Guest lecture: Francesca Genovese

Francesca has ben the director of Francesca Maffeo Gallery in Leigh-On-Sea for around two years. Originally working in Further and Higher Education she now works with emerging and established artists. Points I noted from her talk:

Approaching a gallery:

  • Establish and work at relationships
  • There is a lot of ground work that is done prior to any contract being signed
  • Francesca will look at potential clients’ exhibitions, social media and other presence before arranging meetings
  • If you wish to approach a gallery it’s fine to email. Francesca will look at emails in detail probably monthly.  The email must be personal to the gallery. know the gallery, why you chose it, and why you think your work will fit there
  • In your email include an artist’s statement and a pdf. You can include a website link, but a pdf can be printed off and come back to at a later date if necessary

Funding an art practice:

  • Work!
  • Grants/awards
  • There is likely to be commercial /editorial overlapping with any fine art practice

Editions and pricing

  • Set editions can’t be changed if they are already selling
  • If the work is by a new artist it’s a long process to find the right selling price. Their work will be looked at alongside others. Prices can’t be reduced
  • Small editions will be reflected in the price
  • It’s Ok to seek advice to make the price work
  • Francesca might sell work for anything between £1000 and £9000
  • There is a place online for prints /open editions. However this is not advisable if you want to work in a gallery
  • If you are an established artist, editions work well
  • Initially focus on projects and then editionalise

Gallery information

  • There are responsibilities for both parties in the contract. The artist should keep the gallery director informed of their practice, publications, exhibitions etc. Francesca likes to be involved as much as possible
  • Exhibitions are different every time. The same printing labs are not always used. She has recommendations.
  • Exhibitions can be scheduled for the future, and can sometimes be agreed even when they still need an edit
  • Post exhibition, Francesca saves the work in large scale photo boxes. In this way the work always has a place, viewers can still ask to view it
  • Photobooks are increasingly used; sometimes as an object in its own right, sometimes as a support to the exhibition
  • Diary – like work suits photobooks
  • Don’t use the photobook as a portfolio or catologue
  • It should always be about the work, the project, not about making money. Thus should not be a question to ask the director. The rest takes care of itself

Artists mentioned in the presentation, for further research at a later date:

Spencer Murphy, Laura Pannack, Sophie Harris Taylor.

Philip Toledano and Taryn Simon

Over the last few weeks I have looked at the work of two more practitioners, under the recommendations of my tutor. Here, I will summarise what fascinated me in the work of Philip Toledano and Taryn Simon.  Full references are given on the reference page of this blog.

Philip Toledano.

It was suggested that I look at his work “When I was six”. I approached Toledano’s website via the home page and decided to have a look around it first, wanting to see his videos (as it’s a form I have used very loosely but wish to use more).  His work “Make Phil Great Again” was unexpectedly amusing, and seeing him interviewing a stranger called ‘Cindy Sherman’, asking her to recount how great he is, was funny.

Looking at “When I was six” after this, was a bit of a reality check – although Toledano mixes reality with imagination in this work, the subject matter is very real and poignant.

After the death of his parents, Toledano discovered boxes which he describes as ‘museums’ full of things his sister had ‘touched’ before her sudden death at the age of nine.  He photographed the box, items in the box,  beautifully yet simply laid out.  There is a photograph of a school dress, protective tissue paper just about seen – with the shadow of the window upon it. A mix of light and shade. A worn down pencil with his sister’s name on it, again in partial light and shade. An old photograph. A lock of hair. A lace fan…all shot with the same background, interspersed with images that he has made, representing, in his words, imagined landscapes – a place where he, a six year old boy, could be saved.

By suggesting that I look at this work, my tutor saw potential resemblances to my work as the book dummy I made mixes reality with fiction – old found photographs with my imaginations of what might have been once there, in the torn pages.

