BA Phot

Blog, Context and Narrative, 2019-20

C&N - Home - Blog - Index - About

Back - Latest

- Jan - Feb - Mar - Apr - May - Jun - Jul - Aug - Sep - Oct - Nov - DecDIC - LPE - I&P - C&N - EyV2018 - 2019 - 2020 - 2021 - 2022 - 2023 - 2024 - Kit Blog

Quotes - C&N milestones — Asg. 1 - Part 1 - Part 2 - Asg. 2 - Part 3 - Asg. 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Asg. 4 - Asg. 5

[spellchecked  ]

1st Nov 2019

This blog tracks the activities and progress of my BA in Photography with OCA. It started in 2018 with Expressing your vision and is (about to be) currently on Context and Narrative.

Note that previous blogs have been arranged in descending date order so that the most recent entry is at the top and thus easily accessible for the reader and the writer. Bearing in mind that the ultimate purpose of this page is submission for assessment in support of my BAPhot they will now be arranged in reverse so that they print in the "right" order. Click Latest to go straight to the bottom.


Printing - Workflow - Referencing - Why photograph? - Zine - Subject / Object - Punctum - UTP - Diversity

1st Nov 2019


I am in the process of wrapping up EyV and preparing the web site for C&N. I made some notes on the planned changes here. I have not yet applied for C&N, although there is a generous (46 page) extract here.

Submission of the EyV assessment package is due in January.

5th Nov

Blog org — C&N Asg. 1

I noted in the course instructions, too late to implement it for EyV, that the blog should contain markers for where each part and each assignment begins. I started consideration of Asg. 1 today — see here.

When EyV has been assessed I will implement the reorganisation of the web site

8th Nov

C&N Part 1

I had intended to apply to start the C&N course today, but after half an hour on the web site, I couldn't find how and emailed the help address.

Nevertheless, using the available course extract, I have set up the web pages and can start work.

Hobbycraft Clamshell box

13th Nov

Timetable, etc.

As noted in the Preamble,

I intend to work through C&N more quickly than EyV. As a starting point, I will allocate one month for each of the five Parts interspersed with another month for each of the five Assignments. Thus, Part 1 December, Asg. 1 January, Part 2 February etc. This will allow contingency for the Parts to overlap with the Assignment months, but I will aim to deliver the Asgs at the end of Jan 2020, March, May, July and September. The work arrangements will not change from EyV . Preamble

And I visited Hobbycraft today, having seen a clamshell archival box on their web site. None in stock and none of the staff had ever heard of such a thing, but I'll try their click and collect service. They did have a clear plastic A4 box, at £4, one third the price of the clamshell. I bought one and might go with that — if it's good enough for Diane Arbus, who used a "Plexiglas box designed by Marvin Israel" for her box of ten photographs

Chance & circumstance ↑ -

This phrase came up in an audiobook,Nora Roberts' The Witness while driving to work this morning. It reminded me of Fox Talbot, quoted by Jerry Thompson in Why Photography Matters,

It frequently happens … - and this is one of the charms of photography - that the operator himself discovers on examination, perhaps long afterwards, that he has depicted many things he has no notion of at the time. Sometimes inscriptions and dates are found upon the buildings, or printed placards most irrelevant, are discovered upon their walls: sometimes a distant dial-plate is seen, and upon it - unconsciously recorded - the hour of the day at which the view was taken. Fox Talbot, W.H. (1844-46) The pencil of nature. London: Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans

I believe that chance and circumstance play a large part in all photography, even in the most controlled environment. I will work further on this notion in the future.

A nd I have applied for C&N today. The functionality of the application process is terrible.

17th Nov


It was reported in the morning news that the new Disney Channel is issuing apologetic disclaimers when showing its older back catalogue of films, “This program is presented as originally created. It may contain outdated cultural depictions.” (reported by under the headline, "Disney+ Attempts to Address a Racist Past"). It occurred to me having yesterday noted my response to Judith Williamson 's article on an Apple ad., perhaps I should issue a similar warning. Dumbo was released in 1941: I was born in 1954. I should add that while some of my views might date me, they are not racist.

18th Nov

Why photograph? -

I paid for the course today. But I have already started working on it. Still on the Preamble, the material today posed the question, given that there are nowadays so many photographs being taken, why do you bother.

I was rather smugly pleased with the reply I came up with,

I take photographs to capture (in some way) moments that merit it (in some way) and in doing so, try to create images that are better (in some way) than others'. C&N Preamble

This was improved upon on 16th May.

20th Nov

Alec Soth -

There's a great quote from Soth at the end of Sasha Wolf's Photo Work: forty photographers on process and practice (refs),

If photography were a true narrative art like filmmaking or fiction-writing, you'd have certain narrative conventions like the feature-length film, the television program, the novel, the short story, etc. But photography functions more like poetry and, like contemporary poetry, is usually free-verse in nature. There are no standards for beginning, middle and end. It's up to each photographer to create her own structure. Alec Soth, quoted in Sasha Wolf, Photo Work: forty photographers on process and practice, pp.240-1

22nd Nov

Starting for real

The course material arrived today and so I can begin in earnest. I have it on paper and when I find the pdf version I shall complete the Assignments page - that's done.

St. Peter's foot
Westminster Cathedral
Nov 2019

24th Nov

Asg. 1

An exploratory foray for Asg. 1 was a disappointment because Westminster Cathedral is a dull place.

27th Nov

Blog sequence

What is my purpose in doing this degree? There are two:
i) take more diverse photographs (with a side order of gaining a better understanding of what I am doing and why)
ii) to complete a degree: at my age I don't need another degree, but sticking to a course of study will enable the first objective and establish a degree of rigour.

With that in mind, and given the final assessment requirements (C&N p.8, and see the Preamble) of:

For assessment you’ll need to submit a cross-section of the work you’ve done on the
• Assignments Two to Five, together with the original tutor-annotated versions
• your learning log or blog url
• your tutor report forms. C&N p.8

I should be building the web site with the FinAss in mind. And that raises the purpose of this post - if this blog is to be printed (or read online) for the FinAss, then it should be in ascending date order. Now (i.e. early) is a good time to fix this and reverse the current flow. If I add a large Latest link at the top, readers will not be greatly inconvenienced.

