Category Archives: Progress Reports

July Reflections

Reading and watching:

Still suffering from the problem that there is so much out there to watch at the moment that I get overwhelmed.

  • Watched Street Level talks with Graham McIndoe and Sakai Machache. Very different photographers but equally fascinating to hear talk about their work
  • Watched part of a TPG talk on surveillance in the digital age but got very confused (and my system kept cutting out) so gave up. It is something I am interested in though- so need to think about further
  • Read Justine Kurland – Girl Portraits
  • Continued to read Dorothea Lange autobiography
  • Looked at photographers for A5, Eggleston, Wentworth, Shore, Frank, brill, Lipper, etc (all written up in main posts.
  • Reread Charlotte Cotton – Photography as Contemporary Art – it made much more sense this time around (3rd go)
  • Read Perec’s book on Exhausting Paris – actually found fascinating
  • Looked at Obsessed by San Yunchu – really enjoyed this, A vision feeling about modern China and the people there
  • Looked at Lullaby for a Bride by Julia Borissova. A hand-made book/rat work (not bound but in a small folder) of images that tell the story of a Russian folk tale – minimalistic images interspersed with more archival looking ones
  • Continuing to read Siri Hustvedt essays on all things to do with arts and writing
  • Looked at Julia Crockett’s website o9n her grandmother – all archival work and fascinating reading
  • Reading a lot about travel photography – from early to right now. Change in ethos about the subject – new less straight documentary and more about feelings and emotions
  • Looked at Jonathan Levitt’s Echo Mask – loved it, telling about a place via emotive pictures and prose poetry.
  • Reading Diary of a Young Naturalist by Dara McNulty – not directly related to photography but his words are as good as pictures

Thinking and doing:

  • Attended IAP zoom – these are very useful – partly for support and partly as a way to float ideas that may or may not pan out
  • Started a Padlet for collecting learning outcomes for assessment
  • Attended zoom for crossover between IAP and level 2. Had several people who are doing/have done Level 2 talking about the different courses available. Useful information and lots of helpful advice that amounted to as long as you are prepared to put the work in they are all valuable, and can all work into your specific interests
  • Attended zoom for the OCA Scotland (or whatever it is) group
  • Had tutorial for A4 – went much better than I expected
  • Spent time working out how to show Polaroid type on the blog – you really miss out the feel of the actual piece in your hand
  • Started to think about A5. Planning to do a further archival series on my mother mixing words and images
    • Could be either a book /PDF or a video
    • Lots of research needed
  • Attended OCA zoom on Write where you are – very interesting, looking at ways of writing about things, on this case places, fits in well with the IAP work, writing differently


  • Finished images for A4 and sent to tutor
  • Took pictures of eggs(!) for still life exercise
  • Pictures of dead flowers – also for still life
  • Images for Exhausting Cameron Street to go with the observation of the same
  • Polaroids type images of local journey- enjoyed doing this – point, shoot and pray – so very important to previsualise what you are trying to take .


June Reflections

I don’t seem to have done a reflection at all this month. I have been struggling to work or concentrate still.

Reading and watching:

  • Finished reading Michael Freeman – The Photographer’s Eye –a useful reminder of what I covered when I initially did TAOP several years ago
  • Memories – AS Byatt – lots of essays on memory – useful general reading especially in context of IAP
  • Watched the Susan Bright lecture and the following zoom – very interesting – separate post on that
  • Aaron Schumann –Slant – again a post done
  • Watched Anna Fox zoom and wrote up
  • Read Batchen Forget Me Not very relevant for the work I am doing for A4
  • Read Paul Strand New England and posted
  • Watched a talk by Margaret Mitchell done by Street Level – wrote up and posted

Thinking and doing:

  • Attended study visit for London’s Hottest postcode – written up
  • Finished MoMA Coursera on Modern Art – very useful as background knowledge, mainly painting based but did discuss some photography such as Migrant Mother , gave me some useful ideas about emu of text
  • Redid A3 following tutor report
  • Transcribed tapes by my mother for my work on Exercise 4.5
  • Zoom meeting with IAP group. These are very useful . Posted full report to IAP Padlet


  • Made up video of Mother’s word and images for Exercise 4.5
  • Printed images and made up album as above
  • Sorted out images for use in A4
    • Printed out
    • Randomised words
    • Made a series of images of ‘still life ‘setups – this took ages as had to keep redoing, steep learning curve here.

