Niki South Student number: 514516

This feedback was firstly by google hangout and then followed with a brief Tutor report.

TUTOR REPORT: Tutor Report Form Niki South 514516 ass 2

GOOGLE HANGOUT NOTES: Tutor verbal google hangout feedback Ass 2



  • My research.
  • My engagement with photography on many levels.


  • Consider different formats as a way of informing the reader about and image.
  • Crop from images to focus on the strongest part.
  • Consider using either portrait or landscape within one series.
  • Shoot images that are more ambiguous, oblique, subtle and less cluttered for the reader.
  • Develop my sketch book use alongside my mind maps.


  • Make full use of various formats where appropriate to enhance my image or message.
  • Crop more brutally if effective.
  • When composing think more subtly and shoot and present images that are more ambiguous.
  • Continue to develop my sketches for shoots, perhaps I should present some on my blog?
  • Re-subscribe to the British Journal of Photography.

My Tutor said not to change the images for submission but to take the suggestions forward into my next assignment.

 Link to learning log:

These mind maps summarise the narrative of my brainstorming. preparations and post shooting thoughts contained in the learning log


mindmap brainstorm better.jpg



Disappointment preparation 3.jpg


Post shooting:

mind map better postshooting 1500








My initial brainstorm did probably lead me down conventional channels, which I struggled to engage with. I then toyed with the idea of using a white shirt as a prop and developed a narrative for that. About the same time I reviewed the feedback for Expressing Your Vision and it seems that the area I need to develop is showing my creativity. So I went back to the drawing board.


It had been a difficult few months for my family for a variety of reasons and the sudden decline of my father made a sad end to the year. So I decided to use the assignment to express my current feelings and the disappointments of the previous few months which were weighing heavily on me. Hence the subject: Disappointment. With a personal focus to the assignment I suddenly found it easier to move forwards.

I did a lot of research over the development of this assignment and much less photography than normal, but this suited me as I was in a heavily reflective mode. I researched some photographers who were photographing the unseen, see: This gave me some starting points:

  • Photograph subjects not for what they are but for what they might suggest.
  • Creating an image that causes a response in the viewer.
  • Eliminating everything unwanted in a frame.
  • Build narrative meaning by recontextualising.

I also visited the Feminist Avant Garde photographers of the 1970s exhibition: This exposed me to the variety of ways that ideas could be shared with a viewer and inspired me to research further conceptual photographer’s focusing on expression and interpretation, ( The learning points that I took away  are:

  • The art of creation before holding the camera.
  • The use of everyday objects to represent an idea.
  • The power of combining text and visual messages.
  • Photographing as a response to a metaphor.
  • The photograph as a record of my engagement with art.

I decided to represent in my series of images subjects that had caused disappointment around me recently, (exam results, job resignation, death in the family, a home with fractious siblings), all causing me heartache. I then decided on a final image that would encompass all of these disappointments.  I wanted also to link the images and decided that water would feature metaphorically if not physically in all of them. I could immediately ascribe water metaphors to most of my subjects “flushed away”, “washed up”, “hung out to dry” “Floating off” “frozen heart”, where I couldn’t “Cracking up” I did use water physically (the nest was in a muddy puddle). Water is important to me in this work as it is symbolic of weakness and negativity, as well cleansing and the unconscious. I realised as I planned each image that documents/paperwork featured in several of them and decided to carry this across the series, therefore adding paper shreds to the nest and newspaper to the frozen heart image.



Shooting this assignment was a completely different experience for me. I spent the majority of time reflecting and composing each idea and as they were all staged was able to test locations, compositions and exposure before shooting. I used a tripod (which is rare for me) and a new speed lite. My main challenges once the image was composed was the lighting and controlling the exposure. I decided in advance to present in black and white, though I prefer to work in colour I thought that monochrome would be more effective in presenting the subject of disappointment, and looked for composition which would lend themselves to black and white images.



