Review of Lyndsey Jameson – PhotoRealist Artist

I am reviewing Lyndsey Jameson as part of the planning and research for my project on mental illness/mental wellness.

Lyndsey is a visual artist who predominantly paints with oils in the photorealistic style. She has been awarded the British Portrait Award with the National portrait Gallery (2015). She also received second place in the visitors choice of the British Portrait award in 2010.

I find her paintings to be hard-hitting expressions of emotions and inner conflict. She produces a narrative within each painting, but there is adequate space within that for the viewer to become the co-creator of story by questioning our emotions, inner thoughts and our concept of self and identity.


The Harpy – Oil on Linen 2013

The Harpy - Oil on Linen 2013

Fig 1

Initial Observations

Woman melting, Rook on Head, Rose and hair pin above ear, Eyes – white-no iris-no pupil, mouth wide, burnt orange-brown-red-yellow canvas, with some whiter/highlights as frame around head. Photorealistic, Emotion – anger-fear-loss

The woman could be materialising (left side of body has no lines of melting) so could be forming. She Could be melting (right hand side of body is like wax, melting down the page. A sense of not being seen as only shoulders and head visible.

The colours of canvas initially suggested anger, movement, energy, intensity, but I also see warmth, sunrise, mist.

Narrative:- The appearance of woman, self, arising through the mist of the morning sunrise, with a need to be heard and seen. There is a strength in the mouth and eyes and the form of the body, which is very defined other than the left arm. Were are not being shown, subtle, tender curves of the woman, we are being shown the dynamic strength of the feminine, the goddess. The Power.The Power is not a confrontation or hostility to the viewer, we are not being lead to be fearful. The perspective is side on, and although the woman is looking forward, she is not facing us. This is power without threat. Inner strength.

Research The Harpy and Celtic power animal (Crow, Rook, Raven)

Harpy – Roman Greek Mythology, half maiden half bird, hunger, faster than the winds, swift-footed, Swift Robbers, bringer of justice, protective of family – especially when harmed, considered ugly by MEN

“But even as early as the time of Aeschylus, they are described as ugly creatures with wings, and later writers carry their notions of the Harpies so far as to represent them as most disgusting monsters. The Pythian priestess of Apollo recounted the appearance of the Harpies in the following lines:

“Before this man an extraordinary band of women [i.e. Harpies] slept, seated on thrones. No! Not women, but rather Gorgons I call them; and yet I cannot compare them to forms of Gorgons either. Once before I saw some creatures in a painting, carrying off the feast of Phineus; but these are wingless in appearance, black, altogether disgusting; they snore with repulsive breaths, they drip from their eyes hateful drops; their attire is not fit to bring either before the statues of the gods or into the homes of men. I have never seen the tribe that produced this company, nor the land that boasts of rearing this brood with impunity and does not grieve for its labor afterwards.” also Vicious, cruel, tyrants that punished the wicked. (Wikipedia; 2017)

The Poem The Harpy by Robert William Service gives a different perspective on the Harpy, and suggests that the harpy is wise, wise to the shame of men, but punished by the gods to play the game of love, either for loves sake or payment. However, this is not a submissive role. These are women of power and are the hunters and not the hunted, even though the man may feel that he is the one with the power.

Celtic and Druid Mythology around ravens and crows concern, wisdom, the oracle, fortune-telling, seeing the future, death but he one that strikes me is that crows can be trained to speak.

I believe that Jameson is showing a woman, truly stepping into her own power, sense of self and will no longer be subservient, quite, shy. She knows who she is, she sees who you are, she sees the future and do not dare stand in her way, because you will pay the consequences if you do. This is also symbolised by the cawing crow. She is also mysterious and has hidden depths




“A lot of negative raven symbolism comes about from their appearance on battlefields. They are scavengers (and curious to a fault), and are often seen picking at mangled remains of fallen warriors on battle grounds.

For example, the raven’s intelligence is possibly its most winning feature. Indeed, these birds can be trained to speak. This speaking ability leads into the legend of ravens being the ultimate oracle.

In fact, the raven is often heard to cackle utterances that sound like “cras, cras.” The actual word cras is tomorrow in Latin. This lends more fuel to the legendary fires that distinguish the raven as a bird who can foretell the future, and reveal omens and signs.

Countless cultures point to the raven as a harbinger of powerful secrets. Moreover, the raven is a messenger too, so its business is in both keeping and communicating deep mysteries. The raven is symbolic of mind, thought and wisdom according to Norse legend, as their god Odin was accompanied by two ravens: Hugin who represented the power of thought and active search for information. The other raven, Mugin represented the mind, and its ability to intuit meaning rather than hunting for it. Odin would send these two ravens out each day to soar across the lands. At day’s end, they would return to Odin and speak to him of all they had spied upon and learned on their journeys.


