Peer Feedback 28/03

I was encouraged to share my project with peers more often. Something that I know but definitely need a constant nudge to ensure that I do it. This is especially necessary whilst producing my current work, which is quite personal to me. I feel I have been keeping it to myself. I shared the same iteration as the portfolio reviews (Fig: 1) with my peers to gain some insight into the work.

Figure 1: Phil Hill (March, 2021) Unreliable Narrator portfolio review PDF

Peer Feedback
  • Isabelle: I love the title, the general feel and the variety of the images. I am a bit lost as far as narration goes…maybe some slight hints with some text?

This is a general impression that I am getting at this stage. People enjoy the images but are somewhat lost with the reading of it. At this stage, I am actually ok with this. My project is still in the early stages of development and I have not collected any of the depositions from people within the images yet, so it is understandable that there is little to no context to the images that I presented. I also deliberately didn’t explain any of them to the group in order to see how far the concept would carry at this point.

Interestingly, Isabelle’s feeling of being lost could be useful for the series. The idea of the unreliable narrator could be constructed to continually undermine the perceived reading of the narration. It might be argued however, that my sequence wouldn’t feel completely resolved as result. I do quite like the idea of the reader being unsure of exactly what is happening, although at this point of the work could be because I myself so not quite know or understand what happened.

  • Claire: Phil,  I think these are really good and the title really positions the work – I  definitely get the link between challenging truth of image and family albums.  I think the diary entry points to an event – maybe more of archive material/written words.  

It was good to gain insight from Claire with regards to the title, I think that the idea of unreliable narrator does frame the work in the way that makes you consider it in a certain way. Again, Claire is keen to review more text to contextualise the images, which is fair and an area I am keen to develop as the project progresses.

  • Marcel: Hi Phil, I agree with Isabelle – the title is very good and I like the mood and the sequencing. I see a coherence, but perhaps a short introduction or some some quotes between the images would make it easier accessible.

Marcel supports the other feedback that I received and I agree that an introduction would be beneficial to set up the journey through the sequence of the images. This I would expect to come more towards the end of the project as I consolidate the idea and finalise sequences. However, on the theme of unreliability, I could also create a few of these as the project evolves as a means of undermining and creating confusion – should my project focus more on those elements.

  • Tim: I hadn’t see this before, and I really like it as it is. It comes across well. I know a bit about the project and the family history/story that you have mentioned but not too much. What you are showing at the moment (youthful pictures against current portraits); the small amount of text; made me go back and forth to look for clues and make conjectures. It spoke of distribution; a conflict; uncared for… How to push it forward with just visuals and where (may be) you see yourself in all of this. Can you re-build a history; statements from those that remember; revisiting before the conflict/break… It answers some of your questions. I agree for the moment, hold off on a commentary and push the visual. How much content do you have. The layout is great as you compare the 2 images and work out some connection. May be there are visual stories (archival newspaper etc.) of events that can lead us into interesting thoughts about what has happened. 

Tim’s comments support the direction that I am taking the project so far. My intention should be to build mystery. As I am still in the experimental collecting phase of the project, this construction of the narrative will come later. I quite like the idea of also collecting some archive stories, potentially there are some contextualising events recorded in local newspapers that can support the narrative I intend to create. There may also be some references to my own family in the form of birth/marriages/death announcements. Tim’s feedback is useful as it confirms direction and consolidates what the others are saying.

Figure 2: Phil Hill (February, 2021) Flatbed scan of St Christopher Pendant Christening Present

Jonjo: I also had the opportunity to catch up with Jonjo Borrill, from another cohort not currently in the FMP and it was really valuable to get his insight into my project. It also gave me the opportunity to go through its progress with someone who was not familiar with the work. Jonjo was able to make some really useful observations regarding the objects in the archive that I had not considered. For example, the St Christopher pendant’s (Fig: 2) association with being the patron saint of travellers is a kind of metaphor for the journey that I am going on during the process of this project. I felt that the necklace is significant because of how it was gifted to me by my grandmother as a baby however, I have not made the connection to the idea of travel and journey. St Christopher’s are typically given to those about to go travelling to keep you safe on the journey, Jonjo has one himself. Potentially the pendant represents this idea and also part of a collection of sentimental objects that we apply additional meaning to.

