Critical Research Journal (SP)

Week 1: Forum – Research Methods

As contemporary photographers today you will all be used to carrying out a certain amount of practical or contextual research before, and during, the creation of a body of work.

In the forum below, we would like you to share the different research methods you plan to use this term when creating your Work in Progress Portfolio.

In addition to this, we would like you to find two bodies of work by two different photographers, whose work is deeply rooted in research or where the research is the final body of work. Consider how these research methods already, or might relate to your own research project.


Brooke explores the darkness and light in people, and her work looks at that juxtaposition. As a self-portrait artist, she photographs herself and becomes the characters of dreams inspired by a childhood of intense imagination and fear. Being the creator and the actor, Brooke controls her darkness and confronts those fears. After studying films for years in college, she realized her love of storytelling was universal. She started photography then in 2008, excited to create in solitude and take on character roles herself. Brooke works from a place of theme, often gravitating toward death and rebirth or beauty and decay. ultimately, her process is more discovery than creation. She follows her curiosity into the unknown to see who her characters might become. Brooke believes the greatest gift an artist has is the ability to channel fears, hopes and experience into a representation of one’s potential.

While her images come from a personal place of exploration, the goal in creating is not only to satisfy herself; her greatest wish is to show others a part of themselves. Art is a mirror for the creator and the observer.

Brooke’s passion is storytelling, and her life is engulfed in it. From creating self-portraits and writing to international adventures and motivational speeches, she wants to live a thousand lives in one. She keeps her curiosity burning to live a truly interesting story.

After reading my feedback from the last project and making the connection between my own practice as a Fine Art Photographer I decided to research into Fine Art Photography and found this amazing photographer called Brooke Shaden. I have included the Artist statement from her own web site. I absolutely love her concept and her style. I have been so focusing on creating pretty images that I have overlooked that decay and darkness are also beautiful. I have been through much difficult time in my life where I thought I couldn’t get thought it but I strongly believe that it is the dark times that make us grow and develop as people. Someone once said to me, things don’t happen to you they happen for you. Brooke Shaden does use some form of nature within her work but not the same as myself what has inspired me is her skills and concept. I feel my work is missing storying telling and some depth to it. 

My Second body of work is by Jessica Drossin:




Week 2: Presentation – Business Basics:

Think about the following points:

A mission statement: a brief summary of your photography business.

Nature is both all around us and deep within us. We are inseparable from nature-our bodies, lives and minds depend on the air we breathe and the food we eat. The earth sustains our very life force. My work is inspired by the natural world, and I am fascinated by the human reaction to nature. Many of us are live are life’s that are detached from the natural environment for example in cities where we are directed by technology but despite this, we are still able to understand the powerful symbolism that nature represents. We can relate to these themes without difficulty, we have an understanding that a tree can represent stability and growth and that we associate the night sky with dreams, a connection to that which is beyond our reach and a contemplation of our place within the universe. We are driven by a world which is highly technical, which I believe has had an impact on our connection with nature and each other. We have the means of communication but lack communication skills to express how we feel. I am using Photography and Art to reconnect are self-awareness within our self and others and to reconnect our inner self with nature. 

The product: the services you offer and your niche – are you a fashion photographer, a documentary photographer, a still life photographer? Do you want to work in magazines or advertising?

I want to share my images with others but where I have created the concept. I class myself as a Fine Art Photographer. I wish to sell prints of my work and to publish my images. I would love to sell my images to galleries. I have been thinking about selling, my images at craft shows. 

The market: Who are your customers? Who will buy your photography and commission you – magazines, advertising agencies, brands? We will look at the different markets for photography at a later stage, but start thinking about this now.

Also, have a look at who your competitors are and how you stack up against them.

This has been a challenge for me, I ask myself who would to see my work or at least buy it. I feel I have a model style, of course, other people with similar interests would like to purchase my work. I would like to approach magazines to sell online such as Getty Images and Etsy. I have registered on a web site for an artist.

The management: Think about the experience you have that qualifies you for a career in the photography industry.

I have teaching years of experience and I have been thinking about how I could use this skill within my own practice. When I upload images I am often asked how did I do that. I would like to consider youtube to create a how-to channel. 

