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Contextual Research

Chrystel Lebas

"Stemming from her interest in looking at how landscapes contain psychological significance in relation to visually concealed histories, Chrystel Lebas employs photography and the moving image, to address a wider understanding of the complex encounter between man and nature."

Extract from Chrystel Lebas' book - Between dog and wolf.

"The forest is a fascinating space; one can feel attracted by its grandeur, or scared by its depth and darkness. This space of immensity echoes our childhood memories, through fairy-tale or play. Walking to the forest of my childhood, after many years, I remembered when we used to build a hut, and slowly the light would disappear, and darkness would surround us. The excitement of being inside this small shelter, protected by large trees, overturned our fears, and instead we felt protected." 


'Between Dog and Wolf', Chrystel Lebas

Hidden Nature (to the right) is a series created by Lebas, I particularly liked this series due to the muted dark tones and the abstract feel.

"Walking alone in the forest recording close up scenes or tableaux, I attempted to reveal the hidden side of nature, the nature we have glorified forgetting its real harshness and purpose, questioning man’s relationship with the natural environment and man’s response to a lost wilderness."

What I admire about Lebas' work is the way she incorporates either scientific or historical context. Lebas' is often examining parts of the forest, or revisiting sections which have been photographed before, documenting the ever changing landscape. 


Chrystel Lebas 'Hidden Nature - Animalism 14' - 2008

Matt Collishaw - Albion

The Albion (2017) is a projection of the famous oak tree in Sherwood Forest, Nottingham, said to have sheltered Robin Hood. The trunk of the thousand-year-old tree began to die a few centuries ago and since Victorian times it has been supported by complex steel structures. With a laser scan and the “Pepper’s Ghost” technique, the projection of the oak appears as a living creature permanently captured by man to recreate the illusion of life. 

“My desire is to show the viewer how the time in which we live affects our perception of the world around us. These days, it’s difficult to slow down and absorb imagery of the past. Over time, our perception of paintings changes, not only because they become iconic, but because the media around us has totally changed. We don’t generally stand around looking at a picture that’s not moving, because it’s not that interesting compared to what else is on offer. I’m trying to reintroduce the concept of time to these works, to prompt the viewer to look at each of them a little longer and thus immerse themselves in the history of each picture.”

The themes within Mat Collishaw's work and the installations he creates are what interest me the most. The way he often fills a gallery space to create an immersive experience for the viewer. Often challenging them to consider the world around us, and slow down, 'absorbing imagery of the past'. 

Albion being a projection of the famous oask tree in Sherwood Forest, gives the tree a new life and meaning. The projection captures the tree and enables the tree to live on forever having been captured by Collishaw. 

The way Collishaw projects his images into the room is something I would like to explore in my own work, looking at how I can mimic part of the forest within a gallery setting. 


Mark Wallinger - 'Orrery'

"An ‘Orrery’ is a model of the solar system, a way of setting the moons and planets in motion around the sun as relative bodies in space, a model planetarium.

It makes you dizzy, mesmerised, a kind of swoon. It sets you in relative orbit with Mark Wallinger in his car with his phone, with the tree, the roundabout, with the spheres.

The oak tree on its island is a cameo of Britain destined to rotate in its tiny orbit endlessly. As the world around the tree revolves, the sun moves across the screen. This revolution of a municipal roundabout in Essex becomes a contemplation of the orbit of our planet around the sun and our place in the universe.

It’s a kind of mandala too – a circle held tightly within a square, with four gates held by a centrepoint, a metaphysical representation of the cosmos.

And in your gaze from the centrepoint, the oak tree travels continually across the seasons from leafless to green and back again, and yet is simultaneously held in each time frame in a ‘forever’ state. The tree is timeless and yet distinctive to each time period that is stimulated by light, the sun and the tilt of the earth."

This is another artist who has created an installation piece using trees as the main focus. The Orrery allows the viewer to experience the tree from different angles through the different seasons. One screen can only be seen at a time before turning round to see the next, allowing the viewer to take time to consider the changes in each individual piece. 

