Syston Images By Martin J Richards. MA. BA(Hons). ARPS: Blog en-us (C)2020 Martin J Richards. MA. BA(Hons). ARPS (Syston Images By Martin J Richards. MA. BA(Hons). ARPS) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:22:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:22:00 GMT Syston Images By Martin J Richards. MA. BA(Hons). ARPS: Blog 80 120 Position and Practice Week 04 - Collaboration Theme

Okay this week’s set theme within my Photography MA module Position and Practice is entitled Collaboration.

My Professional Background is within Aerospace Engineering. This is a profession with extremely high degrees of Collaboration that has to take place within tight boundaries. When it comes to my photography I have to admit I have major problems with the term collaboration. I regard my photography in the taking of photos as a personal and this is echoed in both the presentation by Jeese and within the essay. Whilst I am okay to cooperated with others in viewing and reviewing planning editing selecting etc.. when it comes down to taking the actual photo – NO!

I do not know if this is a reflection of say my background or my background is a reflection of me. I will as I say cooperate with others but it has to be in a clearly defined role with a clearly defined interface with my taking my photos my self.

Presentation and Course Material

Okay we have been presented with a talk from Jesse Alexander, a canned (pre-recorded) guest lecture from Beth and Thom Atkinson and an essay A Collaborative Turn in Contemporary Photography? By Daniel Palmer.

I have to say there is to me a dichotomy with the material this week that reflexes my views not just on corporation. But, in the material we are presented with its odd in that I either agree strongly or disagree with it ?

For example in the pre-recorded guest lecture with Beth and Thom Atkinson:

I am from Leicestershire and yes you can certainly tell Beth is from her accent !

Their work and way of working matches my own in what gets their interest.

I can agree with them waiting to take to shoot for people to get out the way .. fading light – revisiting the scene.

I can agree with them using maps then walking and traveling and actually looking at the changing history around us and the marks of previous history, generation and the way things have changed and sayyed the same. These are things that others simply walk by and miss or edit out as not being relevant until some one points it out to them. In publishing their book they are pointing out what is around people !

I have on a personal level disagree with the way that they worked together. They shared the work and its something I cannot bring my self to do. May be its me, maybe it’ I have not yet meet someone with who I could have that close relationship with…. Well may be I have a friend daughter, but no that’s not the way that I work. May be yes to splitting a job up you do this I do that ?


How can they say that there is nothing on this level of type of subject matter in Leicester and Leicestershire – its and insult…

One of my own minor and personal series of projects was in and around Leicester and Loughborough in looking for signs on the various building of past histories. Typically this would be foundation stones, signage in the form of bricks, stone or even painted buildings as shown  in the next four images all of which where shot in Leicester City Centre…

Leicester Above & AroundLeicester Above & AroundLeicester Above & Around Leicester Above & AroundLeicester Above & AroundLeicester Above & Around

Leicester Above & AroundLeicester Above & AroundLeicester Above & Around

Leicester Above & AroundLeicester Above & AroundLeicester Above & Around



For those of you that have access the learning material it can be found at under week 4.

The essay citation is: Daniel Palmer (2013) A Collaborative Turn in Contemporary Photography?, Photographies, 6:1, 117-125, DOI: 10.1080/17540763.2013.788843


Web Conferences

Scheduled Web Conferences

I have three planned video conferences this week:

  • Mon 11:00 15Oct18 – MA Photography Alumni Talk on CJUs
  • Tue 13:00 16Oct18 – Module Lead – Jess Alexander
  • Fri 09:30 19Oct18 - Stella Baraklianou

Monday 11th October – CRJ From Previous Students

Whilst this session was a advertised as being a discussion on the CRJ and how it works from previous students the actuality was some what different. The web conference was held mainly with the presence of BA Photographic Students at Falmouth with my self and a few current MA joining on-line. Of the former students again one was at Falmouth and two others joined on-line. The presentations concentrated on the work that they did for their major projects. The work of the two male students appealed to me the most one being that of a Gay Student on Queer Identity in which he showed works in in which whilst guys where happy to be photographed they where not so happy for their faces to be shown in the images. This is an interesting aspect to a hidden persona theme that I have to say from the authors own perspectivism in that he concentrated on older middle ages guys in the same age range as my self. The photographer in discussing the work said that in practice most of these guys where in fact bi and married. I have to say I have experience and knowledge this area and have to regard it almost as a generational thing. I believe that that work would have been very different if it had been carried out using younger guys. Also either the guy needs to get out more or he was being very coy in describing the behaviours and interaction with the guys he was photographing for the project and the circumstances involved in how he contacted and asked for his models !