Regular Reflections – May 2

Still struggling with working in the lockdown! Slightly more organised but stopped doing the highly rigid photography sessions as an found that it was making me even more stressed and was not productive. Just doing and no thought doesn’t work for me. Having said that – I have an interesting batch of images from lockdown that I may be able to use at some point.

Reading and watching:

  • Read the MoMA book on their exhibition of Lange – fascinating to see her old work in its context as they show much of it in the original journals or books. A very different view from just seeing it as single prints displayed as art works.
  • Finished reading Will Gompertz – What Are You Looking At? It has given me a much greater understanding of what modern art is, what the various terms mean and the historical context. Some I now like, others I am still bemused by.
  • Reading biography of Lange, A Life Beyond Limits. It’s clear that like most (all) driven people she was certainly not flawless- but the flaws are part of her humanity and that is what makes her images compelling.
  • Ongoing reading of The Photographer’s Eye.
  • Attended research zoom with Andrea Norrington – really useful
  • Attended zoom on assessment with Dan Robinson – still confused
  • Attended session with library on referencing -kept losing contact so will look when its posted.
  • Attended zoom with Arpita Shar Politics of Portraiture – absolutely fascinating and I learnt a lot. Now need to follow up on all the links
  • Watched a zoom on Ashley Gilbertson on Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot – interesting talk about how things were for him in Iraq and how that translated into to images, often of very small snapshots of peoples lives
  • Listening to Siri Husvedt A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women –series of essays about modern art, feminism, and her view of the world. I am experimenting with listening to them rather than reading and am finding that the slower pace actually makes things sink in better.

Thinking and doing:

  • I set up the first meeting of a group for the people doing IAP now. This was interesting as everybody talked about where there were and how they got onto the course in the first place. Hopefully, we can keep the momentum up.
  • Set up a Padlet for the information from the IAP group
  • Set up a personal Padlet to use to correlate my research
  • On the back of Andrea’s zoom have changed to using Zotero for my reference system and am in the process of going back over all my previous posts for IAP to make sure the referencing is UCA Harvard correct (I hadn’t realised that it was different from standard Harvard)
  • Tried out using Paperpile for referencing – but it doesn’t work well with Word
  • Working on A4:
    • Done most of the exercises
    • Thinking about assignment, collecting words about my Mother to use as a base


  • Not managed to do much as struggling to not just take pictures for no reason
  • Continuing with calotypes
    • Using a remade paper but thinking about buying the chemical and making my own
  • Using Helios lens with some lovely effects (when it works)

Regular Reflections – May 1

In the ongoing times of seclusion, I am still finding it difficult to concentrate. Using the word seclusion rather than lockdown makes me think of nuns and friars rather than frustrated housewives and bored children. How did they manage? Routine was the key. Everything set around a place and time for it to happen. My son showed me a very clever meme that should become my mantra. Divide your life into spaces. Do the correct thing in the correct space. It certainly helps.

Reading and watching:

  • Creative Vision by Jeremy Webb – mainly based around film based photography with a sprinkling of other processes and digital work thrown in – not sure there is much that directly translates in what I am doing at present – but some fascinating ideas to combat boredom
  • The Photographer’s Eye by Michael Freeman. Mine is an old copy and brings back all the practical design ideas I learnt on TAOP. Probably because he wrote that course. However, it’s a good reminder of the basics.
  • Listened to a podcast with Maisie Cousins – fascinating and then bought/read (do you read or view photobooks) – her latest. Lush/fascinating/revolting all at the same time
  • Reading a lot of poetry – some inspired by photography, some hopefully will inspire it. Last West – Road songs for Dorothea Lange – is a fascinating glide though her notes mixed with modern thoughts/ideas. I read it in a single sitting.
  • Watched much of the MOMA visual gallery work on Dorothea Lange – really interesting and relevant for A4 of IAP
  • Reading old BMJ’s – catching up!

