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  • Damien Williams

PH0704: Coursework

Week 1: Understanding the Client and the Brief

Reflecting on the Brief:

Reading the brief and deciding which of the projects are going to be the learning curve for this unit. The choices were:


Contrapol Shift F7

Wellcome trust

The decision ultimately came down to... and the concensus of the Burmese Pythons collective that I have decided to work with. They are a wonderful group of collaborators so whatever happens I will learn lots.

We decided to go with the Contrapol-Shift F7 brief which initially sounded the most exciting and slightly left field of the briefs.

This week's greatest challenge was disseminating, no, understanding what Contrapol actually want from their brief. Their presentation was very different from the information they shared. None of it particularly clear. Their media presence is perfunctory at best… or is it my inexperience in interpreting the information? Time will tell.

Week 2: Other Careers in Photography

In the Forum discussion about the Prince work and ruling I was left conflicted about where I sit as I see both sides. The reasoned and logical side of my inner conflict is that Richard Prince has adapted and created a new 'claim' in the discussion that his work interacts with. Therefore he is not infringing copyright. In reality, he has stood too firmly on the work of Patrick Cariou for it to be his. I feel total sympathy for Cariou and would be angry if it had been done to my work. I understand that Law has to be objective and inflexible to work but that is in conflict with the nature of human subjectivity and Artistic interpretation. It also doesn't help that Richard Prince (through his dealings with Emily Ratajkowski) isn't particularly respectful of the human side of ownership and will exploit where the law benefits him and screw the moral/ethical responsibilities. Layla Perchal Neal's response articulates it better than I have.

Week 3: Art and Commerce

A very busy work at school so I didn't complete my comment on the forum.

My incomplete forum response:

In the forum below, please reflect upon your current practice and how well you are managing to work within both realms, while staying true to your own vision and style. If you are currently not doing any commercial work, please share how you can see yourself moving into this area of the photography industry and who your preferred clients would be. Also include three photographers whose work you admire and who, in your eyes, manage to move from art to commercial in a way that resonates with you.

I have no interest in working commercially because I only wish to photograph what interests me. I would love to work commercially because of the intellectual challenge and the aesthetic appeals to me.

Yes, both of these viewpoints conflict and I am aware of that! Although I currently working full time in a school, this may stop at any time and I would like to have the choice to complete the transition from part-time to full-time work if the environment allows.No matter what I will want to continue my photography into my latter years or even during school holidays by developing a project-based approach. That is one of the reasons I wanted to undertook the MA.

I would like my future projects to comment on social issues and the lives of people. Those projects will not be contingent on generating income, so I can shoot what and how I feel appropriate although looking for sponsorship for exhibiting and disseminating work.

My choice of photographers who operate across the Fine Art and Commercial divide are:

Juno Calypso: I absolutely love her approach and process. Nick Knight: Such strong concepts

Image source: RPS magazine

Week 4: The Current Commercial Environment

Forum: My current market does not exist as I’m in a transition phase photographically. My career is in education and is very much how I am able to pursue my photography interests. That said, I have had my horizons broadened since starting this course. Every time I feel that I know what I want to do in future, I see another pathway that interests me. My research project is challenging my skills in the form of the Narrative based/Photo Essay or Slow Journalism. So I imagine my market in 5 years will be publications that are news or features based. Of course, this doesn’t suit the type of creative that I am as I like to experiment with ‘language’. Also, as a person I will have to change a lot as I am better within an occupational structure. Freelance is not pathway that I would enter lightly. My plan to get there is a slow and steady path, to continue to teach and use my holidays to shoot stories and my term time to investigate and connect with the individuals within the narratives. Use my website/social media to collate and curate my work, whilst building a portfolio that will eventually ‘speak for itself’.

There are many challenges involved in this approach. It is low risk and low reward with an almost impossible chance of yielding a viable career. It is very much a vague concept rather than a solid plan.

Week 5: Who Buys Photography? Part 1

Forum: Tell a story 5 to 7 images. By the time I had completed the images I felt it was too late to join the discussion. Here are my (late) entries:


As I'm one of the video editors my work will start after images and footage has been compiled. However, As we are 'leaning' on the international aspect of the group and the community that we think that Contrapol- Shift F7 are creating I indulged myself with a small but of street photography and tried to capture an iconic view of Singapore. For me it is the living buildings and the positive impact on the environments. There are no more iconic 'living' structures than the SuperTrees at Gardens by the Bay. This became my contribution to the imagery.

