Monday, 15 October 2012

Referencing guidance

Within your research work, you will need to reference your sources in a bibliography. There's loads of guidance out there which is fairly confusing and contradictory and some of your lecturers are going to get hot under the collar if you get it wrong. If you've got those kind of lecturers and perhaps you're on a degree you may want to ignore this blog and search elsewhere under the heading Harvard Referencing

But if you're on a level 3 course and just starting out we'll be more than happy if you do the following...

As you identify the websites, books and journals you're going to source you research from (Including images) you need to keep a list at the end of your blog entry that lists these. This is referred to as your Bibliography...

Websites (images) Have a brief description of the image and then the HTML link and the date that it was accessed. You could group all of the different types together...

Image- Africanis Dog, Danielle Naude;  26th Jan 2015.

Websites (Written material) Again state the Publisher and the theme, the HTML link and the date it was accessed as below in this example.

Text - The Guardian Danielle Naude article "Africanis". 26th Jan 2015

Books With this start with whether you've used the resource for text or image based reference material. Give a brief description of what was used, then follow with the Title, Author, date of the publication (On the inside page) and the place where the book was published and the publishing group. If you've copied images from the book state at the start whether you've used images or text.

Text - Article about The Bechers, (Page 402). Photography The Whole Story; Juliet Hacking & David Campany; 2012; London; Thames and Hudson.

Magazines/Journals With this start with whether you've used the resource for text or image based reference material. Give a brief description of what was used, then follow with the Title, Author, the page the image was copied from, the magazine title and issue number and date and where the magazine was published. If the magazine is published by a publishing group include that at the end.

Image -  Couple dancing, from series 'Poem' By Charlotte Tanguy (Page 26). British Journal of Photography, Issue 7824 (May 2014). London. BJP.

One of the secrets to blagging references at level 3 is to be consistent in the way that you do it, follow the same approach with every reference. Needless to say, if your lecturer suggests another way, go with their advice.

Quoting Text within your written material This is something we're always asking for and expect you to include in your work. It demonstrates that you're reading the research material and comprehending it and then using it in your written work to support your arguments and points of view. First some guidance about how to use quotes in your work...

  • The quotes should constitute no more than 10% of your written work.
  • They need to be clearly identified and obvious from the main body of text, much in the same way as this list of instructions is by use of indent.
  • Use inverted comma's to indicate the quote, use italics, separate the quote from the main paragraph.
  • Then follow it up with the reference using pretty much similar conventions as above...

In the image here we see that above (1) the text/writing is to the left and then the sentence leads us into the use of the quote. We identify that this is a quote at (2) by first indenting the text to the right slightly and with the additional use of the inverted commas. (3) The main body of the text is slightly smaller and again this is useful as it helps to show that this section is different e.g. a quote. Then finally the quote is referenced at (4). In this instance a website.

This same approach should be used in your blog or any written material. In a blog, especially if you're using Blogger you can create the indent with the use of a bullet point at the start.

Again I have to reiterate this may not be degree level referencing, but for level three this will suffice (Subject to the demands of your course specs and teachers).

Monday, 8 October 2012

Portfolio's, presentation, interview and gaining a place on a Uni course

Portfolio's, presentation, interviews and gaining a place on a Uni course

If you intend to work within the creative industries connected with photography or apply for Uni places progressing along a photographic/art pathway, you will normally need to present your portfolio in an interview scenario. The presentation of your work as a physical object says a lot about you – how organised you are and how much you care about the way the work looks. This offers an insight into you and how you’re going to conduct yourself on their course or within their company (Work scenario). Therefore your work should be neat, organised, good quality, well presented and uniform.
Another aspect you need to consider is the fact that you've been at college in FE education for the last two years learning about photography and photographers. Lots of people take pictures, but a great many of them have no idea why or what for, or what purpose they might serve or who their audience is. Neither do they know the history and context of what they are doing, they simply continue making snaps having no understanding of Visual Language and how photography communicates to its audience. Having studied photography at FE level, there will be an expectation that you would have engaged with these aspects of your education.
One of the ways this will be apparent, is the content of your folio. Your work should contain images that have referenced the work of contemporary and historical photographers. The visual language and conventions of such work should be apparent in your work. In your interview, this type of work will prompt questions, allowing you demonstrate that you have engaged actively at level 3 and learned some of the fundamentals of photography. Normally work set at college in your assignments will steer you towards working with photography and photographers that are rich in commentary enabling you to conduct research that gives you a deep understanding of what photography is. It's through learning about contemporary and historical approaches and using these as the basis and starting points of your own work that you'll be able to shine in your interview discussing serious photography in conjunction with your portfolio.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Starting a blog for college