PHO704 WIPP Peer Feedback

Figure 1: Phil Hill (September, November, 2020) Initial Work in Progress development

Figure 2: Phil Hill (September – November, 2020) Initial Work in Progress Portfolio development – PDF.

I have asked my peer group to give some feedback on my current iteration of my work in progress portfolio (Fig 1&2).

What I have found is that I am still trying to explain and add as much information as I can into the justification of the work. As a result, both Tim and Ross struggled with the ‘Journey’ concept in my work because I led with this explanation, which might have suggested that this is what the work is about when in fact the journey narrative is just the frame. Colin had suggested to me that I construct my story structure and then disregard it for the presentation, or at least keep it to myself. The structure is mine to disseminate as appropriate. Clearly, there are challenges to giving too many of the ‘secrets’ of my narrative construction away. This was supported somewhat, when I shared the same work with Kim and one of my work colleagues Ryan. I kept my justification very simple by stating: the work was inspired by the poem ‘Desert Places’ and an exploration of connection to place. Both of them were much more receptive to the work. My aim is to really consider the statement of intent for the work and see how it adds to the reading of the work, whilst supporting what I want others to see in it.

Ross Feedback

It’s tricky as I’m not familiar with the classic journey system for it. I think if that is important for you then you have to stick with it but I think there’s a better edit in there purely aesthetically if you were to mix the images in a different way. I think if they were all landscape format I would get almost a film still and maybe connect that in an easier way to the idea of the story. I find the mix of landscape and portrait more confusing if I am trying to think about it in that form but it’s the first time I’ve looked.

I am less drawn to the abstract images and the close up images personally. I prefer the more formal images that you create where there is a clear structure to either the portrait of the image of the object, tree, car, wall etc. I like that more topographic approach in your work.

I think the link to paths throughout do suggest at a journey but I find some of the images a bit confusing. The opening image is the only image taken inside, or I think it’s inside? The image of the hand with flower, although I really like it, seems out of place as well. I’m less drawn to the images where you are looking down as well as like I Said, I think your work is really strong when it has a formal gaze.

  • I attempted to justify the Journey structure first, which has created a challenge to the reading as Ross is attempting to resolve the sequence solely on this piece if information. This is quite valuable in the way that I will need to approach the statement of intent for the body of work.
  • I agree with Ross on The image of my Dad holding the Dandelion (Fig: 3). When showing the sequence to Colin he felt the same. I really enjoy this image but it does feel out of place in this sequence. I was keen to hang on to it because of the reference across Edgelands (Farley & Symmonds Roberts, 2011, p. 141) and one of the metaphors in ‘Desert Places’ (Frost, 1936, p. 44) however, the image is clearly aesthetically different to the rest of the sequence.
  • Ross did also mention that I might want to consider taking an image from each section and building it up, which is something that I might consider moving forward.
Figure 3: Phil Hill (September, 2020) Dad holding Dandelions
Tim Feedback

I have more questions than answers when looking at this.

  • This comment is actually great. Exactly what I want from my sequence. Using the journey structure I hope that the sequence encourages the reader to explore and investigate. I am not aiming to answer anything with the work, only present a narrative version, or ‘truth.’

Presented in this way, I do struggle a bit to take it all in. The individual images are great, really strong, but the question is it’s about how it all comes together.

Your first image, the one of the looking through the window, of me is the standout image. And great that it sets us off on a journey of the hero. Through the piece we meet experience the various encounters, and people who aid or distract the hero on the journey. But are they a distraction, to our own experience of what the hero is going through.

I like how you have structured the narrative in the screen shot, through the phrases. The ‘Call to Action’ etc., as I then can see more of what you are trying to achieve and how you have thought about it.

The questions that pop into my mind are:

Too many different sizes to the images – does this lessen their impact

What if you removed 90% of the portraits. What would you feel

The ‘Goal’ completes the journey started out by the first image

Is the ‘Journey’ happening too soon. Are we not going out from urban into countryside as the goal.

This has made me think that there are images of ‘paths’ and that there are images where the path is ‘blocked’ and therefore our journey through the piece is about us, through the hero, finding a path from inside to outside, and the goal.