Editing was easier than usual as I had evaluated in most cases as I shot, and before I moved from one subject to the next I reviewed my images. This caused me to make changes as I shot later subjects and I referred frequently to my own learning points from my research. Where I needed to make choices between similar shots I used technical criteria. These are two images that I toyed with using but settled on others eventually. lr-1809-1500-reject

Image 11: I thought the quality and composition was better in image 8

lr-2544-cp-ps-2-1500 Image 50: Although I was keen to focus on the fractured eggs in order to give a context to viewers I decided to use an image that showed the nest (Image 42).

Having settled on my images I ordered them by interspersing the more organic subjects of the nest and the family tree on the wet sand from, the toilet and sink images. I followed these causal subjects with the “frozen heart” and finished with the “Hung out to dry” image,as a  summary and commentary on all the previous images.


Once I had chosen to follow a personal path with this assignment it evolved fairly organically. I learnt from my research and hope that it is a metaphorical visceral interpretation combining aesthetic images with self-exploration. I was certainly cathartic for me. What I can’t be certain about is how viewers will react to it, and I guess this is all part of conceptual art, not being in control. The images are a visual representation of disappointments in my recent life, but the question is, will viewers make any sense of the images or see the aesthetics in them?


In my quest to broaden my knowledge of Photography as art and to find a platform for my growing ideas for assignment 2 “The Unseen” I have begun to research conceptual photography.

Photography as Contemporary Art evolved for the sole purpose of taking a photograph “so the act of artistic creation begins long before the camera is held in position” (Cotton 2014). The image is the work of art. Its roots were in the conceptual art of the 1960s and 70s; photography like the art where craftsmanship was less important and it could simply depict things, the act in the image being the artistic importance.

Conceptual art stresses ideas and some artists drew attention their ideas by placing a statement about the art which invites a response from viewers; rather like Sophie Calle’s “Take care of yourself” (2007) which I have previously written about in this blog ( 

Some conceptual artists use photography to represent an idea or emotion. Jeanne Dunning (b 1960) created a series of photographs where organic mass is abstracted to the point that the human subject is lost. Apparently the blob “embodies the embarrassment and vulnerability of human physicality”.


(Museum of contemporary photography 2017)

Marcel Duchamp 1887-1968

Has been called the father of conceptual art, spearheading the American Dada movement with Picabia and Man Ray challenging what Art is, “You cannot define electricity the same can be said of art. It is a kind of inner current in a human being, or something which needs no definition” (Duchamp 2017). He promoted everyday objects to art, such as the fountain, and “fashions puns out of everyday expressions which he conveyed through visual means. The linguistic dimension of his work in particular paved the way for conceptual art” (Duchamp 2017).


(Tate 1922)

Fresh Widow (1920) below is a model of a traditional French window. The title, inscribed at the base along with the words “COPYRIGHT ROSE SELAVY 1920,” is apparently a pun in the aftermath of World War I, which turned many a lusty young spouse into a widow. To signal mourning, the window panes are covered in black polished leather, which fully blocks out the view, thus disturbing the notion of painting as a window onto the world.


(Marcel 1935)

John Baldessari (b 1931)

I am interested in artists who combine text and images. Baldessari another pioneer of conceptual art, has an experimental approach to art “I try to give equal weight to words and image, at least when they are of equal importance to me” (Travel and Arts 2015). “Images and texts behave in similar ways – both using codes to convey their messages” ( Baldessari, no date). He is particularly interested in how text and visual messages combine, enjoying misleading, confusing, surprising and amusing his viewers to provoke their participation.


Prima Facie: Intent/Concerned 2005 (Travel and Arts 2011)

His colour card series below expresses his examination of colour and image.

bad2    bad-3

Prima Facie 2005 (Travel and Arts 2011) Travel and arts (2011)

Stamberg hits the nail on the head in his article entitled “For John Baldessari, Conceptual Art Means Serious Mischief”, he says “a Baldessari makes you smile, then go … “Huh?” In his sunny studio, the artist says he’s trying to slow us down, to look in new ways” (Stamberg, 2013).

