Week 9: Presenting your pitch

I had worked with two colleagues to develop a solution to the question of “what does agency look like in a ever-more automated city”. We all selected images from other artists that had created work similar or related to our work. We had agreed on style and characteristics and created image samples for the presentation. I put it into a power point and saved as a PDF. One member had written down ideas of language choice and approach to the descriptions of our work which I incorporated in the notes section of the presentation.

I was very nervous the day of our pitch and was quite happy that one other group member was able to put work aside to present with me. The first group presented a vision for the first brief, then we were able to present. The company was very polite and engaging with the group prior to our presentation, which gave me some hope that I wouldn’t be hung out to dry.

My team member and I switched off presenting our material, and I was happy to get through it. We were given very positive feedback about our work, with comments which indicated that they could be some interest in working together further. I am writing the very abbreviated version of this story, so in short, people who watched the exchange believed that our concepts and images would be the start of contracted work.

After our presentation, the company which we presented to asked for a pdf of our work as they wanted to get in touch with us and give more feedback. I did hear back from the company who said, basically, thanks but no thanks. I have to admit disappointment, and a little confusion. I understand that finding the best creative match is highly individual, and that there was no obligation on the part of the company to do anything other than look at our work. It was just a bit off putting to get really great feedback publicly, then be quietly rejected privately. I have a theory: As the pitches were open for any student to observe, the company reps were restrained from giving specific, and pointed feedback. The nature of the set up may have inadvertently created an environment where the feedback becomes falsely positive. I would recommend that Falmouth consider offering this opportunity again, but that the feedback sessions with the companies would be private.

So, what did I gain? I really enjoyed working with two other students who I might not have gotten to know otherwise. I appreciated the camaraderie and laughs we shared, as well as the challenges of creating a shared vision. I had to push myself technically to produce professional quality blended images using Photoshop. I learn best by doing and am making some significant gains in my Photoshop capability. In addition, I also learned how to create a pitch from a brief, and how to pitch work. I will be pitching a visual project at work and be using a lot of what I learned in this term.

France to Japan: Agency in the city.
From Chinese Market to Paddington: Agency in the ever more autonomous city.
Lake to Sky– What does autonomy look like in an ever-more autonomous city.
Draft– A blue print of autonomy

Week 7: Who buys photography

November 3, 2019:

I have taken a look at the week ahead and we have a couple of things to do. Set up a peer review of our work, watch a lecture, complete some reading and I will also be meeting with my brief group. I noticed that the activity posted for this week is exactly the activity which was posted two weeks ago. I am assuming that this was in error. I feel like the pressure is building as we have 5 weeks left in the term and all three assignments due on December 9th. I am working on my oral presentation and feel pretty good about the theme I am writing about. Of note, my entries are not always in the technically correct section. Sometimes coursework becomes research, etc. I hope that it all makes sense in the end.

November 4, 2019: CityID group B met today to review the feedback which we received from our instructors. We have decided that we will all create images with the blended approach with the expectation that we will have 3-4 strong images to present during our brief. This has been very exciting and challenging work- firstly, to try to understand the brief then to try to come up with a shared solution. I think that we are onto something here- though perhaps it’s just that I like the blended photograph approach.

November 6, 2019: Though I do read and think about photography constantly, this week, i have not been able to write much. Been looking at the next LensCulture contest and reviewing pictures for the possibility of entry. Though it could be a possibility, the probability of being a winner of a contest like this is very slim.

November 8th: Peer Review session with 4 other Sustainable Prospect students this morning. I regret that I had to leave to go to work (we started at 6AM my time), however I was able to present my work and review the WIP of one of my peers. I enjoy the varied impressions and feedback from peers, and left feeling a little more confident about my work and approach. It’s fascinating to see what other student’s have focused on as everyone’s approach and subject are so different. One suggestion for my work was to print one photograph as large to allow the viewer to enjoy the smaller details. I think that going large is a good approach the viewer will be put in the same position as the figures: dominated by the out of focus backgrounds. I may try to ship the printing out rather than trying to print on my outdated printer at home. I think that we have the opportunity to meet again as a group on Sunday morning, which I look forward to.

Week in review: What I learned this week is that personally, the recent change of having two demanding roles at work is exhausting and I am very tired when I get home. Working at photography or reading is difficult, but this will probably change over time. Regarding our weekly discussion, I was surprised that we received the exact same assignment as we had two weeks ago. I was honestly going to ignore it, but my colleagues posted, so I did, too. Regarding blogging like this, I think that I may be posting entries in the wrong categories as there is overlap– for example, coursework can become research, or work in progress may also be research. I am still not sure who buys photography, and for that reason, am glad I don’t have to depend on selling it for income.

