Tag: PHO704 Week 1

Taking a break

Practical / Project Development

At the present time I consider myself to be working on three projects :-

  1. Final Major Project – ‘Hiraeth’
  2. An amateur semi-diaristic ‘365’ project.
  3. Station to Station – a monochrome project, utilising the iPhone 6 and based around my Monday – Friday commute between Carmarthen and Llanelli.

Presented  here is a summary of each of the above projects :-

Final Major Project – ‘Hiraeth’:

Very little new work has been made since the end of the last unit in this area. This project was originally conceived as being a photographic comparison between the villages of Merthyr Vale (South Wales) and Pendeen (Cornwall) looking at the effects of mine closures in these areas. I am beginning to question the original aims of this project and considering whether or not it would be more beneficial to the project to concentrate upon the village of Merthyr Vale. This is the area that I find much easier to visit and am constantly being drawn back to. Although little ‘new’ work has been made in this area I do find myself revisiting the existing images that have been made and experimenting with the way in which they are presented. I am very much drawn to the concept of presenting these images in a monochrome ‘inverted’ or ‘photographic negative’ type format. However, I feel that the project as a whole and the images currently being made are become a little ‘stale’ and repetitive so, during the duration of this unit I will place this project on hold  and proceed with the Station to Station project for a short while.

The Diaristic / Semi-Diaristic 365 project:

This is a challenge that I set myself to complete after taking part in a seven-day post one image per day in monochrome challenge posted on Facebook As part of this challenge you were not post any titles or other descriptive information, just the initial challenge text and the image for the day.. I found this to be interesting so decide to continue with the concept over a period of 365 days, just to see if I could carry it out over the whole period.

Station to Station:

This is a personal project that has been ongoing for a period of years now. It consists of monochrome images made on the iPhone 6 either covering a journey being made by train or of the stations that I have visited themselves. Several of these images have been printed and entered into various camera club ‘competitions’ where they have been reasonably well received with mixed results as regards placings.

Obviously, work will be resumed on the FMP after this short break.



Looking back over the weeks lectures I’ve come to realise that there is a fairly heavy emphasis on the commercial and profession aspects of photography in this unit.

This is not an area that I am currently interested in pursuing for a number of professional and personal reasons. However, circumstances change and such opinions may alter throughout the course of this unit.

I am content to remain and work in a ‘largely amateur’ approach to photography – I photograph what interests me where and when I want to. My photographic work is based largely upon the use of mobile photography in the medium of Black & White / Monochrome with an emphasis on the recording of the (possibly) banal events of the day to day in a documentary or semi-documentary fashion designed, primarily to please myself. A situation that I would very much like to preserve. Because of this I find photography to be very pleasing and relaxing – a great alternative to my present full time position in Schools ICT.

The work that I do produce is usually displayed in  either a ‘Camera Club’ environment or on Facebook in several photography related groups. Although I have a Flickr and Instagram account they are not really utilised with little time being invested in them.

Perhaps, I am more interested in the journey of photography and less in the ultimate destination at which I will arrive…..


The Journey

What is my photographic journey and where will it lead? That’s not an easy question to answer, in part this is because I’m studying Photography because it interests me and, quite literally ‘for the fun of it’. As in a previous post I’m not interested in turning professional or setting up a business and trying to make a living from my Photographic practice. However, had I started to study Photography seriously 10-15 years ago then I may well have started on the journey towards become a Professional!

As I am currently in full time employment I’m not going to be looking for either an Internship or an Assistant-ship – even a period of work experience with another photographer would be problematic (in terms of available time).

What I can do though is to continue along my present course of being ‘a very interested practitioner’ looking to remain an amateur but, hopefully a knowledgeable and talented one.

However, one area I may ‘look at’ is that of providing workshops for local schools and Camera Clubs particularly in the area of ‘camera-less photography’ using cyanotypes, pinhole and non-permanent image making with photographic paper with scanning of the resulting images into a more permanent electronic form.

My interest in photography and my practice / attitude to the subject are probably best summarised by the comments made to Saul Leiter by Max Kozloff :-

‘Max Kozloff said to me one day – “You’re not really a photographer. You do photography, but you do it for your own purposes. Your purposes are not the same as others.” I’m not quite sure what he meant, but I like that, I like the way he put it’

Saul Leiter in All about Saul Leiter, pp 194

KAMEDA, E. (Ed), “All About Saul Leiter’. Thames & Hudson Ltd. London. 2018


From Here To There

PHO704: Sustainable Prospects

The first week of this new unit is now past and a quick scan through the week 2 lectures and information is further convincing me that the emphasis of this unit is on the commercial side of photography. This is probably going to make it a difficult unit for me as, at age 57, I’m not really interested in starting a second career and have no real wish to take on the stress and hassle of setting up a small business but, on the other hand, the unit is likely to be a useful source of information regarding areas that I would never have looked at or investigated.

When I started the MA it was because I wanted to know more about photography, photographers and why the images that they produced made such an impact on me.

Looking back over my interested in photography it has become apparent that my main focus is in the area of documentary photography. Probably the greatest impact has come from the work of Don McCullin but not from the work he produced as a ‘War Photographer’ but that produced within the UK. I have also been deeply influenced by the work of Phillip Jones-Griffiths and massively so by the work of ‘Chuck’ Rapoport in the weeks after the Aberfan Disaster in 1966.

I have four main areas of interest / photographic work at the present time:-

  1. The ‘Built Environment’ in and around the village of Merthyr Vale, South Wales.
  2. Locating and capturing images of the surviving colliery headgear with the South Wales region (although placed on the ‘back burner’ at the present time.
  3. The Copper and Tin mining region of West Penwith in Cornwall and any comparisons that can be drawn between the Valleys of South Wales.
  4. Rail Transport, concentrating upon the work day journey between the stations at Carmarthen and Llanelli in West Wales.

Looking back over the images produced in the areas of points 1-3 above, many of which date back to well before the start of the MA course, I can see that I am not really interested in photographing ‘people’ but more the environment and locality in which they live and work. Where I do make an attempt to photograph individuals the images are usually made from behind or in a manner which does not reveal the face of the individual being imaged. Such images are usually of a candid nature with the subjects (hopefully) remaining unaware of the camera.

At the present time most of my work is being made in the area covered by point 4 (above) and is strongly influenced by the work of Tom Wood. This forms a ‘personal project’ which I will discuss further in another, later post.

The website ‘Lecture in Progress’ contains some quite useful advice that I could have seriously used when I first became a student in 1981 studying for a B.Sc in Environmental Biology at Swansea!