Keywords Associated With Raven Symbolism

Vocal, Brassy, Knowing, Curious, Truthful, Creative, Authentic, Intuitive, Mysterious, Insightful, Intelligent, Unpredictable, Unconventional” (Veneficia; 2015-2017)


Druidism and Crow

“Another belief was that the birds were faeries who shape-shifted to cause troubles. Magickal qualities included bringing knowledge, shape-shifting, eloquence, prophecy, boldness, skill, knowledge, cunning, trickery and thievery. In the Middle Ages, people believed that sorcerers and witches used the symbol of Crows foot to cast death spells. In most of England, seeing a solitary crow meant anger, but in Northamptonshire, it meant ill fortune. Crow, cawing in a hoarse voice, meant bad weather. A death omen was a crow cawing thrice as it flew over a house. The Irish believed that Crow flocking in trees, but not nesting were souls from Purgatory. Finding a dead crow was a sign of good fortune. Russians believed that witches took the shape of Crow.” (Clara)


Torsion – Oil on Canvas 2006

Torsion Oil on canvas 2006

Fig 2

Initial Observations

Male Face, tortured, bruised, cyanosis, haematoma, locked in, unable to express, constricted emotions and thoughts, the eyes – restricted vision – no hope – no future – suicide, the wires wrap tightly around his face – he is mentally and verbally squashed, everything is kept in, his emotions and thoughts are tight and becoming tighter, he can’t get enough oxygen. He is dying with the weight of what he cannot think about or say. He has witnessed or committed tragedy, intense trauma. This is a form of inner suffocation and strangulation. The torture is not as a form of assault, the wires suggest this and say that something has happened to him. The trauma has happened to him and its eating him alive. He is in so much pain but there is no way that he is going to let it out. He is going to die. The pressure is too much. There is no sign that he is going to hit out, the wires tell of impotence, an inability to express.

Pain, sadness, grief, trauma, suffering, intensity, suffocation, powerlessness and death.

With the dictionary definitions of testicular torsion I believe the man may have suffered sexual abuse, and that this has cut of the life within him, as in the first dictionary definition. A hard hitting painting that made me pause deeply.


Torsion – dictionary

“Testicular torsion occurs when the spermatic cord (from which the testicle is suspended) twists, cutting off the testicle’s blood supply The most common symptom in children is rapid onset of severe testicular pain The testicle may also be higher than usual and vomiting may occur. In newborns pain is often absent and instead the scrotum may become discoloured or a testicle may disappear from its usual place” (Wikipedia; 2017a)

“def 1; late Middle English torcion wringing one’s bowels < Old French torsion < Late Latin torsiōn- (stem of torsiō) torment, equivalent to tors(us) twisted (see torse ) + -iōn- -ion” (Random House Dictionary; 2017)

“The Harpy – Poem by Robert William Service

There was a woman, and she was wise; woefully wise was she;
She was old, so old, yet her years all told were but a score and three;
And she knew by heart, from finish to start, the Book of Iniquity.

There is no hope for such as I on earth, nor yet in Heaven;
Unloved I live, unloved I die, unpitied, unforgiven;
A loathed jade, I ply my trade, unhallowed and unshriven.

I paint my cheeks, for they are white, and cheeks of chalk men hate;
Mine eyes with wine I make them shine, that man may seek and sate;
With overhead a lamp of red I sit me down and wait

Until they come, the nightly scum, with drunken eyes aflame;
Your sweethearts, sons, ye scornful ones — ’tis I who know their shame.
The gods, ye see, are brutes to me — and so I play my game.

For life is not the thing we thought, and not the thing we plan;
And Woman in a bitter world must do the best she can —
Must yield the stroke, and bear the yoke, and serve the will of man;

Must serve his need and ever feed the flame of his desire,
Though be she loved for love alone, or be she loved for hire;
For every man since life began is tainted with the mire.

And though you know he love you so and set you on love’s throne;
Yet let your eyes but mock his sighs, and let your heart be stone,
Lest you be left (as I was left) attainted and alone.

From love’s close kiss to hell’s abyss is one sheer flight, I trow,
And wedding ring and bridal bell are will-o’-wisps of woe,
And ’tis not wise to love too well, and this all women know.