The oak tree is in the middle of a roundabout, and therefore by creating this circle Wallinger gives the tree the power to surround the viewer, rather than the tree being circled by traffic and passers by. Again this type of work is giving the trees a new meaning, a new voice and a way to live on forever. 


Installation view, Mark Wallinger. ID, Hauser & Wirth London, 2016© Mark Wallinger. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photography Ken Adlard


Mark Wallinger Orrery (film stills). 2016. Photograph: Publicity image

Forest Bathing

"This Japanese practice is a process of relaxation; known in Japan as shinrin yoku. The simple method of being calm and quiet amongst the trees, observing nature around you whilst breathing deeply can help both adults and children de-stress and boost health and wellbeing in a natural way."

Forest bathing is something I have looked into before, and without realising, I was already doing it. It has become a way especially during the current pandemic for people to gather their thoughts and meditate. It has been recorded that forest bath can help with stress and boost the immune system. Often people will feel much better after a long walk, but does the walk feel different if is it through the forest? 
For me forests are a place of calm, the sea on the other hand is where I go when feeling chaotic. So is there truth in the healing of forest bathing? When I have practiced forest bathing myself I have felt better mentally and physically. Having suffered for 5 years now with an underactive thyroid, going for walks in the forest and practicing meditation there has had positive side effects on my overall health relating to the thyroid. 

The area of forest I am exploring for FMP gave me a sense of strength, it allowed me to leave a toxic environment and to find myself again. Could forest bathing amongst the trees have helped, or was it just an emotional response to taking time out... who knows, but forest bathing for me worked. 

Using forest bathing as a techniques I'll be writing pieces to go alongside my images, even through meditation or automatic writing. 


"But what exactly is this feeling that is so hard to put into words? I am a scientist, not a poet. And I have been investigating the science behind that feeling for many years.

In Japan, we practice something called forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku. Shinrin in Japanese means “forest,” and yoku means “bath.” So shinrin-yoku means bathing in the forest atmosphere, or taking in the forest through our senses.

This is not exercise, or hiking, or jogging. It is simply being in nature, connecting with it through our senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. Shinrin-yoku is like a bridge. By opening our senses, it bridges the gap between us and the natural world." (Li, 2018)

Getting back to nature: how forest bathing can make us feel better.

Shinrin-yoku was developed in the 1980s in Japan. Although people had been taking walks in the country’s forests for centuries, new studies showed that such activity could reduce blood pressure, lower cortisol levels and improve concentration and memory. A chemical released by trees and plants, called phytoncides, was found to boost the immune system.

Getting back to nature: how forest bathing can make us feel better -



This concept of thinking more about what photography can do links to the journey my images are aiming to produce. It is less about what is in each individual photograph and more about how the images create a narrative of the forest. I'd like to produce a book and exhibition which walks the viewers through the forest experiencing various elements in different ways depending on their own personal experiences. By this I mean, from our childhood we are taught differently, we see and say things differently. No one experience is exactly the same, the colour blue could mean calm to one person, and fear to another. Therefore the experience I create with my images, I can try to produce a calm atmosphere if I wanted, but in reality each audience member or viewer is going to see the work in a unique way. 

I have shown my liberation images to some audiences and they have felt a sense of liberation, just like me, for others they provoke a sense of chaos. My aim with the project is to create a loose narrative of the forest, how the images and work make the viewer feel however will be dependent on them. 

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"IN LIMBO addresses our current state of being, suspended and in vacuum. This issue reflects on how we are experiencing the two main topics of our time - a global pandemic and social challenges - while looking at how this could be a fundamental chance to shift our questions on photography: stop asking 'what photography is' and start consciously talking about 'what photography can do' and 'what we want photography to do'. "

John Sexton - Listen to the Trees 

"As I stand within an aspen grove in Castle Creek Valley, Colorado, I am reminded again of the rejuvenating quality of trees, how being surrounded by them can cleanse the mind, body and soul of the distractions of what we call the "real world." I am afraid that, as time has passed, what we accept as the real world has become distorted. As I wander with my camera in this beautiful stand of aspens, it is clear to me the real world is right here. The real world is within the natural environment, and for me one place to find the real world is within he forest."

