367 MC – Critical Rationale – On Her Their Lives Depend

“On Her Their Lives Depend” is a body of work based around an inherited archive of postcards and letters from the First World War. This work evolved through an explorative research process into the letters, the origin of them and the family history. The aim for this work was to explore the importance that this personal form of communication held during one particular time of conflict, how this can effect the family today and how the audience can relate to this work by thinking about their own family histories during times of conflict.

“On Her Their Lives Depend” uses the family as the subject because of the direct affect these letters and postcards have. Through looking at this archive and through conversations with the family members involved some questions arose, what would have happened if this communication hadn’t continued? Would we still be here today? Could it have changed the family as it stands now? These interesting and pivotal questions led to using the matriarchal line of the family from youngest generation to oldest, with daughter, mother and grandmother as the focus for this exploration and project.

The images show sections of the postcards and letters projected on to the faces. Using this technique took a few attempts to get right and was quite difficult to find sections of the postcards that fitted well. By projecting the letters and postcards on to the faces and taking the photographs closer up on just sections of the skin it not only shows the finer details of the skin but also shows the pixels of the images relating to the sewn nature of the silk embroidered postcards and how delicate they are. When taking the self-portraits a remote shutter release and a sit in model were used to make decisions on the composition of the image and how to fit the sections of the postcards on to the face in the most effective way. This was quite difficult and took a lot longer than the other two shoots as it was the first shoot using this technique.

The instillation layout of “On Her Their Lives Depend” is influenced by museum displays. The three images are placed in glass frames with a thin metal edging so not to distract from the subjects, they are 8×10 inches in size to encourage the audience to step forward and look a little closer to see all the detail of the face and the projected postcard. Underneath in a display cabinet are the album where the postcards were found, the envelope they were stored in and the original postcards that have been projected, and photographed above, this cabinet protects these personal precious artefacts and again encourages the audience to take a more detailed look at these artefacts and to show the journey of discovery that took place.

Overall this project relates to the histories that most families have and allows them to think further about the experiences they have had personally during conflict.


Critical Rationale – Just A Line To Say

Just A Line To Say is a project that explores how communication during times of conflict has changed over time between 1914 and 2015. This project began by inheriting some old World War One silk embroidered postcards sent from the front. These postcards are incredibly detailed and interesting artifacts and led to research in to the different ways of communicating during World War One. Also the contrast in the way the soldiers would contact home from the front between then and the warfare of today and how soldiers can contact home in this technologically advanced world, which is vastly different to the world the First World War soldier would have been living in. Overall this project is based on the changes and contrasts of the line of communication that is available for soldiers and their loved ones throughout different times of conflict.

Just A Line To Say draws from people’s personal experiences of communicating with loved ones at home and the different ways that ex and current soldiers have found to be the most effective lines of communication. It also draws upon personal collections of letters and postcards; these have been interpreted and used as part of this project.

The work itself provides its own context due to the academic nature physicality of the subjects shown as part of this project.

Similar to Bernd and Hilla Becher’s project the Watertowers (Becher and Becher 1988), Just A Line To Say uses the technique of repetition to make a poignant statement about the subject. The use of the repetition makes a seemingly uninteresting and quite bland object become more beautiful the more times it is repeated and displayed as part of a wider body of work.

The bright background colours derive from the work Studio Kapsede (Duncker 2012) and Protocol Gifts (Duncker 2014) of Henrik Duncker by using this it allows the subjects to standout from the background and highlights the finer more intricate details that are found upon a deeper inspection of the objects themselves.

The layout of the project Just A Line To Say is based on a timeline style template. This is to exaggerate the ways in which communication during times of conflicts and training for conflicts has changed between 1914 and 2015. The timeline style of this layout allows for the viewers to pick out a specific time and see which forms of communication were in action during that particular timeframe.

