Big Thanks To “What You Blog About?”

Anar from What You Blog About? approached me last week to ask if I would like my blog to be featured on their site.

What You Blog About? features other blogs as a way of developing links and growing traffic within the WordPress community. As well as asking people if they would like their blog to be featured, Anar has a contact page in which you can submit your own blog, there are a couple of questions on the page so that you can write a brief introduction to your blog.

Here is the link to photosociology on What You Blog About?

Macro (18 of 38)

Review – Ray’s A Laugh

Brief:- Photography is often used as a tool to document the specificity of visual appearances. We’re all familiar with this use in passport photography, anthropological photography and crime photography. There’s no pretence at aesthetic quality: the photographer points the camera at the subject and tries to take a neutral ‘visual document’ which stands as visual evidence for what it represents. This mode of making pictures can be useful to all photographers as a means to research their subject. Whether this results in ‘finished’ pictures or not doesn’t really matter; it’s a means to gain visual knowledge. Take a look at Richard Billingham’s Ray’s A Laugh – a collection of family portraits originally taken as visual research for a painting project. It’s important to make a distinction here between what we can know through experience and verbal language and what is specifically visual. Thoughts aren’t visual and neither are emotions, although you can photograph the physical manifestations of these. Political ideologies aren’t visual but you can photograph people and events that illustrate them.

Billingham, R; 1984; Untitled (RAL 6) [Fuji long-life print on aluminium]; ATFig. 1. Untitled RAL 6 (1995)

1Fig. 2. Untitled R (c1995)

Initial thoughts:- Family life, snap shots, nothing significant, photo’s that anyone can take of their family. Documents of lower class, family life that is stricken by poverty and social exclusion. Taken by a family member with a resentment to the lifestyle that they have been brought up with? Desolation, unhappiness, drunkenness, degradation. Ray appears significantly underweight, possibly brought about by alcoholism/alcohol dependence. He struggles to eat properly, despite the full plate of food its unlikely that he will finish it, he’s drunkenly falling to sleep and his dinner will soon be spilled upon him. Liz, probably drinks but is not dependant, her addiction and way of coping with her emotions and the struggle of a life of exclusion and poverty is via food. Hopelessness, despair, life is hard. Irony – Ray most certainly does not appear to be a laugh.

Now this is where photography becomes interesting. Billingham took these photos as research for a project, and from the brief there is an assumption that these are a record of ‘what is’, apparently neutral, dispassionate and a visual record. My reading of the photos is entirely the opposite and is cognitive, emotional, symbolic and has a reading of the families circumstance and lifestyle that is based upon my perspective. This is of note because it suggests that if I am taking test photos, or making photography for my own visual research then the viewer may have a response that I was not even exploring, Maybe.

However, I argue that it is impossible to record a subject that you are emotionally involved with from a neutral perspective. If I had have walked into the family home and taken the exact same photos at the exact same moment, would my distance from Ray and Liz reduce the emotional impact upon the viewer? From my own photography I believe so. When I presented assignment one to my tutor, she picked up my discomfort and lack of emotion in two of the photos, both were photo’s that I didn’t feel a connection with the subject.

In my opinion Billingham was exploring his emotions through his visual research. If we are honest here the research was done for a painting, the painting was not going to be neutral, it was meant to be expressive and have an impact, and this is what was being photographed, the emotions that Billingham felt about his parents.


Figure 1 Billingham, R; 1995; Untitled (RAL 6) [Fuji long-life print on aluminium]; AT: (accessed on 03/06/2018)

Figure 2 Billingham, R; 1995; Untitled (R [Fuji long-life print on aluminium]; AT: (accessed on 03/06/2018)

Feature Image Billingham, R; c1995; Untitled (RAL) [Fuji long-life print on aluminium]; (accessed on 03/06/2018)

Wet Collodion Ambrotype (c1854) Direct Positive On Glass – An Amazing Gift I Have Just Recieved


Can you believe that I have been given this? I can’t. The photo looks better in the flesh than the scanned image, the scanner doesn’t appear to be able to pick up the detail through the glass, and I refuse to take it out of the frame.

He is an ancestor of mine, and we can date the photo from in between 1851 when the ambrotype began to be used, and 1860 because of family events. My cousin has given me a lot of photos of our ancestors, from her family line, most of which are pre war. I am feeling very blessed and very grateful.