Sexton's work in particular his series on trees explain exactly what I have been exploring and trying to explain during my project. I have always felt a strong connection when in a forest, and feel we escape as Sexton says 'the real world' but in fact the real world is that environment. It keeps us alive, we breathe because of the trees and for myself in particular it becomes a mediation when I am among the trees. I reflect whilst on my walks through the trees, thinking about reactions, emotions, purpose and existence. 

Sexton is fascinated with the trees, he sees them with personalities and photographs them when the light is hitting them just right to emphasis their qualities. He also feels at peace when surrounded by them.

"I feel at home here, I feel at peace, I feel as if I have been delivered from those distractions we accept as the real world"

I felt a relief when I found Sexton, his work and in particular his book listen to the trees. I have always had some difficultly talking about my work and getting across the points I want to share. It is reassuring to find someone who feels exactly as I during the process of photographing trees, but also thinks about the concepts of our existence. Why do we surround ourselves with materialistic things, a house, cars, etc when in reality when we are within nature that when we feel most at peace and at home.

The stories I want to tell within my photography I want them to be able to relate, to become a reflection process for the viewers, to see the stories, the myths, the fairy tales from our imagination, which shows it is ok to question our existence, to show it is ok to live in an alternative world... or is it really an alternative world, or just one we keep hidden?


Marina Abramovic 

Marina Abramovic is a performance artist who I was introduced to originally at university whilst studying Fine Art and revisited her during sustainable prospects.

Abramovic seems to have always created performance pieces which tap into our consciousness and clear our minds of the busy world around us. Her work is often described, even by herself as spiritual. She has explored various cultures and looked into their spiritually, taking their concepts and ideas and applying them to her performance pieces. The idea of really connecting with nature and ourselves is what I am intending to explore during my current project.

Whilst researching these ideas I came across Abramovic and short trailer of her 'methods'. During the video Abramovic is out in nature, connecting with the present moment, and feeling a sense of calm.

Due to permissions I have been unable to add the trailer but it can be seen at


The Image below is a still from the short clip showing Abramovic pulling down the bloom tree on to her face, closing her eyes and really showing her connection.

Fig.1 Still taken from Abramovic Methods Trailer

Researching further into these methods, it became clear that Abramovic has similarities in her work to the thematic enquiries I want to pursue within my current project. 

Abramovic created her methods which are a series of exercises, some out in nature or connecting with the earth in some way, ask the participants to become aware of their physical and mental experience in the present moment. 

Interestingly this year it has surfaced that "many people" seem to think Abramovic is part of a 'cult' of Satanism. This opens up the questions of why is it seen that anyone who is trying to connect with themselves, or with nature is seen to be 'wicked' like the 'witches' throughout history.

Of course there are areas which are questionable and could be seen as 'satanism' within the work produced by Abramovic such as 'Spirit Cooking' where she uses pig blood to write messages on walls. But more recently why are these exercises seen as odd or a cult when in reality, we used to connect to nature more openly and it was seen as normal behaviour. As humans beings we surround ourselves with a lot of what we don't actually need, and are often looking for time, space and connection. Abramovic's exercises, especially those in nature explore being in the moment, feelings those connections and separating ourselves from the busy lives we lead. 

The current pandemic has forced people to reconnect with nature, see what happens to the world when we aren't in it, destroying it as much as before. Nature has begun to take over and we have been forced to self reflect and think about what is really important in this world. Abramovic's exercises are just another way of allowing people to do this, in a more structured and open way. 

I'd be very interested in trying out some of Abramovic's exercises and creating photographs from these as self portraits, or using other people to practice the techniques and record them photographically.

The Abramovic method

BLINDFOLD: Leave home and go to the forest, where you are blindfolded, then try to find your way back home. Like a blind person, an artist needs to learn to see with his or her whole body.

LONG WALK IN LANDSCAPE: Start walking from a given point, proceeding in a straight line through the landscape for four hours. Rest, then return along the same route.

WALKING BACKWARD: Walk backwards for four hours, while holding a mirror in your hand. Observe reality as a reflection.