The second presenter whose work struck a chord with my self was an architect by initial training and as such was able to gain access to a number of old buildings. I have an interest in history and older building, reuse, abandonment and demolition. In fact I ive in such a building in Burghead in Scotland.

My home their was a former Grain warehouse in a fishing village harbour in Scotland. The building I lived in along with a number of others where left derelict for a number of years before what would become my own home was renovated and reused in around 1987. Although my own building was renovated the three buildings next to mine where not owing to a down turn in the housing market. As such I was able to explore these buildings and eventually two of these building had to be demolished owing to a structural failure. In 1991 I moved away from the area but a few years ago on my returning to Burghead I found that the remaining building had been renovated.

Old Grain Warehouse in Burghead That would become my home

Old Grain Warehouse in Burghead Showing What would be my Flat and to the left the building that was demolished

Burghead HarbourBurghead HarbourBurghead Harbour

Renovated Remaining Grain Warehouse as Flats in Burghead

In the work presented to use we where shown what people had left behind. However, what I did find interesting is that in presenting his images for exhibition they were done as transfer prints onto concrete slabs. By coincidence I came across an exhibition of works printed onto concrete at the old High Angle Fort in Portland a few weeks ago.


Isle of PortlandIsle of PortlandVerne High Angle Battery onthe Isle of Portland - a decomissioned gun battery that was used to house RML 9 inch 12 ton guns

Images Printed on Concrete in Portland


Friday 19th October 18 - Stella Baraklianou


What and Where I have been Shooting

I have this week so far been out on Monday shooting some more Autumn theme colour series images in my local managed woodland at Bradgate Park. Now Bradgate park is a deer park and was the home to the Grey family of Lady Jane Grey fame. This park is part of the same estate as Swithland Woods where I was shooting two weeks ago and to which Stela suggested that I return to.


Braggate Park Contact Sheet 01


Bragate Park Contact Sheet 02

Bragate Park Contact Sheet 03













]]> (Syston Images By Martin J Richards. MA. BA(Hons). ARPS) Position_Practice Tue, 16 Oct 2018 07:25:22 GMT
Position and Practice Week 03 - Rethinking Photographers Theme – Rethinking Photographer 

In this the third week of the course we have been asked to consider the changes in photographic technology and the resulting emergence of what has become known as the “Citizen Journalist”. An additional meme we have asked to contemplate is the societal view as to what a Photo Journalist is.

Video Conferences


I attended three conferences this week

  • Jess Alexander - Monday 08Oct189 – Course Leader
  • Sissel Thastum – Tuesday 09Oct18 – Guest Lecture
  • Library Thursday - 11Oct18 - Getting Started with Research: Using your library subject guides for Student Hub.
  • Stella Baraklianou - Friday 12Oct18 – Tutorial

Monday – Course Leader

This session was organised by Jesse as a Module / year level tutorial meeting during the day time on Monday for the 1st Year MA Photo Student that started in September to ask questions about the course.

Unfortunately, only Jesse and my self where there. Because it was just the two of use I had the chance to ask Jesse a bit more about himself and the course. Of course, this also gave me a chance to explain and talk to Jesse as to my own photography and aims and ambitions.

Following on from our general chat as we waited in vain for others to join us I was able to talk though an idea I had about a major project and to ask about the deliverables for Position and Practice.

I am a Landscape Photographer with an interest in history and how over time the landscape is used, changed, reformed and eventually abandoned.

This interest in Landscape, History and my own Royal Air Force background lead me in the past to undertake two related projects one within my Foundation Degree, the second as part of my BA Top Up.

Closed RAF Bases

In my first project I undertook a photographic study of the remains of former RAF Airfields close to myself. The trigger for this project as the closure of RAF Cottesmore as a RAF airfield following the scrapping of the GR9/9A Harrier. I spent two years as part of the design Team on the GR9/9A Harrier and with its withdraw from service we saw the closure of the last RAF base of a peek of 19 in Leicestershire and Rutland. Some of the bases have simply gone in that they have been built over. Other bases still exist in a derelict state, where as some others have been handed over to the army.

My project consisted of research into what was where etc.. and photographing the various sites. I produced a final report that I would class as a CRJ and exhibited 10 images

Photo 2013 05 1409Photo 2013 05 1409Former RAF Wymeswold - When Defense Cuts are made bases close, people lose jobs.
We as a country loose capacity to defended as well as to attack making the world a more dangers place

Project Emily

During my BA Top up I was required to produce a photobook. For mine I chose Project Emily.

