What is your understanding of issues related to the unit?

When working on this unit, I noticed there were a number of workshops to experiment with outside of both my essay and collage project. For me there were such a challenging barrier since it took me longer than others to get my head around the steps of working throughout the process.

What context would you place your work in?

My work would be placed in Collage, the reason for this is that is that a image of playing cards is commonly a flat symmetric layout which is similar to the construction of a collage that too can portray a strong symbol by having a creative arrangement of elements and colours that can possibly build a symbol.

What were the reasons behind your photographic choices? For instance, how do you think your visual choices translate to your ideas?

Firstly the whole playing cards concept came from playing card applications on my iPad such as solitaire, In addition I had researched and come across a number of collage artists such as Peter Blake and Markus Hofko who may not have used cards Blake using cartoon characters’ and Hofko who uses everyday objects. This influenced me to produce cards showing a contemporary humour replacing the authentic medieval history.

How have you managed your studies?

I have had to improve on my organisation skills by planning ahead to get resources needed, for example, books from the library as I have occurred fines. I have referenced resources as I have gone along, which has saved me time. I have utilised the universities resources such as, the use of printers to enable me to have better quality images, I have had to manage my time effectively which has paid off as I have been able to submit my essay a week early which has enabled me to focus my attention on the other tasks. I need to continue to manage my time effectively with all units.

What aspects of your project do you need to reflect upon and why?

My cards have their basic symmetric designs along with some colour correlating logos that flow with them, however, assembling these cards together were a struggle so choice of logos were very important in terms of the colour schemes, in addition, the size of the cards were difficult to both plan and produce, technical printing difficulties occurred which involved having to do multiply prints and assembling before the final finished pieces.

What has been the most significant challenge on these Units so far? – How can you overcome them in the future?

The most significant challenges for me was having to attend workshops and process lots of new information relating to how equipment and machines work and then go onto project work straight away. I found that I was not able to focus my attention to this and that I needed to have a break. I felt so overwhelmed as I was asked to undertake the task of taking analogue photographs. I had to do this the next day to reduce my feelings of high anxiety. This worked well for me and I was able to then focus my attention fully.


Henri Cartier-Bresson

Henri Cartier-Bresson

Henri Cartier-Bresson was born on August 22, 1908 in Chanteloup, France. Historically, he was one of the first few photographers to use the common form of the everyday life in photography. Roaming the streets, Cartier-Bresson would photograph moments most eyes would surpass for everyday life, but to him these were the true moments of human existence.

Cartier-Bresson quotes that “To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression” (The Decisive Moment 1952: 155)

The composition of the images have integrated vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines, curves, shadows, triangles, circles, and squares to Bresson’s advantage as the framing importantly supports these elements.

Since Henri Cartier-Bresson was one of the earliest photographers to portray the documentation of everyday life, he would see the world like if he was a painter as he would apply to the same aesthetics to paintings as photography was in its earliest days when Cartier-Bresson was around making photographs.

Another important aspect was that Cartier-Bresson would make sure that he wasn’t attracting any attention so that he would capture the natural public instead of the public changing what they were originally doing by wondering what the photographer was doing.


International Photography Hall of Fame & Museum (2014) Henri Cartier-Bresson. [Online] Available from http://www.iphf.org/hall-of-fame/henri-cartier-bresson/ [Accessed: 22/01/16]

Biography.com Henri Cartier-Bresson [Online] Available from http://www.biography.com/people/henri-cartier-bresson-9240139 [Accessed: 22/01/16]

Eric Kim. (2015) 10 Things Henri Cartier-Bresson Can Teach You about Street Photography [Online] Available from: http://erickimphotography.com/blog/2011/08/22/10-things-henri-cartier-bresson-can-teach-you-about-street-photography/ [Accessed: 22/1/16]



Still Life

BA Photo Still life-010BA Photo Still life-014

For my first workshop I teamed up with other students and practiced using studio equipment to create a Vanitas image in similarity to the work of Harmen Steenwyck who portrayed the allegory of the vanites of human life. The equipment I and my team used was

  • Bron Colour Flash
  • Arri Light
  • Soft box Light
  • Reflector
  • Mirrors
  • Dolly Stand

Firstly we used the soft box which was the positioned as the same height as the still life table on the left while the arri light was on the right was at a much higher height facing downwards with was much  brighter than the soft  ox light which created some darker shadows on the left side. To balance the light in terms of the correctly exposed and theatrical images, I and the team used a reflector and a few mirrors to bounce the bright light from the arri light and direct it towards shadows that were too dark in some areas which effected the symbolic elements on the table.

