352MC Professional Photographic Practice – Lecture 6 (Practitioner Talk and a Group Tutorial with David Rule, and a One-to-One Tutorial with Caroline Molloy)

On Wednesday 11th February 2015, I attended another day dedicated to the 352MC Professional Photographic Practice or Final Major Project (FMP) module. To start the day we had a practitioner talk by David Rule before we split into tutorial groups that were taken by him where we explain or FMP idea and received feedback from him. Following this group tutorial, I then decided to have a one-to-one session with Caroline Molloy in order to talk to her regarding my FMP development. All of the notes from this day can be found below:


Practitioner Talk by David Rule:

Within this talk, David discussed his practice including different project he completed as well as his inspiration for different techniques. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any images of his work that I could include in this blog post, so please visit his website shown below:


  • David Rule is a lens-based artist that also lectures at Farnham
  • Made a slow transition between an image based practice to writing
    • Writing is still related to photography as he still uses it to record and represent an event much like he would with a camera


  • His first piece of work was a book that had a double-page spread including a photograph on the left and a block of text (the same size as the photograph) on the right
    • The text is exactly 1000 words – it’s a piece of irony “Is a photo worth 1000 words?”
    • The text can’t really decide what it’s describing – it describes the photo as an object, then the subject in the photo, then the actual event
    • The text links the photos by including text about the next photograph on the previous page – the photographs become interlinked in a narrative although not very relative


  • Can the photograph alter the words and vice versa?
  • Looking into translating photos into words, he also looked into translating experiences into a structure


The Daily Nice


  • Studied photography as an undergrad that he tend to forgot to shoot the people and the things he cared about – he decided to go back to the snapshot aesthetic


  • The back of his hand
    • He needed to create a piece about the body so he wrote a descriptive piece about the back of his hand
    • He thought that although the photograph could probably document it better, it couldn’t actually tell you something, tell you a story


  • Fiona Banner
    • Nude Standing 2006
    • She sketched with language

Fiona Banner o Nude Standing 2006


  • David looks into ideas of irony and puns
    • For example “a word is worth a 1000 words” and “the back of his hand”


  • When he had nothing to document a particular event with, he went home after the event and wrote it up, producing a dialog between him and this person
    • He created a little pamphlet and left them around places for people to read


  • It was interesting to actually document something by writing it down – it soon turned from a sort of diary entry to a novel through the inclusion of quotes and “he said”


  • Dora Garcia
    • Instant Narrative 2008
    • It’s an installation piece where someone is sat in a gallery, typing something up on a laptop
    • This writing is then projected onto the wall and it is about something that is happening in that gallery at the time

Dora Garcia Instant Narrative 2008


  • Dieter Roth
    • Solo Scenes 1997
    • He made this piece of work in response to what he usually sees on television – he didn’t feel that it was real enough so he wanted to document the last year of his life

Dieter Roth, Solo Scenes


  • He made numerous pamphlets that used a large heading to draw the individual in to read numerous anecdotes from different people from a week long period (one every day)
  • He thought it was interesting how the heading was pretty much all you needed to draw someone in


  • He was asked to write something surrounding the Internet
    • He decided to go to Google Street View and chose loctaions that he was familiar with that symbolized places where he considered turning back
    • He then wrote a piece incorporating his personal memories around the places he chose


  • When he was asked to write a piece for the ICA he decided to talk to his friend about his history with the ICA
    • He then decided to write this conversation down in a dialog and chose to project images of the items that where talked about within the conversation as it moved through different conversational subjects


  • The book is not just a container – it is just as important as the information it contains
    • A book is a sequence of moments
  • Still working with experimenting with the form of the book


  • He experiments with inappropriate forms of storytelling – they’re not the best way to display the story he wants to tell but they are curious



  • My Question: “How do you decide which style to write in? – You look at different techniques such as dialogs, novels, poetry, but, for example, do you write more poetic pieces if it’s a more personal project?”
    • That’s difficult to really answer, and I should have an answer prepared…
    • You can’t really decide what text to write – it is usually comes to you with the project
    • You shouldn’t think too much about it – it needs to just happen and be true to your project and storytelling capability


