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The Cause of Lens Flare Pattern 3

The Cause of Lens Flare (just a playful bit of digital manipulation based on a new pattern I recently developed from the old textbook)


(Firstly, things have been decidedly quiet on here – partly because I’ve been at the stage of gathering feedback but mostly because I’ve been down with a virus over the last few weeks.)

Part two of Assignment One was to seek feedback on my work from within the industry.  In early January, I prepared an interactive pdf that included an introductory statement, a link to the video of my re-formed ‘Textbook’, and links to a selection of images in a larger, high-res format.  It can be viewed here. I sent that out to six contacts – mainly contemporary artists, five of whom had already agreed to give feedback and one that was ‘cold’, and I’ve had replies from four, with a fifth promised when time allows. Each had a covering e-mail that included these questions:

1) What thoughts/advice might you have about ways of further developing/strengthening the project?

2) What thoughts/advice can you offer on how to distribute/get exposure for it? (Which might beg the follow-up – Is there anyone I should be talking to?)

I’ve also had a couple of gallery meetings in January – one at Bank Street, Sheffield, primarily to discuss doing some work with them on an evening event, but also to very briefly show the ‘Textbook’ project; and the other at a new gallery in Holmfirth – Foxtail Gallery – where I spent a very useful 1-1.5 hours discussing the project.

Obviously, quite a lot of words have emerged from all of that, which I’m not going to repeat here in any detail. At a high-level summary, the response is wholly supportive of the work but with fewer strong directives as to precisely how to take it forward (understandably). The following summarises the feedback:


Responses to the work itself

  • Visually strong, especially the more complex images;
  • Thoughtful and well-considered; good depth & layers of potential interpretation;
  • Plenty of potential for further development work;
  • Good basis in theory.

How to further develop the project

  • Some editing of the full-length version in the video;
  • Bring out the metaphoric; possibly make more of the metamorphosis of the signifier;
  • Play up the chemistry connection – science of change;
  • Do more of, and make more of, the complex transformations – potential for them to stand on their own as an outcome of the project;

How to gain exposure to an audience

  • Generally rather less said about this question – acknowledged as the ‘perennial issue’;
  • The suggestions on who specifically I might target with the work – people like Charlotte Cotton & Bruno Ceschel, both of whom are going to be mighty difficult to get to, but you never know;
  • Most frequently, this issue is turned back to me – How do I want to develop the work? – which is perfectly sound advice, of course.
  • And one really, really good piece of advice for all of us – make friends; give back; art is a social game.

Pleasingly, and importantly, the work seems to have caught some attention and come across as having sufficient sophistication to be of interest. That gives me the confidence to go on investing time in taking it forward.  I seem to be being encouraged to make more work and to build on the more complex digital manipulations – so some more creative activity looks on the cards – but meanwhile I need to go on finding ways of building the links and try to refine some ideas of the eventual outcome, from which plans can be made.


Assignment One–Feedback & Reflection

Textbook - reformed

‘Textbook’ – the focus for SYP

I got my tutorial feedback for the first part of Assignment One a couple of weeks ago and have also exchanged my further reflections with my tutor.  The key outcomes are as follows:

  • I will, as expected, focus on just one of my two BoW projects and that will be the ‘Textbook’  project. That was the recommendation and it matches my own feelings – so decision made.
  • In presenting the project for feedback at this stage, my tutor has recommended a video of the book format.  She saw one of a ‘dummy’ book that I made for BoW Ass5, but I have subsequently bound my own images from the project into the original 1963 textbook that started it all off and made a new video, which is viewable on YouTube, here.
  • That video will form the essential basis for approaching a number of artists who have a agreed to provide feedback; but I will support it with an introduction by e-mail/pdf and include a small selection of higher quality images that demonstrate the complexity and quality more successfully than comes across in the video.
  • There is a strong and very helpful recommendation to be very specific in what I am looking for in the way of feedback – strengths/weaknesses of the work; pointers on how to develop/strengthen; technical feedback; advice on how to distribute/get exposure. In my own case, I think that the second and fourth of this list are likely to be most important to me at this particular stage.
  • I now have 4 contemporary artists who have agreed to provide feedback. My tutor asks that, when submitting the final form of this assignment, I give some background on them, their work, and why they were selected, which I will certainly do. She has also recommended photobook specialist, who looks interesting, and with whom I will also follow-up.
  • I’ve been encouraged to press on with all aspects of the networking – notably, I need to think about getting feedback from people who might really advance the work e.g. do I want to work towards an exhibition at some stage and if so where.  I have one possible route in mind for follow-up here, but this is an area that needs more work.

As I mentioned in the last post, this assignment is in two parts; and the feedback from part one has certainly helped me get some focus for where I go with part two, and beyond.

Update & Assignment One

Variation of development time with temperature 6

Variation of Development Time with Temperature – from ‘Textbook’ series


This is a short post to update on progress; I e-mailed part of Assignment One to my tutor yesterday.  So things are under way.  The first assignment is in two parts – firstly to submit a PDF document introducing the body of work to your tutor; and secondly, following tutor comments, to approach someone ‘in the industry’ for feedback (or more than one person, if one wishes).  I’ve actually sent three PDFs – but that reflects the fact that I still have two projects ‘in the frame’ from my Body of Work module, and I have sent a third document introducing the two as ‘separate but linked’.  They are linked by my Contextual Studies work, which looks at the perceived relationship between Photography and Reality, the way in which digital developments have/not impacted on that perceived relationship, and the significance for contemporary artists working with photography.  Briefly, the two projects are:

‘Textbook’ presents the digital appropriation, manipulation, deconstruction and re-presentation of a ‘real’ Textbook of Photographic Chemistry, published in 1963, as a new book of visually ‘seductive’ but ultimately ’empty’ 21st century simulations.

‘Portraits’ comprises a series of credible but fictional 21st century portraits of ‘Stans’ that might have been the current version of the child, Stanley, who kept a ‘real’ Newsbook, at school, in 1955-56.

There is much more information about the development of the two in my Body of Work blog Stan’s Creative Space, under the Categories Textbook and Self Portraits (I should probably change the latter – but it reflects where the project started!).

I mentioned in this previous post Some thoughts about networking that I intended to follow up with some artists with whom I had had contact during Contextual Studies research.  I did that, and asked whether they would be willing to look at my work in the New Year.  Three came back and said ‘yes’, so that gives me some potential direction for the second part of Assignment One; though I do have one or two other ideas as well.

One of those artists had a link at the bottom of his e-mail, to a US-based photography competition with which he is involved.  It’s here foreignexchangephoto; and I decided to submit some images. A very small positive step forward, because one has been featured in their Spotlight of ‘outstanding entries’.  It’s the one at the top of this post.  Good to get a small positive response from complete strangers on the other side of the Atlantic!