Lecture 9: Photography and the ‘big screen’

Digital technology has changed the way we look at the still image, we can easily switch between photo and video, even on our phones.

News- still and moving image.

Video of empty room – same as still image.

Time, memory, how cameras articulate time. Archival technology- any point of history available instantly. Cultural, collective memory/identity.

Chris Marker- film essays

Subjects – place, ideas such as the future. Unravelling of things.

Creates them mostly on his own – created around 60.

Sunless – one of his most popular films – especially for photographers. Is about letter, a poetic reflection of how images are made.

La Jetée – we watched this film during the lecture, which was 29 minutes long. Marker believes that a film should be as long as it needs to be. This one is too short to be a full length film and too long to be a short film.

La Jetée discusses the fragility of memory and was made using an SLR camera, throughout the film there’s only one section with moving image, the rest are still images which have been filmed.

The film is available on DVD.

A critics poll of the best films shows almost all films which are to do with memory.

Number one film is Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo which was part of Markers inspiration for La Jetée, which was last on the list.

Both of these films were ahead of their time, in a time when you’d only be able to see films in the cinema and then you wouldn’t be able to see them again, both Hitchcock and Marker made films which need to be watched more than once. Each watch is different, you will notice something different each time.

La Jetée has an orchestral soundtrack, in the credits the film is called a photo story.

In Europe and South America films came with publications with them, they were cheap and came as souvenirs. This could be seen as a point of reference for La Jetée and does have a page based version.

Now films are their own souvenirs because of how we can watch them repeatedly.

Bruce Mao created a book version of the film and Marker sent him the images for it.

William Klein is in the photo story and also was the English voice over for La Jetée.


Lecture 8: Polly Braden

For Polly Braden’s talk she showed us a selection of different pieces of work, to show a variety of different ways she’s worked in the industry.

Firstly she spoke of her project Made in China (2003). Travelling to China Braden stayed with six girls at a factory which made shoes for companies such as Topshop and Clarks. The women and men lived in two different blocks. The workers do get paid for over time, however two of the women went on a food strike because the pay wasn’t enough. Some of the factory workers were also imprisoned over a dispute over pay. The women who showed Braden around the factory and acted as her guide was Ho Ping, the workers have to move into the factory away from their family, and only see them once a year.

She also spoke of China Between (2005-2009) this was created over several years and is a bigger body of work. A lot of her work has been based in china, and this is based on it’s street life. Previously Braden’s work has been shot using medium format, but China Between was shot using a Canon EOS 5D II. During the time Braden was there she had a six week residency where she worked teaching at a university.

Polly Braden mostly shoots for magazines mostly, and showed us some of the spreads she has done such as, England’s Woman’s Cricket Team. Magazines she has shot for include the Telegraph and ICON Magazine. An editor Braden has worked with a lot in the past is Sally Williams.

Another piece of work Braden spoke of was London’s Square Mile on her powerpoint she put dates 2006-2015 and on her website it just has 2014. She did however say that it is an ongoing piece of work, because the area is changing so much, each time she shoots their it’s different and so the style changes. To shoot the work she used a digital medium format camera. Some advice she gave the class was to not share our work until you feel it’s complete. She wanted to make a book with this work but ended up sharing parts of it instead, which were shown in different magazine, including The Guardians Big Picture segment.

One of her most successful books was Great Interactions which was created on assignment. This work was exhibited and there is a book. Her most recent book was created with David Campany titled Adventures in Lea Valley (2016) this consists of photograph her and Campany took along the Lea Valley.

Overall I found Polly Braden’s talk very influential, her work is very interesting, she’s a fantastic photographer but and seems to be able to connect with her subjects really well.


Lecture 6: The Editor as Author

What to do in a world full of images (philosophical question). Photographer, curator, art director, graphic designer, all different kinds of practices.

David Campany, Rich and Strange, Chopped Liver Press, 2012 (edition of 100 copies)
Photographer Unknown, Press agency print, London, 1932

  • Details of one photograph
  • Anonymous photographer who took the image.
  • Has Alfred Hitchcock in it.
  • Found at a market.
  • Has lots of information.

Gasoline published by MACK, 2013

  • 1979 waiting for gas, relation to work politics.
  • First half images, last half backs of the images previously shown.
  • Image used for ad campaign for movie streaming sight.

‘…in a world in which we are entertained from cradle to grave, whether we like it or not, the ability to rework image and dialogue … may be the key to both psychic and political health.’

Colin MacCabe, Godard: a portrait of the artist at 70, 2004

  • Philosophical montage
  • Copied movie clips – no copyright for video at the time.

Marcel Duchamp – urinal placed as object and titled it Fountain called it an example of his ‘Readymades’.
Art selection/nomination – challenged idea of craft (first artist to be unoriginal)
Ontological question – “what is art?”
First one has been lost. Alfred Steiglitz photographed it, the photograph appeared in the journal ‘Blind Man’.

Can a photograph be ‘Readymade’ in the same way?

Jeff Wall essays – thinks not. Depiction, Object, Event, 2006.
Thinks that photography is artwork to begin with, believes it can’t be readymade.

Duchamp described his 1919 altered reproduction of da Vinci’s Mona Lisa as an ‘assisted readymade’.
– Reproduction and adds to it.
– Wall didn’t think it’s an assisted readymade, believes a readymade is physically moving something from one place to another.

Ed Ruscha, Twentysix Gasoline Stations, 1962

Ruscha framed them simply, in the middle distance. It was perfunctory subject matter, recorded perfunctorily. Some have called it ‘deadpan’ or ‘de- skilled’. Ruscha saw his pictures as “an extension of Marcel Duchamp’s Readymade in photographic form”. Their style, or anti-style made them look as if they might have been real estate photos or snapshots found and reused. No poetry, no expression, no comment, just plain visual statements. “The photography by itself doesn’t mean anything to me; it’s the gas

station that’s the important thing”


  • Snapshots, anonymous and boring as the gasoline stations themselves.
  • “Extension of readymade”

Mike Mandel & Larry Sultan, Evidence (book 1977, reissued 2003)
The artists looked through 1.5 million images in police, medical, scientific, industrial and fire department archives. 59 were stripped of any accompanying text and arranged in a classic-looking photo book (one to a spread, no text).