Andy Goldsworthy (b 1956)

In my foray into conceptual art I discovered that Land Art was part of the wider conceptual art movement, where “the photograph is the record, and the final product of an engagement or intervention with the rural” (Wells, 2009). Land art is art that is made directly in the landscape, sculpting the land itself into earthworks or making structures in the landscape using natural materials such as rocks or twigs. The work of Andy Goldsworthy became well known not because of his landscape work, where he uses natural materials to create an artwork, but through his photographs, which are integral to his art.

Goldsworthy photographs his work before it collapses, melts, gets washed away, or otherwise disintegrates. He says that photographing is not a casual act, the documentation does not interrupt the making, “Each work grows, stays, decays – integral parts of a cycle which the photograph shows at its height, marking the moment when the work is most alive” (Goldsworthy 1969). The photographs are not the reason but the result of his art, the “left overs” of his creative process.

There is a beauty and balance in his works and they cause you to look with fresh eyes at our environment.

(Goldsworthy, 1969)

Keith Arnatt (1930-2008) is an example of an artist who moved across the boundaries between art and photography; trained in drawing and painting, he began by exploring landscape and sculpture but in the 1970s turned to photography to manifest his conceptual ideas, he wrote, “…whatever else art is and whatever else it becomes, it is some tangible manifestation of ideas – surely that is the bottom line.” (Cited in Written and Sritharan, 2015)

He then developed a fascination with impermanence as well as the landscape and combined these ideas into other often humorous projects such as “The absence of the artist” (1968) and Portrait of the Artist as a Shadow of his Former Self (1969).

Written and Sritharan, B. (2015)

I particularly like the way that Keith Arnatt portrays digging himself into a hole in “Self-burial” (1969) as a response to the metaphor.


Written and Sritharan, B. (2015)

The learning points that I may take from this into my next assignment are:

  •  The art of creation beginning before I hold the camera.
  • The use of everyday objects to represent an idea.
  • The power of combining text and visual messages.
  • The use of humour and “tongue in cheek” photography.
  • The photograph as a record of my engagement with art.
  • Photographing as a response to a metaphor.


Andy Goldsworthy – melt (1969) Available at: (Accessed: 4 February 2017).

Andy Goldsworthy digital catalogue: Photography (no date) Available at: (Accessed: 4 February 2017).

Baldessari, J. (no date) John Baldessari biography, art, and analysis of works. Available at: (Accessed: 4 February 2017).

Cotton, C. (2014) The photograph as contemporary art. 3rd edn. London, United Kingdom: Thames & Hudson.

Duchamp, M. (2017) Marcel Duchamp biography, art, and analysis of works. Available at: (Accessed: 3 February 2017).

Liz, W. (2009) Photography: A critical introduction. Edited by Liz Wells. 4th edn. New York, NY: Routledge.

Marcel, S. (1935) MARCEL DUCHAMP’S WORK. Available at: (Accessed: 3 February 2017).

Museum of contemporary photography (2017) Available at: (Accessed: 16 January 2017).

Stamberg, S. (2013) For John Baldessari, conceptual Art Means serious mischief. Available at: (Accessed: 4 February 2017).

Please note: Any images by other photographers used on this post are accredited and are being used for personal research and educational purposes only.


Feminist Avante-Garde of the 1970s (The Photographers Gallery)

There are over 200 works of art by 48 artists, from 20 countries on display over 2 floors. This was my first visit to the photographers gallery and I liked it’s intimacy but spaciousness. The exhibition is a mixture of works by famous photographers such as Cindy Sherman, Francesca Woodman and Martha Rosler as well as one less familiar ones.

The exhibition addresses the female form, ownership, domesticity, sexuality, violence and female identity and is arranged in four themes: The seductive body, Domestic agenda, In my skin and Alter ego. Along with conventional photography there are exhibits of video art, photo montage and sculpture.  The exhibition is intended to reflect ‘a moment during which practices of emancipation, gender equality and civil rights protest movements became part of public discourse” (Written and Brookman, 2016). It explores the art of women “whose taboo-breaking, norm-questioning works changed the art canon forever, and opened up new ways for understanding gender, representation and sexual politics” (De Pressigny, 2016). These artists addressed political issues and challenged sexism in society and art.