  • As with Ross, I went to a great length in explaining the way that I structured the sequence. This is a clear identification of the need to withhold some information from the reader to illicit a more receptive response from the work. For Tim, I even presented him with the structure infographic (Fig: 4), which then feels as though took over from other aspect of what I am aiming to do with this work.
  • There is some work to do on the structure as some of the images in the different sections may not be working. If both Ross and Tim are saying similar things here then it is important not to dismiss the feedback because of the way that I described it – this is only part of what I need to resolve here.
Figure 4: Phil Hill (November, 2020) WIPP compared to narrative ‘journey’ structure.
Colin Feedback

Colin was responsive to the way that I have created my first sequence. There are clearly areas that need development and I am continuing to work with the series on my wall to make adjustments and edits to the work. A key area to consider from my tutorial was to continue working on the narrative to narrow it down a bit more – Think of a direction and build it into the narrative.

Narrative Developments

I consider the journey story as a frame and not necessarily to be followed in the strictest sense as it may lead to quite a ‘closed’ linear sequence that leaves little room for ambiguity and multiple reading. This felt confirmed by me aiming to justify my WIPP iteration by explaining this structure process. I am also not aiming to answer any questions with this work – raising some, more likely. I like a level of ambiguity in the work as it acknowledges that the reading of the work is not mine to control, I only aim to lead the reader on a poetic journey through the landscape.

Referring to the journey structure, the idea of defined elements of the structure, for example ‘the call,’ the helpers,’ ‘the hero’s companions’ do not necessarily relate to the embodiment of a lead character or person at all. These can be an idea, or particular imagery that suggests a means of viewing the narrative. Christopher Booker suggests as much when discussing the idea of ‘Overcoming the Monster’ (2004, pp. 31-50), in which stories will create language to paint a picture of “immense menace and evil” (p. 37) over actual embodiments of what we might consider a monster. The same can be said for any of the structural elements that I am applying to my sequence. Instead they should be represented by a visual language that I create through the edit of the work.

If I were to be pressed on the idea of a protagonist however, this is potentially a story told in the first person, in which the viewer becomes the person journeying through the landscape. Ultimately, I am going to use Colin’s suggestion and build this up using the structure and the trope and then remove it to the bare minimum so that the reader is required to look for it. Of course, when questioned about the work, I can build up the picture of the narrative once again.


Booker, C., 2004. The Seven Basic Plots. London: Bloomsbury Continuum.

Farley, P. & Symmonds Roberts, M., 2011. Edgelands – Journeys into England’s true Wilderness. London: Vintage.

Frost, R., 1936. A Further Range. Transcribed eBook ed. s.l.:Proofreaders Canada.

Tell another story

One of my plans for this module was to create some work that was informed by the main focus of my research project, yet had more a commercial appeal, with the aim of sending it to commercial clients. At the very start of the MA, I was contacting a number of local community groups to photograph the ways in which they create and connect to the idea of community. My research project has since evolved to become more about my own connection to place. Once the pandemic hit and the lockdown happened, much of these initial connections paused, however I still maintained contact with a local football team who run one of the largest inclusive teams in the country. My plan for this set is to work with the club and see if there are any opportunities for a short story such as this to be published to highlight the spirit of the team and people who support them.

The first shoot was useful to introduce myself to the group and get to know how they work. I wanted to do this primarily before I got into any serious image making. However, as the day progressed, I was encouraged to start making some images.

One of my key areas of development is not showing my work to enough people before trying to get it out into the work and published. I am also not a huge follower of football, so I felt that it was important to get feedback from others. Andrew Findley in my own cohort has been working on his research project on grassroots football, so I asked him for some feedback on my images:

Image 1
Figure 1: Phil Hill (September, 2020) Matthew

I really like the contrast of his face against the trees in the background. I like the focal length and the vantage point although I would choose not to include the goals in the background and the two markers towards the left of the frame. I understand that they say something about time and place but I personally think the football kit is enough of a story. I love his body shape and gesture. His top half tells me he’s a confident young man, almost like Ronaldo. His bottom half really says something about his insecurities, almost trying to ignore them by his folded arms. I’m thinking of a good link between self-consciousness and adolescence. Raising important questions about male body image. Love it” (Findley, 2020).