  • Number two in Source Magazines list of best photography books.

1981 Sherrie Levine After Walker Evans. Photographs already famous in art history.
No alterations, best reproduction she can find.
Walker Evans First and Last, 1978. Evans labelled as modern master – among many white men taking images of poverty. Commissioned, four portraits of Allie Mae Burroughs. One belongs to Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. USA.
All versions in circulation.

1938, Walker Evans, American Photographs
– Need to be read in sequence – has a specific arrangement.
– One image per spread. Representation of representation. World full of images. Artless, documentation – straight forward.
– Installation in 1938, locked himself in the gallery to change the arrangement of the images as they were done wrong.

Doug Rickard, A New American Picture.
– Title reference to Robert Frank, etc.
– In relation to Mishka Henner’s No Man’s Land, around the same time.
– Addition of 100
– Interested in the history of photography.
– Google Street View selections as ‘street photography.
– Not in control of timing – not ‘decisive moment’.
– Can choose framing and place.
– 35mm shot of flat screen computer. See dots, sense how it was made.
– One image to a page.

Found Photos in Detroit by Arianna Arcara and Luca Santese, Cesura Publishing, 2012.

“We found these photos on the streets of Detroit. We took them and started to sift between the thousands of Polaroids, letters, prints of photographic evidence, police documents, mugshots and family albums. This is a selection of the archive Found photos in Detroit 2009-2010. “

  • City of ruins.
  • Images found in Police Stations – been shut down.
  • Frames made individually for each set of images when exhibited.

The Significant Savages book by Grégoire Pujade-Lauraine

“The book exploits an arbitrary selection of Facebook profile images in which alternative artefacts are represented instead of the person: seascapes, forests; dogs and horses and cats; cars, bikes or fancy boats; cities, socks and shells, galaxies.”

(publisher’s website blurb. RVB Books)

  • Peoples Facebook profile pictures, but not of themselves.

Album Pacifica book by Mohini Chandra, 2002.

  • Gathered photographs from family albums from all around the world.
  • Back of the pictures.
  • Printed actual size.
  • Exhibited in two different ways. 1. Cloud, domestic frames, feels withholding. 2. Large prints, scanned and blown up.

Killed by William E. Jones

a book of censored photographs from the Farm Security Administration archive (1930s). Roy Stryker, director of the FSA photography project had many negatives ‘killed’ with a hole punch. But not destroyed.They remain in the archive. Jones publishes these images for the first time.The project began as a search for signs of gay culture in 1930s America but soon expanded.

  • What was he objecting to? Not destroyed entirely.
  • Scanned at high resolution, team scanned them all.

Holy Bible by Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, MACK Book, 2013

“Right from the start, almost every appearance he made was catastrophic… Catastrophe is his means of operation, and his central instrument of governance.’
Adi Ophir, ‘Divine Violence’ (included in the back of the book)

  • Bible re-written several times. Downloaded PDF of Bible. Images over the text.
  • Cambridge University owns the rights.
  • Violence of text, archive of modern conflict.
  • Printed the book to look like the Bible.
  • Lots of interviews on it.

Essential reading:

Blake Stimson, The Pivot of the World (MIT Press, 2007). See especially Stimson’s introduction (on Blackboard) as well as the chapter on Robert Frank’s book The Americans.

Lecture 5 The Photobook: a Renaissance

New technology gets over thought – when internet began it was thought that all printed matter would be obsolete.

Photography: darkrooms will go, not need to print anymore, will all become digital.

Photography being re-birthed, more photobooks being made now than ever before. Why is this? Reaction to screens, photography’s intimate relationship with the page. Have control over it, unlike magazine. Photography went straight to the page rather than wall.


The very first photographically illustrated book:

Anna Atkins self-published her photograms of algae in the first instalment of Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions in October 1843

Books have become subject to study – books on books. Photography theory on books was hard to find in early 2000s. Critics and theorists didn’t think it needed thinking about (last dozen years).

Internet shows the quality of the book and television gave old movies a new lease of life.

The internet is a lot of things put together – includes television. When new technology comes, it adds previous technology to it, rather than replacing it.

What is a ‘photobook’? Is it event a category?

‘The compound noun ‘photobook’ is a nifty little invention, designed to turn an infinite field (books with photographs in them) into something much more definable. What chancer would dare try to coin the term ‘wordbook’ to make a category of all books with words in them? But here we are. The field needs a name and until we find a better one we’re stuck with ‘photobook’.’
David Campany, ‘So what is a “photobook”?’, Source magazine n. 79, Summer 2014

Photobook Review, published by Aperture.

“The term ‘photobook’ is recent. It hardly appears in writings and discussions before the twenty-first century. This is surprising given that some of the various kinds of objects it purports to designate have been around since the 1840s. It seems that makers and audiences of photographic books did not require the term to exist. Indeed they might have benefitted from its absence. Perhaps photographic book making was so rich and varied precisely because it was not conceptualized as a practice with a unified name. So does the advent of the term ‘photobook’ mark some kind of change?”

“There was little serious writing on the subject of photographically illustrated books throughout what was arguably the most important period for the form: 1920 to 1970. In that half century, when so many remarkable and important books were published, barely a single intelligent essay was written about them. For example, August Sander’s Antlitz der Zeit (The Face of Our Time, 1929) and Atget: Photographe de Paris (1930) received almost no critical attention, beyond a few lines from Walter Benjamin and Walker Evans. Today they are among the most discussed. Even Robert Frank’s The Americans (1958/9) attracted little serious commentary when it first appeared (although there were plenty of ranting column inches, for and against).

