Contextual Research

Positions & Practice

  • Ghosts, Traces & Stories I am looking for ways to tell today’s story whilst also bringing yesterday’s in front of the viewer. Anyone who has visited a Genocide Museum, anywhere in the world, will find comments in the Visitor’s Book to the effect that ‘this must not be forgotten’. Whatever reason we visit, paying our respects and acting in witness ... ”Read
  • Vinyl Records and Photography This book reads like a history of photography … Robert Frank, Dorothea Lange, Saul Leiter, Andy Warhol, Berenice Abbott, Herb Ritts, Jeff Wall, William Eggleston, W. Eugene Smith, Cindy Sherman, Rene Burri, Alec Soth, Annie Leibovitz, Weegee, Guy Bourdin, David Bailey, Nan Goldin, Helmut Newton, Helen Levitt, Susan Meiselas, Araki, Irving Penn, Daido Moryiama. But it is actually a beautifully produced book ... ”Read
  • The Work for Surfaces & Strategies Very helpful webinar with Gary today. As background, one of my ‘issues’ is the limited time I can be in Cambodia, and how I will develop my practice throughout the course. I have already decided to: Connect with the UK-based Cambodian community, to see what opportunities there are to ‘tell the story’. It was a nice start ... ”Read
  • Curationism – David Balzer Notes from David Balzer’s  How Curation took over the Art World and Everything Else. He tracks the development of curation, both as an act and then as a profession. He suggests that curation is seen as a way to add value to art or indeed assets of any kind. And he goes on to talk about the ... ”Read
  • The Beetle in a Box – and Critical Theory Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889 – 1951) might just be the most influential philosopher of the 20th century.  At Cambridge he was under Bertrand Russell‘s tutelage, essentially being taught that the job of philosophy is to put definitions on everything. Russell eventually believed Wittgenstein to be a genius. In the only full length book published in his lifetime (Tractatus ... ”Read
  • The Cruel Radiance – Susie Linfield I just read The Cruel Radiance: Photography and Political violence, by Susie Linfield (University of Chicago Press, 2010), and found it totally fascinating. Essentially, Linfield challenges the idea that photography of political violence exploits the subject and panders to the viewer’s voyeuristic tendencies. Instead she argues passionately that looking at such images, and learning how ... ”Read
  • Constructs and Seeing In talking with Steph Cosgrove about my documentary work at the recent Falmouth ‘Face 2 Face’, she was good enough to share some videos about the image as a construct. I am not going to repeat the whole thing here, but a couple of quotes stood out as I was thinking how this refers to my documentary ... ”Read
  • The Camera as Judge and Executioner As I develop the Cambodia Project for my MA, the need to research is clear. Archiving the Unspeakable, by Michelle Caswell, is a fascinating read. It deals with the role of photographic archives in the activities of the Khmer Rouge at the infamous Tuol Sleng prison, now the Genocide Museum, in Phnom Penh. Every visitor ... ”Read
  • Truth in Photographs There are many different philosophical theories of truth – pragmatism, coherence, realism, correspondence, language etc. That said, it is indeed TRUE that there are many theories. That is a truth in its own right, which we would all accept. We also have generally accepted notions of truth – night follows day; one plus one equals two; the Moon orbits the ... ”Read
  • Memory, Narration and Curation in Photography Reading Roland Barthes‘ Camera Lucida reminded me of a  post I wrote in 2014. Here it is, in full. In recent meetings and photo shoots with friends, I have been attempting to self-appraise my photography – when do I shoot my best work, when do I not? Perhaps a little presumptuously, what is my signature style, when am ... ”Read