Contextual Research

Final Major Project Posts
  • Postcartes de Cambodge October 4, 2019 I am looking at different ways to include ‘artefacts’ in the BRLSI show. There are several display possibilities, as the venue sometime functions as a ... Read more...
  • The People’s Vote October 2, 2019 Data is an interesting thing, and not something one normally associates with artistic endeavours. Yet, just as we get feedback on our work from tutors, ... Read more...
  • Auschwitz & Memory September 23, 2019 Over the past 18 months, I have spent a good deal of time researching atrocity and the ethics of images of such. In this I ... Read more...
  • What Price Megapixels? September 9, 2019 One of the benefits of doing this MA has been to encourage me to question all aspects of my practice. As a lifelong photographer, and ... Read more...
  • Wedding Photography August 30, 2019 I am photographing a wedding today. I have done this before, although it is not my normal activity (nor, necessarily, my favourite thing to do). ... Read more...
  • Socially Engaged Photography August 24, 2019 In 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt created the Farm Security Administration (FSA) to aid American farmworkers during the Great Depression. Its photographers aimed to document what ... Read more...
  • Place and Placelessness August 18, 2019 As I have been finalising the book edit, I have increasingly been drawn to maps to help tell the story – both the Khmer Rouge ... Read more...
  • Photographs with Text August 14, 2019 In my teens, I started painting and writing. Pop Art, Op Art, and the beginnings of Conceptual Art were everywhere. Psychedelia either added or confused ... Read more...
  • Let Us Now Praise Words August 13, 2019 During the Depression, Fortune sent writer James Agee and photographer Walker Evans document the lives of cotton sharecroppers in Alabama. It was meant to be ... Read more...
  • Stereotypes and Navajo August 9, 2019 I have just finished reading Photography’s Other Histories, edited by Christopher Pinney and Nicolas Peterson. It is a well-researched work covering a lot of ground ... Read more...
  • Ethics of Photography – Participation August 8, 2019 Ethics has two broad modes of definition – personal and organisational. In everyday use, the word ‘ethics’ gets used in many different ways. For example, sometimes ... Read more...
  • Ethics of Photography – Nature August 7, 2019 Whilst it is a little bit more in the background right now, I am continuing to work on the Ethics project. As a reminder, I ... Read more...
  • Arles Inspiration August 6, 2019 I finally got around to creating  gallery of images from Arles. So many points of inspiration, particularly for installations. I noted a couple that really ... Read more...
  • Archives August 6, 2019 For both the book and the exhibition, I want to illustrate some of the history of Cambodia, and especially the Khmer Rouge years.. My own ... Read more...
  • Without Honor – Arnold J Isaacs August 2, 2019 The U.S. intervention was a military, political strategic, and moral catastrophe for which only Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, not the acts of ... Read more...
  • Angkor Chum July 18, 2019 One story that will not feature in the book is one that concerns our family. It also is an exercise in rephotography, in the sense ... Read more...
  • A Sense of Place July 13, 2019 I have been reading James Tyner’s book, The Killing of Cambodia: Geography, Genocide and the Unmasking of Space. It is well established that in defining Year Zero, ... Read more...
  • James Tyner – The Killing of Cambodia – Notes July 12, 2019 Book Notes Chapter 1: Imaging Genocide Can we define Genocide? Mick Q: Am I structuralist or post-structuralist? Mick Q: Role of power/knowledge nexus in ethical framework ‘Given that knowledge is ... Read more...
  • Deleuze, Time and Archives July 12, 2019 Gilles Deleuze is both an influential, original philosopher – and a hard one to totally ‘get’. Frankly, before the MA I had paid only passing ... Read more...
  • Jeff Hays – A ‘New’ Source of Information July 4, 2019 It is terrific when one find new sources of information on Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge, even though I am reasonably well acquainted with a ... Read more...
  • Jae Emerling – Archives and Time July 1, 2019 At Gary’s recommendation, I have been reading Jae Emerling, particularly on time and archives, as being highly appropriate for my FMP. Whilst I find Emerling’s style ... Read more...
  • Feedback on Journalistic Ethics June 27, 2019 Feedback on my Journalistic Ethics post from Paul Clements and Gary McLeod. Paul: Such a coincidence that only last week I was talking about Joan Diddion’s book ... Read more...
  • Journalist Ethics June 26, 2019 The photograph in the header shows Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez, 26, and his 23 month old daughter Valeria, lying face down in shallow water on the ... Read more...