Andrew makes a great point about how not to over sell the point that we are at a football ground. I guess that this is something that could be hinted at over the whole sequence as opposed to trying to cram in as much football references as possible. This shoot presented a challenge to me and the medium I was using in that it was extremely sunny for an autumn Saturday, which meant that the black and 400 iso film was difficult to get down to a shallow enough depth of field. I did have a set of neutral density filters but the shadows were strong and would have benefitted from being diffused. Ideally, I would have liked to have had the support of an assistant who could have held such things. The sunlight also meant that I had to face a certain way to avoid it, limiting my options for a background. I actually agree with Andrew that the kit is enough and I think that for future shoots I should work more diligently to isolate the subject in this way.

Image 2
Figure 2: Phil Hill (September, 2020) xxx

I like this portrait, the house in the background maybe conflicts a little with the girl’s head. One step to the right of her would have created a clear separation. When I’m taking portraits now I always look to create that clear separation. Although it’s a bit easier for me because I shoot at 24mm which allows more versatility. I also try to avoid shadows on the face where possible. I think I read somewhere that it reduces the objectivity of the photographer. Her gesture is interesting and a bit awkward which again lends itself well to the adolescence stage of someone’s life. I don’t need the shadow to tell me another story if that makes sense. As a set image 2 is fine but image 1 is an absolute banger and I Iove it. (Findley, 2020)

I really like the subject in this image but not too happy about the way it looked for the reasons stated above. Andrew makes a great observation in the clutter of the background. Clearly the shadows are an issue – I even struggle to put these images together because of it but was keen to hear what Andrew had to say. It would be safe to say that many of the images here are unusable from a commercial point of view, which is fine in the knowledge that I would potentially go back and re-shoot. However, if this was a commissioned piece where I had one opportunity to shoot, it would be problematic and potentially rejected for publication. Noting above that I could have used a diffuser, or had an assistant to support wouldn’t be practical for a couple of reasons. Firstly, Covid, and secondly, in order to gain access to shoot the club, I had to provide a CRB check. Instead, I should also have considered the use if flash to be able to stop down and fill in the shadow. It would have created a different feel and aesthetic to the images but ultimately I would have been able to deliver a result.

Image 3
Figure 3: Phil Hill (September, 2020) Everett Rovers

There is a lot of space in the foreground although I like the line. I’ve shot similar images but I don’t know if I like my own. My advice would be to get as close as you can. Cemre told me to experiment with cropping these types of images. I think I had some success but I’m not sure how I feel about this type of image as a whole. (Findley, 2020).

My aim here was to try and mix the portraits with some action images, although I am no sport photographer. Cropping is a great idea as at the time I felt that I wanted to get in closer but was limited by the Pentax 6X7’s 105mm lens. Cropping the medium format negative would potentially be acceptable, owing to the size but also it wouldn’t impact the quality of the image itself. Experimenting with different cropping is something worth remembering for any of my future shoots – football or not.

Image 4
Figure 4: Phil Hill (September, 2020) Everett Rovers

I love this, it reminds me of PE lessons in school when you had to do a sport that you hated when all you wanted to do is play football. I wish I’d took it and will definitely be stealing this idea in the future. (Findley, 2020).

As I am not an expert in football photography, it is great to hear feedback that Andrew may want to create a similar style of image.

Image 5&6
Figure 5: Phil Hill (September, 2020) Everett Rovers

I submitted a similar image in my last WIPP and Cemre criticised me for it. I thought it was as close to poetic as I’ve been and I believed in it. I like the detail, texture and light. Maybe slightly overexposed but I feel that this type of image is good to control the pace of a viewing experience. It’s as vernacular and quiet as football gets and that’s why I like it. (Findley, 2020)

Figure 6: Phil Hill (September, 2020) Everett Rovers

Too obvious, the corner flag is better. It may work without the ball but that’s just a personal thought. This type of shot is too easy for you and I know your voice is far more sophisticated. (Findley, 2020)

Potentially, my inexperience in photographing football is most evident in Figures 5&6 where I have gone straight to the clichés. This is important to understand and consider for any kind of commercial shoot where the expectation would be to look at the subject with a new perspective. Falling into this trap is doubly frustrating as someone who is not familiar with football because there is potential to view it from an outsider’s lens. Andrew is very complimentary and I was drawn to it because I though the grass and the side light would make a great textured image, but I also take the point he raises about Cemre’s critique of the need to move away from this kind of image. Seeing it now, I know that these are both obvious images. Again, from a commercial perspective, this kind of image should be avoided. Having worked as a freelance and editorial photographer, usual practice would be to google search the subject to see what the most common images are, which seems obvious but is a quick initial way to think about avoiding the clichés. I was so focussed on the community aspect of the shoot I failed to think about the obvious and the vernacular nature of football. Something that I clearly need to consider for any images I am making.

