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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Impressions (number of loads to a page)
Loads (number of times video clicked to play)
Average percentage of video watched
Total time watched
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.
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.
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
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.
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.