The financial plan: This is all about the money. How will you afford to set yourself up and survive as a photographer in the first few years? Do you need to buy the equipment? What are your short and long-term profit and loss forecasts?

A start-up checklist:

  • Mobile phone
  • Office equipment, such as a computer and a printer
  • Basic marketing tools, such as a website and business cards
  • Insurance

I have been funding my photography myself so far and plan to design and produce a business card. 

Week 3: Forum – Art & Commerce


  • This week’s topic is how photographers mix art and commerce in different ways and the ever-growing importance of having your own vision and visual language.
  • Commercial and Fine Art:

All photography can be classed as fine art, but I believe the big difference is that commercial photography is created to sell a product while Fine Art Photography is created for enjoyment. Commercial art covers areas such as advertising, graphic design, branding, logos and book illustrations. Fine art includes paintings, sculptures, printmaking, photography, installation, multi-media, sound art, and performance. During the 20th Century the difference between the two was arranged, that was until the Art movement called Pop Art merged the two together, Andy Warhol is a great example creating art with mass-produced images using the tools of the commercial industry. Andy Warhol was a popular American print artist. He helped create a style of art called Pop Art.  Warhol printed pictures of ordinary objects.  He also printed famous people.  Andy Warhol did most of his painting during the 1960s.  This was an exciting time in popular culture, new kinds of music, art, books, and movies were being created.  This inspired Warhol to look at art in a new way.  It was different from anything that had been created before. Unfortunately, many people didn’t take his work seriously. Andys Warhol career began as a commercial artist.  His drawings appeared in many fashion magazines. Many commercial artists admired Warhol’s work, but many in the fine arts did not consider him to be a real artist.  This upset Warhol, he wanted people to think of him as a real artist and not just a magazine illustrator. So, Warhol began painting ordinary objects and displaying them in museums.  Warhol liked to paint many pictures of the same thing. In 1962 a famous actress named Marilyn Monroe died.  That same year he made a series of pictures of her. Later that year, a friend suggested Warhol paint something that was so common that people didn’t see it as art.  Warhol loved to eat soup, so he decided to paint cans of Campbell’s Soup.  There were many flavours of Campbell’s Soup at that time.  Warhol bought all the different kinds, then he spent hours copying the cans onto a white background.  He painted the cans 32 times on one canvas. Each can be slightly different from the next.  This style of art was called Pop Art because the subjects for his work came from popular culture.




  • 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.

Fine Art Photography is based on communicating an idea, feeling, or emotion. The aesthetics come second to the concept.  Messages in the images require the viewer to critically engage and invest in interpreting the image.  The imagery also allows viewers to explore a personal connection with the content. 

Commercial photography is all about selling a product and the aesthetics of an image comes second. The main goal is to sell an idea therefore commercial artists usually have more realistic and literal approaches to how they create images.

Photographer 1:

Billy Kidd Photography:

Fashion and art photographer Billy Kidd is influenced by Renaissance art influences and the need for a reevaluation of beauty

New York-based photographer Billy Kidd, who has shot campaigns for the likes of Nike, Anthropologie and Eres. Billy Kidd was born in 1980 in Panama City, Florida. He is a self-taught photographer who is influenced by Man Ray, Andre Kertesz, Jacques-Andre Bouffard, Weegee and Helen Levitt, but mostly by Irving Penn. I have included examples of his work titled “Decaying Flowers” which show us that there is something beautiful and purely natural in the process of dying. He sees the beauty that other people often dismiss. The roses can be just as exquisite and captivating even in their decaying state. In some ways, Billy Kidd has breathed new life into them. The floral images have been taken with a black background and exploring the detail within the roses using a single light source. Billy Kidd had a solo exhibition which was the study of beauty and mortality. The soft curves of the petals of decaying rose petals reflected the curves of the female body both showing organic imperfections of nature.

In an interview Billy Kidd was asked:

What was the biggest challenge of creating this series?

