Week 8: Reflection

After the webinar, I have a clear sense that I need to develop my narrative and sequencing skills in order to better translate my project into a coherent series. If my aim is to present the work without the information initially, then it is important to get a clear sequence of the images to tell the story I am trying to communicate. The amount of images is crucial, too. I have so far put together 20 images in my gallery, however others have many more. I need to consider how many images will make an effective narrative and how many would ultimately start to reduce the impact of the work.

The feedback, although positive, narrative was a key area to look at. People liked the display of the work and the minimal gallery and page. I am happy with this, although there are some areas I would like to develop given the time to do so. For example, the native WordPress slider has a grey background that I am unable to change without looking into detail the CSS coding to change it (I will have a go at this at some point!). The page of my gallery also features a number of tags and keywords, which function for SEO purposes but do not provide a clean looking design. Overall, these are niggles and can be looked at over the period of the course.

To start looking at narrative, I have returned to Lewis Bush’s article ‘Photographic Storytelling: A Poverty of Theory’ (Bush, 2019)​*​ discussing how photography overlooks the power of narrative in photography and often misunderstood by photographers. 

In the article, Bush also states that Narrative and story are different but often confused. 

“One Story can spawn many narratives”

(Bush, 2019)

It is clear that the sequencing of my work will have a fundamental impact on how it might be read, which leads me back to the ‘Authors’ vs ‘Readers’ debate referenced in this weeks readings and Barthes ‘Death of the Author’ (Barthes, 1977)​†​ It feels that the emphasis is still on the reader of the work, however I can still maintain the control of the initial experience of the work.

Looking to develop skills in Narrative, sequencing, and the edit of my work, I continue to explore Bush’s article, and looked at the discussing that Bush was having on Twitter. There are a number of reference by Bush to ‘Narratology’ which is the study of narrative structure and how this can inform our perception. The article also discusses the strength of cinema in employing photographic theory in creating a strong narrative. These are areas that will continue to explore.

I have identified some further reading:
  • Relationships between Text, Narrative and Image – An Introduction
  • Gérard Genette : Narratology / Signo – Applied Semiotics Theories
  • Basics creative photography 02: Context and narrative
  • Image, Music, Text: Roland Barthes

Overall, I am going to keep the style and layout of the gallery that I have presented, maintaining the link that I have set up, and now focus now on the sequencing and amount of images that I am presenting, supported by the information.


  1. ​*​
    Bush, L. (2019). Photographic Storytelling: A Poverty of Theory. [online] Medium. Available at: https://witness.worldpressphoto.org/photographic-storytelling-a-poverty-of-theory-2def0ba48031 [Accessed 15 Nov. 2019].
  2. ​†​
    Barthes, R. (1977) “The Death of the Author.” Image / Music / Text. Trans. Stephen Heath. New York: Hill and Wang.

Week 8: Work in Progress Portfolio

Working on how my work is presented after reading the Kitchen from ‘Ways of Curating’​*​ (Obrist and Raz̤ā, n.d.) and ‘Context as a Determinant of Photographic Meaning’​†​ (Evans and John, 1997) I have started again to consider that context and how my work is read is somewhat out of my control. The readings reference the essay by Barthes ‘Death of the Author’​‡​ which also starts to place the most value on the ‘reader’ as opposed to the ‘author’ of the work. I have discussed Barthes’ essay before and although I do agree with this statement, I question his argument for completely removing knowledge of the author of a work as this is not something that can be easily done, and once known, it does change how the work is read.

Figure 1. Example of my web galleries in the ‘mosaic’ format. (Hill, 2019) ​§​

With that said, I have looked at presenting my work as minimal as possible on my website. Previously, I was utilising the mosaic format (Fig. 1), where the work is shown in full and on quite a busy page, together with any supporting information I felt should accompany the images. After considering the readings, and conducting some research into how other photographers are presenting their images online, I have made the decision to present the work in the form of a slider (Fig. 2), where the images are viewed individually (or in the case of my series ‘Four Prefectures of Japan’ which I have since edited into a slider, a juxtaposition of images). The information is initially hidden on the page and can be revealed as an option to the reader (Fig. 3 & 4). This, I hope, will allow viewers of my work time to assimilate it and form their own narratives before they consider the information and background to the work. That said, I still maintain a control of the work in the form of the sequencing and the display. Once the information has also been taken into consideration, the images may also change their meaning to the viewer and creating an enhanced experience.

