Dissertation Notes

Re framing your essay question 
-types of questions, which ones should you avoid?- 
closed convolutedunanswerable immeasurable non questions simple directive and focused rhetorical 
closed question is something that has a yes or no answer, avoid things like ‘is graffiti art’ they should be framed more like, ‘in what ways can graffiti be considered art’ or ‘in what ways can be considered a form of outsider art?’
convoluted questions is something complicated and confusing
unanswerable questions is not specific enough, you dont have a big enough word count to create an argument 
Immeasurable questions are things like ‘is flanerie successful method of working in photography?’ – (how can you measure this, it should be re-framed)
Non Questions are more of a statement that houses questions, but it encapsulates an area of study 
Misleadingly simple questions; why was andy warhols studio silver? (this is an amazing question that allows you to look into a time)
Rhetorical questions don’t expect answers, they state a view instead of looking for something (Be careful with these because they are not questions that cant be backed up with evidence. its more of a stylistic way.)
questions with purpose directive, topic, focus
topic being the idea of flowersdirective being a semiotic analysis the focus is the work of taryn simon
Key words: analyse explore evaluate interrogate 
how have images with the media influenced body ideals in todays society?
framing the figure; in what ways do media images influence body ideals within contemporary British culture

Analyzing theassignment 
identify the topic (Materiality within photography)identify the focus (Howidentify and define the instruction verb analyse learning outcomes read it again and check your understanding 

keeping your notes organisedidea, what is the point being made?document what is the reference for this?explain, why did you note this? why is it important addional thoughts, strengths, weaknesses etclink, does this connect to other ideas 
SQRRR System

  • survey (read contence page)
  • question (What are you going to read and why are you reading something)
  • read(Read abstract and intro, read conclusion, read first and last sentance of each paragraph)
  • recite (Talk about what you have read with someone else to deepen undertsanding
  • review  (after having a break from reading, review your notes)

Ideal system

  • idea
  • document 
  • explain 
  • additional 
  • link

PEEL(Use ‘link’ afterwards. so what? summary of the evidence in this paragraph, link it to your thesis statement/argument, or your next critical point)
citation and reference, whats the difference?citation is something like (Trump, 2020) Reference is at the back, the full description of the text used Use (Jones quoted in Smith) when quoting text from another book


The Thingishness of Things – Will Straw

  1. The author has more interest in the social life of things over acts of consumption like going to night clubs or shopping or eating (These places are called sites of consumption) Things Don’t ask anything of you. He says industries rely on selling back catalogs, video cassettes as examples of extra somatic memory; memory held outside the body.
  1. An interest has emerged in different corners, of things and objects.
  1. This material turn presents many risks, like misplayed concreteness (When an abstract belief of hypothetical construct is taken literally) or material vulgarity (Seeing the world through the lens of the material, matter.)
  1. The author is committed to the material culture turn, the most relevent reason being that he is from canada. (I do not understand his reasoning for this point)
  1. Almost all of Straw’s collection of vinyl were from the UK and the US. He then goes on to talk about how most of the cultural content in Canada does not originate from there.  The fact that they came from the UK and the US rendered them worthwhile to the author, painting these countries as culturally relevant. The author cannot recall any Canadian formation that has been replicated anywhere else in the world.
  1. In Canada, cultural forms and subcultures almost always come from other countries, devote their cultural life to artefacts that they do not produce.
  1. The lack of appropriation of Canadian culture invites, is an analysis of the ways countries like Canada absorb cultural artefacts whose origins are elsewhere. No music after the war has been said to be distinctly canadian. 
  1. Subcultures enter canada through conisourial channels, by people who want to spread information on an international level. Where these objects come from, mark the object with ways which make them look authentic.
  1. The dance music culture is shaped by two extremes; connoisseurist culture, independant record stores, passionate enthusiasts at one end and generic, unpassionate cheese on the other. The industry and market make this gap bigger and bigger.