Image 7
Figure 7: Phil Hill (September, 2020) Harry

Love it. I’m thinking of Casper from the film Kez. Just think about the shadows on the face although the quality of the photo overpowers the shadow. Love the stains on the shirt and his hair is brilliant. His hands matched his ears in a strange way. Just watch the reflections to the left of him and the white object. My eye is drawn to them but that would be an easy fix. (Findley, 2020)

This is my personal favorite image from the set, even with the strong shadow. I have an alternative, which I quite like too where harry is looking down with less emphasis on the shadow, but the straight into the camera gaze is the better image. I may even include this one in my wider research project with a link to the place he was photographed (ongoing developments pending). I definitely take Andrew’s comments on the distracting highlights, which are the sun hitting some parked car in the background and I have edited this out of a later version of the image.

Loving the black and white, It feels like you are preserving the memories of my past PE lessons in the 90s. I look at Michelle Sank when i’m making portraits, she’s a tidy photographer and is great at isolating subjects often taking a slightly lower vantage point to achieve this. Alex Webb talks of finding a tension that creates a type of peace. That’s my favorite quality about Sank and what I try to achieve. I use a flash to eliminate shadow on faces and having that clean light on the face is important to my practice. It wasn’t initially but is now.

I’m loving Zed Nelson’s portraits at the moment and I think he has a variety of approaches which I like.
(Findley, 2020)

I am wondering whether I have the time to properly develop this story as I create work for my research project. I am keen to continue it however but feel that it deserves a great deal more attention than potentially I am able to give at this stage. This exercise has been incredible valuable however, as it points out the need to share work regularly and with those who have experience with it. I have walked blindly into a number of clichéd images that if done commercially, could have meant the rejection of the set. I must bear this in mind even for the work that I am doing in my research project.

I started to share my work for the first module, which was on the Somerset Carnival circuit. I still believe that this project has some commercial applications and potential to get published. Perhaps it would be beneficial to test the commerciality of my work by creating a better edit of this existing set and sending it out as I intended with the football images. That way I can then return to this set with the developed knowledge to make it a success.

Tell a Story

For this week’s task, I wanted to start testing some ideas in the way that I am developing my sequencing and placement of images together. As I have started to look at the idea of ‘edgelands’ in support of my research into rurality, I also thought it would be good to see how this might be coming through in the reading of my images.

The story

These images are an exploration of the commuter town of Watford, between city and countryside and could be considered one of these ‘edgelands.’ Where does the countryside stop and the urban begin?


Having woken up in a drunken stupor in Stanmore on many occasions there is definitely the fray between city and country. I don’t think you necessarily have to answer the question through your work, but raise the question to the audience and offer some answers. The lady and the flower pair well, have you tried the tree stump and the lady before? 

Are there any constructions developing right on the edge of any woodland areas/ views of development?

  • I believe this is the first time that Jonjo would have seen any of my work, owing to the mix of cohorts, so his feedback on my work is quite valuable, having no prior knowledge of the kinds of images that I am making. I was wondering myself whether to provide too much detail in the description of the post as the images themselves should be enough to carry the narrative however, it is a useful note from Jonjo about the need to answer any of the questions. His work posted to this discussion was actually left with little comment to go on in the reading and I also have not seen his work to know his intentions. I quite liked the ambiguity in the sequence, which also provided some snippets into a narrative. Perhaps I don’t need to try and explain away my images; the ambiguity in the reading may actually be a positive to the work. I am still looking at all aspects of edgelands and the idea of construction or development could be quite a good one to explore in the way that the boundary of the edges are always in flux.

Works really well mate, I especially like the the non human images in this one. I think they have really come along. The image with the layers of brick and concrete that have broken down is really suggestive for me. They are bit more contrasty this time as well I noticed which I also like. 

  • Ross is familiar with my work so it is valuable from a developmental perspective to get his feedback on my work. I am happy to read that the work is showing some progression. I feel that I hit a bit of a dead-end at the start of this module but since getting into the countryside and urban research my work has taken on a new life. He notes the image of the broken bricks, which I quite like too and almost starts to show how this idea of the countryside turning into the urban towns and cities is taking hold. The contrast is an areas of development highlighted to me from the last module and an area that I have been working on improving from both a technical and aesthetic level. It is good to see that this is being reflected in the feedback that I am getting.

