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].




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].


Hellen Van Meene

Hellen Van Meene a Dutch photographer known for her portraits of girls of imperfect faces and flowed bodies.  Her work has so much resemblance to paintings.

Van Meene’s photographs of her models looks spontaneous but she actually takes care of every detail in the photograph from the exceptional use of light and composition to the model’s clothes.  Her portraits have inherent grace, vulnerability and hidden secrets that can be noticed from the models’ postures and facial expressions.

When asked what makes a great portrait’ Van Meene said the first thing is to concentrate on what’s in front of you, that includes perfect lighting, models and all.  The second thing is to keep a balance between how much you reveal and how much you hide.  The photographer must love his/her subjects to be able to give and get back.



Van Meene’s models seem very disconnected from the scenario they are in, they gaze somewhere else other than at the camera, usually downcast, their expressions are distant which makes you wonder.


Bibliography / References:

Bubich, O.  Hellen Van Meene:”In Photography Everything Has Already Been Done But Never By Me  [online].  Bleek Magazine. Available from:  [Accessed 6 August, 2017].

Vroons, E.  Love, Focus and Dutch Light: Portraits of Adolescence [online]. LensCulture. Available from: [Accessed 6 August, 2017].



Places and spaces 1

Both places and spaces define a geographical location, however they differ in meaning.  Space is considered more as an abstract thing with no substantial meaning.  It is an open location that has no social connection or values to people.

On the other hand, place is more than a location, even the size of the location does not matter.  It can be as small as a corner in a room or as big as earth itself.  A place has a history, memory and meaning and people perceive it in terms of self-reflection that includes experiences and achievements and also in terms of social integration such as symbols and values.  A place can be seen as a space that has a meaning.  When people get familiar with a space and link it to their personal experience and social values and symbols; it becomes a place for them.

“Place is security, space is freedom:  we are attached to the one and long for the other” – (Yu-Fu Tuan, 2001, p.3).

The course material mentioned Robert Harding Pittman, a German-American photographer who has undergone a photographic project called “Anonymization”.  Pittman spent 10 years working on this project where he travelled around the world photographing the loss of culture and the destruction of the environment caused by development.  Pittman captured suburban and urban sprawl across the globe in Las Vegas, Germany, United Arab Emirates, South Korea, Spain, France and Greece.  Pittman documented the construction boom and development in these countries that are imposed without regard to the local culture, environment or climate.




Bibliography / References:

Bierend, D.  A Disorienting Survey of Suburban Sprawl, From Dubai to L.A.  [online].  Wired.  Available From:   [Accessed 24 June, 2017].

Lens Culture.  Anonymization:  The Global Proliferation of Urban Sprawl   [online].  Wired. Available From:[Accessed 24 June, 2017].

M. Hunziker, M. Buchecker, T. Hartig.  Space and Place – Two Aspects of the Human-landscape Relationship  [online]. Available from: [Accessed 24 June, 2017].

Malou van Woerkum (2012).  Space vs. place [online].  About Geography.  Available from: [Accessed 24 June, 2017].

Smithson, A. (2015).  Robert Harding Pittman: Anonymization  [online].  Lenscratch.  Available From:   [Accessed 24 June, 2017].

Yi-Fu Tuan.  Space and Place:  Humanistic Perspective  [online]. Available from: [Accessed 24 June, 2017].



Research point 2: (p.104): Still Life

Still life is a visualized form of a quiet genre of photography and painting that levels its gaze to things.

The course material gave many examples of photographers that avoid the use of human figure in order to communicate truths and stories about humanity.  I was inspired by photographer Penny Klepuszewska who was mentioned in the course and I will write about in here.  I was also inspired by the photographer Takashi Yasumura in his photographic series “Domestic Scandals 2005) while searching in this area.