Wherefore, the wolf-pack having gorged upon the lamb, their prey,
With siren smile and serpent guile I make the wolf-pack pay —
With velvet paws and flensing claws, a tigress roused to slay.

One who in youth sought truest truth and found a devil’s lies;
A symbol of the sin of man, a human sacrifice.
Yet shall I blame on man the shame? Could it be otherwise?

Was I not born to walk in scorn where others walk in pride?
The Maker marred, and, evil-starred, I drift upon His tide;
And He alone shall judge His own, so I His judgment bide.

Fate has written a tragedy; its name is “The Human Heart”.
The Theatre is the House of Life, Woman the mummer’s part;
The Devil enters the prompter’s box and the play is ready to start. “(Service; 1953)



Fig 1;  Jameson, L; 2013; The Harpy Oil on Linen; Online at (accessed on 05/08/2017)

Fig 2; Jameson, L; 2006; Torsion Oil on Canvas; Online at (accessed on 05/08/2017)

Clara; Crow Divination Part 2 of 3; Online at (accessed on 05/08/2017)

Random House Dictionary; 2017; Origin of Torsion; New York; Random House Inc; In; Online at (accessed on 05/08/2017)

Service, RW; 1953; The Harpy; Online at (accessed on 05/08/2017)

Wikipedia; 2017; The Harpy; Wikipedia Foundation;  Online at  (accessed on 05/08/2017)

Wikipedia; 2017a; Testicular torsion; Wikipedia Foundation; Online at (accessed on 05/08/2017)

Veneficia, A; 2005-2017; Raven Symbolism and Symbolic Meaning of Ravens; Online at (accessed on 05/08/2017)


Pride Portraits and Organisers/Sponsors Now Online – Lightroom Adjustment Brush and Airbrushing Portraits – Big Tip for Skin at the Bottom of the Page

The series that I will keep for my portfolio will be 24 of my favourite/meaningful photos of the day. I am currently reviewing the contact sheet and will select  the final 24 from 40 over the weekend.

I have uploaded the portraits and the Pride Makers on my website. I will include a few at the bottom of this blog.

Portraits Page OnePortraits Page TwoPride Makers

I have used a lot of the skills that I have learned on Foundations in Photography with making and developing these photos. I am more aware of how ISO, shutter speed and aperture affect lighting, grain and depth of field. With some of the portraits I felt anxious and I didn’t check to make sure that I had all of what I wanted to include in the frame, at other times my anxiety wasnt so bad and it was clear that I took more time.

It wasnt the kind of environment where distractions could be avoided altogether, but the people I photographed were happy to move so that I could light them more effectively or get rid of the background distractions. This was something that got easier as the day progressed and I became aware of how people allow you to direct them once they have consented to their photo being taken.

On the whole I use Lightroom for my developing, and tend to only use Photoshop for clone and healing brush. The healing brush tool is really useful for those times when I have cloned complicated areas of clothing or sky where the cloned section has been lighter or darker than the surrounding area. Clone first, then find smooth toned area with some texture, use the Alt key to select the source, then smooth over the cloned area. The key for me was finding a textured area, as it prevents the healing brush from turning the cloned area into a smudge. That’s a new trick up my sleeve.

Developing portraits in Lightroom has become more intuitive as this process went on. The first thing that I realised was to set the exposure and tone curve for the main subject. Once I had got that right I could then use the adjustment brush on the background. For many of the photos I have used the adjustment brush with decreased exposure and clarity and brushed over the background. This works well for complex scenes, but can look messy on bright white sky’s, however that’s what the grad filter is for.

I Feather, Flow, density and auto mask have taken me quite a while to get used to. Feather is useful for brushing around the outside of a subject as a harsh boundary with no feather creates the halo. I tend to use auto mask in conjunction with the grad filter, and use it as an eraser inside a subject so the filter doesn’t effect them. Density gives me more control of the affect – so a burn of -.3 can be toned down using the density slider and this decreases the incidence of “brush strokes” on light areas.

Airbrushing – using spot heal for blemishes, adjusting saturation, temp and tint on lips, eyes (am amazed at how you can bring out the colour of eyes) and skin. Whites adjustment for eyes. Increase exposure for deep-set eyes or eyes in shadow. Decrease highlights and whites for reflections on glasses. I am also going to change my Lightroon and Photoshop background to white. The sites I use have white backgrounds and the tone appears different to my eyes on a black background than it does on white.

Big skin tip – don’t do a global increase of contrast, it changes the skin colour. I have found that the best results came from a typical ‘S’ tone curve, but with darks at no more than 10% and then increase the mid-tones and bring up the shadows.