I am feeling that I have made some improvements in the sequencing of my work however acknowledge that there is still a great deal of development to be made. I may be relying on the descriptive text to carry my narrative and this is potentially having a detrimental effect on the way I see my non-human images connecting with the portraits. Too much explanation may also have the opposite effect in the accessibility of the work. By telling you what my image is I am shutting out nuance and ambiguity that may lead to multiple interpretation of it.

WIPP Peer Feedback

One of my biggest challenges in the all of the work that I produce is the narrative and sequencing of it and will remain one of the key areas that I need to develop. To support this here, I asked my peers to have a look at my WIPP folio edit so far (Fig. 1)

Figure 1. Phil Hill (April, 2020) Sequence of my WIPP to gain feedback from my peers

Disparate sequence

I have taken the decision to split my project into two parts, this is in part a reaction to how my project has had to change as a result of the pandemic. However, as I have returned to the text of Barthes’ ‘How to live together’ (Barthes, 2012), the idea of separation and distance play a key role in how Barthes’ explores the idea of community. For example, as Barthes’s notes about what Nietzsche says about distance in the ‘Twilight of Shadows’: “The utopian tension that inhabits the idiorrythmic fantasy stems from this: what is desired is a distance that won’t destroy affect (“Pathos of distance”: an excellent expression)” (p. 132), which is a reference to how society tends to be structured in a hierarchy of a low to high order. However, I have interpreted the expression in order to consider my initial intention of my own lack of connection to the community, which translates to a pathos of the way that we all can relate to this feeling of existential anxiety under the conditions of the pandemic and getting used to a new vocabulary, such as “social distancing.”

By breaking up the project into two parts, I can also consider the other Barthesian idea of the idiorrythmic way that we are separate but occupy the same spaces; my project literally has been separated but remains two parts of the same whole. Barthes discusses a ‘distance that won’t destroy affect’ (p. 132), which seems very topical in the way that we have had to change behaviour in order to stem the spread of the virus. Human connectedness has been removed, and we will start to question whether things will return to the way they were before; community had fundamentally changed as a result.

Project Title: The Pathos of Distance

As a result of re-visiting this text, I felt that the expression that Barthes’ refers to from Nietzsche really starts to sum up and start to contextualise what my intent is in relation to the work. It is my distance to the idea of community and it is also the distance that we all share as a result of the behavioural change that has taken place. The pathos of the work is in the way that the images should evoke those feeling connected to this period of social isolation that we are all experiencing at the moment. The connotation of the work once it realised that it was shot during the time of the pandemic should be readily felt, until that it, the context starts to fall away as a result of time. As Sontag reminds us: “the photograph is, as always, an object in a context, this meaning is bound to drain away; that is, the context which shapes whatever immediate – in particular, political – uses the photograph may have inevitably succeeded by contexts in which such uses are weakened and become progressively less relevant” (Sontag, 1979, p. 106).

Peer Feedback

The Pathos of Distance: Part I
Figure 2. Phil Hill (February – April, 2020) Helen, volunteer litter picker & Window #2233

The way that I have been approaching the edit of this work is to place them in a series of diptych that equal weighting to one another (Fig. 2). I felt that each of the images deserved to be read equally throughout the sequence. My reasoning for this is that resizing one image over another would create a different reading of the diptych, albeit subtly. For example, having a full-size portrait next to a smaller window, would start to create a dominant reading of the work that places value on the portrait over the window. As I started to put this work together, it was from the position that I was presenting of before and after the community retreated into the home off the back of the pandemic.

Here, I felt that I was on to something, especially after re-considering the title and re-writing my critical review to take this into account. My project is about distance – idiorrythmic distance in the community and it is also about my distance, so the images and the sequence reflect this. To test it, I decided to ask my peers for some feedback to see if the sequencing was starting to come together:

Phil, for my part, I do not understand the diptychs in the 1st series. It is very static, in my humble opinion. The second series works very well from a visual point of view.

Figure 3. Isabelle Boutriau (April, 2020) Feedback on PDF

Hey Phil, I think it looks good and I really like the opening sentence. I wondered if you need as many images in the first section? I would consider maybe removing one or two perhaps? I think it might be more impactful. I think the approach is working though I’m both sections.

