Book Cover Design options

Working with Dan at Honest Studio to come up with some ideas for a sleeve for the book to go in. This process of producing a book and sleeve have so many variables to take into consideration. I think that a project like this int he future will need some help form some kind of project manager.

These three options are all contenders, although thinking about the message that is delivered by the map being on the sleeve, I realised that it actually gives the message that the whole project is about Israel. Although an important part of the journey, this isn’t an integral part of the project. For this reason I think going for a Plain sleeve with the title on it is a much nicer option.

Work in Progress Project Statement


Ipseity, which translates to Individual identity in latin, is a collection of images both of personal photographs, as well as reworked material from my grandmother’s original archive dating back to1890. This collection is an amalgamation of my research into memory, postmemory, the family album and ultimately the connections we have to the past that shape who we are today.

 Inspired by the ‘arts of memory’, an ancient scholarly technique, I have created a visual record which mentally places objects along a familiar pilgrimage to ‘The Holy Land’, undertaken by my grandparents regularly over three decades.

Memory is a means of linking the past and present, and exploring the inter relationships within my family network. Through dialogues with my grandmother,  examining visual material, and re assembling this material in my own narrative, I have experienced aspects of her past. These secondhand fragments can also be interpreted as postmemory, and thus aspects my own past. 

This project IPSEITY, forms part of an ongoing investigation into the personal archive belonging to my grandmother. It started two years ago, as a study of my grandmother’s cabinet of memorabilia. 

This study prompted further enquiry into the significance of the personal archive in relation to my own identity; this marks the beginning of my own familiar journey.

the Passport Image

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I wanted to a dd a little context to the motivation behind some of the 2x2 grid images explored through my Ipseity project. Whilst having one of the many conversations with Sue about some of the images and memories of life when I was a child and certainly before, she mentioned one particular image which I would like to concentrate on now. This was taken by someone at her school who was trying to make it as a photographer so had offered to make head shot style portraits of people as a way of building up his portfolio. Sue had agreed and was very happy with he images. She remembered how nervous he was making the portrait in a make shift studio space, but how happy she was with he end result.

When I collated all the images together so I could start to construct some kind of narrative, this story stuck out in my head about the young man making images for his portfolio. However Sue talked of the occasion as being one similar to sitting for a passport photograph which really interested me. The characteristics of a passport photograph are nothing like those of the image above however, I wanted to recreate this image in the style of the passport, and my first thought was the repetition of the images. The 2x2 or the 1x4 strip of photographs you get when you wait for the machine to churn then out of the side of it once you’ve come out of the curtained room.

Secondly, throughout this process of investigation, I have been interested with the idea of duration and in particular its role within the cinematic image. I think this stated when I required the super 8 video of my grandparents wedding to be digitised and they provided the video as individual still images. There is something quite cinematic looking about this portrait of my grandmother. Perhaps the photographer had been studying the classic Portrait Lighting asserted tot he cinema. With he idea of the cinema in mind, I wanted to look at ways of extending the duration of the image. The duration of both the image itself whilst maintaining its attributes as a still photograph. I could achieve this through repetition, which also then lead me back to the repetition of the passport photograph on the printed strip. I have selected this as one of my final major project exhibition images and have increased the size away from hat of the passport photograph, or that of cine film to a much larger size, where it becomes part of a new narrative I have created.

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Themes of this investigation


A key theme in my investigation is the actual act of conversation with my grandmother as a means to conserving memories (develop) In creating the final visual outcome for this project I was influenced by the ancient Chinese ‘arts of memory’ techniques where objects of memory are laced along a familiar path. This approach was adopted in my work through placing family photographs in a visual timeline to new displayed both on the wall and in a printed publication. (Develop) 

The Family Archive

“The record looks to a future time when things will be different” Annette Kuhn

Here Anette Kuhn talkes about the family photograph album and how it is represented in the present. Like Kuhn, I look at how the images are presented, but through other areas of my research and reflection, I make my own mark on them and try to in some ways change the direction of the narrative.

Memory -

I remember Annette Kuhn talking about the family photograph which perfectly describes, although with my work it was her possession, my reasoning for starting to this investigation:  “…On the surface, the family photograph functions primarily as a record..”

“The record looks towards a future time when things will be different, anticipating a need to remember what will soon be past.” (Kuhn 1995, 2002)At this point I was photographing to remember both her possessions ( memeories) as well as the moment. 

Postmemory -

Marianne Hirsch - Inheriting other peoples memories. In my work this inheritance is through memories of pilgrimage to Israel that I have never been on nor was alive to have experienced. Through images and stories that I have been told these ‘post memories’ are recalled/created.

Time & Duration -

Damien Sutton - Duration of time is an important element of my current practise. Memories from the past are dragged tot he present along a kind of timeline in which the duration of these memories is extended. The single image snapshot of time is extended. Does this mean that it is a moving image?

Reflection on this project as it comes to a pause.

Being a photographer, someone working with visual material, I have always communicated my emotions through my presentation of the image. I was recently asked by a critic to explain what this project was about, and I struggled to put it into words.

Something happened recently, which put this journey into perspective. I was given a large generous donation to support the creation of this project into book form. The donation was from the daughter of my childhood babysitter, who I was very fond of and have many happy memories as a child and a young adult. I visited her in hospital around 3 years ago. This had been the first time in 20 years I had seen Beatie, and was to be the last. Although visually aimed at my grandmothers archive, I suppose it is the connection I had with this elderly lady is what my project is about. It's the connections we make with people and place, and the memories that are created. It is these components of our history that creates the people we are today. The memories created and maintained through photographs give us context.