For all the sophistication of the photographs, the design, editing and printing techniques; and for all the nuanced grasp of how a book of photographs might contribute to its cultural moment, or become a complex document, something seemed to elude critics and commentators. It’s as if it was only once photographically illustrated printed matter had begun to be eclipsed by television, video and later the Internet that it could come under close scrutiny.“

David Campany, The ‘Photobook’: What’s in a name?
THE PHOTOBOOK REVIEW #007, APERTURE, WINTER, 2014 http://davidcampany.com/the-photobook-whats-in-a-name/

1 The Americans, Robert Frank, 1958.

2 Evidence, Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel, 1977.

3 The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, Nan Goldin, 1986.

4 New York, William Klein, 1956.

5= In Flagrante, Chris Killip, 1988.

5= Farewell Photography, Daido Moriyama, 1972.

7 Ravens, Masahisa Fukase, 1986.

8 The Map, Kikuji Kawada, 1965.

9= Diane Arbus: An Aperture Monograph, 1972.

9= Sentimental Journey, Nobuyoshi Araki, 1971.

9= William Eggleston’s Guide, 1976.

9= For a language to come, Takuma Nakahira, 1970.

13= American Photographs, Walker Evans, 1938.

13= The Decisive Moment, Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1952.

13= Waffenruhe, Michael Schmidt, 1987.

16= Redheaded Peckerwood, Christian Patterson, 2012.

16= U-NI-TY, Michael Schmidt, 1996.

Certainly before the widespread acceptance of photography by museums and galleries, books were a central means of expression for photographers.

Often a book is not merely a ‘vehicle’ for the photographs, rather the book ‘is’ the work itself.

The making of any photographic book requires expertise not only in photography but also in graphic design, writing, editing/sequencing, publishing technologies and much more.

Book as primary vehicle, sequencing, print quality, font, some just albums.
– Jeff Wall: Never took photobook seriously and always sees his images going straight to the wall.

Examples of books studying book:

  • Andrew Roth, The Book of 101 Books (2001)
  • Martin Parr and Gerry Badger, The Photobook: a History, Volumes I, II and III (2004, 2005 and 2014)
  • Jörg Coldberg, Understanding Photobooks (2016)
  • Imprint: Visual Narratives in Books and Beyond (2014)

Once a book is gone it’s usually gone, but some books due to popularity get re-issued.

  • Stephen Shore, Merced River, Nazraeli Press, 2006
    When working with 8×10, can’t see entire screen at the same time, see pictures within picture (sub pictures).

Between documents and fictions

  • Cristina De Middel, The Afronauts (2012)

    Created lots of discussion online The Photographers Gallery wouldn’t stock the book because it was seen to be racist.

  • Zoe Leonard and Cheryl Dunye, The Fae Richards Photo Archive (1996)

    Looks like archival photographs, a life story being told. Beginning – domestic servant to Jazz musician, number of relationships (homosexual and biracial) – ends showing her dying alone.
    All fictional, discusses the issue of white lives being shown more than black lives in archival photographs.

  • Christian Patterson, Luc Sante and Karen Irvine, Redheaded Peckerwood, (2011)

    Redheaded Peckerwood is a work with a tragic underlying narrative – the story of 19 year old Charles Starkweather and 14 year old Caril Ann Fugate who murdered ten people, including Fugate’s family, during a three day killing spree across Nebraska to the point of their capture in Douglas, Wyoming. The images record places and things central to the story, depict ideas inspired by it, and capture other moments and discoveries along the way.
    From a technical perspective, the photographs incorporate and reference the techniques of photojournalism, forensic photography, image appropriation, reenactment and documentary landscape photography. On a conceptual level, they deal with a charged landscape and play with a photographic representation and truth as the work deconstructs a pre-existing narrative.
    Redheaded Peckerwood also utilizes and plays with a pre- existing archive of material, deliberately mixing fact and fiction, past and present, myth and reality as it presents, expands and re-presents the various facts and theories surrounding this story.
    While photographs are the heart of this work, they are the complemented and informed by documents and objects that belonged to the killers and their victims – including a map, poem, confession letter, stuffed animal, hood ornament and various other items, in several cases, these materials are discoveries first made by the artist and presented here for the first time.

Reconsidering the representation of war and conflict

  • Gilles Peress, Telex Iran (1983)

    Still significant, style of photojournalism which focuses more on the social and psychological effects rather than the event itself.

  • Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger, Infidel, (2010)


  • Jaqueline Hassink, The Table of Power, (1996)

    A study of the boardrooms of the world’s most powerful corporations.
    Inserted black pages where consent was denied, acknowledging it.
    Very small book.
    Includes information about the tables at the back of the book including dimensions, where it was bought and if it was made specifically for that room.

  • Taryn Simon, An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar, 2008

    Places the public are not allowed to see.

  • Florian van Roekel, How Terry Likes His Coffee, 2010

    Photographing boring office life, generic, could be any workplace, images feel quite cinematic.

  • Jules Spinatsch, Temorary Discomfort Chapter I-V: Davis, Evian, Geneva, New York, Genoa, 2005

    A study of the world economic summits.

  • Mark Neville, Port Glasgow book project 2005

    Mark Neville’s project was the result of a public art commission, but instead of making a public sculpture, or publicly displayed images, Neville produced a documentary photographic book.
Copies were given directly to each of the 7000 residents of Port Glasgow. It was never available commercially.
    Not all the residents liked the book, some of them were burned due to religious reasoning.

  • Dana Lixenberg, Imperial Courts, 1993 – 2015

    In 1992, Dana Lixenberg travelled to South Central Los Angeles for a magazine story on the riots that erupted following the verdict in the Rodney King trial. What she encountered inspired her to revisit the area, and led her to the community of the Imperial Courts housing project in Watts. Returning countless times over the following twenty-two years, Lixenberg gradually created a collaborative portrait of the changing face of this community. Over the years, some in the community were killed, while others disappeared or went to jail, and others, once children in early photographs, grew up and had children of their own. In this way, Imperial Courts constitutes a complex and evocative record of the passage of time in an underserved community.