Starting a blog for college                     

Follow these steps to get your blog started.

(1). You will need a Google account and email. Go onto Google and set that up. Make sure you keep a note of your Google account details (Put them on your phone) or email them to your usual email account.

(2). Now when you're signed into the Google webpage near the top right-hand corner you'll see a small group of nine squares, as it says in the diagram click the squares button.
 (3). This will then open up the Google Apps. At the bottom see arrow, click on the 'More' tab.
 (4). You'll then be presented with your Google log in confirmation again. Enter your login details once again...

 (5). This will then take you to this 'Blogger' page below. Click 'Continue to Blogger'.
 (6). This page below - click on to the 'New Blog' button.
(7).  This next stage is the important stage. Follow these instructions carefully. "Title" indicated by arrow 'B' is where you name the blog. This can be changed at any time, but for the moment just called it something simple like your name followed by research blog e.g. Joe's Research Blog.

The address section 'A' is the bit you've got to get right. If you're starting this blog before your first day, you need to find one of the letters that the college has sent you previously with your student number on it. Use your initials for the blog title followed by the student number. This is always an 8 digit number. YOU MUST use your initials followed  your 8 digit number in the section indicated by arrow 'B'. Blogger automatically adds the and the full address appears under the part you type the address into for you to click and confirm you're happy with and then it checks to see if it's available.

If you're already in college, your student number is on your ID card, so follow the same instructions as above. Don't worry about the design of the blog at this stage, just choose simple (you can change it later).
 (8). Now click 'Create Blog'.
(9). Now you'll be taken to this page below and you'll need to click the little orange tab with the pen symbol in it which you use to create your first and new post. In future as you add new content to your blog you click this little tab to start a new page/entry. 

(10). This then takes you to the editing page below. Arrow (A) is where you type or upload your content. For the moment just try typing something basic like "Always use the British Journal of Photography for my research". Then in the section marked by the arrow (B) give the blog page/entry a title next to the word 'Post'. I've typed 'Research 001'. You need to write "Bibliography". Then click the button indicated by the arrow (C) "Publish". This will then put your blog onto the internet and you'll have published your first post.
(11). Having 'Published' your first page the page will now change to this page below. There are a number of options just below your first post... Edit, view, share and delete. In order to see what your first published post looks like click 'View'. If you wanted to add to the post and change it, you would click 'Edit'. This would allow you to add more text or add things like videos and images.
(12). You'll then be presented with how your blog looks on-line. If you ever want to go back into the control panel for Blogger you have to click on to the little orange Blogger symbol in the top left hand corner of your web page.
 That's it! The worlds now waiting for your content. On the course you'll be guided bit by bit as to how you should title your pages as you go through the course. But for the moment just get on with what you've been set to do and send the web-link for your blog to your course leader.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Flat Copying

Flat copying                                 

This is the technique you may have to use in order to photograph art work such as a David Hockney joiner, drawings, artwork, paintings etc.

