Assignment 2 : I Thought I Saw You The Other Day

The two previous posts outlined my initial impetus for the Assignment which was the blurry  DSCF1251-web

night photograph taken in Brighton and the journey during which I creating an imaginary couple “Paul” and “Laura” whose relationship had ended and a separate blog for ‘Paul”. I have also already outlined the contextual background. “Paul’s” blog has an eclectic mix of images that reflect and expand his mood of the day . In this sense the images are visually consistent with the blog posts, as per the Assignment brief. However, what I have also been aiming for is to see if I can produce a set of images that in themselves are visually consistent, whilst reflecting the mood of the blog as I am perceiving it as a “viewer”. It makes sense to me and I’m just hoping that it will make sense to my tutor and eventually the Assessors, as well as others who read my blog.


“Paul’s” Blog

So far I have posted 15 images to “Paul’s” blog all of which are mine and mostly from either my iPhone or my smaller digital camera.
Images on Pauls blog ContactSheet web

Additionally I have posted two links to YouTube videos – a Frank Sinatra song and a video film from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. I also created a separate email address for “Paul”. Paul’s blog can be read here  in the default WordPress format or in a chronological format here .

My response as Viewer

When reading the blog posts I felt a need to represent the obsessive nature of “Paul’s” yearning for “Laura” but, at the same time, also felt a need to create some still life images. I believe this was through a parallel impulse to achieve more of an objective distance from this yearning whilst trying to capture some essence of “Laura”. I decided to create the still life photographs in both landscape and portrait format to see which would fit best with the other images. I used my Canon 60D for these images, on a tripod for stability as I have made use of ambient light. I used some props – a cake stand, small Japanese statuettes, tulips and some artificial daffodils and also acquainted myself with origami. In all I made 138 photographs and as a first selection starred 41 of these in Adobe Bridge to work on. I chose 31 to convert to PSD/PNG and then narrowed this down to 24. Contact sheet for these is below

My fourth selection comprised 17 images

I also decided to have a look back at images used in “Paul’s” blog and selected five of these

First Selection from Pauls blog ContactSheet-001 web

Decision Process on Final Selection

There were four that really appealed to me (two of them from “Paul’s” blog),

Unfortunately they weren’t sufficient on their own and didn’t fit with any of the others. I don’t know what it is about them that I like to look at even though I’ve pondered this for quite some time. In the event, I’ve have chosen eight images as a final selection:-

Final Selection of 8 images


I’m aware that the first and seventh images are similar, as they both contain a laptop, but the message is different. One of the queries in my mind arising from the blog has been to what extent “Paul” actually sees “Laura” as a real person. Is it really her he is obsessed with or is he obsessed with the idea of her? Had he reached a stage where he had decided he wanted ‘to settle down’ and then looked for someone who would fit his vision? That’s where the question “Who is Laura” can be seen on his laptop. Maybe he is now coming to grips with that and it’s something that he might bring up in his therapy group. How much does that distinction between the real and imagined person come into every intimate relationship between two people? We all have a feminine and masculine side of us – anima and animus – and one realisation that struck me with some force is how much of a feminine aspect had crept into my subconscious and then revealed herself in the still life images. It’s as if “Laura” was attempting to reveal herself and express her point of view. It looks delicate and fragile and I felt irritated about this at first. Where was the strong assertive woman? It’s as if she said “No” to the relationship, reinforced it in writing, and still “Paul” won’t accept this. I chose portrait aspect for the still-life images. ’m not sure about the space around the objects. Should there be more at the sides, are they too compressed? Another question I ask myself is how would I present the images? A set of diptychs like this

Experimental Diptych web

or on separate pages, say in a book. Do I make them equal or do I have a fold-out page where the still life takes up a third and the ‘real life’ two-thirds; what about proportionality? I’ll play around with some ideas whilst waiting for feedback from my tutor.

So far as the Assessment Criteria are concerned

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills

I think I’ve met this so far as the images themselves are concerned and creation of “Paul’s” blog.  I want to improve my design skills in terms of physical presentation – how to choose the most appropriate format and how to edit images into a book. There has been recent discussion concerning this on the WeAreOCA blog on 14th April and I hope that something comes of the idea of some additional input into creating and editing photo books.

Quality of Outcome

Comments on my previous blog posts have reassured me that, at least for those readers, I have been able to communicate my concept for this Assignment and the process I’ve followed. I’m still slightly unsure regarding that mix of real and still-life images so will await feedback on this.