Extended Journalism

The book form allows for ambitious projects, often in images and writing, that have the complexity of long-form journalism or novels. Such books may take the reader a long weekend to fully absorb. Some examples:

  • Alixandra Fazzina, A Million Shillings – Escape from Somalia, 2010

    Photographs and text by Fazzina, following the fate of economic refugees fleeing Somalia by boat.
    Learn a lot about their situations.

  • Mitch Epstein, Family Business, 2003

    His Fathers generation, post war. Writes his own text, publishers didn’t make any changes.

Lyric documentary / street photography

(The term ‘lyric photography’ comes from Walker Evans)

  • Ricardo Cases, Paloma al aire, 2011
    A study of pigeon racing in Valencia and Murcia, Spain. Uses spiral binding to advantage.

Photography and process exploration of materiality

  • Jason Evans, NYLPT, 2012
    Double exposing photographs from different places. All image are an accident, will just grab a used film.
  • Maurice Sheltens & Liesbeth Abbenes, Unfolded, 2012
    Commercial design and fashion photographers, exhibit work and make books.
    Revisiting commercial work.


  • Jenny Saville and Glen Luchford, Closed Contact, 2002
    Saville’s work is very ‘fleshy’. Used glossy paper. Body on to glass.
  • Daniela Rossell, Rich and Famous, 2008
    Portraits of the mega rich – mostly women, doesn’t always photograph the source of the money.
    Women who were photographed were not happy with the representation, perhaps thought the images would be in magazines such as Felt betrayed due to the context of the exhibition and book.

Small idea, small book:

John Divola, As Far as I Could Get
Sets the timer on his camera and runs as far as he can before the shutter releases.

Essential Reading:

Darius Himes, ‘Who Cares About Books?’, in Alex Klein, ed, Words without Pictures, LACMA, 2009. On Blackboard.


Lecture 5: Photography in the Expanded Field

During this lecture, we were questioning what the medium photography is in the wake of digitisation. Is there an expansion of traditional notions of photography?

It was also to show us how you can take a body of work and analyse it when thinking of our dissertations.

The main theory we looked at was expanded field by George Baker. Baker refers to photography as an art medium.

Rosalind Krauss is also discussed in relation to medium specificity and her theory that it has been ‘abandoned’ and ‘spells the death of serious art.’ (Krauss, 2010).

Rosalind Krauss, Perpetual Inventory, Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2010, pp.xiii-xiv.

George Baker –

  • ‘Everywhere one looks today in the world of contemporary art, the photographic object seems to be an object in crisis, or at least in severe transformation’
  • George Baker, ‘Photography’s Expanded Field’, October, 114, Fall 2005, p.121.

There is not just a shift, but photography is in crisis and that there is a new importance in art.

The first photographer mentioned is Sherrie Levine and After Walker Evans no.4, 1981.

  • Work shows a shift away from artist as maker, rather representing work/copying. Playing with the idea of authorship.

Next we explored different photographers that have used an expansion to photography.

References to Andy Warhol, 5 Deaths, 1963  and Jean-Luc Godard, Weekend, 1967.

Ingrid Hölzl

‘With digital image processing, post-production has become the principal site of photographic image production, where recorded and calculated images are merged into what I will call augmented documents. The augmented document emphasises not only the hybrid temporality of contemporary society but also the hybrid temporality of its representation, displaying a possible present where different space–times coexist’.

Ingrid Hölzl ‘Blast-off Photography’, History of Photography, Feb 2011.

  • Need to expand what photography is.

Nancy Davenport, WORKERS (Leaving the Factory), 2005-8.

Allan Sekula, Fish Story, 1996.

  • Same subject (globalisation) but staying with traditional documentary.
  • Artists able to work with subjects without using major production.


Andreas Gursky, Montparnasse, 1993.

  • Embracing post production.


Philip-Lorca diCorcia, New York, 1993.

  • Recoded with cinema technology. Tableau but street not cinema.


David Claerbout, Vietnam 1967, near Duc Pho (reconstruction after Hiromishi Mine), 2001. Single channel video projection.

  • Large tableau, are prjections with slight movement.


Based on C-7 Caribou aircraft hit by friendly fire, Vietnam, August 1967.


  • Hybrid. Gives a sense of time.

Sharon Lockhart, Goshogaoka, 1997. (details)


  • Looks like sport. Shot against black background.
  • Staged but looks spontaneous.
  • Combining sport and art.
  • Lighting style comes from paintings.

Gabriel Orozco, Yielding Stone, 1992.

  • Images and object (plasticine) history of object.
  • Asterisms, 2012.
  • Collect waste objects washed up from New York and Mexico. Embodiment, tactile and seeing. Expansion of photography. Relationship between USA and Mexico.
Gabriel Orozco, Yielding Stone, 1992.
Gabriel Orozco, Asterisms, 2012

Rachel Harrison, Valid like Salad, 2012. Mixed media.

  • Photography and sculpture. What we mean by medium and expanding. Image incorporated into it.


Thomas Demand, Control Room, 2011.

  • Sculpture, destroys it after photograph. Final photograph is all that’s left of the sculpture. Expand in term of space. Materiality.

Erin Shirreff, Signatures, 2011.

  • 3D quality due to the light. Coming from different media.


Erin Shirreff, Lake, 2012.


Erin Shirreff, UN, 2010.

Kelly Richardson, The Erudition, 2011 (video installation)

Heather and Ivan Morison: Dark Star, 2009.

