Tutorial and Project Review :Semester 2 Week 4

This Tuesday I met with Niki for my tutorial about the module 4FP018 Experimentation & Dialogues.

First topic was a zine that I’ve created and had printed that contains images of a car park in Shrewsbury. Doesn’t sound that exciting but I’m chuffed with how it’s turned out.

Niki had a look at the zine that I’ve produced and said that she’s glad I went with not having any text on it which was nice to hear, after we’d discussed this previously. I mentioned the comment from my mate at work Ed, who said “it’s nice, if only you’d taken pictures of something nice”.

Inside my zine, “car park”

Current State

Talking with Niki about where I am and what I’m up to and where I’m heading.

We talked about the crit session and how we were commenting on other’s works but I’d pareto charted my common themes and taken some notes about these. The common themes were about the composition not being very good but the effect was interesting.

I mentioned that the photos of the Criggion only worked as a pair, one showing the Rodney’s pillar and the other being destroyed out of the image. I wondered if this was a valid point and she assured me that if I thought it is, then it is.

Just riffing as Niki asked questions that pulled at my thought threads, I considered if this and the water damage of pictures of my childhood home might be me washing away memories or my memories being washed away. It could represent them being corrupted over time etc.

I mentioned that one of my ideas could be to get pictures of old family photos and merge them together with pictures of the area I grew up. Mixing the two together would be trying to remember today what I was living through at the time.  I mentioned that I could be looking in a mirror at a picture of myself when I was younger but I figured this might be too on the nose, Niki mentioned the word “contrived” which is a much better way of saying “on the nose”

Little Bob

Niki mentioned Walead Beshty https://www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-modern/display/walead-beshty

Made images of the East Berlin Embassy and then the films were ruined in Airport Xray machines as a result of the terrorism. Also experimented with folding the paper and then exposing onto it, creating warped images when flattened out.

She also mentioned Amanda Means who does more abstract images of paper folded and damaged then exposed in the sunlight which causes some parts of paper to be exposed more than others. http://www.amandameans.com/penlight-abstractions

This linked back to some research on Aldo Tolino https://www.aldotolino.com

He folds paper and cuts it to create abstracted images then describes in detail the methods used to create them, folding, cutting, trails, knots etc…

Piecing It Together

I discussed that I’d bought two jigsaws to create and print two images onto them then chop them apart and swap bits over. Still haven’t got around to doing it. Niki suggested that there is an element of performance in this piece of work, and I thought that I might be able to timelapse it to capture the performance. Niki stated that “ A Performance is still a performance even if no-one sees it” This blew my mind a little as I’d always considered a performance something you do in front of a viewer or audience, it’s certainly made me think.

Merriam-Webster Definition

We talked on the topic of her practice and how memory is a massive part of it, and how my practice is continuing. She told me “a project needs an end result but it doesn’t need to be the end of my practice.”

Memory & Nostalgia

The discussion turned to how memory is nostalgia and that nostalgia can be an illness and people have died from nostalgia. Niki mentioned that missionaries in the past have been homesick and ended up being ill from it.

When Nostalgia Was a Disease, By Julie Beck https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/08/when-nostalgia-was-a-disease/278648/

We mentioned memories coming back to us and how smells, sounds, feelings also trigger powerful recollections. Niki mentioned “Engrams” too as something that is used in the brain and mind to link memories of specific times or events together.

I still remember the feeling of upset from tapping this slab, breaking it when I look at this image. (2001)

A book by https://www.drjuliashaw.com/thememoryillusion holds information about these items too. I have just bought this book on eBay for £5.60 so look forward to reading up a bit more on this topic.

Memory engrams: Recalling the past and imagining the future, Sheena A. Josselyn and Susumu Tonegawa

Engram definitions.

An “engram” refers to the enduring offline physical and/or chemical changes that were elicited by learning and underlie the newly formed memory associations.

“Engram cells” are populations of cells that constitute critical cellular components of a given engram. These cells may (or may not) also be critical components of engrams supporting other memories. Engram cells are (i) activated by a learning experience, (ii) physically or chemically modified by the learning experience, and (iii) reactivated by subsequent presentation of the stimuli present at the learning experience (or some portion thereof), resulting in memory retrieval.

An “engram cell ensemble” refers to the collection of engram cells localized within a brain region. Engram cell ensembles in each brain region are connected, forming an “engram complex,” which is the entire brainwide engram supporting a memory that is stored in sets of engram cell ensembles in different brain regions connected via an engram cell pathway.

Sheena A. Josselyn and Susumu Tonegawa

Josselyn SA, Tonegawa S. Memory engrams: Recalling the past and imagining the future. Science. 2020 Jan 3;367(6473):eaaw4325. doi: 10.1126/science.aaw4325. PMID: 31896692; PMCID: PMC7577560.

End Result

We talked about the output from the module, in terms of a portfolio of work. Five to ten images should make up the portfolio.

I think I might produce the mixed up images, either stitched or double exposed or digital mixing etc….

Time to start working on these now. before it gets too close to the end of the academic year. Memories corruption from the damage of time (growing up) or fluids etc.

Select Essay Question

As we discussed the ideas around my Year Long Project, we also talked of the essay that needs to be completed before the end of the year. I suspect that my essay will be around photography and corruption of memory by looking at photos. This is after my daughter once said she remembers some events but is not sure if she remembers them or has seen the images on the tv.

Does exposure to historical photographs corrupt memories?

Is it usual to misremember events after looking through photo albums?

More research to read up on.

https://www.verywellmind.com/the-consequences-of-false-memories-2795350 False Memories. By Kendra Cherry

https://theclassicjournal.uga.edu/index.php/2022/12/01/is-memory-reliable/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=is-memory-reliable Is Memory Reliable? by Lola Henry


MEMOU, A. (2011) ‘Photography and Memory: Rethinking May ’68’, Philosophy of Photography, 2(1), pp. 83–96. doi:10.1386/pop.2.1.83_1.


Bate, D. (2010) ‘The Memory of Photography’, Photographies, 3(2), pp. 243–257. doi:10.1080/17540763.2010.499609.


Today has been another useful session again. I wasn’t expecting to have a tutorial with Niki, and didn’t know what I was going to talk about until we sat down and talked about my current practice.

My focussing in on Year Long Project (YLP) being about a mixture of memories and current photographs either by weaving or digital manipulation seemed to make some sense. The damaging of the negatives might also make its way into the portfolio but I do feel like I’m zoning in on a final body of work.

In terms of the essay question and linking in with my childhood memories from the YLP I wonder if this is a suitable path, as I know there are many studies on Memories and Photography as an aide memoire etc. I know I use my Lightroom Catalog with all the keywording to find useful information that I know was photographed but didn’t bother remembering the detail. (Gas pipe location in extension)

How I remember where the gas pipe is, so I don’t drill into it.

With the chat today I feel more positive about narrowing down my options but not having to come to a complete end of the road with my experiments.

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