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SYP Log | OCA Photography Posts

A5: Publication Evaluation | For Formative Feedback

As previously mentioned, I agreed with my tutor to create this assignment primarily as a video presentation A5: planning. All materials are also included in the padlet: https://oca.padlet.org/Fitz/drifting. The submission for this assignment comprises:

A5 Submission

Video presentation

SYP video presentation by Andrew Fitzgibbon

The script for the video can be viewed here:

Synopsis of Work and Promotion

This was developed from A4 and substantiates the story conveyed in the video: https://fitzgibbonphotography.com/drifting-synopsis/.

Assessment Submission

The assignment also requires an explanation of how the work will be submitted for assessment. I propose (after earlier discussions with my tutor) that this will be through the Padlet: https://oca.padlet.org/Fitz/drifting

Made with Padlet

The padlet itself explains the submission: a) the SYP video b) the Drifting website c) The Synopsis of Work and Promotion. In addition, I created two short additional documents to be included as part of the submission and included them on the padlet:

A memo of outcomes of learning against the PH6SYP learning objectives:

A schedule of references used during research for SYP, including industry research on the Photoblogger. Neither the padlet nor the online materials lend themselves well to academic referencing, so I’ve created this PDF schedule of references instead:

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A5: planning

The requirements for A5 in the course manual are:

Submit a 2,000-word reflective account of the resolution of your publication (i.e. the work you have done since Body of Work). You should discuss in depth how you have resolved your major publication and justify your particular choices relating to its publication. Evaluate your efforts to engage an audience with your major project and the related themes. This should be a fully illustrated and referenced piece of academic writing.

You should also reflect upon the feedback you documented throughout the publication of the work, and also describe how you might either develop and/or promote the work further. If appropriate, you should include installation shots and a press book and/or visitor’s book.

In A4 discussions with my tutor, it was agreed that it was acceptable to submit this as a video presentation accompanied by a script. This is on the basis that there is already considerable written work around SYP – the materials on the website, the Padlet, and the online Synopsis of work and promotion. I’ll compile a list of references to add to my materials for the academic context.

I learned about writing for the spoken word when writing the narrative for my Drifting video – what sounds good in one’s head may not work so well when spoken out loud. Therefore, I’ll be reading the script out loud as it is edited to avoid rework once voice recording starts. Content-wise, I intend to address the context of the progression of my SYP work as well as the work itself (ie the challenges I’ve faced through OCA organisation).

I’m also conscious of my own limitations as an ‘actor’ when reading out loud (I originally voiced the Drifting narrative). However, I found some useful advice from an author who also read Audible books – be loud, be slow (150 wpm max), and don’t drone (say the words naturally as if you are telling the story, not self-consciously reading).

In the video, I plan to show the site-specific exhibition images as a background and demonstrate the mobile interactivity of the poster QR codes.

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A4: Formative feedback

I received feedback on A4 (A4: final draft and promotion | self-assessment) and had a useful and positive discussion with my tutor yesterday to discuss that and the approach to A5 (publication evaluation).

Main points to consider from A4:

  • Risk of comprehensive visual ‘catalogue’ becoming unweildly and recommendation to keep it tight. I think there is a risk of using the ‘catalogue’ for two purposes – external communication and OCA communication. In the case of the latter, I have a fear of work I’ve done being missed or misunderstood. This probably stems from the BoW assessment feedback that assessors would have liked to see more reshooting – against a context of me having walked the 127 miles of the Leeds & Liverpool canal this frustrated me and made little sense. On reflection, the primary external output will be the www.leedsandliverpool.co.uk website – I’ve now made some adjustments to streamline this and simplify some of the language and layouts on the site, as well as include some elements that were previously only included in the ‘catalogue’. The ‘catalogue’ itself has been repurposed as a ‘visual synopsis’ that is not public facing. Some of the wording and layout has been updated to reflect this. The intention is now to use this to facilitate discussions at a curator / assessor level – it is in the format of a landing page so allows a quick browse to take in the extent of work done on the project but also enables more detailed viewing of linked information when of interest.
  • Suggestion that a 3-page visual marketing package as a pdf might be useful to have available to send out (rather than rely fully on online materials) – it would pull together existing content. I think this makes sense as an update from the media pack that was done in advance of successfully obtaining publicity and would be useful as something readymade to send out.
  • Suggested that a clear distinction between outputs and outcomes is made on the padlet and recommended some further research materials on this. I’m clear in my mind what the distinction is but haven’t documented it clearly in the padlet (even if mentioned in the proposal document).

Forward to A5:

  • Agreed that there is already extensive written material on the project and it would be more helpful to complete A5 as a short (3 minute) video, with a script and links to existing written materials forming A5.
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A2: Rework: final publication proposal

The project proposal has turned into a mini saga, with my first tutor leaving the OCA without formalising feedback, me doing minor edits based on the informal feedback, and then my new tutor giving additional feedback A2: Tutorial and re-Feedback (new tutor). As well as the general feedback, I liked the suggestion of working the assignment as if it were an application for Arts Council England (ACE) grant funding – it could then be used as a template and experience for any future funding applications.

I did further research on the ACE requirements, tips for writing grant applications, and a review of successful applications (see research materials on Padlet – https://oca.padlet.org/Fitz/drifting). Based on this and the content of my earlier draft, I’ve created a final version of the proposal and attach it here as a pdf.

What was particularly valuable about this exercise was working within the character limits for each area that are set in ACE’s Grantium platform. This made me see just how concise such proposals need to be.

Click to view in new tab.

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A4: final draft and promotion | self-assessment

I’ve made this evaluation against the ‘assessment criteria’, rather than the ‘learning outcomes’ documented in the course material. I suppose the course material will eventually be updated to reflect the more recently introduced assessment criteria. In the meantime, taking this approach will avoid a remapping exercise for assessment submission.

The submission for this assignment is here.

Creativity 20%
Make creative decisions in the resolving of a body of work that employs appropriate media and techniques articulating a personal creative voice.

In the context of Covid-19, online space has become more important and physical space at a premium with a backlog of artists waiting to show work. While still pursuing opportunities for a actual site-specific exhibition, I have created a mock-up so realistic that most viewer comments indicate they believe it to be real. I have embraced John Tagg’s idea of photography creating a new and specific reality and use that to show photography. The exhibition links to a project website that acts as a hub for viewing the short-film, looking still images, seeing photographs of the exhibition and reading about the project.

Presentation and Outcomes 40%
Articulate and synthesise ideas and research in the presentation of a body of work to an audience.

I have used a website landing page to present this assignment as an interactive project catalogue. I believe it successfully provides an accessible way of viewing a significant volume of materials without over-whelming the reader (using the multiple surfaces of the internet).

I believe the work is presented in an accessible format and its ideas are expressed within the narrative and images of the work itself, as well as in the additional information (including artist statement) that is shared on the website that acts as a hub to bring together the different aspects of the work. The work has been widely viewed and publicised as described in the assignment.

Professional context 20%
Independent dissemination of a personal creative voice. Articulate independent judgements and identify opportunities for professional and or personal development.

I worked independently on getting my work seen widely and with some critical acclaim. There are opportunities to explore in terms further work with still images, sound and narrative that could be used in a heritage/commercial environment – though using a different lens of representation. I’ve experienced how difficult it is to get attention for even promising projects if they don’t meet the aesthetic views of decision makers – in the end this work seems to be heading the way of art for art’s sake.

Knowledge 20%
Demonstrate comprehensive critical knowledge, understanding and reflection of relevant techniques and theoretical context(s) emerging from your outcomes

My proposal for realising the work, incorporates research on site specific exhibitions and the benefits they hold for viewers and the art work. I’ll reflect that in my summing up for assessment purposes.

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A4: Final draft and promotion | for tutor feedback

1 Overview

This assignment requires the submission of a volume of materials relating to the final draft of the work and promotional activities. After exploring and researching different options for presenting this volume of information, without it become overwhelming for the viewer, I settled on a web-browser based catalogue that makes use of the multiple surfaces of the internet; the viewer is presented with a chunked up landing page and can click through to reveal more details. It is also easy to access materials hosted elsewhere on the internet from this page, such as the microsite for the project. The viewer can orientate at any time by returning to the landing page.

2 Project catalogue

The project catalogue is accessed here – https://fitzgibbonphotography.com/drifting-catalogue/.

It is hosted on a separate WordPress site that provides a more versatile theme than that used for my learning log. Full use was made of the recently introduced WordPress Gutenberg blocks to create a layout with breathing space around the contents – this required separate research and experimentation.

Research materials are on the Padlet (https://oca.padlet.org/Fitz/drifting).

Self-reflection on this assignment is here: A4: final draft and promotion | self-assessment

APPENDICES

This appendix provides a textual compilation of the information that was used in constructing the web-based project catalogue. I have included it here as supplementary information, if it is required.

The parts that follow deal with the publication of the work; the promotion of the work; ‘footfall’ and feedback strategies; and artist information.

The publication of my work is multifaceted, with the website www.leedsandliverpool.co.uk (the Drifting website) acting as a hub for the different aspects of the work , while also being a part of the publication itself.