  • Moving image and still image.
  • Made at a travelers site – new age.
  • Related to alien abductions UFO sightings.
  • http://vimeo.com/52501604


Shannon Ebner, USA, 2003, from the series ‘Dead Democracy Letters’, 2002-6.

  • Interested in the relationship between image and language. Makes political statements.
  • Abuse of American Dream.
  • Inserted into LA, iconic landscapes, cinema sets.



Robert Frank, from the series The Americans, 1959.

  • Iconic take on American commercial and consumerist culture. Decline of American Dream.



  • Backwards Hollywood sign and sunset. Clique image.

Essential Reading:
Baker, George, ‘Photography’s Expanded Field’, October 114, Fall 2005, pp.120-140.

Lecture 4: Edgar Martins

Edgar Martins works on both long-term commissions and personal projects, he’s created work using night photography, architectural photography and also studies institutions which is guided by his interest in philosophy to do with the character and paradoxes of the medium.
Not only has he published more than a dozen books but he has also exhibited his photographs internationally.

He combines analogue and digital to expand the possibilities of photography.

On his website (http://www.edgarmartins.com) Martins has twenty different pieces of work he has created over the years. During his talk he tried to cover most of the projects he has worked on, but mainly wanted to focus of his newest work Siloquies and Soliloquies on Death, Life and Other Interludes (2016). Within the information for this project found on Martins’s website he states that “This project attempts to understand our relationship to death, particularly violent death (namely suicide), and photography’s role in this process.”. His work is also a note to how the media has an inability to represent death.

Shown above are just a few examples from the series of images, in the work he also includes archival images, and various objects and evidence to do with deaths.
The paper plane shown on the left was inspired by a person who through one out of their prison window. In his most recent exhibition of the work he created an installation of the paper planes.

Destinerrance: The Place of the Dead is the Place of Photography at Centro de Arte José de Guimarães, Guimarães (Portugal) (2017)

I thought this was a very effective an interesting way to display this piece of work, a paper plane is such a physical object, made to be picked up and thrown that it does not impact the viewer by just seeing it through a photograph.

The photograph of the rope, shown in the centre, comes as part of a series of its own. It was only in his most recent exhibition that they were even a part of the exhibited work.

Destinerrance: The Place of the Dead is the Place of Photography at Centro de Arte José de Guimarães, Guimarães (Portugal) (2017)

They were displayed in a darkened room on their own. In a way these images are the most sensitive and intimate out of all his work shown within this project, and I can understand why it is only now that he has decided to show them. These are ropes which people have used to commit suicide, they’re never shown in the media but are just put away in evidence. The images are very powerful, through having a black background you are forced to see them, they are not photographed to be ignored.

The image to the right of the rope, shows a crumpled piece of paper. This was inspired by the creases found on suicide notes which Martins has recreated and photographed.
Within his exhibitions the work is shown with text which Martins has not made available online. The text he uses is interchangeable and can be put next to any of his pieces of work.

It was amazing to see all of the work Edgar Martins has created, seeing how he has explored the medium of photography in different ways throughout the years, always trying something new.


Lecture 4: Dissertation Preparation

10,000 word written project on a freely formulated topic in/on photography.
Structured into chapters.
Includes an introduction and conclusion.
Can be 2-5 chapters long.

Broken down:
Introduction – 1000 words
Conclusion – 1000 words
8000 left for chapters = 2700 words for each chapter

All chapters relate to the same thing (same research)

Tutors will not proof read the draft
Publishing Trading Centre
– proof reading services we can use to look over our dissertations for spelling, structure, grammar issues before submitting.

Use Harvard referencing


  • Try and write what you’re doing in your dissertation in the introduction (can you summarise it in the first sentence?).
  • Have a focussed path.
  • Use a very limited set of key concepts (dissertation examples show this well)
  • How many images? Enough to address your topic. For example if you were doing it on mass production you would need to include a lot of imagery.

Questions to ask when trying to think of a topic:

  • What are you interested in?
  • Photographers?
  • Literature?

What should be included in the proposal:

  • What we want to tackle.
  • Research.
  • How we plan to use it.
  • Related to visual case studies.

Example dissertation marks:

Reporting from the Bushes, The photograph’s version of events
Mark: 67

Still Time for the Moving Image
Mark: 72
Comments: Ambitious, interesting area of visual culture. Spelling/grammar.

Dialogue and the burden of representation. Perspectives from the work of Alfredo Jaar and Susan Meiselas
Mark: 80
Comments: Ambitious, showed independent thinking. Alternative reading of exhibition. Structured, resolves the issue.


Lecture 3: Photography and the Wall: A Modern Story?

Photography Exhibited

Not so much about the subject matter, but photograph as an object (object and image).

  • Exhibitions began almost as soon as it was invented.

Hippolyte Bayard 1839

  • Didn’t know how they were being presented (put on board).
  • Medium as art and documentation of art.
  • Did it as a fundraiser. First campaigning show/charity work?

Fox Talbot

  • Birmingham (first in Britain).
  • Mat Collishaw recreating Talbot using visual reality. Photo London.
  • 1850s – more photography clubs, associations.

First image of photography exhibition

  • They fit as many photographs on a wall as possible.
  • Sunlight came from ceiling.
  • Catalogue was a list of the images shown.
  • Stereoscope’s on the tables (was a craze).
  • The Victoria and Albert museum bought many of the photographs. Displayed the photographs and stereoscopes.

Woodcut illustration

  • Portrait studio
  • Middle class have their portraits taken.
  • Images of what you could have.

Photography as a ‘universal archive’ of the democratic.

  • Film und Foto – first international exhibition.
  • Photography connected to cinema than modern painting.
  • Not many installation images.
  • Lots of different photography in the show (scientific/fine art).
  • Not just art medium but mass medium.
  • Space to bring together all kinds of photography.


  • Requiring prints of certain sizes.
  • Film and cinema, hard to display in an exhibition, would show them in local cinemas.
  • Built black boxes for viewing the films within the exhibition.
  • Sequence of film stills.
  • Restaged many times.

