Broadgate Estimate


A small communications agency contacts you and would like you to give them an estimate. They are re-branding Broadgate, an area in London, and need 25 images to use for printed materials, social media, web, tube ads and potentially billboards. The license term is five years. They think you can do the shoot in two days.


Additional usage includes the use of 25 images for five years, European market. The brief is quite wide in terms of the printed and electronic media listed, so additional usage is calculated on the basis of all printed and all electronic media.

Prima facie, this estimate may seem somewhat pricey. But a few things need to be considered.

Firstly, this is a notional brief. That doesn’t mean this is fictional estimate. What it does mean is that in the real world, this brief would be commissioned by the company which manages the Broadgate complex – a huge complex of mixed retail, leisure and commercial units. They would have a budget for this and I think that it would extend to meet this and similar quotes, quite possibly beyond.

The images will be used over a five-year period, consequently the Broadgate management company’s accountants may recommend amortisation of the costs in which case at least part of the estimate will be spread over the five-year period.

Secondly, it is an estimate not an invoice. This means two things.

It can be subject to negotiation.

And it is prepared using the accounting principle of prudence (which requires that the worst case is reported). Consequently, the figures are provided are for a four-day shoot – the shoot may only take three days in reality and the cost would, therefore, be less but the higher cost budgeted for.



Commissioned by a newspaper, tell a story in five to seven images.

Subject is open, although ideally something local. The images must demonstrate a definite story timeline. Focus must be narrow.

What matters in this exercise is to make sure each photograph gets to the essence of what the narrative wants to express.

Although the aim of this exercise was undoubtedly to give experience of working to a newspaper type brief, for me it was much more than that.

I am aware that I need to develop my visual storytelling skills, and consequently I saw this exercise as an opportunity to do just that.

This is a story played out on two levels.

The subject of the story is a 38-year old female suffering from anxiety, depression and fibromyalgia.

Wishing to have her story told, but wishing to retain her anonymity, the subject wishes to be referred to simply as H.

The subjects of the images themselves are items which H feels do not simply ‘belong’ to her, but are those with which she has a reciprocal relationship because of her illness, she feels, in effect, that she belongs to them.

Items which she feels sum up her days, such is the defining nature of her illness.

Together, the five images offer glimpses of both despair and hope.

I enjoyed this exercise, it made a refreshing change. It was interesting to work in a different genre of photography and to be able to use my photography to tell a different kind of story.

To help develop my storytelling skills, I imposed a time limit for this exercise – 25 minutes to shoot five images.

Overall, I am pleased with the resulting images – although there is of course room for improvement. As discussed elsewhere, I am currently working in black and white. These images, however, I felt worked best in colour despite the (obvious) association of black and white with ‘despair and hope’.

This is an exercise I am looking to repeat.


Deep Heat

Walking Stick


#1 Mum


‘Connoisseurship involves the acquisition of extensive first-hand experience of works of art with the aim, first, of attributing works to artists and schools, identifying styles and establishing sources and influences, and second, of judging their quality and hence their place in a canon’ (Fernie in Rose 2016).



Rose, Gillian (2016). Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to Researching with Visual Methods. London: Sage Publications Limited

On Reflection: Week 9, Module Four

Fraught by logistics, things are not coming together well this week. Fortunately, time for contingencies has been built into the schedule.

Deliveries of props for my latest Work in Progress images are proving to be a lot more erratic than I would hope. Also fortunately, there is a back-up plan although I don’t think circumstances are so dire as to require it to be deployed just yet.

But less of the negative and more of the positive …

Reflecting on my Instagram posts to date, the post which has attracted most attention relates diet and mental health.

Continuing this analysis …

In December 2016 I was asked to identify potential markets for my work. I suggested that my work would be of interest to photographers and artists, editors, teachers and students, and the public – each group having their own unique stake.

Was I correct in identifying these potential markets for my work?

Yes, is the short answer. Whilst I have yet to fully engage with some markets, response analysis to Instagram posts to date shows that these are the groups showing most interest in my work.

Instagram seems quite an ephemeral entity. My account has seen organic growth in terms of followers – but this is net growth.

There is, however, also gross increase in the number of account followers.

On occasions it can seem to be two steps forward and three steps backwards.

Who are the Instagram users who take the time and effort to like a post and follow the associated account, only to unfollow it at a future date? How do we define them? How do we go about retaining them?

How we communicate fascinates me. As a subject this has featured in my thoughts significantly these past few days. One issue that has really resonated with me as a result of my studies (throughout my studies to date) is what we intend an audience to see, and what they actually see.

As I continue to work on the images for my Work in Progress portfolio, I am increasingly aware of meaning. It is obvious that there isn’t a single meaning.

I think in the past my images haven’t also developed in the way that I had hoped or imagined.

So, this is about learning techniques which enable me to improve the way in which my ideas translate into finished images. My drawing skills prevent me from producing scamps or storyboards. I have, however, found spreadsheets very useful in laying out, for itemising the details for each image within a body of work in order to ‘visualise’ the (potential) end result.

I continue to seek improvements in this area of my image-making.

On Reflection: Week 8, Module Four

‘At this moment in human history, I truly believe that photography is the most universal language on the planet. I think it’s the one language that everyone understands no matter what class they belong to, no matter what education they have, no matter how much money they have, no matter what verbal language they speak — photography is a profoundly rich visual language that is open to all to use and to understand’ (Caspar in Kraft, 2017).

Photography is a visual language: a system of communication using visual elements.

It is a method of visual storytelling in which images replace words, series of images replace sentences, and a body of work provides a narrative.

