Posted in Contextual Studies


This year was the first time I have studied contextual studies. I have found it very interesting to learn about different elements that contribute to photography besides the physical side of it, which has ultimately helped to increase my awareness when being the photographer and when researching.

Learning about the background of photography and things that should be considered when taking photographs has proven helpful towards my practice in terms of acting professional. I have also found it interesting to learn about judging images by other people and being able to delve deeper into the meaning of images by learning about social and ethical issues surrounding the ways images can be interpreted.

It has been really helpful to learn a substantial amount about various photographers I wasn’t particularly aware of before, from historical photographers like Cecil Beaton and Yousuf Karsh, to more contemporary photographers like Madame Peripetie and Rachel Jump, which has helped with my research across all of my briefs over the year.

Some of my favourite lectures have included Intimate Lives and Family Albums as I felt this were more personal and easy to connect with. I also found it interesting to learn about the lives of photographers through visualisation, giving the feeling of empathy and deeper understanding of the person they are. I also found the Representations in Advertising and the Media lecture very engaging and interesting, highlighting key social, ethical and cultural issues, some of which are easy for me to relate to which meant I was able to get really involved with this lecture.

I struggled with the reading task based on Barthes, but purely because of my lack of understanding, which is something I hope to work and improve on over the remaining time of my degree. I also found that with the change over from commercial to BA photography, I may have missed out on some on the earlier lectures from the first semester which may be of benefit for me to visit, however, the lectures from commercial have also proved quite beneficial to me since transferring course.

My main downfall over the course of the year was not keeping up with my Harvard referencing, which proved me a challenge as the deadline approached as I had to try and revisit places of research from memory. This is my main target to improve on. I also feel that I need to cut down slightly on how much I write about some of the lectures on my blog and try to include more of my own research than notes from the lectures.

To conclude, I feel over the course of contextual studies I have had a lot of ups and downs but learnt a lot about things that I may not have considered before. I feel next year my main focus is to keep up with my Harvard referencing to be sure that I don’t have to do it all at the end. I would be interested in learning more about personal stories of photographers through intimate photography as I feel I can connect more with this kind of photography and it inspires me to think about my own.

Posted in Contextual Studies

Narrative Theory

A narrative is something that tells a story. This can come in many different formats including text, pictures, performance or a combination. Narrative space is a place where stories can be told, for example, an exhibition or a film. Most narratives follow a typical narrative structure.


11-23-36life_mag_cover_ftpeck.jpgOn November 23, 1936 – first ever issue of LIFE magazine was published. The front cover was Fort Peck Dam by Margaret Bourke-White. Life magazine was a pictorial magazine that showed photographic essays and documentary photography. Photo essays and documentary photography are very similar, but photo essays often tell a structured story and are sometimes accompanied by text. It was a huge success when it was first produced as it allowed the audience a new perspective. Although it had a massive impact on people’s lives during the beginning and mid 2oth century, by the end of the century it was starting to have less influence because technology started to develop things like tv, which introduced moving image and allowed even more to be shown to the public.

There are many theorists for narrative. Some of the theories, arguably, can be linked and argued against one another. Here are some examples. Tzetvan Todorov suggests that narratives always have a structure of Equilibrium/ Disequilibrium/ New equilibrium. Claude Levi-Strauss says human cultural understanding is based upon a system of binary opposites. Vladimir Propp said narratives always have certain character types who perform certain actions.

A non-linear narrative is a style used that opposes the structure of a typical narrative. These are usually used in films or text as they can build suspense and place the audience in the mind of the character. They usually are in the form of a memory or flashback. Some examples of this are Inception, Momento, and more recently, Deadpool.

Narrative interventions in photography was an exhibition at the Getty Museum which explored three artists who use a combination of text and imagery to imply the idea that narratives can be implied, real, or re-written.

1f592b26a9e6ede36abb7319b18ed4d7Simryn Gill’s art exploits the influences that define identity and belonging. In her series “Forest”, she tore pages from specific books that were significant to her and sculpted them into nature which she then photographed. This creates visual ideas of the history of nature along with her own personal history.

cowin_cupcake_bookEileen Cowin produced the series “I See What You’re Saying”, which explores the concept of storytelling and the need to strip away layers to reveal hidden truths. This was inspired by people’s lies.

Carrie Mae Weems photographed a series called “From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried”. It is a selection of 19th century photographs, many of slaves, which she worked into, showing the history of black people and giving them a voice.a000797101-001

Rachel Jump is an art photographer currently based in the Chicago area. Her black and white images show narratives from her youth, highlighting themes of belonging, memory, and absence, and have been exhibited throughout the United States. Her series “Origins” is an exploration of her family life. It describes a time when her Mother had various operations. She said, “She showed me her pain, and I saw the stars.” Her images show her love and devotion but also add a sense of empathy. Her images also provide a way of her showing how she gained her identity and reunite her memories together. As a child she moved around a lot. She said “Later in life I began to question how my identity was shaped without a point of origin”. Her images signify how her family were reunited from the places they were left.



Posted in Contextual Studies

Family Album and Social Media

This lecture was about photo albums, the evolution of technology and social media, and how these have affected each other.

