Assignment 5 Rework: Research

Beautiful and Sublime:

The difference between the beautiful and the sublime is explained in this animated video:

Edmund Burke on the Sublime, BBC Radio 4


Beautiful is being pleasing to the senses, a view that is already known and seen like those presented in brochures, postcards or travel guides while Sublime evokes ideas, art and experience that are overwhelming.  It is similar to a black spot that represents a warning.  A spot with a set of characteristics such as a threatening place, fearful or broken bridges or overhanging trees.  Something that is far from calm and overwhelms you with fear that causes pain and danger.


The Pond by John Gossage:

The Pond is a troubled narrative landscape book by John Gossage that represents photographs taken around a pond in a messy wooded area at the edge of a city.  It contains black and white photographs that tell a story about a walk that begins near a pond and continues where you cannot go back.


Exhibition Talk:  A Conversation with Photographer John Gossage
Smithsonian American Art Museum (2012)


Terra Incognita by Andrea C Morley:

Andrea is a London based photographic artist.  Her work is an experimentation and an exploration of the interaction between physical and psychic geography through beautiful emotional expression.  She combines poetic metaphor and abstract description to create landscape art.



Bibliography / References:

Boxer, S. (2010).  Art review: John Gossage’s ‘The Pond’ at Smithsonian American Art Museum  [online]. The Washington Post. Available from:  [Accessed 11 November, 2017].

LensCulture (2017).  Andrea C Morley   [online].  LensCulture.  Available from: [Accessed 11 November, 2017].

Righthand, J. (2010).  Photographer John Gossage Reflects on “The Pond”  [online].  Available from:  [Accessed 11 November, 2017].




Assignment 5 Rework: The Absence of my Soul

I did a little re-editing to strengthen the series as my tutor suggested.  Two images from the original series has been replaced by another and the sequence has been changed.  Details can be found in the tutor feedback along with my comments, see here).


The Absence of my Soul


The Absence of my Soul by ©Ghada AlQassimi


The Absence of my Soul by ©Ghada AlQassimi


The Absence of my Soul by ©Ghada AlQassimi


The Absence of my Soul by ©Ghada AlQassimi


The Absence of my Soul by ©Ghada AlQassimi


The Absence of my Soul by ©Ghada AlQassimi


The Absence of my Soul by ©Ghada AlQassimi



A slower transition was suggested by my tutor for the slideshow, however this is not possible as with the WordPress slideshow, there is no option to change the speed of the transition of the slides.  Therefore, I am showing the slideshow in the speed available to show how the photographs look like after removing the portrait image and replacing it with the landscape one as in the tutor feedback, my tutor did not like the black mask that happen to appear on the sides of the frame of the portrait image.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.







Assignment 4 Rework: Harmony in Discord

As per to my tutor’s feedback, I have rethought the assignment’s title and changed it from (Double Cherry) to (Harmony in Discord) to reflect the theme of harmony and discord from the original writings by my daughters.  I have also removed four images and replaced them with another four to give the assignment more symmetry.

I have reshot the new four added images and replaced one of the images to a full length version which is image 5 here.

With the new title (Harmony in Discord), interpretation to the images is clearer than the previous title.  It explains the photographs more and thus I decided again not to add titles to every photo for the readers to figure out the rest.

Below is my final version of assignment 4:


Harmony in Discord








HQ0A3556 (modified)





Assignment 5: Tutor Feedback and Reflection

I have finally received my last feedback on assignment 5 and I am very pleased with my tutor’s comments.

Below is my tutor’s feedback for assignment 5 and my reflection in blue italics. For a PDF file of the original feedback please click here.

Overall Comments
Hi Ghada. This is a very considered and thoughtful project which is at once quite a radical departure from previous assignment work and a development and progression of ideas you have been working through during the whole course (e.g. the expression of grief following the loss of your grandmother).

This brings your work over the course unit to a fitting conclusion – you have really broadened your thinking and experimentation throught this course, and have, I believe, begun to develop your personal ‘voice’. Well done.

I will of course be happy to look over your re-work of this assignment and the previous one.

