152MC Working with Life


I began by exploring possible narrative routes and ideas. Scan 6

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I then got a pack from my tutors of freebies. They gave ideas and suggestions for inspiration in order to start looking at narratives and ways to interpret narratives using photography. I laid the cut outs on the floor and had a look at each of them, read them through and contemplated them. The next step will be to research into each of them and think further and critically analyse them.

One of the cut outs said: “The next thing you buy” The next think i brought was a pair of tights. I was actually thinking of using them within my project, under the cocoon idea. Using a pair of XL tights to fit a whole person in if they are stretchy enough and then have them breaking free from this contained cocoon.

The next cut out said: “Hyggelig” I had no idea what this meant, so I searched it in the dictionary and found that it meant – “cozy, delightfully intimate”.

The third cut out said: “Better technology doesn’t mean better storytelling.” This can be interpreted in lots of different ways. One way would be that you shouldn’t get caught up in worrying about how much technology can help you as in the end it doesn’t make a better story. Another could be to use less technology in your storytelling perhaps to stretch yourself and discover new ways of telling a story.

The fourth cut out said: “In the golden west A sooty thumbprint Of starlings” Brian Pike This was something he said on Twitter. Brian Pike is an artist who creates childlike paintings. I like how seemingly innocent they are to begin with but then there is something very eery about them too when you look further.

The first thing i did when continuing my research was to take a look at some photographers that have already done photo narratives, just to get an idea of what works and what doesn’t.

I found this Youtube video by Blaine Dunkley called the Quiet World. I found this very intriguing although I feel there was too much repetition of some of the photographs. Also the narrative wouldn’t have made complete sense without the voice over on top. The voice over could be used as words in a book for my project.


I started off by looking at the topic, Emerging and Awakening. I took some photographs of my little brother emerging like a butterfly or an angel from a cocoon. I tried using tights first but this was less successful.

So, then i tried using a muslin sheet that I sewed up to make it into a cocoon shape. The idea was being safe but not fully grown and then emerging into something beautiful. I experimented with lighting for this, by using a back light to illuminate the sillouette as well as using fairy lights inside the cocoon to lift the shadows slightly.

Finding a part of yourself once lost

Community of selves

My psychologist has mentioned this idea of community of selves several times before.

First, I read an article – http://www.throughyourbody.com/the-self-a-community-of-competing-multiple-selves/

“this philosopher’s view of morality is now being challenged by a psychologist’s view”

Psychologists now say that individuals don’t have one thing called character.

“We each have a multiplicity of tendencies inside, which are activated by this or that context.”

I then read an article written by Allen R McConnell PH.D.

It says that, “People with many and diverse self identities” is a common thing and is callled high self-complexity. Some people however have low self-complexity. This means that when one good thing happens, say for their professional self, then they will thrive in other aspects of their life too. But on the contrary if a bad thing happens then they will suffer more that those with high self-complexity.

Lost self 

My psychologist often talks about having a ‘lost self’. In a community of selves, a lost self can come from a particular traumatic event or time where your mind blocks out that time or event and you lose that part of yourself at that time.

I decided I wanted try out showing a metaphorical journey through a physical journey. I wanted to look at finding a part of yourself that you have lost.


looking out of blinds black and white


I went to the ….. lake to try out this image before doing the final image.

Reaching down in lake 1

I then went to ….. to do the image i had imagined in my head. I took this image, to symbolise being lifted out by the balloons out of the murky waters of my mind.

Bending down sideways lake balloons

This image was to symbolise flying away and having freedom. This was inspired by the book, The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly. However, this image is not just about freedom but also the fragile nature of freedom and losing freedom.

Feather second attempt_Fotor

This is to symbolise a journey, a journey from the dark travelling to a better place, someplace where my mind can be cured and freed.



Attempt Crane 2_Fotor 2


I am aware that these images are each very dramatic in themselves, perhaps too dramatic. They perhaps don’t link, or perhaps are all individual narratives within themselves. I decided to step back and realise the reasons and what I want to get across to a wider audience. I want to create work for a specific and meaningful reason. I feel that this work isn’t quite there as I have created the work before deciding the true meaning that I want to share with my readers.

I was thinking about a part of myself that I have lost. I decided to home in on a specific part that I know I have lost. I was bullied throughout secondary school and found that I can’t remember it easily, so this probably means that I blocked it out. This means that I have lost the part of being a teenager and this will continue to haunt me until I explore it. I want to resolve this lost part of self and show others my story.

I was searching through my old school work for ideas and clues about everything that happened whilst being bullied. I found a piece that I wrote in year 9 on my experience of hiding in the toilets from the bullies and then having them invade my safe yet repulsive hiding place.