In 1899 George Eastman published his hand-held Kodak with the slogan “You press the button, we’ll do the rest”. This enabled people to photograph their own subjects and exploit their lives through imagery, encouraging people to take photographs. It allowed a broader idea of who the photographer is and explored the idea that photography allowed memory to last forever .

A common photograph is the family photograph. These often include baby photos, weddings, holidays, birthdays, achievements and many other events that occur within family life. These are sometimes staged and sometimes natural, capturing when the subject doesn’t realise. They are ways of recording history and re-telling stories from the past. Wells said in 2004 that “the photographs we keep for ourselves are treasured less for their quality than for their context”, showing that we keep family photos for personal relation and memory. However, family photographs tend to raise questions like is what we see fact or fiction? How truthful are domestic photographs? And is the photograph a true representation of the identity of the sitter?

Liz Wells says “personal and family photographs are composed specifically to portray the individual or the family in a way they wish to be seen”. She also said “images feed our need for a clear sense of identity and of cultural belonging”. In 1995, Kuhn said “the family album is viewed as an important tool in the reconstruction of a personal history, searching among its cast of characters for meaning and explanations”.

Through the development of technology we have seen cameras become increasingly more technical and easier to use for amateurs. The use of automatic cameras has meant anyone can take an image that looks professional. Along with cameras, there has been a development in social media, with such sites as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and many more.

In January 2015, Facebook was the first social network to surpass 1 billion registered accounts. Twitter had over 284 million monthly active accounts. Meanwhile, blogging service Tumblr had more than 230 million active blog users on their site. In August 2015, it was said that over a billion people used Facebook on a single day. Having such a massive site to connect with friends and family has seen the rise in publication of family photos online instead of having a personal hard copy of a family album. This has introduced other sites such as Flickr which allows you to post purely just images online. These sites can be beneficial to photographers trying to make a name for themselves and spread their work, however where is the line? Should people broadcast their personal images online?

These social sites are often abused also. Things can be taken out of control. You can also lose control of your own information – once something is posted online it is there for everyone to see. Pictures in particular can be shared 1000’s of times and can then be targeted by spoofs and memes. However, there are times when social media can come in handy to help spread a message or get help from the public using photographs. This is when personal images may have a purpose for becoming public, for example, when someone goes missing or is wanted by authorities.

Family albums are suggested to be hard copies for personal use. They are often very selective with the images which are contained. Social media is less selective, less private and a “bigger album” for us to share our memories with the people we are connected to. There are arguments that physical albums are more personal but having images online means they can never be damaged or potentially lost.

trishmorrissey02.jpgIn 2003, Trish Morrissey photographed the series “Seven Years”. This is a reference of the age gap between herself and her elder sister who she worked with to impersonate family members and re-enact memories familiar to most families in the photographs. It was inspired by family photo albums and family relationships. The works question understanding of family photography through staged photographs. In contrast to most family photos, the people in her images rarely smile, allowing the viewer to concentrate on the gestures and body language which reveal hidden tensions between family members.

Sally Mann photographed “Immediate Family” in 1992 which shows her own children photographed in intimate ways to show the identity of her own family and compare to many others. The series was highly criticised due to the nudity of her children, and the sexualisation of the gestures in the images. maxresdefault

Zed Nelson is a documentary photographer from London. He photographed the series “The Family”, which consisted of him photographing a family friend’s son from birth to age 22. He was inspired to do this by time-lapse photography. Each year, on the same date, against the same backdrop, under the same lighting he would photograph them. He said “this way there are no distractions, only the miracle of growth and the changes of time and ageing”.

Although it’s not his own family, there is still an element of personal connections with thedfcc7044-87e0-48c9-918e-9efb522be591 images – growing older – which everyone experiences. The sitters are also close family friends so he is able to connect with them. These are images that can be kept by the family forever and be cherished as a memory of the son’s life and achievements growing older. There is an element of sadness to the images, as with the son growing older, you also see the parents growing older.

Through the images you can also see a development of fashion, hairstyles, and changing relationships. Nelson said “the body language fascinates me, between the growing boy and his parents. At first the son stays close to his mother, then he gains independence, and then increasingly bonds with and even mimics his father”. This is something everyone can relate to as this is the standard cycle of growing older.4b69d1f36462257020a88d256eebfa88_XL


Posted in Contextual Studies


19th September 1996 – Born

2001 – Parents seperated

September 2001 – First day at school

June 2008 – Left Primary School

September 2008 – Started secondary School, always enjoyed practical and creative work

June 2011 – Work experience in a photographic studio gave me realisation of passion for photography

September 2011 – Started GCSE subjects, a lot of creative subjects – art, fashion, graphics, photography was not an option

June 2013 – Left Secondary School

August 2013 – GCSE results

September 2013 – Started A Levels, including fashion and photography

February 2015 – Parents separated

March 2015 – Things got bad, needed to get away, wasn’t ever keen for university but following passion for photography seemed a good idea to get away

April 2015 – Diagnosed with depression, which I feel has helped inspire a lot of my work and distracted me from other things

26th May 2015 – Relationship with Connor began, was a massive positive after all the negatives of 2014-15

June 2015 – First photographic exhibition at college, won an award for creative thinking

Summer 2015 – Started doing small photographic jobs for family, friend etc. including a wedding to build on experience and portfolio