Figure 2. Updated gallery to show in a slideshow format. (Hill, 2019).
Figure 3. Information and thumbnails revealed. (Hill, 2019)

Considering the work of others
Zed Nelson
Figure 4. Screenshot from Zed Nelson’s website and project ‘Love Me.’​¶​ (Nelson, 2019).

Zed Nelson displays a lot of content on his website from his various projects. I looked in particular at how the project ‘Love Me’ is displayed (Fig. 5). There are 50 images in this gallery and are displayed individually with a click through button. There is a caption to accompany the work, together with a link to additional material such as the book, the information, and the thumbnails. The work here is presented well, however Nelson’s website is quite complicated to navigate with a lot of clicks and inconsistent with the menus. The overall feel of the site is good however with the images presented on a white background.

Laura El Tantawy
Figure 5. Laura El Tantwy’s website and project ‘In the Shadow of the Pyrimids’​#​ (El Tantwy, 2019)
Figure 6. Laura El Tantwy’s website and project ‘In the Shadow of the Pyrimids’​#​ with a single image and information on display (El Tantwy, 2019).

The work here is presented on a white background with a clean menu to the left of the images providing a good navigation through the work and the site. When a project is clicked on, the work is first presented all together, serving the function of the thumbnails (Fig 5). When an image is selected (Fig. 6), you are able to view the images one at a time and click through at your own pace. El Tantawy’s information is hidden with a button to click and view the written justification of the work. El Tantawy’s work is very much open to interpretation, and this I feel lends itself very well to that notion of the ‘reader.’


Audio and images

I spent some time collecting audio at some of the events that I have been photographing. I want to experiment and create some kind of experiential part to my work that gives a sense of the spectacle that these Carnivals present. To explore this further, I created a quick gallery (Low Resolution) of the abstract light images that I took in Frome and added the raw audio as an option to click and listen to whilst the images are transitioning through the set. The audio is an option to enhance the experience of viewing the images.

Exploring PDF presentation

As a hangover from my freelance days, I have also started to experiment with creating a PDF version of the project as a kind of book dummy/zine. I have created these in the past when I would use a PDF to promote my commercial practice. As another way to present the work, it is quite useful to start experimenting with different typeface and design elements. 

I looked at how I could represent the work using design and created a series of experiments, playing with the typeface and the colours of the carnival.

As we are expected to produce a simplified PDF of the images presented in the work in progress gallery, I am not sure if I will include these design element. Moving forward though I aim to continue exploring this as a promotional tool for the work.


  1. ​*​
    Obrist, H. and Raz̤ā, A. (n.d.). Ways of curating. London: Penguin, pp.81-87.
  2. ​†​
    Evans, J. and John, W. (1997). The Camerawork essays. London: Rivers Oram, pp.52-63.
  3. ​‡​
    Barthes, R. (1977) “The Death of the Author.” Image / Music / Text. Trans. Stephen Heath. New York: Hill and Wang.
  4. ​§​
    Hill, P. (2019). Polo Hipster, Western Australia. | Phil Hill Photography. [online] Phil Hill Photography. Available at: https://www.philhillphotography.com/portfolio/polo-hipster-western-australia/ [Accessed 14 Nov. 2019].
  5. ​¶​
    Nelson, Z. (2019). Zed Nelson – photographer. [online] Zednelson.com. Available at: https://www.zednelson.com/?LoveMe [Accessed 14 Nov. 2019].
  6. ​#​
    El Tantawy, L. (2019). [online] Lauraeltantawy.com. Available at: http://www.lauraeltantawy.com/ [Accessed 14 Nov. 2019].