Road to Victory (MoMA)

  • Americas involvement in WWII.
  • Socially engaged photographers work.
  • Displays related to magazine design.

The Family of Man

  • Different kit frames. Can be adjusted to different spaces.
  • East/west tension. All the same, trying to avoid politics.

Family Groups

  • Chateau (BBC series)
  • Photographers not happy with how their images were shown – aid visual argument on humanity.
  • View as part of social group.
  • Threat and promise at end of show (explosion and UW)

The Family of Man was the most visited exhibition.

  • Parallels between magazine layout and other ways of presented (book and film).
  • Audience overwhelmed by it – way images were put together.
  • Photographers not happy about this – didn’t know how they were going to be used.

“Public photographic spaces”

“As Jorge…”

“By the 1960s…”

Suspicion of images as mass manipulation.

Establishing popular opinion.

Robert Rauschenberg

  • Doesn’t quite add up, make your own mind up.

Andy Warhol

  • Produced by FBI pamphlet.
  • Not for the public in very public space.
  • Warhol took it down within 24 hours.
  • Only known photograph of work.

Seth Seigelaub

  • What is an exhibition/catalogue without one another? See the catalogue but not the show.
  • All you see is the catalogue on the table.


One to one: Image has to be the same size as what it’s of.

Victor Burgin – (path in B&W)

  • Work has instructions. Proportions, can be made any size.
  • ICA, being installed, can only be shown in gallery it’s installed in. Has to go and install himself.
  • Art institute – Invited him to present the work, but insisted their technicians could do it, but didn’t do it correctly.
  • Due to it being new flooring panels, the sun changed the colour of them, apart from the section covered by Burgin’s work and is now permanently there.
  • Never been shown again.

Harry ?

  • Picture of part of museum, displayed in secret.

Mason Williams

  • Life size photograph of a bus. Can be folded into a box.


Michael Fried

  • “In why photography…”
  • Photographs wanted to make them specific to gallery size.
  • Things represented in the correct way if you stand in the correct place.
  • “Fried suggests…” “But it was not only scale…”

Andreas Gursky

Main influence Jeff Wall – most ambitious.

Jell Wall

  • Life scale, not ‘big’.
  • Viewing distance and distance between camera and subject.
  • ‘The Story Teller’
  • Different viewing experiences.
  • Not all large, just correct size (life scale).
  • Monet – Courtaud Gallery, London, positioned too high, should be eye height.

Jeff Walls First catalogue, how it was installed and influences. Size and light box written in catalogue, to show how it was presented. Only page reproduction shown.

(Jeff Wall ‘Picture for Women)


  • Number of different formats.
  • ‘Men Waiting’ waiting for work (cash in hand, called cash corners).
  • Told them he was taking their picture, but didn’t like the corner they were on.
  • Paid them their morning rate, took them to a different corner.
  • Photograph was shown the same size it they would be if you were on the opposite corner.

Work in different contexts, functions in different ways.

Hannah Collins

  • Different kinds of scale since 80s.
  • 5×4 fibre based paper.
  • Trimming in gallery and nailed to the wall (like curtains).
  • House size piece, all her own prints at this time.

Large scale photographic prints.

Exhibited in colour. Hand coloured black and white image 100 years ago.

Between Photography and Sculpture

George Blakely

  • Youth worked at Disneyland ‘cubic foot photographs.

George Rousse

  • Photographic print, painted the space.
  • Used a slid projector on the space, traced it out and painted.
  • Replaced the projector with the camera to make sure it was in the correct place.

Between Page and Wall

Gallery 29

  • Stieglitz ‘Camera Work’
  • To establish photography, serious publication as well as exhibition space.

Kelly Lyran

  • Restaged it based on photograph, everything was black and white and shot at the same angle as Stieglitz.

Robert Frank

  • The Americans – made for the page.
  • No benefit looking at work on the wall as it was made to be a book.

Richard Avedon

  • Page based on photograph.
  • Moved to exhibitions (commissioned work).
  • American West – informal way of exhibiting.

Rinko Kawauchi

  • 10-15 years’ worth of book projects (books taken more seriously in Japan).
  • Natural infinity with the page.
  • Offered to exhibit, not very good at it.

Roni Horn

  • Gallery and books.
  • You are the Weather every day for a moth, only change the weather.
  • Book – roughly the size of your own face, very intimate.
  • Gallery – shown in the same size.
  • Same project in different ways, presents sections of different days.

Wolfgang Tillman

  • (all different prints on slide) Serpentine Gallery.
  • ‘Swarm’ intelligence – David Evans.

Fiona Tan

  • Different countries/cities, invites people to send in family albums. City portrait.
  • Framed (domestic scale) size (6×4) average size for albums.


  • Checked baggage
  • Every item confiscated over 24-hour period.
  • As many copies of the book as there were confiscated items.
  • Heightened security.
  • Simple was of displaying.

Sophie Ristelhauber

  • Oil fields, traces of things left behind.
  • Small book, can’t tell the scale of the image.



  • ‘Daily exhaustion’ Pictures after the gym. Zine given away for free.
  • Background same as t-shirt.
  • Taking down of the installation – next shows work.

Networks, the electronic image and exhibition

  • Exhibition – away from culture, reflect how images work there. Electronics not replacing.
  • The media wall at The Photographers gallery. Dedicated curator of digital/wed specifics. Screen related to world of the internet.

Erik Kessels

  • Prints of every image uploaded to Flickr in a day.
  • Making them material objects.

Jules Spinatsch

  • 24-hours panorama. Live linked to gallery in Switzerland. Send and printed out. Growing gallery space 24 hours in completely different country.

Range of exploration, photography doesn’t have a surface. Never fixed way of showing photography, no standard way. Presentation affects the work. Paper, sequence, ink all contributes.