How covid is changing how we interact with images

Article from the financial times; How contemporary art is changing in the Covid 19 era
“Picasso did not show his occupation paintings until after the war, but today online platforms, quickly embraced — Art Basel’s viewing room, replacing its March Hong Kong fair, was so popular that the site crashed — are bringing new work to audiences in isolation with unprecedented rapidity. It is a triumph of contemporary art’s resilience and innovation.” 
The digital image allows for it to be sent around the world, to be accessed by mass audiences, this is an accurate reflection on what modern life is like, less psychical interaction, but that begs the question; what is actually being seen?  
With more people accessing art digitally, digital commercial exhibitons will be the new normal. it will make the art market more relevant and accessible.  However, online viewing does not give the physical hit of encourntering a powerful work, it loses a dimension, putting a semi translucent barrier between the viewer and the art.
“The pandemic has accelerated changes that were already taking shape,” says dealer Kamel Mennour. “Audiences have proliferated globally . . . many already couldn’t visit our physical locations. Today, we have found ourselves in a world where we can either retreat in fear or connect and move forward digitally. This period will redesign the way the art world works. Probably fewer fairs, at least physical ones, and the rise of online initiatives as audiences get comfortable with consuming culture online. We see room for both the physical and the virtual.”


A period of 50 – 60 years that starts in the late 19th century. world war 1 came and after that, with the industrialization of photography, people didn’t use these techniques anymore
The manipulation of photography to create artwork, their goal was to emulate painting and drawing.
Pictorialists had a desire to move photography into the gallery and salon spaces and out of the commercial realm
A lot of the processes used in this time came with a lot of disstortion, grain and softness that allowed for manipulation to achieve a certain look
How can the use of pictorial processes be utilized towards the developing the materiality in photographs?
 the subject matter they chose would be largely landscapes, as nature is a universal thing, they wanted to dialog with the art world, with corot and millet. the Impressionism

Leonard Missone was one of the inspirers of pictorialism 
they considered themselves a continuation of more tranditional mediums, adding modern elements  
early pictorialism eschewed the modern world in their pictures. that changed later 
pictorialist influences were the sybolists, the tonalists, and the pre raphealites 
1869 henry peach robinson wrote a book called pictorial effect photography, arguing for photography as an art form
emerson hated robinsons contrived scenes, but agreed with him that photography should be a high art. he was obsessed on the dipictive qualities of photography. he was a naturalist and a scientist, he believed in the purity and truth of the lens also with the nostalgic feel of the landscape

Both the naturalism of emerson, and the artice of robinson live on, to our eyes,
 while robinsons work seems dated to us, 20th centuary artists that make composite images are indebted to him. 

John Berger, On looking

From the book About looking, The uses of photography
The camera was invented by Fox Talbot in 1839, Within a mere 30 years, photography was being used for police filing, military reconnaissance, pornography, war reportage, encyclopedic documentation, family albums, postcards etc.
In 1888 the first affordable camera was put on the market
Between the first and second world wars, the photograph became dominate and the most natural way of referring to appearancesit was, in capitalist countries, the freest moment of photography. 
In the first period of photography, it was an implement, it offered a technical opportunity. Now, instead its usage and its reading were becoming habitual, an unexamined part of modern perception itself.
Ways of seeing 
An image is a sight that has been reporoduced or recreated 

On Display, Frieze

Questions, Is the object of a photograph more important than its image?

  • It highlights how the materiality of the photograph is important 

“The pictures I’m making are ones that have become objects, or picture–objects. My whole practice raises the question of whether the work’s existence is image-based or object-based, or whether it can be both. It becomes a struggle between the image and the presence or physicality of it in space.”Space is needed to get an idea of how it exists, does it work on a screen?”The photographs have to open up as you walk through the space. So the image unfolds in a very analogue sense and it’s that experience that I’m interested in – making the viewer re-experience the work as an object that sneaks up on you as an image”This is useful to illustrate that the work relies on the space it exists within 

  • Lassrys work is blurring the line between object and photograph

“These are almost like sculptural objects that are on display, so when we look at the work, we see it as both an object and as a photograph of objects.”  “What I am trying to get at is basically whether the photograph can become a presence. And I think that the work does this by being both a display of an image and a shelf. “frames are the same colour as the image, making it look like its an object, bleeding out 

Thomas Ruff

(From his MOMA talk)
“Since the pixel is a stupid square, it can be manipulated easily” (Easier than grain? Analogue)
“There was a already a change from the grain structure to the pixel structure of the digital file”
‘People would compress their images to be sent much faster, it gives it a new structure of 8 x 8 pixels which has a painterly, reminding ruff of brushstrokes of a painting 
technology constantly changes and how perception of the world’
When first looking at these pictures, your uncomfortable, agitated even because of how we look at digital images, we expect it to flit into focus (Links of the hierarchy of images, how we treat low res files)WHY? Because this! –  Pixels are quite different. They are grid-like, machinic and repetitive. They do not have the scattered chaos of grain. When we glimpse pixels we do not think of authenticity (although we may do one day). The pixel represents a cold technological limit, a confrontation with the virtual and bureaucratic order than secretly unites all images in a homogenous electronic continuum

Maybe talk about the difference between the pixel and grain? Can reference david campany)
“AUTHOR’S NOTE: This essay was first written for a IANN magazine.  Ruff’s JPEG series doesn’t work very well on the internet or computer screen: the images need to be experienced as printed matter, moving from screen to page or wall.”
What does this mean? Why take images out of their environment to show them? why do they need material form?