Week 7: Reflections

Liquid Image - Micro Project
Figure 1. Balsamic Vinegar and Water Liquid image from the week 6&7 Micro Project. (Hill, 2019).

I enjoyed producing the images for the micro project. It was a complete departure from what I have been shooting for my current work in progress portfolio, focusing on an abstract series of images as opposed to the location portraits I have been photographing.

Where I feel that the images could have been improved was how distracted with the production of the oral presentation I have been and not taken the care and time over the images that  might have done if I was completely focused on it in the same way that I am for my main practice and project. The feedback received for the set has been generally good and I had much encouragement to continue the series and create something with the minimal nature of the water image. Sequencing was the main area of development that I should consider. This is an area that I feel needs much refinement over the whole of the MA as selecting and editing my work has never been my strong point. I feel that when presenting my wider project ideas it may become crucial to seek the support from my peers and tutors.

At the moment, the images sit somewhere in the experiment category, as I know that they are created with simple liquids, I do not feel that there is enough depth to the set in order to take it any further as it stands. That said, during the webinar with my peers and Paul, some other photographers and artists who work in a similar way were suggested to me and I could now start to see how a project with these images may develop. I do feel that given the time, I would like to explore the concept and see where it could lead with a style and type of photography that I have never done before.

I have been working fairly consistently on my research project, continuing to shoot carnivals. Salisbury on 24/10, and have reflected on these images here.

Work In progress portfolio

To support the practice I am also working my way through ‘Bowling alone.’ I am finding this book on the subject very much based on the economics of the subject and how it ultimately impacts the productivity of a society. Interestingly, I do find that our world tends to be defined the economics of it and the capitalist nature of our culture. Putnam also notes that civic engagement has decreased as education has risen over the past 30 years (as written in 2000). People now have the skills to function within a society that historically would have been nurtured through clubs, organizations and associations. I am also interested in Putnam’s reference to social philosophy and will look into this side of things to support my project.​*​


  1. ​*​
    Putnma, R. (2000). Bowling Alone. New York: Simon & Schuster, p.60.

Week 7: Contact Sheet

Salisbury Carnival 24/10

I photographed Salisbury Carnival with the intention of capturing some of the big carts that are at their most spectacular when lit up at night. Unfortunately, the weather meant that many of the participants of this carnival stayed away and it was raining heavily during the time that I was shooting at the event. Of the images I did manage to capture, I am wondering how these will fit into the wider narrative of the project so far. The night shooting meant that I had to light the subject and this meant that I had some strong shadows to deal with which are a departure from the other portraits that I have been shooting.

I was fairly happy with the shot of the girl by the lorry and could see how more in this sort of style could work with the rest of the images.

Middlesbrough Dance Group 29/10

As an experiment into other ways of representing communities, I decided to take a studio kit on location whilst in Middlesbrough last week. These images are of a group of retirees who come together in Middlesbrough Library to a dance class in an attempt to combat the loneliness of this time.

Week 3: Reflection

Reflections
Consider how professions of photography are viewed by non-photographers and the general public.

Drawing on my personal and professional experience, I have found that photography has been considered an ‘easy’ profession and requires little work to perfect. I have, for example, been asked to photograph at friend’s and relative’s weddings, despite not being a wedding photographer, as I am well known for being a photographer. Interestingly, in many of the approaches to shoot these events, there was a tendency to add the comments ‘When I searched for photographers, they all charge too much, would you do it instead, Phil?’ Although never malicious, the comments primarily de-value my images, financial reasons being the primary motivation for asking me to do it, regardless or whether I could actually deliver a good job. The other issue I have always found with asking me to shoot these events for friends and relatives, once agreed, is I stop being a guest at the wedding and am in a sense now an ‘employee’ of the event without an acknowledgement of that fact.