Summer 2015 – Offered unconditional offer for Plymouth and conditional offers from 2 others, a motivating factor

June 2015 – Left College

August 2015 – A Level results

5th September 2015 – Moved to Plymouth which was a massive step for me

September 2015 – Started university

Posted in Contextual Studies


When reading Barthes extract it provided me with a new view point regarding the elements behind photography. Some key points I picked up when reading Barthes Camera Lucida are as follows:

  • Photography isn’t photography – wants to know if photography exists
  • Photography catches moments that can never be captured again
  • Understanding some photographs requires extra knowledge or relation the the image as it is taken for a reason
  • The photograph and what it represents don’t make sense without each other
  • We don’t “see” the photograph, we see what it represents
  • Photographs have 3 practices, the operator (photographer), spectator (audience) and spectrum (subject)
  • Images are taken to surprise
  • Photography has two procedures. The “chemical revelation” shows light on a subject which is more visible to the audience. The “physical order” is the formation of the image through the lens, seen by the photographer.
  • When you know you’re being photographed you naturally change your body position (pose), which can sometimes make you seem different to who you are in reality by imitating characters
  • Photography objectifies a subject – makes a human seem dead?
  • No control of the ownership of the objectification
  • There are too many sides to a “self”
  • Photographs are interpreted differently by everyone and can be read differently depending on where they are published
  • Cameras are clocks for seeing, you finger is the thing that captures the right moment.

Dictionary of words I didn’t understand

ONTOLOGICAL – the philosophical study of the nature of being, becoming, existence, or reality, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations.

CONSTITUTE – be (a part) of a whole.

ANTIPHON – in Christian music and ritual is a responsory by a choir or congregation, usually in the form of a Gregorian chant, to a psalm or other text in a religious service or musical work

DEICTIC – Relating to or denoting a word or expression whose meaning is dependent on the context in which it is used (such as here, you, me, that one there, or next Tuesday). Also called indexical. In these ‘referential’ uses, it is replaceable by the deictic pronouns this and that (This is red, That is possible).

TAUTOLOGICAL – Needless repetition of the same sense in different words

IMPORTUNATE – Troublesomely urgent or persistent in requesting; pressingly entreating

IMPASSE –  road or passage having no exit

HEURISTIC – relating to a usually speculative formulation serving as a guide in the investigation or solution of a problem

EFFIGY – A crude figure or dummy representing a hated person or group

REFERENT – A person or thing to which a linguistic expression refers

QUINTESSENCE – The pure, highly concentrated essence of a thing

PHENOMENOLOGY – A philosophy or method of inquiry based on the premise that reality consists of objects and events as they are perceived or understood in human consciousness and not of anything independent of human consciousness

Posted in Contextual Studies

Intimate Lives

Intimate photography is based around photographs taken which hold personal and emotional elements from the photographer. This can be things like family events, relationships and symbolic moments. Besides the positives there are also negative theme which some photographers wish to explore. These include  health, healing, transformations, relationships, everyday life, documenting, political and ethical implications -all of which can be used intimately to visualise and keep memories alive. Some photographers have been criticised for using such taboo themes in their work but sometimes these can serve an important and thought provoking message to the audience. They are also sometimes done for the sake of the photographer being able to move on with their life.

sally.jpgSally Waterman’s series “Wasteland” is a set of work  embroidered with personal difficulty and memories of her past. It acts as a therapeutic way of her dealing with her parent’s divorce and her Dad leaving her. In her images she portrays herself as an anonymous figure or ghostly presence. Therapy photography is often criticised but I feel that Waterman and other photographers are  entitled to broadcast their past to people as a way of bringing people with a similar history together.

Tracey Emin uses photography to tell stories of her own life. Her work is classified as confessional art. She is able to establish intimacy with the viewer by revealing secrets about her life as art. Her work has been ridiculed by press on numerous occasions. Most of her work is based on her life growing up in Margate. She gave up art after an abortion but Tracey Emin's Bed Tate Modern FOR USE WITH REVIEW ONLYwas encouraged to start again by Sarah Lucas.

Emin’s bed piece was a very controversial piece if art. It shows her own bed during her breakdown and shows that she is just like other people who go through the same thing. She said that her reason for making the bed piece was to serve as a realisation of what she’s done to herself.
Another piece of her controversial work was the tent called “Everyone I’ve Ever Slept Emin-Tent-InteriorWith” which was full of people’s names who she had slept with. It was said to be a sexually motivated piece of work. It displayed a way of stitching people back into her life, like memories. It also shows her vulnerability as a person. The work is appreciated more by people who can understand, which raises the question of generation differences having an effect on the way her work is interpreted.

Her set of work “I’ve Got it All”, was a way of saying “up yours” to critics, as regardless of what was said about her work, it helped her get a name and make herself famous.Some of her work was criticised for being too “simple” and like “child’s drawings” but her work is more about emotion than aesthetic. C.Tracey-Emin-I’ve-got-it-all-2000-A3-press


imageJo Spence photographed a set of images called ” A Picture of Health?” which was a
photographer diary of her battle with breast cancer. The images tell us about the social experience that comes with cancer, showing us how she felt objectified by the hospital and was not heard. Her work urges people with cancer to stay powerful. After stopping treatment she photographed her transformation of her body. She said “this stopped me disavowing that I have cancer, and helped me to come to terms with something I initially found shocking and abhorrent.” She expressed how she felt it was important to photograph what people don’t see behind closed doors to show what life is really like and she did this right up until she died of leukaemia in 1992.