In the 1960’s the UK had twenty Nuclear Ballistic Missile Launch Sites. Each site had three Thor missiles on its own launch pad. The arrangement was such that the RAF own the missiles and the USA owned the nuclear warheads fitted to the missiles – a so called “Duel Key” arrangement. Some of these launch sites where within 50m of public roads and protected by a simple fence and RAF Police !!!!

Any way at the end of the 60’s sanity returned and the missiles where sent or sold back to the USA and the bases where shut down.

My photobook discussed the project and was made up of historic images along with my own that showed sites that had been completely cleared along with those with remaining infrastructure.




My Major Project

In taking on the MA I knew I would have to do a major project. I have two primary themes I guess, one that builds on my earlier major projects and another that’s totally different.

Products Parts and Assembles

I live close to a company called Cooke Optics who make lenses for high end movie cameras. I also have a son that works for Caterpillar on their main production site in Desford that makes Backhoes, Diggers etc…

The concept would be to approach either / both of these companies and produce an image set based on the production, parts and assembly of one of the objects that they build.

The idea may be would be say a Front, Side and Top view of the item as sectioned or explode in a single maximum sized JPEG image. In other words, three of four 65,536 x 65,536 pixel images.

Changed Landscape

Okay this goes back to my earlier projects in that the intent is to produce a project that shows a landscape impacted and changed by man ideally abandoned.

My 1st thought and trigger comes from when I was 16 years old and stayed at a Youth Hostel in Greens Norton. This building as I found out was built in WWII as accommodation for the women’s land army. It was converted and used as a Prisoner of War Camp and housed mainly Italian prisons captured in the desert.

Over the years I came across a preserved POW camp called Edem Camp near Pickering that is now aa museum. In 2014 when visiting the Orkney Islands I came across the remains of another POW camp that was used to house Italian Prisoners. In this camp one of the Nissen Huts had been converted into a Roman Catholic Chapel.

My project based on this theme would be called “Banged Up Abroad”. This title is taken from a Sky TV program in which mainly UK citizens had been jailed overseas. My project reverses this theme.

Since initially looking at this as a concept I found that there are two or three former POW within 3 miles of where I live.


The POW camps along with those used to house our own military that where built during the war where mainly constructed of prefabricated buildings on a concrete base.

At the end of the war and owing to a general shortage of building materials from the camps was sold and the sites cleared. This means that a lot of the sites have simply disappeared. Some have been built over and some have simply been level and grass has grown even over the bases etc…

Tuesday 09Oct18 – Guest Lecture

We had a guest lecture from Sissel Thastum in which she explained some of her motivations and showed us a number of images mainly consisting of black and white photos shot in Scandinavia.

The images shown where I would describe as a mix of Personal and Environmental. The main form of the images was that of 35mm low res, high grain, poor focus black and white scanned. All I can say is that most of the images worked!

Thursday – Research and Library

This video conference concerned the usage of the library and online resources available to Falmouth Flex Students.

Friday - Tutorial

Okay I joined the group tutorial with Stella. I managed to log in and join 1st time and was up and running at  the start of the session.

This session simply did not go as well as the past two sessions as some hoe it seemed to be missing a apark that was there on the previous two Fridays.

During this session I shows four of the images I had shoot this week.

As I keep saying I am mainly a landscape photographer and its autumn. Therefore, I am trying to get out and shoot autumn colours. This week I ended up 1st of all at a pick your own pumpkin farm followed by an arboretum. Though these two location I produced and showed four “Fruits of Autumn” images. Stella was tactful but not impressed. I could have like one of the other students just show examples of my best previous work and get a well done. But I have to comment that the whole point I thought was that unless it was a specific example we should be showing relevant and current work shoot that week ?

My aim as I have previously said is to work with a landscape that although a location may not change what we can see feel and experience within a same location can train. Plats including trees produce fruit and seeds. These grow, are distrusted by some means, then either germinate or die. They are landscape, they are here now but will change soon.


What and Where I have been Shooting

Okay, this follows on or Is the same as Fridays Web conference…

I had intended to return to Smithland Woods in Leicester but owing to a family commitment I ended up taking my mother to east Midlands airport. On my way home, I stopped off at a Pick Your Own Pumpkin Farm followed by a Nursery and Arboretum.

I have included a lazy contact sheet a screen grab showing what I have been up to…

As I say it’s the theme I am working on or with of the changing landscape …



Other Peoples Images, Books and Media

Okay, I do not think I have much to say on this regarding the work of the other students, other than to say that I say we should be show casing current work and ideas.

I do though have some thing to say on this weeks guest lecture.

