My recent trip to leeds was winderful. My primary photography was street art and tages which I am using for exercise 3.2 Typography. However, I took a few of the city as well. Some I am keeping just for myself. They are interesting to me but not great photos. Here are some that I enjoy as photos as well as being part of my enjoyment of the wonderful city of Leeds.

Leeds Architecture,

Leeds Architecture,

Leeds Architecture,

Leeds Architecture,

Leeds Architecture,

Leeds Architecture,

Leeds Architecture,

Leeds Architecture,

Leeds Architecture,

Leeds Architecture,

Leeds Architecture,

Leeds Architecture,

Leeds Architecture,


Leeds – Emulating Andreas Gursky

My recent trip to Leeds was a wonderful opportunity for photography. I did tryto seek permission to shoot from the top of Bridgewater place (a modern business and residential tower block) and also from the Double Two Hilton. Both to no avail. However I made use of multi-storey carparks, and one tenament style tower block with an outside balcony (a bit sneaky but well worth it).

I have put together a little gallery by grouping together shots that reminded me of Andreas Gursky, whom I briefly reviwed for exercise 2.2 (seen here). I will be adding a few other photos, and a couple of panoramas that I made from the tower block, to my gallery over the next few days.

In the mean time, I hope that you enjoy Leeds.


Exercise 3.1 – Searching

Brief:- Take at least a couple of hours or more to wander around. Don’t be shy; you won’t be arrested, you’re not breaking the law. You’re doing exactly what most photographers do every day. When we search we don’t necessarily have a clear idea of what we’re looking for. However, the act of searching is never aimless because to search implies an open-ness to finding. It also helps us to hone our ideas, to sort out what is and isn’t relevant. There will come a time when you need to consolidate a body of work, but for now you’re free. When you’ve uploaded your photos decide whether to arrange them as smaller images in a scroll that reflects the journey you made. Or pick out some individual images.

The exercise was a lot of fun. I went out to a small village called Danby on the eastern edge of the North York Moors. It was a place which I haven’t been to before, was accessible, and it’s always enjoyable to photograph in a new place. Unfortunately I didn’t have the time to go to the Moors National Park Centre, nor the Inspired By gallery. That is on my agenda for a future time and an earlier train, maybe a bit of sun as well, its good to be warm.

The first thing that I photographed when I got off of the train was a small bush, and a large Monkey Puzzle tree (Whitby Jet is the fossilised monkey puzzle). I started photographing and texture, lines and geometry became an unscripted theme to explore. I photographed footprints, stones, trees, tree bark, plants, landscapes and an RAF Hawk trainer/fighter.

My difficulty has come with deciding how to present the photos. The review of Michael Wolf (seen here) was inspiring, but his series are so well presented that I have had difficulty with selecting photos and grouping them together to try and replicate his quality.







I feel that all of the grids are presentable, but geometry more so. The layout for that works well, and adds to the geometric theme, as well as being easy on the eye. It matches concrete with concrete, wood with wood, and post with post.

Macro could possibly have done with an extra photo, but to be honest I wasn’t pleased with the others that I shot on the day. The first two photos are of a good quality technically and aesthetically, although the third lacks clarity towards the edges of the thorn.

Trees is a consistent series but it lacks punch, and that’s because of the first three photos. If I were to take a few more photos similar to the bottom pairing and add those, it would improve the series considerably.

As always I welcome critique and feedback.



Photographic Learning From My First Visit To The Ballet

Northern Ballet have produced Jayne Eyre (seen here), which I went to see at Leeds Grand last night.

The last time that I read Jayne Eyre was over twenty years ago, which meant that I had no recollection of the storyline. However, the ballet was so well choreographed and performed that it came back to me scene by scene.

I felt sad and cried, I felt angry, and I laughed. Such a moving and convincing performance.

My seat was in the upper balcony, slightly to the left of stage and that meant I had a good perspective for some technical analysis.

Choreography uses the same visual, placement and use of space that is used in photography.

Diagonals were often used, either with a group of dancers (front corner to opposing rear corner), or by two characters to create visual tension with my eyes moving back and forth between the two.