  • Cambodian History June 25, 2019 As part of any installation, public discussion or book, I need to ensure that the presentation of the facts of history are totally correct. This ... Read more...
  • Practical Aesthetics June 24, 2019 I have been continuing to look at the final processing of the infrared images, prompted by the PhotoBath curation team’s decision to include 4 of ... Read more...
  • Print Exploration June 22, 2019 For a few years, I have used Loxley Colour in Scotland as my exhibition printer, and they are the provider for any customer orders taken ... Read more...
  • Lewis Bush – Storytelling Workshop June 16, 2019 I attending a workshop this weekend with Lewis Bush, on Storytelling. A little while ago I had written on ‘Narrative versus Story‘, which included some ... Read more...
  • Lewis Bush – Storytelling Workshop Notes June 16, 2019 Section One: Story versus narrative  One story (event) can produce multiple narratives. Narratives are all about choices and decisions. Narrative directs audiences. From my earlier post on Narrative © Beemgee ... Read more...
  • Notes on Paul Martin Lester’s ‘Visual Ethics’ June 9, 2019 Preface Lester considers six philosophical ethics ideas as a way to ‘judge’ photography: Categorical imperative – Kant, role-based rules Utilitarianism – useful to the many Golden Mean – Aristotle, ... Read more...
  • Looking is Necessary June 4, 2019 Gian Butturini (1935-2006) was an Italian graphic designer who travelled to London in 1969. He took photographs of what was happening in the ‘swinging sixties’, ... Read more...
  • My Practice and Slide Film June 2, 2019 In the FMP, I will be re-looking at my photographic and other archives. Pretty much from the start of my photography, I used 35mm slide film. ... Read more...
  • Intuitive Master of Photography May 28, 2019 Bob Ryan is a specialist in analysis and the development of expert judgement. The Master Photographer builds upon his work in deep-learning and the activation of ... Read more...
  • Beauty and Utility May 27, 2019 This follows on my comments on Harmony and ‘Environmental Aesthetics‘, as well as the post on ‘What is Good‘. Perhaps my overriding point in those posts ... Read more...
  • Prumsodun Ok May 25, 2019 Modern day Cambodia is a complex mix of Buddhist beliefs, the harmony and order of naturism, animism and an increasing influence of Globalism and Western ... Read more...
  • Environmental Aesthetics May 24, 2019 I posted a short item on Facebook, as follows: Tea Okakura Kakuso, in his 1906 The Book of Tea, builds the case that a better understanding of ... Read more...
  • What is ‘Truth’? May 23, 2019 When we talk of a picture being ‘accurate’, we are using a variety of the concept of ‘truth’. Its meaning depends on the context that ... Read more...
  • What is ‘Good’? May 18, 2019 Sir William David Ross (1877 – 1971) was a Scottish philosopher who is known for his translations of Aristotle and his work in ethics. He developed a ... Read more...
  • Narrative versus Story May 3, 2019 I bought a copy of Lewis Bush’s Metropole at Paris Photo, intrigued by his use of semi-abstracted or manipulated images to tell the story of ... Read more...
  • Leang Seckon – Art and History May 1, 2019 Leang Seckon was born in Prey Veng Province in the early 1970s, and thus was a child during Khmer Rouge times. He graduated from the Royal ... Read more...
  • The Triangle of Photography May 1, 2019 Malick Sidibé (1936-2016) was a Malian photographer, who gained an international reputation. He documented Malian culture as the country transitioned to independence. Sidibé photographed on the ... Read more...
  • Book Design Inspiration April 30, 2019 In searching for inspiration for the book design, Vicky found Anna Kremenetskaya’s work, for a book on the Berlin Wall. We were both taken by ... Read more...
Informing Contexts Posts
  • Informing Contexts – Grades – Where To, Now? May 31, 2019 I have just received the grades for Informing Contexts – 69% overall, pretty much in line with Sustainable Prospects,  Surfaces & Strategies and Positions and ... Read more...
  • Old Dog, New Tricks April 28, 2019 I learnt photography shooting film, and quite often still use it today. I find it a restful, more mindful way of taking photographs. Years ago I ... Read more...
  • Todd Heisler – Final Salute April 25, 2019 I was reading Hariman and Lucaites The Public Image, and came across a picture by Todd Heisler, in the header. Heisler won the 2006 Pulitzer Prizes ... Read more...