Figure 1. Acid Mine Drainage image used as the cover for a Text Book. Cover image by Phil Hill​*​

Another interesting exchange I have experienced was from a series of images that I shot in Kenya that highlighted a kind of pollution known as ‘Acid Mine Drainage’ (Fig. 1). I was contacted by a South American website who wanted to use my image. I raised a standard usage license and the reply I received was an angry “What! I can’t believe you sent me an Invoice” with the rest of the email outlining his annoyance of being asked to pay for this kind of content, and then questioning how much I cared about environmental issues. Images from this set, have been used for a book cover, Science Photo Library, and on the BBC illustrating Acid pollution, and illegal Gold mining that was happening on the site who had no issue at all in paying for the images.

Considering this from another viewpoint, Simon Norfolk discussed in his Small Voice podcast interview​†​ about how photography in certain circles is very self-congratulatory, and the obsession with turning grand socio-documentary projects into photo books only to be viewed by the 100 or so other, predominantly white middle-class, photographers that buy it. This esoteric approach to photography can only exacerbate the issue of a wider audience understanding what photography is and the value of it.

Do you think this has any impact upon how you conduct yourself as a photographer, or influences your practice in any other way?

Continuing from above. That being said, starting my carnival project, I have found that on approach of the subjects, they assumed a cliche pose, presumably for the local press photographers that were also marauding in the background (Discussed in my week 2 reflection). This actually gave me the opportunity to ‘Break the ice’ and then re-position the subject to capture the images I was looking for. I have questioned the representation my subjects, however after continued discussion, I feel that there is an amount of conditioning that needed to be removed from the ‘performance’ of the subject, allowing me to capture something more. People seem to have an assumed idea of what a photographer is, through the photographers that they have most contact with such as school, wedding, local press, all of which are looking for a particular type of image and pose. It is therefore important to try and work past this, and capture a more authentic image.

Think about and describe how you have responded to changes in technology in your own practice.
Figure 2. Insta_Repeat Instagram profile shows how people are starting to create the same imagery on the platform​‡​

Social media and the internet continues to shape and accentuate this kind of social conditioning, especially as we are more frequently served the same kind of images and information of via algorithms and artificial intelligence learning of our behaviour online. This has been highlighted through instagram accounts such as Insta Repeat (Fig. 2).

Week 3 webinar reflection 10/10/19

I am pleased with the images that I have shot so far for this project, despite some technical issues. After adding an edit of the work on this week’s forum, I have received a positive response for my work, especially the portraits which come out as the strongest part of this project. I was given Photographers, such as, Margaret Mitchell​§​ to look at and found her work to be really useful in Identifying ways in which I can develop the work. Margaret has a real sense of the locations and environments in her work, which really helps to contextualise it. Paul also suggested that I look at clémentine schneidermann’s​¶​ work, and the series she did ‘I called her Lisa Marie’ (Fig. 3 & 4) which again serves to really place the surreal elements of these Elvis Presley fans in a Welsh setting. 

Figure 3. ‘Liz and Steve’ from I called her Lisa Marie by Clémentine Schneidermann​#​
Figure 4. ‘Little Elvis’ from I called her Lisa Marie by Clémentine Schneidermann​#​

After discussing the work on the forum, I decided to experiment with putting some of the images together in a variety of diptych layouts to see how this might change the way the individual images are viewed (Fig. 5). It was suggested that I might look at also creating triptych layouts of the work. Although these were well received during the crit, the way that I have been approaching this project so far is to separate environments, the details, and the portraits. The feedback has highlighted the need to bring some of those elements together where possible. In a sense, this would be useful when viewing each of the images in isolation of one another.

Figure 5. Experiments with Diptych layouts using the images from my Carnival shoots so far. Images by Phil Hill.

Michelle also followed up with this feedback:

Great to see the access you have and the ease with which you are able to work with them. It may be helpful now to consider what narrative you want to explore and whether you can combine the positioning of the figure within the urban and rural landscape  to illustrate something about the individuality of these people? Alec Soth/Anna Fox/Katie Grannan/Lauren Greenfeld all good possible sources of research.