In defence of the poor image

“The poor image is a copy in motion. Its quality is bad, its resolution substandard. As it accelerates, it deteriorates. It is a ghost of an image, a preview, a thumbnail, an errant idea, an itinerant image distributed for free, squeezed through slow digital connections, compressed, reproduced, ripped, remixed, as well as copied and pasted into other channels of distribution.”This essay is talking about the stream of digital images that circulate the internet, that bodiless either that sally mann talks about. This could be used to introduce the digital image, its relationship to image as object and if whether on not it has its own materiality
“The poor image is an illicit fifth-generation bastard of an original image… Not only is it often degraded to the point of being just a hurried blur, one even doubts whether it could be called an image at all. Only digital technology could produce such a dilapidated image in the first place.””The contemporary hierarchy of images, however, is not only based on sharpness, but also and primarily on resolution. Just look at any electronics store and this system, described by Harun Farocki in a notable 2007 interview, becomes immediately apparent.2In the class society of images, cinema takes on the role of a flagship store. In flagship stores high-end products are marketed in an upscale environment. More affordable derivatives of the same images circulate as DVDs, on broadcast television or online, as poor images.”Photographies new materiality could be related to this idea of the hierarchy of the image, the poor and rich image. Its resolution, how it degrades the more it is saved, moved around and uploaded where information is lost, a mesh of interstice builds over the original. informing the haptic nature of digital images.


  • The fact that the pictures are presented without glass in the frame is interesting, what is that saying about interaction, display, relationship between object/image? the glass acts as a literal barrier between the image and object, (Picture and frame)
  • An image of cucumbers with a green frame looks like an object, a display of the cucumbers because of how the the cucumbers are propping themselves up, and also a photograph of objects
  • The artist is interested in whether the photograph can become a presence, he thinks they can, by being a display of an image and a shelf (the shelf being the frame or the materiality that allows the photograph to be held within the space)

Discussion Task

To improve our image analysis skills we were asked to find an image and describe each and every detail in our chosen image.

Leonard Misone, Picking fruit in the sunlight, 1920s Carbon Contact Print 8.3 x 11.3cm

Description:The image shows a rural scene. Black and white. A hazy summer light comes from the top right of the picture, lightening the black border of the photograph.The bottom half of the image is short grass, a path runs through it, from the bottom left corner, to just above the bottom right. There is a tree just off center. Its branches are obscured by dusty light. Behind it, a short wall of bush or bramble cuts through the photograph, creating a horizon line.To the right of the tree, there are three children and a woman, all wearing skirts. The light hits them from behind and outlines their bodies, it is diffused and lacks detail or depth. They are silhouetted .All of them cast shadows that are lengthened by the evening sun. They stretch across the picture towards the bottom left. Low light shines through the grass, defining its recesses and divots. One girl stands at the back of the group, in the shrubs. She watches the tree. In front of her is the smallest child, who is holding a long stick that is angled diagonally into the tree. The woman in front directs the girl, pointing into the tree’s expansive canopy. Another young girl stands to the right of the woman, she watches a small boy on the right side of the tree. He is kneeling down to collect the fallen fruits and puts them into a basket to the left of the tree, another basket sits at the right side of the tree. The boy, facing into the light, is lit up. His face and arms show a strip of strong white light. 
Point on materiality in the photograph The frames top right hand corner is lightened, probably because of how it was exposed in camera 
The lack of dynamic range shows the poor quality of chemistry 

He used a bromide alternative process in his pictures that produced very stark black and white prints, with sharp detailed areas with an overall atmosperic, pictoral look. he was considered as one of the catalists for pictorialism.
Lots of his work looked intentionally like charcoal drawings, for most early pictorialists were carrying on from the tradions of drawing and painting, but using optics and craft.

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