“Time was and still is the biggest challenge. I’m trying to catch these flowers at the right moment in between life and death. Too early and it’s just a pretty picture of a flower, too late and you’ve lost the flower’s character. Sometimes I would leave my camera pointed at a flower for days in front of a window waiting for it to sit just right”4

How did your love of sculpture and Renaissance art influence the look of the nude photographs?

“I think that comes out in my editing process. I’m a very organic shooter, often letting the model start to twist, turn and exaggerate her body. I’m sure subconsciously, the small directions I give send them into that realm, although in the editing process I often look for the fuller bodies — the image you could feel with your hands”

There is a clear message behind the image connected with beauty, decay and imperfections. The use of the naked women forms and the ageing of a petal is compared by its detail and from. As a flower travels though, time its body transforms and dry’s. The structure of the petal begins to emerge in age. The shape and feel of the flower are beautifully transformed in its maturity and eventual death. A shallow beauty can become a deeper, more fascinating beauty through life. For example, a young girl can become even more beautiful when she grows and a woman who has realized her full potential.

I love this concept that beauty versus imperfection, youth versus death and that beauty is life, not youth.

Are we not all obsessed with perfection and growing old but there is something beautiful in ageing in decay. This could be the crumbling structure of buildings, old rusty metal to decomposing flowers and trees. To me, all are fascinating subjects to study and photograph. Decomposition is an essential and important part of the natural cycle. When the autumn leaves fall they are broken down back to down organic matter and enriching the soil in preparation for a new life. Mater which is needed after the cold winter has passed and new life is reborn. If we stop thinking of the process of decay as negative and the end of life then we can see the beauty in decaying and the need for it.

Photographer 2:

Lior Zilberstein:

Lior explains how he sees the world in a single frame. Capturing a freezing moment in time which is isolated.  Lior grew up in the ’80s when the home video camera was the modern gadget of the time. When he turned 18 his grandfather gave an old 35mm film camera. From that moment he knew he wanted to be a photographer and started learning the craft. As a photographer, he works with many aspects of photography both professionally and for pleasure. I love the quote “that a good photographer is above all a good storyteller.” I have selected Lior and as an example of both a Fine Art Photographer and Commerical photographer because I feel that not only are the images selling a product but the style is very creative and artist which explores colour and texture.

Photographer 3:

Chris Turner:




Chris Turner is based in London and is a Still Life Photographer and Film Maker working in the advertising industry. His photography combines craft, scale and set-building to produce extraordinary and memorable imagery. Chris Turner shoots on set and on location and has worked with a range of international clients. I really like his treatment with floral images which have been painted with UV paint called UV Floral. This is actually from his personal collection of work but I feel this has both a commercial and fine art feel.

Week 5: Forum – Tell a Story:

LO5: Critical Analysis: (Critical Research Journal & Oral Presentation)
Make personal observations and form critical opinions to analyse and appraise your own work, as well as the work of your peers and other practitioners.

 There is a need to develop a deeper understanding of your topic. Domestic flowers are cultivated and carefully bred with a lot of human interference. Are there any ethical problems in this? What about the economical and environmental impact of commercial flower trade? 

Imagine you are being commissioned by a newspaper, or magazine, to shoot a story in five to seven images. It can be about anything – ideally something local – but the images must tell the story by themselves; be strong enough to carry the narrative. The story can be about a person, a place or a thing. Keep your focus narrow. What matters is to make sure each photograph gets to the essence of what the narrative wants to express.

Share the five to seven images of your story:

Chartwell House:

The seven images I have uploaded are taken from a visit to Chartwell House in Westerham Kent South East England. It was the home place of Winston Churchill for over forty years. At the dinner table, he would assist his campaign against German rearmament and the British government response of appeasement. In the study, he would composed speeches and wrote books. In the gardens, he would build walls, constructed lakes and paintings. The house became Churchill’s little piece tranquillity when he suffered a debilitating stroke. The buildings and gardens hold such memories and history and were more than a house but a home. 











Week 5: Activity – Action:

My Feedback from my last module.

LO4: Professional Location of Practice: (Critical Research Journal & Oral Presentation)
Establish an understanding of the range of professional contexts for the dissemination and consumption of contemporary photographic practice, and identify opportunities to engage with audiences and markets.