Michelle Sank​**​

Clearly an area that I should be focusing on for future shoots. I also need to consider the narrative that I intend to portray. This is an area that I feel needs much development. I have approached the project so far with a basic knowledge of ‘Social Capital’ and continue to read Robert Putnam’s book ‘Bowling Alone’​††​ on this subject to hopefully begin informing and developing the narrative this way. Paul has also suggested that I read Peter Kropotkin’s book ‘Mutual Aid: A Factor in Evolution’​‡‡​ which considers the idea of collaboration within societies. A potential area for the narrative to work with my images might be through the lack of communication between newer elements of my home town of Frome moving in and ‘Gentrifying’ the area without thought or consideration of the people who have lived there for generations, the same people who are involved with the carnivals.



  1. ​*​
    Ryan, P. and Hill, P. (2014). Environmental and low temperature geochemistry. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, p.Cover.
  2. ​†​
    Smith, B. and Norfolk, S. (2019). A Small Voice Podcast – 107 – Simon Norfolk. [online] Ben Smith. Available at: https://bensmithphoto.com/asmallvoice/simon-norfolk [Accessed 11 Oct. 2019].
  3. ​‡​
    Instagram.com. (2019). Insta Repeat (@insta_repeat) • Instagram photos and videos. [online] Available at: https://www.instagram.com/insta_repeat/?hl=en [Accessed 11 Oct. 2019].
  4. ​§​
    Mitchell, M. (2019). In This Place — Margaret Mitchell. [online] Margaret Mitchell. Available at: https://margaretmitchell.co.uk/in-this-place [Accessed 9 Oct. 2019].
  5. ​¶​
    Schneidermann, C. (2019). I Called Her Lisa-Marie. [online] Chosecommune.com. Available at: https://www.chosecommune.com/book/icalledherlisamarie/ [Accessed 11 Oct. 2019].
  6. ​#​
    Schneidermann, C. (2019). I Called Her Lisa-Marie. [online] Chosecommune.com. Available at: https://www.chosecommune.com/book/icalledherlisamarie/ [Accessed 11 Oct. 2019].
  7. ​**​
    Sank M. (2019) Week Three Webinar: Work in Progress. Falmouth Flexible
  8. ​††​
    ​Putnam, R. (2007). Bowling alone. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
  9. ​‡‡​
    Kropotkin, P. (2016). Mutual aid. [Charlestown, SC.]: [Createspace, Inc.].

Week 3: Work in Progress

This is the first edit of my ‘Carnival’ series, drawn from 3 shoots. Shoot 1 / Shoot 2 / Shoot 3
Reflections on webinar feedback

People have really responded well to the portraits that I have been shooting. I too, think that these are the strongest of the series and feel that I want to expand on this for future shoots. Considering ‘Interdisciplinary Practice’ from week 2, I want to start collecting more stories and quotes from the subjects to really get a sense of who they are beyond the person in a costume. A couple of times now, I have discussed through critique and tutorial, the importance of getting past the outward ‘performance.’ It is important to continue photographing subjects either before, or after the event.

Margaret Mitchell, In this Place
Figure 1. Image from ‘In This Place’ by Margaret Mitchell.​*​

Paul suggested in the forum that I look at the work of Margaret Mitchell which I have not seen before. After reading the synopsis of the project ‘In This Place’​†​ I am keen to also show “family and home, connections and place.” What I like about Margaret’s work is there is a real sense of the environments, even when the image is predominantly of a person (Fig. 1). Initially, my intention was to create portraits and edit the work together with the environments and detail shots forming diptychs of the work. However, a more focused approach of environmental elements showing in the portraits is something I am keen to expand.

