Thursday, 4 August 2022

Software Test: Photopoetry

 Today we were testing the software for our projects, for my own project I was going to use Photoshop as it should work well for the image/text piece that I am creating this term. I will be using my own images to complete this experimental piece.  These are the images I am gong to use and the properties of the images - I took these on my Samsung phone.  All the settings were the same for consistency.

1/50, F1.8, ISO 250

                                                                  1/50, F1.8, ISO 250

On Photoshop I created a new canvas by clicking on 'new' then 'Print' and I chose A3, on the dialog box I changed the resolution to 300 and chose a black background and made this portrait.

I then opened the first image I was going to add, I used the clone stamp tool to clean up some blemishes on the image.  I then checked the levels and light using curves and I made a very minor adjustment making the images slightly lighter so the image would 'pop'

I then used the Text tool and added text in a new layer.  I chose Palatino Linotype and 24 pts and changed the text to white so that it could be seen on the black canvas. I then added another layer of 

I then added my second image and completed the same process with text and image - I used the move tool to move the text around so I could experiment further with layout.

This is the final piece of this layout, the words are just an experiment and are not the words I will use in the final piece.  I will now try a different layout with different images and words to see what this looks like. 

I also tried a different layout using a white canvas and experimented with different sizes and text.

Monday, 1 August 2022

Inspiration: Alain de Botton-The Architecture of Happiness


From Alain de Botton (2014) The Architecture of Happiness (P88-89)

The pages above are from De Botton's book the Architecture of Happiness.  The images from Swiss pseudoscientist Johann Kasper Lavater and his book Essays on Physiognomy (1783).  This book analysed painstakingly every facial expression and how it changed the meaning/feeling conveyed.  Each had a title such as 'benevolent and tender' or 'brutal and cynical' .  Botton cited these in his book as he discusses forma nd how we see human fom in all kinds of objects and in architecture the way a line or a shape cuves can affect our mood, our thoughts, our associations. He states; 'We can judge the personality of objects from apparently miniscule features  (a change of a few degrees in the angle of the rim can shift a wine glass from modesty to arrogance)'. (De Botton 2014:87)  The reason I was reading the book was that I have always been interested in how architecture has teh ability to affect mood and feeling and often I think modern architecture is unhuman and, for instances, walking through the ultramodern Jubilee Line extension in London, is a cold experience where we become just one of many ants moving through this metal maze. 

The creators of this; 'Described as "the biggest architectural sensation of their kind since the Moscow Underground'' (Jubilee Line Extension, LONDON — aLL Design International Architects, 2017).  After experiencing the Moscow underground personally, this seemed even more inhuman.  People may say it is beautiful but the stations, imposing and ornate overwhelm the citizens.  The citizens are just a mass reminding me of the photographs of Titarenko.  Taylor write of the Moscow underground: 'At rush hour, to enter the cheap but majestic, efficiently run metro in the center, you pass through the turnstile and are swept into a crowd thronging toward one of the three rapidly moving escalators. You ride down into an arch-ceilinged tunnel so long and deep that stations served as bomb shelters during WWII. Uniformed attendants at the bottom hector passengers through loudspeakers—“Take that purse off the handrail! You there, no running!”' (Taylor, 2015)

Titarenko saw the mass and with slow shutter speed they became like smoke and no longer individual human forms. This is why De Botton's look at Architecture was fascinating as it is about how architecture affects us everyday.  One of my own joys in life is to return home to my flat.  It sits in the city centre in Leicester, it is small, it is too hot in summer, too cold in winter but it is has everything I want cleanliness, comfort, clean lines and functionality but separate rooms, privacy and safety.  Modernity is very keep on open spaces, offices with no privacy, spaces that are crammed with people but make people feel less than people.  If everyday we are made to experience this this will have an affect on the soul. I often imagine the perfect space for me to live and work, I imagine how life would be changed by this change in space, in connection with the world.  Beauty is very subjective and as De Botton points out: ' the very notion of beauty having come to seem like a concept doomed to ignite unfruitful and childish argument.  How can anyone claim to know what is attractive? The creation of beauty, once viewed as the central task of the architect, has quietly evaporated from serious professional discussion  and retreated to confused private imperative' (De Botton 2014: 28)  Although he states this even if the argument is different and form and functionality may be what is discussed the architect/artist/creator cannot but help themselves impose their idea of beauty into everything they create and in our own homes, if we love them and we want our lives to be improved we impose our imperative all over our private abodes as this little space is our sanctuary.


De Botton A. (2014) The Architecture of Happiness, Penguin Books, London. 

aLL Design. (2017) Jubilee Line Extension, LONDON — aLL Design International Architects. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 August 2022].

Taylor, J., (2015)  Moscow: Opulent, Overwhelming, and Pulsing With Power. [online] Culture. Available at: [Accessed 1 August 2022].

