Reflection – June 2016

Having now completed all the exercises for the Fine Art Photography section of Gesture and Meaning, I no longer have any excuses to delay in pulling together my second assignment. This part of the course has been fascinating and has certainly opened up some new creative channels for me.   For many years my primary expressionism was in painting, drawing and chalk pastel work, but for some reason I always compartmentalised my creative skills and use of medium. I think some of the approaches I have seen from contemporary artists over the last few months will encourage me to explore new, different and hybrid techniques to achieve some of the results I’m aiming for.

My conclusion, before I even start writing these reflective notes, is that I need to experiment much, much more. Most of my study with the OCA has been dedicated to demonstrating technical ability so it already feels quite liberating to be able to justify heavy grain and inky blacks.


As always, I am taking some inspiration from Anton Corbijn: “Emotion is a great thing. I’m very proud of that in my pictures. It’s the most rare element. You can’t learn that. I also hope to capture something you’ve not seen before. Because reality is only interesting to a degree, I try to emphasize things in reality, to make them more interesting. I don’t crop my images and I always shoot handheld. By doing that I build in a kind of imperfection and this helps to emphasize reality.” [1]

Neil Gaiman says:

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.” [2]

Of course, I would rather NOT make any major mistakes for Assignment Two but I do plan to push my luck a little bit.

This was quite an inspiring piece on the importance of experimenting and I enjoyed learning about Kent Rogowski’s jigsaws:

“Scatter the pieces,” Kessel writes. “Throw away the instructions and put the pieces back together in whatever way you damn well please, all the while remembering that things that aren’t meant to go together can still work together.  And like Rogowski, you might end up with a creation that is technically wrong, but aesthetically just right.”

Let’s hope so.

P.S. In other news, I just realised that, as well as scanning barcodes, the RefMe app can capture website info which includes when the page was accessed which means I can stop being so slack and inconsistent with my Harvard Referencing malarkey!


  1. Popova, M. (2013) Make good art: Neil Gaiman’s advice on the creative life, adapted by design legend chip Kidd. Available at: (Accessed: 22 June 2016)
  2. Jaeger, A.-C. (2010) Image makers, image takers: Interviews with today’s leading curators, editors and photographers. New York, NY: Thames & Hudson.





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