Penny Klepuszewska:

Klepuszewska Focused on life in old age and issues regarding isolation and loneliness in her series “Living Arrangements”.  She explores the space and objects that we surround ourselves with.  With her process of collection and collaborations and eye-catching photographs she managed to create both the real and fiction world.

Klepuszewska managed to trace the human existence of the elderly people in the homes or shelters they end up in living alone and it becoming their island of isolation.  She focused on things rather than humans carefully composing her photographs to represent domestic interiors and daily home life.



The carefully folded blanket or shawl on the chair, the individual plate with spoon, the folded hands on the table, the singular red chair and bag.  All of the things that gives us the feeling of calmness, isolation, separation and trembling feeling of loneliness.



Klepuszewska also payed attention to lighting, colours, shapes and backgrounds which added beauty to the images and made it more appealing such as the blue accent colour of the hanger in the wardrobe, the light blue cup against the similar muted earth colors of the brown objects, the minimalist capture of the light bulb and red table, the depth of field in the folded hands on the table and the empty plate with spoon. The background is always black and dark which helped focus on the objects and added to the feeling of isolation.

The series left me with sadness and a bitter feeling and made me understand the feeling of the elderly people without them being in the photographs.   It shows how the focus on the overlooked and the unimportant objects can evoke feelings and memories and serve to remind one of meaningful things.


Takashi Yasumura:

Takashi Yasumura is a photographer who lives and works in Tokyo.  His work “Domestic Scandals” reframe our attention to the interior domestic object world and quality of everyday life which we do not pay much attention to.  It proves that they are no longer familiar when presented in photographs.

The photographer demands us to look at the banal aspect of the domestic interior such as  doors, watering hose, a pink stapler, rubber gloves etc and offer their materiality to us so we can notice what’s compelling about them, and what might be odd or unusual.



Domestic Scandals project does not generate a narrative when put as collective images instead they ask us to view things and turn them into objects by Yasumura’s attention to the traditional and modern, the useful and the decorative, the patterns, texture and quality of the surrounding surfaces.


Bibliography / References:

Churchill , L. (2011). Occupation: ruin, repudiation, revolution: constructed space conceptualized.  Abingdon: Routledge.

Curtain University.  Domestic Things: Takashi Yasumura’s interiors. [online].  IDEA. Available from:   [Accessed 19 June, 2017].

University of the Arts London.  The Sproxton Award of Photography:  Penny Klepuszewska  [online].  University of the Arts London. Available from:   [Accessed 19 June, 2017].




William Eggleston

William Eggleston is known for his very saturated coloured photographs using dye-transfer process.  He likes to depict everyday objects and scenes with his lens.

John Szarkowski liked his work and Eggleston was given a show at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) but the show was called “The most hated show of the year”!  The reason was because it was always hard to read into Eggleston’s photographs.  He takes photos of things that people doesn’t find a substantial importance to them but to Eggleston his job is to do the work and leaves it to us to figure out the meaning of it.  “I am at war with the obvious” he said.

Eggleston photographs are of everyday objects such as an inside of a freezer or a rusted tricycle in a bleak suburban landscape.  It is all about finding beauty in an uninteresting or dull moments.

©William Eggleston

©William Eggleston

©William Eggleston

©William Eggleston

Eggleston photographs has no people in them but his great choice of color combination, density and the tonal range throughout the photographs add harmony and beauty to his photos.  What matters to him is what the photographer gets out of the photos and how the viewers connect to it.  It is how a photograph affects you emotionally.  He basically Emphasizes emptiness and isolation by not explaining what’s going on in the picture and that creates an atmosphere of anxiety or that something had happened or will happen.


Bibliography / References:

Faded and Blurred.  Perfectly Banal: William Eggleston [online]. Faded and Blurred. Available from: [Accessed 11 June, 2017].

Kim E.  10 Lessons William Eggleston Has Taught Me About Street Photography [online]. Erick Kim Photography. Available from: [Accessed 11 June, 2017].