A The facets of the publication

  1. In situ exhibition of work around Leeds Canal Basin. This plays with John Tagg’s idea of photography creating a new and specific reality; images of the exhibition are so realistic that most visitors commenting in the visitor book to date have taken it for reality. I wrote extensively about the idea and merits of a site specific exhibition in the my publication proposal. The central ideas being accessibility of work in a public space and encouraging the viewers to embrace the everyday condition of the post-industrial landscape that surrounds them. The exhibition links viewers, through QR codes and the URL on posters, to the film and website online, where they can discover more about my work. The exhibition images and explanatory captions can be viewed on the Drifting website at https://leedsandliverpool.co.uk/exhibitions. I’ve also included the images at the end of this post for reference. My process for constructing the images is documented here. I continue correspond with parties who might be able to assist in an actual site-specfic exhibition but without meaningful progress so far – information is here.
  2. Online gallery of photographs. Absent from my BoW presentation (which was the short-film only), I’ve now included an edited selection of images as part of the project website. This is partly in response to some viewers of the film commenting that they would like to like closer at the images included in the film. However, it was always my intention to accompany the film with still images at some point. The gallery can be viewed on the Drifting website at https://leedsandliverpool.co.uk/photos.
  3. Website. I wanted to house the various aspects of my work in a single vessel, with the idea of legacy as I move on from this project and the possibility of ongoing promotion of the work as opportunities arise. I think of it the native online format for the equivalent of a book. I favoured a website format to avoid the ubiquitous Kunstmatrix exhibitions that have understandably become a fall-back during the Covid-19 epidemic; I personally find them fiddly to navigate and the aesthetic unappealing. With these two drivers, substantial time and effort has spent on building the layout and content for the Drifting website, including to ensure it is mobile-device friendly. To explain and show the design, I’ve created a video talk and demonstration of the website at https://syp.fitzgibbonphotography.com/project-website-video-walk-through-and-final-update/. In addition to the Drifting website, I’ve also developed my own artist’s website using wordpress.org (www.fitzgibbonphotography.com) – while it still needs further work, some of the development, including mobile device configuration is discussed here. It accommodates certain Drifting content that cannot be hosted in Adobe Portfolio sites; this includes a blog post inviting visitors to share their own canal stories and the exhibition visitor comments. These are linked seamlessly from the Drifting website.
  4. Short-film Drifting by the Leeds and Liverpool that is closely based on the work submitted for BoW assessment but rebranded. It has been adapted to include a different cover image and title that better reflects the overall content of the film. I’ve also created a fresh encoding of the work for improved online performance (following research on encoding techniques). The film is hosted on Vimeo – the full length version is close to 11 minutes, and there is an edited sub-10 minute version prepared for my successful entry to the Association of Photographers’ student awards. The full version of the film is embedded in the Drifting website. It can also be viewed directly on Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/472727539.

B Promotional activities

My project was not intended to cumulate in a single high-point of an exhibition. As much as I aspired for a site-specific exhibition, it seemed something unlikely to be achieved in the short-term as an unknown artist, working at the time of Covid-19, with established artists scrambling for space and funding as the country comes out of lockdown. So, given the digital nature of my work (and that I had a film), I took advantage of online space to promote my work as and when opportunities arose. Here, I summarise the various promotional activities already undertaken. I will continue to explore other opportunities as they arise.

  • Photography competitions – my film was one of 20 finalists in the Association of Photographers’ student competition (places). The quality of film submissions received a special mention in the awards ceremony and my film is featured alongside the overall winners on the AOP’s site (https://www.aopawards.com/awards/student-awards/), after they requested me to unlock Vimeo embedding restrictions to showcase the work. There were few other competitions that accepted video submission but I did enter a couple of unpaid photo competitions, without success. I found through my research on photography blogging that a number of competitions seem to be charging significant entry fees and securing generous image rights as part of entry conditions (as a business model). These two factors limited my participation in photo competitions for this project.
  • Photography exhibitions (online) – selected images from my work featured in the Source.ie graduate show and also in the Association of Photographers’ graduate show (separate to the competition already mentioned). For the latter, I volunteered to support OCA photography lead, Dan Robinson, coordinate the OCA group submission and took care of the image submission of the images to the AOP. I also set up an OCAFotograd collective, including a website and social media accounts, which serves to promote the work of OCA graduate photographers. The website is at www.ocafotograd.org.
  • Press promotion of short-film – The film has been featured in the Yorkshire Post (regional newspaper, who sent a press photographer to me), The Craven Herald (my local paper), and The Telegraph & Argus (Bradford and surrounds), and I was also interviewed on BBC Radio Merseyside’s drive time show. The hyperlinks provide evidence. My process was to send a press-release to newspapers and other media along the length of the canal in May 2021. Details of the process and outlets contacted is here: https://syp.fitzgibbonphotography.com/press-and-other-communication-film-community-stories/. As good practice suggests, the press statement and press-pack was included on my website and linked through a brief headline email to the respective journalists. The press statement and pack are here: https://fitzgibbonphotography.com/contact/press/drifting-by-the-leeds-and-liverpool/.
  • Short-film competitions – my film was a finalist in The Jump Cuts Film Festival and was due to be shown in an small Leeds cinema but was unfortunately cancelled due to Covid-19. The link also details the 5 festivals I entered but the film has not yet had further successful selections. I was conscious when entering that it does sit in a perhaps uncomfortable place between photography and film; and there is always a fee for entering the competitions, so it is not practicable to enter many.
  • Arts organisations – my work has been promoted newsletters of arts organisations, including The Red Eye Network, Craven Arts, Artlab (who I also presented to on Zoom), and the OCA (East of England regional meeting presentation, plus WeAreOCA feature on blogging).
  • Social Media – I’ve made social media posts to potentially interested groups and tagged some individuals. One of the few highlights was a retweet from poet Ian McMillan (who is quoted in the film). I’ve also been featured in some of the mentioned arts organisation’s social media streams but my impression is that it is mostly their own members who follow them, rather than a broader audience. I’ve concluded that for social media to have any significant reach, one needs to either have built and sustained a large network or pay to be featured (Facebook offered to ‘boost’ my posts that were getting interest a number of times). It is an area that I need to continue to work on despite a feeling that it is often vacuous.

C Footfall and feedback strategies

With the Drifting website acting as a hub for my work and my paid Vimeo subscription offering analytics, it is online analytics that are central to measurement of viewer numbers. Even if an actual site specific exhibition were to take place, viewers would be linked to the website through mobile their mobile devices (QR codes and website URL on posters), which would give a indication of engaged viewers by their locations. I’ve researched and built Google analytics into the Drifting website and my portfolio site. Because of the inadvertent deletion of my original Google analytics account (since reinstated) and the loss of a period of data, I focus on the Vimeo analytics for now.

A few months ago, Vimeo emailed to congratulate me on having over 1,000 views on my video. It has moved on again since then. For this post, I take a snapshot of the analytics at the time of writing. It includes numbers for the full length version and the AOP shortened version of the film. Here is a summary of the stats:

TotalUnique
Impressions (number of loads to a page)3,786 812
Loads (number of times video clicked to play) 759326
Average percentage of video watched58%
Total time watched71 hours
From Vimeo analytics on 19.8.21 (‘previous year’s viewing’)

To use an analogy to a physical exhibition, people walked past my exhibition location 3,786 times and went inside 759 times. Some did several times, unique individuals walking past were 812 and going inside 326. As the video is 10.44 minutes long, the average person spent about 6 minutes watching it. In total 71 hours has been spent looking at the work.

The photographs of the in situ exhibition have a visitor book for people to leave comments. At the time of writing these had only been publicised to the OCA student population. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. The comments to date can be read at https://fitzgibbonphotography.com/exhibition-of-drifting-by-the-leeds-liverpool/.

D Artist information

My artist’s statement is included on the Drifting website’s project information page (https://leedsandliverpool.co.uk/about) and duplicated here:

I walked the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, observing the burden of deindustrialisation, the areas of regeneration/gentrification, and the water’s tranquil flow over 127 miles. I saw the traces of humanity that mark possession, use and abuse. A ruined mill’s struggle for redevelopment, a make-shift garden house at the water’s edge, detritus dissonantly framed in shining water. Nature’s shrubby undergrowth filling the gaps of humankind’s neglect signposted by graffiti. Trees growing through the ruins of early capitalism where horse-drawn boats were once loaded. 

This is not a eulogy to lost industry but an experience of anxiety weighing on a place with only pockets of regeneration (Aditya Chakrabortty, 2011). After decades, ‘levelling up’ is the latest stuttering initiative aimed at fixing the UK as one of the most geographically unequal countries in the world (Bourquin et al., 2020). The canal’s route shows inequality within the regions it flows through.

My work celebrates the diversity of meanings and experience found in the everyday condition, along the waterway’s journey through marginal and affluent space. A strength of photography is that despite photographs being heavily mediated, through their indexicality they offer the experience of looking intensely at the subjects represented. Something often missed when walking distracted through the landscape. The project shares a psychogeographic drift, an experience of reality that is not glossed over with images of the bucolic, white washing the landscape in readiness for leisure and tourism. There are no people in my images, only their traces. These marks are joined to the living and the long-gone through an actor-voiced narrative, sound recordings and samples from oral histories.

My motivation for making the work evolved as I explored. When I found the canal to be a back-route, mostly empty of people (even more so once the Covid-19 pandemic took hold), the work became the portrait of humanity through its traces; a cultural landscape of past activity. These remains of the everyday condition are often rendered invisible in socially shared and publicity image. I would like the photographs and film to convey a sense of poignant calm and encourage viewers to take a closer look at things that often go unnoticed. To experience the fractures as well as the beauty. To discover their own stories in the run-of-the-mill.

Andrew Fitzgibbon

I have a brief bio on my portfolio site. This will be updated as my work continues and evolves:

Andrew interested is interested in the socialisation of space and people’s relationship with place. His practice includes portraiture and landscape photography and sound recording to create short stills films. His work on the deindustrialised landscape of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal is an example.

Andrew is a member of Craven Arts and the Red Eye Photography Network, and in the final stages of completing a BA (Hons) Photography Degree. He has been featured on BBC Radio Merseyside and in regional newspapers, had several images published in the Big Issue Magazine and work that features on the IMDb profile of actor Paul Butterworth.

Home is a small holding near Skipton, in North Yorkshire, where he lives with his wife, two children, and livestock


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Fred Ritchin. Bending the Frame

AF notes on Ritchin lecture

My tutor suggested looking into Fred Ritchin’s book Bending the Frame, not because have a specific interest in photojournalism but as a source of ideas on how to present photography differently. Instead, I watched a 1 hour lecture by Ritchin. Also linked above are the fourcorners project and website pixelpress.org.

I found the whole lecture fascinating but a few ideas in particular seem relevant as I toy with ideas for A4. I had been thinking of using a PDF document (that would include links etc) because I’m more able to control the layout than I can for a website (I’m not a website designer – and it’s technical more complex than a pdf publishing tool). However, Ritchin makes the important observation that the web has multiple surfaces that can be used to contextualise and show different perspectives. While a pdf can use hyperlinks, it is not as seamless as remaining in the medium of a web-browser. I’m tempted to explore what is possible with WordPress’s new(ish) block layout, without committing to making a web-based catalogue for my project. The pixelpress website shows some interesting examples but I’m conscious they were made with the participation of professional web designers.