Assessment potential
I understand your aim is to go for the Photography Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, providing you commit yourself to the course, I believe you have the potential to pass at assessment. In order to meet all the assessment criteria, there are certain areas you will need to focus on, which I will outline in my feedback.

Feedback on assignment

  • You’ve used a range of focus shooting strategies to convey various aspects of emotional state, and this works much better than a more uniform approach.
  • The 2nd image appears to have a blue/cyan colour cast, which needs correcting.  I deliberately added the blue/cyan colour cast but I will reduce the effect a little.  Below is the before and after reducing the cast:
  • Does the portrait image work in the slideshow mode? Personally, I don’t think it does – the black mask on either side of the frame disrupts the flow and depth. See what else you think might work from your contact sheets… I’m happy to give a second opinion.

To fix this I decided to remove the portrait mode image which is number 4 in the series although I like it, and exchange it with a semi similar one in a landscape mode from my contact sheet.  Below is the portrait image and the one I decided to replace it with:

  • Also, a slightly slower transition is needed for the slideshow format – try it.

Unfortunately a slower transition could not be used as the WordPress slideshow that I used does not have this feature.

  • A little re-editing could help to strengthen the series. Try beginning the series with
    image 3 and see how the leads in. The first image might make for a more seamless
    stepping-stone towards the seascape?  See the rework here.
  • Image 5 is beautiful and I think your decision to use a muted colour palette (generally) suits the subdued mood and helps to convey its expression.
  • The image of the sea does, for me, jar a little because it seems the “odd one out”.
    Perhaps this is because the others are woodland scenes? Including one or two other images of a different type of landscape could be a solution, as long as the sense of atmosphere is maintained throughout. In fact, I think this approach would work very well conceptually because this work is more about the essence of space and being (or presence) than location or a straight representation of a place.

I will remove the image of the sea and I will be replacing it with the following image:

  • You’ve chose an challenging task in seeking to express an ‘interior state’ through the experience of being in the ‘great outdoors’. The viewer has a sense here of enjoyment of the external world being somehow muted.
  • Overall the idea has worked very well and this could be developed into a bigger and more sophisticated project at a later date.

You have pushed the exercise in ‘creating a still-life’ a step further by comparing and
contrasting the results from your professional DSLR and your iphone. You come to critical conclusions about both; essentially, quality versus convenience and ease of dissemination.

Research & Learning Log

  • Learning log has worked well for you.
  • Excellent to see that the Roland Barthes text was resonant and you were able to weave the ideas from this text into thinking through your own work.
  • You took inspiration from the work of Paul Gaffney and complemented this by looking into Miksang phototgraphy; this is a great way to broaden your arc of contextual research around your idea. More reference suggested below.
  • Assignment 4 still needs some reworking..?  The research and rework can be found under (Assignments/Assignment 4:  Image and Text/ Assignment 4:  Rework).  The final rework version of the assignment can be found here.

Suggested reading/viewing

  • Read: Sections on Landscape, Beauty and the Sublime in Photography: The Key
    Concepts by David Bate
  • Terra Incognita – by Andrea Morley
  • The Pond – John Gossage

Research can be found here.


  • Strong concept
  • Appropriate visual strategy
  • Informed by visual & theoretical research, building on themes from previous
    assignments (esp. A3)

Areas for Development

  • Re-editing/re-sequencing will help to strengthen the work
  • Research could be broadened


Assignment 4 Rework: Inspiration and Contact Sheet 2

In this photoshoot I was very much inspired by an Italian visual artist and photographer called Giuseppe Lo Schiavo.  The following photographs of his work (Ad Vivum) inspired me the most:


The series as Giuseppe Lo Schiavo describe it:

A combination of the classical aesthetic with a modern medium. I wanted to create portraits without explicit time references, chronologically uncertain. In those images, warm and cold colors are diffused and distributed through the subjects – in a similar manner as in the pictorial portraits – creating sculptures, motionless subjects, smooth and stiff like marble. The Latin name ‘ad vivum’ is taken from the engravings that some painters inserted under their paintings in order to specify that the painting was painted live.  __  Giuseppe Lo Schiavo


The photographs I took however must have harmony with the previous photographs of the assignment so I went for the bright bold colours to match.  Below is the contact sheet of the new photographs I took:

contact sheet2


From the contact sheet above I have chosen the ones I felt worked well and edited them on Photoshop to decide what to include in the finals:



Next, I have to decide on the final selections from this contact sheet and the previous one to add to the original series in assignment 4 in place of the ones I had to remove. I will also have to change the title and text of the assignment so the title fully reflect themes of harmony and discord from the original writings by my daughters as advised by my tutor.