- Jan - Feb - Mar - Apr - May - Jun - Jul - Aug - Sep - Oct - Nov - DecDIC - LPE - I&P - C&N - EyV2018 - 2019 - 2020 - 2021 - 2022 - 2023 - 2024 - Kit Blog

1st Dec


I first looked at referencing in the blog for November 2018. And made a u-turn in August 2020.

[17Sep] There's a great resource on referencing here from the Limerick Institute of Technology - backup.

I accepted that formal Harvard referencing is appropriate for academic submissions, notably the course assignments but thought then, and still do, that it is not appropriate for routine online use such as this blog and the learning log. A point I made several times during EyV is that given the OCA require students to maintain an online presence (and, indeed, to conduct most of their course online) they (the students) are necessarily communicating to two audiences, the first academic (other students and, most importantly, their tutor) and the second, the public at large. It is therefore appropriate that the format of blogs and logs should be less formal than that for assignments.

I intend to approximate to Wikipedia referencing for blogs and logs, i.e. a numbered link to a book listing at the bottom of the page. There are around half a dozen books I look at routinely when reading the course material and these will appear regularly in this local referencing, in addition to the C&N (and possibly EyV) course material. Bearing in mind that I am just starting C&N and working this out as I go along, I will probably use those as a starting point on every page and add others as needed.

Modrak, R. & Anthes, B (2011) 
Reframing photography: theory and
. Oxford: Routledge.

Incidentally, the friendliest and most helpful referencing system I have encountered is that used in Modrak & Anthes Reframing Photography, a marginal box with full details on the first usage and abbreviated details subsequently (see example, right).

[19Dec19] there are some new developments on localised referencing.
[21Mar20] and further developments here.

Erwin Blumenfeld
Blumenfeld photographing Sophie Malgat,
photographed by Gordon Parks, 1950

13th Dec

Erwin Blumenfeld -

There's a good quote from Blumenfeld on his posthumous web site,

Photography is so easy a medium to use, the box camera, a roll of film, a snap – a picture! Photography, the art, is so immensely difficult because it is so easy to get a picture of sorts. One must work hard to smuggle anything into a photograph other than record keeping. Erwin Blumenfeld, nd

14th Dec


I had my inaugural tutorial with Wendy yesterday. I managed to avoid those entirely on EyV — my brain works slowly these days and I find writing to be a better expression of self (not to mention that my voice, once a a booming Welsh baritone now sounds like an even further etiolated imitation of Enoch Powell). So it goes.
Anyway, it was an entirely pleasant experience, helped by the fact that it was a brief introductory chat. - nothing challenging, technical or academic. I guess I'm stuck with this format now.

Wendy thought my timetable of "one month for everything" (see 13th November) is over-ambitious.

Box A
The catalogue

22nd Dec

Taylor Wessing Portraits 2019

To the NPG for Taylor Wessing Portraits 2019, reviewed here. As last year, not many smiles to be seen, but there were a few good shots (the best being shown on the front cover of the catalogue, see right) and some interesting questions raised.

24th Dec

Note of progress and a quote -

I have just started to make notes on Reportage, Project 3 of Part 1.

A quote from Tom Stoppard, specifically about playwriting, but which resonates with me on taking, processing, understanding and interpreting photographs.

It’s interesting that you know the difference between having written something which is OK and something which isn’t. But actually explaining or analysing what the difference is is very difficult. But there’s no question that you know the difference. The luckiness comes from not being in complete control of what’s going to come off the end of your fountain pen. Tom Stoppard, interviewed in The Spectator by Douglas Murray, published 21 December 2019

28th Dec

Paul Graham quote -

Graham is cited in Part 1 Project 3. This led to a fascinating quote in a 2011 Guardian interview

Between 1981 and 1986, while living in London, Graham made three books of colour photography that are now much sought after by collectors and students alike: A1 – The Great North Road (1983), Beyond Caring (1986) and Troubled Land (1987). Back then, they were met with suspicion and even anger. "I gave a talk to photography students at Newport College of Art in 1985," he says, ruefully, "and one of the tutors described Beyond Caring as 'poisonous'. By that, I think he meant that it was poisonous to the established order of working, which was to use a Leica, shoot in black and white, and always have an establishing shot." Paul Graham in The Guardian, 11 April 2011

29th Dec

Reorg, Sontag and dictionaries -

It is becoming clear that a page rationalisation is required as that for Part 1 is much too long. This is best done quickly before there are even more links to rearrange.

A Sontag quote which I think might prove useful (indeed, I have used it twice already) is,

photographs do not seem strongly bound by the intention of the photographer Sontag, On Photography, quoted in La Grange, Basic critical theory for photographers, p.37

And I need an online dictionary of repute that I can cite for definitions. OCA uses OED, but that needs a subscription. I have posted the question on the C&N email facility. RMIT is helpful.

C&N Part 1 Exc. 2
C&N Part 1 Exc. 2
31 Dec 19

31st Dec

Part 1 Exercise 2

A morning on my local High Street confirmed that I am not suited physically or temperamentally to street photography. Nevertheless, I enjoyed reaching this conclusion. Link

I might have a chance at Asg. 1 on Thursday.

- Jan - Feb - Mar - Apr - May - Jun - Jul - Aug - Sep - Oct - Nov - DecDIC - LPE - I&P - C&N - EyV2018 - 2019 - 2020 - 2021 - 2022 - 2023 - 2024 - Kit Blog

St James's, 4 Jan 20

4th Jan 2020

A busy day

T o town for several purposes. My first target for Asg. 1, St Lawrence Jewry does not open on Saturdays, but we encountered the remarkable St James's, Spanish Place for a few shots.

