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].

Wednesday 6 July 2022

Three Amazing Ideas: Summer Term II Media

 Another term and so new ideas are imperative!  Although last term I did not complete my book project that I was hoping to add to and still want to work on this.  I also want to go back to looking at NFT's as I had started to explore this and so I would like to create some new photographic work for this purpose. 

Thinking about photography and themes I would like to investigate, here are some ideas;

I am still interested in memory and remembrance so above is an example of a photographer Steve Pyke from Leicester who photographed his children growing up.  Pyke states where he got his ideas;  'David Attenborough did it first, with a dead mouse that eventually had maggots in it. I thought: what an amazing thing to do with a human being, film someone on Super 8 from birth to death. When Jack was 20 minutes old, I made my first image of him, with the idea  that the death at the end of the cycle would be mine, not his.' (Morrison et al., 2013) I liked this idea as I had done something very similar with my own son. When he was young I used to take him to passport booths so I have lots and lots of sets of these passport booth images.  Obviously they became less frequent as he got older and I have just finished my last one as he has now finished school (he is 16 years old) and I am not sure he will let me do anymore.  For this project I would need to look at memory in a different way and perhaps I could think about revisitation and recreation.  Revisiting the site of old photos and recreating could be interesting.

The second idea would be to use dreams - although I often this is like going into a black hole and the work does not always come out how I expect.  Joan Fontcuberta  made a machine that was supposed to photograph people's thoughts, many have tried to create a dream machine that can record dreams.  I have tried this before and this was the result:

This used images and photoshop to create the bleeding tears in the sky with the abstract dream images.  I would like to experiment again with this as I did enjoy creating this one.

The third idea is to illustrate and interpret a poem through photography - I did something like this at university and I would not mind revisiting this idea as I could use any poem or even my own poetry.  I am more inclined to use someone else's poem as then it would be fresh and the ideas would be independent of the poem itself.  This is actually called Photopoetry and there are many examples of artists using this method.  'The term 'photopoetry' and its various alternatives - photopoème, photometry, photoverse, photo-graffiti etc. - attempt to describe an art form in which poetry and photography are equally important and, often, directly and symbiotically related. Michael Nott suggests that:

the relationship between poem and photograph has always been one of disruption and serendipity, appropriation and exchange, evocation and metaphor'  Here are a couple of examples:

So I have a few ideas now I need to make a decision on which one I would like to develop and I will follow this post with further research.


Morrison, B., Perry, G., O'Hagan, S., Kiss, J. and Searle, A. (2013) The power of photography: time, mortality and memory. [online] the Guardian. Available at: [Accessed 4 July 2022].

Jefferies, S., (2014) Joan Fontcuberta: false negatives. [online] the Guardian. Available at: [Accessed 4 July 2022].

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

Digital Design Reassessment: Brand Story

My brand is a brand of 'homemade' jam called Zoe's  'Yummy Tummy'  Jam - I made a quick logo that I thought would work well with my brand above.

Zoe began making jam in her kitchen for friends and family back in 2000.  It was so good, friends encouraged her to sell it on the market and soon her business was booming. Zoe's passion for creative flavours such as Strawberry and Rhubarb, Gooseberry and Plum and Apple and Spice were all a hit with the locals. Soon Zoe could expand and bought her first little shop in 2004 which expanded her range and customer base.  Zoe soon became a popular franchise in market towns and small cities in Great Britain.  The success of the UK stores meant Zoe could begin to expand further afield and her first store opened in San Francisco, USA in 2018.  
In 2020 disaster hit as the covid pandemic spread through the world.  Zoe's stores had to close as the world shut down.  Zoe though downhearted saw that people still wanted her Yummy Tummy Jam and now it was jsut a case of getting it to people.  Zoe launched her online Yummy Tummy store in 2021 and now her beautifully packaged Jam reaches homes in all corners of the world.  Nobody misses out now as Yummy Tummy Jam to your doorstep is just one click away. 

This brand story I will use to sell my product and add to my design board once I have mocked up the product packaging.  I think this works well as it flows and follows the usual brand story guidelines.  
The trick will now be to ensure that the brand story and the product work well together.

Sunday 3 July 2022

Welcome to Summer Term II 2022

Here we are again at the beginning of a new term. Summer is here and it is a good time to reflect and look at work that has really inspired me and changed how I think about art and photography. With this in mind, I would like to discuss John Berger (1926-2017). I came to Berger when studying Photography at University, his book 'Ways of Seeing' is a seminal work on how we look at art and photography. 'Ways of Seeing' was a 1972 television series of 30-minute films created and presented by John Berger and produced by Mike Dibb. It was broadcast on BBC Two in January 1972 and then adapted into a book of the same name. Below is the episode on nudity:

This is very interesting on the views of women and how they are surveyed and survey themselves through art history and in life. The idea of the nude in an image is beautifully explained - I urge you to watch this and read the book!

Going forward I would like to share with you some thoughts Berger had on the self-portrait in relation to Albrecht Dürer.  'Dürer was the first painter to be obsessed by his own image'  (Berger 1985:33).  It seems in modern times people are much more obsessed with their own image with the prevalence of social media and through the constant bombardment of images on screens.  Berger states; 'Why does a man paint himself?  Among many motives, one is the same as that which prompts any man to have his portrait painted.  It is to produce evidence, which will probably outlive him, that he once existed.' (Berger 1985:33)  This is a good reason why we might wish to leave our imprint everywhere on the internet to prove we exist/existed.  The difference between the painting and the screen though is the painted must be physically visited (to see it in its original form) and would be kept in a collection by the family or museum where it might live.  The images we post are among so many and we don't know how long they actually might live in the virtual world or where they may end up.  Berger considers what Dürer is saying through the look he creates in his self-portraits such as the one below.

Self-portrait, Albrecht Dürer, 1498, 41×52 cm

Here Dürer is still young but becoming incredibly well-known and his work is being copied. 'This new self-portrait sent a message declaring that Dürer was no longer a craftsman (in his native Nuremberg, artists were still regarded as a craft class' representatives) but an artist, and therefore God’s elect.' (  Here Dürer is becoming what he aspires to this his moment and here he is dressed up and 'acts the part' as Berger states.  I picked this portrait as I think there is a point in youth where you may think you are now becoming what you want to be, and how fleeting this moment is, I love the idea of it captured here.  

So we begin a new term, full of hope, let it remain until the end...

References (2022) Dürer: evolution of artistic self in 13 self-portraits. [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 July 2022].

Berger J. (1985) The Sense of Sight, Vintage Books, New York.

Berger J. (1972) Ways of Seeing, Penguin Books, London.

Encyclopedia Britannica. (2022) John Berger | British essayist and cultural thinker. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 June 2022].