A3: Draft ebook (for student feedback)

I’ve spend so long in front of this, that it seems a good time to ask for some feedback from my fellow students. I’m posting it here with little explanation to see how it stands ups for itself. It includes photos from additional shoots as well as some old friends that have stayed with me – others have fallen out of favour for now. Shooting continues in other locations, so the content will continue to evolve.

Click to open and select option to view full screen


Main issue is a technical one of viewing and display on different devices – I describe this here, along with addition research and a potential solution. This has probably affected the feedback to some extent as in some cases, won’t be on the work as I see it on my display (eg multimedia content not working).

A few people left feedback (email/here/on OCA Discuss), which was generally positive and offered some useful ideas for development of the next edit. In summary:

  • Some layouts were confusing to viewers – I need to reconsider how I create variety in the layout, without obstructing the viewing experience.
  • Some people said they wanted to know more about the work (eg how it was made, where, the experience of being on the canal). I think this could be something for the video of the interview with photographer that I will make and include in the afterword (though not for A3).
  • Some confusion about the title and subtitle but divided opinions here. Air Land Water – mixed between likes and dislikes. I’m sticking with it for now, because I’m keen on the reference to the closing graffiti image. A canal as a world within a world – this is my reference to Foucault’s heterotopia, which I plan to use in shaping my dissertation to be more canal-centric rather that build around the concept of meaning and social spacialisation. So, I think it important as a bridge between the dissertation and the BoW, as well as being a reflection of how I experience the canal.
  • A general sense of the work moving in a positive direction

9 thoughts on “A3: Draft ebook (for student feedback)”

  1. Andrew, I like the way your work progressed from the previous set of images to this ebook. I think that expanding your project to the whole of the canal instead of focussing on its particular stretch has worked really well. I welcome the multimedia aspect of your work (I assume it will be added later as the buttons did not seem to work yet?). For me, the multimedia work is the way forward with many complex subjects (such as yours and mine); sometimes the visual on its own does not connect in the same way. As you said in your introduction, it is the tactile, the touch, as well as the smell, the sound and the other sensory experiences that also matter, especially with the subjects like this one. They help when you are trying to shine the light deep into your subject.

    It was interesting to read your Foreword and it made me curious about your ‘working the images’ and the levels of the post-production editing that you do. It made me want to see the originals next to your images…but that is just me!:-)

    I like the emerging sense of the collection as a whole. I am glad you kept some of the old favorites such as your image 1. Some other images that, I felt, connected with me, were the ones on pages 8, 16 and 24. I spent a long time peering at the diptychs. They reflected on what you said in your Foreword. Where you had two landscape images next to each other on a single page (as on p.14), it did not work as well for me. I also wondered about the paired images on p.9 and p.12 and how well the layout worked. Is their respective size anything to do with where you want me to look? Is one of them supposed to be more important than the other?

    The word ‘mute’ in the Foreword made me read the whole sentence again and again. I disagree. The canal is not mute. Otherwise, why would you chose to include any sounds?

    I wondered about the title and how it translates into the images. I also wondered about your travels “from site to site”? I realised that I’d like to know more about your side to side travels.

    There are no people (although plenty of human presence through the signs and traces of human activity). Is this intentional?

    Hope my comments and questions make sense Andrew, just drop me a line if anything is unclear. I really enjoyed visiting the canal with and through your work so thank you for this. I look forward to continuing the journey! Well done!!!

    1. Hi Anna, thanks for taking the time to comment – it is really helpful to hear from fresh eyes! Replying to you:
      – the multi-media is working for me, I wonder if it is your settings or if others too can’t hear it.
      – happy to share a couple of before / after postproduction example with you by email if that is of interest. Just drop me a line (andrew513879@oca.ac.uk)
      – I’m also uncertain about the two landscape photo layout but wanted to avoid the feel of a slide-show by giving all images a full page. Similarly with the paired images. Perhaps I’ll experiment with making them into diptychs or just give them part pages on their own to add variety to the flow.
      – Good point on ‘mute’ – I’ll think of something around without words.
      – The title was inspired by the graffiti in the last image, and also the experience of elements while on the canal. You’re not the first to wonder about it, so I’ll watch out for other comments. Interesting about the site to site travels; I could consider adding something to the ‘afterword’ and will think about that.
      – No people has becoming a sticking point for now. The canal (this specific canal) is remarkably quiet and I’m not drawn to photographing many of them who are dressed in running lycra or standard outdoor clothing. I would like to include some people, but their sparsity and sameness is an obstacle. As I start to look at some other urban areas, it could be more of a possibility. However, I don’t want to force it as that could change the mood of the work.