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Here is the piece I wrote. I chose to not write it out again and just keep it how it was written at the time, with the feedback from the teacher as well as spelling mistakes etc as this seems more truthful and helps to fill the gap in my memory.

I took a trip to my old secondary school and went to the same toilets that I wrote this piece. I took a number of photos of parts that I remember and key parts of my writing. Here they are:



I did a simple search for Anti-bullying photography and it came up with one photograph that particularly caught my eye.


This then led me onto a website called the You Will Rise Project, which is a project aimed to raise awareness of how much bullying can hurt somebody as well as involve people through their artwork, they state that they set out to, “provide a multimedia showcase for people of all ages who have been bullied to share their stories through the arts.” Art against bullying, I watched this video about this project.


I reviewed the book, The Bullies: understanding bullies and bullying by Dennis Lines

  • Bullying in schools –


Verbal abuse depicted in portrait photography. I found this Photographer who took images to show the harm and pain that verbal abuse can cause. It is an interesting and new way of looking at this topic and is really powerful at showing the pain behind verbal abuse. I am inspired by it. http://www.hurtwords.com/


This Artist gets a lot of rude online messages on her tumblr. She speaks out against this with this project using webcam photos over-layed with the vicious messages.

I really like this technique of using the vicious words people say on top of images. Also, In one of the group tutorials it was suggested to me to try scratching on top of the images like graffiti of what people used to say about me, and the kind of threatening graffiti i saw with my name on it. So I tried this.

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My tutor pointed out that this work may be too literal, so I started to think about other ways of getting my message across.


I found this art project on facebook. It got people to choose whether they would go through the door marked ‘Average’ or the door marked ‘Beautiful’. A lot of people went through the ‘average’ door and only a few through the ‘beautiful’ door. This shows how people percieve themselves. Perhaps bullying is a factor that will steer people towards believeing they are Average when really they are all beautiful.

Shane Koyczan – Canadian Poet

I watched this video by Shane Koyczan and it was truly inspirational, it gives a true example of bullying and really shows how powerful and destructive bullying and name calling can be. It leaves scars that are not visible and it can hurt you for a long time. It can lower the confidence of someone which can continue throughout adulthood and cause bigger problems down the line.


I was thinking about bullying and how it has affected my life in so many different ways, good and bad. The main good way is that it has made me stronger as a person and more robust. There are lots more bad things though such as ending up in hospital and getting more problems emotionally and mentally. I have decided to move my project forward and focus on my journey and story through hospital. From start to a flashback of the bullying and reason for me being in hospital and then to  hopefully successful discharge from hospital.


At first I took this image and it was off centre so I retook it straight.

I made a friend today. She had a heroin addiction but was trying to get clean. We sneaked to the TV room together often to get away from the ward.


My new friend got discharged today. My blood pressure was low and they were worried. Blood sugar high too.


Went for a walk as my friend Katie visited me. I met her in hospital last time. I slid down this corridor with my slippy socks on which made me smile for the first time today.


Today I met a man named Kevin. I told him I was documenting my stay and he said ‘talk about me lots, I want to be in it!’ He told me about his wild days when he was young. He is quite a character!

How to Escape from a Psychiatric Hospital

I found this article very interesting. It saw the light and funny side of being trapped in a psych unit and really summarised what it’s like especially the wish to be free. Expressions like, ‘and you’ll be back in the “community” in no time, enjoying such freedoms as being able to smoke a cigarette without asking for permission, and expressing your emotions without somebody with a clip-board noting down how they relate to your “illness”.’ I found this inspiring for the content of my narrative photo book.


Duane Michals has been an inspiration when looking at narrative through using photographs. I love how he surprises us with his mirror narrative where he distorts and confuses our sense of reality.



I decided to check that I am meeting the learning outcomes.

LO1 – Apply appropriate research skills and idea development required for a range of image productions

I have a good range of research and mind-maps, with different narratives considered.
LO2 – Demonstrate the necessary editorial skills when producing work to a set brief.

I have demonstrated editorial skills in my sketchbook as well as below:

I chose good images from the photos i had taken for the bullying section of my work as well as the hospital section. Below I have ruled out which ones are good enough and fit in with my narrative.

LO3 – Utilise a variety of lighting techniques in the realisation of their ideas

I have used different lighting techniques such as Fairy lights and backlighting in “Emerging and awakening”, Natural Light, and Sunrise.

Archie Cocoon 2 Bending down sideways lake balloons
LO4 – Apply appropriate pre-visualisation skills in order to creatively and technically answer specified briefs

Think through what its going to look like and how it will be presented as shown below.