The next two photos are from c1888 and c1902 respectively.



Anorexia – Exercise 3.4 – Documenting Change

I would like to request critique for this piece of work. I like the concept, but I am really not happy with the result. If you could let me know what doesn’t work and why, how you think this could be improved, what you think of the concept, and ideas on how to approach this differently. I am going to re-shoot this image so that it can be a part of a larger body of work that I am producing about eating disorders. Many thanks for those that are able to provide critique.


I find that the image is too flat, laying down on the back is probably OK, but I believe that I should work with models of several sizes so that the clothes are not flat on the floor, but have some life to them. I’m not comfortable with the legs and the upper torso probably needs to be included.

To create a feature image for this post I have cropped centrally and I prefer this version. What do you think?


Not perfect but if I were to include the chest it would help I think.

This has taken me a long time to create and the reason for this has been my lack of insight in the shooting and developing process. The individual photos of clothing were taken laying flat on the floor. Although I used a tripod I didnt mark a grid of where the clothing should be which meant making use of the telephoto for some and not for others. Some of the clothes were larger and also out of position. This made developing difficult because I had to both resize and warp certain items.

Shooting on a carpet with a similar tonal range – what a nightmare that created for me with Photoshop. The quick selection tool and the magnetic lassoo tool were both ineffective because I had shot without an opposing or white background. They both ripped the edges to pieces. Next I tried the background eraser tool, and being a bit of a perfectionist I worked in fine detail around the edges, which was a little over the top and took a long time to complete for ten layers (each item of clothing, face, left arm, right arm etc were all individual layers). My lack of knowledge in relaation to the background eraser was non existent and I onle researched how to make the most of it on the last layer.

The positives have been-

  1. valuing my idea whilst knowing I need feedback on how I can improve upon what I have made.
  2. Creating a piece of work with the knowledge that it was going to need to be re-worked – a new way forward for me, allowing uncertainty but progressing anyway.
  3. Learning how to use the background eraser.
  4. Understanding about the need for contasting backgrounds and grids for laying out each photo in the same space.
  5. Continuing to take photos for upcoming learning exercises, and remaining focused on getting this piece ready for feedback.

Certainly not my best piece of work, but with your feedback who knows what the future holds.

Although the brief for this exercise asks us to produce a tryptich (which I’ve previously done for this exercise – here), I wanted to push the limits to explore documenting change by producing one image. Eating disorders are something that I’m exploring with photography and will continue to do so. It a theme thats dear to my heart, and I believe that the physical and emotional changes can be documented in one photo with consideration, time, practice and your critique.

Mental Health Awareness Month

Just because I don’t live in the US doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t nurture myself.

Everyday provides the opportunity to do something that demonstrates kindness and compassion towards myself. How easy it is to demonstrate those qualities towards others, and how challenging to practice self care.

I brought some flowers yesterday as a prop for a photography exercise. They were good enough for the photo shoot as they were laying flat, but they were too limp for a vase.

When I meditated this morning I decided to buy myself a bunch of flowers, however why buy one bunch when you can treat yourself to two.

Neither bunch had the right colour balance on their own, and that’s the reason for getting them both.

When I write my gratitude list tonight it will include – I am grateful that I treated myself kindly today.


Graphics Pad Glitch Following Windows 10 Update – Solution


If you use a graphics pad and Windows 10 has updated on your machine, then it is likely that when you go to use the stylus it will only allow you to use it as a scroll or hand tool.

This is because Microsoft updated Windows Ink in order to over ride your stylus functions, especially when used in photo or graphics editing software. Before Microsoft releases an update it sends it to “testers” who then report back any problems. Microsoft in their wisdom chose to follow the feedback of those who only use a stylus as an alternate mouse, and they ignored the feedback from their testers who work in the creative industries, who use their stylus professionally on a daily basis. Nice one Microsoft. As of now Microsoft have no intention of rectifying this because they don’t see it as an error!!!

The solution is – click on Cortana (next to the start menu and type “cmd” into the box, now click on “Command Prompt” then paste the following where the cursor appears (the spaces are meant to be there)

reg add HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Pen /v LegacyPenInteractionModel /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f

hit return – restart your computer, and your stylus will low work as usual.

For further information please see