FEELING ENERGY: With your eyes closed, extend your hands in front of you toward another participant. Never touching the other person, move you hands around different areas of their body for one hour, feeling their energy.


SLOW-MOTION EXERCISE: For the entire day, do everything very slowly: walking, drinking water, showering. Peeing in slow motion is very difficult, but try.

The visuals produced through Abramovic alone are powerful enough to show the idea of reconnecting with nature and ourselves, but watching the performances really enhance this idea. The still images taken from the performances have a very surreal quality to them which is another area I've explored in the past, looking at automatism, and surrealist such as Magritte, Dali and Breton. 

Fig.2 Marina Abramovic in Brazil: The Space In Between

Fig.1 (Accessed December 2020)


The Abramovic method - (Accessed December 2020)


John Berger and Rene Magritte

One particular area I have struggled with during the MA is trying to explain how I want others to see my work, in the way they see it depending on their own experiences and emotions. I try to select objects, places which resonate with the viewer of trigger an emotion or memory from childhood or later. John Berger's book 'Ways of Seeing' holds essays which have helped me to find new ways to explain my process and thinking more about how the audience view my work, and what they take away from it. During the first chapter, and on the front of the book is a painting by Magritte called 'The Key of Dreams'. Instantly I was drawn to it because of always having a real interest in the Surrealists and their ideas linking to the imagination, dreams and our subconscious. 


Fig.1 Rene Magritte 'The Key of Dreams' 1935

"The way we see things is affected by what we know or what we believe" (Berger 1972)

This quote from the beginning of the book sums up a huge part of my project. Not everyone feels the same way about nature, some might find calm by the sea, others might find turbulent. The forest may feel safe and free for some, for others it may feel dangerous and full of fears. It is the same in how we see things, but also how our beliefs, morals and upbringing have an impact on how we see, and what we feel. I believe in trusting our subconscious, feelings a higher power, I believe in surreal worlds and auras. Others may not. This is how my work and images will relate different to various people. Many will connect in some way, whether the way they see it is however may not be how it was intended, but maybe the way I intend it to be seen is however it makes them feel?  

Ana Mendieta


Ana Mendieta was a performance artist, sculptor, and painter, mostly known for her "earth-body" artwork. Land art is an area I have always been fascinated with with artists such as Andy Goldsworthy and Anthony Gormley using the landscape to create huge pieces of art. Mendieta often uses herself with her pieces, combining her body with nature. I thinking of experimenting with self portraits during this project to give a sense of a human to the work, but keep the identity hidden as to not put any personality into the work, I want it to be mainly focused on the forest. Mendieta often created her pieces to come back to nature and therefore return to herself, using it as a meditative approach and a way to feel all of her sense, opening up to spirituality. 


“Creek,” 1974. Super 8 Film, Colour, Silent.Courtesy of: Galerie Lelong & Co.

"Have you ever caught a still moment in nature where it's so eerily calm, it feels as if there’s a spiritual presence lingering? In Iowa and Mexico, that presence could very likely be the haunting legacy of Cuban performance artist, Ana Mendieta, who fervently used landscapes in these cities to pioneer the earth art (also known as land art) movement in 1970s-80s America." 

For the artist, merging mother nature with art was an authentic way to express the many aspects of her identity: displacement as a Cuban refugee, oppression as a female, and a female artist. By taking art back to nature, she felt that she could become whole again by returning to a natural world absent of manmade inequalities. Mendieta once wrote that “My art is grounded in the belief of one universal energy which runs through everything from insect to man, from man to spectre, from spectre to plant, from plant to galaxy. My works are the irrigation veins of this universal fluid... My art comes out of rage and displacement.”

(Manatakis. 2018)

Myoung Ho Lee

Myoung Ho Lee often produces work which raises questions about reality, representation, the environment and the ways of seeing. 

What I admired about Lee's work is the way in which he isolates the trees. Giving them a sense of importance but also highlighting them to the viewer. The trees are in front of large white sheets which are suspended by a crane. 

The way the tree looks in the final images is though it has been super imposed into the photograph or as though it could be a large sign on the side of the road. 