Another concept addressed was ‘future photography’; constructed images that show how the future might look (example shown of flooding caused by global warming). The phrase is something that could be applied to my own exhibition – not wish to see when/if permissions and funding might be obtained, I created a composite exhibition.

As an aside, the idea for the ‘bending the frame’ title seems to come from the notion that at one time everything within the frame was considered to represent actual events, much like words within quotation marks. The digital age has bent the frame, with everyone having the means of production to alter and publish images.

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A3: Formative feedback (new tutor)

I’m pleased that my new tutor has quickly helped me to catch up with the missing feedback on A2 and A3 from my previous tutor. It has helped to put the irksome episode behind me and rekindle enthusiasm for this final module.

Again, very positive feedback on my research and report for this assignment. Here, I focus on additional suggestions that help develop my practice:

  • Suggestion to outline the future of the research report and blog (particulary with regard to the Drifting project): after I graduate and time is freed up, I plan to continue blogging but to a broader audience – in this context, I plan to address aspects of the report. One particular area I think warrants investigation is the use of photography competitions as a potentially dubious business model for some blogs. With regards to the Drifting project, there are lessons in the ongoing promotion of the work through blogging and guest blogging and the concept of using the blog as a hub at the centre of social media activities (whatever their value beyond that to the tech giants’ data collection and sales). This is in addition to the audience engagement I am already encouraging through the exhibition guest book on the blog and the invitation to viewers to tell their own stories of life along the canal.
  • Some suggestions based on the learning outcomes: a) update padlet to include elements of self-reflection, eg example of a media interview (practice-based research using media pack) b) padlet resources re competition examples (mentioned in A2).
  • Consider video presentation for eventual submission submission (3-5 mins), building on A2. Yes – I’ve been thinking about this; the use of screen casting software has opened up new possibilities for presentation of the digital. Also added to padlet as ‘resource’.
  • Note potential connection to A4 to elements of blogging research, eg interactive communication model and how projects is essentially and audience engagement project. Suggested resources provided for further research (Richin’s book and ‘four corners’ project).
  • Consider / give examples of blogs advising on creation of exhibitions (padlet resource).
  • Looking forward to A4, consider how draft blog post can be shaped into promotional tool (eg pdf or interactive website). Info needs to be chunked up to make it accessible to a reader coming cold. Needn’t be just one document. Keep in mind idea of ‘registers’ (different voices for different purposes). Approach to be discussed in catch-up call.
  • A number of potential resources provided for review / consideration of usefulness in context of my work. Followed up elsewhere on blog / padlet.

Lots of material for me to work through and consider to tighten up direction and outcome for A4. My tutor’s feedback is much appreciated!

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Siting and Audience engagement: further reading

My tutor recommended (A2: Tutorial and re-Feedback (new tutor)) materials that might generate ideas for expressing the concepts of siting and audience engagement in my publication proposal. The post contains notes from my readings:

Discourse Analysis II – institutions and ways of seeing. Rose, GD 2001, Visual Methodologies : An Introduction to the Interpretation of Visual Materials, SAGE Publications, London (p164-186)

  • General theme of images/photography being diffuse in meaning, with meanings conferred through the communication/power of the institutions that show them / their methods of showing. The apparatus of display (or ‘technologies of the gallery and museum’) are considered at length, along with the messages they might confer (eg enclosed untouchable in a glass case, suggests value/preciousness).
  • As prisons are to the enforcement of the rule of law, museums/galleries are to the enforcement of culture – inaccessible to some sections of society without the education that provides cultural capital.
  • Idea – in situ exhibition liberates art from the traditional confines and cultural power of the gallery and places it in an accessible public place. The mobile phone as a display technique, is as personal and everyday as the landscape of the canal itself. A stark contrast to a glass case or white wall in a gallery.

Wald Raad – artist’s talk and exhibition catalogue

AF Notes

Thoughts:

  • A highly designed, immersive catalogue of the making of work and the work itself. Written by Eva Respini (curator) with text contributions from Walid Raad. Highly produced / designed catalogue.
  • INSPIRATION FOR A4? Pull everything together in a catalogue? Include publicity materials? Quotes from guest book / comments on blog? First go with Affinity Publisher? Already dismissed idea of Photo Book as takes away from video work, but catalogue could work. No need to print at this stage as digital only assessment but could later be adapted for print use if opportunity arises.

Simon Roberts (website)

https://www.simoncroberts.com/news/ – Simon Roberts describes his interest as people in landscape (see video interview on news page); so similar to my interest during the Drifting project – the marks that people leave on the landscape. I feel his news page is more compelling than many artist websites I’ve seen – it has a columnar layout (echoing the reading habit of a newspaper) as a front page, inviting the reader to divide into the details of areas of interest. Importantly, it does not overwhelm with details as a first impression. Much like the front page of a newspaper it provides a map of what can be seen beyond and offers the choice of where to stop off.

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Project self-evaluation (16/9/21)

My tutor suggested using the project self-evaluation form from Natasha Caruana (Behind The Image, Caruana & Fox, 2012: p101) as a platform for generating further ideas for my artist’s statement. I note thoughts below:

  • Project Title: Drifting by the Leeds & Liverpool. Originally (at BoW) called simply Leeds & Liverpool. This seemed dry and lacked a sense of movement or action. Some have commented that my project reminds them of Alec Soth’s Sleeping by the Mississippi, which I thought about when renaming my own project. The title includes an action and a place. Drifting also hints at the ideas of psychogeography and how a boat might drift on water. I decided not to include the word ‘canal’ as the title then sounded long-winded and could be understood to be purely about boating.
  • Subject: my dissertation reflects at length on the pastural representation of post-industrial space in popular imagery and how the project aims to reflect the everyday condition of the waterway. Photography laying bare the actuality of place (currently reading André Bazin’s essay). This is something the Yorkshire Post journalist who interviewed me enjoyed in the work but I suspect many others do not enjoy – I was once asked ‘why are you photographing that mate’, and it is note the aesthetic promoted by the CRT. Bazin also observed an obsession in creating an idealised world in painting, which has also become popular in photography, with Photoshop providing ready access to altered realities. Perhaps my artist statement needs to play more on photography’s capacity to clearly render the everyday condition of landscape without embellishment. But why should people want to look at that is a pressing question?
  • Aims / objectives / concepts: I wanted to convey my own take on the atmosphere of a walk along this specific canal and its sometimes bleak route across the deinstrialised North. Sound and narrative have been added to create what someone suggested was a eulogy to past industry that wasn’t necessary something to miss. However, it is perhaps the promise of ‘new industry’ and its near absence that is missed (the impact of deindustrialisation is referenced in my dissertation). I’m reminded on the current governments talk of ‘levelling-up’ as an acknowledgement of decades of failed policy. I’ve avoided politicising the work on the basis that I’d probably loose half the audience whatever stance I took. But should the artist’s statement be explicit on a political view / does this create a more meaningful outcome?
  • Audience: I think of the work as addressing those who would walk the canal, rather than those who would boat it (I feature few images of boats and that is necessarily their obsession). But it is perhaps more specific than that – the work isn’t necessarily going to appeal to the same walkers that the CRT hope to attract with their bucolic imagery. Should I specifically focus on a psychogeography oriented audience?
  • Context: the current plan for the context of my work is online viewing (video, images etc), plus an in situ exhibition that links to the online content through QR codes. It could also work as a video installation. I don’t think of it as being purely about the photographs that contribute to the overall work.
  • Form/medium/presentation: final form is in situ photo-posters that link to online media via QR codes. However, it seems unlikely that these will be realised with the lack of response to requests for display sites to date. Ultimately, I may need to seek alternatives but perhaps not within the timescale of this course module.
  • Research methods: I realise that the extensive research completed for my dissertation is not much reflected in my artist statement; perhaps overly concerned about creating a simple narrative that focuses on the visual. There may be an opportunity to include some alongside a more politically overt statement?
  • References: in retrospect, my work sits somewhere between film and photography, without falling firmly in either camp. This is perhaps a problem when it comes to categorising it – for example it is often excluded from photography competitions and it doesn’t contain the moving images that are generally expected in film. Because of the duration of an OCA course, it makes sense for me to refresh my memory on references I’ve explored already – in the lead up to A5 makes sense.

Highlighted in red are ideas to take forward in developing the final artist’s statement. Also noted in Padlet.

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A2: Tutorial and re-Feedback (new tutor)

This post supersedes the incomplete feedback from my previous tutor (who has left the OCA) – see A2: tutorial and amendments to proposal (superseded).

We used this introductory session (15/9/21) to catch up on my overall progress on the module, outline a strategy for taking the work forward, and reassess A2 (publication proposal), with fresh insights and in the context of the outline strategy to use the proposal as a reusable proposal document. In terms of the overall learning approach, the introduction of a Padlet (https://oca.padlet.org/Fitz/drifting) act as a map for the territory of the detailed blog and to facilitate interaction with my tutor is already proving to be a refreshing change.

The feedback I’ve received is perhaps the most comprehensive ever during my time at the OCA (though it does also serve as a transition / catch up document). I note areas for further work / research:

  • Publication proposal itself – no need to rewrite now but should be treated as a living document to edit as work progresses. Key points are: a) ensure outputs are immediately apparent to first-time reader, b) bullet point key deliverables / dissemination setting, c) artist statement is suitably conversational – if influenced by Impressions Study visit (or other sources), mention that – Dr Pippa Oldfields comments did make an impression at the time, but Gilda Williams’s how to write about contemporary art is a more recent influence. d) review resources suggested by tutor to self-evaluate artist statement and generate ideas /key words in respect of siting and audience engagement that might be recycled.
  • Learning outcomes – areas for attention: a) make publication more visual/concise, b) take care not to blog about details that may be best not written (re previous tutor/OCA experience) – since amended, c) log potential installation sites (4) in padlet as supplement to more contextual content, c) include info on photoposter printers/fabrication research, d) ensure benefits focuses on outcomes (affect on audiences / potential meanings), d) tweak artist’s statement over next few assignments / refer to example exhibition catalogue / website engagement e) consider interview at end point – journalist / OCA discussion.