Maher, J. (2016). Photographing the ‘Ugly,’ the History and Photography of William Eggleston [online]. James Maher Photography. Available from: [Accessed 11 June, 2017].









Masahisa Fukase

(25 February 1934 – 9 June 2012)

Masahisa Fukase is a Japanese photographer who is best known for his 1986 book Karasu (Ravens or The Solitude of Ravens).  In 2010 the book was selected by the British Journal of Photography as the best photobook published between 1986 and 2009.

Fukase’s first photobook “Yugi” contains photographs of his first wife Yukiyo Kawakami, and his second wife, Yoko Wanibe.  His next photobook “Yoko” was a project devoted solely to images of his second wife Yoko.  Yoko dresses up and poses for Fukase’s shots:


©Masahisa Fukase


©Masahisa Fukase

However, after 13 years of marriage; Yoko left Fukase describing her life with him as moments of “suffocating dullness interspersed by violent and near suicidal flashes of excitement””.  Perhaps being the subject in all his photographs for 13 years was part of her decision to leave.  By the time of his divorce from Yoko and during the early period of his marriage to the writer Rika Mikanagi his third wife, Fukase started photographing ravens. His divorce from Yoko left him depressed and he started drinking heavily and it all shows in his dark grainy photographs of the ravens.

The main thing that drew me to this Japanese photographer is his raven photographs.  It is how he translated his emotions and depression using these disruptive creatures that in his culture represent the unlucky and unpromising love.  It is the lost of his love Yoko.  Fukase became so obsessed with the ravens photographing them mostly through the train’s window.  He captured them in flight, blurred, alive and dead.  The images are dark and mysterious.  They seem like a nightmare yet they speak of loss, loneliness, and personal emotions.

©Masahisa Fukase

After Fukase was done from the raven project; he claimed he became a raven himself.  Fukase died in 2012 after falling down the stairs at his favourite bar and being in a coma for 20 years.  During those years, Yoko used to visit him but sadly he was unaware of her presence.

masahisa fukase, the solitude of ravens
Wik roggeveen

Bibliography / References:

O’Hagan, S. (2010). Masahisa Fukase’s Ravens: The Best Photobook of the Past 25 Years?  [online].  The Guardian. Available from: [Accessed 27 March, 2017].

O’Hagan, S. (2015). Masahisa Fukase: The Man Who Photographed Nothing but his Wife [online].  The Guardian. Available from: [Accessed 27 March, 2017].


Images and Text (2)

Artists combine words and images to create a twist in the connection viewers make of the images and texts’ narratives.  Roger Hilton, an abstract painter quoted: “Words and paintings don’t go together” referring to the explanatory text we usually see of a certain painting.  He believes that one can understand a painting better by just looking at it, the more words that are written to explain the painting; the less people will see the painting.

However, text being part of the image may create a twist, portray emotional experience, enhance the experience of viewing and stimulate imagination.  Combining both image and text in photography prompt different set of questions for the viewer. The viewer will look at the image, interpret it, read the text, get clues from the text, goes back to the image and reinterpret it. Peg Grady, a contemporary artist loves using text in her artwork, she explains that it slows people down and draws them to see the piece.

Text can reinforce a message but can also mislead if a misleading title is used for example. The strength of that leads the viewer to believe in one thing or another.  The result provokes unexpected responses and forces the viewer to make an assumption or question the work.  It gives the mind a space to think and unfold a story of its own.  Some artists like to include handwritten text to their images such as Francesca Woodman and Duane Michals for example, to convey personal thoughts and emotions and to invite the viewer to get closer to the image and engage with the artist on one to one basis and it is up to the viewer to make a connection and give a meaning to the narrative.

Johanna Ward:

In her series “I shall say goodbye with my strengthening love for you, forever and ever”, Johanna ward draws upon the narratives of her parents’ relationship until their separation using combination of landscape, still life, photographs of domestic life and love letters from the late seventies.  She draws on myth, private emotions and fairy tales using the text of a love letter from her father to her mother.