Works attacking the domestic agenda were interesting and thought provoking. I was intrigued by the “semantics of the kitchen” Martha Rosler (1975) where a woman at a butchers block methodically names implements in alphabetical order, starting with a deadpan  expression “but as she demonstrates the use of each appliance her actions become increasing aggressive, suggesting murderous intent”( Güner, 2016).


(Martha Rosler, nd)

Birgit Jürgenssen’s self-portrait in a housewife’s apron, with a bored expression “redefines  the phrase ‘bun in the oven’ (Time, 2016).


(No date, 1)

Renate Eisenegger Hochhaus’s image is another attack on the domestic agenda and an interesting representation of this.


Renate Eisenegger Hochhaus (Nr.1), 1974 © Renate Eisenegger / SAMMLUNG VERBUND, Vienna (Written and Brookman 2016)

Martha Wilsons “A portfolio of models”(1974)  is descriptive but more straightforward presentation of the various roles of a woman in the 70s, where she depicts models in 6 frames as a goddess, a housewife, a working girl, a lesbian, an earth mother and a professional in their stereotypes.

There are also many humorous depictions such as Penny Slingers work “wedding invitation” (Art is just a piece of cake)

(Slinger 1973, No Date 3)

An emphasis of the 70s feminist avant-garde was the female body, this decade was a time for the conceptual eradication of all that the female body had come to symbolise over thousands of years of patriarchy. I was attracted to the playful work of Katalin Landik (1978) using 6 images where a face behind a glass sheet is represented as distorted views as the subjects face presses against it.


(Ltd, 2015)

This work is contrasted by Ana Mendieta’s “Untitled “ glass on body imprints face (1972 ), a similar project where her face is pressed against a glass screen but presents much  more distorted appearances; the colour in these for me gave a more violent mood to the images. It’s performance, the poses, and documentation is unsettling, “to describe the work as disquieting is an understatement” (The Photographer’s gallery, 2016).


(No date, 2)

I was also struck with the “Destruction of an illusion” Karin Mack (1977) where a black and white facial image is gradually over the five frames reduced to a fragment and has pins placed in it.


(Ewa Partum, Change, 1974)

Annegret Soltau’s (1975) self-portrait in 15 frames with black thread increasingly wound around her head and shoulders is an effective way to portray a woman as distorted, My most important aim is to include bodily processes in my work and to use myself as a model – because I can go the furthest with myself,”  (Pangburn and Dazed, 2015). I found this to be rather like Renate Eiseneggar’s (1972) “isolation” in 8 frames where a head with Cotton wool and plaster tape is wrapped around them increasingly until they obscure the face.

On a slightly less disturbing level for me was Francesca Woodman’s work explores the formal and psychological potential of the body to create poetry, such as her portrait “self- deceit”.


(Francesca Woodman Self-deceit #1, Rome, Italy, 1978/1979)

 Learning points

The artists displayed were pioneers challenging depictions and ideas of women in the 1970, hence the exhibition title “Avante garde”. However to be honest as a photographer I was struck not so much by the feminist issues raised and confronted but by the variety of the ways that this was represented. This was a good lead in for me to conceptual photography where ideas are stressed rather than the subject being photographed, or through it, and where the focus is drawn to expression and interpretation. It has given me inspiration for photographing “The unseen” for assignment 2. I will reflect on the many alternative and creative ways that ideas can be represented, such representation, distortions and alternative depictions of reality, as well as using metaphors and text to underline messages.

 The exhibition will also be useful to reflect on when I am preparing for assignment 3 photographing the self.


De Pressigny, C. (2016) 70s avant garde feminist art show coming to London’s photographer’s gallery | read. Available at: (Accessed: 18 January 2017).

