.


11th March 2016




Elkins, J. (2009) What photography is. New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group





First Thoughts

Digital Image and Culture

First Thoughts

So, I’ve opened the box after circling around it for a while, crinkling the lovely red tissue paper and touching the books. My first Level 2 Module so I’m expecting to feel a little more competent now – hopefully.


This Module studies ‘practitioners who exploit the possibilities and potential of digital photography and imaging technologies’ in many different ways. I acquired my first, small, digital camera, a Canon Ixus, in 2003 and I was so pleased that I could see the photographs instantly instead of having to wait for the negatives to be developed. I re-discovered this one from a few days spent in Scarborough. It’s quite small.

_MG_7740.dng edit

Now I have a Canon 6D DSLR which contains so much more technology.  Here they are – photograph taken by iPhone




I feel enthusiastic about the idea of exploring and experimenting more.  I used to enjoy taking photographs before I started this Degree but this enjoyment seems to have become somewhat lost nowadays through the necessity for sustaining academic rigour whilst speaking through imagery. I would like to weigh the scales a little more on the enjoyment side if possible. I’ve recently been involved in a collaborative art swap with five artists, see here. Each of had to provide five words which the others responded to with a piece of art. My five words were Summer’s dying lines Autumn’s cloak. Here are the responses I received

They are all so different, utilising such a variety of techniques and media and it really struck me how much I miss texture. I got round this a little by printing some of my photographs (for them) on titanium lustre paper but it isn’t quite the same somehow. I want to think more about exploring texture in photography, evoking sense of touch.

I’m also interested in looking at archives (particularly my own) and using found images.  I’m slowly acquiring some of the latter including, just recently, two photograph albums containing photographs from the school I went to as a child. I bought these from eBay and when I enquired, the seller said he’d bought them at an antiques fair so had no idea where they originally came from. There’s mystery within them and I want to explore this more deeply. It also made me realise that, although there were plenty of photographs lying around in boxes and envelopes, we never had a family album when I was growing up. I think this is unusual for those days so why could that be? I’ve learned from earlier reading that it’s usually the mother who maintains the family photograph collection for all kinds of reasons (G. Rose, 2010) so what stopped my mother from putting them into an album?

During the Context & Narrative Module I explored my responses to landscape and I want to continue with this. I also asked myself a continuing question as to how much a single image can contain a narrative. In my final Assignment I chose to present a photograph without a caption or much explanatory text so see how much the image itself evoked a response. I want to continue this exploration of image and text.

I’m ready to begin now.

10th March 2016



Rose, G (2010) Doing Family Photography : The Domestic, The Public and The Politics of Sentiment, Farnham, UK, Ashgate Publishing Ltd