Nan Goldin photographs personal, sexual, and transgressive photographs of her family, friends, and lovers. She describes her photographs as a ‘visual diary’. She said “these are my friends, these are my family, this is myself. There is no separation between me and what I photograph.” Her work was heavily inspired by Larry Clarke, using photography to visualise the struggles of her life. Her self portraits were based on her abusive relationship which she photographed to act as a deterrent for her to not go back and make the same mistake. She had a strong friendship with the transgender community which she photographed to expose their lives which helps to engage with people who can relate to the transgender society, ultimately helping them to feel more comfortable. She also photographed the underground scene and the rise in AIDS, which helped to recognise the struggles and lives of people who were often ignored. Goldin was heavily criticised for a lack of skill but again, the images are about emotion and engagement with the audience.

Judith Fox photographed a series called “I Still Do”, which was photographed over the course of 10 years. It shows the deteriorating of her husband with alzeimers who would forget how to perform basic procedures within his life. It shows her love towards him and you can almost follow her heartbreak through the process of his deterioration. It tells the story of their ageing relationship full of love which is often forgotten when alzeimers takes over. People have criticised the series saying it’s too personal and that there are things that should be kept private. There is also the case of whether or not she had asked his permission to photograph his illness. I do not agree. A family member of my own recently died from alzeimers, and it was heartbreaking to see her deteriorate into someone else.But I found Fox’s work quite comforting in a sense that it shows that a lot of people go through the same things as you, and it can help you to relate and not feel so alone. I found it quite beautiful that Fox wanted to remember his illness which I feel she can look back on and know that regardless of the illness, he was still her husband. I think it is important to remember every last memory with someone.


Many other photographers use intimate photography in their work which is celebrated and criticised by the audience. Larry Clarke’s “Teenage Lust”, shows his youth and the side of society which is less publicised creating curiosity and a shock factor with the audience. It highlights the struggle of youths and when the set was published his portrayal of youth was transferred to a younger generation of rebels.TulsaTeenage-Lust-Larry-C-009

Corinne Day created a sat of images called Diary which was produced over 10 years and portrays a personal photographic account of her life and friendships. The work has a shock factor and sadness to it but is honest and emotional. It celebrates friendship and shows the struggles for younger people. diary3

Sophie Calle created “Take Care of Yourself” which was based on her breakup with her partner via email and was done to help her cope with her loss. She said “at first it was therapy; then art took over.”


Richard Billingham created a series called “Ray’s a Laugh” which shows the family images you wouldn’t expect to see after his alcoholic father moved in and disrupted the life of his mother. It shows the honest truth of family life besides the posed smiles we usually see. It shows disfunticion but also love, but the images can serve to be uncomfortable to look at. It helps the audience to make connections with the images as everyone has problems behind closed doors.3219203

Annie Leibovitz photographed her relationship with Susan Sontag behind closed doors to show their true lives together. She photographed her right up to Sontag’s death and bringing her body home as a way of remembering every last memory they had together.susanseattle.0

Sarah Lucas is famous for her promiscuous sculptures and photography which makes everyday items have a sexual connotation. Although in some cases her intimate links with her work are only assumed, there are some pieces which have an obvious link to her life. There are also bits of work she has created and subconsciously linked with her intimate past without realising until after displaying them.

Lucas tries to tackle sexual stereotypes in her work. As an androgynous character herself, the stereotypes of gender are something that bother her. She was influenced highly by the literature she read about feminism and sex. One of her immediate sources of imagery was the tabloid press which made her begin to explore the representation of the female body. She saw women through the eyes of a man but as a woman felt objectified by the representation, which was the message behind her work. Her poses also show a sense of masculinity but involve suggestions of female gentalia, suggesting the equality of gender. Lucas was also angered by the attention males got from the press and the little amount of work they had to do to get this. She says “I was more angry when I wasn’t getting any success and people around me were. I was furious with all these blokes with their one-line ideas getting successful around me.” Her work stands as relatable visualisations for people who don’t feel obliged to be classed as one gender, similar to herself.

In her work she tries to display her fetishes and obsessions like in her exhibition “The Fag Show”, in which she explored her obsession with cigarettes as a material for art, suggesting the connection between smoking and sex.

In 2008, her ex-boyfriend Angus Fairhurst hanged himself. Lucas believes that a lot of what killed him was the extreme, sudden exposure of their generation. Now, while his death is always there, it is particularly present when things aren’t going well. “In the sense that I do have doubts and when I’m putting a show together, and the day goes badly, I’m thinking this is how he must have felt.” She also struggles with depression. “I sink like a stone,” she says. The idea of suicide and depression is shown in some of her work where she asks if suicide is “genetic” and shows such things as her “bodies” hanging from above. Although this might not be intentional it has a strong link to this idea. There is also a sense of loneliness in he work which could suggest the idea of depression also.