Photographer’s compose an image, blending light and subject, and exercising choice over colour and timing in the same way that the rules of syntax are used in the arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences in a non-visual language.

Distilling this idea further, it is the way that a photographer combines technical and creative ability. It is more commonly referred to as the photographer’s style and it can be as unique as a fingerprint.

Photography is also about expressing a (particular) way of seeing, it is a way of interacting with the world. There are many aspects involved in developing a photographer’s visual language, but an overriding trend is essential. Intention is needed on the part of the photographer, there has to be a point of departure, and there has to be consistency.

It’s very easy to get sidetracked in the weeks leading up to an assignment submission. Important as they are, assignments are only one portion of the overall, larger picture.

I am happy with progress made regarding the video presentation, still lots to do but progress so far has been very positive.

With regard to the WIP images, again I am happy with the images as they stand. But being happy isn’t the same as being satisfied. There is always room for improvement and I do want to re-shoot.

Pertinently, the more I look at the images, the more I question.

Something that it is easy to lose sight of is the bias that can creep into a body of work as it develops, especially where re-shooting of images is involved. The alternatives are to present an independent enquiry which invites the viewer to form their own questions and then reach their own conclusions, or to present a body of work which imposes an opinion upon the viewer, leaving little opportunity to question. As a photographer, I think it is acceptable to express a personal opinion through one’s project work provided there is justification for having reached that opinion.

I think we need to be aware of the difference between producing art as a form of expression, and producing propaganda.

This is highly relevant to me at the moment with my increasing interest in visual anthropology, and in photography as a tool for social research.

Do photographers have a responsibility not to introduce bias? How far should a photographer go in expressing their personal opinion regarding a subject through their images?

Which brings us back, very nicely, to photography being a visual language, and each photographer having a unique style which expresses how he or she interacts with the world.



Kraft, Coralie (2017). ‘Searching for Fluency in the Visual Language of Photography’. [online]. Available at: (accessed: Thursday 16 November 2017)

Don McCullin: Beyond Conflict

McCullin 2

McCullin, 1969. Tormented, homeless Irishman, Spitalfields, London

Don McCullin is known for his photojournalist work which captures the underside of society and focuses on the unemployed, the downtrodden and the impoverished. McCullin is, though, most well-known for documenting conflict with his images of the Vietnam War and the conflict in Northern Ireland especially being held in high regard.

What McCullin is perhaps less well known for, however, is still-life photography.

McCullin still life

McCullin, 1992. Still Life in my Garden Shed

Still Life in my Garden Shed (McCullin, 1992) is a superb example of the still life genre.

The image exhibits a wide range of tonal values, from deep black shadows through to highlights, although there is a bias with regard to the frequency with which these feature – the composition restricts shadows to a role of helping to represent form and texture and consequently the image has an overall appearance and therefore feeling of openness, lightness and airiness. Detail is captured not only in the variety of subjects but also in the immediate environment due to significant depth of field, the background is shown in as much detail as the subjects themselves.

Subjects are arranged to give each item equal status. The composition flows through the image as result of the connectedness of the various subjects.

There is a quality of abstractedness associated with this image and this is attributable to the monochrome presentation, which brings a disconnect, which removes the element of time, as much as it attributable to the genre itself.

The surroundings induce a feeling of sombreness which is offset by the vitality and sense of renewal offered by the organic subjects.

Hodgson (2012) suggests that images are not only of something, but are also about something.

McCullin’s image portrays a variety of subjects: mushrooms, berries and fruit together with a jug and an ornament.

The message that this image conveys is about timelessness, it is about stillness, it is about peace, and it is about solitude. Above all else, though, it is about escapism. This image is a firm invitation to the viewer to stop, pause and reflect.

This is certainly an aspect identified by Hamilton (2012) who, writing in The Independent, informs us that ‘for McCullin, still life and landscape were a deliberate sanctuary from the violence and pain of the war reportage for which he is best known’.

It is also something which McCullin himself recognises, in his own words:

‘On the other hand, working for media involves manipulation. I have been manipulated, and I have in turn manipulated others, by recording their response to suffering and misery. So, there is guilt in every direction: guilt because I don’t practice religion, guilt because I was able to walk away, while this man was dying of starvation or being murdered by another man with a gun. And I am tired of guilt, tired of saying to myself: “I didn’t kill that man on that photograph, I didn’t starve that child.” That’s why I want to photograph landscapes and flowers. I am sentencing myself to peace’ (McCullin in Horvat, 1987).

How do McCullin’s still life images inform my practice?

Whilst each subject in the image is captured exquisitely, the light in McCullin’s image is captured in a very matter of fact way, it is there for a purpose and I feel that that purpose is not to show light as an entity with a presence of its own. This contrasts with the work of Sudek whose images portray light as having a vitality, of having a presence.


Josef Sudek, 1956. Still Life after Caravaggio, Variation 1

Light is there to reveal form and texture. It is there to help convey the mood of the scene. It is not invited into the image to convey any emotion of its own.

So much of the appeal in photography, for me, comes back to light. It is an area I want to explore by working in genres in addition to food photography. I want to understand the different types of light, and the different emotions that light can introduce into an image.



Hamilton, Adrian (2012). ‘Calling the Shots: Still-life Photography’., 05 March 2012 [online]. Available at: (accessed Wednesday 15 November 2017)

Francis Hodgson: Quality Matters (2013) YouTube Video, added by Huis Marseille, Museum for Photography [Online]. (accessed 19 February 2017)

Horvat, Frank (1987). ‘Don McCullin’. [online]. Available at: (accessed: Wednesday 15 November 2017)