There are a number of things that require attention – though some have already been addressed within the detail of the blog. To track my own progress, I’ll ticked off ( ) items or link to other blog posts to mark completion. I’ve also created working documents for the publication proposal and artist statement for use as work progresses.

My further reading / thoughts arising are here: Siting and Audience engagement: further reading

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Still no news

Just over a month ago, I wrote about the lack of response to requests for access to sites for an in situ exhibition near the canal (No news). Despite follow-up emails, I’ve had no responses. I’m therefore cutting my losses on this angle for now – I can only conclude that either the work doesn’t fit the visual culture of the CRT and the organisations it sponsors (as my dissertation observes, they are interested in promoting the canal as a pastural place of leisure), they don’t like the work, or they are struggling to deal with any non-essential requests in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, I have no way of knowing which.

The lesson here is to be mindful of the interests of those approached to sponsorship. However, it is perhaps also important not to prejudge, as there can be side-interests that sit outside what appear to be principal interests. I’ve pressed ahead with my virtual exhibition, and will consider possible alternatives to show the work in place.

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New Tutor, New Padlet

After some chasing, I’ve found that my previous tutor is no longer with the OCA (hence the lack of communication). The downside is that my intention of submitting for November assessment was blown away. The upside is that I have an enthusiastic new tutor, who might be able to offer some fresh perspectives and idea on what I’m doing.

We had an introductory video call (14/9/21) and talked at length about the benefits of Padlets as a visual access point to SYP learning – I now have a Padlet, which I think of as a map for this blog (https://oca.padlet.org/Fitz/drifting) . The plan is for us to use this as a basis of interactions / planning completion of this module. He talked about producing promotional materials that could be recycled for different applications and the possibility of preparing an Arts Council grant application as an output from SYP.

I explained how I’d already spent significant time on the SYP project and didn’t really want to reinvent the wheel on anything but was more than happy to make adjustments for any fresh ideas. We agreed that he’d feedback on A2 (I had a tutorial with my previous tutor but he departed without completing formal feedback) and A3 over the next couple of weeks to bring things up to date.

I’m feeling optimistic about not only getting done but perhaps having some additional useful outputs. Though my enthusiasm has taken a major dent, I realise I need to reset and go again.

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Screen show video making

I’ve researched and tested software that allows creation and editing of video content centred around digital screen content, for example, websites, photos, webcam footage and so on. I will use this to walk through my own website design, and can envisage it being used for a video for assessment submission. Also, for creation of online content for my blog.

Software

Significant in the research is the fact I use Mac (mid 2014 MacBook Pro with 8GB RAM). In this application area I found that not all software works across Windows and Mac. In fact, my desired software was the open source OBS (https://obsproject.com), which is widely used for live-streaming but also has a video encoding capability. It is also free – sponsored by YouTube and Facebook. However, while I liked the interface of the software and its functionality, it unfortunately crashed / froze while trying to encode video. I initially thought that this could be due to my ageing MBP but found from online forums that it was a common issue with the encoding on Mac – users seem to use it successfully for live streaming (no encoding required) but even users with powerful new Macs found encoding problematic.

In the end, I selected ScreenFlow (https://www.telestream.net/screenflow/overview.htm), which is a Mac-specific software and endorsed/used by some significant online content creators (including the technical photography blog, Phlearn). It is paid but not unreasonable given its powerful functionality (and a 10% student discount). It has key-framing functionality that allows panning/zooming of photographs to create video content, which is important to my work. I can even envisage using it to make future stills-films. Importantly, it works speedily with my Mac and seems stable when worked hard. It is chalk and cheese compared with the sluggish speed of Photoshop when video editing.

Hardware and room set up

I already own a condenser mic and Focusrite audio interface for music making and have now brought this into my onscreen work to improve the sound quality over my Logitech webcam, which is okay for attending online events but sounds weak when recorded for playback.

I found that Fujifilm now have software that allows many of their cameras to be used as webcams – I tried this and while it worked (and generated Fujifilm colours) the image resolution seem low and of limited use for recording. For longer talking to the camera shots, I’ve set up my Fuji XT2 for video recording, using the headphone out from my Roland R05 sound recorder as a mic (it mounts on the hot shoe!) – the sound is adequate but I’ll probably record sound separately for work that needs to be more polished. The camera is capable of recording in 4K but I’m sticking with HD to make sure I don’t overload my MBP when post-processing. The camera video footage is easily brought into the ScreenFlow software.

I’ve rearranged my working space so that my webcam is now off-screen in the hope of creating more visual variety when using footage – I can either talk to it (looking away from my computer screen) or it can be used to show me working if I want picture-in-picture content. I’ve also rearranged lighting in the room and areas that appear in the backgrounds to video footage. The set-up will be put through its paces in my next video, but my first attempt (midway through rearrangements) is shown in this blog post about my project website.

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Project website: video talk through and final update

The www.leedsandliverpool.co.uk website acts as a hub for showing and promoting my project work. It has gone through various iterations throughout this module, as my work has evolved, feedback has been digested, and sat and matured. It can be viewed directly on the website but in this video, I talk through and show the final version of the website.

Video walk through of website, narrated by Andrew Fitzgibbon

The website was designed in Adobe Portfolio and I purchased the custom domain name for the project. Google analytics is set up for the website, but unfortunately due an issue with my Google account, its full history is not available. However, separate analytics are available from Vimeo for the video content of the website. I discuss project reach separately.

I obtained feedback on an earlier version of the design from an Adobe expert and discussed that in some detail here. The previous significant update to the design was in May and I discussed that here, along with some screen shots from the first layout. With the conveniences of Adobe Portfolio (layout tools, integration with Lightroom etc) come restrictions on what can be customised, as the website is hosted on Adobe servers. However, I’ve found work arounds to these that allow me to include a newsletter sign-up (through mailchimp) and a exhibition visitor book (through a button link to a blog post on my main website).

The final adjustments to the design (this iteration) further enhance the viewer experience:

  • masthead text on landing page was removed and replaced with a simple instruction to scroll for film, exhibition, photos and more. It was apparent that some viewers were missing the scroll down arrow and found it difficult to access the website.
  • New page of exhibition images was moved up the menu order, in front of the photos page as the in situ shots seem to engage the viewer further.
  • More photos were added to the photos page and the layout adjusted to accommodate – a number of people had commented they would like to see more still photographs from the project.
  • masthead on the project info page was removed completely – this seemed to give the impression of a separate landing page that would perhaps cause confusion. This did sacrifice a large image that featured on the masthead.
  • Flow around the website was simplified by removing multiple click options at the bottom of pages and simply helping the viewer route around the website.
  • Project info texts have been updated to reflect the progress of the project and add reorganised for a better flow.
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In situ exhibition

I’ve been pressing ahead with my virtual exhibition in the absence of any imminent possibility of securing a canal side site and funding for a site specific exhibition. From the outset I disliked Kunstmatrix and its like; they are clunky to use, resemble online kitchen showrooms and come at a significant ongoing cost. Instead, I’m using my own images (taken this weekend) of the site around Leeds Canal Basin and Photoshop skills to add in my own images and photo-posters to the scene. On top of shooting, this was about a couple of days work.

The technical approach in Photoshop for placement of project images into the site images was complex and varied between composites. Tools used included:

  • Transform
  • Vanishing point filter
  • Blend-if settings
  • Displacement filter
  • Noise and blur filters.

Having completed the composite images, I worked through some iterations of presentation on the www.leedsandliverpool.co.uk website. I settled on one where images enjoy maximum screen space, allowing for clear viewing, including on mobile devices. Adobe Portfolio can be a little tricky to understand at first with layout as many of the spacing controls are adjusted as part of the text / block settings and are not always easy to find – however, familiarity helps!

Portfolio is not a blogging platform, so I’ve included a link to a ‘visitor book’ that I’ll place on my fitzgibbonphotography.com website. I’ve separately looked at ‘guest book’ plugins for WordPress, which I’ll write about separately.

The finished exhibition can be seen at https://leedsandliverpool.co.uk/exhibitions.

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WeAreOCA featured article

Feature image from article

I was pleased to have an article on my ‘work experience’ featured in the WeAreOCA blog – I wrote the article mainly to share the benefits of researched-based work experience to other mature students, but also as a thankyou to the bloggers I interviewed by sharing their blogs to the OCA audience.

https://www.oca.ac.uk/weareoca/photography/researching-the-photography-industry-the-blogger/

I’ve also shared the link (and full research paper) with the bloggers I interviewed as part of the research.

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A4: initial preparation

A4 requires a final draft of work together with the promotional materials. The guidance explains that what is sent will depend on the form of publication and that it must provide a good sense of how I envisage it being presented. Examples are: page layouts; print sequences; installation maquette/sketch; recce shots; web page previews.

Also required for submission are:

  • artist’s statement about the work.
  • artist’s biography.
  • A press release for the publication.
  • Any other promotional material or evidence of promotional activity .
  • Any strategies for assessing footfall and collating audience feedback.

I’ve previously discussed with my tutor that the work is unlikely to be resolved (in the form of a site specific exhibition) prior to completion of the module and that the assignment would therefore be in the form of a mock-up for the site-specific element. A2 already considered in detail how the work will be resolved and its evolution from the BoW, however additional work is required on the presentation aspects, particularly the representation of the work as a mock-up in a site specific location. I already have accumulated significant evidence of promotional activity and also need to consider how to present that. Another presentational element is how to present the website designed for to show the work online – just sharing a URL seems insufficient.

I’ll record my workings / experiments for this assignment in part 4’s research/preparation section of my blog.

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AoP Final Year Show

screen grab from www.the-aop.org

I am pleased to have my work featured in the OCA’s final year show with the Association of Photographers (https://www.the-aop.org/what-s-on/student-final-year-shows-2021/oca). The show is also being shared on the AOP’s instagram feed but feature the cover image only, so unlikely to result in any useful viewings of my project.

It is useful publicity for the OCA, who feature prominently, and there was no cost involved in the submission, apart from the time volunteered to assist in pulling the submission together and submitting it, which I think was appreciated by the others involved.