Four Corners Gallery Model

So I can visualise where my work is going to be in the gallery space I have made a 1/20 scale model of Four Corners to experiment with size and layout of the project in the exhibition space.


I used 5mm foam core board to make it, however after about a week, when I wanted to start planning the actual narrative of the show, all the walls started bend and then because oft same unstuck. Next time I shall have to invest some time in researching better material to use for such models as they are a much better way of planning the exhibition experience for the viewer.


The motivations that drive my practise.

In thinking about how to move forward with this investigative process, I thought it time to think about whats driving this project, my motivations, what makes me want to dig deeper and what it is that I am trying to find, or perhaps understand?

Some initial ideas that have come to mind....

Defining my family through the photographic image- What is the benefit of definition? Growing up with my grandparents adds a slightly different narrative than to a dare I say it ‘conventional’ family dynamic. Whilst thinking about the reason for investigating my family, I wanted to also think about when my interest in this subject started. It was Jo Spence and Anette Khun that started out my interest in this notion of “Family” within photography.

Family - It changes and develops over time. The images produced as well as the methods of image making also change with them. In my case, as I was entering into my photographic journey aged just 15 years old, 9/11 happened which took my teen years in a very different direction which I wouldn’t want to have records of nor did I record through the lens of my camera at the time. In some ways this idea of recording or re-recording my familial space is a way of making up for almost 10 years of non-making.

The constructed visual family world - This idea that the ‘family’ you see in the photographs on the wall and on the mantle piece are the family that everyone aspires to be. I have realised through this investigation that I don’t appear in a classical family photograph as do my mum and auntie when they were young. The photo I am thinking of in particular is the family photograph I found on the wall of my grandfathers study. It shows him and Sue my grandmother and then Sarah my Auntie and my mum. Whilst having conversations about the photographs with my mum I learnt that her and my sister really didn’t get along at that time yet in the image they looked like the best of friends. This shows that the image we see is in someways a facade for the perfect family look.

Sahika Erkonan posits that Photography reshapes the family? - Does it? How? This is something I am going to think about further int he coming weeks.

The cabinet of Curiosities it was later called is in fact my starting point fo this investigation 2 years ago.

Is this act of photographing in fact to preserve the already preserved? My grandmother placed and arranged these items under the glass cabinet lid as a personal exhibition. Each item being placed and arranged and then moved and rearranged over time. But what am I adding to this ‘exhibition’?

Is Photography a silent medium?

The photographs aid communication, so to answer the above question, Photography maybe a silent medium in its mechanical process, however the aftermath of photography is communication, Dialogue, Opinion and debate.

Two further ideas to think about…

Stories of a shared past (Anette Khun, 1999) -

Reworking the narrative in my own visual language?

Working with more archival images

I’ve come across another photograph of my great grandfather when he was a child. I was interested to find that it was already printed onto a postcard, something I hadn’t really thought was done with home portrait photographs. This shows that it was probably taken in a professional photographers studio. I wanted to have a look at the history of the picture postcard and came across the last in a series of articles on the Science and Media Museum Blog.

Although picture postcards first appeared in the 1890s, it wasn’t until very early in the 20th century that the format was used for commercial portraiture. -

Great Grandfather (PHILIPS).jpg

I’m starting to wonder what I am supposed to be doing with these images, as what has really been highlighted recently is that this investigation is more about the act of investigating and finding out stories from my family rather than the actual images themselves. I need to think about how I am to inject my own personality into this archived body of work.

Starting with a bit of marketing

I thought I would start getting a bit of email interest up about my project by adding an image from the work in progress project to my email signature. I am in contact with a few commissioning picture editors at the moment so thought it would be good for them to se that I am working on personal projects as well as commissions.

Screen shot from email signature.

Screen shot from email signature.

Stripping the image back to its bare pixels

I’m interested in thinking about the duration of an image and where the image comes from. This sure enough was a photograph that I have digitised and done some repair work to. However, I wanted to see what it looked like as the individual pixels its made up from. The image on the right hand side is just that. A stripped back to 12x8.5 Pixels squared. A contrast of the new from the old and the analog to the digital.

WIP: Great Great Grandfather on the Philips side.

WIP: Great Great Grandfather on the Philips side.

WIP: Great Great Grandfather on the Philips side stripped back to its bare 12x8.5 pixels squared.

WIP: Great Great Grandfather on the Philips side stripped back to its bare 12x8.5 pixels squared.

Project Development: 1


Ive been spending some tie with these images recently to see what jumps out at me and what it is that I find so special about my family archive. I remembered the super 8 film stills I took of the television whilst playing ym grandparents super 8 video and in particular I found myself staring at the distortion of the picture, and the RGB distortion. It creates a new images, one that appears to be in a contemporary setting and shows the sign of the digital hand. Its quite amazing that this duration of time captured on super 8 by a close fiend has gone form one state to another and finally ended up being rephotographed again at the end.


I recreated this distortion on the photograph of my great grandfather in a more controlled setting than the distortion from the super 8 video.

This if viewed with a pair of 3D glasses gives the illusion of a more present image. An image from a private archive of someone who is no longer alive made public, larger and more ‘alive’ adds something to the conversation about making my private archive physically public.