In future if more artefacts could be collected and be attached on to the timeline this would increase the amount of photographs that could be seen by the audience. This would enable the viewers to gain even more information and to be able to explore deeper in to the ideas around how communication has changed.

Overall, Just A Line To Say speaks to the communicator in all of us. Its interest in times of conflict brings an element of patriotism in which the viewer can sympathize and expand upon. It’s overarching theme is that while modes of communication may change, the troops will always want to be home.



Becher, B. and Becher, H. (1988) Watertowers. MIT Press

Duncker, H. (2012) Studio Kapsede.

Duncker, H. (2014) Dāvanas Pēc Protokola (Protocol Gifts).

251 MC – How To Display

I now have a name for my project it is From The Flames.

I have had multiple ideas about how to display my final work. One of these is to individually frame each image for each person and to display their name, age and what their object is next to it. The downside of this idea is that it will cost a lot to buy frames for every photograph. My second idea is to do the same as above but by just mount the images on white foam board or mount board. My third idea is to use Oriented strand board (OSB) and put the photographs directly on to then board. I will then put numbers next to each photograph which will correspond to a list of the peoples names, age and what the object is. This is the idea that I am leaning towards most, this is because when a house has been burnt down or fire damaged they will secure that building using OSB to cover the windows, doors and any other openings that may be there. As my project is all about saving objects from a fire displaying it in this way would further show that.

I will make a frame like an easel to stand the sheet of OSB against ready for the final exhibition. I have decided on an order for my photographs to go in which is 4 of my friends at the top, the 5 members of my family on the middle row and then a family of 4 who have young children on the bottom row.

Once the images are linked to the information about each person the audience will begin to see similarities and differences in what people will take based on age and gender.

Here is a photograph of the sheet of OSB with the photographs on it and the letters to link to the information sheet (also below).




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For the submission I will bring in just the board because I can’t get the stand and the board in to uni at the same time. I am also now thinking about outlining the photographs in white which I would do if I did it again and I will do it for the final exhibition.

251 MC – New Photographs

I have done my shoots with 13 different people all of different ages. This is so I get some variation in answers and so I can see if this has anything to do with what people have chosen for their one most important item that they would save from the flames. This is an interesting idea to me because I think of what I would want to save and then think is that what I would actually grab with me at that exact time. There is a struggle in people when you ask them what they would take because they have to decide whether they will save something that is sentimental or something that is particle. I found there was a mix of these in the people that I asked.

Here is my contact sheet of all the photographs from these shoots.

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Here are my chosen final photographs one for each person.

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I have now just got to decide how I want to display them in the Gallery.

251 MC – Change In Idea

So I have decided to change my idea after hitting some dead ends with the last one. Matt gave me the challenge to try and find some other people that are moving out or in soon so I could shoot with them but I haven’t been able to do this. I have emailed a few estate agents and they replied saying I could not be given access to the lists of people that are moving house through them so I have had to give up on this idea. During another feedback session when I raised this to the group I was discussing what I should do next and multiple ideas were put forward which all linked back to my research and were focused in a similar ares to my last idea. One of these was to let my subjects choose what they wanted me to be photograph so they would be put across in a way that they were happy with. I had some time to think about this and I like the idea of the subjects choosing the objects that I focused on but I fret like the objects needed a bit more of a story and that there should be a reason why they could choose only one object for me to focus on. I then had the idea of people showing me the first things that they would move in to their new house if they were to move but most people that I spoke to said similar things like their bed or kitchen stuff etc.

I then had the thought of being able to ask people to think about what they one thing they would grab and save if there was a fire at their house. I have looked in to this idea further and thought about my research and it still fits in with it and my original idea I have just progressed it and made it more defined. I have found a blog site called The Burning House. This is an ongoing page that people can post on to and its all about what objects are most precious to people and what things they would save if there was a fire in their home. This is an interesting page as anyone can post on to it so their is a wide variety of people that have been involved in this project.  This project has been going on since 2011 and is an open forum. Here are some examples from this project.

