Surface & Strategies - Week 8


This week it was all about the workshop, plus a number additional video shoots, going back to a number of my earlier collaborators.

The Old Fox & Hounds, West Croydon, photographer by Graham Land 21st July, 2018

The Old Fox & Hounds, West Croydon, photographer by Graham Land 21st July, 2018

Earlier I had had approached and had acceptances from seven other photographers to take part in a workshop, none said no. All were ones I'd met through the very loose 'Lenses of Croydon' group of photographers. I selected them as having had only slight degree of experience in a workshop but were all photographers who's work I admired in some way and would I feel be receptive to a potential collaborative workshop. Fixing a mutually convenient date gradually proved problematic, and in the end I went for a day that appeared suitable for most; the Friday evening of the 27th July. I'd tried to book a room in Croydon's voluntary action centre but none were available at the time/day wanted, so a large local pub was chosen instead. 

When contacting them I'd described that in our current photography MA module we have to work towards an exhibition for a specific project, in support of which I need to arrange a workshop. My exhibition, which may simply be on-line but could be in a physical space somewhere as well, needs to be held between the 17th and 24th August and will be small subset of a mainly Falmouth MA students collective exhibition entitled ‘Landings 2018’. I also added that I was also interested in the possibility of simply taking part in a collaborative exhibition, which would be held at a later date. But primarily the workshop will be focussed on my own deadline. A also said that I'd like to discuss their view on the best approach; hanging layout, choice of images etc. I finished with some background on my Croydon Shopkeepers project and a link to some images and video of  some of the work. 

Two people said in advance they couldn't make it, but only two people actually turned up; Chris and Mickey. On the night one person rang to apologies and say they couldn't get away and i fixed an alternative slot with them at a pub nearer them on the Monday night, inviting all of those who  couldn't make that the alternative. With hindsight I should perhaps have simply picked a date/time at the Croydon CVA centre and simply given a much wider invite with a cap on maximum number of acceptances. Another approach would have been to go offer two workshop dates, and collated the results of both. But this while this latter approach might have been the most effective, it wouldn't really have fitted with the goal set as that week's task.  

So for that reason I'll review the outcome of the discussions in next week's blog. In the meantime here is a link to a short time-lapse video that I took of this rather small workshop. 

If in a hurry here is a link to a much short version without music


Earlier in the week I'd participated in the web presentation by Laura Nissinen organised by our  module leader. Based in Helsinki  Laura is an ex-professional photographer  who is currently studying for a PhD in the Department of Media at Aalto University, Finland. Her project is entitled "Abstraction in Finnish Art Photography" and has part of this she has been collating as much work she can identify in various archives. Laura's presentation partly on this recent research and also on her own work in abstraction and influences. 

Laura Nissenen; This One's for You Andy (2017) Gallery Nykyaika, Tampere, Finland.

Whilst my interest in the abstract imagery is almost purely as a recipient than a creator, it was interesting to hear how it has fruited relatively recently and that Laura herself has been greatly influenced by the French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy. One of the exhibits in 2016 exhibition that Laura hung at Gallery Nykyaika, Tampere; This One's for You, Andy" attracted me. Describes as Ecological Urine Art it took me back many years to the time I was a laboratory technician.

Photographic film developed in the artists urine; Laura Nissenen 2016

Photographic film developed in the artists urine; Laura Nissenen 2016

An example of high resolution electrophoretic separation of proteins (reported by Nowalksi AB et al 2014)

My first career after graduating was has a bioanalyst and chromatographer, analysing substances in biological fluids such as human urine. Chromatography is a powerful set of separative techniques, the name itself comes from colour writing; the original methods used substances like paper and clay to separate coloured ingredients of a mixture. Gel chromatography, or the more modern electrophoretic separation of proteins, can give results not so different from Laura's.

So my assessment was a complicated by a tendency to attempt to look for 'constituents' within each developed roll of film. I guess this shows that when a human looks at an abstract image there is always a tendency to 'see' shapes that are in some way familiar to the observer.

More pertinent to my current practice was Laura's mention of the virtues of Diasec, a patented methodology that allows photographs to be permanently bonded to acrylic sheet, giving higher image definition, brilliant color and a fine detailed texture. Sounded interesting and worth looking into exhibition-wise.

Project-wise I've got back to most of my collaborators and asked them whether they would be happy for me to shoot a short video, similar to that conducted in my La Zaris Art Gallery and Ludoquist cafe shoots. One of my first collaborators is feels they are tied up until September supporting their international sales activities, but so far I'm delighted to say that all other ones approached have said yes. 

Below are links to the results of the video shoots with existing collaborators conducted during this week.

Video taken walking across a road and in to see Sarah working at Morning Str Hair & Beauty, Broad Green, Croydon on 24th July, 2018 (50fps, 1080p)

More successful, the main difficulty was having to avoid looking into the hairdressing section of Sarah's establishment. I did pass across the door, but it's far from obvious she's the proprietor of both. Then the only question was when to stop filming as Sarah worked away.

Video taken walking Northwards along the London Road(West Croydon) to enter Shadi Bakery, passing Adam to see the proprietor, Salal, working with the oven at the back of the bakery,taken on the 27th July, 2018 (50fps, 1080p)

This was a second attempt, the first was stopped when the owner of a large Eastern greengrocers who'd declined my original offer to take part in the project started asking if i wanted to shoot him. Sadly the reason for him declining my original offer, he's about to modernise his shop and want that recorded rather than his current set-up, still applies.  

Adam, a colleague of Salal the proprietor, with  whom my video ends, wantedone of just him working. So I obliged, see below:

Video taken of Adam, a close-colleague of Salal. Sadly this isn't really appropriate for the project as it's not of the proprietor. Taken looking into Shadi Bakery on the 27th July, 2018  (50fps/1080p)

Video taken walking Northwards along Croydon High Street to enter the Audio Centre (Croydon) and see Alfonso Camisotti at work, taken on the 27th July, 2018 (50fps, 1080p)

Alfonso was so happy with the results of the video he asked if I would do one thatfocussed more on the interior of his shop, which I did:

  Video taken entering and inside the the Audio Centre (Croydon), sending with Alfonso Camisotti at work, taken on the 27th July, 2018 (50fps, 1080p)


A busy but fruitful week.



Nowakowski AB et al, 2014 'Native SDS-PAGE: High Resolution Electrophoretic Separation of Proteins With Retention of Native Properties Including Bound Metal Ions' Metalomics Volume 6 pp 1068-1078.

O’Doherty, B 2007 Notes on the Gallery space (chpt 1), in Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space, Berkeley, University of California Press.

Azoulay A. 2016 Photography Consists of Collaboration: Susan Meiselas, Wendy Ewald, and Ariella Azoulay Camera Obscura 31 (1) pp 187-201.

Lind, M. 2007 The Collaborative Turn in Lind, M, Billing J& Nilsson L (Eds) Taking the Matter into Common Hands: Contemporary Art and Collaborative Practices, London, Black Dog Press.

Rugoff R. 2003 You talking to me?: On curating group shows that give you a chance to join the group, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative .

Vartanian, I 2009 The Japanese Photobook: Towards an Immediate Media in Vartanian, I & Kaneko, R. Japanese Photobooks of the 1960s and ‘70s New York, Aperture.