  • Allan Sekula – Fish Story, and Critical Realism April 22, 2019 Allan Sekula was one of the most influential documentarians working in the late 20th Century. An incisive critic, he also was part of the re-imagining ... Read more...
  • Realism and Imagination April 20, 2019 This week has been focused on completing the Critical Review. The recent Oral Presentation was well received, although I knew that for the CR, I ... Read more...
  • Jungle Guard April 19, 2019 Jungle Guard, directed by Makara Ouch, in his work with the Cambodian Sleuk Rith Institute (founded by Youk Chhang, of DC-Cam), will be released in ... Read more...
  • Afterwards April 16, 2019 I thought that I had posted about Afterwards before, but somehow it got missed. It was one of the first books that I bought, early ... Read more...
  • Week Eleven Reflections – Pictures at an Exhibition April 14, 2019 The past couple of weeks have been full of gallery visits – Don McCullin, Vincent Van Gogh and Diane Arbus. Dave Heath was at the ... Read more...
  • Coleridge, Imagination and Fancy April 11, 2019 In thinking through the upcoming critical review, I realise that I have been working in two parallel directions. First, my photography has become increasingly abstract, traces of what ... Read more...
  • Susan Sontag – Quotes from ‘On Photography’ April 10, 2019 Quite frankly, I am not a fan of Susan Sontag. I find her work lacking in academic rigour, and very prone to deeply personal judgment ... Read more...
  • John Berger – Notes April 10, 2019 Chapter 1 .. seeing ‘Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognises before it can speak’. (pg. 7). ‘The way we see things is affected by ... Read more...
  • Towards a Critical Review April 9, 2019 I am collecting some of the most inspirational and appropriate quotes from my research, as used in various CRJ posts over the past 15 months, with the references or ... Read more...
  • Sharpness is a Bourgeois Concept April 9, 2019 ‘Helmut Newton finally saw Cartier-Bresson again last year, when Vanity Fair asked Cartier-Bresson to shoot a portrait of Newton for a portfolio by photographers older ... Read more...
  • Marx and Aesthetics April 8, 2019 Karl Marx (1818-1883) has continued to be influential in many schools of philosophy, including aesthetics – even though he did not publish a specific treatise ... Read more...
  • Setting Sun – Quotes – Part Two April 7, 2019 MEDIA Introduction ‘In postwar Japan, the photograph in its truest form is widely understood to be a reproduction imprint. It might almost be said that the fine-art ... Read more...
  • Setting Sun – Quotes – Part One April 7, 2019 Quotes and notes: INTRODUCTION Anne Wilkes Tucker Daido Moriyama states that photography is ‘ .. not a social business, but personal work’. (pg 18) Tucker comments: ‘There is no separation ... Read more...
  • Don McCullin April 5, 2019 Ingrid and I have seen a lot of exhibitions over the years, but the current Don McCullin show at Tate Britain really rates as one ... Read more...
  • My Artistic Practice vs. My Photographic Practice March 30, 2019 Right from the beginning of the MA, in fact even a bit before it started, I wrote about Landscape. Given the way that my Cambodian ... Read more...
  • Baudrillard and Simulacrum March 29, 2019 Jean Baudrillard (1929-2007) wrote: ‘Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being, or a substance. It is the generation by models of a real without origin ... Read more...
  • Charles Baudelaire March 27, 2019 Charles Pierre Baudelaire (1821 – 1867) was a French poet, essayist, art critic, and a translator of Edgar Allan Poe. His work reflected the changing ... Read more...
  • Edward Kienholz – The Beanery March 26, 2019 Edward Kienholz (1927-1994) is one of my favourite artists, any media. The Beanery is a life size, walk-in assemblage, and it is often considered his ... Read more...
  • Book Design March 17, 2019 From the beginning of this project, I have been planned a book capturing the ‘Unfinished Stories’ of Sarath and family. Whether this is actually my ... Read more...
  • Week Seven Reflections – Webinar with Michelle March 16, 2019 In the critical reviews at the F2F, Michelle made several comments on the work I presented. On the colour work, she noticed some potential typologies – ... Read more...
  • Responses & Responsibilities March 16, 2019 James Elkins, in What Photography Is (2011), analyses photographs from 1905 of Lingqi, the Chinese ‘death by a thousand cuts’. (chapter 6, pg 177-220). I ... Read more...
  • Photographing the Holocaust – Janina Struk February 16, 2019 I have just finished Janina Struk’s Photographing The Holocaust. Michelle Caswell’s Archiving the Unspeakable was ‘book of the year’ for me last year, Struk’s might ... Read more...
