Monday, 21 May 2012


We have restructured our ideas and Caro joined us as well.  The purpose of exhibition assignement is to take photography to public.  We therefore would like to organise an educational project to teach kids how to make pin hole photography.  To get prepared for this, we need to make sure we are proficient in this skill.  Andrew is very much skilled and this gave us lots of insight and input when we started to do some pinhole photography last week.  He introduced us the reciprocal failure, when f stop does not work well in the aperture and exposure formula when aperture is getting too small say 200.  Based on his suggestion, we stared to shoot.  I used a ShinHao field camera by attaching a pin hole on the lens board.  I messed up quite a few shots not knowing the reason still.  Eventually got it right 8 minutes at 90mm distance of lens and film.  Alan used a Pentax 67II by using a pin hole on the lens lid.  Caro used a self made one.  Andrew refreshed my dark room and 5X4 practice.  We used a fibre positive 5x4 paper when shooting so straight into printing in the darkroom.  It was a fascinating day.  We then discussed possible issues concerning this project.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012


Pavla's Portfolio

Research Methods
Which research methods did you use for the planning and production of your portfolio?
How did this research inform the design of your own physical portfolio and web site?

Workshops in the module at the beginning held by Andre, Shirley and other visiting artists opened the doors for my initial research.  I checked each artist’s physical portfolio images and websites referred from those workshop lectures.  I then browsed to see as many as possible other people’s portfolio document and website, especially those established artists’.  This gives me a good understanding of what options of physical portfolio and website presentation are possible.   Especially websites, there are a variety of ways of presentation.  Based on this rich varieties of physical and Internet presentation, I started to consider a few options for myself.  Another important research methods is the discussion with my cohort members.  We discussed different ways of presentation and commented pros and cons.  Michal even held website workshops for us.  These formal and informal discussions and workshops make me think more beyond the presentation such as audiences, context, etc. In general, my research process is that at the beginning I expand my visual horizon by seeing other people’s work and then engage and analyse other people’s work.   It helps me to find my own way of presentation by finally narrowing down my options to a few.   


Production and Presentation Methods - Portfolio
Discuss how you developed strategies for the editing process and structure of your portfolio.
How appropriate do you think your strategies are for the design of the spreads, format (portrait/landscape) and the container (box/folder) itself?

Editing is one of the keys to my portfolio preparation.  My ideal is to give a concise but strong impression to the target viewers.  The process is subtraction. I firstly mapped out all my projects and images.   The criteria are to select a few most strong ones that reflect my style, interest and the self.  The comments from previous tutors on these projects are also considered.  So it is a balanced selection between my personal likings and others’ comments. I finalised with three projects in the portfolio: one very personal, one idea based, and one more studio skill oriented, thinking to project a well rounded photographer image to my target audience – the MA application judges.

My idea of presentation is to find a simplistic way to present my photographic works rather than let the presentation to distract the attention to my works.  A plain box suits this target.  As it is a box and the works inside is loose, the format of my work could be flexible.  This solves my problem since my works are of both portrait and landscape format.  Because sleeves reflect light, I have not used them to protect my work.  Size of the prints are A3 and I think it is not too big to be cumbersome and not too small to be viewed.  I also designed my text format for all text. 


Production and Presentation Methods - web site
Discuss the appropriateness and professional quality of the presentation of your web site.
What methods did you use to enable users to navigate the presentation of content?
What strategies did you use to make the layout and display of images and text coherent?

There are so many ways of website presentation.  Again, my idea is to find a way to subtract all flashy ways of presentation and let my photo stand out in a frugal way.  Therefore I have been looking for a minimal designed website presentation.  Another thing I considered is the way of showing images.  As my works are project based, the connections and narratives interlinked with one to another image are critical. If it is on the wall in gallery, it is easy for viewer to engage one image to anther, as they are all on the wall together.  Therefore, I was looking for a presentation similar to a gallery wall.  Indexhibit, recommended by my fellow classmate Michal, seems work to my purposes.  It is concise in structure and the navigation of my works is lateral moving like a moving gallery wall.  In addition to this, it is very easy to maintain and update.