Group Tutorial with David Rule:

  • When talking to Kellie about her project, David suggested that she looked into Site Photography by David Campany called “This Must be The Place
    • http://davidcampany.com/this-must-be-the-place/
    • When he described this project, I thought that it might be quite good for me to look into for my own FMP
    • I have therefore decided to include this piece of work within my research for my FMP
  • It’s very good to be aware of the process you are describing (you have a fading memory, you revisit a certain place, then your memory comes back to you in a stronger sense)
  • However, before you make any more trips, I think it would be quite good to document what is going on for you in terms of the memory, because as soon as you visit that location, you’re memory of it is changed forever and the original memory that made you visit the place will be altered
    • It might be good to document this past memory before you go – you might not use that version but you might want to write it whilst you can
  • Talking about the idea of possibly photographing the pathway that both me and my Grandpa walked down
    • Think it’s a very good idea to enhance the reconnection aspect of the project – you are quite literally following the footsteps of your Grandpa
    • There is a story by and Argentinian called Borges – one of his stories (maybe “The Carpenter”?) is about a page long and it talks about looking into a drawer and seeing an object that was touched by someone who was the last person to see Jesus (or something similar to that)
      • It’s a long winded thing, but this idea of stepping on the ground that your Grandpa walked on – it is a physical connection that leads to a mental reconnection
      • Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any of the work written by this particular someone so I will not be adding him to my FMP, but will instead take into account the concept that we discussed within this conversation
    • Look into Hamish Fulton and Richard Long (prefer Hamish Fulton)
      • http://www.hamish-fulton.com
      • http://www.richardlong.org
      • Both started doing the same thing at around about the same time
      • They are walking artists – so their practice is walking but quite often this ends up in documentations, photographs, usually accompanied by some quite sparse text
      • It’ll be interesting to see how they use specific sites to work photography and text together in order to document a journey and an experience
      • I am definitely planning on including these two photographers within my research for my FMP


One-to-One Tutorial with Caroline Molloy:

Within this one-to-one session with Caroline Molloy, I simply decided to talk to her about the development of my FMP (including a specific “middle-of-the-road” technique I considered during my last trip up to the Lake District) to see if she could offer me any suggestions or feedback that I may not have gained from my previous lecturers. The notes from this session can be found below (please note, all text that is in italics shows my responses and thoughts on the information Caroline gave me):

  • Have you read Liz Wells “Land Matters”?
    • This was where I told Caroline that I had read Liz Wells, but that probably needed to revisit it as I only looked at specific sections for my Symposium module
  • You should research into Nicky Birds PHD paper
  • Are you looking into using an oral diary to document these past memories you’re planning on talking about?
    • I explained to her that I am not actually (currently) recording them orally but that I am having numerous conversations with my Dad about the memories, the places and the project in general, which I am later recording via text (i.e. writing it up afterwards)
    • However, I was considering using audio interviews later in the development of my project where I sit down with my Dad and discuss the memories we associate with the same place
    • Within this section, I also mentioned that I was also considering using ambient noises within my final piece (which I suggested in my proposal as I thought it would make a more immersive piece for the audience)
    • Caroline suggested that I should do both of these things (the oral interviews and the ambient noises) as they’re easy to do and it’s better to have the data that you could possibly work with at a later date
  • Talking about the idea of possibly photographing the pathway that both me and my Grandpa walked down (that I considered whilst on my second trip to the Lake District)
  • On a technical level…
    • Don’t assume what you do in digital is exactly the same as the medium format camera – if the digital camera is saying that it is exposed correctly, always give your negative a stop more
      • Digital is different because once you overexpose, you’ve lost detail – negatives are the other way (overexposing by one stop won’t hurt, it will give it slightly more detail)
    •  How are you doing your readings on the light meter?
      • This is where I told Caroline that I was using it with the white bobble on the sensor (unsure of the technical term) and that I was just holding it out in front of me
      • Caroline then suggested that I should be taking the readings off of the floor as this is the area where I will want to achieve a mid-grey (this obviously relates more to Black and White images, but the principle should be the same for colour film)