Review – John Wilfred Hinde

Reviewing Hinde was a suggestion by my tutor Jayne Taylor. Landscape isn’t a strength of mine and the reviews she has suggested have been really helpful.

First thoughts on Hinde. Yuck. Dull. Tourism. Not my thing. In fact I dislike his photography so much I decided not to review it.

However, here I am. Reviewing. Why? Because after looking at Hinde’s postcards I started thinking how I could create something similar and yet different for assignment one:- Square Mile.

bm13aFig 1

My initial thoughts:- Summer, enhanced sky and sea, muted buildings, sand and people. Fast shutter speed. No blur/movement from people. Perspective creates four layers. Sea, sand and people, promenade and buildings, sky.

Shadows are strong, although there is cloud the sun is out. People and buildings in direct sun are not washed out. Photo has been developed well or filters used.

The sand, buildings and people have had black added which gives the acidic look (i.e. if you make a colour wheel with paint you can pastelise the colours by adding white or make them acidic and muted by adding black).

bp15Fig 2

Perspective, colour, movement suggested by lights reflection on road, but definitely reflection from illuminations not traffic going past. Wet road but no signs of current rain. Colours acidic. Development suggests possible overpainting (lights from street lamps have very little gradient).

Notes from john hinde collection contact and essays (Beale and Abadie; 2009)

Developed interest in colour photography just prior to leaving school. Used three colour Carbro process (single colour on tissue for each three colours exposed onto gelatin – bit to complex to explain just now). Work for Adprint on Britain in Pictures series and further developed expertise in colour photography. 1955 set up John Hinde Ltd and developed his postcard works which coincided with increase in tourist industry.

Notes from Kate Burt – Independent

Burt quotes Edmund Nagele – a photographer for John Hinde Ltd who explains the extensive planning and production of each image to ensure the timing and lighting were correct and that obstructions were removed or obscured.

Negele explains how Hinde would make extensive notes for the Milan based photo developers he used, telling them what to remove, what colours to change and how to complete the developing.

“After John had masked the transparencies, black and white negatives and the prints for the colour-notes would be made. More umming and arring behind closed doors: John himself would prepare these instructions for the colour separations, which were produced in Milan (Italy). No PhotoShop in those days, only skilled Milanese Signores who would change colours, follow the scribble “make new sky” to the letter and insert the perfect holiday wish. They would eagerly remove objects of lesser desire; telephone posts and TV-aerials scored especially high. More desirable items included people and cars, thus the scribbles became frantic: “make jumper red” and “change colour of car to yellow”” (Nagele)

Having made a brief review of Hinde it’s clear that he was a very skillful photographer and perhaps more importantly a developer. He broke the mould with his vision on producing idyllic landscape, tourist photography, believing that high quality and aesthetically pleasing colour photography rather than the custom black and white. He was a master developer who made use of his experience in the printing industry to ensure he produced colour rich (high saturation) photos. Knowing that there was a lack of technical ability in the UK to produce the colours that he wished, he had his photos developed in Italy. I can see the skill, planning and vision that Hinde had, but I neither like his subject matter or photos. I do wonder if this is a commonly held view (Parr excluded), as there is no mention of Hinde in the bibliography  of Hacking (2014) nor in Johnson, Rice and Williams (2016).



Fig 1 – John Hinde Studios; BM13A The sands and promenade, West cliff, Bournemouth; Online at (accessed on 30/07/2017)

Fig 2 – John Hinde Studios; BM13A Blackpool illuminations, The pleasure beach; Online at (accessed on 30/07/2017) (I have not signified John Hinde as the photographer as it’s possible that his employed photographers made the photos).

Abadie, M and Beale, S; 2001-2009; Nothing to Write Home About; in johnhindecollection contact and essays; Online at (accessed on 30/07/2017)

Burt, K; 2011; King of technicolour tourism: A new exhibition celebrates John Hinde’s postcards; Online at (accessed on 30/07/2017)

Nagele, E; Wish you were here: The early days of my photography; Online at (accessed on 30/07/2017 (link is inconsistent – sometimes works/sometimes doesnt)

Hacking, J; 2014; Photography the whole story; London; Thames and Hudson

Johnson, WS, Rice, M, Williams, C; 2016; A history of photography; Cologne; Taschen GmbH


Comparing My Photo “Abbey View” with “A Graveyard and Steel Mill in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania” by Walker Evans


(01/08/2017) Following advice from tutor Jayne Taylor I have reworked Abbey View using the burn tool for the whites at the edges of the sky that were bleeding into the background, and gone back to the original tone and saturation for the layer of grass at the foot of the image. The burning into the highlights has been a difficult process. I’m not sure what the issue is but in Lightroom and photoshop it looked good, but when uploaded to here there were dark greys where I had burned in. I then reset my background in Lightroom and Photoshop to white, but the problem still persisted. In the end I have made the adjustments whilst having the image displayed in wordpress. For me it was key to make the adjustments but only slightly. Therefore I have set my adjustment brush tool to a feather of 91 and the flow at 12, with the standard -0.3 exposure for the burn.