  • Congruence February 9, 2019 In my post on Index and Icon, I noted the idea of congruence – defined when two things are in agreement, have harmony, conformity, or correspondence ... Read more...
  • The Index and the Icon February 8, 2019 Charles Sanders Peirce (1839-1914) was an early semiotician. His work was based on the pursuit of scientific and logical truth, and he developed his semiotics ... Read more...
  • Olympus Infrared Experiments February 7, 2019 I have just received the converted Olympus OM-D 10, converted to 720nm, as previously noted.  Here is a reference set of images. First, a straight colour ... Read more...
  • Walter Benjamin – The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction February 3, 2019 Walter Benjamin’s work is refreshing, in his attempt to deal with photography as a unique medium, rather than transpose the traditions of painting and sculpture ... Read more...
  • Photography, Photographies February 3, 2019 This week’s task: Post a brief commentary below that identifies the inherent characteristics and contexts of the ‘photographic’ nature of your own practice. Specifically refer to ... Read more...
  • David Goldblatt February 2, 2019 ‘I suppose at best, I had hoped we might see ourselves revealed, as it were, by a mirror held up to ourselves’ David Goldblatt, 2017. I was ... Read more...
  • Soviet Holocaust Photography January 29, 2019 I have just been reading a paper written by David Shneer, in the Humanity Journal, 2014, University of Pennsylvania. Shneer discusses the approach taken by ... Read more...
  • Provoke January 22, 2019 The Japanese photo magazine ‘Provoke’ only published three issues, in 1968 and 1969. It was a rejection of many of the then-prevailing ‘global’ photographic norms. ... Read more...
  • Nobuo Ina – Return to Photography January 21, 2019 I have just been reading Return to Photography, by Nobuo Ina (1898-1978). Ina was influenced by thinking on photography emanating from Germany (Bauhaus et al). ... Read more...
  • Infrared Photography January 17, 2019 As referenced in my last Oral Presentation, I want to develop my ‘negative traces’ work using different photographic techniques. For the Sustainable Prospects Work in ... Read more...
  • Cultural Context January 13, 2019 Almost all of this MA program to date uses a European / American ‘gaze’, in its choice of reading and referenced photographers – even the ... Read more...
  • What is Street Photography? January 2, 2019 I have an ongoing project to digitise my film archives, which has been a bit interrupted by the MA. So a 2019 resolution is to ... Read more...
  • Artist’s Statements – Part Two December 30, 2018 I have written an earlier post on Artist’s Statements. I then posted links to this on Facebook, and asked for input, the ‘wisdom of the ... Read more...
  • Artist’s Statements December 29, 2018 Arty Bollocks has an ‘Instant Artists Statement Generator‘ … and here is an example: ‘My work explores the relationship between postmodern discourse and vegetarian ethics. With ... Read more...
  • Dorothea Lange December 19, 2018 A while back I was asked to make a short presentation to the PhotoBath group on an image that has always inspired me. It actually didn’t ... Read more...
  • How John Berger changed our way of seeing art – Yasmin Gunaratnam & Vikki Bell December 16, 2018 Berger considered how through history and visual representation the male gaze has constrained women. John Berger’s Ways of Seeing Yasmin Gunaratnam, Goldsmiths, University of London and Vikki ... Read more...
Positions & Practice Posts
  • The Beetle in a Box – and Critical Theory April 19, 2018 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 ... Read more...
  • Positions and Practice Oral Presentation – Final April 1, 2018  YouTube Original April 17th, 1975, after years of war, the Khmer Rouge entered Phnom Penh. Within twenty-four hours they emptied the city of 2 million people, and ... Read more...
  • Martha Rosler, Decoys and Disruptions March 20, 2018 Martha Rosler, Decoys and Disruptions (2004) Lookers, Buyers, Dealers And Makers: Thoughts On Audience (1979) ‘More and more clearly the subject of art has become the self ... Read more...
  • The Cruel Radiance – Susie Linfield March 18, 2018 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 ... Read more...
  • Some notes on Ariella Azoulay’s writing March 10, 2018 These notes are not a full book review – more the key points that struck me, appropriate to my project work. On ‘The Civil Contract of ... Read more...
  • Constructs and Seeing February 24, 2018 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 ... Read more...
  • The Camera as Judge and Executioner February 15, 2018 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 ... Read more...
  • Truth in Photographs February 13, 2018 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 ... Read more...