Week 5: Stronger together

October 19, 2019: Update on Group Brief CityID/B. I had an idea for a visual strategy which was difficult for me to describe in a web conference. I decided to see if I could create something like what I saw in my imagination. My original idea was to create a negative of a visual collage demonstrating the elements of brief B: Personal agency in a smart city environment. City ID also identified other key elements such as diversity people and geographies, physical, social or economic barriers; agency and belonging in the context of technology and place. I would then print the negative using cyanotype, thus create a blueprint. As in a blueprint toward a smart-city future.

Boston,Portugal, Sweden, California, France, China, New Hampshire, Vermont and Tokyo

October 20, 2019: I heard back from the newspaper and a few of the pictures I took have been sent on to layout. I received very helpful feedback about the depth of field (deep, not shallow), telling a story, taking names (of people in the photos), think postcard rather then art. It’s a steep learning curve but I think that this will help me grow as a professional.

This place has an Instagram account. The owners posted a small sign inviting people to take pictures, but asked that the the photos posted are tagged with @houseanddog.

October 22, 2019: Our CityID/B group met for 90 minutes today. I think that we are moving along really well and have some work to do to get ready for our mock presentation which is next week. I will be working on creating the proposal after another student did an excellent job describing the company and our objective, among other things. Another member shot a roll of 35mm film to see what the effects of exposed sprocket holes would do to our images. This has been a really nice experience and checking in with the group weekly has added to my experience this term. My suggested approach will probably not be one that we will take for this project, and that’s an appropriate choice. My work expresses a sense of frenetic while we were going for a more peaceful approach.

October 23, 2019: Received word back from the newspaper that they are using one of my photos. Yay! First paid photo job. Will wait to see if there are any further opportunities this week for additional work.

October 25, 2019: I really appreciate the opportunity to have a one to one conversation with my tutor. We reviewed my recent concept of demonstrating willful blindness in the context of historical events, such as America’s nuclear testing program. I received helpful feedback and will pursue this idea but without the dinosaurs. The dancer and dinosaur concept works well when the figures are isolated in a created world. However, I am wondering if I should pull out the dinosaurs and try to integrate the dancers more closely into the nuclear testing photos. Overall, I am enjoying this project and am awaiting inspiration for my next focus.

Week 3: Art and commerce

13 October 2019

About my work: I don’t know if I have found my personal visual style yet. I have worked on several projects and each has had a different feel- and a different goal. I believe that everyone must have thier own style– even if it is not really obvious yet. Certainly I have visual preferences and experiences that must influence my work in some ways.

Honestly, thinking about style and thinking about commerce stresses me out a bit. I don’t have it now, but i think that I will. My thought about art and commerce is that I will do my own projects on the side, then do portraits when I can, for money. I am fortunate to be a nurse, and can at some point work on photography and work part time. Nursing work is easy to come by here and pays well. I don’t have any illusions about being able to transition yet- I still have a kiddo to put through college.

Steps toward commercial work? : I was honored that my photograph,”1957″, was selected for a juried exhibition in a show themed Women at Work. The exhibition will be on display at the PhotoPlace Gallery in Middlebury, Vermont from November 7-30th. I was even more surprised that my work received the Juror’s Award. I will have my portfolio reviewed by Juror Amy Toensing, a regular contributor to the National Geographic.

Week 3: CityID Brief B

Our group had our second meeting and reviewed the photographs we collected. We were looking for commonalities in the photos so that we can define how we will create a visual solution. We met with our instructors on Friday to present our work to date. I acknowledge that our group needs to move a bit more quickly, create a timeline and have a solid visual strategy.

Week 1: Understanding the Client/the brief

23 September, 2019

Researching for the purpose of investigating photographic content has been a bit challenging for me. I am a nursing practice specialist and am responsible for providing information to inform our nursing practice in a health care institution. I am very familiar with nursing practice and health research methods and use professional databases daily. I haven’t been able to use the same methods with my photographic research. I feel like finding artists who have been influencers or created work similar to mines has been mostly by word-of-mouth, or peer recommendation. I have looked for visual art data base but haven’t found one yet.