The top image has the skull (my key favourite element in the photographs) had a very underexposed eye when capturing it, so in further development, a few mirrors were used and some members including myself of the team stood in various positions to aim to both reflect and redirect the bright light from the right side of the studio which had a more positive outcome as shown on the image below.


Harmen Steenwyck: Still Life: An Allegory of the Vanities of Human Life.

Image: http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/harmen-steenwyck-still-life-an-allegory-of-the-vanities-of-human-life


Canon 5D

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My next workshop was practicing the basic controls of a Canon 5D, this was a both an enjoyable and helpful tutorial so that I would be used to using the Canon 5Ds from the camera store. The first two images was a depth of field test including all sorts of shutter speeds,apertures and ISOs. Next, me and the rest of the group were planning to use these same techniques outside the building but was more interested in learning the experiment of slow shutter speed in terms of blur movement and light.



Firstly I and my group learned how to take the Hasselblad cameras apart piece by piece before shooting in the studio with basic light resources on light weight stands with a white paper background . The cameras were amazing to learn and work with in terms of their amazing abilities such as the flash control and tethered operations. We ended up doing digital flash since we would learn about film in the analogue process days, in addition we learned about the tethered operations where the camera would release its shutter and display the image on the computer along with some tweaking materials to edit the image (similar to Photoshop).


 Photomontage and Collage


Photomontage And Collage was an interesting workshop, but was honestly difficult to think of some ideas since there were so many styles running around in my head. I mildly thought of an idea of using the trees outside the building as my key subjects. I always had an interest in trees, they can symbolise or metaphor so many things. For this work I took inspiration by The Bechers who are well known for their sequencing of the evolution industrial buildings, My work along with some colleagues of my choosing created our own tree out of many images of trees including their wooden trunks and roots. When looking at the top image, the trees to me looked emotionless which reminded me of busy cities like London where busy suited pedestrians would be so focused on themselves and not take notice of others, the tree made out of a series of tree images would create more of a series of moods since the top image in comparison is the same emotionless mood being repeated frame by frame.


                                                        The Bechers: Water Towers 1962-1983


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The green-screen honestly wasn’t something up my street but did however have its fun moments in the Photoshop process including a little animation process on Premier. The top two images were the start of the process using a studio, then erasing the green background with the “Color Range” tool against a background of my choosing that  humorously worked well with the portraits.

Multiple Images

Photoshop effect on Image Sequencing


In this image sequencing workshop, I and my colleagues created all sorts of styles, the first was the sequencing of jumping in the air. The equipment we used for this was a standard Canon 5D on a tripod along with a light on the left side of the subject with a black polystyrene board to stop too much light spreading across the studio and only on the subject and background, it was also important to tether the camera to a computer I would be able to closely inspect the multiple images one by one in case there were mistakes. The images above show both the original images set as a timeline and multiple exposures in a single frame by combining images as layers on Photoshop.


When inserting all the photographs in order, I used the timeline tool in Photoshop to create an animating GIFF file of the series of images.  



Practicing poses

This part of the process was used with the lights turned off and only syncing the flash on every pose in each image. I communicated with the subject about the poses and practiced the three poses to create a multiple series of images creating one action within one image. To combine these three poses, me and my colleagues needed to slow down the shutter speed to about 8 seconds while the light would be turned off while somebody would press the flash test button three times on each pose before the camera would close its shutter.


Image Making

Here To There

For this Image Making unit, I had an option of three projects of my choosing for opportunities of , in the end I chose the project Here to There. I was most inspired by this project since I as a photographer is more into the narrative or theatrical side of photography. Here to There provided workshops, seminars and lectures that would enable me to explore the fluid nature of images, created by intertwined symbolic, spatial and temporal connections that have the ability to impart contextual depth and alternative interpretations to photographs.