Foreground, mid-ground and background were used effectively. There were a couple of scenes in which there was a lot of movement across the whole of the available space, but not often. When the action took place in the background then there may have been one performer in the foreground. This gave a sense of space and perspective.

There were other occasions when the performance was taking place at the front of stage, and those dancers in the background barely moved. They provided a visual context to the rest of the action.

Use of scenery and props were relevent and limited to when there was a need to alert the viewer to a change of setting.

It was also clear that costume and colour was relevent to the social status/age/emplorment and personality of the character, as well as reflecting the change of social status for Jayne.

Key learning

Make use of space by allowing it to be there.

Emotion is portrayed by body language, clothing, lighting and props.

Make use of background appropriately – if the action/subject is in the background then have a touch of visual contrast in the foreground and vice versa.

Distractions – does it need to be in the scene. If it doesn’t then remove it or change perspective if possible. There are some occasions where distractions can be deliberately used to create tension, confusion and movement.

Props can be used to create the setting, to demonstrate personality (portrait/fashion) and to divide available space so the eye is drawn in to one part of the photo.

Lighting can be used to create mood, to alter emotion engagement, to highlight, to obscure, and can be used in an abstract manner to provide a hint to the viewer without being directive.

Planning. Having a photographic eye is no different from choreography in visual or performance arts. There are times when performance is ad lib as in photography, but often having a plan, even if it’s just a vision in the mind can ensure that a photograph is taken just at the right moment.

As I begin to move into making the political/social themed photography that I want to make, I am gaining more of an understanding about the necessity of planning. Test photos, beginning a project then realising it isn’t right, going out with my camera and taking photos for fun – these are as important as mind maps and written exploration of ideas. These ways of planning are a photographers dress rehearsal.

My first experience of ballet was mesmerising. Viewing the world through the eyes of a photographer is becoming more natural.



Pleased With Progress – Colour Verus Content – Viewing Photography From My Internal Frame of Reference

Two recent projects that I have completed, as a part of my studies, have given me a boost. They are the beginnings of the kind of photography that I wish to make. A Hermits Journey (here)  is a narrative that expressed part of my current life experiences, and combined text with photography. Sick of Bulimia (seen here) is a conceptual sequence exploring that particular eating disorder.

A Hermits Journey

The snow provided me with the opportunity to make photos which could convey the mood that I was looking to express, and the use text gave me the oportunity to present a visual and emotional journey. There were two influences that I used to help me to develop the idea for this work. Chloe Halstead, an OCA Photography and Creative Arts degree student, has produced Snippets, for assignment three. Snippets is a photograph (which can be seen here) that has text written onto it. The text is snippets of conversations that she heard. The narrative is broken in respect that brief glimpses of heard conversation do not provide a continuous narrative, but viewing the progress of her assignment sparked the potential for using text as a part of photography, rather than only as an introduction to a series.

Telling Stories by Judy Bach (seen here) has been an incredible experience to view. The story is told from a first person perspective and begins with the narrator, Florence Fountain, finding a box of photos in her mothers former home. Using appropriated and found images, Bach has developed a story which explores Florence’s family history. The use of photography and text has been both emotionally moving and convincing. Telling Stories was produced by Bach for Assignment Five Digital Image and Culture (seen here).

My initial plan was to create a sequence that was purely a physical journey, but as I began my walk I realised that I could take the opportunity to express a little of who I am and what the journey represents to me. Whilst I was walking I considered what I would like to say in relation to the scenes that I was photographing. A five hour walk left me with a lot of photos, and the selection process wasn’t easy. However, because I had considered the personal importance of the scenes as I was photographing them, some sections were quite straight forward.

Sick of Bulimia

The conceptual sequence that I produced for exercise 3.3, Sick of Bulimia, is photography that I am very proud to have produced. The idea has been nurtured over many months, with test photos taken last year. Having reviewed Self Burial by Keith Arnatt (seen here) I returned to my ideas in relation to bulimia, and decided to develop this into a conceptual sequence. The power of Sick of Bulimia is due, in my opinion, to my personal experiences. The photos are an expression of my emotions and thought patterns, and the emotion is evident in the series.