Monday, 25 July 2022

Herbert Bayer, Bauhaus, Graphic Design & Photography


Herbert Bayer (1900-1985) was a polymath who was very influential in the Bauhaus movement and studied and taught a wide range of art subjects as he believed in the integration of all arts.  This approach interests me greatly, as I use many different artforms as means of expression and certainly think that the narrowness of a 'subject' can be restrictive and as the Bauhaus movement did in the 1920s, we should be encouraging students now to embrace everything, explore everything and learn as many skills as they can as the the future is uncertain. 

The above work on The Menstrual Cycle is from 1939 when he was discovered in New York, this was for the Schering pharmaceutical company “He was especially fascinated by bodily mechanisms, from the human eyeball to the female uterus,” Lupton writes.  Bayer had to leave Germany after the second World War he was not in favour as he had produced posters for the Nazis and though his wife was Jewish he said 'had been blind' to the atrocities they had carried out.  Graphic design is where Bayer got most of his work and his eye for design and abstraction is what is interesting about his work.  The work I would like to discuss is his photographs as I will be creating photo poetry I really want to explore how to design the images to really express the feeling of the poem through possibly using abstraction. 

In the above image, sometimes called humanly impossible; 'was created [by Herbert Bayer] some years after he had left the Bauhaus. Reality, symbolised by the body rendered with photographic precision, merges with the dream world, where a mirror not only reflects the image of an excerpt of reality, but literally makes it possible to experience the dissolution processes first-hand.' (Bauhauskooperation, 2022) The idea that the process of reality breaking down within in the image reminded me of a play by Carl Laszlo 'Let's Eat Hair'!' which was about the breakdown of language.  World War II and Post WWII the idea of reality's breaking down would become quite prevalent in art as people had watched their own reality fall apart.  Here Bayer has been influenced by the work of László Moholy-Nagy (1895–1946) who created very experimental abstract photographic images.  As can be seen here the mixture of dreams and unreality/abstraction could really work well with the photopoetry I intend to create.  To create the above image this was the process used: 

'To make this work Bayer started by taking his picture in a mirror. Knowing that every added mark might betray the illusion he wanted to project, he worked to scale. He exposed the self-portrait negative to a 30 by 40 centimeter (11 13/16 by 15 ¾ inch) sheet of photographic paper pinned to an easel in a darkened room, and he then mounted the resulting print on board and worked up the image. To shape the fragmented arm and its missing slice, he painted over the photograph with gouache containing an opaque white Pigment (such as chalk) that acted as an effective concealer and provided good reflectivity. With an airbrush, the turn-of-the-century tool favored by graphic designers, Bayer then deposited an atomized spray of gouache and watercolor to smooth irregularities and create seamless transitions from paint to photograph. In the next stage, this maquette was photographed and printed to scale, signed in the lower-right corner, and photographed again; every subsequent print was made from this third negative' (Humanly Impossible (Self-Portrait) (Menschen unmöglich [Selbst-Porträt]) Abbaspour, Mitra, Lee Ann Daffner, and Maria Morris Hambourg. Object:Photo. Modern Photographs: The Thomas Walther Collection 1909–1949 at The Museum of Modern Art. December 8, 2014., 2022)


The process here I actually really enjoy this use of paint on the photograph and then using a maquette to create that doll like-like quality to the final image.  This use of paint, cut-outs  and playing with the image in this way could be a technique I employ in my own images and this will be something I will explore in my test shots.  This last composition has a look of Dali and the use of manmade and natural objects and using a frame within a frame assists with the leading line and perspective of the piece.  This feels much more like a painting composition than a photographs and, it is interesting that Bayer was not that interested in the technical side of photography and moved into graphic design for most of his career and it was his eye for composition that really does make his designs stand out.  

I will be experimenting with some mixed media techniques as I experiment with the photopoetry and I will be studying Bayer's work further to see what I can implement in my own work and experiments 

References (2022). Herbert Bayer Self-Portrait. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 July 2022].

LACMA. (2022). Moholy-Nagy: Future Present. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 July 2022].

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). (2022). Humanly Impossible (Self-Portrait) (Menschen unmöglich [Selbst-Porträt]) Abbaspour, Mitra, Lee Ann Daffner, and Maria Morris Hambourg. Object:Photo. Modern Photographs: The Thomas Walther Collection 1909–1949 at The Museum of Modern Art. December 8, 2014. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 July 2022].

Museum of Modern Art (2022) Herbert Bayer. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 July 2022].

V & A Museum, (2022). Shortly Before Dawn | Bayer, Herbert | Bayer, Herbert | V&A Explore The Collections. [online] Victoria and Albert Museum: Explore the Collections. Available at: [Accessed 25 July 2022].

Magazine, S. and Moonan, W., (2020). The Pioneering Work of Graphic Artist Herbert Bayer. [online] Smithsonian Magazine. Available at: [Accessed 25 July 2022].

Monday, 11 July 2022

Photopoetry: SMART Objective


Please find my SMART Objective here for this terms project:

I will be creating a Photopoetry book that will use one poem and a set of up to ten photographs that illustrate the poem.  I will layout the text and image to make this work in a book format.  The book will be small, 5 x 7 inches and will be published on Blurb.  The photography will use an Olympus digital camera and different lenses, a tripod and a remote shutter control.  The images will be low key and use avant garde techniques in digital form.  This project will be a published book on my website by the deadline of 7th September 2022.