We would like to learn more about who you see your audience as being. How could you show your work apart from and beyond Instagram? Can there be a perennial presentation of your images somehow?

I have been concentrating on my own personal project to sell my work which has taken a lot of my time. I have been planning my own craft stall which I will be attending on November 16th in Sevenoaks. Due to cost, I have been getting my images printed off and I have used an online printing company called Slimlab.

The paper quality I have decided to go with is Giclee FineArt Baryta which compliments my images. I have ordered mounts on eBay and have purchased some frames sticking to a black and white theme depending on the image. I have found it really difficult pricing my work, I have taken into consideration the basic cost such as printing, mounting and framing. Then I have to include a cost for taking the images, editing and personal skill. I have decided that an image which is A4 size mounted will be £25 each and frames images between £30-£70 depending on frame and size.

I have included a section of my images some in mounts and some in frames. I had a real struggle with pricing but it made me think about pricing in general. I have to consider who I’m selling my images to and take into consideration the area I am selling and the time of the year I am selling. I know it’s building up to the Christmas period so people are looking for gifts so I’m not too sure how well I will do but I have to try. I have decided to stick with my personal brand name of because I wanted to keep my selling and masters separate. I have designed a logo for my brand using an online service called I have also designed my own business card which I can have on my stall for people to take a keep.





Week 7: Forum – Tell a Story:

Imagine you are being commissioned by a newspaper to tell a story in five to seven images. It can be about anything – ideally something local – but it must have a beginning, middle and end. It can be about a person, a place or a thing. Keep your focus narrow. What matters in this exercise is to make sure each photograph gets to the essence of what the narrative wants to express – without needing a copy or anything else.

Share the five to seven images of your story below, and comment on the stories of your peers – tell them what you see. Did they understand what your story is about?

On the 22nd Septemeber, I went to Wakehurst Place and took photographs on my DLSR and my iPhone. The pictures above are taken on my iPhone.

The story behind the images is about the history and location of Wakehurst. Wakehurst is Kew Wild Botanic Garden in Sussex. This beauty location us situated on the High Weald, there are more than 500 acres of ornamental gardens, woodlands and a nature reserve. Surround by the grounds is An Elizabethan mansion which stands perfectly with the formal gardens and managed lawns. Wakehurst is also the home to the Millennium Seed Bank which is the largest seed conservation project in the world. Wakehurst has been managed by Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew under a long-term lease agreement since 1965. My images tell the story of the beauty surrounding which some have taken over and the adventures exploring the grounds. Also, I want to tell the story of time and history of the gardens.

Week 8: Forum – Your Website:



In our present time, your online presence is as important as your physical portfolio. A good website is crucial and will often be the one thing, a gallery director or a client will see even before they see your physical portfolio or meet you.

Please share your own website, alongside three photographer’s websites you particularly like, that you think to work extremely well and would resonate well with clients. Please provide some feedback on the posts of at least three of your peers.

I have updated my website: I have two:


(which needs updating)

Photographer Website 1:

Ysabel LeMay:


What I love about this website is the movement and excitement which connects with the work itself. It is very busy and full of colour. The organisation of the portfolio is in years but I would rather see themes. The photography is lovely and big and easy to enjoy.

Ysabel LeMay is an artist who digitally overlays images of organic forms using a process called hyper collage. LeMay spent 15 years in the adverting industry and after she sought a more rewarding path for her creativity, refocusing on painting and then photography. LeMay has developed her own distinctive technique style called hyper collage. While her technique is high-tech, LeMay’s hyper collage process is instinctual and organic, allowing each piece to dictate its own destiny. She starts from a single, simple starting point which could be an image, a colour or an emotion. LeMay weaves the mix elements together into intricate compositions of resplendent beauty.  The Technique is high-tech but her style seems to be very organic and natural. LeMay’s hyper collage process is instinctual and organic, allowing each piece to naturally flow.