For my project idea, I thought it would be interesting by having medieval playing cards and recreating them with a modern twist. The modern twist in comparison to the authentic style of the Jacks, Queens and Kings would contain elements of the current or modern era to portray an entirely new Jack, Queen and King.


(The latest designs of the playing cards)

I scrolled through my playing cards to inspect each picture card, my favourite three picture cards were the queen of clubs, the king of spades and the jack of spades. I’m not going to remake these literal poses and facial expressions but more use these cards as an influence to produce future development to my project.


In my spare time, I friends and family liked to play card games such as Solitaire and Poker which would commonly be played on technical devices like iPhones and iPads, I was also very visually interested in the symmetrical patterns and reflected portraits of the Jacks, Queen and Kings along with their colour schemes.


early and late 19th century cards.jpg

(Playing cards around early and late 19th century in comparison to the latest designs)

Historically, playing cards have amazingly been around the world for many centuries until now, the latest versions made in late 19th century had been occasionally retouched, by the 20th century the card designs had became more detailed and took up quite a large area of the card which brings me back to the images above. In terms of the games, the old versions of these cards including the ones on the image above, did not have a symmetric pattern which I presume was challenging for the players to notify the cards because of the one angle that shows the correct angle and full presentation of the cards. The patterns have clearly proved to me that small traces of current designs of cards are slightly recognisable (mainly with the colours of the clothing and head designs), the clothing and head designs overall are the key elements that would make me understand this developing series as I follow onwards in inspection.


Other than just an element I use in my spare time to play games, other photographers and collage artists have influenced me to develop this idea.


The photograph “A sudden gust of wind” by Jeff Wall has been an inspiration to the woodwork known as Travellers Caught in a Sudden breeze at Ejiri by Katsushika Hokusai. Jeff Wall has proven that this woodcut construction is not the only possibility of creating the image by representing it with photography which is similar to what I am trying to develop.


Sex Pistols Jamie Reid

This collage artwork of Jamie Reid had been well known for Sex Pistols fans. This was more of a literal reason of adding this artist into this blog as The Queen has been used as a key element for the artworks representation of Britain and one of its biggest bands.


With mention of the queen I was honoured to go back to the similar styles of Katsushika Hokusai and Jeff Wall with these still life images.

Back in 1602, Juan Sanchez Cotan painted this beautiful still life of fruit and vegetables, featuring some elements hanging on a string. The image on the right shows a modern version being produced with the photography of Fleur Alston that has the popular Kentucky Fried Chicken elements as a replacement to the original fruit and veg.


Hannah Hoch

This collage has a presentation of flowers with a clever colour scheme with not just cut outs of flowers but also cut outs of colours of peoples eyes. The compositions of these eyes have significantly shown me that the image is a bouquet of flowers. This artwork has shown that new elements placed in particular compositions can possibly create new images or representations of the elements themselves.



This collage artwork has a room containing all sorts of elements from Raoul Hausmann. In contrast to Hannah Hoch, the image to me looked a little chaotic since my eyes were surrounded by colours and strange compositions but has equally interested me.




This collage work simply has photographs being sewed onto another photograph turning a casual portrait to a portrait of visually unsettling humanoid creature. In contrast to the work Hannah Hoch and Fleur Alston, this construction or development has been more of a basic medium with an outcome of a new image being displayed.


war martha rosler

In this artwork Martha Rosler combines these two images of the female working at home and a war photograph to make the image present a narrative as its final outcome. My idea of using new elements in style of a symbolic reference to the medieval era would not really present something narrative but rather something symbolic.


wizard of oz annie leibovitzBy moving onto photography with a more of a different medium of production, I have been quite intrigued by this Wizard of Oz styled photograph for Vogue magazine by Annie Leibovitz. The photograph is honestly more towards an audience who would have a pre knowledge of understanding this photograph in terms of the theming and characters being portrayed in the image, this direction would remind myself what my idea would go through since this ideal style is in relation to symbols of a popular series of games.