Eleanor Macnair, Photographs Rendered in Play-Doh
Eleanor Macnair,
Photographs Rendered in Play-Doh

The main photographic purpose was a visit to the Atlas Gallery in W1 for the show of images from LIFE Magazine. These were spectacular, notably Eisenstaedt's Children at a Puppet Theatre; Bourke-White's At the Time of the Louiseville Flood, printed to a vast 30x40" (a picture with what must be the most understated title in photo history) and also her Fort Peck Dam; and Carl Mydans On the 6.25 from Grand Central to Stamford (another subtle title). I'll attach a pdf of the catalogue if I remember. Here's the scan.

The gallery also had a pile of books there, all copies of Eleanor Macnair's Photographs Rendered in Play-Doh. I thought of asking the price, but not thinking it worth more than £10, didn't bother in the end, intending to I'd check on Amazon — it turns out they sell for £hundreds. Here's her site.

Leaf, 5 Jan 20

5th Jan



9th Jan


Assessment Submission Label

I have finished the reading and writing up of Part 1. Thee remains some picture taking to do for Exc. 4 and, of course Asg.1.
The timing has worked pretty well: I said at the outset (see 13th Nov) that I would allow one month each, alternating between coursework and assignments with the asg month giving contingency for coursework. So far so good.
I'll set up the pages for Part 2 today.

a Special Label has arrived for EyV physical submission and the window opens next week so that will take some of my time.

But, most of all, I just need to get Asg.1 done.

Rooftop, 10 Jan 02

10th Jan

Asg.1 etc.

I managed to get into St Lawrence, Jury at last today but it was disappointing. Earlier I had returned to the Atlas Gallery to pick up a copy of Macnair's …Play-Doh and also discovered Alison Jackson's Private (possessor of the most noticeable front cover I have seen in a long while) which we will return to later.

Southwark Cathedral,
Roof boss

13th Jan

Asg.1 — Southwark Cathedral

A much better day's photographing. This project may yet survive, if I can find a second suitable subject.

15th Jan

Paul Dirac quote -

There's a poem-based exercise coming up,

In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite. Paul Dirac

There should be a read-across to two branches of photography. Perhaps Szarkowski's Mirrors and Windows concept will work but that might be too easy — I think the starting point should be a double-axis graph with understanding one way and known before the other, then plot various genres. There could be a paper in it.

EyV final assessment submission


Two things

The final assessment submission for EyV went in today.

Then to town for the LIP AGM. I met a chap (younger than me, but well into middle age) with an interesting approach. Although he started photography in the digital era, he only takes photographs in B&W and on film which he processes and enlarges himself. The self-imposed restrictions do not end there: every photograph must contain a human, if only partially. As his main genre is street, this is not usually an onerous constraint, but he stated that even when shooting landscapes, he has to wait for someone to wander into frame.

Susan Sontag, 1975
Peter Hujar
Susan Sontag, 1975
Peter Hujar


Peter Hujar -

Hyperallergic today featured a piece by Eileen G'Sell on Peter Hujar who clearly deserves a place in our photo hall of fame.

The article notes that, 'Susan Sontag defines photography as “to participate in another person’s (or other thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability.” ' I am getting to like Sontag more and more, despite the notion that if she dislikes photographs and photographers so much, she should have spent more time writing about something else that gave her more contentment.

G'Sell, E. (2020) The Quiet Dignity of Peter Hujar [online]. Available from [Accessed 19 January 2020].

Asg. 1

23rd Jan


It has been quiet on this page for a few days as all attention was focussed on submitting EyV for assessment and getting C&N Asg.1 done. Those are now in hand, so on with Part 2.

25th Jan

FogeyPhoto / Asg.1 / snap

Following a series of links into PetaPixel today, I alighted on a 2016 piece by Neal Rantoul (i) (a retired educator) where he takes issue with some recent (well, the last 20 years) trends in photography.
There has been a fair amount of that recently (well, there probably always has been, but I am just paying more attention) and so I might start a page in my Misc section.

The thrust of the piece is that
1. digital has deskilled photography and so whereas phot degree courses used to spend a couple of years grounding students in its technical aspects, that is no longer necessary.
2. this means that the three (or however many) years contain much more theorising.
3. and that in turn has resulted in grad shows with technically 'poor' photographs (in the classical sense) that require lengthy explanations (which sometimes amounts to sermonising) for the viewer rather than a straightforward wall of framed photographs with brief titles and a short bio.

(i) Rantoul, N (2016) Opinion: A Disturbing Trend in Photography [online]. Available from [Accessed 25 January 2020].

DSC Labs have sent back the Asg.1 prints so that can go in next week.

Ezra, 2019
© Julie Blackmon
Julie Blackmon
b: 1966 Springfield, Mi.
Site - Wikipedia

A striking photograph from Photo-Eye, Ezra, 2019 by Julie Blackmon. There is so much detail to enjoy here: apart from the pose and dressing of the subject, a lot of work has gone into the arrangement of the colour-matched door; the diverse colour range of the room; the light; the bird on the door; the camera on the edge of the frame; the photographs arranged in front of the subject.

With some photographers, this would be a cluttered, confusing mess, but here it seems structured and it works.

Birthday Balloons
Birthday Balloons
Jan 2020

27th Jan


Regular readers will know that I enjoy the curation of the vernacular, first encountered in organised form at the V&A's inaugural display in 2018. In Waterstones, Gower Street today I found a remaindered The Three Graces by Michal Raz-Russo (£6.99 plays £19.99). I'll open a new page on the subject.

27th Jan

There's more.

In The Times today there were two widely differing photographs. One of a Holocaust victim (colourised) and one (or rather four) of Dolly Parton. They both deserve a mention, the first as chillingly poignant on the 75th anniversary of liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

On a lighter note, the liberation of Dolly Parton, who has released a multi-photograph of par-traits of herself in various social media personas and challenged others to do the same (Times). Hyperallergic reports that museums have responded en-masse, as noted in a new dedicated page.