Ewa Partum, Change, 1974 © Ewa Partum Courtesy of Galerie M+R Fricke, Berlin / Bildrecht, Vienna, 2015 / SAMMLUNG VERBUND, Vienna (Written and Brookman 2016).

Francesca Woodman Self-deceit #1, Rome, Italy, 1978/1979 © Courtesy George and Betty Woodman, New York / SAMMLUNG VERBUND, Wien (From Written and Brookman 2016).

Güner, F. (2016) Feminist art of the 1970s: Knives, nudity and terrified men. Available at: (Accessed: 18 January 2017).

Ltd, A. (2015) Paul Carey Kent’s Curated London Art Exhibition picks November 2015. Available at: (Accessed: 18 January 2017).

Martha Rosler: Semiotics of the kitchen (no date) Available at: (Accessed: 18 January 2017).

Rosenbach, U. (no date) Penny slinger wedding invitation. Available at: (Accessed: 18 January 2017).

Pangburn, D. and Dazed (2015) The dA-zed guide to 70s feminist avant-garde art. Available at: (Accessed: 1 February 2017).

The Photographers gallery (2016) loose associations, vol 2 issue iv, Autumn 2016. London.

Time (2016) Feminist avant-garde of the 1970s. Available at: (Accessed: 18 January 2017).

Written and Brookman, J. (2016) Images of the feminist avant-garde in the 1970s shine a light on an artistic movement too long overlooked. Available at: (Accessed: 18 January 2017).

(No Date 1) Available at: (Accessed: 18 January 2017).

(No Date 2) Available at: (Accessed: 18 January 2017).

(No Date 3) Available at: (Accessed: 1 February 2017).

Please note: Any images by other photographers used on this post are accredited and are being used for personal research and educational purposes only.


I am inspired by the OCA photographers in exercise 3 to photograph something unseen that is personal to me, but where else could I look for inspiration? I began to research photographers and looked for those that went beyond photography as a visible art and “began to push the boundaries of perception beyond the merely “seeable” (Mulligan, 2005).

There are photographers who challenge the viewer to read beyond the surface of the object to reveal more than the subject itself.

Minor white (1908-1976)

He was an artist, critic and the editor of Aperture magazine and promoted photography’s expressive powers and as an art form in itself. He began by photographing rural landscapes and then in the fifties he shot infrared landscapes, typified by their darkened skies and glowing grass and leaves.


(Levesques, 2014)

I find him interesting as he photographed subjects “not only for what they were, but also for what they may suggest, and therefore, the images would possess symbolic and metaphorical allusions” (Levesques and hl, 2014). White said, “One should not only photograph things for what they are but for what else they are.”  (Cited in Levesques and Hl 2014). His early photographs sometimes include these allusions, such as Cabbage Hill, Oregon, (below), where a corner of a split-rail fence and a coil of barbed wire gives associations with hard physical labour as well as Christ’s suffering on the cross.


(Princeton, 2016)

I am drawn to the way that his images cause you to reflect, perhaps looking for their meaning, such as the haunting image of the bout hull partially covered in snow, you definitely need to look closely at his images. A sense of spirituality runs through his works and it seems that he “took the view that photography was well suited to disclosing the artist’s inner life” (Mulligan, 2005).

Essence of a Boat, Lanesville, Massachusetts 1967

Essence of Boat, Lanesville, Massachusetts, 1967 ((Pleasurephoto, 2013)


Levesque, D. and hl, (2014) ‘“Minor white: Manifestations of the spirit” at the Getty · guardian Liberty Voice’, Arts, 23 June. Available at: (Accessed: 11 January 2017).

Limited, P.P. and Jeffrey, I. (1997) The photography book. London: Phaidon Press.

Mulligan, T. (2005) A history of photography: From 1839 to the present; the George Eastman house collection. Edited by Therese Mulligan and David Wooters. 25th edn. Köln, Germany: Taschen GmbH.

Pleasurephoto, © (2013) Photo minor white; Lanesville, Massachusetts, 1967 essence of a boat. Available at: (Accessed: 11 January 2017).