Exercise 1.9 Soft Light Landscape

(27/07/17) I update my tutor Jayne Taylor around every 10 days to let her know where I am up to with my coursework. In replying to an email last week she said:-

“We’ll talk more about individual images when it comes to feedback on your assignment. Meanwhile, I would say that, for me, the landscape image you have chosen is the strongest image here; the visual layering is effective and it evokes impressions of ‘natural’ and ‘social’ (or ‘societal’) landscapes. For some reason it brought to mind an image entitled ‘A graveyard and Steel Mill in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania’ by Walker Evans.  (On a technical note, I’d be inclined to darken the sky, very slightly, as the edges of the image are in danger of disappearing into the white background of the page – try it.)”


Fig 1 and Fig 2

Over the past week I have reviewed “A graveyard and steel mill in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania” by Walker Evans and also “Shot at Dawn” by Chloe Dewe-Matthews. If I had not have reviewed those then I would have struggled to see why Jayne has been reminded of Evans’ photo. The reworked photo will be at the end of this post.

I took Abbey View as a part of coursework, following the instructions for exercise 1.9 Soft Light Landscape. I had no intention of creating or telling a story, and as far as landscaped photography is concerned I at that time had no concept of narrative and context. What do I see now?

An Abbey and a church in the distance. This must be an old town as in the UK Abbey Ruins tend to be on the sites of older religious grounds that can go back to around the 5th to 10th Century. On the left and right hand side of the photo the ground drops a little so the Abbey is on a cliff. There are signs of a town at the front of the mid-ground and to the left of the church. The town will have had a connection to the fishing industry and will possibly have a river or harbour. Old towns required food and possibly trade so fishing was important. The distance between the fore and mid-ground say that there is a lot of surrounding countryside and the town is very rural, and although there are not a lot of houses in the scene there are enough to show that the town has grown.

This means that we have an old religious town that is set on the cliffs in a rural or remote location. The town has grown to support the religious community that lived and worked at the Abbey and has developed a fishing industry. The town has grown over the centuries but it remains a small coastal town. There has to be some good beer around too. monasteries produced differing types of alcohol for consumption and as a commodity to trade.

This is not a strong narrative, maybe it would be if it were part of a series that were to explore the monasteries of the UK, or maybe it is, but because it’s so familiar the story is rather benign to me? It’s not important. What is important is that I can approach landscape photography differently now. I can explore narrative with landscape photography now, and that is a skill worth developing.


In view of what Jayne said with regard to the edges disappearing into the background I have tried a few options. The most straight forward was to creat a border around Abbey View. The original is on the left.


Then I took the photo back into Lightroom for re developing. It took several attempts to develop the photo in a manner that didn’t lose the subtlety of the sea and sky. I believe the strongest photo is the one on the left – the re-developed photo without the border, but it is still in danger of losing the whites to the background ant the top of the photo. Which do you prefer – with or without the border?

The changes to development are as follows. The left hand side is for a grad filter that I used over the sky and sea with a very narrow feather/small gradient, dragged to the cliffs. The right hand side is for the whole photo. I have only made minor adjustments but I believe that they work.

Develop Settings


Fig 1 Evans, Walker; 1935; A graveyard and steel mill in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; MOMA (online archives); Online at (accessed on 23/07/2017)

Fig 2 Keys, Richard; 2017; Abbey View; Online at (accessed on 28/07/2017)

Keys, Richard; 2017; Review of “A graveyard and steel mill in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania”; Online at (accessed on 28/07/2017)


Northern Pride Taster Photos – What I Have Learned About Portrait Photography – How I will Publish These Photos

I am going to include 8 taster photos from Northern Pride at the end of this blog.

There were some things that I had planned well for making photography at Northern Pride. I had taken a notepad and paper with me, which means I can now email people their photos, as I took down emails of those that wanted a copy of their photo. This is something that I will do more often at events in general. I had prepared my self to ask people if I could take their photos.