For my current project, I am currently considering how I can break down my ideas into constiuent parts, then research those parts using my typical methodolgy. For example, I have done some recent work with model dinosaurs and dancers. Today I stumbled onto Joseph Campbell’s work on mythology and dragons. Dragons have persisted in mythology prior to the identification of the dinosaur, though it is considered that the dragon represents that fear of the large lizard that ancient beings might have had.

Frequently, one peice of information leads to more questions and more information. I love that about research. I value other photographer’s work and hope to be able to identify ways to find pertinent work more easily.

Note about postings on the forum: It’s such a bummer when posts recieve no comments. This happened to me this week and I felt badly. The forum is a bit of a social-media site and it feels negative when there is no comment.

Week 1: CityID Brief B:

We received our group assignments this week and I am really excited about workin toward creating a visual strategy for CityID. In preparation, I created a Google doc for our group and populated it with notes from the CityID Brief. I created a What’s App group to help us communicate quickly. Group members were unable to meet- but have scheduled a meeting for next Tuesday.

Week 2: Other careers in photography

Photography is a passion for me and I feel that, though I have been taking pictures for over 40 years, that I am still exploring who I am and what I want to do. Currently I am working in the fine art sector with a concentration in narrative. I am at the beginning stages of exploring modern (digital) photography and how that is effected by communication and media, therefore trying to figure through the HOW of making art a business. I am not working commercially, and therefore not collaborating with any professionals yet. I am entrenched in my nursing career and may not have time to create collaborative work at this point. I hope to, one day, retire from my current job and work as a self-employed photographer for additional income. I may switch to a commercial portrait approach, perhaps weddings or portraits of high school seniors.

I was a little surprised, this week, at the reactions to the weekly posting regarding the re-purposing of other people’s work. I sensed that my cohort felt unhappy about Prince winning the copyright case. It’s really about copyright law and what kind of protections it may or may not provide. Maybe I am cynical, but law and fairness are not the same thing. The laws we have are made in attempt to try to negotiate the grey areas of life and don’t always help in the way that we would hope. This case, the work of a French photographer, Cariou, was altered by an artist named Prince. I came down on the side that Prince essentially altered Cariou’s work enough that it changed the meaning of the work. I do want to express, however, that although I could see how the courts viewed this case, it is unfair. Cariou produced amazing work, and Prince just kind of trashed it. I would be really upset if this had happened to my work. It is devastating that Prince made money off the work that someone else produced.

Week 2: CityID group B Brief Update

My group was able to meet for over an hour using the Big Blue button to start to get to know one another and to puzzle through an approach to the work. We identified that CityID had emphasized the term agency and while we discussed what agency could mean, we decided that perhaps we could spend the week identifying agency is visual art. We used the google doc to collect these images. We will meet again next Tuesday to discuss what we have found.

Week 6-7 Peer commissioned micro-project: Psycho-Anatidae

For week 6-7, I had the opportunity to assign- and be assigned- a micro-project to complete this week by my classmate. I assigned my classmate the exercise of creating a psycho-geography around her home. Interestingly, she assigned me the same thing, however, with a creative twist: to follow my poultry exploring the world as they do.

What is a psycho-geography?

In Situationist Guy Dubord‘s 1955 essay Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography, he defined psychogeography as “the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behaviour of individuals.” Put simply, psychogeography is the exploration of the psychological effects of an urban environment.

Ridgway, M. (2014). An introduction to psycho-geography. The Double negative. Accessed:

The term “psycho-geography” does not apply to my assignment if I use the definition listed above. It seems to me that the rural landscape preceded the urban, therefore, the term should apply to exploring the countryside as well. I searched the term “rural psycho-geography” and found a book called Almias by Phil Legard, Layla Smith and Simon Bradley. It’s a wonderful read which describes the geography, history and mystery of Almscliff, a craggy outcrop in Yorkshire, UK. It is illustrated with creative photographs of the rocks and the immediate countryside.

What is a rural psycho-geography?

Legard, Smith and Bradley (2010) state that “The idea that psychogeography can apply to an environment which is not ‘consciously organised’ suggests that that, as with mundane geography, psychogeography can present broader arenas for exploration than solely urban space. As a discipline,geography itself is not solely about the urban, but also suggests further‘pleasingly vague’ branches of art and science  such as psychogeology , psychometeorology, psycho-  politics , and so on.