From the series ‘I shall say goodbye…’

© Johanna Ward

From the series ‘I shall say goodbye…’

© Johanna Ward

From the series ‘I shall say goodbye…’

© Johanna Ward

From the series ‘I shall say goodbye…’

© Johanna Ward


The landscapes in Ward’s photographs are rich in memory and it gives the viewer the chance to connect to it.  Her ability to capture the inherent beauty and provide context and narrative to her series is fascinating.  Ward used the images to visualize the text in a way that invites the reader to take part of her storytelling and create their own interpretations to the work.

Below is a video of the photographer’s photo book:

I Shall Say Goodbye with my Strengthening Love for You, Forever and Ever

L A Noble Gallery


Bibliography / References:

Alexander, J. (2015).  Johanna Ward: ‘I shall say goodbye…’  [online]. Perspective on Place. Available from: [Accessed 22 March, 2017].

Artspan.  Words & Pictures   [online]. Available from: [Accessed 25 March, 2017].

Dennis, J., D. Combining Image and Text in Photography and Art [online]. Available from: [Accessed 25 March, 2017].

Noble, L. Telling Tales #4 Johanna Ward [online]. Laura Noble Blog. Available from: [Accessed 22 March, 2017].

Images and Text (1)

“Placing words and images in the same perceptual space is not as easy as it looks. The artist has to keep track of four phenomena, not just the apparent two. First, the words have accepted, coded meanings and contexts that affect what we see in the adjacent images. Second, the words invoke mental images that might also conflict with what we see. Third, images have meanings and contexts that may alter our engagement with the adjacent words. Fourth, images can call up words in the mind of the viewer. The coordination of image/word/word/image is not easy, but the more difficult it is, the more possibilities present themselves for qualifying or clarifying the larger world”. – Rod Slemmons Conversations: Text and Image

Karen Knorr:  Belgravia

A German born American photographer who lives in London (January 5, 1954).  Her black and white series (Belgravia) combines images and text to describe class and power between international and wealthy during the beginning of Thatcherism in London during 1979 and 1981.  The photographs are non portraits meaning they are not to show the truth of the people in the photographs or their ideas, they all remain anonymous.

Knorr used the witty combination of the text and image to provoke humor and exaggeration.  She used key words that can be found within the text to create meaning to the work.  The photograph and text do not illustrate each other.  Her text are laid in a poetic style.  Her photographs are staged where she goes to the people homes and choose the scene and clothes then talks to her models and constructs the text during the conversation.

Knorr enjoys seducing the viewer into making them think about what she is presenting through the captions and beauty of the image.

As seen from the images above, Knorr has worked on the presentation of the text quite well.  She used what Roland Berger calls the third meaning.  We look at the beauty of the images, make our own assumptions then read the text below and go back and forth to the image and text to re-evaluate.  The text is broken into lines similar to poetry and Knorr chose the font and capitalized the key words in her text such as Habitat in the left image and Privilege in the next.

Looking at Knorr’s work makes it clear to me that we should pay a lot of consideration to the text and image and the relationship between them.  The font as well as the way the text should be presented is also an important thing to look at when wanting to convey ideas using both image and text.

“I’m an artist who works with pictures and words. Sometimes that stuff ends up in different kinds of sites and contexts which determine what it means and looks like”. – Barbara Kruger.

The meaning of a photograph can be altered by how they are situated and presented especially if text is added.

Sophie Calle:

France most famous conceptual artist.  She uses images and text in her work.  She said she added text because maybe her photographs were not good at the beginning, she claims she didn’t read for Roland Barthes or others because simply she doesn’t read!

She became a stalker in her piece “Suite Vénitienne” when she stalked a stranger she once met at a party and she followed him to Venice and started taking photos of him using a woman’s room opposite to his.