Essential reading:

Boris Groys, ‘Politics of Installation’ http://www.e-flux.com/journal/02/68504/politics-of-installation/

Lecture 3: Karl Blossfeldt New Objectivity or Metaphysical Purposiveness?

Information on dissertation:

  • Single case study of photographer can aid a full dissertation.
  • Can be done on just one photographer.
  • Biographies not what they want in a dissertation (unless needed).

In 1928 Blossfeldt published ‘Urformen der Kunst’ (Artforms in Nature)

  • The book becomes an international success very quickly with editions in Germany, England, France and Sweden.
  • The recognition leads Blossfeldt to publish another volume of plant photographs in 1932.

The association between Blossfeldt’s images and New Objectivity is largely due to Karl Nierendorf’s intervention in Blossfeldt’s career.

New Objectivity: relates to painting and photography. Looking at the world, not just inside the artist.

Nierendorf sees Blossfeldt’s images in a small exhibition probably in the corridors of the art school of the Kunstgewerbemuseum.

  • Clay modelling from plants, began his photography.
  • Photographs for students, teaching material.
Albert Renger-Patzsch, Die Welt ist schön (The World is Beautiful), 1928.
  • Modernist and Blossfeldt – very close assosciation.

August Sander, from People of the 20th Century, 1910–1950s.

Karl Blossfeldt, selected images, 1890s onwards.

  • Sanders archival way of working is similar to Blossfeldt’s.

Through Nierendorf, Blossfeldt’s work becomes associated with Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity)

  • Nierendorf shows Blossfeldt’s photographs in his gallery associated with Neue Sachlichkeit, and organises the publication Artforms in Nature.
  • Blossfeldt is included in a large exhibition of new photography and film, Film und Foto, in Stuttgart in 1929.
  • His work is exhibited alongside avant-gardists, such as El Lissitzky and Lazlo Moholy-Nagy.

Film und foto, Stuttgart 1929. (source of images, http://www.moma.org)

  • Blossfeldt’s photographs appeared in this exhibition.

Benjamin celebrates Blossfeldt in 1928 as one of the artists who are working at the limits of our perception and hence stretching our ‘image of the world’ in new ways.

Georges Bataille illustrates his essay ‘The Language of  Flowers’ (‘Le langage des fleurs’) with Blossfeldt’s images in his Surrealist publication Documents in 1929 (Documents, No.3).


Was Blossfeldt really a modernist?

  • His photographs were not aimed intentionally to create autonomous’ photographic art. Rather, they were intended as teaching materials for classes in sculpture.
  • This seems like a violation of the modernist principle already: photographs in the service of sculpture which would be based on photographs: interdisciplinarity.

Might have used a homemade camera.

Basis of sculpture, not that interested in photography – just means to an end.

(Working collage) test prints etc. on sheet of card.

Very different from modernist way of working (see the world in photographs).

Since the recording process [in photography, unlike in painting] is instantaneous, and the nature of the image such that it cannot survive corrective handwork, it is obvious that the finished print must be created in full before the film is exposed. Until the photographer has learned to visualize his final result in advance, and to predetermine the procedures necessary to carry out that visualization, his finished work (if it be photography at all) will present a series of lucky – or unlucky – mechanical accidents
(Edward Weston, ‘Seeing Photographically’, in Wells, L. ed. 2003, The Photography Reader, London: Routledge).

  • Blossfeldt, not pre-visualising his work, extensive test prints etc.

Blossfeldt obviously worked on his negatives and even on the objects he photographed.

This is contrary to the principles of Neue Sachlichkeit and modernist ‘straight photography’ from the United States.

Both German and American modernists insisted on knowing one’s technique so thoroughly that the finished print was already worked out before the photographer exposed his film.

  • What are these images? Nothing but a teacher of sculpture?
  • What’s interesting about plants, argue that plant is an organic structure as man made architecture (exotic architecture).
  • Man and nature intertwined, similarities with buildings show this.
  • Blossfelt worried less about modernist, more about relationship between man and nature?

Blossfeldt wrote a forward the year he died on his work, which hasn’t been translated from German, however Dr Teemu Hupli has made his own translation.

It begins with a quote:

Were you, ramblers, able to grasp ideals

Oh! You would venerate nature as ‘tis proper,

Were you, philistines, able to see nature as a whole,

You would surely be led to higher ideas

(Goethe, Schiller, Musen-Almanach für das Jahr 1797)

  • Natures eternal spring of youth, look at nature to become good artists.
  • Reawaken people’s eyes with natural beauty around us.

“A plant is to be understood* as a thoroughly artistic-architectonic structure. Besides the decorative and rhythmic creative drive, which prevails everywhere in nature, a plant builds only necessary and purposeful forms. In its continuous struggle for existence [Daseinskampf], it is forced to create robust, essential and useful organs. It builds according to the same laws of statics [statischen Gesetzen] that every construction engineer, too, must observe. But the plant never lapses into mere dry display of functionalism [Sachlichkeitsdarstellungen]; it moulds and builds by logic and purposiveness [Zweckmäßigkeit], and constrains everything with elemental force to highest artistic form.”

*Bewerten: literally, judged, assessed.

  • ‘Struggle for existence’ relates to Darwin.
  • ‘Law of statics’ relates to Newton and Descartes (physics).
  • ‘Purposiveness [Zweckmäßigkeit]’ relates to 80th and 90th century natural philosophy.
  • Interested in theories of nature.

Insofar as nature’s products are aggregates, nature proceeds mechanically, as mere nature; but insofar as its products are systems—e.g., crystal formations, various shapes of flowers, or the inner structure of plants and animals—nature proceeds technically [i.e., purposively], that is, it proceeds also as art.

(Kant, CJ, First Introduction, section VI)

SO: Flowers (and crystals) + techné/art (which is also close to purposiveness) = Kantian thinking.

And it seems that Blossfeldt’s work contains the same combination of interests/ideas.