Making Phil Great again can be seen:


When I was six can be seen:


Taryn Simon

I found the home page on Simon’s site of ‘a Living Man Declared Dead’ difficult to read, with so much text that I found myself wanting to skim it so I could discover what it was about. This body of work is huge, comprising eighteen chapters, each one having three segments. On the left, a kind of family tree in photographs, the middle section is narrative based to include details, and the third section are footnote images, providing clarification and evidence. Empty spaces represent people who could not be photographed. It is these empty spaces with which my work most closely connects.  Photographing the empty spaces in my found album, I have been drawn into looking at them more closely and as well as imagining what might once have been there, I have examined in detail the surface of the page itself, sometimes being captivated by the beauty of the damaged object.

A Living Man Declared Dead can be seen here:



Guest lecture: Amy Simmons

Amy has a BAHons on Fashion Promotion and Imaging. She has worked as an art buyer, art producer, and an integrated producer.

Due to technical problems I downloaded the transcript from her talk and read through it rather than watch the recording. For quick reference here is a list of appropriate terms she mentioned.

Comping – taking the best bits from several photos and mixing them together to make one good one.

Scamps – mock ups

Legals – all legal aspects

Re-touching – adding or taking away something from the image that didn’t exist

Treatment – a document that the photographer creates which presents your approach.

Usage –  the industry standard is usually one territory (eg one country), two media (eg Instagram and facebook), and length of time (eg one year).

PPMS – pre production meetings

Contact report  minutes of the meeting

Wrapping – finishing the day

OOH – Out of Home, eg images that are seen outside the home such as bus stop, billboards etc.

DOOH -Digital Out of Home – eg posters  might pop up inbetween adverts

POS – point of sales – the oint at which you would normally buy the product

DM – direct marketing

Three new photobooks

I purchased three photo books at the Paris Photo fair. Not for reasons of subject matter, but because of their design – anticipating that they would be helpful when deciding on the structure /edit of my dummy photo book.

  1. Lighting Store – A-Chan.


This soft-backed book measures 10×7 inches, has a black sugar-paper type cover, has 12 double pages and is hand bound. It has 3 holes for the stitching. My copy is number 190 of 700. It cost 12Euros. All the images are black and white, printed on off-white fairly thick paper. It feels rough to the touch. Each image has a white border.

Inside the first page, as the final part of the front matter is a short poem about cleaning chandeliers and other lights in a store. It is written by A-Chan and serves as an introduction to the photographs. Some are close up detail whilst others have a longer focal length. The images illustrate the short poem.

The simplicity of this book is appealing and is reflected in its price. I could make a dummy book like this.

2. 10 days in Kraków – Yuanyuan Yang.


I fell in love with this book as soon as I opened it. The dimensions are 18 x 26 cm. It is a hardback and has 168 pages. My copy is number 249/500, each copy is signed.  The first four pages are the front matter with a short text introduction and two photographs. Then comes the title page, then a quote from T.S. Eliot.

This book is beautiful, with a mix of single images, double spreads, inserts, pockets, and found photography. It has all the elements that I tried to use in my ‘Terry’ project in the previous module (apart from the subject matter of course). It’s appeal is in its intrigue and its tactile nature. In places it looks like a dummy photo book, as if there are actual photographs stuck in – but this is a clever illusion. I definitely am drawn again into creating another dummy book with inserts and fold outs, but won’t be able to manage the hardback and sharp edit without a designer.

I was happy to pay 40Euros for it at the Paris Book Fair, but not sure that otherwise I would have paid that price elsewhere.

I found a vimeo recording of the book online – the link is below. (Details are in the References Page of this blog).

10 days in Kraków video link

3.  Eden – Bernadita Morello


The largest of the three, this book measures 13×8 inches. The vendor sold it to me for 20 Euros because it was the last one and wasn’t bound.  There is no text on the front, and the title is difficult to spot as it’s printed inside the  fold-out which is the first and last page. The vendor couldn’t remember who the photographer was, I eventually found the print on the last page in small text which did not stand out from the deep red paper. However, he did tell me that the book had won a dummy book award, and its publication was the prize. On the last page is the explanation – this work won the Fiebre photobook 2015 dummy award.

