Monday, 21 February 2011


We had another colour printing practice. Better than the first time, I am capable in setting up enlarger swiftly and properly. I started from scratch again with magenta 65 and yellow 70; 15s and f8. Too much exposure for the first print and I even forgot the scaled test strip. So I went back for text strip and pin down the right exposure at 10s and f16. Perfect exposure but too red. With magenta -10 and yellow -10, I still get some funny colour. I suddenly noticed the machine is set to cyan 20! I should have checked! Yes, another start over, but still get some blue ish colour on print. Due to time constaint, I had to print the contact sheets of the two rolls… What a day. Next time, I just have to follow step by step.

Friday, 18 February 2011

5 X 4

We were introduced large format today. Asa Johannesson showed her portraiture work by 5 X 4 along with other people’s large format works. There is a quality with something frozen in there thick and still and I could easily lose myself looking at them forgetting time ticking, not mentioning the aesthetic side. The 5 X 4 slow down the process and acted not as a mediated tool not only to photography but also to the on the site interaction between the subject and the photographer. I instantly fall in love with it and decide to use it in some of my works very soon. It is amazing looking and feeling its physical quality and the work done by it, however, operating it is no easy. It is cumbersome and 100% manual. It is not like the manual on 35mm or medium format. The front and back can be shifted, tilted and swung. I have to cock the shutter, open aperture for focus, close lens for exposure, load single film on the back. This is time consuming but it offers so much flexibility for image making. I enjoyed.

Thursday, 17 February 2011


It is light, portable, and functional. I really like it. The film to be used is Kodak 120 Ektar 100.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011


The Convulsive Beauty at James Hyman Gallery consists around 20 vintage small prints in a small room. By hanging these photos together under the title of the surrealist photography it does give every photo more surreal feel, which is special and excellent. I can see all the photos on wall and they are nice and intriguing images, but the space does not give me literally anything extra comparing with browsing books at home, though they are vintage small prints adding the time element into the theme and enhancing it. I went to see Cindy Sherman new series – Untitled (2008) at Spruth Magers Berlin London. On the contrary, the images are blown out almost double the life size and filled all the walls as wallpaper. The affect standing inside the gallery looking up at the image is overwhelming. To quote a paragraph from the catalogue of the show:

The Untitled (2008) series was characterised by a group of almost life-size ageing American socialites. In the photographic murals, the figures are enlarged even further to epic proportions, the grand scale serving to intensify the tension, vulnerability and uncertainty exuded by Sherman’s theatrical types. The athleticism of one figure is subtly undermined by the detail of Sherman’s performance; the pulled up sport socks & trainers, cropped blonde wig and colourful batons do not reveal the same pride or superiority implied by the character’s confident stance and haunting glare. The same black trainers reappear on another of the characters, implying that they are all mysteriously linked together. Indeed Sherman’s abandonment of make-up in favour of minor digital adjustments unintentionally results in the disquieting affect that each figure stems from the same ‘family’. Sherman’s decision to eschew make-up as the most effective means of accentuating or de-emphasising the features brings us back to her earlier works such as the Rear Screen Projections series from the early 1980s, whereby she used subtle distortions in lighting, camera angle and costume to achieve a contrasting look.

I quite like the absence and presence in Sherman’s previous works especially those film stills. I like Sherman’s approach in general, but I need bit more time to digest this new series. I found sometimes as time goes by something from some work viewed previously develops organically inside me.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011


What Time is it There? Xiamen 2007
by Polly Braden

I like her subtle, gentle and simplistic yet enigmatic style of her work. Her street photography has a feel of slightly constructed feel bit realistic and big cinematic. Polly Braden came and shared background of her documentary projects and some explanation on the situation of many of her shots giving some insight on how documentary project is executed and how the actual shooting is like. I did some street photography years ago and I understand the difficulties especially the uncertainties of composition, as everything is moving. It is a time consuming and tedious process unless you have very good time leeway and patience; of course one excellent image could give lots of reward. According to Polly, the career aspect is more challenging with minimal financial reward and limited opportunities. However she developed her career really well with lots of presence in gallery and publications. She markets her story and works in amazingly extensive channels and with very good tenacity. I quite like her fixed lens approach as well, where it gives less intruding perception over long zoom lens in public.

Friday, 11 February 2011


I went to see Emily Allchurch’s Tokyo Story. She appropriated Utagawa Hiroshige’s “100 Famous Views of Edo” which was popular 150 years ago. There was an idealised beauty in them. Tradition and transition, past and present, harmony and conflict... The backlit presentation of her 4 images gives more colourful rendition of this idealised reality. I then visited Hotshoe Gallery for “On The Ephemeral In Photography”. It is such a poetic theme. Time is the fourth dimension in our space and everything is ephemeral whether we notice or not. The collection of the photos is quite special and the gallery space mixed the magazine working place as well.