Thinking and doing:

  • Finished first go at A3
    • Put into a PowerPoint 
    • Sent off to tutor
  • Working more on A4
    • Wondering about using Polaroid type images to emphasise the nature of past and memory
  • Started on the reading for A4
  • Dug out my pastels and trying to draw again – no idea how or if this will fit into this course- but making me think more generally about image making.
  • Made an excel spreadsheet to keep track of the things I want to watch/listen to and also interesting links


  • Still continuing with lockdown diary – using it saw a time too practice skills
    • Mainly working on macro images
    • Playing with images of sunlight, how can you see it, though trees, reflections
  • Acquired a Helios lens and playing with that – lovely soft images, focusing can be tricky though
  • Continued experimenting with calotypes

Regular Reflections – April 2

Reading and watching:

  • I have been looking at a lot of photobooks for research for putting together a narrative for A3
  • Looking at lots of mags as above
  • Also looking online – Lenscratch, Aperture, FOAM etc
    • In spite of all that still not clear!
  • Reading Will Gompertz on 150 years of modern art
  • A very short book on Art Theory
  • Continued reading Creative Vision
  • Finished watching the Disability Century

Oddly enough (and perhaps because of), despite the plethora of available talks, shows, etc on the web I am having great difficulty getting organised to watch them. Either they are at an awkward time (and I then forget to go back) or I just do not get my act together

  • Do a diary of things to watch
  • Actually watch them
  • Brief write up

Thinking and doing:

  • Almost finished A3, got an idea on the story and done lots of research
  • Had an idea for A4 (images and text) – using words generated by thought about my recently deceased mother
  • Continuing with the Coursera on Modern Art


  • Continuing with lockdown diary
    • Changed it slightly to be less rigid
    • Included more experimental photoshop work
    • addded in taking pics of people walking their dogs (a la Arnatt)
  • Started playing with calotypes
    • Started with pack of pre-done paper
    • Thinking about how to make my own
    • Collecting plant material on walks
    • Experimenting with microwave pressing – using cardboard

Regular reflections March 2 / April 1

This is an overlap March/ April. Things remain strange because of Covid and self-isolation. You would think that that would make it easier to work – but in practice my concentration is poor, and I am so easily distracted. Everybody is posting things to do, things to watch, virtual tours of museums and galleries – and its far to easy to flip from one thing to another rather than any serious thinking.

Reading (and watching):

  • I am re-reading Context and Narrative for background for A3
  • Still reading about general art theory to back up my woeful lack of knowledge
  • Finished this issue of Aperture – on House and Home – some interesting stuff on home especially the article on the work of Ed Panar Walking through Walker Evans
  • Lisa Barnard – The Canary and the Hammer – really fascinating documentary type work on the extort of gold. Shows how it is possible to interweave a multitude of threads into one coherent story, includes historical images and documents alongside Barnard’s own pictures and writing
  • Margaret Landsink – Borders of Nothingingness – On the Mend – a fascinating and beautiful book on her relationship with her daughter
  • Polly Bradon’s books on ASD and LD – relevant for redo of A2
  • Watched the James Fox series on art – The Age of the Image, absolutely fascinating and very useful. Will watch again and take some notes. Also need to follow the links to the OU about whether or not we can trust what we see.
  • Watched episode 1 of David Hevey’s documentary on Disability – absolutely harrowing.
  • Rebooked at work of Arbus in the context of disability
  • Started reading Creative Vision by Jeremy Webb. An old(ish) book, but really interesting for getting ideas of different ways of working

Thinking and doing:

  • Have managed to redo A2 using the ASD family images and written it up and posted on the back of my report from tutor – which was a fair but damming!
  • Working on sorting out my multiplicity of images on DWARF for A3
  • Missed the bi-weekly hangout for photography – I need to be much more organised and put them in my diary, so I remember them
  • Started on a Cousera course on modern art for more background understanding


  • Now working on a ‘Lockdown diary’ taking a daily series of images
    • Where I am in the house at 1200
    • Weather outside at 1200 (or as near as possible) taken of the sky and a tree from the same place
    • Screen shot of the news and the weather (also both at 1200)
    • A piece of still life, experimenting with different places, different methods and photoshop effects
    • If I manage outside – a picture that shows life in isolation, deserted park, one person in the distance etc
  • I am also linking this with a poem I have read and a story from 365 days



Regular Reflections- March 1

I am well behind with my updates at present because of the general world chaos! However, that dories not mean that I have not been plodding on. Social isolation is difficult, not just not seeing people but actually functioning in an ordered manner.