My Reactions and Reflections

The week as it began was with a series of video presentations by Jesse on the Photographer and “Citizen Journalist”.

I have as per the assignment submitted a comment on the subject as required on Dashboard.

Photography and Technology have gone hand in hand since the process was invented.

Early cameras where large and used Glass Plate Negatives that had to be prepared just before use and developed as soon as possible after the image was taken. These cameras started as a rich mand hobby before evolving into commercial and studio photography. This equipment was far from portable and the reproduction and distribution of the original image was limited.

Technology in the form of chemistry allowed for the introduction and sale of pre-prepared initially glass and then single sheet film negatives. This lead to if you will the affordability by the middle class of cameras and photography during the early part of the twentieth century. Now not only did the camera become more readily available but as print technology evolved we start to see the addition all be it of high contrasts images in newspapers.

With news papers being able to include images along with their stories they began to employ staff photographers who where sent to cover events, incidents and everything.

The introduction of roll film by Kodak within the Box Browne enabled anyone and everyone to take more and more photos at a lower cost.

The next technology breakthrough was NOT in photography, it was in telecommunication with the introduction of the analogue like scanner – basically the forerunner of the fax machine. This mean that a news paper could send a photographer to a specific place or posting. Images could now be shot scanned and printed and sold on the street in a matter of hours.

Again the next steps are those of technology with the introduction of the Digital Camera, the home computer, printer, internet and then the mobile photo. Finally these three items where fused into a single device namely a hand held computer that you can use to take photo’s and distribute and publish any where in the world in seconds. Oddly enough you can even some times use these devices as a telephone.

So, I do not believe in the “Citizen Journalist” as such, what I do believe is in societal changes along with technology and cost has enable every one to have a camera and the means to disturbed images at minim cost. Now instead of sending a staff photographer to cover the aftermath of an event that is “News Worthy” we can get photos taken by people there at the time. Photo Journalist are still out there earning a living be for them the job has changed in that they can now only realistically cover events that are about to happen. A Photo Journalist now that tries to submit a image of the aftermath of an event that was already captured by people that just happened to be there at the time simply will NOT be paid.

An article that I have scanned from the 06Oct18 edition of Armature Photography I think sums up the set theme for this week.




Final Comment - As to my own project and which way to go…. T B D






]]> (Syston Images By Martin J Richards. MA. BA(Hons). ARPS) Position_Practice Sat, 13 Oct 2018 17:47:23 GMT
Position and Practice Week 02 - Interpretations and Mistakes My 1st Mistake

In this the 2nd week I answered Jess Alexanders task of posting an image or other work of art that illustrated the way in which I worked – my own Position and Practice. My initial instinct was to post an image by Ansel Adams. However, on my 2nd reading of the task I noticed that it specifically said to post a Non-photographic item – I had made a mistake. The reason for my own mistake relates to my being dyslexic. However, this goes to I think one of the principle issues raised thus far within Jess’s talk as well in that illustrated with this weeks reading examples in that of interpretation.

this blog can be found at -




No two individuals as far as we can tell perceive the world around them in the same way. We can describe some thing and agree a common understanding and frame of reference and we may have an accurate or good enough match so that we can agree on some thing but again in the longer term, the item may mean different things and cause differing memory associations.

Reading Material

In Eugenics Without Borders we have a study of images shoot for the specific purpose of cataloguing and typing a persons features and then using those images to abstracted a particular meaning from those images. Within this book Dr Jean-Martin Charcot at La Salpetriere in the 1880 tried to prove a correlation between intelligence and skull size. It is fair to say that the basic concepts behind  Eugenics are valid and have been applied to the breeding of plants and animals. However, whilst it is possible to breed to reinforce one feature and remove others with any species it is a mistake to take this as a general argument to be applied against mankind. In trying to breed say to illuminate my own weakness of say dyslexic we may well as an unfortunate side effect get rid of all the complex problem solves. In short humanity succeeds not because we good or bad at any particular thing but that we as a species are generalists. So yes, the eugenics movement and the application of images to that movement by the Charcot or the far right and left n the early to mid 20th century has been thoroughly discredited. So, should we discard the work of Charcot and his like ?

My answer has to be no in that the work of Charcot provides us with a social commentary and evidence of our history. It also gives us a visual history of people, clothing and other data that can be gleamed from the images, all of which where simply not relevant to Charcot. So in this we in our modern views have re-interpreted and reused media.

My 2nd Mistake

One of my reasons for undertaking this course is to get me out there taking photos and thinking. I principle work in one of two differing directions – General Landscape and Aviation and Means of Travel.