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No news

It’s been about a month since I emailed a number of sites requesting the use of canal-side space to show my large-scale poster-prints. Aside from a response from the printer, who are considering if they can sponsor the print costs, there has been silence. I’ve sent follow up emails and will look for other potential possibilities. However, I do note that these organisations are only just reawakening after Covid-19 and suspect that many staff are at least partially furloughed. I also see that the Burnley Canal Festival has again been cancelled for 2021, as has the Skipton Canal Festival – because of the uncertainties about large gatherings.

It is seeming increasingly unlikely that there will be an opportunity for a site specific show this season. I’ll move forward with the idea of a virtual show (not Kuntsmatrix!) and research how I might manage that technically.

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A3: Assignment | tutor submission

Introduction

This assignment required research on an aspect of the photography industry, informed by primary research (i.e. direct contact with practitioners) as well as other resources. The aims are to:

  • Gain an in-depth knowledge of a particular complementary role and/or the roles and responsibilities of a particular type of photographer.
  • Understand how the role fits into the broader economy and/or arts community.
  • Understand the duties and responsibilities of a particular role, including any conflicts of interest there may be with other professionals.
  • Continue to build your professional network.

The research

I choose to research the photography blog by video interviewing 3 bloggers and exchanging emails with a fourth (who was a no show for the video interview), as well as researching academic and popular materials. My research materials will compiled and annotated in Zotero and accompanied a few posts in the ‘research section’ for this assignment – https://syp.fitzgibbonphotography.com/category/part-3/p3-research/. I’ve added a Zotero bibliography to this to complement the references included in the article.

My self-assessment of the work, prior to tutor submission is here.

The assignment

A pdf of my article is attached …

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A3: research bibliography

I’ve included references in my A3 research document, but not a lengthy bibliography for what is a short article. For reference, I’ve included a condensed bibliography here (extracted from Zotero).

1000 Words (s.d.) At: https://www.1000wordsmag.com/ (Accessed 16/06/2021).Advertising Standards Authority, Committee of Advertising Practice (s.d.) New Platforms, Same Protections. At: https://www.asa.org.uk/news/blog-new-platforms-same-protections.html (Accessed 16/06/2021).Ambrozy, L. et al. (2011) Ai Weiwei’s Blog: Writings, Interviews, and Digital Rants, 2006-2009. Cambridge, UNITED STATES: MIT Press. At: http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ucreative-ebooks/detail.action?docID=3339222 (Accessed 16/06/2021).Amy Stein | Photography | Blog (s.d.) At: http://amysteinphoto.blogspot.com/ (Accessed 16/06/2021).Blog | Martin Parr (s.d.) At: https://www.martinparr.com/blog/ (Accessed 16/06/2021).Blog — Photograd (s.d.) At: https://www.photograd.co.uk/blog (Accessed 16/06/2021).Broughton, J. (2021) Janet Broughton (definitelydreaming.com) blogger interviewer. [Zoom] 12/07/2021 At: https://youtu.be/JN6f6usyKUABroughton, J. (s.d.) Definitely Dreaming. At: https://definitelydreaming.com/ (Accessed 12/07/2021).Cambridge in Colour (s.d.) At: https://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials.htm (Accessed 16/06/2021).carole evans (s.d.) At: https://www.caroleevans.co.uk/ (Accessed 16/06/2021).Caruana, N. and Fox, A. (2012) Behind the Image: Research in Photography. Huntingdon, GBR, SWITZERLAND: Bloomsbury Publishing. At: http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ucreative-ebooks/detail.action?docID=4636413(Accessed 16/06/2021).Cohen, K. R. (2005) ‘What does the photoblog want?’ In: Media, Culture & Society 27 (6) pp.883–901.Crestodina, A. (2014) How often should I blog? Blogging frequency and content strategy. At: https://www.orbitmedia.com/blog/how-often-should-blog/ (Accessed 28/07/2021).Eira, A. (2020) Number of Tumblr Blogs in 2021/2022: User Demographics, Growth, and Revenue. At: https://financesonline.com/number-of-tumblr-blogs/ (Accessed 29/07/2021).Ellyn Kail (2020) 9 Artist and Photographer website builders you should know. At: https://www.featureshoot.com/2020/11/9-artist-and-photographer-website-builders-you-should-know/ (Accessed 16/06/2021).Farace, J. (2014) ‘Photographing the world around us: fine art photography websites’ In: Shutterbug 43 (5) 03/2014 p.26+.Feature Shoot (s.d.) At: https://www.featureshoot.com/ (Accessed 16/06/2021).Flickr Turns 10: The Photo-Sharing Site’s Rise, Fall and Revival | Time (s.d.) At: https://time.com/6855/flickr-turns-10-the-rise-fall-and-revival-of-a-photo-sharing-community/ (Accessed 27/07/2021).Flickr Turns 10: The Rise, Fall and Revival of a Photo-Sharing Community (s.d.) At: https://time.com/6855/flickr-turns-10-the-rise-fall-and-revival-of-a-photo-sharing-community/ (Accessed 27/07/2021).Format Team (2021) 23 Photography Blogs To Bookmark Right Now. At: https://www.format.com/magazine/resources/photography/photography-blogs (Accessed 16/06/2021).Garden, M. (2012) ‘Defining blog: A fool’s errand or a necessary undertaking’ In: Journalism 13 (4) pp.483–499.Gunelius, S. (2018) Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing for Business. Irvine: Entrepreneur Press.Hotshoe – International photography magazine (s.d.) At: http://hotshoemagazine.com/ (Accessed 16/06/2021).How Many Blogs Are There? (And 141 Other Blogging Stats) (2021) At: https://growthbadger.com/blog-stats/ (Accessed 18/06/2021).Humans of New York (s.d.) At: https://www.humansofnewyork.com/ (Accessed 16/06/2021).Internet Live Stats – Internet Usage & Social Media Statistics (s.d.) At: https://www.internetlivestats.com/ (Accessed 18/06/2021).Johnny Mobasher (2021) Jonny Mobasher (streetphotography.com). 10/07/2021Merrill, B. (s.d.) Blogging Masterclass: How To Build A Successful Blog In 2021. [Online training course Udemy [online]]. At: https://www.udemy.com (Accessed 15/06/2021).Miller, J. A. (2021) ‘Opinion | Social media addiction: how social media companies function like casinos’ In: UWIRE Text10/02/2021 p.1.Momus (2003) Photoblogging. At: http://imomus.com/photoblogging.html (Accessed 13/07/2021).Nick G. (2019) 29 Shocking Blogging Statistics. Is Blogging Dead in 2021?. At: https://techjury.net/blog/blogging-statistics/ (Accessed 18/06/2021).O’Dell, J. (2013) Blogging for Photographers: Explore Your Creativity and Build Your Audience. Abingdon, UNITED KINGDOM: Taylor & Francis Group. At: http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ucreative-ebooks/detail.action?docID=1659194 (Accessed 16/06/2021).best-of, A. V. et al. (2021) Stats & insights from the websites of the world’s top 100+ photographers. At: https://www.foregroundweb.com/photography-website-statistics/ (Accessed 18/06/2021).Ofcom (2020) UK’s internet use surges to record levels. At: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/about-ofcom/latest/media/media-releases/2020/uk-internet-use-surges (Accessed 29/07/2021).On Landscape (s.d.) At: https://www.onlandscape.co.uk/ (Accessed 16/06/2021).Photograd (s.d.) At: https://www.photograd.co.uk/ (Accessed 16/06/2021).Robin Whalley (2021) Robin Whalley, blogging interview. [Zoom] 06/07/2021 At: https://youtu.be/cpquUgXUb6MRobin Whalley (s.d.) Lenscraft. At: https://lenscraft.co.uk/ (Accessed 16/06/2021).Samur, A. (2018) The History of Social Media: 29+ Key Moments. At: https://blog.hootsuite.com/history-social-media/(Accessed 29/07/2021).Sandra Roussy (2018) 47 Best Photography Blogs in the World. At: https://www.photoblog.com/learn/best-photography-blogs/ (Accessed 16/06/2021).Shutter Hub (s.d.) At: https://shutterhub.org.uk/ (Accessed 16/06/2021).Stein, A. (2011) Amy Stein | Photography. At: http://amysteinphoto.blogspot.com/2011/07/how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love.html (Accessed 16/06/2021).Steve McCurry | Photographer (s.d.) At: https://stevemccurry.com/ (Accessed 16/06/2021).Street Photography (s.d.) At: https://streetphotography.com/ (Accessed 16/06/2021).Take a Look Back at Instagram’s First Posts, Six Years Ago (s.d.) At: https://time.com/4408374/instagram-anniversary/(Accessed 27/07/2021).The Bigger Picture | Smithsonian Institution Archives (s.d.) At: https://siarchives.si.edu/blog (Accessed 16/06/2021).The Photo Argus (s.d.) At: https://www.thephotoargus.com/inspiration/ (Accessed 16/06/2021).Wang, H. (2020) 121 Blogging Statistics for 2020. At: https://getcodeless.com/blogging-statistics/ (Accessed 18/06/2021).

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A3: industry research | self-assessment

I’ve made this evaluation against the ‘assessment criteria’, rather than the ‘learning outcomes’ documented in the course material. I suppose the course material will eventually be updated to reflect the more recently introduced assessment criteria. In the meantime, taking this approach will avoid a remapping exercise when it comes to assessment submission.

For this assignment, I decided to complete industry research on the photography blogger, rather than seek work experience (for which I may be a little long in the tooth). I interviewed 3 bloggers by video and exchanged emails with a fourth – details are in the written assignment.

Creativity 20%
Make creative decisions in the resolving of a body of work that employs appropriate media and techniques articulating a personal creative voice.

In the context of Covid-19, online space has become more important and physical space at a premium with a backlog of artists waiting to show work. I decided to research the role of the blog in the photography industry to help develop my own practice in disseminating work online and finding an audience for it. Part of resolving my body of work involves creating a micro-site and linking to that through my personal blog.

I approach bloggers for interview, looking for individuals that covered some of the ‘types’ of blog that I’d identified in my research – this allowed me to understand different perspectives. The assignment requirement was to just interview one person.

Presentation and Outcomes 40%
Articulate and synthesise ideas and research in the presentation of a body of work to an audience.