Figure 4. Ross Trevail (April, 2020) Feedback on PDF

Great images Phil!  I would reduce the quantity of the first set.  & perhaps work on the size of the images …. some big, some small, maybe place some off centre???

Figure 5. Claire Wilson (April, 2020) Feedback on PDF

Hi Phil, great set of WIP images. And wonderful opening statement. In the first set, I connect more with the portraits that contain a sense of distance or divide. The wall in image 1 works very well. Set 3 and 5 work less well due to the closeness of the subject. Also, perversely due to the window metaphor on the right I found myself looking for windows in left hand side image, and then wondering what the portrait would be like if shot through that. So, set 1, 4 and 7 seem connected. Knowing a bit about your writing and sense of uncertainty around ‘home’ the second set are incredibly strong, in combinations and the journey I have between them. Set 4 seems the weakest in this, as I am unsure of placement within your personal space, which I feel the others are more closely linked.

Figure 6. Tim Stubbs-Hughes (April, 2020) Feedback on PDF

Of the four that commented on the work in that current iteration, I feel that the general consensus is the images are working aesthetically. Isabelle commented on how she was finding the series of the first part confusing (Fig. 3), which I think in part is how they are being presented together in the same size, after viewing two or three of these in the same style, it does become static as she states. And this also seemed to be supported by Ross and Claire (Fig. 4&5), who both like the images but felt that there were too much of the same thing, which could lead to a loss of the impact of the images.

This is an important consideration as I have been placing a great deal of value on making sure that the images have equal presence. However, this could be having a detrimental effect on how the sequence is being read as a whole. Therefore, it is important to develop my approach here so that the sequence is broken up visually in order to give the reader space to continue enjoying the narrative without the work becoming tiresome to look at.

I did provide the first sentence from my critical review in order to gauge how well the work was being read and overall, it has worked. Coming back to Isabelle’s comments, I hope that with the edit of the work, this might help her reading of the sequence. It would also be important to create a supporting text to accompany the PDF so that the meaning of the work can be better understood. As the images are being consumed alongside the critical review, Isabelle not having this to fully contextualise the work might have resulted in the way that she was viewing the work. Barthes’ notes that: “Formally, the image illustrated the text (made it clearer); today, the text loads the image, burdening it with a culture, a moral, an imagination. Formerly, there was a reduction from text to image; today, there is amplification from the one to the other” (Barthes, 1977, p. 26). Therefore, my aim with how I wish my dominant reading to populate, is to create an opening paragraph, which sets up the viewing and prepares the reader to consider the elements I am aiming to portray and this is particularly important because of how autobiographical elements of the work is.

Tim on the other hand, knows my work and how I have been contextualising it with text and has started to picture a narrative based on the elements that I have been discussing and writing about throughout this module (Fig. 6). This is a positive and suggests that with the proper contextualising text, the reader of the work will be able to do the same. I take his points about how the portraits are working with the abstracted windows and I think that there is some development that would be beneficial to the series as a whole.

The Pathos of Distance: Part II

Everyone who commented on my work really got on with how I put together the second part, I think due to its more aesthetic quality in how I have set out to create mirrored compositions of the images I shot before the lockdown with those that were constructed afterward. I am quite happy with the way that these images work together.


Barthes, R., 1977. Image, Music, Text. Trans ed. London: Fontana Press.

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

Sontag, S., 1979. On Photography. London: Penguin.

Critical Review of Practice Draft & Feedback

Figure 1. Phil Hill (April, 2020) Critical Review of Practice Draft presentation

I have put together an initial draft of my critical review of practice into a 10 minute video (Fig. 1). It was a bit rushed putting this together and I would have liked to have recorded the audio a little cleaner. However, I am hoping that the bulk of the review is done and the feedback will inform how to develop.

Feedback & Reflection

Feedback felt generally positive, even though for me the presentation was quite rushed and I really struggled to get it in under the 10-minute limit. As a result, I am talking quite quickly and I think that it is always more challenging to listen over reading with the option to go over the words multiple times. It would be quite easy for me to go into the technical aspects of the presentation itself, which is not necessarily the point of this exercise, although moving forward the technical aspects of the delivery would become more of a priority for a future assessed oral presentation.