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For my project I am still certain that I want to photograph the objects in the environments that they are in and I know that I want to focus on just one object for each person. This links to the other research that I have done and many of the decisions that I made than still stand now.

252 MC – Future Digital – Future Semantic

The future of digital is looking like it is going to be a very immersive experience. We will begin to see immersive retail experiences this is when retailers will start to use digital technology to send adverts and suggestions on what to buy or where to go based on previous searches and your shopping and internet history.
There are a variety of technologies that will be used to target people in different ways so they receive the right advertising for them as an individual rather than experiencing blanket advertising that is targeted for everyone. One example of this is the Estimote. Here is a video explaining what it is and what it does. 
Soon many of us will be using wearable tech weather thats for general life, sports, hobbys or work. Examples of this are google glass and the fitbit bracelet.
The Semantic Web 
The World wide web is only around 25 years old. This is a constant flow of information that is fed in to our homes if we want it to be and we can access most of it free of charge. We can choose if we want to be involved in these digital devices and if we want to link up to the internet. The semantic web is about publishing pages that are designed to be understood by computers so they can perform more work involved in finding, sharing, and combining information based on the web by reading these connections that are in place.
The Future of the Web
These databases and networks are all accessed by computers, mobiles, laptops and servers and what we’re getting out of all these connections, it is one global machine that can be accessed and altered by everyone who wants to be involved.
The machine that is the internet has run uninterrupted since it began so it is very reliable. We were told some of the dimensions of this machine, they are as follows.
  • There are 120 billion clicks per day.
  • 65 trillion links between all the different Web pages of the world.
  • 2.5 million emails sent and received per second
  • 170 quadrillion transistors involved
  • 246 exabyte storage space
  • 10 terabytes per second of total traffic (the Library of Congress is about 20 terabytes. So every second, half the Library of Congress is swooshing around the world)
  • It uses five percent of the global electricity of the whole planet
We then were told that by the year 2040, the total processing power of this machine will exceed the total processing power of the whole of humanity. There is the possibility that one day it will even take over from human kind.
As professionals all of this means to us that we need to get ourselves out there and to use all the technology that is available for us to link to other professionals and to people that might want to connect to us and work with us or buy our products. We also can use these devices to make connections but in the future it might be that we can use devices to make networks and connections for us, for example by knowing who we are talking to and putting their contacts in to our phones or linked digital devices.
There are certain things that we have to do to be able to make it as artists/photographers/professionals that communicate in the digital world and that use linked digital devices. 
Network: Use all your connections to create a community
Relevance: Know your audience/customers/readers/users.
Profile: Always be professional and make sure your digital brand is the best it can be.
USP: Even if you’re doing what other people do find the thing you do best and bang on about it.
Exploit: All the tech you can to make sure you are ahead of the competition and have a joined up online persona/brand.
Learn: About each new marketing/networking development.
At the end of this lecture we watched this video about how to order pizza in the future. This video was interesting as it looked at the ideas we had spoken about during the lecture and how maybe one day the  technology will know all about us and will run our lives for us.

251 MC – Feedback Session

In the latest feed back session I showed my first sets of photographs and explained my ideas to the group. This went okay but there is something missing from my photographs. I photographed my friends house. They have both just moved in together a week ago and have unpacked everything. I photographed the whole house and when looking back on the photographs the contrast between their bedrooms was the most interesting. As one of the girls, Beth is very neat and tidy and the other, Ellen is not as tidy. This interested me as they can both live in the same house and be very different from each other. This is a interesting but myself and the group didn’t think that from my photographs you can see an obvious judge of character of the two girls without knowing them. For me this was difficult as I have know them both all my life so I know all about them and when I see the images I think of certain character traits that they have but people that don’t know them can’t see this as easily.

Here is my contact sheet.

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Here are my final choices from this shoot.

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Now I need to decide whether I’m going to carry on with this idea or decide to focus on something else.