Project 2: A formalist set of images – work in progress

My approach with this set of photos is to offer both a visual discourse into living as someone with spinal cord injury and offer a sense of visual spectacle by creating a pleasing form. They were taken over the first 9 months of 2014.

This photo is of my bathroom and shows the grab handle I use to get in the bath. I placed general bathroom items in the frame to lead the eye to it and reinforce the room’s purpose.image

This photo is of my manual lift looking upwards. image

This image is of a wheelchair at my parents – sorry – dad’s house. image

This is one of the more subtle photos when the tiny pill box placed on the arm of the settee and also shown in shadow form against the wall.

This is my favourite image of the set – the reference to disability is the wheels of my wheelchair. image

The reference to disability is very oblique in this shot – the shoes are old but all have no wear on their soles because I don’t walk, so it’s only the uppers that get worn and scuffed. image

This image shows the gap between Karen’s and my beds, my leg and the tube to a urine bag.image

This photo shows no reference to disability or impairment save for its point of view as its taken from my lift. image

The point of view here is looking up from my desk. There is a spare soft toilet seat and cushion on the top shelf. image

This image shows leg bags both boxed and unboxed ready to use and incontinence sheets that I keep within reach under my bed. image

In this shot I have taken a point of view looking down from my bedside. It shows the edge of my wheelchair, a night urine bag, grabber and incontinence rubbish in my drawer. This is just after I have changed my sheath and urine bag ready for the day and so am about to get up and dispose of all this stuff. image

This last photo is taken from the same position as the last one – I am in bed – but here I have changed the point of view to look side on and the image shows my feet and wheelchair reflected in the mirror and my trousers hanging on the back of my door so I can reach a fresh pair.

The strength in this set is that they all have a strong form or Gestalt, and interesting points of view, and so work well graphically I also think the decision to focus on my domestic setting works well and makes the set very personal. Each image hints to varying degrees at impairment management and so can also be read as narratives and as each photo is seen in conjunction with the others a bigger picture is built about how I live, as well as the place I live in.

However the set could be made better – tighter – by:

  1. removing the bedside and wheelchair images and a couple of images that almost duplicate the set and;
  2. reordering it so that the set begins to offer both a narrative of my day and greater consistency.

Then the set looks like this:

Yet the set still has a major weakness in its different colour values. For example when viewing them as a set the colour temperature looks cool in some and warm in others and even when I adjust for it the images still don’t share common colour or temperature values. This is almost certainly because the imagers were never taken with a view to being part of a set. Rather they were shot on different days for a variety of purposes.

So I think I need to take the images back to the raw original form and work from there.

However it’s not just the colour values I need to think about but also what the end product is going to be. If its going to be a digital platform then I need to tailor the production values specifically to it because different platforms render images differently. For example, look at my photo of the day as presented on this blog Flickr.


I know it’s hard to see because you are reading this on my blog but this blog renders items with a little more contrast than Flickr and there is also a light difference in colour temperature. So decisions about final versions need to be thought about in terms of specific sites rather than whether they are shown on line or not.


About Pete

South Londoner struggling with life, art and photography.
This entry was posted in Project 2: Domestic Landscape and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Project 2: A formalist set of images – work in progress

  1. Pingback: Project 2: A second final set? | anomiepete

  2. Interesting set of images Pete. Not sure I would personally concerned about the different colour temperatures. For me this just show that they were taken at different times of day. What struck me most about the set is the formal precision of the compositions. To me this represents you as a highly structured and ordered person. Is this your intent or are you in truth more chaotic, like me??

    Liked by 1 person

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