Uta Barth


Uta Barth’s recent project examines the conventions of photographic presentation. Over the past three years she has created two series, Ground and Field , which consist of blurred images generated by focusing the camera on an unoccupied foreground. These unframed, empty images present only background information, implying the absence of subject and referring to the function of images as containers of information. The untitled images of Ground show landscapes and interiors and make reference to the compositional conventions of still photography and painting. The images in Field , Barth’s latest series, mimic cinematic framing conventions in a subtle query of the visual structures that imply movement or activity in the foreground.

Read the rest of the article here.


Uta Barth said that “There is always something that motivated the taking of a photograph.” You would not know this to look at her photographs.

To be continued…


Martina Mullaney – Turn In


Martina Mullaney - Turn In


Martina Mullaney: Turn In

Martina Mullaney is a young Irish photographer now living in London. Her exhibition ‘Turn In’, was a Ffotogallery Touring Exhibition which showed at Mission Gallery from 17 January – 28 February 2004

Her photographs brought a distinctly modernist sensibility to her depiction of homelessness. Avoiding the humanist empathic pull of portraits of the under-privileged, Turn In instead studied their sleeping quarters. Her beautiful square large scale photographs record empty beds in hostels and shelters.

This powerful series of images were coupled with photographs created by residents of homeless hostels based in Swansea. Martina befriended and worked closely with all of the residents, who were given disposable cameras over a three week period to document their lives.

The exhibition and accompanying workshops raised some awkward but important questions about the representation of the dispossessed. In not giving us sentimentalised portraits of the marginalised, Mullaney in a very opposite way, provokes critical and aesthetic debate about how any artist can adequately represent the experience of other people, impoverished or otherwise.


Martina Mullaney’s work embodies many things that I love about art and photography; her work is poetic, beautiful, social, political, thought provoking and powerful at once. In Turn In, Mullaney provides a non-traditional portrait of the homeless in a way that does not exploit or sensationalize them. Her use of light is important to setting the tone to her work; some of her images have a soft, diffused look and you would not know that they were beds of a shelter. Her positioning of the ‘horizon’ line of the bed creates a sense of unity about the work and draws our eyes from one image to the next.

Martina Mullaney's Turn In

Mullaney is very good at addressing socio-political issues in a beautiful way without depicting the actual people they affect. Her work Dinner For One addresses lonliness and isolation, as Turn In does.

Martina Mullaney - Dinner For One



A Timeline and A Budget


Jan 30 – Feb 7

– continue researching artists

–       test different light sources and locations

–       process the film I have shot

Feb. 6th  -12th               

– continue shooting

–       print digital contact sheets

–       choose photos for maquettes

–       re-shoot any if necessary

Feb. 13th -19th

– critique – 10 prints due

–       receive and consider feedback

–       determine reshoots/ new shots

–       technical assignment due

Feb. 20th – 26th            – READING WEEK

–       revise subject matter/concept if necessary

–       continue shooting, researching, re-shooting

Feb 27–Mar 4

– continue shooting, reworking idea

–       draft artist statement

Mar. 5th – 11th

– finesse artist statement

–       images to Paul to print for critique – 10 final images

–       begin collecting mounting materials (order mounting board, tissue, Velcro, etc.)

Mar. 12th -18th

– make any adjustments/ additions gathered from critique

–       get all final images to Paul to print

–       get any further materials needed for installation/ mounting

Mar. 19th – 25th

– last minute re-prints

–       finalize artist statement with Susan

–       dry mount prints for installation


Tues Mar. 27th

– in class/ group prep for installation at Ed Video

– all images prepared for installation

Wed Mar. 28th, Thurs. 29th             – install at Ed Video

Friday Mar. 30th                         – ED VIDEO OPENING! 7pm



–       processing of 7 rolls of film $35

–       purchase of 5 rolls 120 film $25

–       shooting with digital camera $0

–       printing digitally (15 – 20 x 24 @ $5/sq. foot) $250

TOTAL $310


I have been doing a pretty good job of sticking to my timeline and I’m very glad that I made one; it has definitely helped to keep me on track.

Although I have continued to research artists I have been struggling in keeping up to date on my visual journal. I have the required number of prints done for crit and have kept proposal feedback in mind when shooting.I am looking forward to the feedback received during crit to solidify the direction in which I should be going, although I’m fairly confident that I want to pursue the abstraction of light.

I am pleased with how my revised budget is turning out. At the moment I am undecided whether I want to print digitally or chemically; I love the materiality and sense of light coming from within of chemical prints but I can’t print as large as I want to in the dark room.

REVISED Budget (after what work has been completed)

–       processing of 3 rolls of film $8

–       purchase of 5 rolls 120 film $25

– processing of 1, 120 $9

– prints and contact sheets for maquettes $38

–       shooting with digital camera $0

–       printing digitally (1 – 40 x 50 @ $5/sq. foot – 13.8 sq feet) $69

TOTAL $149

Portrait of Light


Rising Light

[Please click the image above and then zoom in. It is so beautiful in full size.]

Looking at photographs gives me a sense of awe that no other art form gives me; photography and the way it allows us to really see light as an entity is magical. I am interested in portraiture and the different ways that people and things can be defined. Most of my previous works have revolved around portraiture, many of which were non-traditional portraits, although I had not been aware of it until recently.