Monday, 7 February 2011


This module provides the opportunity for you to pursue a practical project based on particular area of interest to you, enabling you to explore the possibilities offered by the colour print.

You are encouraged to consider using medium format cameras and to develop your lighting skills. However all formats from 35mm through to large format can be used.

Please find below some inspiration on how to approach the project:

Take us through an aspect of a relationship you have with someone, real or imaginary, and see and feel to what extent colour photography matters in portraying human interaction - love, hate, like, dislike, communication, rejection and belonging.

We journey through life, sometimes a step at a time, sometimes sleepwalking, at other times with a full sense of wellbeing and yet again with dread. Not always one step in front of the other, but often three back, two sideways, and one forward; or rushing onward in one great running leap to land with a crash. The rhythm of life we have can depend on lifestyle, on responsibilities, on culture and outlook, on health and energy.

Describe a small aspect of your own personal or someone else’s journey through life, by means of a series of images that take us into the experience of how you felt in that situation at that time.

Document: - to record evidence of- to state what occurred when, how and with whom. The photograph's apparent ability to portray details, moments and relationships with others 'truthfully' tends to convince us, (or tries to) that that’s how it was.

Contained within our mode of existence are collective items that encode meanings, these give us a sense of where we are and where we've been and what we might become. They are elusive signifiers that click open MEMORIES that are often shared, however differently with others, though sometimes they are private, just for us.

Sunday, 6 February 2011


I connect myself with the external world with all sorts of activities. I get up in the morning; turn on the television watching what is going on. I get out of the home and go to work exposing myself with other passer-bys and traffic. I listen to music, news broadcast, people talking around me; I watch the passer-bys, traffic, everything coming into my eyes; I talk with friends, colleagues, family members, strangers… … Do I feel? Does everything mean anything to me? Do I care? Where is ‘I’ in the world?

I plan to study the complex relationship between the outer world and me. Billions of things are happening everywhere in the world, be it newsworthy, strange, natural, cultural, or political, etc; millions of things are happening in my own life be it exciting, routine, tiny, boring or shocking, etc. I am the interface between my inner world and the external. No matter I care or not, things happens if it will happen. No matter I accept or not, the sun always rises and sets. No matter related to me or not, life moves on like nothing happens before at the same time life will never be the same the next minute.

In the project, I take one picture a day and add text either from my experience or something happened in the external world – though not necessarily I am interested in or caring about it. The text and the image will inter-relate each other create the complex relationship between my existence within the world.

Saturday, 5 February 2011


Back to darkroom, this time colour printing. It seems more complicated as there is colour cast, which has to be considered and adjusted subjectively and scientifically. We are in separate cubicles and have to work in complete darkness, unlike the nice red ambient like in black & white darkroom. A few test strips to check exposure time and colour balance but it was just not right even though I adjusted magenta to decrease the yellow cast. Ulrike helped to find that my filter switch was not quite right, and film carrier was not folded properly hence leaked light. Operating in complete darkness is a new experience. I quite like it. There is a sense of privacy, conscious and revelation by staying in my tiny cubicles, of course have to work in the printing machine room and trimming room in the dark as well. I was bit nervous as usual and cut one of my finger not knowing it till afterwards. Photography is a patient occupation and I got to relax and work slowly. Actually everything is. 16 Sec, 8 Aperture, 70 Yellow and 65 Magenta. Still a tint of yellow on my print – wait for the next time to correct.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011


My Hands are My Heart 1991
by Gabriel Orozco

I like Orozco’s art. His approach is simple, subtle and modest but concept is refreshing, strong and long lasting. He tried to create simple gesture, which makes me feel individual, conscious and refreshing. I like his theme on transience and the ephemeral. He said art is not entertaining or seek high technical way to create spectacle to wow people. He uses daily experience and creates the art in such a simple way that everyone could really do it. However, the strong experience and the impact come out of the act. It reminds me of the style of Arte Povera which is very individual and so close to life. This is what I am aiming for in my project – Goodbye Yesterday - actually. It is a visual diary - something touches me in my daily life. I tried to feel and find such a scene but it eludes me sometimes. Also there is such a abyss behind Orozco’s work which could be an act, impact or experience. It just makes me contemplate and gives back my consciousness when I concentrate looking at his work losing my moment then. Time is always something I am interested and the ephemeral is one of the most intriguing content to me. I wish I could find a way to express my feel regarding this.