Photographers Website 2:

Kathleen Clemons:

I have talked about Kathleen Clemons work before but I do love her website for the following reasons:

The information is clear easy to find. Navigating around the site flows and you don’t feel lost or confused. Her photography is categorised into different sections ranging from Flowers to Iceland. What I really find inspiring is the link with her FineArt Americal products, which show her prices. I have been thinking about FineArt Americal or Getty Images to sell my photography. The only thing that would be an improvement would be having her images on the site bigger.


Photographers Website 3:

How can I not mention my all-time favourite photographer Ann Belmont!!


I attended the Cindy Sherman exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London on the 13th of September 2019.

Cindy Sherman is the master of disguises using skills of make to change her identity which many women do. We are surrounded by a culture which showcases how we should look and dress. Her images are stories which fictional characters included, some you can relate to and some in your wildest dreams. Honestly, I’m not sure if I liked the images or disliked them. Some of the images were shocking and strange which actually I found more appearing. I actually went to the exhibition on a school trip and we had to take turns Guarding one room in-particular for its rude contents. What I do like about her work is the concept of playing a range role in your life and how beauty is in the eye of the Beholder.

Week 10: Forum – Instagram

I can honestly say I am addicted to Instagram it’s been the massive sauce of inspiration, commutation and advertisement for my work. I make sure I’m uploading at least two times a week. My first goal was to reach 1000 followers which I did in September 2019 now my next goal is 2000. At the moment I am on 1500 ish. I do find the site a helpful tool to see which photographs receive more comments and like. I was totally impressed with one of my images which to-date has received around 1900 likes and 51 comments.



I do use an app which helps to track how many followers gained and lost over a period of time.

The one thing I really enjoy about Instagram is meeting other people with the same passion and interest, from all over the world. One person who I have made a connect with and now call a friend lives in America. At the time while I was having our conversation I didn’t really know much about it, we would just talk about flower photography and pass comments on each other’s work as well and gain inspiration and encouragement. I then got curious and looked more into his work. Surprisingly I found out that he is a photographer with an interesting story behind his work.  

His name is Darryl Pitt who was an editorial photographer before becoming an artist manager and driving force behind the launch of the New Age music phenomenon. The principal of Depth of Field Management, Pitt represents renowned jazz artists, The Bad Plus, Regina Carter, Kurt Elling and Dianne Reeves. He has a very long list of achievements. Pitt was born in Detroit in 1955 where he attended the University of Michigan before moving to New York City where he joined the staff of Rolling Stone. Pitt’s photographic work has appeared in numerous publications including Time, Newsweek, Fortune, Playboy, Der Spiegel and Paris Match. He was a tour photographer for musicians such as Crosby, Stills & Nash and for several years was the official photographer of the Montreux Jazz Festival. 

Pitt had stopped taking photos for nearly eighteen years before he began to photographing flowers in 2005. I’ve had conversations regarding his personal story that I found to be heartbreaking but yet somewhat inspiring. 2005 was a significant year for Darryl because it was when he learned this his good friend and client, renowned saxophonist Michael Brecker, was seriously ill. It turned out that Michael had Myelodysplastic Syndrome, MDS.  So whats flowers got to do with this story?? Flowers seem such a strange thing to start taking pictures off with the history of his photography background but it was a connection with friendship. Earlier on in Michael’s illness, Darryl took a trip to Death Valley. Unfortunate the weather was extremely wet and the normal expectation of rain was three times the normal amount. This had a positive impact on the wildlife resulting in an explosion of life. The desert which was normally desolate was now full of life and colour. 


It was at this time Darry friend Michael asked for pictures of the flowers, but Darryl refused. Refused because Flowers wasn’t his strength, and each time he tried to capture them, the image just didn’t turn outright. Time after time, Michael asked for pictures of flowers but he didn’t want to let his friend down and give him a disappointing image.

That was until one day on his was riding his bike and noticed a garden and started taking images. Michael’s hospital wall was finally filled with his beautiful images. The garden which inspired Darryl was 91st Riverside Park. sadly Michael lost his life in January 2007 but Darry still to this day only takes images from that one garden. 

Friendship is a beautiful thing just like the images he takes. I asked Darry did you ever go back and take the images from Death Valley and he said to me no and gave me the reason why.