Some of Lucas’ sculptures and photographs of male nudes depicts the bodies of her former lovers, similar to the tent idea by Emin. Lucas says she didn’t set out for it to be autobiographical but over time she has seen her own life shining through her work making them more personal to her.

It would also seem that she was inspired by the lack of support and ambition that her family had when she was younger, which could explain why aesthetically he work is quite simple, but has a strong message behind it. “Someone like Tracey [Emin] had a background of quite a lot of ups and downs, really, in terms of fortune. [And] her dad was a sort of businessman. Whereas my family – they had absolutely no ambition. It just wasn’t there. I remember my mum being absolutely against homework, ‘because you’re there all day anyway’.”

“The creation of a new social value, which is the publicity of the private: the private is consumed as such, publicly. ” Roland Barthes creates a good point here which suggests that by publicising your private life you create a relatable issue, something someone can value because of their own experiences. I feel that intimate photography shouldn’t be criticised but embraced, as a way of bringing society together to celebrate the things in life which we don’t always want people to know about. Together it can be used as a way of coping and moving forward.

Posted in Contextual Studies

Taste, Value, Judgement

Taste refers to a cultural pattern of choice, a social/cultural phenomenon. It is about drawing distinctions between things. Social inquiry of taste is about the human ability to judge what is beautiful.

Taste often makes it possible to identify particular types of class taste. For example, lower classes are often not able to appreciate the luxury of art as they are usually unable to afford this connection. Following this, tv shows like Cash in the Attic and Antiques Roadshow are classically more higher class, are well spoken and filmed on grand locations which ultimately makes the shows more appealing to wealthier people who can connect with this lifestyle. Does an emotional attachment or memory make something more valuable or is value linked to monetary characteristics?

Brian Sewell is an English art critic and media personality. He insulted public for views on art as he hated contemporary art. He has been quoted saying “Banksy should have been put down at birth” and that Damien Hirst was “fucking dreadful”. But who defines the perimeters of fine taste?

Aethetics concern the study or rules and principals of art. Take for example the Mona Lisa piece. It has been reproduced several times into different products making it so well known. In 1936, Walter Benjamin wrote The Aura of The Original. He states how reproductions of work “lack the time and space” which diminishes the value of the original. However, in some ways I think this makes the original a more rare piece which becomes more of an appeal for the audience to find making it more valuable as it gains more respect.

iphone-4s-elite-close2There have been reports of a dog collar costing $3.2 million, and a  barbie at $551,000. There was also an iPhone 4S elite gold which was sold for $9.4 million. Does this make the product valuable? I think this is obscene and a test on how far people can push items for the greed of money. On the other side of that, Marilyn Monroe’s dress from JFKs birthday sold for $1,267,500 in 1999, however Robert Shargen regarded it a steal. I think that an  emotional attachment, a memory, or iconic history makes something more valuable compared to monetary characteristics.

Does money value mean value? “What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing”. Oscar Wilde’s quote highlights an important point. It raises the question of if people buy things for investments and commerce or to be able to keep the item out of appreciation towards it. It also questions if people understand the concept and value behind the item being bought, which ultimately could link back to class, and how different statuses of class are able to appreciate things more based on financial income. So maybe value is based on money, as the more valuable items can only be bought by wealthier people, people from the lower class may not be as bothered to understand concepts and value as they cant afford to.

Bob Carlos Clarke was born in Cork, Ireland in 1950, and came to England in 1964 to study art and design at The West Sussex College of Art where he developed an interest in photography. He then went on to The London College of Printing, before completing his degree at the Royal College of Art in 1975. He is most famous for his photographs of nudity. Is his work tasteful? In my opinion it completely objectifies women, making them pose to sexualise them and gather attention. His images are erotic and more about passion and sex. However bad people make think this is, it’s always striking and always gathers a reaction which could arguably be the reason he was so successful. Clarke admits that he entered nude photography for one reason alone: sex, which is evident in the nature of his images. He was always delighted by criticism. “I want to supercharge sexuality beyond what is actually achievable. I want to connect with Man’s animal instincts”. His work was heavily influenced by lust to turn men on. Although highly promiscuous, there is something intriguingly beautiful about his work. I think he would be highly valuable to the LGBT society as he isn’t afraid to hide the sexuality of the models and exploit same gender sexual relationships.

Edward Henry Weston was born March 24, 1886, in Highland Park, Illinois.  He spent the majority of his childhood in Chicago where he attended Oakland Grammar School. He began photographing at the age of sixteen. Realizing the need for formal training, in 1908 Weston returned east and attended the Illinois College of Photography in Effingham, Illinois. He completed the 12-month course in six months and returned to California. Weston said “the camera should be used for a recording of life, for rendering the very substance and quintessence of the thing itself, whether it be polished steel or palpitating flesh.” It is evident in his images that he celebrated such things as the body. He doesn’t focus on exposing the identity of the body or making the model more sexual, but focuses on the shapes of the body and the natural form of it, making it look more sculptural. This also links to the equality of everyone in terms of body and humanity. Like most nude photographers, the images are in black and white which adds delicacy and atmosphere, which ties in well with the softness and subtlety of the images. These images would seem to be more tasteful in the area of nudity compared to the work of Carlos Clarke as they are not so seductive and don’t pose the models as an object of sex.