Giving the trees a new identity and a different voice is what I am interested in within this work, exploring how I can highlight particular areas of the forest within Sutton. 


Tree #11 from the series Photography - Act. 2007

"Simple in concept, complex in execution, he makes us look at a tree in its natural surroundings, but separates the tree artificially from nature by presenting it on an immense white ground, as one would see a painting or photograph on a billboard." (Shim)

Tree #3 from the series Photography - Act. 2007

Edith Pretty - Sutton Hoo

My research into Edith Pretty began when I started looking for areas around Sutton linked to spiritualism. Having known about Sutton Hoo for a long time the link between Edith Pretty and her relationship with the land was something I hadn't explored. Edith Pretty owned the Sutton Hoo estate, which was excavated in 1939 to find Angelo Saxon Royalty buried beneath the mounds. 

During my proposal I had considered including Edith Pretty but felt it didn't link contextually to my work and felt more historical. However looking deeper into Edith and her story, it was clear there were links between the way she felt towards the land at her Sutton Hoo estate and the way I feel over Sutton Heath. 

Within the book 'Edith Pretty - from socialite to Sutton Hoo' there are only four pages which discuss the spiritual aspect of the excavation. 

It is said Edith was always interested in spiritualism, and after the passing of her husband Frank began to host seances with friends. She also funded healers, giving them donations to continue their work and gave financial support to the Spiritualist Church in Woodbridge.


"There are two oft repeated paranormal tales relating to the Sutton Hoo treasure; one concerns a vision of warriors atop the mounds viewed by a friend of Edith from an upstairs window. The other centres on a seance supposedly conducted by Mrs Pretty with assistance of Mr Parish, where an apparition appeared of a man on a black horse who instructed Edith to plunge a sword into the mounds; "there shall the treasure be found'."

This section above is the only area which discusses the paranormal tales, the rest of the four pages discussed Edith's relationship with the spiritualist healers so it difficult to know more about Edith and her story. 

I visited Sutton Hoo which I have discussed in more detail within my project development. The links felt between Edith Pretty and myself are that she had a 'feeling' which turned into visions, and then a reality. When visiting Sutton Hoo most people are there to see the Angelo Saxon treasures and where the ship was buried. For me I was looking at Edith Pretty's journey through the house and estate, trying to connect with her energy and the energy of the mounds. 

Philip J Brittan - Ghosts are real.

Philip J Brittan created a book called the 'Ghosts are real' which explores the process of creating images during long walks and documenting the surroundings. These images for me share the varying emotions felt by Brittan on those walks and it is becoming clear that each time I am walking in the forest over the Heath that different feelings and emotions are conveyed through my photography. Whether its because of how the forest looks, how I feel or the lighting that day, each series of images can tell a different story of the forest. 

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"Looking back, it seems clear to me that ‘Ghosts Are Real’ is about the bruised relationship between the world and the self, with love providing my own protective shield, present everywhere, agile and invulnerable. It is a reminder that there is no bolt to slide across the past, thoughts, good and bad, welcome and unwelcome, will always return from the long grass of memory.

The work was created during a difficult period of my life. My mother had just died after struggling with illness for several months and dealing with the estate fractured my family in rancorous conflict. I escaped each evening for long, slow walks through the city and surrounding countryside. The night walks became a sort of haven, a place to recuperate from the troubles of the day. Memory is always associative; we recall not just the place itself but what it conjures in the mind. Walking, a different route each time, and often suddenly prompted by a particular place, I regularly experienced the emotional ambush that can arrive in the small hours with the past erupting into the present; welcome ghosts and lyrical memories alive with my time spent in the city, from child to adult—faces, voices, objects, music, walks, animals, stories." (Brittan)

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Ghosts Are Real — PHILIP J BRITTAN [accessed January 2021]
Ghosts are Real by Philip J Brittan | Photography | Setanta Books [accessed January 2021]

The Dig 

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Before starting the project based on Edith Pretty I had no idea they would be making a Netflix "documentary" on the excavation of Sutton Hoo. When I realised it was released at the end of January it felt like the perfect timing. However when watching the film, it focused mainly on the actual excavation. It was great to watch and see how it unfolded but I was hoping for more insight into what prompt the dig in the first place. 