Czeslawa Kwoka olly Parton
1. Czeslawa Kwoka
2. Dolly Parton
© various artists

The full text from the Times,

A colourised photo of Czeslawa Kwoka who was murdered in Auschwitz. Her picture is among those that make up the Faces of Auschwitz, a collaboration between the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, Marina Amaral, and a dedicated team of academics and journalists. The goal of the project is to honor the memory and lives of Auschwitz-Birkenau prisoners by colorizing registration photographs culled from the museum’s archive and sharing individual stories of those whose faces were photographed. Today marks the 75th anniversary of the death camp’s liberation Times, 27 Jan 2020

Shakespeare, NPG
Shakespeare, NPG

30th Jan

Asg. 2

To the National Portrait Gallery and Tate Modern to photograph their toilets for Asg. 2.

31st Jan

Edward Weston -

The camera should be used for a recording of life, for rendering the very substance and quintessence of the thing itself, whether it be polished steel or palpitating flesh. Edward Weston

From 23 Quotes By Photographer Edward Weston. [18Jun21] I have nailed down the quote, thanks to Geoff Dyer.
Weston, E. (1990) The Daybooks of Edward Weston: Volume 1. New York: Aperture. p.55

'The thing itself' is one of the five aspects of a photograph defined by Szarkowski. Noted in C&N, Part 2.

- Jan - Feb - Mar - Apr - May - Jun - Jul - Aug - Sep - Oct - Nov - DecDIC - LPE - I&P - C&N - EyV2018 - 2019 - 2020 - 2021 - 2022 - 2023 - 2024 - Kit Blog

Fuji X100V
Fuji X100V
image from Engadget

6th Feb


I discovered during Part 1 that I disapprove of street photography because it is often demeaning and patronising. I was therefore delighted to learn that Fuji has pulled one of the videos promoting its new X100V because of the wave of disapproval of the intrusive methods of Tatsuo Suzuki .

olly Parton
The Dolly Parton Challenge

7th Feb


I had my Asg.1 chat with my tutor this morning and was pleased to hear that my drift from the assignment brief was thought to be ok. The rework on a Dolly Parton Challenge will not be required, though I am minded to do it anyway.
As was the case with my previous tutor, Wendy does not like my black borders.

8th Feb

Study Engagement Team

I received this email on 7th Feb,

Dear You are receiving this email as it is not clear from your record that you have been actively engaged with your studies over the last 60 days in line with the Active Study Policy.
Please take this opportunity to let us know that you are still working away behind the scenes, or seek support if something is delaying your progress that we’re not aware of.
In identifying students who may need support, we may look at:
● Assignment submissions logged
● Tutorials / feedback sessions attended
● Engagement with the Learner Support Team
● Engagement with the Academic Development Team
● Attending an OCA/OCASA organised study event
● Attending an OCA organised webinar/groupwork session
● Update to learning log
● Applying for and/or submitting work for formal assessment
If you’ve re-scheduled your submission for a later date, or have already submitted and are awaiting your feedback and haven’t let us know about your submission, you can do so on the student portal or by emailing
If there are circumstances affecting your studies and you need to speak to someone please contact us in
Where there is continued inactivity in line with the Active Study policy you are at risk of being withdrawn from the degree. If you do not expect to complete one of the above activities by 29 February 2020 please contact one of our Student Engagement Advisers at to discuss.
Study Engagement Team Study Engagement Team

I replied,

I submitted EyV for final assessment on 18th January.
I submitted C&N Asg. 1 on 27th Jan and had my feedback tutorial this morning (7th Feb).
My progress blog can he viewed here -
It looks as though I am not updating you as I should - I didn't for EyV, where [do] I notify you of progress on C&N? Regards, NickB me

15th Feb


I am working my way through Part 2 Project 2; and still toying with my voluntary Asg.1 rework; and winding up towards Asg.2; and avoiding the two essays arising from Asg.1, while waiting for the books on male nude photography to arrive.

Henri Matisse - ↓

And here's a quote, from Matisse, found in the March edition of B+W Phot Mag in a piece on photographing chairs, by Richard Dunkley.

The object is not so interesting in itself, it is the surroundings that bring the object to life. Matisse

Dunkley, R. (2020) Are you sitting comfortably?. Black+White Photography. No. 239 Mar 2020. p. 26.

Bill Jay ↑ -

From Hurn & Jay's On being a photographer, 3rd edn. p.29

The destination of photography is to reveal what something or somebody looked like under a particular set of conditions, at a particular moment in time, and to transmit the result to others. Bill Jay

Jay, B. & Hurn, D. (2001) On being a photographer: a practical guide (3rd edn.). Anacortes WA.: Lens Work Publishing.

Dolly Parton Challenge
Dolly Parton Challenge

22nd Feb

Dolly Parton Challenge

The voluntary rework for Asg.1 has been completed.


Part 2 completed, apart from Exc. 2.3, for which I need a rifle. The pages have been set up for Part 3 and work will start tomorrow. Asg.2 is lagging.

Gun, Flower, 25 Feb 2020
Gun, flower

26th Feb


Exc. 2.3 is more complete than it was, but I'll shoot another image if the opportunity presents itself. Part 2 done - on with Part 3.

27th Feb


I was forced to cite Wikipedia today in C&N Part 3.

Well, not forced, obvs, but wished to quote their quote of an Observer piece about Francesca Woodman that is not available online.