Demonstration of Creativity

I took a risk with this project and needed to convince my tutor that I would be able to carry it through without getting myself too mired in complexity. I’ve aimed to follow his advice to make it an exploratory piece of work. It’s certainly been experimental and I’ve learned a lot from it. I also sought initial feedback on “Paul’s” Blog from two fellow students on the more advanced Levels before I made it public, and then sought feedback and advice from members of the Thames Valley OCA group.


I wrote a comprehensive piece on this here  that evidences the firm ground on which the project rests and the variety of influences and sources that have informed my thinking and progress.


I thoroughly enjoyed working on this Assignment. The suggested reading was inspiring and encouraged me to research further and I gave myself a wonderful opportunity to try out a variety of approaches and also include some of my own poetry on “Paul’s” blog. I’m looking forward to feedback from my tutor to see where I need to improve and how I can develop this concept further.

20th April 2015

Links to “Paul’s” Blog

WordPress default format:

Chronological format :

15 thoughts on “Assignment 2 : I Thought I Saw You The Other Day

  1. Hi Catherine,
    I followed your research process with interest and I find the final set of elements really engaging. The diptychs works well for me. There is something in the essence of this assignment really close to what you did for the first one. I am really enjoying watching your work develop through this module.

    Rebecca Solnit’s words relate well to your story: “There isn’t a story to tell, because a relationship is a story you construct together and take up residence in, a story as sheltering as a house […] A happy love is a single story, a disintegrating one is two or more competing, conflicting versions, and a disintegrated one lies at your feet like a shattered mirror, each shard reflecting a different story, that it was wonderful, that it was terrible, if only this had if only that hadn’t. The stories don’t fit back together, and it’s the end of the stories, those devices we carry like shells and shield and blinkers and occasionally maps and compasses.” (Solnit, R. (2006). A field guide to getting lost. New York: Penguin, p.135-136).

    I am looking forward to seeing where the next assignment will lead you!


  2. Thank you for mentioning the first assignment because I forgot to include a comment on that and how I’m continuing the idea of two different sides to a story. Somehow I now have three sides – “Paul”, “Laura” and me as reader of “Paul’s” blog! I also forgot to mention as influence the day event that I went to with John and Penny on photography and narrative. It was that and seeing Fontcuberta’s work that really enthused me about multi-narratives. Oh – nd there is Johanna Ward’s work as well of course.

    I identify very much with Solnit’s words on relationships. Daren’t get the book because I have such a list to read already!

    The next assignment is on self-portraits so it’s going to be even more challenging for me.


  3. I felt quite moved by the still lives component of the diptychs, I wonder if in the presentation they could be made larger than the landscape images? Because for me they have far more narrative content in them than the others. They are more poetic, more of an essence of the person, whereas the others have a more quotidian perspective – contextualising the narrative content of the portrait images. It’s almost as if the landscape images are the ‘texts’ for the still lives – if that makes any sense.

    And as for the next assignment – I think there is a great evidence of self portraiture already embedded in this work. Well done, terrific!

    p.s. would love to see those still lives huge, and on a white wall.


    • Thanks for the idea of making the still lives larger – I had been practising equality to their detriment maybe! How huge is huge?
      It certainly makes sense regarding the narrative component. I was thinking along those lines as well. I had pondered adding something in handwriting but I think that’s probably superfluous.
      Yes – I’m very aware of how different aspects of me appear in this assignment. goodness knows what I’ll be doing for the next one!


      • I think you could go very large on the still lives, but one of the aspects of the images I like is the very ‘staginess’ of them, how it is very obvious that you’ve set these items in this precise order in the frame for consideration. You might have comments from your tutor about colour temperature, but for me that just indicates a different time, not space.
        As for the writing I agree, not necessarily because of superfluity, but because it may deflect focus, adding more narrative content when it might not need it. How about bringing some to Thatcham?


  4. Hi Catherine,
    I’ve followed your progress on this assignment with great interest and think the final outcome is excellent. To me the diptychs work well and I don’t think there is a need for any text – it would be a distraction I feel to what is a beautiful piece of work.


  5. Well done Catherine , an excellent set of images , they are beautiful to look at , and a really original concept. I have enjoyed reading your ideas and influences , great work . I look forward to seeing your progress and how you approach the next assignment.


  6. I like the diptych idea in a book. Super project & you have shown your selections right through to final choices. I do it all in my head but I see the value in laying out your thinking materially. I hope you do really well with it.


  7. Pingback: Revisiting Assignment 2 | Context and Narrative

  8. Pingback: Reflection on Assignment 1 | Portraying Landscape

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