There was a point in the film where Edith is adamant to have one of the mounds dug over the other because she has a 'feeling' about the mound. Initially they don't listen to Edith, but once started they soon find an Angelo Saxon Burial Ship full of treasure where a King was buried. 

The film prompted me to visit the village of Sutton and the church where Edith and Frank's ashes are buried, walking once again in Edith's footsteps, but like the film, my project seemed to be focusing on the wrong parts of the concept and I have come to realise that the story of Edith is there purely for contextual links and the project isn't autobiographical or historical, its a journey.

Photography and Belief - David Levi Strauss

I was recommended this book after a portfolio review with Paul. We discussed how my work initially looked like a historical or biographical piece, but in actual fact, it wasn't that at all. After being reassured that the work did in fact show the enchantment and journey through the forest, it was suggested to look into this book. Straight away the book linked to some of the thematic enquiries I have been making within my work. 

In the past I have looked at myths, folklore and fairy tales. As a child we grew up using our imagination and encouraged to believe, although we had not seen. 


Within two minutes of reading the book, it discussed the ways of 'seeing is believing' and I came across the bible quote:

"Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe" (John 20:29)

This summed up my project, I am aiming to produce a series of work which shows the enchantment of the forest. I want the process of making the images to be just as important as the images themselves and although the audience may not see what I see, or feel what I feel they still believe it through the journey of the work. My aim is to try to capture the forest, creating portraits and giving the forest its voice, whilst still telling my own story. 




Almudena Romero 

"Almudena Romero is a visual artist based in London working with a wide range of photographic processes. Her practice uses photographic processes to reflect on issues relating to identity, representation and ideology; such as the role of photography in the construction of national identities. Romero’s works focus on how perception affects existence and how photography contributes to organising perception."

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I have been researching Romero due to the alternative processes she uses to create her images and artefacts. The way in which Romero has photographed or scanned each piece gives them an importance and museum quality. I have created my liquid light prints and had initially scanned them or photographed them on a black background. Looking at Romero's work I can see she has carefully lit the images to produce clear and defined outcomes. 

Her project The Pigment Change explores the process of exposing the leaves to a vast amount of sunlight which turns the exposed parts of the leaf yellow. The images 'printed' onto the leaves show images of people picking, pruning and examining nature. 

Mandy Barker 

Looking at Mandy Barkers work I am more focused on the books she created for her project 'Beyond Drifting'. Barker created two separate books one which is a more mass produced product and the other is handmade, smaller and limited edition. 

I like the way in which Barker has created a book which looks scientific and yet the actual images are of pieces of plastic found the in ocean. The way Barker has made a type of scrap book which looks fragile and delicate is how I would like my final book to look and feel. 

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Michael Iwanowski - Go home polish

"In 2008, I came across a small graffiti in my neighbourhood in Cardiff, and it spelt Go home Polish. I dwelt on it for a while, unsure whether I really should be going anywhere or whether I already was home.


In 2016, with the Brexit referendum breaking Britain in half, and the rising wave of nationalism sweeping across Europe, the slogan took on an even darker tone, and I felt compelled to respond to it. Literally.


In April 2018, I set off on an 1900 km journey, on foot, between Wales, where I've lived for 20 years, and Poland, where I was born. I drew a straight line on the map, got a pair of good hiking shoes, and walked out of my Cardiff flat, facing east: Wales. England. France. Belgium. Holland. Germany. Czech Republic. Poland. My goal was to ask people about home, in a journey that would take 105 days to complete.


Although I anticipated confrontation, polemics, and awkwardness, the antagonism never really came. On the contrary. People responded to the question in a deeply personal way: human to human, rather than citizen to foreigner. Most put their hand on their chest to show me where home was. Many wanted to tag along. Few mentioned their nationality. Only one chased me away.


As the journey progressed, the Go home Polish’ slogan became irrelevant. However, I decided to keep it as a title, and a symbolic axis on which this project is set. This is to challenge the language that dehumanises the other. This is to object to generalisation. This is to look at the geopolitical agenda from the perspective of each individual."