There is something really important that I have learned this weekend, if people have agreed to be photographed they are generally very comfortable in being directed as to where to stand. I did not ask people to pose, but I did move them around so that they did not have objects sticking out of their heads, where possible. It wasnt always possible as the event was very busy. Initially I didn’t feel comfortable with this, but as I became more relaxed then I stepped into the role.

I used continuous shooting mode, and I am glad that I did. People move, they close their eyes, the wind blows the hair across their faces, they talk to people and have weird expressions on their faces when doing so. Having used CS mode I managed to get some good photographs that may have been ruined by movement if I had only taken a single shot. In future I really need to step into the role of being the director of photography. Once you have asked, if people agree, then direct. Slow down and direct.

I made sure that I got photos of the Northern Pride Committee, Newcastle Council, The Lady Mayoress of Newcastle, the main stage sponsor, the security and the police. I believe that its important to demonstrate that I take high quality event photos that show off the organisers and supporters. This is also part of my long-term plan to become a professional events photographer.  Start as I mean to go on.

It would be sensible if I developed a contact card, although it isn’t completely necessary, if I have my pad and take people’s emails if they wish to have a copy that will suffice for now.

I have made a point of deleting photos of people from the march who were not happy to be around a camera. It’s impossible to ask individuals for consent in a large group – but I am not here to make people feel uncomfortable. So their photos are gone, as are others that would show people in a bad light. I don’t see my role as a sensor, but neither do I wish to hurt people who may have had too much to drink, or been caught with an expression that makes them look silly.

The Plan

I have completed two runs of evaluation and categorised photos into three sections.

Series – I am going to produce a series of 24 photos of my journey with Pride. I have selected around twice this many and they include Newcastle, before the march, the march, the venue, portraits and the event makers (organisers, supporters and sponsors).

I will have three pages on my website, one for the series, one for event makers and one for individuals and groups.

The individuals and groups page will contain a lot of photos. I am then going to use Twitter, local newspaper, pride tv, and LGBTQ lifestyle magazines to inform people that they are able to download any photo that they wish of themselves or the day without charge.

I will do similar with the event makers, but I will also use the internet to get e mails from organisations so that I can inform them that they can use my photos free of charge to promote themselves.

The Taster Photos

These are not the strongest photos that I took, I have kept those for the series, but I wanted to get some up here. I like to blog every day.

Northern Pride, Newcastle, July 2017

There are so many technical and creative reasons that I shouldnt like this photo, but I do. Its one of my favourites from Northern Pride. She was very photogenic and agreed for me to take other photos of her on the day, but I like this. It suggests a furtive glance to the camera, but it wasnt. She was engaged with the camera for half a minute or more, when the crowd werent in the way.

I look forward to the developing process, now that I have completed the evaluation, and feel free to let me know what you think works, and what doesn’t and why.



I Have Gained Insight into My Old Statement “I Don’t Like Landscape Photography”

My tutor, Jayne Taylor, suggested it might be beneficial for me to review “A graveyard and steel mill in Bethlehem, Pensylvania” by Walker Evans, and “Shot at Dawn” by Chloe Dewe-Matthews.

This has been a real blessing for me. With Walker Evans I have been able to see how one photo can tell a story on its own. All I had to go on was the name of the photographer, the photo, and the year. I analysed the photo in the manner that we were guided to in Foundations in Photography – Picture Analyses Red Bridge, Okawa by Toshio Shibata. Having the year of the photo was beneficial because I remembered about the Great Depression and could therefore contextualise the photo.

Shot at Dawn had no impact upon me until I had read the introduction to the series. Although to be fair on myself, my analysis of the photo was OK. I had picked up on the divide between both sides of the first photo, and the leafing lines pointing to nothing, a meaningless draw of the eye. I now suspect this was intentional. Why? A division of opinion about war and deserters existed during the war, the meaninglessness of executing armed forces personnel, and I believe Dewe-Matthews questions the validity of war in that first photo.

So what does that tell me about my dislike of landscape photography?

Until begining this research is had no understanding of the potential to tell a story or provide context with landscape. I had only a vague understanding of the potential for an introduction or context to help the viewer to interact with the narrative. I like the idea of an introduction or a post script to get the viewer to engage with the presented photography.

The other thing that I have realised is my lack of technical understanding on how to express myself within, and control such a broad canvas that landscape provides.

My sociology and events photography are ways of expressing myself and gaining insight into the world around me. Its visual story telling and relationship building. Macro photography slows me down and is more about my process of grounding myself in nature – it tells the story of my inner process.

I feel that I can now be a little more adventurous with landscape photography and can begin to explore landscape with a new outlook.