Within both my two main streams, I try and reproduce in my final image what I see before me when I take my phone. Okay, the catch though is that when we fame a scene and take a photo with a camera with a specific lens setting and other environmental aspects the camera will record an image has it has been instructed in accordance with the technology involved. When we look at that same view using a human eye we are not registering the image as projected onto the back of the eye. Rather we a re looking at the brains interpretation of an image. The simplest example of this is that I can take a landscape image and the sky will appear lighter than it is as I perceive it. So, a lot of landscape photographers will use a filter over the lens to darken the sky; else create and blend image or otherwise manipulate an image during the development process. The aim of the manipulation is to darken the sky to reproduce what we think we see. OR at least this is the way in which I try and work.

In my landscape work my images may contain a generic cluttered landscape and or may feature an item, object or subject to which I wish to draw attention to. But I do not always screed in this endeavour. Whereas, in say taking a photograph of a flying aircraft the subject matter of the image can be restricted. What I am aiming for as a result of this course is to combine my two differing streams so that I can produce a fie art landscape by which I can more accurately draw the viewer to what I want to show them.

In getting out to take some photos for this weeks tutorial assignment on Friday the 5th of October 2018 I took some inspiration from Outdoor Photography Magazine. Issue 236 features an article by Laurie Cambell a wildlife and nature photographer on the Japanese practice of Shinrin-Yoka;- “Forest Bath”. Okay, its Autumn I live on the edge of Leicester and I like to visit a local managed woodland called Swithland Wood. Swithland is a part of Charnwood Forest and is owned and managed as part of the Bradgate Park Deer Park Estate the former home to the Grey family.

     Note: Lady Jane Gray was the Queen of England for a few days beforee Elisibath the 1st ....


This public access woodland and a place I visit a couple of times a year. Wanting to work as I did on a nice sunny day with shafts of light through the trees I used Sigma Art 14, 35 and 50mm lenses fitted to a Canon 5D MKIV DSL camera. At the start of my walk I had no particular target in mind for my image and took a series of general photos within the woods. As nice as this was my aim is to move to the fine art category and I started to look for form and texture of a particular scene. Any way io took my photos and on getting home I loaded RAW image on my computer, processed the images in terms of noise and sharpening as well as deleting a small number of images. The aim was as I keep saying to show the viewer what I saw or envisioned in the woods sing Adobe Lightroom and my memory.


I present two of my images at a Web conference on Friday and an aspect I had simply failed to notice was spotted straight away by others. My photos as I showed had a “Blue Cast” as they had been shoot with an incorrect colour temp. DSLR’s can normally “Automatically” work out the colour temperature and vary it as needed unlike older film stock which will have a very deliberately fixed colour temp – even black and white film. As I say my intention was accurate reproduction, in failing to do this the tutor within our group and other group members started to read in different interpretations from my original ones.

As I say this is not the way I work – but the error in colour balance has illustrated to my self the point of this module as to the way I work PLUS the fact that different people see different things in images.





]]> (Syston Images By Martin J Richards. MA. BA(Hons). ARPS) Position_Practice Sat, 13 Oct 2018 17:18:12 GMT
Position and Practice Week 01 - My 1st Week Well after some assistance on Tuesday morning I think i have got my web cam and kit working and i was able to join in a test call.

Tuesday night I was able to join and talk at the Guest Lecture with Max Ferguson.

The basis of the talk was on a Photo Magazine with a 500 per month limited print run and and how to get out there as a photographer.

N.B the magazine run by Max and friends is called "SmashandGrab" /

in asking Max about this mag and other, specifically where can we find such magazines that would be reciptive to photostories and work being submitted by the recently quailified photographrer Max suggested to check out Antenne Books.

Guest Lecture with MAX FERGUSON

Calendar Falmouth Flexible Photography Hub
Location Conference - Course Hub

Max is a photographer, writer and curator. He is the Founding Editor of Splasy & Grab Magazine, the Director of Photography of Port Magazine and Port Creative and a freelance Photo Editor at the Financial Times Weekend Magazine.


Max will be talking about the various magazines he is working on, how is practice as a commissioning editor fits with his practice as a photographer and how photographers can approach the bridge between personal and commissioned work.

The most important thing i think was that we where required to try and produce an image that echo'd or reflected a well known publich image and post that along with an explination text to Dashboard ....


I managed it wit the image below...


can you name it ?


]]> (Syston Images By Martin J Richards. MA. BA(Hons). ARPS) Position_Practice Sat, 13 Oct 2018 17:12:53 GMT