Two key learning points come across from these projects; Studying the developmental process of other photographers is a key to learning to turn an idea into a body of work. Halstead and Bach’s work has included reasearch, experimentation, development of ideas, critique from peers and tutors, re-working and excluding some photography that did not work. The other point is that photography which I have an emotional connection to, and that I feel passionate about, will be of higher quality and be more evocative than work that I approach nonchalantly.

Colour vs Content

I follow many student blogs and I recent commented upon the learning log of OCA photography degree student Tanya Keane. She was comparing two photos from groups on opposing sides of the abortion debate (eighth amendment) in the Republic of Ireland. The comment that I had made was in regard to the exposure of the two photos (seen here). Keane disagreed with my reflection and explained why. This gave me an opportunity to explore in some detail my confusion about colour, vibrance and exposure.

I am drawn to colour. You will see me out and about in blue, red, purple, green and other coloured trousers, and my jumpers and shirts are always colourful (not that they often go together). Much of my previous photography has been high contrast, colourful and  with added vibrance. One comment that I received a while ago was that a photo looked like it had been processed as HDR, it wasnt, but I do produce similar photography with the use of Lightroom. How I view photography is affected by this. My initial attraction is to colour, and then progresses onto the content.

Once I had completed my presentation for Sick of Bulimia, I sought critique and feed back, and it was suggested that I try different layouts, and a white background instead of the midtone grey in the original. The photos with the white background appeared brighter and were more prominent, however the series with the grey background meant that I felt drawn into the photos, and connected with them on a deeper level. I can make use of this practical experience to guide me with developing photographs in the future.

Frame of reference when viewing photography

We all have a personal belief system that has developed from our experiences. My mental and emotion frame of reference informs how I view the world around me. Having realised the importance of making photography that means something to me, which is developed from my frame of reference, I have discovered where there can also be a drawback.

Viewing others photography from my own frame of reference is completely natural, and I particularly enjoy reviewing the work of photographers. Once I have written my initial thoughts, I try to get into the photographers head and see what they are wanting to convey. I fall short of the mark but it helps me to see things from a viewpoint which is different from mine. My frame of reference is humanistic, ideological, left-wing and sometimes borders on anti-establishment. This is limiting when it comes to analysing the photography of others who have created their art from a different internal construct. To have realised this at an early stage of my studies is very useful indeed, and will broaden how I relate to the work of other photographers, and hopefully make me a more rounded individual.



Bach, J; 2018; Assignment Five Digital Image and Culture; Online AT: https://judybachdigitalimageandculture.wordpress.com/category/assignments/assignment-5/ (accessed on 10/03/2018)

Bach, J; 2018; Telling Stories; Online AT: https://tellingstoriesmyfamily.wordpress.com/ (accessed on 10/03/2018)

Keane, T; 2018; Two very different images taken from the media; Online AT: https://tkocalevel3.wordpress.com/2018/02/01/research-for-contextual-studies/ (accessed on 10/03/2018)

Halstead, C; 2018; Assignment Three handwriting; Online AT: https://chloeslenscape.wordpress.com/2018/02/07/assignment-three-handwriting/ (accessed on 10/03/2018)

Sick Of Bulimia – Conceptual – Exercise 3.3 – Sequence

Reflections upon Sick of Bulimia.

I have published Sick of Bulimia as a separate blog post, because I believe that it warrants being presented as a stand alone project. It can be seen here.


Exercise 3.3 is about photography as sequence, and I have now explored many of the options, based upon the ideas and learning about the photographers that we have been asked to review. Keith Arnatt’s Self Burial is a conceptual sequence, which I reviewed as part of the coursework (seen here).

It helped that I have had an idea that I wanted to explore about bulimia, and created some test photos around 6-9 months ago. Two of the photos in my final sequence have come from those, and the rest I have taken over the past couple of weeks. The opportunity to build upon my previous photography and to do so for exercise 3.3 was influenced by reviewing Self Burial.


I have an eating disorder, and was first diagnosed with Anorexia – binge-purge subtype in my late teens. I was actually a restrict-pirge but that’s not a separate diagnosis. My eating disorder has changed its shape over the years and I haven’t purged for many years. Having a personal investment has meant that I could explore bulimia from my own perspective, the experience of others, and from additional research.

