March 17, 2022

Week 6 | Portfolio Reviews & Symposium

I attended three portfolio reviews this week and got something different from each one and I was so grateful for the different perspectives on my WIP.

Portfolio Review I

  • Specify what I want to focus on.
  • Push experiementation/an idea until it collapses and then build it back up again.
  • More astract
  • My series Trapped within an image – she’d like to have seen me cover the glass or smash it up.
  • Sam Lee Hayes

Sarah Eyre

Monica Alcazar Duarte

Mónica Alcázar-Duarte explores the dangers hidden behind the algorithm.

Claire Gallagher – Second Shift – Wendy liked the modesty of the work

Lisa Sourgina – motherhood behind glass

Annegret Soutau (Richard Soltun Gallery)

Susan Hiller’s Auras

Book Anna Fox Visualising Research

The Y by Alba Zari

Every woman inherits two X chromosomes, one of which can be paternal. Alba Zari uses the medium of photography as a tool of investigation, writing self-analytic notes to research the father she never met.

I really enjoyed looking through the physical book in the video above. I like how the narrative unfolded and the unconventional layout. I was also really drawn to the printed semi-opaque pages which you could almost see through. I’d been working with vellum but for some reason I’d only considered printing on the acetate and not the vellum so this has sparked a different potential idea.

Laura Letinsky

I’m drawn to the narrative which can be shown in such a minimalist way. Her way of working in a very white environment was an immediate draw to me as that is how I always work commercially in my work, with a white space and a very soft light (most like the image on the right).

Portfolio Review II

In my second portfolio review, Clare really helped me in terms of getting taking the breadth of experimentation that I had done this module and really trying to get to a point of focus so that I can prepare an assignment submission that has a sense of depth and cohesion to it. This is something I’d very consciously been struggling with and so it was something I specifically asked for feedback on.

Clare agreed that it was a point in the module where I needed to be thinking about refining my WIP and to start taking an idea and pushing it so that iterations could evolve and a more resolved output could be achieved. She was most drawn to my experimentation using the cutout holes that I punched, particularly the experimentation done with vernacular photography. She wondered if I could expand out on the idea by introducing different relational experiences and using an image showing that relationship and asking the other person in the image to puncture and mark the section of the photograph containing me, as a way of showing their impact on how I am shaped.

She also liked the “domestic paint colours” that she saw in my shooting through cut-outs work and wondered if I could draw this element into the more editorial style of self-portraiture which could sit alongside the vernacular cut-outs.

She asked what I might focus on later at FMP and I mentioned that I would like to move away from self-portraiture and photograph other women. She said that using my editorial style with other women may allow me to build an editorial portfolio that could be useful post FMP if I was looking to work in that genre.

Clare also recommended the book, The Yellow Wallpaper which is about the mundanity of domestic life which I’ve bought and am waiting to read.

Portfolio Review III

There was only me and another student in this review and Ross was very generous with his time, knowledge and assistance. Ross really helped by reflecting back at me some of the words I’d used when talking through my portfolio and pointing out which aspects of what I talked about were similar and in other places different. For example, in some past work, I’d focused on seeing the world through my daughter’s eyes, whereas in other work I was responding to the digital world and social media. He explained that whilst as separate projects this is fine, in my current WIP there’s an unclear undefined definition of what I’m exploring and from what perspective.

Some questions he posed

  • What do I want to communicate?
  • How do I communicate it?
  • Where will it be seen?
  • Who will see it?

Some ideas/observations

  • Barriers was something he came up with after listening to my portfolio presentation and he wondered if these were self imposed, projected or from the outside in. Also barriers for the viewer to work through?
  • Repair, separation, deconstruction
  • Seeing the world through my daughters eyes
  • Rawness – tearing – physicality
  • Use of venacular space?
  • Use of a specific instagram feed to reflect on digital manipulation, perhaps using a phone and instagram filters.
  • The other student considered whether shooting a light through the paper cut outs (from the same position as the camera) would allow the shapes shadows to fall on the subject behind. I’ve also considered whether the camera could be placed at a side angle showing protrouding elements emerging out of the cut out spaces.
  • Pairing moving image, audio or text.
  • Perhaps jot down key words and phrases and find a common thread or an underlying theme that I can specifically work towards.


Symposium – Project Statements

First of all, we discussed what a project statement was and how it may or may not be different to an artist statement depending on for what and where it is being used. It was concluded that the project statement can be a somewhat poetic statement about what we’re trying to achieve or express. It’s not instructive and nor does it spell out what we’ve done or how it should be read. It’s a teaser to make us want to explore the work.

We broke out into breakout rooms and each showed briefly our current WIP. Then we each fed back words that the WIP made us think of, in a sort of free-flow word association, in order to collect a number of words for the photographer to use to create their statement.

For my current WIP these are the words that others thought of:

  • Identity
  • being
  • layer
  • meaning
  • me, myself and i
  • taxonomy
  • typology
  • grid
  • biometrics
  • biology
  • visceral
  • self experimentation
  • Shapes

We then looked at Georgia’s work The Mourners and considered the words that could be used in association with this body of work.

Using a handful of words that most closely related to what the work was about they were then expanded and mind mapped out to create a larger list of words.

These words could then be used to create the project statement. We did something similar with our own words.

I really struggled to write something under this sort of time pressure and so came up with something terrible unsatisfactory…

This series of self-portraits explore the complexity of what we choose to show of ourselves and what others choose to see. By disturbing, manipulating, obscuring, layering and deconstructing appearances the work considers how identity and meaning can be distorted by experience and perspective.

Back in our breakout groups, we read out our statements. I really enjoyed some of the other student’s statements as they were so poetic, something which I struggle to achieve with my writing. The students were really helpful and made some suggestions which I could try, such as starting a new sentence when it becomes apparent I’ve used too many commas. And then reflecting on how the layers/manipulations happen and what this means? So… The layering/manipulation takes place by….. The layers can be seen as….

Back in the main group people shared their statements and some of the feedback from the teachers was to then expand on the poetic and add methodology and approach to the statement to round it out to completion. From the statement can the viewer understand the intent and can it stand alone without images?

I intend to revisit this exercise. I feel I need to work out which parts of the WIP I’m going to take forward and get really specific on what it is my intent is and what I want to say with the work before I can really be in a position to complete the exercise properly.


Layers – Filters

Perspective – Reflections – Depth – Dimension

Experience – Judgements – Beliefs – Stories – Past – History

Distortion – Manipulate – Stretch – Pixelate

Appearances – first impressions

Deconstruct – rebuild – sum of parts.