Bibliography / References:

Giuseppe Lo Schiavo. Ad Vivum [online]. Giuseppe Lo Schiavo Art.  Available from:   [Accessed 30 September, 2017].

Assignment 4 Rework: Contact Sheet and Selections

I had to reshoot again for assignment 4 because there wasn’t any photograph from the contact sheet that I think can replace the ones I shot for the assignment and was asked to remove.

Below is the contact sheet of the new photoshoot for the rework of assignment 4:


Rework Contact


From the contact sheet above I have chosen the ones I liked and edited them on Photoshop to decide what to include in the finals:


rework contact finals


The photograph below I preferred the one in black and white more than the coloured version but because the series is all in colour; I had to go with colour:


Some ideas I had in mind didn’t work out quite well as expected but I had lots of fun working on them such as the one below:




In the next post I will be uploading more contact sheets from another photoshoot which I am thinking of doing before I decide on the final selections for the assignment 4 rework series.






Wendy McMurdo (Doppelgängers)

Wendy McMurdo is a British artist from Edinburgh, Scotland specialized in photography and digital media.  In her work “Doppelgängers”, McMurdo creates photographs of children who seem alienated from their environment by the use of multiple images of the same sitter.  She explains the idea of Doppelgängers in an interview with Sheila Lawson (April/May 1995):

“Freud’s text on the uncanny, written in 1919, is useful here. He attempts to describe the uncanny, defining it as arising from a number of fears or anxieties. In the case of these images, there are perhaps three major fears which result in a feeling of the uncanny. First, he states that the uncanny is aroused when we have ‘Doubts as to whether an apparently inanimate being is really alive’ (an anxiety as to the relationship between animism and mechanism — fear of the automaton); second, we fear the loss of sight (implied when we fear that only one of the real sitters is present, hence the rest must be sightless); and thirdly, we harbour a fear of what Freud describes as one of the most prominent themes of uncanniness, that is the idea of the double or Doppelgänger”.  __ Wendy McMurdo

Gilda Williams explains the meaning of a Doppelgänger:  “A Doppelgänger is a mythical monster of German folklore who randomly chooses an innocent person and pursues them in their shadows, observing their habits, appearances, expressions and idiosyncrasies.  As time passes the Doppelgängerstarts to look like his selected victim, behave like them, and eventually becomes and even replaces that person, without anyone noticing.  The word itself is made of two, derived from the German doppel (double) + ganger (a modification of gehen, ‘to go’)”. –  Gilda Williams – Identity Twins, The work of Wendy McMurdo.




I have been comparing my photographs of my assignment to these photographs of Wendy McMurdo especially the one tutor Jayne referred to as a promotional shot for IKEA see below:



My work sometimes ends up superficially commercial although I do not intend for it to be so because of the excessive garishness.  McMurdo’s work is more concerned about the space that surrounds her figure not the figure itself.  The gaze of her subject’s are never met which adds mystery to her work and the theatrical lighting used adds extra impact to her photographs.


Bibliography / References:

Lawson, S. (April/May 1995).  Dopplegangers  [online].   Wendy McMurdo. Available from: [Accessed 3 September, 2017].

Williams, G.  Identity Twins, The work of Wendy McMurdo [online]. Available from:   [Accessed 3 September, 2017].


Assignment 5: Reflection and Self Assessment


The photographs I took were mostly nature and landscape which to me a bit challenging as I am more into photographing people and creating portraits.  Landscape and nature are something I was trying to avoid most of the time when I have the chance to do portrait instead.  However, with this series the outcome is not just beautiful photographs of nature they are a representation of my feelings translated by nature.  The sad trees and forests, the lonely flowers, the irritating painful thorn of the trees etc. represent my feelings of loneliness, loss, depression, sadness and hurt after losing loved ones.

