A3.BoW Tutor Feedback

Another fruitful discussion with my tutor with some encouraging feedback. Details are in the feedback form but I summarise the main points that will shape my ongoing work.

  • The discussion helped me realise why I was finding it difficult to settle on an ebook format for the work. My tutor mentioned the ‘specificity’ of the media and thinking about this, what I am aiming to produce is more suitable for a video format. I considered specificity more here. I am going to shift my efforts towards making a video for the BoW, which will be accompanied by a website to allow viewers to pause on images.
  • Conceptually, my tutor observed the psychogeographic aspects of my work and encouraged me to expand my research in this area to ensure my own work is set solidly in context. She also suggested I reflect further on the metaphorical theme of my work – the ‘constancy and change‘ that a channel of water represents.
  • In terms of dissemination of the work, it was recommended that I consider how the more compelling of the images might be separated out, pursuing a ‘multifaceted approach‘ to the BoW.
  • Usefully, it was suggested building up a ‘lexicon’ and quotes and words that resonate as my work continues and that might be used to shape the statements around the work.

I realise that the BoW is significantly different to the assignments in previous levels in terms of possibilities for dissemination. This adds a whole layer of additional work and thinking to the project and it becomes a core part of the process of realising the work. It is a great deal of work and sustained effort beyond the making and editing of photographs.

A3.BoW: assignment submission


I’ve made good progress since A2. Following up on the useful suggestions from my tutor here. I’ve reworked the theme of the work, which is explained in the foreword to my ephotobook; in summary, it is based around the canal as a world within a world, drawing on Michael Foucault’s concept of heterotopia. I discuss this in more detail here. I’ve gone on three further half-day shoots in new locations as I’ve expanded my outlook to the whole of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, rather than the stretch between Skipton and Leeds. The contacts for potential keepers from these shoots and previous shoots are here. I’ve also explored and worked at an ephotobook as a means of dissemination in the contactless world that we will suffer for the foreseeable future. I’ve written about the challenges and opportunities of the format a number of posts under my practice-based research menu. I’m interested the possibility of using multimedia in this format, which will hopefully compensate in someway for its missing materiality.

The Work

Below is a link to an online version of my current edit of the ephotobook. Depending on internet connection, there can be a lag. However, I can provide a link to a downloadable ePub if anyone wishing to view the draft is experiencing difficulties. The book is configured for viewing on a monitor (16:9) rather than a tablet device but should be readable in the browser of a tablet also.

Next Steps

I’ll continue to shoot with an eye for the ‘world within a world’. I have a second trip into Leeds already planned and have in mind a trip to the top of the Pennines where the canal flows through high open moorland. Other options under consideration are Liverpool (with some trepidation as I’m reliably informed the canal flows through rough areas and has become a no-go zone for boaters) and Wigan (of the famous Road to Wigan Pier, which was a wharf for the canal).

I’ve had several ideas for the multimedia content of the ebook. A microsite linked from the ebook (probably created in Adobe’s Portfolio application) – I have the domain name airlandwater.co.uk, so would use this. As well as images the site could include multimedia content. For example sound and video collected on iPhone as I photograph (Adobe’s Media Converter allows iPhone files to be converted to a useable format for Indesign and website use), an interview with the artist (me), some conceptual content around the ‘world within a world’, which would draw on my dissertation. Some of this multimedia content could be included directly in the next iteration of the ephotobook but I want to avoid it becoming too busy and distracting from the sense of quiet and calm I’m conveying through the photos.


Demonstration of technical and visual skills – materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills (30%)

Ebooks are not entirely new to me, but there have been significant technical obstacles to overcome in even getting to this stage. These centre around multimedia content and the deprecation of Flash Player which, not obviously, is used in some of InDesign’s tool set without it being clear they are legacy.

I’m pleased with the additional photographs included in this edit of the project and have some clear ideas about locations for upcoming shoots, including for street portraits in areas less likely to be dominated by lycra and blue-green outdoor clothing. I believe the photos are well observed and worked in postproduction.

The layout of my initial draft that I posted for student feedback was a little more experimental but given the quiet nature of this work, I’ve settled on a something easier on the eye. The draft also allowed me to iron out some technical difficulties with the publication that were not apparent on my own computer.

Quality of outcome – content , application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas (20%)

Following A2, I’ve rethought the theme of the work. The main header Air Land Water is general but has a specific link to graffiti featured on the last image in the book – bookends. I bought the domain name for £1.20 so will used this for the microsite to be developed in the next phase of the project. The subtitle a canal as a world within a world reflects my experience of the canal and relates to Michael Foucault’s concept of heterotopia (discussed on my blog). The sense of the canal as an enclosed watery microcosm set apart from the world around it has given my work a stronger sense of direction. I think this is beginning to come through in the draft book and will be built on in upcoming shoots. The idea of heterotopia could also be the link I was looking for in CS to allow the concepts of socially constructed and contested spaces to be pushed to the background while the substance of the canal is foregrounded.

Demonstration of creativity – imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice (30%)

In different times, I would have made a paper book of this project without giving much thought to a multimedia ebook. For this project, I’m experimenting with the form (and will continue to) and embracing the touchless world, rather than making something physical and then having to represent it virtually. An approach this is more possible with photography than other disciplines. At some point in the future, I may make a physical book also.

I believe how I experience the canal and my personal interest in the canal is showing through in the work. There is a bleak beauty in the landscape and urban environments of the Leeds & Liverpool canal – it is different to many of the canals represented on popular television – and I am drawn to this and not representing it as an idealised place of leisure.

Context – reflection, research, critical thinking (20%)

Lot’s of activity on my blog that can be skimmed through here. This includes reflection on the direction of the project, research on other photographers working with water, and the practical technicalities of working with ebooks.

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

A3.BoW: Contacts

As well as editing my 3 shoots since A2, I’ve been back through previous images to create a long-list of potential shots for A3. I now have a total of somewhere over 1,000 images (and I don’t use burst mode). I’ve made a long list of 54 images and as I’ve tweaked the processing, it’s already become clear that a number of them are not suitable. However, I’ve included all here to help with discussions on A3.

I’ll pause further shooting for now to see what comes out of my long-list sort. After eliminating non-starters, I’ll make some small low quality prints to shuffle.

Click to view larger size