PHO702: Shoot One.

Contact Sheets: 25/01/20 & 01/02/20

Following the plan I created to go out and do my first shoot based on a psychogeography route of the postcode of my local area (See Shoot 1 Planning Post). It was an interesting shoot and I managed to create some photographs that would be worth editing together to determine how they work as sets. The weather was very overcast and not what I was hoping to shoot in terms of the lighting, so for the most part, I think that this shoot was a worthwhile fact finding mission to scout out some future locations and develop the work. From my plan, I did also want to start to consider ‘the ostracised’ (Dias, 2018) however feel that this may have been a bit ambitious for the first shoot and will continue to develop this area of enquiry as I feel it could have some significance. It was a useful reference to take the Roy Stryker Shooting script with me to consider some of the images that I was shooting. I will continue to use this as it is a way of creating a taxonomy of what makes up a community environment.

Light is crucial to the way that I want my images to look. Moving forward, I aim to be more selective of the times that I will go out and shoot, weather permitting.

Now that we have had a couple of weeks of delivery of the modules, I am going to create more of a focus on the taxonomical patterns that my local community displays. The idea of the indexicality of what I am shooting is also something that I want to explore in a more intentional way. I am also considering the approach to the portraits within the work. I have had a fairly limited response from people I would like to involve in the project, so am considering an approach based on the week 3 constructions and will explore casting ‘actors’ to play a role in my look at my community which could form a strong link to this sense of a fractured community. Initially, I could approach this in a similar way to how Jack Latham shot subjects unrelated to the events of the Icelandic crime in his book ‘Sugar Paper Theories’ (2019).


Dias, D., 2018. The Ten Types of Human. 1st Paperback Edition ed. London: Windmill Books.

Latham, J., 2019. Sugar Paper Theories. 2nd Edition ed. London: Here Press.

Experimenting with photographing community

A need for a new Rectangle

A number of developments occurred during the break between modules leading me to consider how to approach and begin to be more experimental. 

The shift into looking into my local area has also coincided with my landlady taking the decision to sell my rented home here in Watford spurred on by the recent general election and final push on Brexit, not including the litany of issues with the house that she felt could no longer support fixing (there are a lot!), when every time we asked to be fixed, feared a push on the rental cost each month. 

I have found it interesting that as I turn my camera onto my local community, it could inherently change as we decide whether we will need to move out of the area to find affordable rental prices, or make the jump to buy, meaning an even further move. The community that I described during the last module is in question again. As a renter, I find myself never truly connected to place, with the constant fear of upheaval.

Figure 1. Pentax 645 with mounted light.
Figure 2. Ilford HP5 pushed to 800.

As a way to explore this, I am going to create a smaller body of work alongside the psychogeography approach I outlined for my first shoot plan and document the condition of my rented home with a forensic approach. I intend to use a medium format film camera with a top mounted video light (Fig. 1) and Ilford HP5 film (Fig. 2) for this approach, which represents a complete departure from the images that I was shooting during the last module. 

My idea is to play with the narrative of my home, which was never truly my home. There is the space that I occupy and have lived in for the past 5 years and the areas of the house that have been neglected due to the nature of it being a rental property. These initial images could be compared to the narrative that will be presented by the estate agent once they come into the space and take their own images, which will need to be sympathetic to the true owner of the house, this will be mirrored by the description of the house used to sell it. My black and white medium format images will be in complete opposition to the digital compact images taken by the estate agent and could play with the notion of photographic truth in a similar way to how Jack Latham used police archive images as part of his ‘Sugar Paper Theories’ series (Latham, 2016).

I am also interested to explore the notion of the rectangle as the most basic form of power, outlined by Roland Barthes (Barthes, 2012, p.114). The exchange of such rectangles, in the form of the most ubiquitous, our homes, could be a way of framing the current housing crisis for example. By focussing on my own space of rectangles (or what I thought was mine, in the lived sense), I hope to start considering the community that happens from within the home. One of the outlined aims in my project proposal was to look at the environment and typology of community, and these typologies could also be found within this realm, which again Barthes used in his analysis of the rectangle through the language of beds (Barthes, 2012, p114), this is where I can start to explore these concepts.

Collaborating with others

As a way to investigate a more collaborative approach to my work, I have also asked 3 work colleagues who live in the local area, and who are all artists, to take a small film camera that I have provided and take some images of the local area. My intention is to start extending my approach to the initial psychogeography and explore ways that I can respond to these images.


Barthes, R., 2012. How to Live Together: Novelistic Simulations of Some Everyday Spaces. Translation Edition ed. New York: Columbia University Press.

Latham, J., Gudjonsson, G. and Russell, R. (2016). Sugar paper theories. 2nd ed. London: Here Press.

Shoot 1 Planning

I intend to take some of the concepts that we looked at during the last module forward to create a starting structure to my initial shoots whilst I am building the relationships that I need to further develop my ideas. I want to look at my own community much more closely and will use the psychogeography approach to provide a boundary to this first shoot. I will use the postcode area of where I live to provide this, with the intention of staying as close to it as possible and photographing along the way (Fig. 1).

Figure 1. Postcode Boundary area to use as a ‘Psychogeography’ for my initial shoot. (Google, 2020).

To support my initial approach, I have also been reading the FSA shooting scripts on a ‘Small Town’ (Stryker, 1939) that provide a very comprehensive list of things that I could potentially photograph and also outlined as good inspiration by Todd Hido (Hido, 2014, p. 123). Although I do not intend to follow the list to the letter, I will use this as a guide and inspiration of areas to consider and look for along the way (Fig. 2).

This is beginning to tie in to a number of my recent reading and investigations, leading me to plan a shoot around the environment of community, having been drawn more a more to the idea of those that are excluded from society. I first started to consider this as an idea after reading what Roland Barthes discussed in ‘How to Live Together’ where he suggests that it is important to consider those that have been excluded by a society. As people group together and form communities, there would inevitably be those that are left out, stating that community can’t exist without integrated rejection  (Barthes, 2012, p. 96). Being ostracized from society is something that I have also come across in ‘Ten Types of Human’ (Dias, 2017) where he discusses that groups that have cast out members often become a closer knit community, however for those that have been ostracized, prospects of survival are limiting (Dias, 2017, p. 127), which is in reference to much of the animal kingdom and for me this concept feels quite libertarian in the sense that we have the ability to take care of those we might seek to ostracize. However, in a counterpoint to Barthes assertions that there is no contradiction that we can live together and separately (Barthes, 2012, pp. 4-5), Dias considers that there might not be a benefit form living together, a ‘dilemma of social life’ (Dias, 2017, p. 107). What I find the most interesting from Dias’s writing is the identification that we, as humans, have an innate need to from tribes, even if this is in essence an irrational behavior, we for groups, sub groups, societies, and all the way up to nations, are all forms of groups in one way or another (Dias, 2017, p. 285). This is fundamental to some of my aims and an area that I wish to explore.


Barthes, R., 2012. How to Live Together: Novelistic Simulations of some Everyday Spaces. Translation ed. New York: Columbia University Press.

Dias, D., 2017. The Ten Types of Human. 1st paperback ed. London: Penguin Random House.

Google Maps, 2020. WD24 Watford Postcode Prefix, Viewed 23 January 2020. Available at:

Hido, T., 2014. Todd Hido on Landscapes, Interiors, and the Nude. New York: Aperture.

Stryker, R., 1939. Shooting script on the Small Town, Washington DC: Library of Congress.