Purposiveness: We need a concept (starting point) for thinking to form logical concepts.

  • Concepts of thinking of objects, otherwise we would not understand them.
  • Think what we see.

What are concepts? Collections of characteristics of objects. For example, trees are all somehow different, but all have similarities. We formulate a concept based on these differences and similarities. Same concept each time. We need an assumption that nature has order – purposiveness of nature.

Insofar as nature’s products are aggregates, nature proceeds mechanically, as mere nature; but insofar as its products are systems—e.g., crystal formations, various shapes of flowers, or the inner structure of plants and animals—nature proceeds technically, that is, it proceeds also as art.

(Kant, CJ, First Introduction, section VI)

  • Two kinds of objects in nature, mechanical and systems.
  • Mechanical: sand, snow, comets. Forms in the sand produced by water and wind, snow placing itself. Comets are matter, which could if went off course crash into Earth.
  • System: predictability of nature. Blossfeldt shows natures ability.
Wilson Bentley, Snow Crystals, 1885-.
  • First person to photograph single snow flake.
Alfred Ehrhardt, Gips, auf einem Baumstamm ringsherum aufgewachsen – Thüringen, 1938/39.
  • Forms made by sea and wind, interested in how nature systematizes itself.
  • Complex, intricate systems.
Claudia Fährenkemper, Habitus 1, Crystal, 2002.
  • Student of Bernd and Hilla Becher.
  • Photographs of crystals.


  • Micro photographs of crystal formulation.
  • Silicate, most harmful dust after 9/11.
  • Fährenkemper and Richter’s work not joined completely but relates to one another.

Essential Reading:

Meyer-Stump, Ulrike (2001), ‘Karl Blossfeldt’s Working Collages—A Photographic Sketchbook’, in Wilde A. and J. (eds), Karl Blossfeldt: Working Collages, Cambridge MA and London: MIT

Lecture 2 Analogue II – The return to analogue techniques: Photograms, Cyanotypes, Solarisation and Daguerreotypes

  • Returning to processes
  • Different attitudes to medium


William Henry Fox Talbot, Flowers, Leaves and Stem, ca.1838.
  • Earliest photogram.
  • Tactile, physical contact with the emulsion.
  • Shadow world.
Man Ray, Rayograph, 1923.
  • Potential in technology.
  • 20s made their own version (Rayograph).
  • 3D, away from flatness, moving light around.
Barbara Hepworth, Self-Photogram, 1932; Double exposure of two forms, 1937.
  • Photograms and self-portrait.
  • 3D effect.
João Penalva, From the Weeds of Hiroshima, 1997.
  • Solarising photograms, flash light onto the paper.
  • Remains, sites in Hiroshima; weeds overlooked.
Matsumoto Eiichi, Shadow of a soldier remaining on the wall of Nagasaki military headquarters, 1945..
  • Inspiration for From the Weeds of Hiroshima.
  • Flowers, colour paper and emulsion.
  • Conceptual art.
  • Abstractions, dropping onto the paper.
  • Working with accidents.
Broomberg and Chanarin, The Press Conference, June 9, 2008, The Day Nobody Died, 2008.
  • Metaphor, round about way of referring to the events.
  • Parallel to Welling’s work.


Anna Atkins, from her book Photographs of British Algae, 1843. Cyanotype.
  • Cyanotype invented by John Herschel.


Yves Klein, Anthropometry, 1960.
  • Directly imprinting with blue paint.
Yves Klein, Hiroshima, 1961.
  • Work inspired by shadow imprint from Hiroshima.
Christian Marclay, Cyanotypes, JRP Ringier, 2011.
  • Multimedia, music, records. Hybrid.
  • Uses medium most appropriate.
  • Abstract expressionism.

‘Artists have always been attracted to detritus. Because by the time something reaches the dustbin, we have had enough interaction with it to finally reflect on it. When something is too new we are still under its spell, too seduced to take enough distance and be disrespectful or critical’.
Christian Marclay cited in Lyle Rexer, ‘Blue Tape: Christian Marclay’s old Masters’, in DAMN Magazine, no.33, May-June, 2012, p.104.

Thomas Mailaender, Electric Jesus, 2014.
Thomas Mailaender, Cyanotypes – installation view. Roman Road gallery, 2014.
  • Edgy, playful, uses humour.
  • Big in frames, leaned against the wall.
Walead Beshty, A partial disassembling of an invention without a future., Barbican Gallery London, 2014.
  • Any material/flat surface.
  • Performative.
  • History of the studio, objects which went through it.
  • Different size print.
  • Montage/collage

Camera Obscura

Vera Lutter. Chrysler Building, V: July 12, 2014.
Vera Lutter, Pepsi-Cola, Long Island City, 1998.
  • Turns rooms into camera obscura’s.
  • Big works.
  • Urban views on sensitized paper.
  • Negative prints.
  • Alternative reality.


Takashi Arai, Study no.1, A multiple monument from Daigo Fukuryu …
Takashi Arai, Trinity Site, c.2010-14.
Takashi Arai, Maquette for a monumnet …, 2014. Daguerreotype.
  • Montage, multiple different images put together.
  • Re-working, potential.
  • Big piece of work, sculptural.
  • Micro monuments, places of nuclear weapons (trinity site)
  • Watch frozen at time of bombing was painted on.
  • Physicality of object.

During this lecture, we looked at artists who have returned to old technology and how this can be related to materiality. Different ways of thinking about this and photography experience; optical sensations, engaging, embodiment.

Essential Reading:
Thompson, Matthew, ‘The Object Lost and Found’, in Thompson, The Anxiety of Photography, Aspen Art Museum, 2011 – available online at: http://old.aspenartmuseum.org/archive/archive_aop_thompson.html

George Baker, ‘The Absent Photograph’, in Speaker Receiver, Basel: Kunsthalle Basel; Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2010.