Project Development – Informing Contexts – Week Four

This week began with a proposal (no not Valentine’s related) for an art/environmental science commissioned project. The synergy between my work and this project seems ideal, with it based on a pilot for cutting-edge software that can predict the feeding habits of bees and ultimately assist in our learning about their health, survival and the pollination they provide. Today I received a call to say I have been shortlisted. The interview takes place tomorrow. It’s very exciting as I feel this collaboration would provide an ideal opportunity to develop my current practice and my thought process around my final project also.

I also tested out some pre-soaked cyanotype fabric this week. I wanted to try out longer exposures in the softer winter sunlight. The results were not great and looking at the image now, I feel I didn’t try hard enough to create what I saw in my head. I have been toying with the idea to use old/found portraits in my work to help symbolise the human element and time and had wanted to create a sense of the briar forest I remember from fairytales and a reverting back to nature and the wild.

It was interesting to read the comments left by fellow students after I shared the picture (as below). One felt it had an Edwardian flower deity feel, another expressed a sense of the 3D, while a third said it felt as though the person was reminiscing of the past but the recollections maybe blurry as signified by the hazy image.

I appreciate all three takes on the picture – the photograph is of me at 18 – so perhaps there was a subconscious tendency towards past memories. Having seen Julia Margaret Cameron’s Pomona photograph recently, I rather like the sense of an Edwardian flower deity and the comment that the image has achieved a 3D sensation is encouraging as I want people to look deeper into my pictures as i know their meaning may not be obvious at first glance.

Technically, its way off but as I thrive on the ‘happy accident’ mentality (albeit with the background knowledge to control much more if I desire) this week’s project development has given more food for thought.


And British photographer Mandy Barker has been a wonderful find this week. Her work is of the type that I wish I created. It is beautiful and tragic. It most definitely should make you think.

© Mandy Barker Ophelia medustica. Specimen collected from Glounthaune shoreline, Cove or Cork, Ireland (Pram wheel)

One of my themes for my project has settled on the macro life around the shores where I live. Surfers Against Sewage is based in my village. There are often beach cleans and many people take an active approach to protecting our coastal and inland landscapes. So photographers such as Barker will help my own ideas to evolve.