  • Project Cleansweep – fascinating and very scary book about military use of land in Britain
  • Marianne Hirsh – Family Frames, very dense book on memory and use of photo in memory work. Eventually finished it and made (very long) notes
  • Also re-read the work on the Hardman Collection by Keith Roberts
  • Daniel Chandlers work on the gaze – this was actually very helpful in my thinking process
  • Reading latest Aperture magazine – House and home – much of which is on architecture
  • Natural Light II (and some of the associated books)

Thinking and doing:

  • Spent a lot of time thinking about how I can do work with the present issues of social isolation. I am pretty much house bound at present, which makes taking pictures of people other than my long-suffering family very difficult. Maybe I need to invest in a very long lens and stand on the balcony!
  • I bought an old room screen that has decoupage (in a poor state) – which I am thinking about using as a backdrop for some inside images
  • Idea for a new project
    • Our local park has a lot of memorial benches. Can I take images of the benches and/or the nameplates and/or the settings and somehow use them in work about collective memory?
  • I attended the bi-weekly hangout for the photography course for the first time – interesting although just sat and listened today, it was useful though to be in contact with other people
  • Planned to attend the zoom on assignments – but missed it – that is the issue with the lack of structure. However, have downloaded to PDF and will look at the advice in detail


  • Spent the first week of isolation trying to take regular hourly inside images, using my mobile phone and a square format
    • Where I was in the house
    • A selfie
  • I found this harder to do than I expected as, even with using a timer I tended to forget to take the images, and also they tended to be very repetitive as I was mostly inside either in the living room or at my desk. However, I think this is a piece of work that could possibly be repeated, or even used as is for an example of moving/lining in a confined space
  • I also spent time playing with photoshop and layered all the selfies for each day together to make a composite image – this was definitely interesting. I would not say that they make me look my best – but interesting.
  • untitled (3 of 7)
  • Continued to take the images of DWARF that I will use for assignment 3. Good thing I did as I now cannot get them as closed for foreseeable future.
  • Took a series of images of son and husband for the gaze exercise. Remarkably difficult to get family to pose and do what you are asking rather than what they think you want!

Regular reflections -February 2


  • The Ballad of Sexual Dependency – I enjoyed it – although that is clearly the wrong word! Something I have been meaning to look at for a long time
  • Looked again at Family Secrets by Kuhn – made notes, this would use re-reading at a later date

Thinking and doing:

  • Zoom on reflective writing – written up separately, definitely something I need to practice
  • Started a spreadsheet on all my photobooks, partly to avoid duplications, partly to enable better note keeping


  • Just sat down and did assignment 2
    • Used the images I had taken for it and put aside
    • Contacted people online for opinions
    • Sent it all off to tutor
  • Met with another ASD adult to plan photography for long term project

Upshot is that I am feeling better and back on track even if I have to redo whole of A2.

Assignment 2 – Initial Thoughts (and problems)

For some reason this assignment has been one of the hardest I have tackled so far. Part of the reason has been outside issues – the weather, health, family deaths. However, part has been pure procrastination on my part.

I initially planned to use some images that I had taken when doing exercise 2.3  – Exercise 2.3 – Same model, different background using some of the other images of Martin and his wife, either inside the house or more close up portraits in the garden – however it didn’t really fit the brief. I did make it into a newspaper, which I am moderately pleased with, and which was an interesting experiment. See Newspaper trial

I then decided to try and take some images of an autistic boy (Sam). This got delayed over and over for practical reasons, and I couldn’t seem to get past it.  I then took some separate images of another autistic family – which seemed to work well.

But still I was stuck!

I finally decided to just do it, work up both sets of images and see what happened.

Learning points:

  • Read the brief carefully
  • Get on and take the photographs
  • Have a backup plan
  • Take risks – it might not be perfect (in fact, won’t be) – but just do it.
  • Spending too much time reading and researching the possibilities is only useful if you have infinite time

Regular Reflection – February 1



  • Finally took some pictures for Assignment 2, however they were probably the worst images I have taken in ages. The focus was not correct (no idea why), the background too complicated, his Mum liked them though!
    • Secondary to above I have now spent some time dying and painting a neutral backdrop to try out
  • Pictures of hands doing things for Exercise 3.2 – done.
  • On holiday for 2 weeks so lots of holiday images


  • Had a meeting with Julie to discuss her input into ASP project