I hesitated to use Wikipedia, this having been criticised by my tutor in EyV (see Asg.2 feedback). That said, however, I stand by the defence I stated at the time, that 'the Tate web site uses Wikipedia in this way (here is their entry on Bill Brandt as an example)' and again, at greater length, in the feedback to Asg.3,

I accept that Wikipedia should not be used as a primary source in academic work and will not do so. However, the OCA directs that students' work is presented online: this is understandable as 1. it is a distance-learning service; and 2. the internet is the common medium nowadays for the dissemination of art. But given that students are expected to conduct themselves online, it follows that there are (at least) two audiences for their work, namely the academic (tutors and fellow students) and the public at large. While it is to be expected that academic citations should be more rigorous than Wikipedia, entries on that site are used routinely by the general public and by public bodies: for example Tate Britain and MoMA both quote and link to Wikipedia for biographical information on their web sites …
on the matter of referencing, while the Harvard system instils pleasing intellectual rigour in formal, written assignment documents, it is unnecessarily cumbersome in online documents where url links are the norm and a less formal framework will be used.
My response to EyV Asg.3 feedback

- Jan - Feb - Mar - Apr - May - Jun - Jul - Aug - Sep - Oct - Nov - DecDIC - LPE - I&P - C&N - EyV2018 - 2019 - 2020 - 2021 - 2022 - 2023 - 2024 - Kit Blog

2nd March

Asg. 2 & 3

March is here, Asg.2 is due at the end and preparations are more advanced for Asg.3 than 2.

I have been taking a few shots for the backup project, Tops of Churches, but Forbidden Zones hasn't started yet. This will not do.

The EyV Assessment result is due this month, no idea of when.

ASG. 2
Asg. 2

6th March

Asg. 2

Progress at last on Asg.2. I went to the cinema this morning, saw The Photograph (!) and took a few. I rather like the results. It's not Sugimoto, but it is progress.

Spy pen
Spy pen

12th March


Further progress on Asg.2 with the Spy pen which is tricky, awkward, but reasonably effective.

16th March


The last two shoots for Asg.2 were completed today. I would have gone to the Tower of London for one more attempted shot of the Crown Jewels, were not for the entry charge of >£20, even for concessions, and the current virus threat.

Work will start on post processing tomorrow so submission by the due date of the end of March should be ok.


20th March


The images for Asg.2 have been sent for printing and, so long as coronavirus delays at DSC Labs are not excessive, it should be submitted on time, by the end of the month.

There is some more writing to be done to wrap it up but otherwise it is on with Part 4 and with Asg.3.

Also, I've been meaning to mention a rather strange idea I had a while ago. Although it might be controversial, I would like to complete an assignment using images gathered from the video game World of Warcraft. This will not work for C&N (see here), but I'll look forward to subsequent courses where it might run.

There's an OCA page here that has course samples. I was going to use this WoW notion as an excuse to list them all out, but it turns out that only level 1 courses are covered. Here's the third L1 pure photo course, Identity and Place. I don't think I&P will do for WoW. The other (pure photo) courses are:
L2 - Landscape, Place and Environment; Documentary – Fact and Fiction; Self and the Other; Digital Image and Culture. Perm 2 from 4.
L3 - Body of work; Contextual studies; Sustaining your practice. All three.
L2 Landscape, Place and Environment might be best suited to WoW.

sp after Kubrick
self portrait after Kubrick
21st March 2020

21st March

Asg. 3

Started today.

Trees, SE9
The life and death of trees
SE9, 24th March 2020

24th March

Asg. 2

This was posted today, after a long walk to the Post Office which remains open for now. It seems quite likely that online submissions will be in place soon - I returned to an email from Dan Robinson, Acting Programme Leader Photography and Moving Image which suggests that final course assessments are moving online.

The walk allowed a little snapping which led to a diptych named The life and death of trees. Suitable material for EyV Asg.5.

after Bill Brandt
Self-portrait after Brandt

26th March


Self-portrait after Brandt today.

s-p with Keir Starmer after Avedon, 30th March

30th March


Further progress.

- Jan - Feb - Mar - Apr - May - Jun - Jul - Aug - Sep - Oct - Nov - DecDIC - LPE - I&P - C&N - EyV2018 - 2019 - 2020 - 2021 - 2022 - 2023 - 2024 - Kit Blog

Soap Henge,
April 2020

1st April


Soap Henge

Lumix GF1 with
Jupiter 50mm f/2
Lumix GF1 with
Jupiter 50mm f/2

3rd April

Asg.2 tutorial and image debt.

I had my feedback tutorial on Asg.2 today. Another uplifting and encouraging experience. I have noted on the Asg.3 development page,

I wonder how long we students will be able to deploy the excuse, 'well that's what I would have photographed, were it not for virus restrictions'. I am currently in debt to the tune of one shot of the Crown Jewels for Asg.2 and now one shot on the security cameras in Lidl's Bromley for Asg.3.

[see 14th May]

The camera I am currently taking on my one daily legal exercise outing is a combination of my first decent digital camera (if we don't count the magical Olympus Styles Verve) the Lumix GF1 (shamefully bought with part of the proceeds from selling my Pentax 67 and lenses to ffordes), and my first decent analogue lens, a Jupiter 50mm from a Zorki 4 (proudly bought with my income from a paper round in the 1960s). I wanted to test the lens because I am toying with the idea of an Olympus Pen-F - the lens seems to be fine, but I need an EVF to focus it and the Pen-F looks like it could be fun to use. They are now down to half price second-hand and that's the time I usually start looking.


7th April


The EyV result is in, a meagre 53%. But at least I can switch the web site to C&N now.

When assembling the EyV assessment package, I found the results of previous assessment rounds. Fig. 1 below shows the recent results and last year's three assessments. Fig. 2 shows how to search .

assessment search results
1. assessment results Mar 2019 - Mar 2020
2. assessment results search


9th April

GFX 100

I just note in passing that MPB have two 'as new' 100MP Fuji GFX bodies on sale at the moment. Just £8,399 each. The standard 63mm lens is £1,359 new.

Tree, SE()
Tree, SE9, April 2020

And a tree.

17th April


Asg.3 is just about complete, I'm just tinkering with the 300 word submission text. I will submit it online at the end of the month and order physical prints then

Having made occasional jottings in the past, I'm thinking seriously about Asg.4. I will probably aim for submission at the end of May.

And I'm starting notes on Part 5 today.

Moving on, I have disabled the email feed on EyV.

After Salkeld etc.
After Salkeld etc.
Apr 2020

19th April

Is it art?

Having made a start on Part 5, I have become distracted by the rather large and fundamental question of is photography art, resulting in something of a detour.

