Monday 24 February 2020

All About Me! A Brief History of Zoe

As an exercise in class, we discussed how filmmakers, artists, photographers, and writers became who they are.  The students then wrote about themselves answering the following questions - so I will do the same here - my early life revealed!!

Why did you choose your subject area?

When I applied to university I was working in a record shop (Andy's Records) in Peterborough.  I had realised that perhaps I might be better off going to university as I had left school at 16 to go to Germany as an Au Pair and when I returned I worked on various office and shop jobs. I had approached my local college and they suggested I take a foundation year - as I was young and also quite confident I said I didn't need to and they asked me instead to write an essay and show them other writing work that I had been doing.  I did this and was accepted onto Media & English at DMU.  I chose English as at the time Media was not considered a serious subject.  I chose Media as basically, I wanted to do Photography and Video. I was taking photographs and writing at the time and I felt I wanted to really learn about this and I absolutely loved taking photos from the moment I was given a camera at a young age.

Why did you choose this university?

I chose DeMontfort University as it was an old Polytechnic and therefore I felt it would give me a more practical application of skills as well as academic work.  Also, my parents both come from Leicestershire and it made sense as it was not too expensive, I would be near my family and I knew Leicester quite well already. 

What do you think you will gain from studying here?

Obviously, I studied some time ago but what I thought I would gain was skills, the beginning of an academic career and a university experience of study.  I actually got much more than I was ever hoping for.  I enjoyed university immensely - I loved and fell in love further with photography.  I discovered my strengths and weaknesses academically and I worked hard coming in every day early and leaving late.  I learned everything I possibly could about photography and art.  I took elective courses in Artist books and German Cinema which I really enjoyed.  I entered festivals and put on exhibitions.  I also worked hard in office jobs to pay my way and over summers I worked as a photographer on magazines and for events - basically anything that I could find.  I gained the foundation for my future life here and I enjoyed every minute of it!

How do you think a degree will help you find employment?

When I studied I was not sure which direction I would go in after leaving university but I thought that it would give me an advantage as at the time only 20% of people went to university.  I found work after teaching Media at a college in Eastbourne and as I had no money I lived in a care home working nights for my rooms.  I ended up becoming the manager of the care home - so life takes funny twists and turns and you don't know where it might lead.

What else will you do while you are here in preparation for finding work at the end of your course?

As I said above I basically did anything that I could find - joining the university newspaper, going to DSU meetings, entering festivals and competitions, working as a photographer over the summer and taking every opportunity that was in offer. 

Who is your inspiration in life and why? 

When I was young I was inspired by David Bowie and writers mostly such as George Orwell, Baudelaire and Mallarme I thought they believed so completely in what they wanted to achieve and they had a philosophy of life that they lived and wrote about with passion.  I wanted to feel that passionate about my own work and life.

How do you see yourself in 10 years' time? 

As I am now much older I am hoping that in 10 years' time I will have completed a PhD and will be living a life that is far more relaxed - maybe writing, taking photographs and enjoying the beautiful sunshine of France!

Sunday 9 February 2020

Project Progress: Anticipated Dreams

As I was working through my project through the diary that I originally proposed, I found that I wanted to concentrate much more on the images and photography again and through work, in my specialist sessions I found my way to 'Anticipated Dreams' which will be my project for this term.

Therefore after creating one piece of work whilst I was working on this idea in my specialist sessions which I shared in my last post and after looking at Joan Fontcuberta.  I have started to explore further ideas to show photographically my anticipated dreams

Ronen Goldman uses surreality in his image to show his dreams and many artists both past and present have used dreams and the surreal. 

Here are two works by Goldman

These works are almost what I would expect.  Dali takes a sightly more interesting approach and is highly influenced by Freud; 'A well-read student of Sigmund Freud, Salvador Dali – who never used drugs and only drank alcohol (especially champagne) in moderation – turned to a most unusual way to access his subconscious. He knew that the hypnogogic state between wakefulness and sleep was possibly the most creative for a brain.' (Park West gallery 09/02/2010)  It has always been a fascination of artists as to how to put these dream images into work. I prefer Dali's here as this piece was a reoccurring dream image; 'Dali described his paintings as “hand-painted dream photographs.” One of his favorite recurring images, bent and flowing watches, look as if they’re made of wax, melting away on a hot summer day in the desert.' (Spear C. 25/04/2012) This is more how my own dreams work and my anticipated dream will represent some of these ideas.