There is a sequence, a ritual that is often associated with eating disorders, and I have tried to express the mental urgency around going out, buying food, bingeing and vomiting by using blurred photos, movement,  the use of bright colours. Some of the photos are taken from the perspective of the person engaged in the depicted activities rather than going with the golden rules of photography. Bulimia is personal, deeply emotional, and both thrilling and devastating. The excitement and the rush of buying and bingeing is short lived, and is quickly replaced by overwhelming shame and distress.

The central portrait is the signifier of shame, and I think the sequence would have worked better if I made this image larger and more dominant.


Reviewing eating disorder charities and websites from around the globe has evidenced that death is a very possible outcome for people with an eating disorder. Up to twenty percent of individuals with an eating disorder will die from either heart failure, organ failure or suicide. This made second photo important for me to include. The symbolic references by including the memorial and the shop where the food was purchased has a deep significance.

Bulimia is secretive, as are other eating disorders initially. Overtime it becomes obvious to family, friends and healthcare workers that a person is severely underweight and may have anorexia. People with bulimia may be underweight, of a healthy weight or overweight, and this poses many problems because it is less obvious to loved ones.

Purging depletes the body of the vitamins and minerals that it needs for electrical conduction (we are electro-chemical beings) and death can come from disturbances to the hearts electrical conduction as well as organ failure. Of those who die from bulimia, heart failure is the biggest cause of death.

However recovery is possible if help is asked for, so I included a link to eating disorder charities from a few countries.


Self Burial (Arnatt) helped me to formulate how I could build upon my original photos and create a sequence. The urgency of HAVING to go out and buy food, knowing that you were going to binge and then purge was a starting point, and lead onto re-creating the journey to do so, and things flowed from there. I made use of two cameras, Olympus OMD EM10 MKii and Mzuiko 25mm (50mm equivalent) prime,, and Huawei P10 smart phone with dual Leica lens, 27mm, 20mp raw. The Huawei gave me the opportunity to create good bokeh, if slightly unusual, which can be evidenced in photo 5 where the shopping is on the floor.

Fully aware that it is important to take lots of photos of each scene and from different angles, using different lighting (building upon 100 photos, soft light landscape, smash – part one of FiP coursework (seen here)), I set to work and took many photos.

Creating the vomit was a simple process of blending dog food, baked beans, carrots and eggs together. It’s visually effective. I have made the toothbrush the focus of that photo because the photos of just the vomit were too graphic. A tooth-brush may often be used by people with bulimia to make themselves sick.

The selection process also built upon previous coursework in relation to evaluating and selction, as well as the skills that I have learned from reading The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC Book for Digital Photographers, 2015 by Scott Kelby.

Through following the blog of an OCA degree student (can’t remember who) I picked up the idea of writing upon contact sheets as a method of aiding the evaluation process, and this was indeed very helpful.

Lightroom (Bulimia 1.png and 33 others)

The weakest two photos are the first – the trainers, however they are symbolic of the urgency to get food, and the third photos of the shopping basket and trolley. Nine Photos make for an aesthetically pleasing grid, so I have included these. I had not planned to use a combination of portrait and landscape orientation, but the final photos were important to me because they carried the message that I wanted to express.

Reworking from Feedback

Sick of Bulimia has received a lot of welcome feedback, which has included using photo two, the memorial with its symbolism od death as the central photo, keeping the same background, and changing the background to white. Having tried these options and also a white background and a grey border, I feel very strongly that my original presentation is the strongest, along with the grey background, which I was originally unsure of. The restructured grid to have death as the central photo doesn’t work because it significantly changes the grid layout. The shame of having an eating disorder is also the strongest emotion that I have in relation to my own experience of bulimia (I have no shame about anorexia), so the portrait of me crying has to be the central photo. The white background with the grey border is presentable, however the focus is taken towards the colours rather than the content. Having the grey background draws me deeply into the photos, and that’s what I would like for the viewers.

Here is the original presentation, and the other forms of presentation that I have tried.