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Magazine article

  • Boswell, J, 1981. Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century. 5th ed. USA: University of Chicago Press.
  • Ormerod. D, Cyril Smith. J, Hogan. B, 2011. Smith and Hogan’s Criminal Law. 1st ed. London: OUP Oxford
  • Lee, S, 2004. Dictionary of National Biography. 2nd ed. London: Oxford University Press.
  • Susan Stryker (2008). Transgender History. Berkeley: Seal Press.
  • Prof Stephen Whittle. (2010). A brief history of transgender issues.Available: Last accessed 31st Nov 2015.


Reading an article

  • Nick Lacey (1998). Image and Representation: Key Concepts in Media Studies. London: Macmillan Press LTD. 169-171.


Guy Bourdin reading task + Images

Semiotics and advertising

  • (Hall S., (2012),This Means This, This Means That, pp. 23-24, Second edition, London, Laurence King Publishing)
  • (Sturken M. and Cartwright L., (2009), Practices of Looking, An Introduction to Visual Culture, pp 275, Second edition, New York, Oxford University Press)
  • (Unknown. (2013).Fruit In Mythology. Available: Last accessed 12th October 2015)


Evolution of fashion photography


Representation in advertising and the media



Taste, Value, Judgement


Narrative Theory



  • Farlex. (2003). Unknown. Available: Last accessed 13th April 2016.
  • Barthes, R. (1980). 1-5. In: Howard, R Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography. France: Editions du Seuil. 3-15.


Family Album


Representation of the Other Images

Intimate Lives

Posted in Contextual Studies

Representations of the Other

Do you feel you have been influenced by a particular celebrity/television programme/film? Are you happy with this influence? Have you thought about how it may have affected your thought processes? Do you consider it to be media manipulation?

I think that society as a whole is influenced by celebrities, television and media as a whole. Reality tv in particular gives people the impression that this is the ideal life when actually it’s a lifestyle that is hyped up for the sake of entertainment, giving young people particularly, false hopes of what’s to come. Fashion trends are usually started by celebrities and passed through to high street fashion, essentially influencing the clothes we wear. In small cases like this it can affect thought processes as it can trigger ideas which you can develop into your own.  In some cases I think it is good to have influences from media and celebrities as it gives it a sense of relation with the audience, but sometimes this over steps the mark and creates obsessions. I think it’s more about willpower and thinking for yourself and not allowing yourself to be manipulated.

Where does responsibility for the dissemination of ideas and ideologies lie? Is there anyone to blame for damaging ones? What are damaging ideologies?

I think the biggest blame for dissemination of ideas is the media and the advanced technology which has made it even more accessible to the public. Things are shared on Facebook and other social media as they are highly populated and an easy way to contact society. Newspapers, magazines and tv know that they are trusted by a lot of people so can write up ideas and know these will be taken in by members of the society.

I think one of the most damaging ideologies, as a youth myself, is the idea of the “perfect body”. This is commonly more of an issue for women but has recently moved onto males also. I don’t believe there is a certain person to blame but more the growing publication and sexualisation of women with the small frame, blonde hair, big lips etc. which young people aspire to be like because they think this is attractive and want to gain the same attention. I also think stereotypes act largely in damaging ideologies, for example the stereotypical woman is a domesticated housewife and the man is working and providing. Again, I believe largely due to the media broadcasting these ideas.50s-Ad-StereotypeHave you begun to think around ethical considerations in your photographic practice? Would you turn down a particular assignment because of the nature of its theme? Is acting ethically an important factor for you as a photographer?

For me acting ethically is an important part of being a photographer to gain a reputation and a strong name for your audience. It would only depend on the type of job for me to turn it down, for example, I wouldn’t be too keen on photographing children with illnesses, because although it has a shock factor which can be beneficial for raising awareness, I don’t think I could face that kind of situation just for photographic purposes.

What constitutes a role model?

listing-large.jpgI believe a role model is someone who’s actions you’d like to imitate and stands as a good example of society. Someone worthy of inspiring you and the way you act. A lot of people see celebrities as role models – personally I don’t believe they are role models they are just people with the limelight and career which people envy to have. In some cases I think a role model is someone who has done something positive for the sake of someone else, like parents or members of the army, who put their lives on the line to save ours.

What did you find particularly interesting or provoking in Martina’s lecture?

The sensitivity behind certain representations – I think racism is certainly a big one for this. The fashion catwalk using African patterns and historic backgrounds in particular was thought provoking for me as I saw this as more an exploitation of the history of Africa for awareness and celebration more than a racist set of designs. I think the way things are interpreted by different kinds of people is interesting, and how different ideas can mean so many different things to people. 

How would we have felt if a man undertook Mylie Cyrus’ poses?

I think in this society a man taking part in a shoot like Mylie Cyrus would be ignored as a sexualisation and seen more as an empowering image, but this is mainly down to the idea of stereotyping and what is “right and wrong”. This is especially due to the idea of men dominating women, and the poses Mylie is undertaking look quite masculine and dominant which makes the images seem “wrong” within the thoughts of society. It would seem that the male body is more celebrated and flaunted whereas a woman is objectified and made to seem like a picture of enjoyment. Mylie was slated in the media for this shoot but in this magazine image it looks as though the fact that Dan Osbourne is naked is the selling point of the magazine.