This research into blogging in the photographic industry has helped support the presentation of my own work online. On the back of it, I plan to make additional use of blog posts to help explain and communicate my work. In particular the idea of using ‘channels’ to bring viewers to the work.

Professional context 20%
Independent dissemination of a personal creative voice. Articulate independent judgements and identify opportunities for professional and or personal development.

During the research process, I communicated and conducted interviews with three professional bloggers (unfortunately the 4th blogger was a no show on a couple of occasions). This allowed me to refine my online presentation technology set up to incorporate a condenser mic and headphones to cut down background noise, as well as gain experience of video interviewing.

In writing the article, there was the opportunity to further develop an academic voice and reflect on how that might be different from the voice of blogging – a voice that recognises most readers will skim blog posts. I intend to write a ‘blog’ version of the article.

Knowledge 20%
Demonstrate comprehensive critical knowledge, understanding and reflection of relevant techniques and theoretical context(s) emerging from your outcomes

Good use of academic research incorporated with popular materials in preparing the article. I continue to make use of the Zotero platform for collecting research materials, annotating them, and incorporating citations into written work.

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Blogger interviews – Johnny Mobasher / Janet Broughton

This is a brief note to record that further blogger interviews took place, again using Zoom but with the improvements to my set-up identified during the first interview.

Johnny Mobasher – www.streetphotography.com was interviewed on 10 July and Janet Broughton of www.definitelydreaming.com on 12 July. I have transcribed the interview notes and filed them in my Zotero folder with other resources to prepare the written paper on photography blogging.

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A2: tutorial and amendments to proposal (superseded)

NOTE – post superseded as formal feedback was not completed by my previous tutor and additional feedback has been obtained from my new tutor. See A2: Tutorial and re-Feedback (new tutor)

My video tutorial on 14 July was positive and encouraging. A few minor adjustments were suggested for my proposal, but otherwise it was confirmed that it achieves what is required.

The main adjustments made were :

  • Explain more about the justification for using a site-specific location, rather than a gallery space; for example stats for foot fall in outdoor spaces vs galleries and its perceived accessibility. This I’ve done with some footfall statistics, comparing Liverpool’s Albert Dock (outdoor space where the extended Leeds & Liverpool Canal ends) and The Open Eye Gallery (photography gallery, just off Albert Dock).
  • Include a mock-up of the display and also consider the merits of a simple contextual panel that would explain the work to the public. There is already a mock-up of the poster-print in the proposal, which will be extended into an in situ mock-up for A4 (discussed some ideas about this during the tutorial). I thought about a contextual panel and decided it would be difficult to include along side posters attached to canal-side railings. However, on reflection there is also substantial contextual information included on the project website, which viewers would access through the QR codes on the posters.
  • Include additional references to reading to emphasise academic rigour. I have done this for the purposes of the OCA presentation. However, I had in mind that the anticipated reader of the proposal (for example a site owner) would not necessarily be interested in academic references but everyday language and practicalities.

I attach the updated proposal here for reference, with a note to myself to look into how updates/reworks are managed within the OCA VLE.

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AOP student awards – finalist!

I was delighted to be selected as one of 20 finalists in places category of the AOP’s graduate awards for 2021. My work was featured in the video announcing the awards (YouTube link).

Drifting by the Leeds & Liverpool (at approx 5:28 mins)

A video link to my work is also featured on the AOP’s website as a selected finalist:

Featured at: https://www.aopawards.com/awards/student-awards/
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Outdoor exhibition email requests

I had hoped to get feedback on A2 before proceeding with these but my tutor is unresponsive at the moment and I need to push ahead with what will undoubtedly be a long process.

The attached pdf includes text of emails send to:

  • Printed.com – for print cost sponsorship
  • The National Waterways Museum – for exhibition space (the museum is part of the Canal & River Trust)
  • The Super Slow Way – for exhibition space – an arts organisation connected with the cross-Pennine stretch of the canal (appear to be funded by The CRT also)
  • Leeds BID – business improvement organisation, with a remit of drawing visitors into the city (including outdoor art exhibitions).
  • Liverpool BID – business improvement organisation, with a remit of drawing visitors into the city (including outdoor art exhibitions).
  • Skipton BID – business improvement organisation, with a remit of drawing visitors into the town (including outdoor art exhibitions).

The emails explore the idea of supporting both an outdoor exhibition and locations for outdoor screenings.

Attached to each was a mock-up of my outdoor photo-poster that is planned for outdoor exhibition spaces – this would be printed A0 size, with 3 image variations.

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Robin Whalley – blogger interview 6.7.21 / Zoom interviewing

It was a pleasure to interview Robin Whalley, who runs the blogs ‘thelightweightphotographer’ and ‘lenscraft’. The interview was conducted and recorded over Zoom. I’ve written up notes and placed them in my Zotero folder for reference when it comes to writing the 2000 word essay for the assignment. Here, I make a few observations on process / things to consider for upcoming interviews

  1. I used my free zoom account and was slightly concerned that it would not allow enough time / feel awkward having to ask RW to call back in. However, despite a free-ranging interview, 30 minutes was more than sufficient (with the 40 minute limit).
  2. I asked RW permission to record the interview to help with my note taking (not for it to be published) – this is useful for my records and I’ve uploaded to YouTube as a private video and linked in Zotero.
  3. Auto-transcribe of the video was problematic, even with the free/demo offerings of major players. I think this is down to the quality of the sound (my voice in particular – more on that below) and the transcription was of UK regional accents. However, the transcription I downloaded from ‘otter’ was useful as very rough notes that allowed me to then write up key points for later use in the essay.
  4. Zoom set up – for convenience I’d just used the webcam that sits on my monitor for sound. It might work for contributing to group discussions etc but the sound quality was poor for recording an interview. After the interview, I’ve set up my condenser mic for Zoom calls, adjusted Zoom’s advanced audio settings for background noise and echo and routed the output sound to headphones so that is not also creating echo in the room. I’ve tested this set up and the sound quality is significantly improved.

Next, I need to send reminders to the others who agree to be interviewed, as they’ve not come back with convenient times / dates. I’m going to aim for next week.

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Starting out: Ask Nadav Kander

On 6th July, I attended a live interview with Nadav Kander, hosted by the AOP as part of their ‘starting out’ sessions for new graduates. The AOP intend to put a video of the session online at some time. Points of interest to me:

  • NK’s unusual dimensions for his Thames work were discussed on the back of a student question relating to consistency of image sizes (ie being told they should stick to a consistent format for a series). NK was dismissive of this ideology and believes it should be what ever is right for the images – he described his experimental working process. He did however observe that he ‘hates’ the 35mm format as it is neither long nor square!
  • NK talked at length about the balancing personal work/intent with commercial pressures. He referred to the notion of an ‘inner core’ or core strength carrying an idea of who you are and what you want to do and are not willing to do. Suggesting that this is nurtured and developed, for example by looking at the way books are put together / questioning why one doesn’t like something and having a clear idea of the reasons. ‘Commit to who you are’.
  • NK discussed his portraiture and mentioned he disliked the idea of ‘relaxing the subject’ – who wants to look at a relaxed subject; it is not interesting. Is that idea extendable to all types of portrait photos – I suspect not for images that are more informational, headshots for example. But therein lies a distinguishing feature of a portrait versus an informational shot.
  • For commmercial work, NK mentioned that being represented by an agent is important, particularly as there is not much work shot in the UK. He also suggested not having a website too early, as there is only one shot at making a first impression.
  • Above all NK emphasised the importance of ‘make great work’.
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Research: the blogger’s email list

If a blogger’s motivation includes selling anything – art or services for example, an effective way of building a mailing list is important. It becomes a list of contacts that can be nurtured and owned by the blogger, independent of any other channels they might use. It is a more intimate form of communication than social media. The list can be moved by the owner – they are not platform dependent.

I’ve done some practical research into this by looking at free mailing list services, registering with one and putting it into action. I chose MailChimp as its free option is generous and would probably suffice for many artists, without any need to add admin overhead costs apart from time! The main limitation of the free offering seems to be the requirement to use a MailChimp url and no access to some of the more sophisticated marketing tools the platform offers.

Some of what I discovered through implementing MailChimp at a basic level (MC):

  • It is not immediately obvious how to work with it and there’s a range of terminology that needs to be learned. However, there is useful help on the site. It does require a significant investment of time to implement.
  • Integrating with WordPress (.org only) to allow a mailing list pop-up requires an edit of the site code to insert MC code, unless one pays for a premium plugin. However, the edit is not difficult with the right safety measures. Pop-up functionality does not appear to be available on some of the more plug&play type hosting platforms (eg Adobe Portfolio).
  • However, you don’t need to use a pop-up – html blogs and hyperlinks are also available to route viewers to a mailing list sign in. It is also possible to design and set up ‘landing pages’ for different mail campaigns from within MC. You upload your own images to a ‘creative studio’ and design online.
  • The application has a workflow logic that allows automation of emails – for example a ‘welcome email’ once someone has signed up. Or using the concept of segments (or tags for finer detail) within your ‘audience’ for specific campaigns.

Example of landing page in MailChimp (created by Andrew Fitzgibbon): https://mailchi.mp/9f42381d4911/sign-up-to-news-from-fitzgibbon-photography

It is clear that setting up an running a successful mailing list would take considerable time and perseverance. And there is much more to it than just mechanics – understanding and building a marketing strategy, being aware of the law and spam email / email permissions, advertising standards requirements and so on. Susan Gunelius’s book Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing for Business (2018, Irvine: Entrepreneur Press.) covers in detail the various aspect of email marketing.

My conclusion from practical research and reading around email marketing is that significant effort is involved to do it well. This is time above and beyond creating work – one might begin to wonder how long is left for creating work for the photographer who is also an active blogger!

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Re-reading the dissertation

I’ve spent the past months finding alternative words to describe my project – non academic and accessible, press friendly. A fellow student asked if I’d published the dissertation anywhere, as they’d be interested in reading it. This prompted me to re-read it again and publish it here. I’d avoided publishing it prior to assessment because of concerns about plagiarism/self-plagiarism – I’m unclear whether there is any basis in them, but I chose to err on the side of caution! The dissertation is attached here …

By now, I feel that I’ve been thinking about the canal for too long and found it difficult to settle to read the dissertation yet again, after all the editing and re-editing it went through. Though I can feel how I’ve absorbed the thinking and how that’s been helpful when thinking about making press releases and discussing the work in interviews.