He said, It might seem strange but I suppose it is, but the only place where I’ve ever photographed flowers is in this one garden.  Here’s why. A really great cinematographer with whom I had the honor to work with, once said to me while I was admiring his creativity while he was working on a small set, “One of the great challenges on set and in life is to find new possibilities…new creative perspectives. There is always more to see.” And so while my friend was confined to his hospital room I decided to confine myself to one garden. 

Isn’t this what life is all about? searching for new challenges and possibilities. I was so inspired by his story that’s it’s encouraged me to find my own. We share a passion for flowers and both see the subject from a different perspective but both agree that flowers have this magical healing power that can change your emotions and more importantly have so much pleasure to give. 

Week 11: Forum – Market Yourself:


A can be challenging for photographers. A marketing plan is basically a plan for the success of your business, and there are two main points to think about: your objectives and your strategy.

For this week’s activity, you will create a marketing plan for your practice which covers the next 10 weeks. Think about what you want to achieve with your photography during that time, and how you will make it happen. Your plan should include your objectives and weekly actions. Below are a few points you might want to think about.

Your objectives
  • To raise your profile in the photography industry

I plan to continue promoting my Instagram account and booking craft stalls for next year, but to be honest, I’m not sure this is the road for my work. I’m going to push to get my work into galleries. One thing positive that comes out of doing the stall was making connections without photographers and we have swapped contact details and planning to do a jointed exhibition. Also, the last craft stall I did in Faversham I was approached by the company is work in the botanical Scientific research and would like to purchase my images for their offices.

  • To earn a certain amount of money from your photography

Of course, I would love to make money from selling my images but for me, it’s more about getting my work out and having an influential impact. I would like to at least earn all the money back from the prints etc

  • To develop your skills and knowledge

I love learning and photography now is fully in-bedded in my life. I am constantly searching for knowledge and learning new skills. I have actually booked up editing lessons from Brooke Shaden which I can’t wait to start exploring.

  • To arrange regular meetings with clients

I think when I start approaching art galleries this is something I will learn and develop in time.

  • To add a certain number of new contacts to your database each week

I have been promoting my facebook account more lately mainly because I was advertising my Craft Stall. 

  • To increase hits on your website by a certain percentage

My next main goal is to reach 2000 followers on Instagram within the next month and each month increase 1000 followers per month.  


Your strategy

Think of this as a list of weekly actions, such as:

My weekly actins will be:

  • Planning shoot every week.

  • Taking photographs

  • Editing my images.

  • Editing my portfolio

  • Updating my website

  • Researching mini new personal project which will link to my main theme.

  • Spending 10+ minutes a day on social media sharing posts on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter

  • Researching and making contact with local galleries.

My Second Craft Stall at Faversham Kent

24th November 2019:






I was disappointed with the outcome of the two craft shows. The first location was not ideal and was not situated in a position where passing trade would come easy. I did sell images but I was hoping to sell more. Surprisingly my recent work was more popular and I did notice my work was more appealing to a younger generation. The second attempt started off more promising compared to the first but yet agree I was disappointed. I did sell my images and I was having more one to one conversation about my work and future purchases. I did have one conversation with a customer who was buying the images for a friend who has Bipolar and he needed something that would be calming. The connection between my work and having an emotion connected was exactly the result I have been aiming for. I do think maybe the time of year is wrong and maybe I should be aiming towards selling my work in a gallery environment.

Week 12:

When I went to the shape of light exhibition in London I remember seeing this photography by Aaron Siskind which I loved.

Jerome, Arizona 21 -- 1949

Aaron Siskind was born in 1901 and worked from the 1930s up until he died in 1993. He was part of the abstract expressionism movement post World War II. his work has been described as, crossing the line between photography and painting. He produced very compelling monochrome abstract and macro photography. Generally, when you think of macro photography you think of insects, flowers or other delicate things, however, Aaron Siskind work is about the decay and transformation of objects. Aaron Siskind’s photography is monochrome to take colour away leaves your imagination open it your own colour possibility. I love colour photography but I do appreciate the timeless quality of black and white photography.