Moving forward I will begin by creating a storyboard to represent the photo shoot/shoots that I will carry out as these will be integral to actualising my vision. 

The final result will, I hope, show what I intended in photographic form.  I will also be researching further artists to look at how they have actualised these visions. 


Park West Gallery (9th February 2010) Freud's Influence on Dali's Surreal Dream Art [Online] Available from: (Accessed 09/02/2020)

Spear C. (25/04/2012) The Dream Paintings of Salvador Dali [Online] (Accessed 09/02/2020)

Wednesday 5 February 2020

Anticipated Dreams #01

I worked with the images that I created in the last post and put these together to try out how I would create pieces that would work together to exemplify my anticipated dreams.

Reflecting on these images I actually am very happy with how these came together - in fact, unusually, much better than I expected, they have the strange qualities I was hoping for.  My dreams are often frightening and there is that fell of foreboding in these sets - really want to make further sets of these now to explore this idea much much further but as a start, it has actually quite excited me!

Instruction Photography: The Beginning of the Idea

As my project takes a new direction I will share the process with you here.  So the instruction was to take a line from a book or a film.  I chose 'You can't anticipate dreams..' from Hannibal (TV Series)
I really enjoyed this line as I thought dreams are like collages created from the day, your twisted thoughts, the television and so if I could photograph these things they do become the anticipation of my dreams and so here are the first set of contacts for my anticipated dreams...

I photographed mostly in Black and white using a high contrast filter on my Olympus Stylus SH-2 it's actually a camera that I most like to work with.  It is compact yet does everything manually has a really fantastic super macro which is far better than my DSLR and here as you can see you can really play with the light with this filter.  I think I often think about how things look in black and white - I find colours more difficult to process.  Yet my dreams are always in colour!

Joan Fontcuberta: Uncanny Laughter

Joan Fontcuberta is a writer and artist who creates photography that plays with photography.  I am writing about him here as this connects to the new direction of my project. When writing my diary I just wanted to make images and I knew where those images had descended - so in my specialist sessions I was creating instruction photography and the instruction I was working with was a line from a book or a film.  I thought the line will come to me and so it did when I was watching Hannibal.  Lecter stated; ' You can't anticipate dreams...'. In my next post, I will share my first 'anticipation with you, however, in this post I want to discuss Fontcuberta who in his 'Karelia, Miracles & Co, 2002'  has photographs of himself levitating, performing miracles, multiplying, skiing on a shark as a priest all of which have no value beyond manifestation. 

These strange images and his playful use of photography to subvert the conventions of photography.

This short exhibition trailer explains further....

Fontcuberta writes in his chapter The Perfect Blind Man in 'Photography after Photography; 'I invented Borges and now his ghost will not stop haunting me. I invented Borges and cooked up the idea of a photographer-without-knowing-it, a photographer-in-spite-of-himself.  I don't know if Borges is at all grateful to me.  No one has ever arrived at a more profound and poetic metaphysics of the world than Borges, with his visual fantasy and fascination for mirrors, illusions and paradoxes.  he wrote that the memory is as much a prodigy as divination, for both past and present are tracts of time and time is an illusion.' (Fontcuberta J: 2014 P49) What is interesting here is that we are all haunted by our dreams, by ideas that will not stop returning and perhaps that somewhere inside us we realize that in the blink of an eye our lives have existed already in entirety and we are just now actors in a dream that we are still living.  Photography stops time, records moments in time that then become without time.  The photograph becomes false memory and then we live within the photograph.

There is so much more here to be said, but perhaps as it has already been said this is where I shall end for now but I will return to this as we all do in an eternal return.