The appeal of this book, for me, is in the full-bleed images, and the way the edge of the paper is not a boundary for the print – the images continue onto the following page, as if they overlap and merge into one another.  Some of the images are not full bleed, and there are blank pages too.  The full bleeds form the middle part of the book, with smaller images in the first and last sections.  it is visually attractive.  Although the front page in its size and colour are reminiscent of a scrap book, the insides do not have that same feel due to the high quality of the paper and colourful images.


November 18th – reshoots

After my tutor 1:1 this week, I have re-shot some images. Taking time over the mini studio set up, I positioned my camera on a tripod and shot all the following images with the same lens, focal length and distance from the camera. The same typology. Overall the results are pleasing, it’s definitely not the type of photography I am used to shooting but it’s something that could work well within a chapter of my dummy photo book.

Dice game
Genuine RAF shirt sleeve cuff
Genuine RAF jacket buttons
Genuine WW1 RAF Victory medal assigned to WS Wood. Ribbons added
Genuine WW1 Victory RAF medal assigned to WS Wood. Ribbons added
Genuine 2″ piece of ribbon that would have been issued with the RAF Victory medal
Baby wool for crochet. John Coles was born in 1932 and not many photographs were added after this date

Vivian Maier – The Color work at Paris Photo Fair

This body of work captures the street life of Chicago and New York between the 1950s and the 1980s, and includes a number of self-portraits. There is a book by the same name. Taking a closer look at this work is on my to-do list, as the abstraction with the human action working alongside each other is an interesting concept; but more importantly for me is the occasional self portrait amongst the rest. Currently in my work in progress I am considering (hoping) to include two self portraits.

Joan Fontcuberta – Gastropoda at the Paris Photo Fair

Gastropoda refers to iconic decomposition: the process of irreversible decay turns images into echoes of themselves which, as a result, reveal the aesthetics of horror and destruction….The project also emphasizes the shift of the image as pure representation towards becoming an object, – Joan Fontcuberta. See reference page for details.

Photographs which show some kind of ‘irritation’ catch my eye, whether the source is natural or forced. Damage inflicted on the page is very much part of my work in progress as I examine the man made rips and tears on the album pages, and I begin to inflict it on some of the remaining photographs.

W.S. Wood’s Victory medal and more

In these two images I have used post-processing to start to imagine what it would be like to visit a Monte Carlo casino in the 1920s, adding in the first the name engraved on to an RAF medal assigned to W.S. Wood. Wood is a character in my appropriated album. Could it be the same person?

Perfume bottle personalised with ‘Wood’ details

Feedback received during the 1:1 with my tutor suggested that there is too much information in each image, and my week’s task is to start to unravel them. To start, here are a couple of original images of the medal purchased from an online auction. The Victory medal was awarded to WS Wood for his services during WW1. Paperwork was also included in the purchase, yet to be photographed / scanned.

Unprocessed side inscription of Wood’s Victory medal

Feeling to be such a momentous occasion, I documented on my iPhone the various stages of my receiving of the medal. (See link below). To be in receipt of such a parcel seemed privileged; and I wondered how Wood (and his family) felt when it was awarded to him.

Documenting the appropriation of Wood’s medal

I plan to retake some of these photographs on my DSLR, and hope to use some of them in my project.


During a recent webinar my tutor asked me what my elevator pitch would be. Rather ignorantly, I had no idea – the premise is as follows: Imagine you are stuck in an elevator with a potential client. They promise to exhibit your work on the proviso that you can explain to them what your work is about – in one sentence.

Finding it difficult to even surmise to myself what my work encompasses, I could not do this! What an incredibly useful exercise – I went away and worked on it:

Using found photography as stimuli, my narrative work combines fact with fiction, bringing lost stories into the present day.

With a little tweaking, this has now become:

Rooted in found photography, my vernacular work combines fact with fiction; bringing lost stories into the present day.

This may yet still change, but for now this is a good working description of both my recent and current projects.