Review of “Shot at Dawn” Chloe Dewe-Matthews

Chloe_WW1_R4936F17-10x81/34 (Dewe-Matthews; 2014)

Thoughts upon viewing:- leading lines of wall, telephone wire, tree line. They all take the eye to the centre of the image. This makes no sense, there is no obvious meaning there, was this deliberate or an accident? It divides the photo in two.

Lots of space with the grass in the foreground and the sky.  Graveyard with flowers and a wheelie bin. Church is obviously regularly used. Gravestones, death, flowers, love and remembrance.

Scattering of houses with space and green areas around them. Small community. The scene suggests a small but active community. I’m intrigued as to why the eye is initially drawn to nothing and the significance of the divide between the houses and church, especially as the church is clearly part of the community.

I am beginning to enjoy analysing specific photos, especially when I don’t read about them first.

The purpose of the series “Shot at Dawn” (Dewe-Matthews;2014) is explained in the introduction at Due to the limitations of my mobile phone I can only read part of the introduction.

However it explains that Dewe-Matthews re-visited the sites where deserters from the Belgian, French and British armed forces were executed, during World War One. She took the photos at the time of day and seasons that the executions would have taken place.

As a series there are grasslands, fields, trees, forests, bunkers and the occasional building. Lots of space and emptiness.

Without the introduction, the photographs would not appeal to me. Most are not aesthetically appealing, the composition varies, and there is little narrative or continuity (I emphasise, without the introduction). I am starting to understand how a photography series works, and how different photographers make use of captions, or as in this case, an introduction.

Chloe_WW1_R02F18-10x815/34 (Dewe-Matthews; 2014)

Now I have read the introduction my observations  and thoughts become secondary to my questions.

  • What horrors did the executed soldiers witness on the front lines?
  • How did those experiences affect them mentally and emotionally?
  • Now we have an understanding of post traumatic stress disorder do we treat our service personnel differently? (I am a pacifist who believes that in the UK we treat our service men and women abysmally. Leaving it to charities to provide the mental health support without providing them with the resources to do so for all that need it)
  • Did this traumatised military staff receive a fair court-martial? (No! Without the understanding of how trauma affects people a court-martial could never be fair)
  • How would it feel to walk up to a wall to face a firing squad on top of the trauma from the front line?
  • Would it feel like an injustice?
  • Would there be shame and guilt?
  • Would there be an internal voice saying “I’ve let the side down – I deserve this”?
  • I don’t believe that anyone can knowingly walk in front of a firing squad without being terrified.
  • How would it feel to be in the firing squad knowing that you are about to/or have killed a person who is on “the same side”?


Dewe-Matthews, C; 2014; Shot at Dawn; Online at (Accessed on 26/07/2017)

Dewe-Matthews, C; 2014; Shot at Dawn; Oxford; Ruskin School of Art; Online at (accessed on 26/07/14)

Lensculture Free Street Photography Competition – My Day (Managing Health/Studies/Projects) – Long Term Goals

lensculture are currently running a street photography competition. If you are entering a single photo you can do so for free. There are only fees for submitting 2 – 5 single photos or a series of 10. You retain the copyright of your image, although you do give consent for lensculture to make use of it, and they will link back to you if they do.

We all have commitments, family, friends, work, caring for relatives, health issues etc, to manage alongside our studies. For me its physical and mental health. I would really like to be able to evaluate, develop and upload my photography from Northern Pride within a week. That is not possible for me. I stepped well outside of my comfort zone at the weekend, and that is fantastic. However, the consequences are that I am exhausted emotionally, and in pain physically. It’s not a big deal, and it’s not a complaint, but I do have to be realistic and honest with myself about what I am capable of on any given day.

Today I am capable of updating this blog, entering a photograph in the lensculture competition and reading the blogs of other creatives on WordPress.

My goals have developed since beginning Foundations in Photography with the Open College of the Arts, and I now have a clear and realistic plan, based upon my current health limitations. I am also aware that things may take longer, or not as long as imagined, and that flexibility is good. I am a newbie to Foundations in Photography, and it is already helping me to develop a vision for my future.

My Plan

Foundations in Photography – to complete over two years – Why? to explore life and my relationship to the wider universe through developing my technical and creative photographic abilities. To study part-time over two years, so that I keep the pressure off of myself, manage my physical and mental health and increase my confidence with and enjoyment of photography.