Then I had to consider the size of the image, the edit, and texts.  The size of the image has to be not too small not to big.  So I did some survey on people’s browser and computer and then decided to go for long side 700 pixels to suit most of browsers especially for new generation of ipad and Mac as most of my target audiences are artists and art enthusiasts.  Edit is similar to paper based portfolio but I am considering to put more projects on it.  Currently I do not have many satisfied projects, but I will do so in the future.  Text font and layout is vital for web presentation.  I considered many different ways and finalised with a contemporary font and colour to suit my photography.  I also added my Chinese name as well.  The Chinese background influenced my thoughts and photographic practice greatly.  I think my presentation form is coherent in general. 


How suitable and appropriate is your choice of display in relation to your intended audience or genre (fine art/editorial/commercial etc)?
Are your portfolio and web site intended for a different audience, and if so what methods did you use to address this?

I am interested in and practice photography to the fine art category.  A simple portfolio box serves this purpose with my key project works and my introduction (artist’s statement and exhibition biography).  It tells audience who I am, what I think, and what my photography works are like. The works I chose are all something I feel strongly and honest about myself and my interested areas.  Therefore I think it should serve the purpose giving audience a feel of my photographic works.

The website audience are similar to that of my physical portfolios.  However I will also use it for socialising reasons to my fellow classmates, artists, friends taking advantage of internet ubiquitous availability.  Therefore I tried to put more information and more works in my website.  I do not have many works I am satisfied so I will list more projects in the future.  I do not want to put some mediocre works I do not feel right.  I also put a blog link to my website so that people can know me better through my blogs.  More works and more information are the ways to address the slightly different audiences I am targeting my website comparing with those of my physical works.   


Evaluation of the experience
Reflect on your learning and skills gained from the experience of creating your portfolio.
Evaluate the relevance of this experience in relation to your own professional aspirations.

Photography is not at all simply pressing shutter obviously, but is more of thinking, engaging, developing, planning etc.  Postproduction such as retouching and editing are key areas in photography.  I had undervalued presentation until I started to prepare the portfolio.  For each step of preparation, there are hundreds of different alternatives, and I have to consider many background information to develop the most suitable strategy for the portfolio.  The importance of presentation is the most important learning curves in this process.

My professional aspiration is to become a photographic artist.  Presentation is vital.  I need to show works through many different mediums such as gallery wall, book and Internet.  A good photographer not only should be original in idea generation and realisation but also, if not more important, should have the ability to deliver the works through the best presentation forms. 

Based on this understanding, I have started to build up my knowledge related to presentation in edit, printing, organising, design, Internet and etc.  Each area has millions of details to learn and to understand.  For example, there are hundreds of quality in paper, I need to know most of the quality to decide what I should use.  With a broad knowledge of ways of different presentation, I also learn how to use all these forms to suit my target audiences.  The form and the way have to serve this purpose.  This is of course in combination with the best ways to show my work according to the content of each project.

In general, thorough knowledge, attentions to details, focus of my target audience and my work content, and the understanding of presentation importance are the keys I learnt from this portfolio preparation process.


Feedback and Response
Summarise the feedback you have received from your tutors and peers about your portfolio and web site.
Discuss how useful this feedback is for the future development of both.

The feedback I received from the tutors (Andre, Shirley, Eileen, and Rachel) and my peers are basically positive.  While this gives me a good level of self-confidence, I appreciate more critical and negative feedback I have got, which give me a new dimension to evaluate and look at my portfolio.  These constructive feedbacks include many details such as text font, layout, image size, image print border, and etc.  It is difficult for me, as the author, to get detached from my work and presentation to get impartial opinions.  These third party opinions help this situation greatly.  On top of this, especially due to tutor’s wide experience and knowledge, most of the feedback guided my way of thinking and doing to a higher level.  Of course, at the end of the day, it is me who decides all the details of the presentation, but the feedback and discussions with the tutors and peers, especially those critical and negative comments give me lots of fresh thinking.  I am sure this will have a very positive impact for my future development.   

In conclusion, I realised I do not have enough satisfied works to present.  However I managed to put three projects together anyway.  I like Behind Curtains and Bye-bye Yesterday, but not Silenced.  Nevertheless I put Silenced in, to demonstrate my technical side of photography.  I think with the major project coming, I will replace at least this ‘Silenced’ project.


Tuesday, 1 May 2012


Mask, Identity, Self, Family, Public, Privacy, Concealment, Metaphor, Video....