You'll need a few things...
2 x studio flash heads. B&C
Camera and black tripod D
Sync leads
Sync adapters.
Black cloth or similar (large) E
A method of putting the art work on the wall
1. Position the art work (a) on the wall at camera height (Chest height)?
2. Position two lights off-set to the art work, pointing at it at 45 degrees. To some extent, the further they are away from the art work the more inverse square law is going work in your favour. So with this in mind depending on how big your studio space the more powerful the flash units the better. Another factor is the size of the artwork. If the art work is massive then you'll need more powerful lights and studio space. Our diagram here works fine up to A0 size with he lights between 10-15 feet from the subject.
The reason the lights are positioned at 45 degrees is that the light then reflects off of the shiny surface at the angle of incidence meaning none of the studio light is reflected back into the lens.
Position the lights so that they are central to the position of the artwork, e.g. not pointing down or upwards, but pointing at the art-work centrally.
3. The camera D should be used at F11 (Optimum lens performance). Your shutter speed should be 1/125 unless of course you're shooting film and you're using a camera with a slow sync speed (Our Pentax K1000's must be set at 1/60th of a second). Digital cameras set manual, consider using manual focus as auto focus may not work as there may be nothing to focus on? White balance "Flash". ISO as low as you can go to optimise quality.
4. It may be the case that the light spilling out around the room, despite the use of spill kills on the lights may reflect back and pick up yours and the background reflection if either are predominantly light in colour. Similarly if the tripod is reflective this may be an issue too. If you're working in such an environment a big black sheet/fabric will offer a solution to this problem.
5. Turn off one of the lights (c) and take a reading in the centre of the image with light (b). adjust the power settings so that the reading is exactly f8.
6. Take readings from the sides of the image checking to see if the inverse square law affect is problematic. If the readings are within tolerance 1/3 of a stop, you're probably okay.
7. Turn off light (b) and repeat the process with light (c).
8. Turn on both lights and the combined reading should be doubled up to F11.
9. Check the readings all over the image area and see if they are within tolerance for your light readings. Try and keep the readings all within 3/10th of a stop tolerance. If you have problems move the light further to maximise the inverse square law benefits.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Yelena Yemchuk ID Magazine The Location Issue - Turn on the Bright lights

Yelena Yemchuk ID Magazine "Turn on the bright lights".

I cut these images below out of an ID magazine years ago (May have been 2005)? and have used them in my photography lessons as inspiration for my students, as I'm based in Southend-on-Sea and we have a bit of a Coney Island thing going on here (Adventure Island) amusement park and all...

I contacted Yelena in Feb 2016 and asked for her permission to use the images on my blog, so as far as I'm aware here they are for the first time on-line with permission from Yelena.

Photographers Yelena Yemchuk - ID Magazine - Location Issue "Turn on the bright lights" a fashion shoot at Coney Island styled by Soraya Dayani. In Yelena's reply to me she said...
"It was a very personal project and a fun one, a rarity these days in fashion magazines".

One of the reason's I love this set of images so much is that fun aspect, there's a real sense of connectivity with the models, it doesn't look like a fashion shoot, it looks like a set of images shot by a friend on the way back from a party early in the morning as the sun rises, laughing and joking - still drunk and heady from the night before. I also love the 1960's styling - the make-up, hair, skirts, shoes and tops, all brought together with the use of black and white film on what looks like 35mm.

Photography - Yelena Yemchuk  for ID Magazine

2017 Update. I contacted Yelena again as the current students are shooting a location assignment and I've directed them to research and analyse Yelena's work, suggesting they look primarily at the set below. I asked Yelena about the materials, techniques and processes and she very kindly replied...
Hi Dave,
How are you - Sure no problem.
I shot that on a Nikon fm3. I always shoot trix 400 when I shoot black and white, No fill or reflectors or lights were used. I think that series was influenced by Antonioni and Monica Vitti 
At that time I believe I was really influenced by cinema as I still am, but particularly at the time by cinema from the 1960's in Europe. Please let me know if I can answer any more questions. 
Thank you.



The reason I use these images in my lessons is that the images are an example of how simple a fashion shoot can be and yet be really evocative of a moment. The images are especially useful with regards to the narrative based unit. I you research Yelena you can find interviews with her where she explains her work process. She explains that she creates characters and then expects the models to act out a role of the character... story telling and using narrative.

Right in our back yard we have virtually the same backdrop - Southend on Sea seafront - the potential is massive... Use it and draw influence from Yelena's work.

Thanks to Yelena Yemchuk for allowing the use of the images.

Friday, 24 February 2012


Sorry this has been moved try the Index

Section 4 - Research

Here's some ideas on the theme of your research...