BA (Hons) Photography degree with the Open College of the Arts (part-time over 6 years). Why? Two reasons, long-term I aim to be a professional photographer and I believe that studying photography alongside my personal projects will push me and bring the best out of me. I am impressed with the Open College of the Arts. The quality of the study materials, the professional tutors, the amount of support available from the support team. The thing that I am most impressed with though is how OCA has created a student platform through the use of OCA-Student, and the encouragement and guidance with setting up blogs. The blogs are a superb way of submitting coursework and assignments, but more than this, they are an excellent way of learning from and interacting with other students.

Following on from the degree

Develop as a professional events photographer and create a stable career.

The events photography will be the source of income so that I can live, and also to provide the means required to push the sociology photography that means so much to me.


Review of “A Graveyard and Steel Mill in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania” by Walker Evans

My tutor Jayne Taylor suggested that I review “A graveyard and steel mill in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania as a follow on to exercise 1.9 soft light landscape.

I decided that I would analyse the photo before researching Walker Evans, and I’m very pleased with my analyses, having now researched Walker Evans. My analyses helps me to see how much I have developed by completing two sections of the coursework for Workflow.

W1siZiIsIjIxMTY2MiJdLFsicCIsImNvbnZlcnQiLCItcmVzaXplIDY0MHg2NDBcdTAwM2UiXV0Fig 1

My notes:- Four layers, Foreground – cross, then mid-ground split into two layers (front) graveyard (back) church and buildings, background – steel mill.

Very few blacks, mid-tone are quite dark, few whites, low contrast.

Initially I thought the shadows were confusing as one Shadow (headstone and cross – middle of mid-ground) appeared it was falling to north north east, whilst the rest are falling to the east. I’m using my mobile phone to look at the image and finally managed to see that the headstone shadow is also falling to the east, but the shape of the headstone made it appear different.

Sun – left, quite low, suggesting mid to late afternoon. Taken in bright daylight, but the grey sky suggests otherwise. Why? Photo silver nitrate on gelatine and developed in dark room, overall picture under developed, but with correct development of mid and foreground (having never used a darkroom this analysis is based upon my limited knowledge of digital developing).

Photo taken in 1935, the great depression. This makes me believe this photo is a metaphor.  Why? The picture doesn’t give me a realist impression of death, the graveyard has better light and more lights and whites than the rest of the photo, I find it quite cheery. The photo is a metaphor for the death of a community, Bethlehem,  and the impact of the steel industry on unemployment, loss of income, property and decline of a community.

Research:- Starting point Wikipedia. Great Depression, Drought, Dustbowl. Unemployment soared to 25%, GDP fell by 15% worldwide (comparison – 2008 recession – worldwide GDP only fell by 1% and that had a major impact worldwide). (wikipedia; 2017)

Bethlehem Steel Corporation – well developed, well managed and profitable company that made a loss of $30m from 1931 – Dec 1933 and had to lay of staff and close mills and factories. Although at the time Walker Evans took the photo the company was turning over a profit as it had retooled and developed production lines to produce rolled tin for the newly developing tin can (beer can) industry. Despite this growth Bethlehem and surrounding community had been devastated by the Great Depression. (; 2017)

During 1935 Walker Evans photographed for the Resettlement Administration . Words associated with Walker Evans are information specialist, formalism, modernism, realism and documentary. (The Metropolitan Museum of Art; 2004)

Despite the consistent biographies of Walker Evans I don’t find this particular photograph of his to be of the documentary, information or realist styles of photography. I feel that this photo presents an allegorical narrative of the impact of the Great Depression upon a town and community.


Amazing Day With Northern Pride – Anxiety Vanished – Thankyou

This is just a short post as I’m exhausted. I’ve left early because talking with so many people is emotionally draining. This has been a well organised, attended and supported event. Lots of happy, joyful, colourful and photogenic people. I’ve lived it.

It took me a little while to get into asking people if I could take their photos – and then you couldn’t stop me. The overwhelming majority of people have happily had me take their photos.

I’ve also been able to take photos of Northern Pride committee members Jane and Chris – Jane has been very supportive in enabling me to take photographs. There were so many organisations supporting the event and I have many photos of them, which I will email and tweet to them. The security was excellent with the local police and Smart Security and although Cleveland Police don’t police the event as it’s out of area, they attend and support Northern Pride.

I have no idea how many people I have asked if I could take there photos but it was a lot. I’m pleased with my self for that. I don’t enjoy portrait photography because of my anxiety, so this is another part of my development as a photographer.

Thankyou to the LGBTQ community, friends, family and supporters, Northern Pride and it’s supporters and sponsors.

It’s going to take some time to develop these photos.

Time to eat.