Next Shoot
Figure 2. My aim was to give a sense of the ‘spectacle’ and light show during the Frome Carnival without showing it in a straight forward way. Image by Phil Hill

I am planning another shoot at the Salisbury Carnival on 25/10. I won’t be able to get to the location until after dark, so was originally planning to capture more of the abstract images captured during shoot 2 (Fig. 2). However, after considering the forum comments and the work of Margaret Mitchell, I will aim to shoot some night portraits (Fig. 3) that blend the abstract images into the background, or more of an ambient approach to combining the two approaches (Fig. 4). This is with the aim of including a sense of the carnival and the spectacle of the light show, together with portraiture. These examples are purely technical explorations at this stage with the hope that it will start to support and develop the contextual, narrative elements of this project in the future. Although, I could see the images taking on a similar aesthetic to Laura El Tantawy’s ‘In the Shadow of the Pyramids’​‡​ series (Fig. 5).

Figure 3. Example of night time portrait with off camera flash and ambient light abstracted in the background. Image by Dunja Djudjic​§​ 
“The Square I Remember” from “In the Shadow of the Pyramids” by Laura El-Tantawy 2005-2014​¶​
Figure 4. Example of Night Time Ambient portrait: ‘Daniel in Times Square.’ Image by Gaby Deimeke​#​

  1. ​*​
    Mitchell, M. (2019). In This Place — Margaret Mitchell. [online] Margaret Mitchell. Available at: https://margaretmitchell.co.uk/in-this-place [Accessed 9 Oct. 2019].
  2. ​†​
    Mitchell, M. (2019). In This Place — Margaret Mitchell. [online] Margaret Mitchell. Available at: https://margaretmitchell.co.uk/in-this-place [Accessed 9 Oct. 2019].
  3. ​‡​
    El Tantawy, L. (2019). In the Shadow of the Pyramids. [online] Lauraeltantawy.com. Available at: http://www.lauraeltantawy.com/in-the-shadow-of-the-pyramids/ [Accessed 9 Oct. 2019].
  4. ​§​
    Djudjic, D. (2019). Here’s how to take awesome night portraits with off camera flash. [online] DIY Photography. Available at: https://www.diyphotography.net/heres-take-awesome-night-portraits-off-camera-flash/ [Accessed 9 Oct. 2019].
  5. ​¶​
    El Tantawy, L. (2019). In the Shadow of the Pyramids. [online] Lauraeltantawy.com. Available at: http://www.lauraeltantawy.com/in-the-shadow-of-the-pyramids/ [Accessed 9 Oct. 2019].
  6. ​#​
    Deimeke, G. (2019). Blog – gaby deimeke photography – Daniel in Times Square. [online] gaby deimeke photography. Available at: https://www.gabydeimekephoto.com/blog/daniel-in-times-square [Accessed 9 Oct. 2019].

Shoot Three: Contact sheet

Gillingham Carnival 5/10

I have spent an afternoon photographing another carnival in the Somerset Carnival circuit. Initially, I felt I was getting some really strong portraits for the series. I have started to better engage with the subjects and get a sense of why they are involved in the community event. For example, Jennie Bowie (fig. 1) had been doing carnivals since she was 16 in the 1960s. The commitment shown by the people that I have spoken to is quite impressive.

Fig 1. Jennie Bowie ‘Road Warrior’ with some of the technical issues I experienced on the day.

Unfortunately, I was not careful to check that my camera settings were correct during this shoot and found to my disappointment that I had been shooting in Large JPEG together with the sRGB colour space. Out of the 244 images that I shot during the afternoon, I have managed to salvage 10, not including some of the strongest of the set. Of the images that I don’t think I will be able to use, is the portrait of Jennie Bowie (Fig 1). This is due to complete highlight clipping on her hat. Overall, I am pleased with the saved shots. However, depending on the final output, it may put a limit on using them.

For future shoots, I will need to consider creating a pre-shoot checklist with the aim of safeguarding against easily avoided mistakes, such as this.

Week 2: Reflection

How my work relates to interdisciplinary practice?

