Publication research.

While I have been waiting for the results of assignment 4 I have been looking at the next assignment and pondering what I might like to do and also the additional publishing skills required if any.

I can see that an emphasis on research and narrative is made and for the last few months I have been working on a project in anticipation of this module. I have been considering this project for use as either an assignment submission or, at least, a research item.

I have mailed my tutor for his thoughts and await his direction.  Of course the main issue is that I haven’t actually taken any of the images. I would not have considered this at all had I not seen another submission based on historic photography.

Whatever the outcome of the decision, this project has taken me on a research journey that has familiarised me with restoring images, Blurb templates and also through through ‘’, RAF records, Google Patents and an unbelievable resolution to a family mystery that won’t be published. It’s been an emotional roller coater.  Making decisions on what to include from a large amount of photographs and documents in the publication are based on:

1. Historic relevance of documents stretching back 100 years.

2. Suitability on content to preserve a dignified memory.

3. Providing framework for future generations to keep my Grand Fathers memory alive and undertake their own research.


A few sample draft pages:










Tutor feedback.

The individual image feedback in under the relevant image further down the page.

General feedback:

I think you’re quite right when you say that this assignment is about the beginning rather than the end; and I feel you have found the confidence and the enjoyment to pursue this much further.

Once again you’ve covered good ground in your research both for the assignment and for general interest and context. Maria Kanevskaya’s work is very interesting, magical, painterly. You also covered additional technical ground, very useful. But, as you suggest, exploration and experimentation for this module are in many ways more valuable – as an ex cinematographer, I can vouch for that.

Your self-assessment offers a good insight into your approach and execution of this assignment and what you feel you have learned from this; this is a good articulate and detailed reflection.

Congratulations on getting your work published – very nice to see one’s hard work in print.

 You made a good choice of subject for this assignment, light, portable and open to interpretation with lighting on all four elements. Also, for you, this was an opportunity to explore lighting techniques for portraiture with a benign and patient subject. The future will bring many challenging subjects I’m sure.

So a well considered and executed assignment, perhaps the only element that you might have explored is the use of mixed lighting and the challenges that this presents using different levels and temperatures from controlled and relatively uncontrollable sources (sunlight).

Learning Log

 You covered all the exercises for this part of the course and demonstrate a very good understanding of the various elements of lighting (and exposure) and through this a good level of preparation for the assignment. The exterior shots in Rome are very atmospheric – very nice birthday treat.

I mentioned earlier your proactivity in research and how this has a positive effect on both your learning experience and the development of your photographic voice.

My response:

I am quite content with the tutors observations that mirror my own. I was concerned about the choice of subject but I am pleased that my tutor understood my reasoning. This was never going to be an award winning set of images but, at the same time, it has been a big learning curve in additional photographic lighting  and I have been pleasantly surprised with the results.

Exercise 14: Shiny surface.

This exercise is about dealing with reflections in shiny objects.  We needed to take a small shiny object and photograph it once to observe reflections -as in image 1. Next we had to fashion some sort of diffuser out of tracing paper to fit around the lens and subject – as in Image 2.   The final image is Image 3 with the tracing paper deliberately showing.

Image 1.


Image 2.

This had been my DIY diffuser that I curved around.  My balance isn’t very good and I found the whole exercise very awkward. I soon realised that the cardboard bottom had to go as reflections were still apparent. Even though cardboard is white there was too much reflection still creeping in.


Image 3.



Yes, diffusing light helps to stop reflections. I am not sure tracing paper is the way forward though and I won’t be trying this again until I have a light tent at my disposal. The technique described in the folder was very difficult for me as my balance isn’t much good and I am prone to falling and tripping….hence it looks like I haven’t made much effort here. To be honest I prefer the original image. If you choose your surroundings well then you can be creative with reflection. I do understand that commercial photographers have specific briefs but this genre in a commercial setting is not for me.

Lecture: Jeff Morgan.

Today I attended an all day camera club lecture by professional commercial photographer Jeff Morgan. I don’t belong to a Camera Club but was invited to go along by friends.

The day was another revision of old ground but it was good to look at the work of a professional commercial photographer and hear him speak about may issues surrounding the practicalities of landscape photography and I came away with some useful tips and things to consider that I won’t mention here because it isn’t relevant to this module.
There was much work I admired though and in the mix of the work spoken about there was HDR.
HDR is a method for taking multiple exposures to then merge and render a ‘good’ exposure from otherwise difficult lighting situations.
It got me thinking about HDR.  I have never dabbled with multiple exposures as I haven’t, up until fairly recently, had the software to achieve HDR work. I have learnt to work around difficult lighting in one frame through the best exposure I can achieve and some light dodge and burning in Lightroom that has often left an atmospheric image that is quite unique to me (well, within my peers) and more inspired by early film.
This is far from a criticism of Jeff Morgans work but a recognition in the realisation of my own personal preferences.
I don’t like HDR. The need for detail in every corner of a dark room at the expense of atmosphere is just not for me.  This, to my mind, isn’t a natural solution to challenging situations. Sure it has it’s place and if a brief requires an outcome that can only be achieved by HDR then so be it and on that basis I guess it is a useful tool.
I have, however, seen some wonderful landscape images in the past that turned out to be HDR. I have come to the conclusion that there is HDR and …..HDR. I believe the unofficial terminology for HDR evident work is ‘overcooked’ and whilst it’s harsh terminology I am inclined to agree.  HDR work that looks natural to the point an image could pass as a single frame is where it is at for me.  I fully appreciate this is a mere personal opinion and an opinion that would cause heated debate on any forum. But …….
My conclusion:
I love shadow and I’ll happily lose some detail in favour of atmosphere.
Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin. Taken last week.

Douglas Fitch and Andrew Grundon – Documentary portraiture.

During the last six months I have enjoyed seeing some of my hard work start to pay off.

The long awaited Schieffer Book ‘100 Contemporary Artists – Wood Fired Ceramics’ was published. Two images of mine appeared in this reference book.  These images were taken two years ago:


The same potter and his best friend Andrew Grundon were photographed together at roughly the same time. Andrew Grundon is a fine artist and along side his many fabulous creations he works for St Austell Brewery painting pub signs – the old fashioned way.  It was a great honour to see my photograph replicated and placed above a pub in Wellington, Somerset.

The original:


The resulting painting:

This image of the sign was provided to me by Andrew Grundon.


Devon Life magazine have, this month, run an article on Douglas Fitch and his partner Hannah McAndrew.  This was the first magazine work to be published:


This image was printed in The Big Issue (North) with thanks to the OCA: