Transformations: final selection & critique

Criteria: 2,4,5




In the end I have gone with a selection of 9 images and decided to present them in a type of grid.  Almost like a puzzle piece, each image relates to each other; the images are not sequential and the narrative does not develop from where you start to where you end.  Basically, simulating (in a way) the radial pattern of a flower, the viewer is drawn into the centre of a selection of images (a slightly warmer image) and the eye then radiates out to the more saturated cooler images, and then it bounces back to the centre.  With the grid layout it almost feels as if you are viewing them through a window and it bounces the eye from one point of interest to the next.    This works beautifully and the 1:1 format of the images is reinforced by the shape of the frame and mounts I’ve chosen.




I’ve decided on a simple white mount and thin white frame.  The reason for my choice is that I did not want the frame (or mount) to take away or overpower the images.  I wanted the frame to pull all the images together so that they can be perceived as one piece.  This was achieved beautifully and as I mentioned the eye bounces around the “image” (9 images) and keeps the interest of the viewer.  Because it is a bespoke frame, timing was very tight (I received the frame after  19:00 the night before it was due to be handed in!)  Once I framed the artwork and presented it to the class I realised that the dimentions of the mounts were slightly off and the outer border was narrower (only by a few millimeters) than the centre – this I guess is due to the fact that the mount sits slightly under the frame, something I did not account for.  Also, Ria told me that a mount should always be 20% broader to the bottom of the piece as it is perceived to be thinner due to the positioning.  I did not know this.  So this is something to remember for next time.


I’ve printed my images on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308 Fine Art paper (as described in my previous post).  My test shots were done on lustre paper and I printed a couple on a c-type pearl paper to test.  I believe that I made the right choice as the Photo Rag paper was smooth and 100% cotton.  The prints came out beautifully and the quality of the paper enhanced my images.  The quality matt finish of the paper made the images feel quieter, softer and definitely with less contrast than the glossier versions of my test shots.  This resulted in images that felt subdued, muffled and dreamy in a way with a tender feminine feel to them.  They successfully portray my vision of fragility and delicacy, which is the feelings I wanted the viewer to experience when looking at my work.  I feel that you can get lost in these images, and though I wanted them to reflect my feelings of life (and death) and how delicate and fragile and fleeting time is, they can portray so much more to each viewer.  I have therefore decided to keep my work untitled to further give the viewer the opportunity to see in the work what they want…


In hind sight I might have reworked some of the images as the colour tones on the Photo Rag 308 paper is slightly darker than what expected.  One image in particular is slightly too lilac in colour and another the vignette is perhaps not feathered enough in one corner.



Transformation… selection process and presentation

Criteria 1, 2, 3, 4, 5


So I tried to have my test shots printed from Tesco as same day prints (just to check the colour and tones) and can honestly say that I’ve never seen such poor prints in my life.  Just a warning to all…


I then had the test shots printed from Costco (still quicker than DS Colour Labs, the company I usually use for my print work).  I chose 8″ x 8″ prints in a lustre finish and received the prints yesterday afternoon.  I’m much happier with my images now.  I could easier see which images had the wrong tones and it was easier to look at the body of work on my dining room table than to try work out what’s what on my screen.  Sometimes, it’s better to have hard copies to work with!  I looked at all the images together and then started to eliminate the ones that I felt did not work together, aiming to get the tones and feel of the images to work together; for the images to flow harmonious from one to another.


Process of eliminating:



I’m looking forward to hearing my fellow student’s & Ria’s comments, but think this is my favourite layout.




I am still deciding how to present my images but I have considered the following:


Presenting all 6 images on one large collage.  (I got this idea at the Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition earlier this year.)

Hongmei Cao, Future World

Printing the images on floating acrylic.  This is one of my preferred options, but it won’t come cheap and I am not sure if this is a financial viable option for my project.  I even considered changing my 1 x 1 crop of my images to round ones and printing on round acrylic panels, but again, I have to consider cost. (especially since I’ve never used this medium and I am unsure of the outcome)  The reason why I like this idea is that I think the prints on acrylic will give my images the added feeling of being light and delicate as the viewer almost have to travel through a translucent veil to see the images.


Prices for acrylic panels


Fine art paper. – I am considering two types of fine art paper:

Hahnemuhle Photorag 308gsm This paper should work well as it’s 100% cotton and has a smooth surface texture and a premium matt inkjet coating.  It meets the highest industry standards regarding density, colour gamut, colour graduation and image sharpness while preserving the special touch and feel of genuine art paper.

Permajet Portrait White 283gsm  This paper is acid free and has a smooth white base coating.  The medium allows for a very high image definition for a fine art matt paper as well as particularly suited to subtlety of complex tones.


Framing and mounting I am considering framing these images in either light oak or simple white frames with a small white mount, but again, there is a cost constrain as I will have to have bespoke frames made (I was thinking box frames, which will force the viewer to look “into” the images and through the glass… )  This is an even more expensive option than my original idea of acrylics.



Research in terms of presentation…


Interesting presentation of works


RTPS (Richmond and Twickenham Photographic Societ)  exhibition:



Shape of Light exhibition:




Sony World Photographic Awards Exhibition



I also read up on Wolfgang Tillmans presentations and installations, having seen them in the Tate Modern and also in Tate Britain (The Concorde Grid, 1997 below is on display in the Tate Britain) in the past.

“Tillmans’ practice of hanging the work, often unframed, with tape, nails, and bulldog clips, has become an iconic and recognisable part of his oeuvre. He expanded on his practice in conversation with Peter Halley in the 2002 Phaidon monograph, “I’d never pin a photograph, because when you pin it you pierce the corner. So I found this tape with which I can tape a picture to the wall without it even touching the surface of the emulsion, and I can remove the tape afterwards and the print is totally untouched. I pin the magazine pages with steel needles, because if you tape a magazine page, you can never safely remove the tape, it always tears. I use this made-up logic in terms of how I present the stuff, how I fix it to the walls”. Tillmans is interested in the vulnerability of the photographs, and how that affects the visual experience – each object should be treated on individual terms due to its size, shape, or texture. He tends to work on an installation over the course of week in night and day shifts; “I’ll work on it, then leave, then come back fresh, have a new angle on it, change the whole thing, and so on, until the installation settles into a shape that gives me the sense that I can’t add to it or change it; only then do I feel it’s finished.””  To read more go to


Tilmann installation for Turner award


“His installation for the Turner prize show was striking for being simultaneously slight and immense. He showed hundreds of photographs, mounted all the way from skirting board to ceiling. They came in 57 varieties of format: Polaroids, photocopies, inkjet prints, cibachrome panoramas in saturated colours. They were framed, unframed, magnified, cropped, minuscule and the size of a billboard. They showed passengers on the tube and pedestrians in the street, clothes drying and flowers wilting, insects, bottles, off-duty models, friends and fellow clubbers.”  To read more go to







Transformations… just sitting on a cloud

Criteria 2, 3, 4,5


Have you ever smelled a smell,

and it instantly brings you back

to a happy moment

from your childhood?

I always love that.

I hope that’s what death is,

just sittig on a cloud

smelling old smells.



2018.06.08 Peonies JPEGS small-8


Over the past few months, I’ve been thinking of life and of loss on a regular basis.  I’ve been considering the meaning of life, what is most important in this life and how easily it can disappear in the blink of an eye…  I wanted my images to arouse  feelings of peace.  I wanted them to be light and subtle, delicate and fragile…  like life.


I’ve refined my selection and amended the images, taking on board the comments and feedback I received from Ria and my fellow classmates.  I changed the tone of the images by desaturating the warmer oranges and yellows from them and replacing them with cooler blue tones, which better portray the mood and better evoke emotions of loss and stillness.   (I think the warmer tones gave the images a more sensual feel, which was not what I intended with this body of work) I also feel that by desaturating the colours in the images it is symbolically representing the loss of life, the departure of this world, you can almost feel life fading away, as the colours are fading from the image.  By adding a subtle white vignette to each image, it emphasizes this feeling that the image is evaporating.  In addition to this the vignette delicately frames each image and to draw the eye of the viewer into the image.




I also took guidence from an article in the Digital Photographer magazine, issue 184, page 40, 41 on how ot edit with local adjustments…




The process of editing these images was complex and tedious.  I struggled to get the tone of the images the same, which is concerning as I want the viewer to easily and smoothly journey through the series.  I therefore decided to order prints and I am hoping by seeing them in hard copy it would be easier to see the tonal differences and also to help me make a choice as to which 6 images I would like to present as my final body of work.








Transformations… A breath of fresh air

Some more images of Peonies… I’m over the moon with these!


I know I’m posting a lot of images that are similar to each other, but I’m convinced that this is it.  I was delighted with these images and feel that they are where I need to be.


I’ve dealt with so much emotions these last few weeks and with these shots, I aimed to evoke emotion in my viewer.  I still have to narrow my selection down to six images, but I’ve done a quick edit using Lightroom on these and decided to crop them into a square format, which I think suits these shots better.


I am looking forward to Ria and my fellow student’s comments on my work tomorrow.  I hope they like these as much as I do.  x



I have, like in my previous post used my Canon 5D Mark III camera and Sigma Macro 105mm f/2.8 lens, I used both the lens hoods that came with the lens and my Manfrotto tripod with Macro slider rails.  I also used a white reflector and natural light from above and the left side of the flowers.




Transformations… getting there

Criteria 1, 2, 3, 4


Inspired by the words of Barbara Kasten “I had no restrictions on how to approach photography. I felt free to incorporate any of these concepts into my thinking. I wasn’t breaking rules; I was actually making up my own.” 


I ventured back to the idea of shooting flowers, in an abstract but more emotional way.  I want my images to evoke feelings in the viewer, and I wanted the viewer to see more in the images than the petals of  white Peonies…

I used my trusty Canon 5D Mark III camera and Sigma Macro 105mm f/2.8 lens, I used both the lens hoods that came with the lens and my Manfrotto tripod with Macro slider rails.  I also used a white reflector and natural light from above and the left side of the flowers.


These shots were from my first attempt and has minimal editing in Lightroom.




Transformations… Shape of Light 100 Years of Photography & Abstract Art

“Why should the inspiration that comes from an artist’s manipulation of the hairs of a brush be any different from that of the artist who bends at will the rays of light?” – Pierre Dubreuil


Criteria 1, 2, 3, 4, 5


Introduction to the exhibition at the Tate Modern…  The world we see is made of light reflected by the things we look at. Photography records this light, holding and shaping these fleeting images.  shape of Light:  100 Years of Photography and Abstract Art explores the history of artists who have worked with light to crate abstract work.  These photographers prioritise shape, form and expression over recognisable subject matter.  Some use the camera lens to transform reality.  Others work with photographic materials to create images with little obvious reference to the real world.


I visited this exhibition with my fellow students a few weeks ago and was absolutely blown away by it!  This exhibition reinforced my opinion that photography is all about finding new ways of looking at the world around us.

Here are some guides (that was provided upon entering the exhibition) when looking at abstract photography (and abstract art in general)

Choose an artwork you are drawn to…

  • Try looking at it with one of your eyes closed
  • Look from low down
  • Roll up the guide leaflet to use as a telescope
  • Use your fingers to frame small sections
  • Squint your eyes to find new details
  • Search for the shapes it is made of
  • Imagine it as something it is not



Unfortunately I cannot remember the name of the artist…


Shape of light exhibition (5)

I loved the texture in the image above and it as inspiration for some of my work for this project.  Here are some images I’ve taken from the coastline in Corsica.  These rock faces are enormous and I absolutely loved the different colours and textures.



Above images had minimal editing, I only improved the tonal contrast of the images, using Colour Efex Pro 4.


Screen grab of processing



“My only aim was to express reality, for there is nothing more surreal than reality itself. If reality fails to fill us with wonder, it is because we have fallen into the habit of seeing it as ordinary.” – Brassaï


According to Peter Stephan in his book “50 Photographers you should know”, published in 2008, “Brassaï discovered and photographed graffiti on the walls of Paris buildings – photographs over which Picasso, Dubuffet, and L’Informel artists enthused.  He recorded “unintentional sculptures” of crumpled tickets and toothpaste.  But above all, Brassaï was a professional night owl who captured the life in the streets of Paris after dark like no other.” (page 93)


Brassai, Love, undated.jpg


Here is my efforts of the streets of Bonifassio, Corsica…



Though I enjoyed taking these photographs, I don’t feel they have the correct feel for this project, I have therefore decided to continue my original idea of shooting flowers.