Asg.4 is still percolating and yesterday an OCA ad for a mini-course popped up, headlined 'To quote the adage "a picture is worth a thousand words", but which words?' - here's a link

Part of the is it art diversion is Salkeld's  Reading Photographs and this gave rise to today's image, After Salkeld ... After Levine ... After Rodchenko. The explanation is here.

22nd April

Marcel Duchamp -

You know exactly how I feel about photography. I would like to see it make people despise painting until something else will make photography unbearable. letter from Duchamp to Stieglitz, 1922


24th Apr

Lomography and indolence distraction

The virus lockdown results in the exploration (and shredding) of paperwork undisturbed for decades.

The popularity of Lomo cameras and the extended fad of Lomography is difficult to explain or justify. One of the reasons I am not attracted by it is the dreadful quality of the cameras that spawned it. In yet another clearout this week I found an instruction sheet for one of the original Lomo cameras - they were a bit like the Olympus XA and I don't recall when it was, but I bought one when they first came out, sent a succession of three back because they did not work and eventually had my money back.

In the meantime, I have spent a week dithering over the art question (and not got very far)) and resurrecting and now rewriting my lapsed Marlow Moss web site. Both of those will need a lot more time devoted to them, but now I must return to getting Asg.3 in, starting Asg.4 and reading Part 5.

Gun, Flower, 25 Feb 2020
Gun, Flower, Feb 2020

25th April


Exc. 2.3 required us to depict a poem. The Times' Poem of the Week was by NZ's Hera Lindsay Bird, of whom I have now heard end who writes up a storm.
Her canon includes the seminal Keats is Dead so F*** Me from Behind (as reported by the Times). If this subject comes up again in a subsequent course I might look at Bird's oeuvre.

28th Apr


Submitted today.

There is no excuse for not progressing Asg.4

- Jan - Feb - Mar - Apr - May - Jun - Jul - Aug - Sep - Oct - Nov - DecDIC - LPE - I&P - C&N - EyV2018 - 2019 - 2020 - 2021 - 2022 - 2023 - 2024 - Kit Blog

Ensign Ful-Vue II
Ensign Ful-Vue II

3rd May

Ensign Ful-Vue II

There is an entertaining piece in this month's RPS Journal about a British classic, the Ensign Ful-Vue II. This would make a pleasing accessory for Asg.5, where I envisage a homage to Brandt's Northumbrian Miner (the ostensible subject of Asg.4).

The image is from an eBay sale I am following, which seems to be for a functioning unit, or there are any number of rusted and battered versions which can be used as a prop with no thought of possible use at some point.

There is a good history of the product here.

7th May

Tree, Face

Work continues, slowly, on Asg.4. My Asg.3 tutorial has been put back a few weeks.

The images below, Tree, Face I and II were taken on a recent virus promenade.

Tree, Face Tree, Face
1. Tree, Face I
2. Tree, Face II
May 2020

10th May

Peter Galassi -

Mike Ware (the alternative processing publicist) quotes Peter Galassi in an essay entitled A Bridge for Two Cultures,

Photography is a bastard left by science on the doorstep of art Peter Galassi

He goes on to point out that, "'Bastard' in German is less pejorative than in English - it simply means 'hybrid'".

[17Apr21] As noted in Part 1 of I&P, Ware misquoted Galassi who actually wrote,

photography was not a bastard child left by science on the doorstep of art, but a legitimate child of the Western pictorial tradition Galassi, 1981, p.12

14th May

John Coplans -

Coplans, while writing about Weegee, in an essay, Weegee the Famous first published in Art in America, Sep-Oct 1977 and reprinted in Provocations, a collection of Coplans’ essays in 1996, pp.205-212.

No other art form rivals photography’s capability to be meaningless, to topple into a void. As a hedge against vacuity, ambitious photographers cloak themselves in a knowledge of art. Coplans essay, Weegee the Famous, in Provocations (1966) pp.205-212

See, also, his instructions for his ashes.

Asg. 3
Supermarket security camera
May 2020

Asg.3 virus image deficit

See 3rd April.

The Lidl's security cameras I expected to have to travel to Bromley for have pleasingly been installed in their Eltham branch during my 2 month absence. See Asg.3 rework.

I still owe Asg.2 a clandestine shot of the crown jewels.

Continued in I&P.

Barrett, Criticizing Photographs
Terry Barrett,
Criticizing Photographs

15th May

Barrett 5ed.

A day for celebration as I at last have the latest (and probably the last) edition of Terry Barrett's Criticizing Photographs. I paid £30 on ebay, which is £20 more than I normally pay for any book, but half the usual used price on Amazon.

While looking for a decent image of the cover, I found the mind map below by Hugh McCabe. Hugh has an interesting phot project: he takes long exposure images of live bands, opening the shutter at the beginning of a song and closing it at the end. Rather like Sugimoto's cinemas, but far more interesting. This links to his photo page: some of Floyd's auditorium shows would have been fun, both for the durations and the pyro- (and other) -techics. Here's Hugh's entry in Snappers.

Back to Barrett, the cover image is, as always, a Wegman, this time, Intruder, 2006.

© Hugh McCabe, mind map, Barrett 3rd edn. details

16th May


The course Preamble, poses the question, given that there are nowadays so many photographs being taken, why do you bother.

I came up with an answer that I was content with on 18th November and arrived at a better one (though along similar lines) in the early hours of this morning.

To produce a visual representation of something that merits this attention in such a way as to do the subject justice.
All these judgements are necessarily subjective and and the terms deliberately ambiguous. me
I think I've cracked it at last, see 30Jul21.

Hose, toe, lawn, SE9, May 2020
Hose, toe, lawn, SE9, May 2020

21st May quotes

Tress & Batchen

Two books to mention.