Legard, P., Smith, L., Bradley, S. (2010). Almias: Rural Psychogeography. accessed: https://www.academia.edu/6819099/Almias_Rural_Psychogeography_Book_

Pleasing vague branches or art and science seem like an invitation to a creative challenge, to me. My classmate related that she had had a bad experience with a mean goose and is, subsequently, afraid of geese. Most people that know I have geese relate that the geese (or chickens, ducks or other animals) are scary (mean, aggressive, terrible, etc). I haven’t had that experience. To me these critters are (mostly) delightful. They are my outdoor environment, my psycho-geography.

To better describe this phenomenon, I would like to propose a new term, psycho-Anatidae, which, after Guy Dubords essay would be “the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of an individual. Or, as Ridgway adds, the “exploration of the psychological effects of an [Anatidae] environment”. The Anatidae family comprises of over 40 sub-families of birds, include geese and ducks. The Anatidae environment, in my back yard, includes the trees, brook, grass, woods… and other Anatidae.

As this micro-project assignment was for me to record the (geography of) psycho-Anatidae (which I argue contains other Anatids), I dutifully followed my geese and ducks and recorded them from their (low) point of view. However, displaying these photos might be problematic as they could prompt feelings of discomfort with the subject matter (for the goose-phobic). I would like to display my work AND promote Anatids as lovely, approachable creatures. I created an alternative display mode and media:

Psycho-AnatidaeDecor ™

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A visual exploration of Wilful Blindness

Continuing on the exploration of the concept of wilful blindness, or the tendency for humans to ignore the ambiguous or difficult, I shot a few scenes last weekend on the shoreline of Connecticut.

This first picture is setting up for a scene called “Selfie”. The two young women facing away from the camera will be set up to seem completely self-absorbed by getting the perfect selfie shot. The woman, lying face-down on the beach, is the subject of the photograph. Her position is meant to seem ambiguous: Is she alive, drunk or dead? Unintentionally, this woman has clothes identical to the young boy who was found on the shore, dead, by Turkish police during the major migration of Syrians two years ago. Interestingly, the person who snapped this shot captured the expression of a passer-by who isn’t quite sure what is going on. I am the photographer in the back of the shot. Ironically, I am not aware that my picture is being taken in this shot.

This next shot, two people in a low-cost hotel room, is practice for a scene depicting human trafficking. In this version, the victim is on the floor and her leg is visible. The lighting proved too cheery and the the foreground too busy. I made some adjustments for the final shot which will be posted as my Work in Progress Portfolio.

Week 4: Collaboration

After reviewing the images and material that fellow class members uploaded since the start of week four, Ilya, Bekki and I decided to work together to create a micro-project. We felt that our strength as a group were our comfort with interaction and communication on Canvas and Whatsapp. We had noted that we all seem to be on the chat and the weekly tutoring webinars at the same time. Our second strength is that we have varied subject matter interests. We felt that, when combined, we had the opportunity for creating something interesting and different from our regular work.

On day 4 (Monday) of Week 4, we formed our group. Ilya created a group on Canvas where we could share files and talk about direction of the project. We communicated in both the discussion section of the Group, on Canvas, and via our own chat group on WhatsApp. After Ilya had returned from a meeting of a group whose work is bringing the problem of species extinction to the forefront, we made the decision to focus on the them of extinction for our micro project. We decided that we all would take some photos related to the theme and discuss a way forward the following day. Day 5 (Tuesday), we identified the most compelling images, one from each member. Bekkie put forth a moving poem about children growing up with restrictions on how children learn to not appreciate the wild. Ilya authored a poem about the rising sea levels and I located a poem about extinction. We met via Webinar: We decided as a group to produce a book- Each poem would have one photographic illustration. We worked together with power point to create a look we all liked. Bekkie turned our finished power point presentation into a publication, then realized that we may have copyright issues if we publicly display our product. Bekkie and Ilya put forth the idea of displaying via a powerpoint PDF, then creating a slide show in our own Critical Research Journals.

We will present our work during our weekly tutor webinar on day 6 of Week 4.

This content would be published as a square book with the poem and photograph featured as a two-page spread.

Webinar tutorial: We presented our work, Extinction, to our tutor and a group of our peers today. We received feedback that the our work was interesting and effective. If we had the time and were aiming to create a book, that we might have included more pictures, and perhaps, sized all the pictures the same.
I enjoyed viewing other team’s work and it’s amazing the complex and appealing products that were made in such a short amount of time. I suggested that we all should collaborate on a single piece.