Research (Also check out this newer link on research here)

Right from the very outset we will be advising you to look at contemporary and historical photographers primarily exploring their ideas and reasons for shooting their images in the manner that they do. We strongly advise that you do not use the Internet as your starting point, as this tends to produce superficial and weak research material. The advised approach that we'll introduce you to, is to use Photographic Journals such as the BJP, allocating a little time each week to look at the new issues of each of the magazines and getting ideas together and gradually building a knowledge bank of contemporary and historical photographers and their work.

Using this approach you would be introducing yourself to a very broad range of photographic approaches and establishing a far greater depth and understanding of photography's potential. You should make notes and photo-copy interesting images and articles and get to grips with the language used and the ideas and concepts that are explored through photography.

We cannot stress how important it is to use the resources in the library (Journals, magazines and books). By virtue of being published in hard copy, the information in the articles is written by professional editors, writers, reviewers, academics and other artists and therefore of a much higher calibre. The nature of the articles in the magazines, books and journals tends to be far more concise and to the point, addressing all of the necessary components of your own research.

Your research should be conducted in two forms... (1) Initial Research (2) On-going Research.

(1). The initial research under-pins the project and should be the element your work is based on and around. We suggest that you explore 3 artists that connect with your idea and as part of that process you would ideally make a decision about your idea quickly connected with one or more of the artists/photographers you research. This part of your research has to be done at the start of your project and this is the reason we advise you to be continually looking at contemporary art photography throughout the course and building up a knowledge bank of sources to which you can turn to and use in conjunction with your work.

Throughout the duration of the course you're expected to experiment with your images using experimental in camera and post production techniques to enhance the meaning behind your images. One of the more difficult aspects of this is, the fusing together of your concept and the experimental approach. In order to increase your chances of being able to unite the idea and the experimental approach is to have a very wide appreciation of photographers that use these approaches and their techniques and how they use them together. This knowledge will only be gained through studying and researching contemporary art photography (The journals in the library) and seeing how and why they do it.

When you're looking at artists associated with your theme/approach the key things you need to identify are...

  • What is their work about (Its meaning)
  • How is the meaning conveyed in their images
  • If they use experimental techniques/approaches within their - work how does this enhance the images
  • Who are they influenced by - show how/why
  • Is their work a part of a continuing tradition
  • Where and how are their images used
  • What influences you are going to draw from their work
Use one A4 'Key' image in full colour, as high quality as you can source. Annotate this image identifying the Visual Language used in the image. For each artist aim to write in excess of 300 words describing the above bullet pointed aspects. Add additional images (In colour) to illustrate any points that are important and use quotes from books and journals in addition to the 300 words.

Then compare and contrast the work of at least 2 of the artists that you research again looking to write another 300 words,
·         What is the idea/concept behind the artist/photographers work?

·         Read the articles and look at the images – what is the work about, see the list below describe how it links in with one of these or another and say why the artist or you think it’s important or interesting.

o   Self

o   Space/places

o   Time

o   Religion

o   Sex/gender

o   Society

o   Conflict/War

o   Family/Kinship

o   The mind/mental illness

o   Violence/crime

o   Disease

o   Politics

o   History

o   Nature/environment

o   Confusion

o   Escapism

·         What materials, techniques and processes are used and why?

·         How big is the work – scale and size, how might this affect the way that it’s perceived?

·         Over what period was the work made – is this relevant?

·         Where are these images seen and used – how are they used – what’s their purpose?

·         Who or what is the work influenced by?

·         What’s been said about the work by art critics, curators, reviewers and other artists?

·         Is the meaning behind the work “Obvious”  or “Ambiguous”?

·         Have you been able to grasp the meaning behind the work – what do you think about it?

·         What have you taken from the research and applied to your own work (Idea/Concept or Practical/visual) elements?

 If you're struggling with ideas/concept based photography, have a look at this video as it may help... (
Photography as contemporary art)

Once you've made a start on the research and you've looked at some contemporary photographers and their work that has some link with your initial idea. You need to now outline a plan - what you're going to do next...