It’s a really interesting presentation with a lot of content to consider. I particularly enjoyed the second half when you moved into discussing the current work. The section on the window as metaphor but also a job you hadn’t got round too and then it being like a broken element in relation to community was a really nice way to link the everyday or mundane with the conceptual. The world being experienced through a window and relating that to both looking out and in was really strong and it was all tied into the current situation. It felt really reflective and analytical and then you placed it into professional spheres for its dissemination which all felt relevant to it. The quotes broke things up and I think you must be meeting all of the learning outcomes clearly.  I think the images look really strong as well and they reminded me of John Darwell’s work which I thought you might like. I think they simpler you go the stronger they get. I felt like there might have been too much content perhaps as there was a lot of text and you sounded like you were catching your breath at times and I found the language really academic at the start which I slightly struggled to follow but that could just be me. I enjoyed it when you brought yourself into it more, as at the end.

Figure 2. Ross Trevail (April, 2020) Feedback on Week 10 forum.

It is fundamental however, that the content of my delivery is articulated well and understood by the person reading the work and considering that I aimed to mirror the structure of my critical review, this is an area of clear development. For example, Ross noted that my presentation was reflective and analytical and that how I am looking at where the work might be viewed particularly strong however, he also commented that he struggled to follow some of the language and I should be focusing more on how I relate to this practice and placing myself into the work more (Fig. 2). And this line of feedback was common throughout the responses that I received as well as during the webinar where Michelle mentioned that I should always be aiming to bring the review back to my own practice.

You’re ideas are obviously really well thought out, and critically and contextually backed up so you’ve signed off well on LO3 and LO5 . For me personally, I just couldn’t follow the language, no matter how much I tried, it became impossible, so I actually only got half way through (sorry ). There’s nothing wrong with this if you audience is academic of course, but for me it was just too much, however I may well not be your target audience by a long shot, and thats ok. So my suggestion would be, I would look at LO6, if your project is purely for academics then you will of signed off on LO6 as you are communicating with your audience, however, if you are wanting the general public to engage with the project then you may want to look at that. The flip side of this is, this IS a critical review, so it is an academic exercise, and the ‘issue’ may well be more with me than you ! 🙂

Figure 3. Bekkie Graham (April, 2020) Feedback from week 10 forum

I did find Bekkie’s response interesting (Fig. 3) as the focus of the feedback seems to be on how the audience is reading the presentation. This is an important consideration and as she states, part of the way in which I am communicating with my audience, which relates to Learning Outcome 6. My assumption of this assignment was that it is an academic report, so I have looked to reflect this in the way I wrote the review and in the way that I articulated my ideas so I am not sure how much weight to put on her comments. Bekkie noted that she stopped watching my presentation half way so potentially missed some vital information that may have led to it being more accessible and easier to understand, which seems to be supported by the others who viewed the whole video. That said, I should work to develop the first half of my review so that the intent is clear right from the very first sentence. It would be easy to disregard Bekkie’s comments after not giving my video the full time, however it is important to understand that if people are unable to follow the content then my work will be hard to decipher and easily dismissed, or that my dominant reading of the work will be misinterpreted.

I have some work to do on my review. The linking of the ideas and the research to my practice needs to be much clearer and I need to work on a concise method of discussing some of the bigger ideas in my project that are inclusive and less esoteric.

Additional Feedback

The current pandemic certainly has brought difficulties for your project, your portraiture and concept is very strong, so I understand your frustration of not being able to capture any more people in your community. Your sense of community is probably a bit like mine after having done a bunch of globetrotting. That said, I do feel that your work will come together, I really like the dirty windows and the portraits together. Also your images referencing Rinko Kawauchi  which you showed in the webinar. Your work will take a shift, and I really feel that it will bring lots of good things to the table, especially ones that you didn’t expect. Your intent is clear, and as Ross has already said your are definitely on track with your learning outcomes.

Figure 4. De Ferrier (April, 2020) Feedback on week 10 forum

Great ideas and concepts contained in your presentation. Am particularly drawn to the connections you are thinking about: yourself within a community; the barriers that exist; alienation; the ‘rectangle’ shape that defines us. I also like the way you are thinking about the end of your project, as seeing the finished article as a book. I am interested to see more about how you fit into this or rather, how you develop within the project, as you push your conceptual work. 

Figure 5. Tim Stubbs-Hughes (April, 2020) Feedback from week 10 forum