Some photographs were taken when the sun is almost down and others in daylight.  I played with colors using Photoshop mainly curves and selective colors and filters.


I decided to go with color instead of black and white which most people choose for this type of photography that is related to feelings of absence and sadness.  The reason is that I still feel lonely and sad despite seeing colors, not all colored photographs give the happy feeling, those with muted, subtle and foggy touches; can represent sadness.  I also wanted to encourage myself to work on color since I am more into black and white with this type of photography.

I am pleased with the outcome and I feel they represent what I intend them to do, sadness, feeling helpless and at the same time perhaps there is a little hope of mood change and healing by the bright colors.


I think I was creative in getting out of the box I put myself into years ago by playing with colors and choosing them to represent my feelings using photographs that exclude human figures.  I tried including movement, depth of field and out of focus photographs.  I used less contrast and avoided sharp photos in some.  Basically, I tried working on something new to me.


The outcome was inspired by Sad forests photographs and by Paul Gaffney’s form of mediation by walking and exploring.  For the choice of colors I was inspired by the colors used in Adi Dekel’s photographs.

Assignment 5: The Absence of my Soul

The Brief:

Look back at the themes we’ve examined relating to place and our presence within it. What areas inspired you most? The culmination of this course is a self-directed assignment where you have free rein to choose a subject that relates to any of the material discussed in the course. You may have gathered skills and insights through the projects that you want to revisit or you may have been inspired by other ideas. The only stipulation is that the final outcome must represent a notion of identity and place that you are personally inspired by. Make sure that your work is visually consistent, relevant to the subject matter you choose and holds together well as a set, both visually and conceptually. Think carefully about your editing decisions.

  • Which images need to be there?
  • Which ones repeat other images?
  • Are you holding on to a favourite that is no longer required?
  • Do you need to re-shoot anything?

Aim for a coherent set of no more than 15 pictures, accompanied by a reflective commentary of no more than 500 words.


Assignment 5:  The Absence of my Soul Series Introduction

The series displays my emotions without the presence of a figure.  I chose to portray the misery, loss, absence, heartache, depression and the emptiness I feel every second after the loss of a great and close soul through the way the trees were photographed and the choice of colors.

In “The Poetics of Space” by Gaston Bachelard which I researched and posted about in my initial ideas and plans for this assignment here. Bachelard explored the psychology of houses explaining that every part means something to someone such as a door knob and a key both are used to open and close a door, however, people see the key as something which is more often used to lock a door while the door knob is seen as something used to often open a door. The same thing somewhat works with nature for me.  Nature can be the runaway from painful memories, however to me it awakens my emotions and wounds.  The silence of the forests, the sound of the wind, the thorn of the trees, the cold sad weather all create this emptiness in my heart that is transformed by memories that never fade.

Walking and exploring was my form of mediation inspired by Paul Gaffney see post here.  I was also inspired by the general photographs of sad forests while googling but I was aiming for colored photographs and Adi Dekel’s photographs were my inspiration for colors although her photographs include human figures.  Her photographs below specifically were the ones that inspired me the most:

Assignment 5: The Absence of my Soul

The final images for the series “The Absence of my Soul” are shown below and in sequence (click on images for full size):


The series can also be viewed as a slideshow below:

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Assignment 5: The Shooting Stage and Contact Sheets

Whenever I felt empty inside, I took my camera and went out walking and exploring the nature as a form of meditation imitating Paul Gaffney and trying to represent my feelings in the form of images.  My journey took place in Sweden and Denmark where I went for holiday.  Some of the photographs were taken while driving on the way.  Whatever awakens my feelings and emotions; I photograph.

Below are the contact sheets of the shots that were chosen and others that were excluded from the final selection:


contact sheet 1contact sheet 2


The photograph of the sea is the only one taken in Srilanka but I chose to include it as it was part of the mediation journey I decided to take when I was there as well before excluding the idea I was going after.