Contemporary Photographers

Proposal writing for Photography and art projects

Section 1 (Intro-proposal-outline)

Introduction – outline of your basic idea – keep it really basic and vague, if you know at this stage what it is you want to do as a final set of images – don’t mention this at this stage. For instance if you knew you wanted to something about dogs and you thought that perhaps you wanted to do a series of images of big bald men from Essex with their ‘mean’ looking dogs, playing around with the idea that people look like their dogs, e.g. hard man and hard dog. Don’t mention that at this early stage. So in this instance you might say something like…

“I’m going to explore the relationships we have animals, I’m going to explore domestic animals(Pets) and also look at people that work with animals – farmers, dog handlers etc.

Then expand on that with more details as in a proposal, mention the fact that you’re going to try experimental approaches (suggest some that you might try) and the idea will be developed over a series of shoots working with the idea. Then at the end say that you’re going to produce some research and analyse the images and the way that people work with animals in their projects/photography.
As a part of this process, you should also produce a spider diagram, exploring different ideas around how you might approach your theme.

Also mention that you're going to keep an open mind about the project and through the process of research the initial idea might develop into something very different.

Before you start researching...

When you start to put your research together. Think about what it is you need to glean from your research...

Concept/Idea/theme/lighting/poses/composition/use of colour/use of equipment/experimental techniques/mood/subject/reasons/perspectives/presentation and more.

This means, although you've already got the idea of shooting Dogs as your theme, if you're researching using journals, you may not have seen any dogs, but you may have come across a photographer that shoots horses or other animals and you may have noted that their use of light, or composition might be useful to you. This also can constitute good research - you could explore that photographer on the basis that you're looking specifically at him/her simply because of the use of light or the way that they compose their animal images.


Section 5 Context

Photography is in a constant state of flux, forever changing and developing. The things that drive these changes a far wider than the immediate and obvious. Within one of the UAL Level 3 courses the students have to look at the wider contexts that affect and drive photography and force the changes that we all see.

One of the biggest and most historic changes centred around the British photographer David Bailey. The things that came together to enable that change are the things that were happening in the wider context - things associated with...

Society, Politics, economics, sub-culture, art, class, war, attitude, education, media and more.

Watch this video (It's in two parts) and you'll start to see how the wider contexts affect change within photography...

Things that might have affected David Bailey’s and everyone’s lives prior to and throughout the 1960’s…
·         WWII The Bombing of the East End (Including Bailey’s own house forcing him to move to East Ham).
·         The fact that he suffered from Dyslexia and suffered at school and was rejected by the London School of Printing when applied for college.
·         Conscription into the RAF where he learned Photography.
·         Working with John French as an assistant.
Meanwhile in the USA – (The USA recovered from WWII far quicker than Britain).
·         1950’s economic boom.
·         Rock ‘n’ Roll – white musicians influenced by black blues musicians create the genre Rock ‘n’ Roll.
·         Buoyant economy = more cash, better education, more free-time, the teenager is born.
1950’s Britain -
·         Late 1950’s, Middle Class Kids at a Jewish school in North London who are into Modern Jazz and Italian styling and design adopt the name ‘Modernists’ and designate Lambretta’s and Vespa’s as their mode of transport. The name is soon shortened to ‘Mods’. Their choice of music was music from the west coast of the USA and Jamaica – Blues, Soul, SKA. The mods shared the same feelings as the African Americans – repression; they wanted similar things – self-determination, freedom to do what they wanted to do, their way.
·         1961 – The wide spread introduction of the contraception pill giving women choices and freedom with regards to their own sexuality.
·         1960’s economic boom in the wake of the USA’s economic boom, meaning that young people had money to spend, were able to move jobs and for the first time ever make decisions about what they did, where they went and what they wore.
·         Harold Wilson (Labour) wins the general election.
·         By 1963 the Mods phenomenon is hijacked by the media and every kid in the country becomes a ‘Mod’, with the exception of the backward looking Rockers and Teds.
·         1964 – Easter Bank Holiday riots at Clacton on Sea -  “Mods and Rockers”.