The Individual Photos















I am deeply grateful for the feedback that I have recieved.


Kelby, S; 2015; The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC Book for Digital Photographers; New Riders; Pages 47-54

Keys, R; 2018; Review – Keith Arnatt – Self-Burial; Online AT: https://photosociology.wordpress.com/2018/02/21/review-keith-arnatt-self-burial/ (accessed on 09/03/2018)


Sick Of Bulimia

Sick Of Bulimia


Bulimia is an eating disorder, a psychiatric illness. eating disorders have the highest death rate of all of the mental illness. Between ten and twenty percent of people with an eating disorder will die as a consequence of this illness. Those deaths are attributed to heart failure, organ failure and suicide.

Bulimia (or bulimia nervosa) is a serious mental illness. It can affect anyone of any age, gender, or background. People with bulimia are caught in a cycle of eating large quantities of food (called bingeing), and then trying to compensate for that overeating by vomiting, taking laxatives or diuretics, fasting, or exercising excessively (called purging). Early intervention offers the best chance for a rapid and sustained recovery from bulimia.(Source link)

If you have an eating disorder – recovery is possible, speak to a family member, someone you trust, a doctor, or search google for an eating disorder service in your country.

United Kingdom


Men Get Eating Disorders Too

United States





The Minds Foundation












Blogger Appreciation Award – Mental Well-Being With A Mental Illness

Blogger Appreciation Award

I have just received the blogger appreciation award from  Nash Christmas (link).

Nash is an author who believes in self expression, and he writes about all things human but especially relationships. He is a Serbian national who writes his blog in English.

guidelines for the Blogger Appreciation Award

1.Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link back to their site.
2.Write a paragraph of something positive about yourself.
3.Nominate and notify as many bloggers as you wish.
4.Use the Blogger Appreciation Award image.

Something Positive About Me.

What is mental health?

Often when people think about mental health they think of mental illness rather than being mentally healthy. My slant for today is that it is possible to have a mental illness and still be in good shape mentally.

I am diagnosed with several mental illnesses, and life has certainly had its ups, downs and hospital admissions. However, I do my best to live a lifestyle that is positive for my mental well-being.

Mediation and trying to live mindfully are the mainstay of my health. I meditate for an hour each day. Living mindfully takes a while to get used to. Mindfullness – paying attention, on purpose, to the present moment, non-judgementally. This way of life is teaching me to just let circumstances be. Allow my feelings and thoughts to be there, without trying to chase them away with distractions, behaviours or addictions. Whats the worst that can happen if I’m feeling paranoid, having a panic attack, feeling depressed? The only way it can affect me is that I don’t like how I feel, or what I am thinking, and that I feel disturbed.

There are times that I sit watching a movie with my hand resting on my heart, this releases oxytocin, which has two effects, it’s a happy hormone, and it lowers the stress hormones, cortisol and adrenalin. I write five things down in my gratitude diary, things that have happened or that I have achieved during the day. It may be as simple as having hoovered my flat, spoken to a friend, or completed a bit if study. Making sure that I have breaks, and rest are important to me, as is being involved in my community. My community is my friends, my fellow students, and fellow bloggers. Giving back is also a vital component of my life. Giving back doesn’t have to be a big demonstration, holding a door open for someone, speaking to a homeless person, commenting upon someones blog, these create a sense of value and belonging.

Having a mental illness and being mentally well is not an either/or situation.

The bloggers who I am nominating are.

Jade from Crescent Raven


misschauhan from Shoot Me With A Camera

Cinnamon Buns and Roses

Old Boy from Movies From the Silent Era


Dogs – Animals In Motion – Exercise 3.3 – Sequence

My first attempts at capturing animals in motion were photographed using my bridge camera, and I wasn’t particularly happy with the results. I have re-photographed, this time using some dogs that were playing in the snow. I made use of my Olympus OMD EM10 MKiii for this series, the lens was the MZuiko 4-150 zoom. As well as making use of the photo video format, I have made a grid presentation style using Adobe Photoshop.


The results are better here than they were for the birds, not perfect, more improvement needed but a better than my previous attempt.