I started to think about my presentation of how my book was going to look and the content inside it. I continued to take photos in hospital especially when I got transferred to the psych ward.

I started by considering different ways to use text with my images. Out of the ones below I prefer the writing either to the side of the image or on top of the image the most. I have decided to go with the text on the image as I feel this is more personal and in this particular image looks as tough its coming from my mind, where my head would be looking.

I was thinking about how to show the transition between the present and the past. I could use a date, a dream like image or use words to show this difference.


I considered using a dream like image like Duane Michal’s image above but felt this would be too literal, the mind can fill in the blanks when reading a book. So, instead I decided to use one hospital image of my view of by legs and the bed at the start of the book and then go back into the past and then have another hospital image with my view of my legs to make it clear that the bullying photographs were like a flashback or a dream.

In my final book, I decided to write about my own personal journey and how I was changing inside rather than literally what was happening each day. As I am writing it like a diary, I want to write a diary of how I started to find that lost part of myself.

I did a mock up version of the book using the Japanese Stab Binding technique. This was mainly for practice but also to see what size I wanted my book. I chose A4 as I feel you have to really turn each page and look at each individual photo for longer than if it was a smaller book. You can’t carry it around, you have to sit down and engross yourself in it which is what I want.

image image

I decided to decorate my final cover using spray paint. I see spray paint as a way people use to tell others a bit about them and their story. So this was very appropriate as my book is about telling people my story through narrative. Below is the stencil I made as well as the sprayed piece where I stuck on the letters cut out from the stencil to produce white letters. I will add black letters using the stencil itself.

image image

I had to split the words up to spray the black paint. I used masking tape to cover up the letters I didn’t need.


To produce my final layout, I used Powerpoint to arrange images and text ready to be printed.

LO5 – Demonstrate good time-management skills when responding to deadlines

This is the plan that I created in hospital when I was beginning to be able to concentrate better.


This is my finished piece. Roland Bathes (p96 of Camera Lucida) says that, “I now know that there exists another punctum than the “detail”. This new punctum, which is no longer a form but of intensity, is Time, the lacerating emphasis of the noeme (“that-has-been”), its pure representation.” I hope my photo diary illustrates that what has been in the past makes a punctum in the present.



Bathes, R. (1980) Camera Lucida, reflections on photography, England and France, Hill and Wang

Youtube, Blaine Dunkley,The Quiet World, narrative photo-montage ,[Online] Available from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcFGhRqW5KM

Lenscratch, Finding home by Deb Schwedhelm, [Online] Available from http://lenscratch.com/2015/04/finding-home-deb-schwedhelm/

The self is typically a community of selves, not a single monolith by Allen R McConnell Ph.D. [Online] Available from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-social-self/200906/the-self-is-typically-community-selves-not-single-monolith

Through your body, by Alan Davidson [Online] Available from http://www.throughyourbody.com/the-self-a-community-of-competing-multiple-selves/

You Will Rise Project, Rise above bullying, [Online] Available from http://youwillriseproject.blogspot.co.uk/p/projects.html

Resource, [Online] Available from http://resourcemagonline.com/2014/05/verbal-abuse-depicted-in-portrait-photography/39355/

Lines, D. (2008) The bullies: Understanding bullies and bullying, London;Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Bottos, L. This Young Artist Turns Online Bullying Towards Women Into Empowering Art, Arts.Mic [online] available from http://mic.com/articles/80447/this-young-artist-turns-online-bullying-towards-women-into-empowering-art

Shane Koyczan, To This Day Project [Online] available from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltun92DfnPY

Facebook, Which door would you choose?, [Online] Available from https://www.facebook.com/artFido/videos/812184932206403/?fref=nf

Speak out against psychiatry, How to Escape from a Psychiatric Hospital [Online] Available from http://speakoutagainstpsychiatry.org/how-to-escape-from-a-psychiatric-hospital/

Youth Powered Social Cause Takes Shape in the Form of ‘Bully Project’, [Online] Available from http://www.psfk.com/2014/11/adobe-anti-bullying-project-mural-street-artists.html

Artful Artsy Amy, [Online] Available from http://www.artfulartsyamy.com/2012/12/an-art-campaign-to-end-bullying.html

Challenge Bullying with Art, [Online] Available from http://blog.kuvva.com/2015/03/challenge-bullying-with-art/

Rising Above Bullying, [Online] Available from http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2013/08/rising-above-bullying-victims-express-themselves-through-art/

Children fight bullying with poems [Online] Available from http://www.voanews.com/content/children-fight-bullying-with-poems-artwork/1938116.html

Hurt words [Online] Available from http://www.hurtwords.com/