I am reminded of what seemed a short number of words to express a breadth of ideas in my own voice, while at the same time demonstrating critical engagement with relevant theorists. I also have a sense of regret at lost time following what was generally accepted as a poorly constructed version of a CS course. If it wasn’t for the online tutor-lead video sessions, I might still be twisting myself in knots even now! On the positive side, I did learn how to approach academic research in the arts (something alien in my numbers and business-based background) and am still using Zotero as a research tool now, even for non-academic work.

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Blogger interview requests

I’ve spent most of the day with my nose against the screen researching photography blogs. Interestingly, I found a PhD dissertation on the UCA library from 2003, which already seems hopelessly out of date given the pace of change in the digital domain! Part of the research was to unpick the various types of photography blogs now online and select a few to interview. The selection was based on authors who I have a chance of making a genuine connection with, who cover a range of blog types. I’ve initially emailed three, bloggers for the research, with an email tailored specifically to each of them in the hope of increasing my chances of a response – it is not a question of ‘just sending a quick email’!

The three I’ve approached are: Robin Whalley (a landscape photographer, who also sells lessons, books and products through his blog); Carole Evans (an artist and academic, who shares and promotes her own work through her blog); and streetphotography.com (a longstanding community based blog that appears to be driven more by a passion for the subject rather than any attempt at financial reward).

I’ve asked all for telephone or video interviews in the first place, as I would like some interaction rather than using email correspondence. I’ll revisit next week in the hope of progress, or the need to cast my net again.

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The Mechanics of the Blog

Udemy screen shot

For part three of the course, as industry research, I will examine the photography blog. I’ve hosted my own WordPress blogs over a number of years for student learning logs and basic portfolio sites, but not analysed the blog as part of a business activity. To help with this I’ve taken a short Udemy Course, Blogging Masterclass: How To Build A Successful Blog In 2021 (Brad Merrill on Udemy; https://www.udemy.com/share/1022YoCEoecVhQR3w=/). It has helped in preparing to interview professional bloggers as part of my own research.

Some outline questions I will consider during interviews are built around areas covered in the course material:

  • Tell me about your blog
  • Why did you start your blog?
  • How did you deal with the technical aspects of setting up your website?
  • What is your approach to content creation? [sufficient new content, reader interest, types of content]
  • How do you approach promoting your blog? [eg social media, mailing lists, guest blogging]
  • How do you sustain your blog – what is the business idea behind it? [selling a service, providing news, advertising platform]
  • What one piece of advice would you give to anyone starting a blog?

I’ve generally kept the questions open to encourage a dialogue, with the exception of the final question. Seven questions feels like a manageable number to cover – I think requesting a 30 minute interview is possible, but much longer could be off-putting.

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Photographer website update

In addition to my www.leedsandliverpool.co.uk project website, I’ve developed a photographer website, www.fitzgibbonphotography.com. With over 50% (https://www.statista.com/statistics/277125/share-of-website-traffic-coming-from-mobile-devices/) of website traffic coming from mobile devices, having a mobile friendly site is important. I’d received a few warnings from the Google Search Consol that my site has some problems for mobile traffic (eg images too wide, text too small).

As part of my industry research, I’ve looked at a number of photographer websites and found that many are not mobile friendly – I would prefer visitors to look at my images on a larger screen and suspect others would too. On the back of this, I spent half a day updating my website to ensure that it is mobile friendly. I use WordPress.org with a Photocrati theme. This involved adjusting display widths and editing content to ensure text does not overwhelm images on smaller devices. It also required configuring of the menu for mobile devices and the Nextgen gallery displays to ensure they fit well on mobile devices.

The successful changes also give me more confidence when submitting work for bursaries or competitions that even if the submission is viewed on a mobile device, my website will display well.

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A2: self-evaluation

I’ve made this evaluation against the ‘assessment criteria’, rather than the ‘learning outcomes’ documented in the course material. I suppose the course material will eventually be updated to reflect the more recently introduced assessment criteria. In the meantime, taking this approach will avoid a remapping exercise when it comes to assessment submission.

I completed this self-evaluation when I had a final draft of my assignment and made minor adjustments to it based on my reflections here.

Creativity 20%
Make creative decisions in the resolving of a body of work that employs appropriate media and techniques articulating a personal creative voice.

My work reflects the grittier side of life along a deindustrialised waterway, therefore placing it indoors on white walls in a traditional gallery setting would seem incongruous. On the back of the pandemic, there are practical issues in finding gallery space with the huge backlog of artists waiting to exhibit. Therefore, I am planning for outdoor exhibitions with prints made on weatherproof PVC sheeting. The prints will be poster-like with a slogan encouraging viewers to engage with the environment of the waterway and to watch my film on mobile devices, through a QR code scan.

Presentation and Outcomes 40%
Articulate and synthesise ideas and research in the presentation of a body of work to an audience.

In this case, the audience for my proposal is my tutor. I believe the presentation is thorough and gives all the information needed to understand and assess the proposal within the 2000 word limit. It reflects my research on audience engagement and costing proposals, including the notion of ‘in-kind’ costs. It is built around the idea of ‘partnering’ in order to fund the costs of an outdoor exhibition.

Professional context 20%
Independent dissemination of a personal creative voice. Articulate independent judgements and identify opportunities for professional and or personal development.

The proposal involves negotiating display sites and sponsorship for photoposter costs – making the most of the opportunity to engage in the development of my professional practice in the commercial environment. It also involves seeking publicity through regional media outlets and other channels for publicising work, such as film and photo competitions.

Knowledge 20%
Demonstrate comprehensive critical knowledge, understanding and reflection of relevant techniques and theoretical context(s) emerging from your outcomes

The proposal demonstrates a solid knowledge of work proposals, including objective setting, technical specifications, timelines and costings. Articulated in businesslike language, avoiding the use of artistic jargon that may alienate many non-arts based readers of the proposal.

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Prints for outdoors

I’m intending to release my project in part through a site-based installation and have been researching print options. https://www.printed.com customer services were helpful through online chat and also offer a 15% student discount (I’ve applied for that). I will also think about applying to them to sponsor the installation by providing print materials for free / at a deeper discount, in return for their logo on the prints.

There are a couple of print options of interest – 450gsm pvc poster with eyelets and 3mm foamex. The cost of the poster is considerable less (£25 for a single unit, but unit costs quickly decrease with the number ordered), vs £45 for foamex. There are options for both in A0 size – I could do test prints in smaller sizes. Another cost consideration is the more different designs, the greater the cost. This has a bearing on including different sponsors’ logos for different locations. For example 3 posters with different images and different with a sponsor’s logo would attract the full unit cost.

I’m attracted to the idea of posters as I can envisage them tied to the railings that are often near canals in urban areas. I saw a similar format many years ago in Warsaw.

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Google Analytics & Adobe Portfolio

Screen grab from Adobe Portfolio settings

I found that Google Analytics was not tracking activity on my www.leedsandliverpool.co.uk website despite having followed the set up instructions provided. This means I’d missed tracking activity around my newspaper publicity events, though at least video viewings and impressions have been captured within Vimeo.

Some research on fixing the issue, suggested deleting the analytics property in the Google account, creating a fresh one (with a new tracking ID) and using this to populate the Portfolio settings. Thankfully this worked – from 6 June, I have tracking for my website traffic.

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Audience / community engagement

There is an arts language around communicating the ‘reach’ of work when applying for funding. The OCA course material points at an article that is long out of date (2013) and event the update of the article in the same year has been amended to redirect to more recent information on the subject. Interestingly none of the articles deal in general or specific terms ways of measuring online engagement. Here, I make brief notes on the area, including the measurement of online engagement.

The OCA recommended article (and its follow on) are at: https://www.artsjournal.com/engage/2013/01/outreach-and-audience-engagement/ and https://www.artsjournal.com/engage/2013/01/new-thought/, both by USA based Doug Borwick on his own blog. Points of note:

  • ‘Outreach’ was a term used when referring to audience engagement and it can have ‘paternalistic’ overtones by othering the audience / implying they somehow need to be saved. I reminds me of the dreadful expression ‘just reach out to me’ [if you need anything], which makes me think of an elevated messiah before the crowds. It is a term, therefore that I will avoid using.
  • Borwick uses the terms audience and community engagement, pointing out that in essence they are about relationship building, whether through artist talks, or taking art to new population centres or venues. He also discusses the importance of using familiar cultural idioms to talk about work with audiences, rather than using jargon that will be unfamiliar to many. A point sadly lost or ignored by many artists who insist on the use of obscure language.
  • In his follow up article, Borwick discusses the ideas of ‘community engagement’, differentiating it from the traditional focus on individual relationship to building a relationship with communities (of individuals) – suggesting that the well-being of communities is important. This idea has current currency and is the type of language used by the UK Arts Council now.

A more recent article (https://www.artsengaged.com/engagement-essentials#Definitions) by Borwick is entitled, ‘Community Engagement is Not Giving Them What We Think They Want.’ (s.d). In this, he observes that ‘community engagement’ has been used as a platitude over the past decade and that communities can immediate detect when it is insincere (ie going through the motions to attract funding). Berwick describes detailed steps for effective community engagement, emphasising that it needs to be a genuine value for arts organisation to be effective. He usefully suggests that the acid question is ‘who is doing what for whom and why?’.

Communication an relationships have increasingly moved online (the Pandemic has only served to further accelerate this), so I briefly consider the measurement of that kind of engagement through ‘analytics’.

I’ve hosted my video on Vimeo and the paid version gives access to analytics on engagement with the video. Vimeo’s guide on use of analytics is here https://vimeo.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/224820247-Analytics-overview, with a more detailed description and definitions here – https://vimeo.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/115004386887-Video-Manager-analytics-panel. There is a distinction between ‘impressions’ and ‘views’, with the former measuring how many times a video was loaded to a page/device but not necessarily played, and the latter, how many times it was viewed. In turn views are analysed in terms of percentage complete and so on. I intend to share my own statistics as part of the measurement of audience engagement.