This collage between the city of London and famous cartoon characters creates a pre known and enjoyable image for the viewers that are familiar with the characters. Peter Blake in contrast to Annie Leibovitz has all sorts of characters instead of one or one group of characters which brings out more of an ovation in terms of the image’s interest or audience reaction. Although the cards are more recognisable than these characters since they have been around for longer periods of time, the response to the images would still in similarity have the same response with not just with the style cards, but with the modern elements that would ideally redecorate it. In finalisation of mentioning this collage, the work of Peter Blake mainly reflects on the chaotic compositions of the modern elements matching the chaotic patterns on the symmetric historic clothing of the symbolic picture cards.


markus hofko

Much like the compositions of the cartoon and comic book characters, there is the work of Markus Hofko. Instead of having these fantasies in the City of London, we have some these elements floating around in space. The space background is also a pre knowledge fantasy element as much as the others that surround it, this work reminded me of my childhood memories of my bedroom which had a space themed wall with planets and space shuttle stickers, but as for the cards, they are elements that I still use to this day probably like most other people since its quite a general element to use on holiday occasions for example.




In contrast to the work of Peter Blake and Markus Hofko, John Vincent Aranda has compositions which look to be essential in terms of the image itself dramatically expressing an intense experience in style of a comic book. the composition of the faces take me back towards the work of Annegret Soltau a little, in addition these essential compositions in contrast to Markus Hofko create a new character which is quite the journey I was going with my modern side of playing cards.


Harlequinbig Valero Doval    

Much like the playing cards idea, this work by Valero Doval has a very similar medium and construction. The old portrait photograph has particular elements replaced by colourful and more modern elements making the image quite humorous or comic since the red circle looks like a representation of a clowns nose in my opinion.


Pepe Mar

To finalise my inspirations, I was honoured to show the work of Pepe Mar. This instillation artwork in similarity to Markus Hofko has also got its chaotic colours, the composition is simply in a form of a sculpture which presents the work as an instillation as its final outcome.



Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 15.56.28

These test shots I photographed were of myself posing in similarity to the King Of Spades with his sword. In contrast to the king, I would have headphones and a selfie stick.


A sketch of the symmetric patterns on playing cards along with my ideal logo compositions.

After the shoot I imagined the symmetric clothing of the cards and recreated them using modern logos as their new patterns such as the Facebook and McDonalds logo.



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I would use recognisable elements from society to redesign the clothing leaving only few of the original symmetric designs behind just to make the image more understanding. The card design in combination with these modern elements work well together creating one image symbolising our everyday lives since cards is something we like to use once in a while just like the other elements that resemble the original symbols in the cards authentically. By printing these logos and photographs, I cut them out and layered them on A5 sized pieces of paper, the outcomes were pretty interesting and I was certainly happy with them and knowing I needed to make them look more like cards by having the symmetric effect. To do this on the photographs, I would need to make sure that the image is perfectly framed so then I can copy and reflect the image on the bottom of its original form.



Here I photographed some friends of mine ready to print and cut for my collage cards.


In addition to the Jack, Queen and King, I created a pattern for the back of the cards by using Photoshop to merge an image of a crowd using their modern gadgets (such as IPhones and the most modern digital cameras) with the basic general pattern of a hidden playing card.

BN-GM054_0116PH_J_20150116045447 copy


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In comparison to the first cards I practiced, both photographs of the subject faces were above and below along with either less logos or logos being placed in better compositions that essentially match the original patterns of the royal clothing, this is either with the font or the colour of the logos. The sizes were A4 so I could see the symmetric patterns more in detail, and with these three symbolic characters developed, I also tried printing in many sizes including the original size of playing cards.

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For this part of the development, I searched up four some more playing cards of Jacks Queens and Kings. These styles were much smaller than the previous ones which were A4. These smaller designs had influenced me to use two reflecting logos on each card.

Before the logo development, I erased the original heads of the Jacks, Queens and Kings so that the photographs would replace them more accurately than the A4 sized cards. 

Once I finished this part of the process along with the replaced heads, I then needed to add some logos, the difference between this development and the previous development I did on the A4 sized cards was that I essentially chosen particular logos that correlate with the colour scheme of the clothing on the authentic medieval characters which as an outcome portrayed more of a contemporary symbol.