Theatre of the mind, Arthur Tress,1976. I am not entirely sure why I ordered this. I'm pretty certain that I found an engaging quote from A.D. Coleman who wrote the introduction, but I cannot find a citation in my notes: it opens,

All photographs are fictions, to a far greater extent than we are able or willing to acknowledge. Yet most of them still pretend to a high degree of verisimilitude and transparency, to the impersonal neutrality of windows on the world. A.D. Coleman, introduction to Theater of the Mind, 1967, pages unnumbered

so that seems quite likely, in conjunction with Part.5 (which, incidentally, is untouched since 26th April).
But that's not important right now, the point is that the book is about the photographs of Arthur Tree, of whom I have never heard, and which are a delight. These are one kind of photography I would like to engage with but never will because I do not mix with strange people who want to be photographed doing bizarre things in unusual places.
Unfortunately. So it goes.
More of Tress in due course.

And Geoffrey Batchen's Each wild idea, a book of essays and specifically Australian Made, pp.26-55 which deals with Australian photography and writings thereon, noting that there was no published 'scholarly history' study on the subject until 1988 when two came along and, pleasingly, one looked at the artistic side of things, the other more sociological.

The timing of Australia's development as a (Western-style) society has more-or-less coincided with that of photography. I'll probably have more to add when I have finished reading it.

If only the same could be said for British photography, or, even better, for American.

The books are, Gael Newton, Shades of Light: Photography and Australia, 1839-1988 and Anne-Marie Willis, Picturing History: A History of Photography. I might look out for them

I think I'm only aware of two Oz snappers, Anjella Roessler (who I met through Intrepid) and Tracey Moffatt (through C&N Part 3).

23rd May


I had my tutorial yesterday. It was moderately successful. I have drafted my response to the feedback and will submit it tomorrow after final tinkering. Here's its current state,

It is a good idea to show the original images with my copies and will do so on my rework page. On the larger question of website design, I will not over-dignify it by calling it a personal aesthetic, but I choose to present a reluctant web site that takes time to navigate and with images that do not swipe. While it is no doubt true that if a site does not engage a visitor in a few seconds they will scoot off elsewhere, that's fine with me. I would rather gradually infiltrate the web with content that lurks in the search engines and attracts occasional visitors serendipitously at various entry points.

Given that the virus has forced OCA to go digital for assignments and final assessments, I might have to create another, more easily navigable, smaller and simpler site purely for assessment purposes: I might even have to do it on Wordpress. If that is the case, so be it, but I intend to continue building a single labyrinthine site covering the whole of my degree.

Regarding the brevity of the submission text ( "missing … a deeper expiration of exactly WHY", "You need to expand on what you mean here") this is simply because there is a limit of 300 words. I like the idea of creating a magazine on self-portraiture and Brandt but cannot promise not to keep the production in-house. (The workers should, in my view, control the means of production.) However, I will engage with the Newspaper Club to take advantage of their software.

Asg.3 feedback response


So the main outcome is that I will learn how to create a zine (or, in my terms, a pamphlet). That is quite an exciting prospect. I might extend it to contain the last three assignments and use it as the basis for my final assessment. (Irrespective of the virus-based digital requirements. If it's all digital then I could film the pamphlet and add a voice-over extolling printed material. The only degrees worth getting are a first or a third - I wish I could find where I heard that. ) [2Jun: I became more positive later]

I like my tutor and wish I could keep her.

Meanwhile Asg.4 and Asg.5 gather pace.

Found it at last, Waugh's Brideshead Revisited (that was at the back of my mind, I Googled 'waugh brideshead worth getting degree first third'). From The Evelyn Waugh Society,

I wonder if Brideshead Revisited offers a clue to the origins of this mystery. When Charles Ryder arrives at the university, he is firmly advised by his cousin Jasper: ‘You want either a first or a fourth. There is no value in anything between. Time spent on a good second is time thrown away.’ If Waugh did get a third, as Dr Thomas suggests, perhaps he didn’t want anyone to know.The Evelyn Waugh Society

25th May


The zine (pamphlet) idea has become something of a distraction.

Asg.4 (the essay) is due in at the end of the month and needs wrapping up. Asg.5 needs one image and the props need some attention.

I do not want to finish the course so soon as to be forced into the first digital-only assessment. I want to submit my zine (if it works) in some form or other for the assessment.


Wrap up Asg.4, lob it in and then play. I'll start a separate zine blog.

29th May

More Zine

Development continues apace. The rest of the course (Asg.5 and Part 5) has ground to a halt. I will submit Asg4 on 31st.


assessment dates
assessment dates

Start here - Preparing for digital assessment for Photography units

This states that it is all digital and is very specifically devoted to the Summer 2020 assessment which I want to avoid in case later assessments become a little less digital. That has been achieved because the application deadline for July has passed. If the November deadlines are unchanged, they will be as right.
I recall some rules saying that you had to submit for assessment to the next date after 'finishing' the course (defined how?) or the one after that. I need to find those rules.
As things stand, I think the deadline for applications is 31st Aug.

The dedicated assessment page is here.

Zine, draft

31st May

Brandt: a gradual realisation

And here is the first draft of the first edition, printed and bound today, cost <£1.

- Jan - Feb - Mar - Apr - May - Jun - Jul - Aug - Sep - Oct - Nov - DecDIC - LPE - I&P - C&N - EyV2018 - 2019 - 2020 - 2021 - 2022 - 2023 - 2024 - Kit Blog

Dupain stamp
Max Dupain Sunbaker
Australian stamp, 1991

2nd June


It might seem an irrelevance to consider postage stamps featuring photographers, but the issuing of national stamps is a non-trivial exercise and, for named individuals, will only be used to commemorate figures considered by the state to be of significant merit. It might be interesting, therefore, to examine which countries honour which of their national treasures. I only hit upon this notion today while looking for images of Dupain's Sunbaker.

I will note any others I encounter - Nadar

4th June


I am still fiddling with the zine for Asg.3, waiting for feedback on Asg.4 and still working up the energy for Asg.5: most of the props are to hand.

I am formulating an approach for the final assessment.