Fontcuberta J, (2004) Photography After Photography, Mack Books, Barcelona

Science & Media Museum (202) Joan Fontcuberta: Stranger than Fiction (20 November 2014 – 5 February 2015) [Online] Available from: (Accessed 05/02/20)

Saturday 1 February 2020

Diary Project Research: The Joy and Ecstasy of Luis Buñuel

Luis Buñuel Picture

Luis Buñuel (1900-1983) was a Spanish filmmaker who embraced the surreal, the magic of the moving image and used these to create subversive films that are eccentric, funny and play with and discuss social reality.

Clips from That Obscure Object of Desire

That Obscure Object of Desire is a story of a middle-aged man who falls for a young chambermaid Rothman states that the film was: 'Adapted from the Pierre Louÿs novel on which Josef von Sternberg based The Devil is a Woman four decades earlier, That Obscure Object of Desire tells the story of Mathieu, an aging aristocrat, who pursues the young Conchita through a series of amorous encounters in which she arouses his desire but denies his sexual satisfaction.' (Rothamn W. 19/11/2001).  The main character is played by two different actresses this was due to the fact that the original actress proved unsuitable so Bunuel replaced her with two actresses instead as an artistic device (two sides of the same person).  This film deals with the man's sexual obsession in a backdrop of terrorism 'Few other directors would dare to equate the male libido with international terrorism, but the final feature by master surrealist Luis Buñuel is a dark comic web of sexual obsession' (mjneu59 07/01/2011).  

Why am I writing about Bunuel if my project is on a diary you may ask, well the answer is that as Bunuel was the master of surrealism and used so many different sources of reference and seemly random scenes in his films that I felt this is more towards what my 'diary' should be - if it ends up being a diary at all.  As I have been writing I have been considering not just the films of Bunuel but how Bunuel came to his ideas in a New York Times Interview he states when describing how the genesis of his films: “I start from nothing,” he said. He looked around him. “A man throws this"—he picked up a butt‐filled ashtray — “out the window.” He restrained the impulse; this was a metaphorical discussion. “One image, never a general concept. Little by little I have 20 ideas.” (Gussow M. 03/11/1972) Bunuel goes onto say: 'In creating the script, he said, “there is never logical thought. It is always rather irrational. Images appear. Some I refuse.”'(Gussow M. 03/11/1972).  I think this is important as people like to think they are logical I recall often arguments I have had where people either state that they are being logical or you are being illogical.  The fact is as humans, I believe, most of the time, we are illogical and writing in the form of a diary is idiosyncratic and also allows for freeform thought.  This idea I like and that is why what is important here about Bunuel is his ideas and how he came to them - or I should say how they came to him. Many of Bunuel's ideas did come in dreams and in his book 'My Last Sigh' (Bunuel L. 1994) Bunuel discusses his life and he also discusses at length his dreams and how often ideas had come to him in dreams.  In fact, though Bunuel does not discuss in his book that much about his films and as Long states: 'the details are scant in each case. "It would be absurd to list and evaluate all these movies", he writes, "in the first place because that's not my job, and in the second because I don't think life can be confused with a work". ' (Long H.H 07/02/2005).  Life and living were more important but like all artists I suspect he needed his work to live and without it, he may have been lost. 

Following looking at Bunuel I want to develop my work further by considering perhaps another form and format for the words that I have been writing - perhaps it is only images I really want....for the image can be everything.


Bunuel L. (1994) My Last Sigh. Vintage Classics.

IMDb (1990-2020) Luis Buñuel [Online] Available from:
(Accessed 01/02/20) 

Gussow M (03/11/1972) New York Times: No Symbols in His Films, Bunuel Says [Online] Available from: (Accessed 01/02/2020)

Long H.H (07/02/2005) Pop Matters: My Last Sigh by Luis Bunuel [Online] Available From: (Accessed 01/02/2020)

Project Plan: The Diary

I need to create a plan and timescale for my project to ensure that I can keep on schedule for this project.  Therefore I created an infographic for my plan with details - you can read this clearly through the link below.

Creative Diary: Project Plan