Reflecting on the ‘intent’ of my work is an interesting way to look at it. After watching the video’s on the commercial aspect of the photographic domain, I am quite pleased not to be involved in that aspect of it. The business is far to gender and populous control oriented for my liking. However, I think no matter what one’s position in their practice is, some sort of control over the consumer needs to be exercised. Even as an artist, the works, pieces, or products, have to be sold in order to sustain one’s well being, so in the end it is all commercial in one form or another.

My work as an artist, (a word I never used before, but getting braver as I get further along in the MA takes a lot of courage.)  involves the mind. I have always been interested in creativity, success, failure, fear, challenges and obstacles with regards to art.  What it is, where it comes from, and why it favors some more than others more positively or negatively.  I would better have been a psychologist, but have ‘been chosen’ (another enigma) to figure it out through art.

I look at it from a spiritual, epistemological, and an ontological  perspective, trying to solve some of the most complex questions we as human beings need to answer.  For example, what is success exactly, what is creativity, can it be achieved, earned, or is one born with it, luck, inherited?  Is everyone creative? It’s a very scary question, and as yet has not been answered.

With my project ‘Fences’ I am attempting to figure ways to answer some of these questions, and  to cross personal creative barriers in my own work and creative live. mOne in particular is moving from realist photography to the abstract. Not necessarily completely abstract, limited only to form or color, but where the image is abstracted enough so that its iconography is challenged.

The problem I am encountering is that they are completely different languages (image and emotions)  emotions and abstractions such as fear, love, success, failure can be more easily expressed in words than by image. I am thinking of combining image with text to get my message across. I looked at the work of Kaylynn Deveney, Martha Rosler, and Chris Coekin (who was a guest lecturer this week)  who all use text to accompany the image. In Chris Coekin’s series titled “Blind Vision”  he has people who he photographed write what annoys them most about what they could not see, they wrote it down and he put it alongside their images. Thus the level of the image id taken to new level. Ironic how the test gives a ‘new vision’ to his images.

I am thinking of using text, I would never have done this before, however in doing research, I see other practitioners using it with great success. Words will never replace experience, however, I think it can bring a viewer closer to understanding what I am attempting to communicate, seemingly unable through image alone.

I have posted an image of one of my fences, and waiting for responses. I do have one so far from: Ella Rivett and she says:  “This makes me think of territories – with the wires and the odd shoe – I am sure that this is something to do with drug gangs (I might be wrong however) marking their territory as a warning to others? I have the feeling we are not allowed to go to the other side of the fence and enjoy the sunny countryside?

I find it interesting that she sees the beauty of the other side, and understands this boundary of the fence. Many people perceive it as a physical boundary alone, however the true boundary lies in the mind: warnings, not allowed, which all falls under the umbrella of fear.

A fence is a very simple boundary. This one above can easily be passed through, cut, jumped over, but we don’t do it. The fence itself is a signifier: all boundaries are simple, sometimes even inviting one through a hole cut in it, or a break. I am exploring this signifiers.


Webinar with Michelle, was interesting and insightful this week. Suggested that I stress the physical images of the fence, shoot at night/flash. Look at the works of Todd Hido.

One of the students mentioned that I am using it as an excuse.  Which is very interesting to me…  because it’s true. It’s time to ‘tear down’ the fence…’mentally.’ It’s time to get rid of the “Fences” in my life, it’s up to me, not to look for the “Hole” or the “Cut”  or the “Break” but to destroy it, the question is how?


This week draws to a close even more amazingly. I had a webinar with tutor Paul. Somehow the subject of Adventure Playgrounds surfaces. He tells me about theses places that existed in the UK when he was a kid and there where no rules as to what kids could do. How they used to bash up cars and burn tires and makes fires and totally destroy the place. Then they would build something new. And how he used to climb under the ‘fence’ at night to go play when the place was closed.   Fires, burnings, connotes new beginnings, the rise of the phoenix.

The whole aim of this module, is how to figure how to use and apply what we are reading and learning to out own practice:  Something clicked about fire and fences with me in Paul’s recount of his experience. He had passed from signifier to signified to referent.  As yet I have not experienced the referent, but remain stuck in the realm of the signifier.

This thing about fire interested me, and suddenly it dawned on me that’s the way the fence needs to be destroyed, (a sybolic fence, a mental fence.) The symbolic meaning of destroying by fire goes a long way, from the alchemists, to the modern day smelter, all impurities are removed. Tested by fire.


The end of the week. Been a fantastic week overall. Had a good webinar with Steph to-day giving us a heads up for the coming week on the gaze. For me, this particular module has really got the creative juices flowing, and today, did some experimenting with abstracting my fence series.

The real fence for me is a creative one. Finding a way to extrude the most out of photography without resorting to gimmicks and using other people work on which to build. I have never liked that. Be it appropriation, intertextual, homage, or however it is coated.

There has to be a connection with the transcendent Other and for me, until that day comes I will be trying to convince and persuade my self that nothing is new, that everything is built on something else.   For 99% of this I agree, however, I still believe there are instances where the creature and the creator meet: (the doldrums is one area this happens, the shadow another.) That reaching out of Adam to God in the Sistine chapel, is exactly what this is about. There is a desire of a true creative connection with the Divine.  The rest is a pale transformation, appropriation, homage, borrowing or theft.

Photo credit: History.com



Chris Coekin: http://www.chriscoekin.com/index.php?/ongoing/blind-vision/

Kaylynn Deveney https://kaylynndeveney.com/the-day-to-day-life-of-albert-hastings

Martha Rossler:  https://johnnyc1959.wordpress.com/2009/03/22/martha-rosler-the-bowery-in-two-inadequate-descriptive-systems/

Ella Rivett: https://flex.falmouth.ac.uk/courses/202/users/900

Sistine Chapel: https://www.history.com/news/7-things-you-may-not-know-about-the-sistine-chapel


I would like to take my practice further than just making or taking an image for the sake of it.  Being a farmer or a hunter of photography is very important to understand.

Continue reading Week-4-Contexual-Reseach.