Who is ‘shaping our brains’?

Again I believe that the media has a heavy influence on the way we see and interpret things but then does that mean that we shape our own brain to believe the media?

Are ideas of representation of gender and race something you have considered before?

I have a transgender cousin, so representing gender is particularly important as I know what it is like for Ollie to suffer with confusion and narrow mindedness from others around him that don’t understand. So for me, representing gender is something I try to approach with sensitivity and try not to include stereotypical colours, clothing and poses so not to catergorise people unless I have a justified reason to follow a stereotypical approach. With race I think it is almost the same principal, not catergorising anyone. I haven’t been faced with photographing different races as of yet, but I would be just as sensitive about this.

What kind of work in the social/political arena is still to be done? Whose rights do we still have to fight for? Can we do that photographically?

I think the biggest issue to fight against is the sexualisation of women and men in the media and portraying someone for the beauty which they want to portray of themselves. Essentially this leads onto the LGBT society, whom I feel need to have an equal place in the media and society as a whole. By introducing them into photographs that go public more often we can spread awareness of their struggles but also of their humanity which is the same as anyone elses. This way we can help them to feel celebrated and equal.

How important is it to gain awareness in terms of visual references that could be construed as racist?

downloadI think it’s important for people to see the bigger picture and not to read into every image that is seen to be racist. Society has come along way since before the 21st century when slavery and racism was actually a very strong idea through out. I think people need to be able to understand the evolution of acceptance of race and also of photography and how this can be used to visualise things much differently to how we could before. This image of LeBron was one which really infuriated me. The intention of the image has been manipulated into a racist interpretation but look at the facts behind the image. Lebron is 6ft8 which is a massive figure which would tower over most people. He is a basket ball player so his stance in the image is one he may use regularly within the game. Gisele Bundchen is a supermodel with a delicate frame making her look a lot more sensitive in the image. The intention of the image is unknown but if you compare these facts with the King Kong interpretation it makes it seem less offensive. Overall I think people need to delve deeper into images and understand them before calling them racist in order to raise awareness of what is ACTUALLY racist.

Representations of the immigration /asylum seekers?

I think the way immigrants particularly are represented, especially recently, is totally misconstrued and give people the impression that they are just invading and terrorising other places when actually they are trying to find somewhere safe to go following all the war in Syria particularly. The problem is the media is the first point of call for a lot of people, and they miss the vital facts that can be manipulated by the media, allowing them to be brain washed into believing exactly what they read, see or hear. The media tends to publish what it wants people to believe, based on a majority opinion rather than factual information. This leads me to think about terrorism, and how with recent attacks from ISIS, people are now frightened of Muslims, but tend to ignore the fact that some Muslims are also frightened and have been killed by the group as well. The media catergorises people as a whole instead of taking people individually.

Are there any areas of discriminatory practices in contemporary society you feel ready to tackle photographically? Why?

I feel ready to tackle the representation of the LGBT community. I feel this is such a close subject to my heart with my cousin being a member of this group of people, and after having long chats with Ollie, I’ve slowly started to understand the everyday life struggles that members of LGBT contend with. I think this is something that needs to be made more public to society so that the LGBT community can feel celebrated and as equal as everyone else. equalpeple1

Posted in Contextual Studies

Magazine Article – Research

As part of our magazine article task, our group have decided to investigate the changing views on gender and sexual representation. As my part of the research I have looked in to the past views of these subjects and the things that have happened over the years. These are just the few key points I found out that I think are essential to include within the article.