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These images from Go home polish link to my work partly because of going on a journey but also because of the links with text in between images. Iwanowski has taken photographs along his route which are open to interpretation to the viewer, the text although does link to the images, it isn't precisely clear how or where the links are, so again open for the viewers interpretation. The way Iwanoski has spaced out the text so it isn't too uniform works really well, and therefore keeps the gallery interesting.

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Ellen Rogers

Ellen Rogers explores ideas melancholy in fashion photography however more recently during lockdown she used eleven of her images all taken in her hometown of Norfolk to create five handmade photo books exploring her time looking after her father. The book revolves around a poem written by Rogers during this time.


The handmade qualities of the book are the similar style I’d like for my handmade limited editions, each book has a small mistake, giving them a uniqueness. The images are accompanied by handwritten text creating a narrative, I have chosen to include the text in my book similar to Ellen Rogers, however I chose to type my pieces of text as this is the way I create my spirit writing pieces.


Bill Viola

Bill Viola is a contemporary video, sound and installation artist. Viola's work focuses on the human condition and our experiences; birth, death and 'the unfolding of consciousness'. His work often explores ideas linked to spiritual traditions and other religious ideas. "Viola uses video to explore the phenomena of sense perception as an avenue to self-knowledge."


Within this piece 'Ascension' we see a man drop slowing into the water, watching the bubbles around him and float back up to the top in slow motion. This video piece creates a meditative state for the viewer, a world to get lost in whilst still making personal links depending on the viewers beliefs. The way in which the man drops into the water with his arms extended resembles that of Jesus on a cross. 

The slow motion and memorising state Viola video's produce are the areas of his work I am interested in as well as his concepts and ideas exploring the human experience. During this module I have been aiming to create a video piece which will be installed in an exhibition alongside my photographs to support and enhance the narrative. The music within the piece will be played throughout the gallery adding to the viewers senses at the view the images before seeing the video. 

Bill Viola 'Ascension' (2000) (4) Ascension Bill Viola - YouTube [accessed April 2021]

The Cottingley Fairies

“There are fairies at the bottom of our garden,” announces the opening line of a poem by Rose Fyleman first published in 1917. Coincidentally, that was also the year that two intelligent and talented young conspirators managed to convince the world that there were fairies living near Cottingley Beck, the stream that ran past the foot of their garden. (Bibby)


Although my project isn't specifically looking at fairies, I have always said the moss covered mounds over the Heath forest look as though fairies are dancing. Whether that's because of the way the moss has grown or whether in fact, there are really fairies dancing, I'm not sure, but I like to believe. The trickery and the playfulness of these images are what excite me the most, using layering techniques to produce photographs of fairies, which were once believed to be real.

I think having this underpinning childlike view of forests has influenced all of my work produced throughout the MA. Although this project is deeper in terms of the emotions it have provoked, in the end the aim of the project is to create a spiritual journey for the viewer, whether that incorporates their imagination and fairies, or something else, as long as it transports the viewer into an alternative world or a meditative state I have achieved my intent. 

Camera Obscura - Sarah Kofman

Ideology is not the reflection of real relations but that of a world already transformed, enchanted. It is the reflection of a reflection, the phantasm of a phantasm.” (Kofman, 1973. p.11)











KOFMAN, Sarah., 1999. Camera obscura. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University


Phantasmagoria - Marina Warner

"Phantasmagoria explores ideas of spirit and soul since the Enlightenment; it traces metaphors that have traditionally conveyed the presence of immaterial forces, and reveals how such pagan and Christian imagery about ethereal beings are embedded in a logic of the imagination, clothing spiritsin the languages of air, clouds, light and shadow, glass, and ether itself."

Unfortunately I only came across this book in the last 2 weeks of the FMP and have got not even of a quarter of the way through. The book will definitely open up more avenues to explore. It feels as though the project is almost complete, there are lots of areas open for further development in the future, and this is only the start. 


Other resources:

The Hidden Life of Trees - Peter Wohlleben

Strangers - Essays on the Human and Nonhuman

The Perfect Medium; Photography and the Occult.

Folklore Myths and Legends of Britain.

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