Photopoetry: Project Development

 I created an infographic on Picktochart to explain how I will develop my ideas throughout this project.

Please find Infographic here

Sunday, 10 July 2022

Initial Research: Poetry & Photography

Many photographers have used poetry as inspiration for their work or part of their work, PhotoPedagogy has a brief history of this practice, you can read this by clicking on the link.  As can be seen from the image above there are some beautiful examples of Photography used as illustration. I am more interested in the Avant Garde works and 'Man Ray and  Nusch Éluard entitled Facile (1935), a beautiful publication in which images and text create an integrated and unified design.' (Nicholls, J., Tallis, T. and Ling, K. 2022), is a wonderful example of the kind of art I would like to create for this project.

The beauty of the bodies that are pulling and stretching, the hands reaching out and connecting exemplify the heart of the poem which is about connection and disconnection through the telephone. 

Looking further into how Photopoetry works; "In the photopoem," writes Boulestreau, "meaning progresses in accordance with the reciprocity of writing and figures: reading becomes interwoven through alternating restitchings of the signifier into text and image." [1] Poem and photograph encounter each other, and Boulestreau appears to suggest that the photopoème should be defined, not by its production, but its reception, as a practice of reading and looking that relies on the reader/viewer to make connections between, and create meaning from, text and image' (What is Photopoetry?, 2018)

I included this longer explanation here as I think this better defines what the photo should do and I want the reader/viewer to make the connection as stated here.  The interpretation by the photographer should be fluid and allow for many possibilities.  I spoke on John Berger in my welcome this term and in later life, he worked with the illustrator Selcuk Demirel to construct stories through text and image and I think that is possibly why this appealed to me - the connection or disconnection or perhaps gap between words and pictures that I really wanted to explore. 

In 'Smoke' Berger speaks of this deadly/dying habit and its rituals and its consequences are all beautifully illustrated by Demirel.  I will research further, more examples of photo poetry and perhaps analyse Facile further however the originals of this work are now going for between £2,000 and £6,500 so it may be difficult to find one that I can afford to read!  


Berger, J. and Demirel, S., 2017. Smoke. [online] New York Review Books. Available at: [Accessed 10 July 2022].

Nicholls, J., Tallis, T. and Ling, K., (2022). PhotoPoetry. [online] PhotoPedagogy. Available at: [Accessed 6 July 2022].

The Photographers Gallery. 2018. What is Photopoetry?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 July 2022].

Digital Design: Brand Research

 For Digital Design we are creating a Brand Story for our product as we are creating Packaging Design.  Therefore I am looking at how Brand Stories are created and what the best brands do to really create customer loyalty.  Bullen writes; 'Brand stories activate emotions and communicate values'. (Bullen, 2019) and this is the crux of what I am trying to do through my own brand story, I want people to believe in me and my brand, if they feel that emotional connection they will buy and buy again!

Zendesk is a great example of anti-storytelling, this company makes customer support software, already I am yawning, so what do they do?  They get an indie band from Seattle who claims that Zendesk has stolen their name and creates a funny video which ends in them making a terrible jingle about customer support! You can check out their video here: Zendesk Alternative

I really like this anti-story telling as people buy into it because it does not feel like they are being sold to.  It is important to realise as well that big brands don't always get it right Mcdonald's had to apologise after it used child bereavement to sell its Filet o Fish Burger and this ad below is a little disturbing - it is about a new Playstation however I am not sure that consumers would warm to this...

In this advert for Chanel No 5, Wonderhatch states is great watching and listening to Brad Pitt but what he is saying is; 'almost complete and utter nonsense when you listen to it and get through to the product itself. Sorry, what? Journey’s end but we as people go on? Plans disappearing and dream taking over? Inevitable? Chanel inevitable? '(10 Examples of Storytelling for the Wrong Ad Campaign | Wonderhatch, 2021)

Why am I looking at ad campaigns that failed as this is more instructive in what not to do!  The problem with the Chanel advert is that it is incomprehensible and doesn't sell the product well at all, I don't know what the product is till the end and even then I am confused.  The stories that use other people's pain or grief, have to be very careful as this kind of marketing ploy to obtain an emotional connection is full of pitfalls and in some cases ethically unsound. Ethics and Transparency are something I would like my own brand to have - as I feel that sort of integrity is essential now in a very uncertain world.   I will be adding a more ethical mission as part of my product and I will (hopefully) Make something That really does have the power to sell!


Bullen, E., 2019. 11 of the Best Brand Story Examples. [online] Medium. Available at: [Accessed 10 July 2022].

Brenner, M., 2022. 6 Examples of Genius Brand Storytelling You Have to See. [online] Marking Insider Group. Available at: [Accessed 10 July 2022].

Wonderhatch. 2021. 10 Examples of Storytelling for the Wrong Ad Campaign | Wonderhatch. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 July 2022]. 2016. | Customer Service Software | Support Ticket System. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 July 2022].