Assignment 4 – Research


1: Maureen Drennan – A photographer that charted her husband’s battle with mental illness through photography, he was a willing participant.  16.4.18

Interesting take on using photography to deal with something that affects her life and marriage.  Titled “The Sea that Surrounds Us”. 

‘“Where words failed us,” she says, “the pictures filled in the blanks.”’


2: Hanya Yanagihara doing a book review

Loneliness Belongs to the Photographer By Hanya Yanagihara  July 10, 2016

Article that starts with a review of a book: “The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone,” Olivia Laing. She then talks about loneliness as relating to the photographer and gives examples of work that evokes a sense of loneliness from Robert Frank to Alec Soth.

“In reality, though, the person with the camera is not hiding but receding. She is willfully removing herself from the slipstream of life; she is making herself into a constant witness, someone who lives to see the lives of others, not to be seen herself.”

“But if there is a cure for the invisibility of loneliness, it is this. It is why, depending on who you are, that click of the camera’s shutter is a sound that evokes either anxiety or relief. Click: I see you. Click: I see you. Click: I see you. You are not alone.”


3: Alec Soth

I’ve never really looked at Alec Soth’s images before and I am transfixed by their beauty and stillness.  I read the article on Broken Manual and it was intriguing, pulling me in closer.  There is something in all of us that wants to run away sometimes, become someone else, be outside of ourselves and I was really interested by the fact the he invented a persona Lester B Morrison as a character to become someone else, writing and criticising himself.  The landscape of America is so vast and diverse that there is somewhere to hide or get away.  It’s a very interesting concept and at times I think I would like to be someone who isn’t me, someone who has different characteristics and while his people are commenting on the political nuances of the American way, and the very male way of upping and leaving in times of stress, there is still a wunderlust in most of us, me included.

Even though I am looking at these images online, the colours stand out. They are warm and rich, and there is almost a sense of unreality about how clear they are.  The image of the falls at Niagara (I also looked at that work online) were so clear and you could almost hear the thunder of the huge amount of water rushing over the edge.  I had forgotten that Niagara is a kind of Vegas of the north where people go to get married or, more sinisterly, commit suicide by jumping into the falls.  It’s a tacky place that has the commercialism of a holiday town set against one of the most beautiful natural forces of nature.  If you can stand and look at the falls with the town behind you, you can almost kid yourself that you are out in the wild.  I have seen the falls from the Canadian side and it is a truly humbling sight.  The shots of the people and the motels are similarly richly coloured and there is pathos about the people he is photographing. What an interesting man and artist!

I will be looking out for more of his work from now on.


 4:  Article on Nostalgia from an exhibition and talk.

Journal: Photography and Culture , Volume 9, 2016 – Issue 2: Visualising Longing

Takvam, M. and Vale, S.,Introduction to Nostalgias: Visualising Longing special issue, Pages 99-102 | Published online: 21 Oct 2016, (accessed 12.4.18)

“Over time, the use of the word has progressively evolved to describe a desire to return to another time.  Significantly, it is now characterized by yearning and distance (both in time and space); it is the desire to return, when returning is no longer possible.”

“In effect, the photograph can never represent the present; the moment encapsulated has passed, never to be experienced again.”


5:  Solastalgia – a different version of nostalgia

A term about the feeling of change that cannot be stopped or overcome. Interesting to see an alternative to nostalgia.

Solastalgia: The Distress Caused by Environmental Change, Article (PDF Available) inAustralasian Psychiatry 15 Suppl 1(1):S95-8 · February 2007 DOI: 10.1080/10398560701701288 · Source: PubMed

Albrecht, Glenn & Sartore, Gina & Connor, Linda & Higginbotham, Nick & Freeman, Sonia & Kelly, Brian & Stain, Helen & Tonna, Anne & Pollard, Georgia. (2007). Solastalgia: The Distress Caused by Environmental Change. Australasian psychiatry : bulletin of Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. 15 Suppl 1. S95-8. 10.1080/10398560701701288.

This rang bells as it is a sense of longing for something missing when you are still in the place that you call home.  You are not distant from it in the sense that the distance is great.  It fitted with the feeling of homesickness that my friend and I have for Torbay even though we still live relatively close to it.


6: Annegret Soltau and how her practice informed my approach  12.12.2017

Article in Wall Street International Magazine, Promoting an exhibition by Annegret Soltau, 9 Feb — 18 Mar 2017 at the Galerie Anita Beckers in Frankfurt am Main, Germany28 February 2017

My tutor recommended this as a point of reference after a previous Assignment  which was done on a female body builder and this was another look at the way that women present their bodies.  I was struck by the sewing on the self portraits in prints, the black threads indicating ties and Soltau suggested that they are links between the conscious and subconscious.  I chose to see them as the ties of life that bind us to people and places, and it is this aspect that made me sew ties on a photograph of my friend.  Benign ties rather than sinister ones.


7: Jim Goldberg

Jim Goldberg photographs.  I really liked the polaroid look that he gave to people to write on and personalise in the way that they  wanted to, it didn’t matter that it was a unique photo.  Writing and drawing on it makes it unique anyway and personal to the person involved.  I really like his work, it’s interesting without being over the top.

This is one I found today (17.5.18)  while looking up references and it is pertinent to the ripped photographs that I used.

Demba’s Map, Mauritania/Senegal, 2008

A montage of pieces of paper with writing and a portrait of a man.  I think this fed into the idea of using a map, although in my case it was a literal map not a mind map.


8: Jonathan Mannion

He works with Rap and Hip Hop artists and has done album covers for them. He incorporates handwriting into images and I was interested in how he managed to get the pathos into the images.  Rappers tend to project the image of aggression but this hinted at the more playful aspect of their personalities.

This is a page of collaborations with the artists involved.  I really like how they have changed the pictures by writing on them and doodling.  Interesting work.


9: The Shipping Forecast

I was interested in the shipping forecast and the areas that surround the coast with all their intriguing names.  I visited Cromarty last year and that sparked the interest.

Viking, Dogger, Fisher, German Bight.  All those regions and how do they see the boundaries? What do all those things mean?  It was one option that I looked at when considering ‘Staring at the Sea’ but discounted it as the  main theme.  I did use it when writing things on the images but decided that I was going off at a tangent and needed to stick to the original plan.  There is a song “Pharaohs” by Tears for Fears that uses the shipping forecast being spoken over their music which is an instrumental piece.  When I put together the slide show of the images used on the map, I put this track as the music to play through.  It worked really well and if I could have got permission to use it then I would as it fitted the theme really well, with its feeling of melancholy and the rhythym of the music reminding me of the sea.  The title refers to the shipping area Pharoahs rather than the Egyptian kind, which is quite enigmatic.  I may well return to look at this theme again at a later date.





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