  • Roland Barthes – Camera Lucida – An ultimately depressing book February 10, 2018 Camera Lucida, by Roland Barthes, is an odd book. It has become a classic text on the subject – yet Barthes was not a photographer, ... Read more...
  • Joseph Wright of Derby February 7, 2018 Several of my fellow students have noted painters such as Caravaggio and Rembrandt as inspirations, with their mastery of both light and compositions, delivering works ... Read more...
  • The Caged Bird February 5, 2018 Was very taken by this from Joel Saarda, writing about his inspiration for photography as part of Week 2, Interdisciplinary. Joel was referring to Maya Angelou’s “Caged Bird” ... Read more...
  • Interdisciplinarity February 3, 2018 The theme of Week Two is close to my heart, as I am Visiting Professor at the Inter-Disciplinary Ethics Applied Centre of Excellence for Teaching and ... Read more...
  • Globalisation – a personal tale January 26, 2018 Week One reading includes ‘Global Photography‘, by David Bate, in Photography: The Key Concepts (2016). Bate starts his chapter with: “Globalization” is a term now commonly used ... Read more...
  • Landscape January 25, 2018 I have been studying the materials for Positions and Practices, and was quite taken with the chapter on Territorial Photography by Joel Snyder, in the ... Read more...
Surfaces & Strategies Posts
  • Surfaces & Strategies Oral Presentation August 19, 2018  I am exploring the long-term impact of the Khmer Rouge Genocide, and especially its impact on education. This includes revisiting our family history with that ... Read more...
  • Intimacy August 16, 2018 ‘… all good photographers have a deep commitment to, and involvement with, their subjects, and through photography they are communicating their understanding and passion to ... Read more...
  • First They Killed My Father August 16, 2018 In 2017, the movie First They Killed My Father was released. It was directed by Angelina Jolie, and producers included the acclaimed Cambodian filmmaker, Rithy ... Read more...
  • Week Ten Reflections – Landscape, Context and WIP August 12, 2018 My reflections this week are about my photographic approach to ‘aftermath’. Christian Schwager, a Swiss photographer, made a series My Lovely Bosnia (2003 – 2005), around the still-present ... Read more...
  • Time, Education & Rephotography August 6, 2018 I am examining the ‘time‘ aspect of my narrative, amongst other things. In an earlier post, I noted that a young boy that started in a ... Read more...
  • Conversation with Lukas Birk July 13, 2018 Following an introduction from Cemre, had a terrific conversation today with Lukas Birk. I explained a little of my background, motivations and the Cambodia project itself. These ... Read more...
  • The Public Image July 13, 2018 Notes on Robert Hariman & John Louis Lucaites, 2016, Chicago: Univ Chicago Press ‘Photography is a small language about vernacular life in a public world. Each ... Read more...
  • Dark Tourism July 12, 2018 To me, ‘Dark Tourism‘ is rather inevitable. Places like Tuol Sleng in Cambodia seem to do a better job of earning tourist dollars than in ... Read more...
  • Cambodian Photography – Part 2 July 12, 2018 As noted in the previous post, Cambodian photography is developing, though it’s clear that the hiatus of the Khmer Rouge years and subsequent Vietnamese administration ... Read more...
  • Preciousness July 11, 2018 Two things happened in the last 24 hours, which I would like to connect. First, I saw Sian Davey‘s guest lecture. Second, I had a conversation ... Read more...
  • Cambodian Photography – Part 1 July 5, 2018 Arguably, Dith Pran (1942 – 2008) is the most famous of Cambodian photographers. His story, working with foreign journalists, before the Khmer Rouge takeover, and subsequent ... Read more...
  • Ideas, Ideas, Ideas – Opening the Curtain July 3, 2018 An interesting conjunction of events. First, it’s been made clear that we need to consider mounting an ‘Exhibition’ (‘Landings’, online or otherwise), giving a Workshop, and ... Read more...
  • Philosophy and Post-Industrial Opium Dens – Vilém Flusser June 28, 2018 I love this quote, for all sorts of reasons. ‘Amateur photographers’ clubs are places where one gets high on the structural complexities of cameras, where one ... Read more...
  • Ghosts, Traces & Stories June 9, 2018 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 ... Read more...
  • Vinyl Records and Photography June 7, 2018 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 ... Read more...
  • The Work for Surfaces & Strategies June 5, 2018 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 ... Read more...
  • Curationism – David Balzer June 4, 2018 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 ... Read more...
Sustainable Prospects Posts