Google Analytics provides a way of measuring engagement with websites – including those hosted on Adobe Portfolio, like my www.leedsandliverpool.co.uk microsite. It requires some setting up and registration with Google – it doesn’t just happen automatically and the tracking history only begins from when analytics is set up. That is, it doesn’t just happen as it does for paid Vimeo accounts and requires administrative time and effort. Google provide a free online course for anyone wanting to understand its analytics capabilities – https://analytics.google.com/analytics/academy/course/6. I plan to take this after muddling my way through for a while, then loosing my analytics account when having a clear out of old gmail accounts!

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Support in kind

The OCA course materials discuss budgeting for projects. While, as an accountant, budgeting is more than familiar to me, the idea of ‘support in kind’ in the context of match funding in grant applications is less familiar. I make a few research notes here.

The concept is straightforward – the cash value of ‘support in kind’ is the difference between the market value of the materials / service on one hand and the amount paid for their use in the project. So, if they are introduced to the project at no cost, the value of support in kind would be the full market value. However, there are apparently specific conditions, depending the grant application. For example, The Arts Council have a specific policy that defines support in kind (https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/funded-activities/finance) – importantly, it excludes from support in kind any costs incurred prior to the making of a grant.

Therefore, the timing of grant applications is critical, particularly when an artist is including their own time and other resources in the project.

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Funding research

The OCA course material suggests some potential sources of funding for artists.  I’ve compiled a collection of book marks in my browser and followed the funders on social media / email updates. Here I make some short notes.

The Arts Council – offer grants between £2000 and £10000, with application windows open at various times during the year. Only 1 successful or 2 rejected applications possible in each funding year. Noted that they have received 10 times the normal level of applications during the pandemic.

The Photographer’s Gallery is noted as a ‘regional development agency’ of the Arts Council – there doesn’t seem to be any mention of this connection on the TPG website, though they clearly fund some projects. Suggest they approach artists, rather than artists apply to them. London-centric organisation.

‘Partnership funding’ is funding through an organisation (charitable or commercial) that may see a mutual benefit through supporting a project. On the face of it, The Canal & River Trust are a candidate, but the aesthetic in my work doesn’t fit well with the CRT’s ‘life’s better by the water’ mantra. However, there are other waterway festivals/organisations with more of an arts focus, such as ‘superslowway.org’ that is based on the Lancashire Pennines. This could be a route to the funding of site-specific outdoor prints / access to an exhibition space. I have personal experience of working within a large multinational that funded arts projects, so am very familiar with the thinking and decision-making processes.

‘Foundations, awards and grants’ is a broad source of opportunities – often with specific outcomes in mind. For example, I’m currently looking to an RPS bursary for a new ‘environmentally’ focus project, which I’ll write about separately. I’m a member of Curator Space, which advertises opportunities and exhibitions. Though, ultimately to be successful for funding there needs to be a ‘what’s in it for the funder’ consideration – this was not something I had in mind when making my body of work; if it was, it would have needed to have represented a sanitised, up-beat version of life on the water!

‘Crowd funding’ is another popular option. I’ve seen a few students crowd funding their projects through fellow students and friends, with some success. The OCA material points to Peter Cox’s self-published landscape photography book – his website gives an interesting insight into the process of publishing what is essentially a ‘coffee table’ book of Irish landscape photographs. A product that many would be interested in (and apparently were). I suspect the OCA criteria would assess Peter Cox’s work as derivative and of little artistic interest. I also suspect the general public would not be interested in owning a coffee table book of a warts and all deindustrialised canal!

There is lots to think about here and to follow up with ongoing monitoring of opportunities. However, it is apparent that some routes of funding require a more commercial approach to making photographic work that has a broader appeal.

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Craven Arts publicity

Craven Arts, a network supporting artists in the Craven District of North Yorkshire and beyond, publicised my work on its Facebook page and Instagram feed. The FB page carries a photo not featured in the film because the newspaper requested an identifiable local image.

Screen shot of FB post

Text of Instagram post – in case embedded object (above) doesn’t function

craven_arts_skipton

Member Andrew Fitzgibbon (@thephotofitz) has produced a new body of photography work and short stills-film, narrated by Paul Butterworth (The Full Monty, Strike), titled ‘Drifting by the Leeds & Liverpool.’ 📷 The photographs were taken during a 127 mile psychogeographic wander 🚶🏼

Andrew describes the film as “A portrait of humanity’s everyday condition using traces in the landscape that mark possession, use and abuse along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. A poignant experience of absence, deindustrialisation, regeneration and the tranquility of water.” He wanted to show the waterway in its “complex everyday condition” and avoid “the often over-shared photos of pastoral scenes.”

As part of the project, Andrew is now welcoming contributors who would like to share their stories from the 200 year old waterway 💧 These stories will help to shape a photo book and exhibition of the photographs, and ultimately a portrait of life along the canal 🌿 

Learn more about the project, watch the film, and join the community of contributors at leedsandliverpool.co.uk 👈 You can view more examples of Andrew’s other work at fitzgibbonphotography.com

#contemporaryart#photography#stillsfilm#film#skiptonarts#cravenarts#skiptoncreative#craven#leedsandliverpool#canal#leedsandliverpoolcanal

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OCA East of England Regional Group presentation

I presented over Zoom to OCA East of England Regional Group on 29th May, along with Paul Butterworth (my film’s narrator and a painting student), who talked about the collaborative aspect of the work and collaboration in general. PDF of slides are attached.

Rather than just talk about Drifting …, I also talked a little about my journey in photography that brought me to the point of making the film. So the talk told some of my story as well as that of the making of the film. Following the talking, we streamed the film. It seemed to be well received and I received a pleasant thank you email from Sharon, who chairs the group, who reiterated that she didn’t want to say anything after watching the film but to just sit in silence reflecting upon what she had seen. An observation during Q&A was how the still images allowed greater participation in the scene than moving images, as people have time to look around the scenes.

From my perspective – unresolved technical challenges with zoom, though this time different. When sharing my screen, it became a full-screen so I could see nothing of what was showing in the chat or anyone waving to get my attention. Need to test and resolve this properly before my next outing. For the ‘my story’ part of the presentation, I could have shaped it around projects rather than individual images (or a series of images from projects), which could been more informative to talk to. I’ll consider reshaping for next time.

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Feature in the Craven Herald & Pioneer

Pleased to be featured in my local paper (covers Skipton and the Yorkshire Dales), following on from my press release and some email correspondence (https://www.cravenherald.co.uk/news/19335588.drifting-leeds-liverpool—tapestry-life-along-canal/). They asked for a local image for the article – the one provided didn’t feature in the film. The journalist, Lesley Tate, covered the story well, given the paper mostly seems to glorify and promote the local landscape (nothing wrong with that of course). A clean copy of the article is attached as a pdf.

The article is released online and will appear in next week’s paper edition. I was pleased to have received a comment on my ‘stories from the canal’ blog and a food bank donation within a day of the article going on line. I suspect there may be more engagement following the print edition.

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Feature in The Yorkshire Post

I was pleased to be featured in The Yorkshire Post following my earlier telephone interview and photo shoot with a press photographer (https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/heritage-and-retro/heritage/photographer-walks-entire-127-miles-of-leeds-liverpool-canal-to-create-film-on-its-story-3248006). A clean version of the text from the interview is attached as a text pdf.

A disappointment was the lack of link to my www.leedsandliverpool.co.uk website, which I plugged heavily in the interview and is prominent in my press release. However, on the plus side Google searches for ‘drifting by the leeds and liverpool’ and ‘andrew fitzgibbon photography’ both now fill the first pages of Google searches. There is of course, the benefit of being able to mention ‘as featured in The Yorkshire Post’ when discussing my work, which is the regional newspaper of the UK’s largest county!

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Submission to Pipeline Gallery virtual graduate exhibition

I received an alert for this opportunity through Curator Space. Pipeline seems to have an online only presence and is aim at students and emerging artists. It’s unclear exactly what the virtual space they are offering will look like and I notice they don’t have a stellar number of followers on Instagram. Nonetheless, one can never be sure where these opportunities might lead. PDF of submission is attached.

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Val Murray (Tea collaborative) feedback

Val contacted me after seeing my Drifting by … project in the Redeye Photographic Network newsletter – mainly to point me in the direction of work by the Tea collaborative group on the canal 20 years ago (http://www.teaweb.org/the-cut.html). However, I also took the opportunity to request some feedback from her, as an experienced artist who has a collaborated on exhibitions of performance based art. A PDF of the email exchange is attached.

Val commented that it is tricky to work with the range of different inputs in the film and suggests that my idea of disconnecting the elements might work well. Interestingly, she talks about how Tea worked and reflects, with hindsight, that their projects tended to be overloaded and she feels that less may have been more. Also that in some cases they made a completely new piece of work to document/share the performance, which she feels worked better.

Val’s comments have further encouraged me to think in the direction of producing a simplified output that is not so multilayered, or the existing layers are separated and presented differently.

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Paul Hill Feedback

I wrote to renowned photographer Paul Hill, whose work White Peak Dark Peak, has influenced my way of thinking about landscapes. Our correspondence is attached.

In summary, Paul thought there were some wonderful images of the canal but found the ‘commentary’ distracting as he felt it tells what is about to be seen. When I produced the video, this was by design as I originally found chance alignment in some parts distracting, by creating a mental hunt for other patterns of alignment.

Paul’s comments have prompted me to rethink an idea of showing the video alongside prints in an exhibition. Perhaps, just the ambient sounds could be playing? The video could be watched via a QR code on an info sheet? The narrative verses could be printed and displayed, with a QR code to listen to the spoken narrative.

All food for thought.

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Red Eye Photo Network – newsletter appearance

Having sent my press release to Red Eye Network, asking if they might help promote my work, I was please to see it featured in their newsletter (PDF attached).

On the back of this, I received an email from Val Murray (from the ‘Tea’ artists’ collective), directing me to a video work of theirs from twenty years ago – http://www.teaweb.org/the-cut.html. Usefully, this also connects through to a couple of arts organisations that are still going and might be worth approaching with my own work.

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