Other images of inspiration was the by Thomas Ruff, and Antony Cairns







Transformations… Exploration continues

Criteria 2, 4

Ok, so  I’ve done some additional shots of the same subject, this I produced slightly darker imagery and more obvious reference to the Olive Tree leaves and skies outside.  I used the same window to shoot through and same set up as before.

Like before, I used my Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 50m prime lens to take these images.  All images were taken at f/1.4, 1/8000″, ISO 100 in manual priority and manual focus.



I decided to process the images above by adding a blur to the images using Analogue Efex Pro 2.  I wanted my images to be more painterly and abstract.  This is what I achieved.



I think these images are too dark and I will be reworking them and change the exposure slightly, perhaps even saturate the green and blue slightly to make the colours just slightly more vivid.


Here is a screen grab of the process I used to add the motion blur to the images above.


Adjustments in Analog Efex Pro2 Motion




Transformations… First attempt

Criteria 1, 2, 4


Here are my first attempts of photographs with abstracts in mind.  These are images of the sun through a window with a square pattern on the glass, you can just make out the sky and leaves of my Olive Tree outside, which is what gives the images the blue and green undertone.  I like the brilliance of the sun and pattern created, which reminds me slightly of a diamond. I’m not overly happy with these, but it’s a start.


I used my Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 50m prime lens to take these images.  All images were taken at f/1.4, 1/8000″, ISO 100 in manual priority and manual focus.



Inspiring shot from the Shape of light exhibition… sadly I did not note the artist’s name.

Shape of light exhibition (4)


Transformations… Thoughts & research

Critereria: 1, 2, 3


Ok, so I’ve not been blogging for a while…  It’s not that I’ve not been working, I’ve just been overwhelmed by ideas, and on top of that I had so many personal things that was happening that I simply did not get around to it.

I did a mind map of my ideas and I was determined to do my project on flowers, but in a slightly different way.  I had several ideas… flowers in a vase deteriorating (I was thinking of works by Sam Taylor Wood), flowers or moss on a macro scale, rendering them abstract (I was inspired by Andresas Gurskey, who’s exhibition I’d seen just a few months before and also Wolfgang Tilllmans’ abstracts which I saw last year at an exhibition) My mind was spinning with all these amazing ideas, but where to start…




Sam Taylor Wood

Here are some still life’s taken by Sam Taylor Wood in 2001.   My idea was to set up the flowers in a vase and photograph them whilst they were decaying into nothing-ness…   This idea wasn’t feasible due to time constraints.  Watch this video of Still Life at



Sam Taylor Wood Selfportrait
Sam Taylor Wood, self portrait
Sam Taylor Wood A Little Death 2002
A Little Death by Sam Taylor Wood, 2002

Sam Taylor Wood also did a short film called A Little Death, which can be seen at

Painters of the 17th century created unchanging pictures of objects in their most beautiful moments, but Sam Taylor Wood refreshes the traditional work of still life and tells simple a story about the transient nature of life.  Her camera catches a dead hare which is decomposing rapidly before our eyes, while the mellow peach beside it stays untouched all the time. In a peculiar, beautiful way it shows how fast a once living being can disappear without any possibility of changing it…

Another idea that came to me whilst researching Sam Talyor Wood’s work, was to turn the idea on its head and shoot seeds germinating in various stages.  I liked this idea and planned to use my macro lens to make these shots more abstract, but it occurred to me that this will not fit in with my time frame due to family commitments.


Andreas Gurskey

I also looked at Andreas Gurskey’s works, which inspired me to perhaps photograph an everyday object, (I wanted to shoot flowers) and turn it into something abstract.  I considered for a minute to use ICM (Intentional Camera Movement), but as one of my fellow students already decided to go with that for her theme, I decided to abandon this idea.  Here are some images by Andeas Gruskey that inspired me, I recently saw his exhibition at the Tate Modern.