Princeton, T. of (2016) DART » minor words: Photography and writing. Available at: (Accessed: 11 January 2017)

Princeton, T. of (no date) Early career: 1937–45. Available at: (Accessed: 11 January 2017).

Carl Chiarenza (b 1935)

His work shows the spiritual influence of his teacher Minor White, He began with tightly framed, documentary-style photographs, abstract and landscapes. Since 1979 he has been photographing collages out of scraps of paper, foil, can lids, etc., then photographing the collages with Polaroid positive/negative film in black and white.


Samurai 329, 1999 (Shutterbug TEN, 2016).

His unique images using light, shapes, forms, and surfaces, encourage the viewer to let their imagination do all the interpretation. In common with other photographers such as Ansel Adams, and Aaron Siskind found a metaphorical relationship between music and photography.  He stated that “while making the images for my book, Solitudes, I listened over and over to pianist Mitsuko Uchida playing Mozart’s sonatas because they put me into a spectacular solitary place, which pervades the studio and hopefully influences the work”. (RH, 2009). He has said that Minor taught him that you can create images with passion as a poet would with imagery or musician with imagery. Chiarenza is interested in “how, when it all comes together into a new object, ‘a picture,’ the creation causes a response that excites a genuinely real, fresh experience that did not exist before the photograph. I want the viewer to experience it in any way he or she connects.” (Cited in Shutterbug TEN, 2016).


Marble Madonna, Ipswich, 1960 (RH, 2009)


2009, R.H. (2009) Light research: Articles. Available at: (Accessed: 12 January 2017).

Shutterbug TEN (2016) The work of Carl Chiarenza: Bringing art to photography. Available at: (Accessed: 12 January 2017).

Ralph Gibson (b 1939)

I discovered Gibson when reading in A history of photography “a similar world of unseen meaning permeates Ralph Gibson’s “snake around Mans neck” (Mulligan, 2005). Unfortunately I can’t show the image but the snake and a human head viewed from above create an abstract pattern.

He was mentored by Dorothea Lange and Robert Frank but his work took on surrealistic influences. He is also inspired by music. Gibson publishes his work in book form. He creates fiction and abstracts with the simple objects and believes an individualistic style is important for a photographer, he describes his own as:

“I love taking pictures of nothing, of ordinary objects, maybe even just the corner of a room. I love flattening and even reducing things. When I photograph flesh, I like to make it look like a stone. But, when I am photographing a stone, I like to make it look alive. I love re-contextualising the quality of my subjects.” (Gajria, 2011). I do like the simplicity of his images “In a world of infinite myriad possible objects to photograph, I eliminate everything I don’t want in a frame until I’m finally left with what I do want,,,I call this process subtractive” (Photographer, 2014). Following my tutors recent comments I would do well to try this technique. He also uses shadow to hide unwanted detail and create shape that he needs to make a “point of departure”, an unusual point of interest or perspective in an ordinary object.

“Priest Collar’, 1975. ‘This remains one of my most important images,’ (Photographer, 2014)

The photograph below shows how he builds narrative meaning through contextualization and surreal juxtaposition. He says about the image “I thought of the woman speaking across time and distance”. (Photographer, 2014).


(Photographer, 2014)

Learning points I may use in my assignment:

  •  Photographing subjects not for what they are but for what they might suggest.
  • Creating an image that causes a response in the viewer.
  • Eliminating everything that you don’t want in a frame.
  • Being able to use show to hide unwanted detail or to create shape.
  • Building narrative meaning by recontextualising.


Gajria, C. (2011) Ralph Gibson. Available at: (Accessed: 13 January 2017).

Mulligan, T. (2005) A history of photography: From 1839 to the present; the George Eastman house collection. Edited by Therese Mulligan and David Wooters. 25th edn. Köln, Germany: Taschen GmbH.

Photographer, A. (2014) Icons of photography – Iconic photographer Ralph Gibson 1939 – present. Available at: (Accessed: 13 January 2017).

Please note: Any images by other photographers used on this post are accredited and are being used for personal research and educational purposes only.