      Thanks again for you thoughts!

      1. Hi Fitz,

        Thank you for this, I will play your ebook on a different system tonight and see if I can get the sound working – I feel I am missing out an important part of your work for not being able to hear your creation speak. If there are issues I will email to let you know.
        Just to clarify a couple of things:
        – I really meant your subtitle more than the title. I wondered if it makes a promise that might be quite hard to fulfil. Yes, the graffiti connection was clear to me as a viewer (and I trust it wasn’t you who put it there in the first place:)
        – Apart from the site to site travels, I also wondered about the “side to side”, i.e. travelling between the canal banks. I wondered if you feel that your perception of the canal/ mood/ emotional responses are any different when you are afloat? Does being afloat result in a different perspective and perhaps different images than when walking along the banks or driving between the sections of the canal with some shorter burst-walking.
        – With the ebook layouts, I agree with you that it would be worth experimenting with different ones. It might be worth also to think if you plan to do a printed photo book in the future and how the layouts might be affected, e.g., would you split some of your images across the double page spread or stick to the single page layout. Though you might decide to cross that bridge when you come to it, so to speak. 🙂
        Hope it helps.

      2. hehe – no I wasn’t the graffiti ‘artist’. It’s only possible to walk along one bank of this canal (towpath runs on one side only). I’ve not been afloat and am not that interested in getting on a boat (odd I know) – they have also been in lockdown and movement is still limited in some areas. I’d probably start more or less afresh with a paper book – I’ve done both in the past and quickly learned that one layout doesn’t easily translate to the other. Thanks again.

  2. Fitz, I have looked a few times now and overall find it engaging. The issue I have is mostly related to instances where you have either split images into diptychs or have two images on a page. Some work but mostly I find myself distracted in these instances rather wanting to see a full page image. All viewed on 27″iMac so big anyway.
    Your next post is interesting and I think that the pdf option and being able to print is a good one.

  3. Hi Fitz, I think this project is really starting to take shape, there are some strong images here and most work well together for me. The idea of producing a multimedia ebook has massive potential and the sound elements you have added so far are evocative. Your written introduction is strong and gives me a real sense of what you are truning to achieve and your way of working. Unlike Anna I can see why you described the canal as a “mute witness” – I am also interested in post industrial areas like this and the phrase just makes sense to me, although I am struggling to articulate why. I understand your need to experiment with layout but there is too much variation for me and there is a tension between the more classic, formal layout choices and the more quirky ones. I like the images that are in 2 parts, particularly page 18, it is like they are divided by the gutter of a real life book. Not sure about the use of juxtaposition for all of the images, however, I love the images on page 17. On the thorny issue of the title, I quite like it and I enjoyed seeing the final image to understand where it came from. Hope this is of some help, looking forward to seeing where you develop this next.

  4. Hi Fitz, I really like the way you are trying to communicate your feelings as you see the canal. There are some really strong images that gave me a sense of history, life, living and some darkness perhaps associated with the decline of the canal as both an industrious area and now a place for leisure. However, I couldn’t get the audio to work at all. I’ve read previous comments and will try on my iPad later, I’m working on a desk top at the moment. A couple of things page 12, I found the images distracting because of their different sizes for me indicating the level of importance they have in relation to the canal and secondly, their relationship with each other. Conversely on page 13, I found these two images too similar to each other whereas on page 25 although these 2 images are similar they worked better for me. Good luck with developing your BoW. I do like it very much. Lynda

    1. Thanks Lynda. Final edit will be out later – layout has evolved and I’ve hopefully ironed out some of the tech issues.

  5. Hello Fitz,
    I think you have some really great images here and I the full page layout does your work justice. But I’m really struggling with the vertical pairing and I just don’t get what you’re trying to achieve by splitting your images?
    I think the mix of picturesque landscapes and detritus communicates the current condition of the canal world very effectively.
    The music/sound recordings worked for me, but the photos loading were slow and clunky.
    Love the piano piece, but really hate the last chord. For me, this piece would work as the soundtrack for the ebook on slideshow.
    Rds, KG

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