When I begin a project I look at the work of other artists’ that inspire me and tease out the bits that draw me to them. I take these bits and try to create something new. When I realize my idea I often find that it has been emerging it for a while and I was not aware.

Looking at inspiration for this work I found myself drawn to non-traditional portraiture, as well as artists who use light in a visceral way. I am particularly taken with Uta Barth’s work and how it is not motivated by subject matter and the traditional clarity of a photograph, which allows the viewer to engage in the experience of the image rather than the objects.

I gravitate towards working in film because I love the softness, texture and atmosphere that seem to be inherent in the material. I find light magical and am fascinated with the way it changes from our eyes to film, the different moods it creates, and the colours that are unseen to the untrained and naked eye.

In this work I explore those elements of photography that attract me to it. I create a portrait of light that captures its many qualities. The work is about the experience of light, the atmosphere it creates and how a photograph can capture the physicality of something that is inherently ephemeral.


Mark Menjivar – You Are What You Eat

Foster Huntington – The Burning House

Uta Barth – Field, Ground, Sundial

Miriam Bäckström – 29 Variations of Light

The Internets!


So I’m taking a new class called Interactive Multimedia. The text for the course sounds super interesting – Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows.

Although I haven’t actually started reading this yet, I have started looking up relevant things, ha ha, so ahead of myself. Anyway, I also ‘found’ (had emailed to me by Top Documentaries Online) this video that talks about the internet.

Read the book! Watch the movie!

That is all for now.


Organize Your Books By Colour!


It sounds like a silly idea. Especially if you are trying to locate a book by author. But before you knock it, why don’t you listen to these interesting ideas on why you should organize your bookshelf by colour.

First of all, how can you look at this photograph of a colour coded bookshelf and not want to do it? I know, that is not really a solid argument for those who are more inclined towards the informational, educational and practical reasons you would organize our books in different ways. So try this on for size; when you change the way you organize you books you allow yourself to make forced connections that you otherwise would not have. You can discover new and unexpected relationships between books that you already know well. It will keep your brain on it’s toes, so to speak.

Maybe you will find that you have books similar in content that are also similar in colour. What does that tell you?

You’ll start to think about your books in different ways and make connections between the colours and the content, and there is nothing wrong with thinking about things in new ways. In fact, it is good for you. Why not give it a try and see how you see things differently?

*if you click on any of the images it will take you to the site I got them from.

Brainstorming By Yourself… !


This article begins with probably the most appropriate quote out there to describe brainstorming: “Brainstorming alone often feels, to paraphrase Churchill, like standing in a bucket and trying to lift yourself by the handles.” This is how I so often feel when I try to brainstorm. Or that I am standing in a bucket and try to lift myself by the handles and the bottom of the bucket gives way. And so I was drawn to the article that would teach me how to effectively brainstorm by myself.

I really struggle with brainstorming; I think I am too critical of my ideas too early on in the process. I find it hard turn off the left side of my brain and just let the ridiculous ideas out. There were several points in this article that I found extremely helpful to keep brainstorming in perspective.

My favourites were #3 and #4; essentially that you shoudln’t judge your ideas too early, brainstorming is about quantity not quality, and go wacky!

Some other great ones (they all were really, but I’m not going to post them all) were to ‘stuff yourself’; feed your brain with constant ideas, information, images, etc. It will be harder for you to not come up with an idea when you have so much to draw from.

Also, you should make a little time every day to just come up with ideas. Brainstorm when you don’t have a deadline. Brainstorm for the sake of brainstorming. Make a brainstorming appointment and make it short and furious. The more ideas you come up with the more likely it is you will have a great one!

* I couldn’t find HOW Magazine so I used an article from their website.

Design Observer – The Infinite Warehouse of Images


In this article by Rick Poynor, he talks about the overwhelming amount of images available to us through the internet and contrasts them to some old postcards he recently acquired.

There is an interesting contrast between the quick snapshots we are inundated with online from Facebook and Flickr and the carefully considered postcards from years ago. I did not find the postcards interesting at first; I glanced at them and skimmed past them to the writing. But when Poynor started dissecting the images and showing details of them, they became fascinating, minute worlds.

It was an interesting moment where I checked myself and had to reassess what I had skimmed over. I do this skimming with many images I see. It is probably safe to say I skim all images. There are so many images available to me now, it would be impossible to carefully consider each one.

I found the installation Poynor talks about at the Foam photography gallery in Amsterdam really interesting. Erik Kessels’s Photography in Abundance looks at the abundance of images available to us at every moment of every day. The installation is a ‘snapshot’ of every image that is uploaded to photo-sharing website Flickr in a 24 hour period. Kessels says that he visualizes the feeling of drowning in representations of other people’s experiences.

Kessels work is inherently controversial in how it deals with (or doesn’t) copyright issues and the sheer amount of paper that is “wasted” to print all these images off. It is such a simple idea and although I shudder at the idea of all those trees dying ‘unnecessarily’, I am also kind of glad that someone had the means to do this (imagine the expense!), because I think this is a concept that you do not truly understand until you see it physically in front of you – or in a photograph.

I found these articles very relevant to me as a photographer, and especially photography today, in order to consider how people view images now. We talked in class about how to make your work stand out as a maker; how can you catch someone’s attention and make them stop and consider your work without glazing over. How do you jolt someone out of the skim?

Poynor’s article caused me to look up Kessels work. I had to know what a room full of photographs would look like. I could only imagine. And I could not help but wonder if there were any of my images in that sea of experience.