  • LGBT goes back to before the 1600’s
  • 1102 The Council of London (Roman Catholic church council of the church in England) took measures to ensure that the English public knew that homosexuality was sinful”
  • 1395 John Rykener, known also as Johannes Richer and Eleanor, a transvestite prostitute working mainly in London (near Cheapside), but also active in Oxford, was arrested for cross-dressing and interrogated.
  • Workshop_of_Hans_Holbein_the_Younger_-_Portrait_of_Henry_VIII_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg1533 King Henry VIII passes the Buggery Act 1533 making all male-male sexual activity punishable by death and extended this into Wales in 1543
  • 1680 – same-sex marriage was annulled. Arabella Hunt married “James Howard”; in 1682 the marriage was annulled on the ground that Howard was in fact Amy Poulter, a ‘perfect woman in all her parts’, and two women could not validly marry.
  • 1810 The nineteenth century began with a wave of prosecutions against homosexual men.
  • 1835 The last two men to be executed in Britain for buggery, James Pratt and John Smith, were arrested on 29 August in London after being spied upon while having sex in a private room; they were hanged on 27 November
  • 1861 The death penalty for buggery was abolished. A total of 8921 men had been prosecuted since 1806 for sodomy with 404 sentenced to death and 56 executed
  • 1885 – Criminal Law Act was passed in the UK, which made all homosexual behaviour illegal.
  • When homosexuality was made illegal, those suspected of it could face imprisonment and hard labour for up to two years.
  • People who cross-dressed became easy targets of the law because they were associated with homosexual subculture.
  • Fanny-and-Stella-011.jpgOne of the first public trials for transvestite behaviour was that of Ernest (Stella) Boulton, and Fred (Fanny) Park, arrested in 1870 for indecent behaviour. The authorities based the prosecution on their transvestism and their soliciting of men as women – No conviction could be obtained on these grounds and they were acquitted of the charge of conspiracy to commit a felony by cross-dressing. One of the largest organisations for transvestite men in the US today is the Boulton and Park Society
  • Older generations don’t believe in LGBT, and you could have been arrested for it if the public knew it
  • It would have gone unnoticed if LGBT people were abused
  • The excuse used to cover this was that the transgender was done for fun and just for stage productions – almost like drag
  • In the 60/70s women tried to fight for their rights of how they were represented – wasn’t until 1980 that they managed to get some changes
  • Many transgender people are murdered
  • It was not until the late 1980s and 1990s that scholars recognized a need for study in the field of sexuality – due to the increasing interest in lesbian and gay rights, scholars found that most individuals would associate sexuality and gender together, rather than as separate entities
  • Between 1848-1899 multiple states in America passed anti-cross-dressing laws
  • 1940-50s – transgender communities started to rise fighting for their rights
  • Dora Ritchter – first documented male – female genital transformation in 1931 – arranged by Hirschfeld
  • Untitled1910 – Magnus Hirschfeld a Jew, wrote a book called the transvestites – he worked for the police to try and stop transgender harassment – was called “the most dangerous Jew in Germany” by Hitler – during 1930-33 he visited several states in America to preach vision on sexual science – 1933 Nazis destroyed his institute, most famous Nazi book burning
  • 1920/30’s – medical provision was very sparse, but still transsexual people managed to find doctors who would help them.
  • In the UK, Michael (formerly Laura) Dillon managed to obtain gender reassignment treatment during the war. In the late 1940s he even had a penis constructed by the plastic surgeon Sir Harold Gilles, who later became famous for his work with burns victims.
  • Harry Benjamin set up the first clinical practice in New York
  • The former head of research at the UK Gender Identity Clinic at Charing Cross hospital, Professor Richard Green, trained with Harry Benjamin.
  • When Benjamin published the first major textbook on the subject, The Transsexual Phenomenon, in 1966, gender reassignment was still the subject of extensive social stigma both publicly and in the medical world.
  • Over 40 years later, some of that stigma remains, but it is widely accepted that the only successful treatment for transsexual people is hormone therapy and surgical reassignment.
  • A 1999 appeal court decision in the UK has confirmed this view, and it is an area of medicine that is gradually gaining respectability
    Transsexual people have also become much more visible.
  • 1895 Oscar Wilde tried for gross indecency over a relationship with Lord Alfred Douglas, was sentenced to two years in prison with hard labour
  • 1897 George Cecil Ives organizes the first homosexual rights group in England, the Order of Chaeronea.
  • 1906 Dr. Louisa Martindale set up a private practice in Brighton and became the first woman GP.
  • 1910 London homosexuals began to gather openly in public places such as pubs, coffee houses and teashops for the first time. Waitresses ensured that a section of Lyons Corner House in Piccadilly Circus was reserved for homosexuals. The section became known as the Lily Pond. In 1912 London’s first gay pub The Cave of the Golden Calf opened in Heddon Street
  • 1958 The Homosexual Law Reform Society is founded in the United Kingdom to begin a campaign to make homosexuality legal in the UK
  • 1963 The Minorities Research Group became the UK’s first lesbian social and political organisation. They went on to publish their own lesbian magazine called Arena Three
  • 1965 In the House of Lords, Lord Arran proposed the decriminalisation of male homosexual acts (lesbian acts had never been illegal). A UK opinion poll finds that 93% of respondents see homosexuality as a form of illness requiring medical treatment
  • 1969 Campaign for Homosexual Equality formed as the first British gay activist group.
  • 1972 The First British Gay Pride Rally was held in London with 1000 people marching from Trafalgar Square to Hyde Park. Gay News, Britain’s first gay newspaper was founded
  • 1979 At the end of the decade, trans individuals still had neither identity rights nor legal protection.
  • 1980’s saw the increase in aids
  • BIGBIG_gianni_A35D17.jpg1988 Section 28 – stated that a local authority “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” or “promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”. The act was introduced by Margaret Thatcher.
  • 1996 A breakthrough is made in the area of AIDS treatment;
  • 2000 The Labour government scraps the policy of barring homosexuals from the armed forces
  • 2002 Same-sex couples are granted equal rights to adopt.
  • 2003 Section 28, which banned councils and schools from intentionally promoting homosexuality, is repealed in England and Wales and Northern Ireland. Employment Equality Regulations made it illegal to discriminate against lesbians, gays or bisexuals at work
  • 2004 The Civil Partnership Act 2004 is passed by the Labour Government, giving same-sex couples the same rights and responsibilities as married heterosexual couples in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales
  • 2014 Same-sex marriage becomes legal in England and Wales

In conclusion to my research it is evident that the views on LGBT have over the years become more positive. I think the reactions to LGBT in past centuries have been way too over the top – everyone should be entitled to be who they are and to be happy. No one should be able to tell them it’s wrong. It is a relief that the more modern society have allowed LGBT to become equal, and are continuing to fight for their rights.