SuperTrees and the cloud dome in Singapore. Iconic Singaporean Innovation that aids the environment. My choice for the Contrapol Video.

Week 6: (Oral presentation draft 1)

The webinar and the preparation for it specifically concerning the oral presentation has taken a lot of my attention this week. This has been a very positive experience and one that I’ve enjoyed engaging with. At the beginning of the week I had many options in terms of conceptualising how I wanted to represent my progress.

I shared the First draft of the Oral presentation

My feedback from the webinar was:

10 minutes is too long for this presentation so material needs to be cut. (At this stage I always have more material and edit down... my background is a film editor after all.)

Why do you relate to journalism? How does it relate to your practice?

Be more insightful about your influences. Why, in a deeper sense, does Dora Maar relate to the work in your portfolio? I had presented too many influences and need to invest in fewer at greater depth.

Why is the BJP where I see my work? What is the purpose? How does my work suit the audience I wish to access?

Anna-Maria‘s live lecture was a real highlight of this week. The conversation and the information was both fascinating and stimulating. This is the useful side of the industry that doesn’t necessarily involve photography in its practical sense. Her knowledge has such depth that I can only ever hope to understand about 10% of what she knows. This is the second time she has lessened my fear of the unknown and aspects of the photography industry that is out of my comfort zone.

Week 7: Who Buys Photography? Part 2

Assembling the first draft of the pitch movie was largely done by Doug, Andrea and Layla. I was helpful in the conceptual stage but the practicality of editing alongside another editor has practical issues. Doug et al did a great job. I must admit it doesn't have the aesthetic that I would have brought, which is strange as I cannot define what my aesthetic is. As you can see here on the CRJ. All the same I really enjoyed what they produced. This is why I enjoy collaborations.

Week 8: Photography and it's Fine Art Markets

Activity: Who will be speaking when? Who will be saying what? Will one member of your group deliver the whole pitch or will there be more than one?

The lion's share of the presentation will fall on the very capable shoulders of Douglas Stenhouse and Layla Perchal-Neal. Latgely as they are 2 of the 3 who will definitely be present. I am unavailable because of a work commitment. This is hugely regrettable as I would have liked to experience this first hand and presenting is a major part of my job as a teacher. This is where I would be most useful. I haven't been as useful to the collaboration as I should have. video editing collaboratively has a massive logistical cost implication. Server as well as software. The best I could contribute to this part of the process was in scripting and consolidation of the concepts and clarity of the communication thereof. Which is ironic as this has been the worst part of this modules work from me.

Week 9: Presenting your Pitch (Live Brief)

As part of the preparations for scripting the presentation of the brief, the advice given by Anna-Maria forms the structure of the presentation. During the discussions we had we focussed on the following:

Produce a pitch that explains: our focus, concepts, process.

Discuss/explain how we imagine it will be shared, social media etc,

Don't downplay the amount of work and skill it has taken to produce what we have. Gently contextualise the effect of the confusion due to the lack of clarity from their brand. Also don’t downplay the extensive thinking that it took to produce the work that we have or how important it was. The decisions we made and how we produced the work. Mention that we are the creators of the images. Discuss the origin of the images, focus on the internationalism involved in our process and ideas.

The composer of the music should also be clear. As should our locations.

It would be good for them to hear how as a brand things weren't very clear. It may be interesting for them to hear that it was difficult to ascertain who the audience was. How did we decide what the audience was?

The whole session will be 30 minutes. We should aim for our part to be 10-12 minutes to allow for feedback and questions. The sequence of what we say is important. A clear introduction of ourselves, where we are etc, then about the concept, why? our focus and process. Ending with the moving image piece.

Week 10: The Digital - New Possibilities

[Instagram images] This is where I should have shared images with Anna-Maria to be put on the Falmouth Flexible Instagram account. However, as you will see on the project development page on this CRJ, I am very unhappy with the work I am creating and unlike most of my peers, I have no previous work to speak of. I started the course to begin. So I think this has arrived as an opportunity far too soon for me. I hope this isn't going to be something I will say in the future.

Week 11: Show and Tell

Oral presentation:

Watch the oral presentation here


WiPP PHO704 Dec2020
Download PDF • 37.46MB

Week 12: The Journey Continues

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