I consider the work that I produced when freelancing for magazines. Regularly, it was my job to follow up on the trip of a writer. Many would attend ‘Junkets’ to write a piece on the destination, if commissioned, I was then sent to respond and photograph the key aspects of the text. Photography and writing work closely together and support one another. Images providing visual stimuli for the words, and words provide additional context and background that may not be ‘read’ visually. 

Spread from National Geographic Traveller. Words by Helen Warwick, Images by Phil Hill.​*​

I have created personal work that utilises text, as I mentioned in my previous post and find it a fantastic accompaniment to the image, providing narrative, and context to the work.

To extend the use of interdisciplinary practice in my own work, I am considering the use of audio. It was mentioned in the forum this week that Susan Mesielas used audio to record interviews with her subjects for the book ‘Carnival Strippers’​†​ that was then included in a book of the work. Jeremy Deller also used this approach for his work ‘English Civil war part 2​‡​ where he recorded the stories of the Miners who were at the ‘Battle of Orgreave.’ I am very keen to create a collaboration between me and the subjects that I photograph, this could potentially be a way of doing that and allowing the voice of the subject to help develop the work.

Following on from the ‘Other than Photography’ discussion this week, I would to also experiment with some of this technology. There is much potential to use my images to ‘trigger’ events using augmented reality, or as simple as playing an audio track to support the visual images.

Reflecting on 3/10 webinar with Michelle

From the webinar, I have really come to understand the importance of representing the subjects of my work in a considerate way, being faithful to them as people. Additionally, over the summer I read the book:  ‘Decolonising the Camera: Photography in Racial Time’​§​ by Mark Sealy. It is a conversation that I am starting to see come up more and more in photography, and has led to publications such as National Geographic issuing an apology for a history of inherently racist imagery.​¶​ It has prompted me to question my role in photography, and what I am saying when I create images. This is very much related to my images when I was freelancing as a travel and lifestyle photographer, primarily for the airline publication sector. Regularly my role was to present the ‘exotic’ back to a western audience to promote it as a destination to visit. 

Bamburi Beach, Mombasa, Kenya. Image by Phil Hill
Dawn on Bamburi Beach, Mombasa. Image by Phil Hill

My research project, I am hoping to look at the themes of ‘Community’ and ‘Social Capital’ (discussed in my previous post). My first shoot was on the Somerset Carnivals that are taking place during the run up to Christmas. When approaching the subjects for a portrait, they would automatically assume a somewhat cliche pose associated with the local press photographers they are used to posing for. This would include giving me a ‘thumbs up’ with a wide grin. I would photograph them in order to break the ice and then ask the subject to adopt a more formal pose for the images that I wanted to achieve. I have started to question this approach in how I representing my subject, if they are naturally posing in this way, does that say more about their character that the pose that I ask them to do? A counter to that discussion, however, might be the social conditioning that they have prior to my photograph that they automatically assume. Does my approach allow them to be ‘read’ in a way that is more faithful to the person behind the presented image of them? These are important questions I hope to find answers as I develop my project.

After the discussion, I was given some photographers to look at:


  1. ​*​
    Hill, P. and Warwick, H. (2013). Free Spirit. National Geographic Traveller, pp.92,93.
  2. ​†​
    Meiselas, S. and Wolf, S. (2004). Carnival strippers. Göttingen: Steidl.
  3. ​‡​
    Deller, J. and Noord, G. (2002). The English Civil War. [London]: Artangel.
  4. ​§​
    Sealy, M. (2019). Decolonising the Camera: Photography in Racial Time. 1st ed. London: Lawrence & Wishart.
  5. ​¶​
    Goldberg, S. (2019). For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist. To Rise Above Our Past, We Must Acknowledge It. [online] Nationalgeographic.com. Available at: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/04/from-the-editor-race-racism-history/ [Accessed 4 Oct. 2019].

Shoot Two: Contact Sheets

Second set of images towards my Work In progress portfolio, from the first Somerset Carnival that I have visited, looking at community and social capital. I have annotated the contact sheets and the Images can be viewed full size by clicking on the thumbnail and selecting ‘View Full size‘ in the gallery view.