This first image is titled “Andreas Gursky, Ohne Titel XVIII / Untitled XVIII, 2015” and is a shot of Tulips in a field.  This image is taken from so far above the tulip field that it is rendered abstract, I initially thought it was a photograph of a rug.  The second image, titled “Untitled 1 (Carpet), 1993” is an image of a carpet, but due to the texture and closeness of the image, again, which rendered it abstract, it appeared to me to be a landscape shot.

I liked this idea, which was a better option for me in hind sight as I had a lot of family commitments and my time was limited.



Other ideas included:

Frozen flowers, which is something I’ve done in the past (see images below) and I enjoyed the project immensely.  This time I intended to light the ice with frozen flowers from below and to shoot from above.  I bought a small paddling pool to capture the water, which last time was a terrible mess to clean up.  I was disappointed to learn that one of my fellow students (in the evening class) was also working on this as a subject, and I decided to abandon this idea.  However, this is a personal project I will keep working on.



I was toying with he idea of photographing paper or even love letters instead, but decided to stick to the flowers idea.  Here’s my inspiration for using paper as a subject…

Inspiring images by Wolfgang Tillmans… This series of image titled “Paper drop ”

From the Sotheby’s Catalogue:

“The eyes have this ability to flip around what they see from one second to another, to see something as an object, and then as a design. That’s really liberating, and I try to convey that in my work, that your eyes are free and you are free to use them.” —Wolfgang Tillmans



Edgar Martins

Silhouettes of paper, I was inspired by Edgar Martins’ series that I saw at the Sony World Photography Exhibition this year at Somerset House.  His works were images that represented individual suicide notes, and it explored the tension between revelation and concealment of such sensitive material.  Thereby also questioning amongst other things the ethical implications of representing and revealing material of such a delicate nature.








Gallery Visits… Research




During this project I’ve visited the JR exhibition in Mayfair which featured mixed media works, each encompassing preparatory notes, photography and architectural drawings relating to the GIANT series. An entirely new image was used to re-create a GIANT installation on the exterior of the new Lazinc gallery on Sackville Street in Mayfair.


GIANTS, Cleuson LIMA DO ROSARIO from Brazil, Barra da Tijuca, from the beach, © Comite? international Olympique, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2016 FAD Magazine
GIANTS, Cleuson LIMA DO ROSARIO from Brazil, Barra da Tijuca, from the beach, © Comite? international Olympique, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2016 Read more at




I also went to see a small exhibition on Elliott Erwitt’s works at Beetles and Parlour, formally known as Beetles and Huxley.  Erwitt is one of my favourite classic photographers and this photograph of dogs,  titled New York City, 1974, is one of his iconic.  Erwitt photographed dogs extensively, he has published 4 books on the topic!




The 89 year old French born, American advertising and documentary photographer known for his black and white candid shots of ironic and absurd situations within everyday settings— a master of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s “decisive moment”.


Elliott Erwitt Wilminton North Carolina
Elliott Erwitt, Wilminton North Carolina, 1950


Elliott Erwitt
Elliott Erwitt, Santa Monica, California, 1955




I also went to see the Andreas Gursky exhibition at the Hayward Gallery on the Southbank.   This was the first major UK retrospective works of Gursky, an acclaimed German photographer.   This was indeed an eye opener and seeing his works on the large-scale they were exhibited here was extraordinarily spectacular.  His pictures portrayed emblematic sites and scenes of the global economy and contemporary life.   Andreas Gurksy is widely regarded as one of the most significant photographers of our time.

It is said that “Driven by an interest and insight into ‘the way that the world is constituted’, as well as what he describes as ‘the pure joy of seeing’, Gursky makes photographs that are not just depictions of places or situations, but reflections on the nature of image-making and the limits of human perception. Often taken from a high vantage point, these images make use of a ‘democratic’ perspective that gives equal importance to all elements of his highly detailed scenes.”

To read more about this acclaimed photographer, visit



I was both puzzled and amused by the photograph below, titled Carpet… Initially I couldn’t understand it but realised that as with many of Gursky’s images, you need to view them from different perspectives to understand them.


Andreas Gursky Carpet
Andreas Gursky, Carpet



Andreas Gursky Tulpenfelder
Andreas Gursky, Tulpenfelder (Tulip Field)