She also became a thief when she found a stranger’s Address book on a street and copied the numbers before returning it.  She then contacted the numbers asking for a description of the owner.

In her work “Sleepers”, she invited 29 people to sleep in her bed while she observed them sleeping and eating breakfast served by her.  Her most powerful work was “Take Care of Yourself” where she sent a breakup text she got from her lover and sent it to 107 women requesting their reactions.

I find Calle a very interesting artist and I enjoyed listening to her lecture, she is sarcastic with a dry sense of humor and very creative.  I loved her story about her mum’s ring and Channel necklace.  She took them after her mother died and buried them in a glacier in the North Pole because her mother’s dream was to go there.

Below is a video of a lecture by her.  Although the quality of the video is not very clear but the lecture itself is worth to listen to.

Lecture by Sophie Calle

California College of the Arts – CCA

Bibliography / References:

Barker, S.  Karen Knorr : Belgravia   [online]. The Eye Of Photography.  Available from: [Accessed 18 March, 2017].

Barrest, T. (5 ed) (2011).  Criticizing Photographs. New York:  McGraw-Hill.

Jeffries, S.  Sophie Calle: stalker, stripper, sleeper, spy   [online]. The Guardian. Available from: [Accessed 19 March, 2017].

Knorr, K. Belgravia (1979 – 1981) [online].  Available from: [Accessed 18 March, 2017].

O’Hagan, S. Strangers, secrets and desire: the surreal world of Sophie Calle [online]. The Guardian. Available from: [Accessed 19 March, 2017].

Slemmons, R.  Conversations: Text and Image (Feb 26 — Apr 17, 2004) [online]. Museum Of Contemporary Photography. Available from:  [Accessed 18 March, 2017].

Woodward, D. (2015).  Belgravia by Karen Knorr  [online]. AnOther.  Available from: [Accessed 18 March, 2017].

Francesca Woodman

(April 3, 1958 – Jan 19,1981)


©Francesca Woodman

Francesca Woodman is an American photographer born in April 3, 1958.  Woodman was famous for her black and white photographs of herself or female models.  Her work is rich of expressions and mystery.  Most of her photographs are taken using slow shutter speed and her models are young and nude.  Woodman came from an artistic family.  Her father works in painting, mother in ceramics and her brother in video.

Woodman committed suicide in the age of 22 by throwing herself out of the window of her New York flat.  Woodman’s work was often compared to surrealist such as HansBellmer and Man Ray and she was one of Cindy Sherman’s influences.

Woodman liked to work in old buildings with dusty floorboards which gave her photographs a scary gothic feel.  The space Woodman use for her photographs have rooms with uncovered windows, peeled wallpapers and crumbling paint. She appears in her photos as a ghost or an angel.  I here see why my tutor advised me to explore her work for assignment 3, I just wish I knew about her before submitting the assignment.

©Francesca Woodman

It is hard to understand Woodman’s art.  Her work is rich in symbolism yet it’s creative and gives the viewer the chance to get lost in imagination.  I see ghosts and death in her photographs and I feel it came from her dark side where she perhaps wanted to express it in her photos.

©Francesca Woodman

I find Woodman’s work haunting and inspiring.  She took her life early but her fame was reborn after her death through her photos.

The Woodmans [2010] Legendado [PT-BR]
Jordana Lee

Bibliography / References:
Elizabeth Gumport. The Long Exposure of Francesca Woodman [online]. NYR Daily. Available from: [Accessed 14 March, 2017].

Jillian Steinhauer. Finding Francesca Woodman [online]. The Paris Review. Available from: [Accessed 14 March, 2017].

Kate Salter. Blurred Genius: The Photographs of Francesca Woodman.  [online]. The Telegraph. Available from: [Accessed 14 March, 2017].

Nicole Williams. The Art of Francesca Woodman: Haunting, Evocative, Personal. [online]. The Artifice. Available from:[Accessed 14 March, 2017].