But now it really is time to get back to work on Part 5 (ignored since 29th April), wrap it up and put it to bed. That's used up my clichéd metaphor quotient for the whole day.

a protest in Washington Square in New York,
processed with a face-blurring tool

© Hakim Bishara

8th June

Citizen Journalism

For future readers, Black Lives Matter demonstrations are currently happening following the death in (and at) police hands of George Floyd.

Hyperallergic are reporting a new app that pixelates faces and removes metadata so that images of protesters cannot be used by authorities to identify participants. This is an interesting development for citizen journalism discussed in Part 1. I would guess that the data continues to be held somewhere but is not immediately accessible.


[21Jun] On 12th Anonymous Camera was reported for OS and now Petapixel reports software that seeks to reverse the process,

Face Depixelizer is an amazing new AI-powered app that can take an ultra-low-res pixelated photo of a face and turn it into a realistic portrait photo.

Created by Russian developer Denis Malimonov, the app utilizes the power of StyleGAN, which famously can generate realistic portraits of people who don’t exist.

After taking in a pixel face, Face Depixelizer continuously creates faces with StyleGAN and narrows in on the resulting “photo” by finding one that downscales to produce the exact same pixel face.


17th June

The coursework has ended, go in peace. (Apart from Asg.5.)

(To misquote the closing line of Bernstein's Requiem.)

19th June


I am impelled to embark on two new learning curves: Wordpress to throw together a site for C&N final assessment and also video for (a) the same reason and (b) I videoed my mother's funeral last week: needed because of Welsh virus restrictions on attendance, and must learn video editing .

I have ordered the latest Andy Williams, WordPress for Beginners 2020 that uses the Astra theme which is, apparently. a good starting point.

I have Adobe Premier included in my bundle, but it is to complicated and slick for my taste. I have upgraded to Premier Elements 2020 which is my kind of cheesy.

I will start new pages on Wordpress and Video.

This visit to Wales, possibly my last, allowed a couple hours for me to shoot a boyhood Square Mile, Y Filltir Sgwar Cymru, which I will attend to in due course.


Oscar Wilde

A useful quote from Wilde,

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth. Oscar Wilde,

That could be thrown into a discussion on self portraits and used to praise or undermine both sides, performative and straight.

More good mask quotes here - Wikiquote.

23rd June


I applied for November assessment today, much to my surprise.

Stained glass, blinds, June 2020.

27th June

Only one subject

If I could only ever photograph one subject then (setting aside the fact that it would probably be because I had suffered another stroke, this time life-changing, which limited my activities to home, nevertheless) it would probably be the morning light through my Mondrian stained glass windows. This was the subject of an exercise in EyV and here's a recent example. On bright mornings, my partner and I often call one another into the room to see the day's offering and there are more upstairs that we wake up to.

This leads on to the subject of subjects I will never photograph. Top of the list is the Shard, an unpleasant building on many levels (just realised that's a pun too) and the ultimate London photo-cliché, then (2) that bloody single tree in a pond in Wales.


Steven Pippin

From Steven Pippin,

The technology and sophistication of the present-day camera seem to grow proportionately to the increasingly boring subject matter it records. Pippin, quoted in Why it doe not have to be in focus (Higgins, 2013, p. 126)

Asg. 5

30th June

C&N Asg.5

Submitted today.

And the zine is updated to that point, just the Asg.5 rework to be added before publication.

On to assessment and I&P.

- Jan - Feb - Mar - Apr - May - Jun - Jul - Aug - Sep - Oct - Nov - DecDIC - LPE - I&P - C&N - EyV2018 - 2019 - 2020 - 2021 - 2022 - 2023 - 2024 - Kit Blog

1st July


While awaiting a tutorial on C&N Asg.5, it's time to prepare for I&P. The checklist is:

Asg. 5

17th July

Wrapping up

I had my final tutorial this morning. Reaction to my Asg.5 image was less negative than I expected and we concentrated mostly on the accompanying text which should be more rigorous, academic and linky. So be it.

A rewrite of the text, finish the zine and get ready for FinAss and on with I&P.

- Jan - Feb - Mar - Apr - May - Jun - Jul - Aug - Sep - Oct - Nov - DecDIC - LPE - I&P - C&N - EyV2018 - 2019 - 2020 - 2021 - 2022 - 2023 - 2024 - Kit Blog

24th September


I uploaded all the files today. There's a record of the submissions on the C&N Wordpress site.

The next and in all likelihood final post for this blog will be the result.


10th October


I have send a copy of the zine to my tutor.


17th December


A creditable 62%, report here.

- Jan - Feb - Mar - Apr - May - Jun - Jul - Aug - Sep - Oct - Nov - DecDIC - LPE - I&P - C&N - EyV2018 - 2019 - 2020 - 2021 - 2022 - 2023 - 2024 - Kit Blog

(rn) author (year) title [online]. web site. Available from url [Accessed nn January 2020].

n. author, init (year) Title. Location: Publisher.

quote cite


[28Dec19] I have been collecting apposite quotes since starting the web site, but rather apathetically because I did not have a convenient means of storing and referencing them. Here's the original page. This is a new plan - stash them in the blog (which I often have) and list the sources here. I'll add navigation arrows through the entries. As currently conceived, the quotes gathered during each course will remain discrete in that blog - I might organise a way around that.

Erwin Blumenfeld - photography is easy (or is it?).
A.D. Coleman - All photographs are fictions
John Coplans - meaninglessness
Paul Dirac - poetry vs. science
Marcel Duchamp - photography vs. painting
William Fox Talbot - chance and charm
Peter Galassi - Photography is a bastard
Paul Graham - orthodoxy.
Bill Jay - photography's destination
Matisse - objects and surroundings
me - why photograph?
Steven Pippin - inverse sophistication
Sontag - intention, loosely bound
Sontag - mortality, vulnerability, mutability
Alec Soth - still photography is incompatible with the narrative sequence.
Tom Stoppard - recognising quality
Evelyn Waugh - first or a fourth
Edward Weston - the thing itself
Oscar Wilde - on masks

text cite
Page created 30-Oct-2019 | Page updated 11-Jan-2023