Tutorial with Emma Critchley


Following her talk on photography and underwater methodology, Emma Critchley stayed in the university to give a set of group tutorials, I signed up to be in the first group. As with David Moore in the previous session I discussed with her about the concept and a few of the research avenues I had discussed in previous meetings which she then added to:

  • Drone video – 5000 feet is the best – what is their experience? In the film the information is withheld about what the actual content is about until the very end, you are just hearing a story/anecdote
  • Do you investigate yourself or someone else?
  • The information being presented is part of the anonymity
  • Play with aural and sight in a video piece – it could be the sound is telling you one thing but the visuals are saying something different
  • Maybe look into the fragmentation of communication and this control
  • Identity is constructed
  • Could you possibly take part personally? Create a fabricated profile or talk to someone anonymously?


After consideration it would appear the my piece might work best as a video piece? I have previously considered making an immersive experience as Alex Mason did last year with his video on free runners how mine might be a little different. Instead of making the viewer feel involved in a positive way I would perhaps attempt to inform them and try and provoke an emotional response in association with the feelings of guilt, compassion and responsibility I believe are lost in online culture.

The idea of identity being constructed was a concept discussed in the first week of the PicBod lectures so I will definitely revisit my notes on that session and see what artists and photographers use this concept in their work.

The idea of pseudonym activity has become more prominent after reading a specific research paper on anonymity online, there was actually more activity from those using a fabricated personality than those withholding all information. I had a discussion with an English student I know about the concept she is research for her dissertation: Freud’s dream theory and thought this could perhaps relate loosely to what the pseudonym convention offers. Are pseudonyms a liberation of the user’s unconscious desires? Or are they a carefully constructed idealist representation of themselves?

This tutorial was really good at getting me engaging with what form my piece might take and I will definitely venture forward with the idea of getting first hand research in the area of anonymous online culture.



The second tutorial I had with Emma Critchely came towards the end of the creative process, I had already decided on the image content and the sizing and I had figuring out how to present my prints. I didn’t really have a clear idea on what I wanted from the tutorial from Emma however I went there with the question of whether she ever puts text with her work and how she does it. This turned out to be a question that she couldn’t answer as she doesn’t ever put text with her work, even captioning, the work generally speaks for itself. However we did talk about how to present my work on the wall, she gave me the following ideas to think about:

  • Would I consider making the sizing of my images slightly bigger?
  • People might engage with the idea of a portrait more if I made the images slightly bigger, because they are viewing them on a more 1 to 1 ratio.
  • In addition to this – a different aspect ratio and shape of the image might better slightly more effective in indicating that these images are portrait
  • If there was to be a frame, Emma agrees that a simple black aluminium frame would be the most appropriate
  • However not framing it might be better, so I am not relying on references to portrait, I am referencing a world where people are judged based entirely on their information, so I should present my prints without any framing/additional material because the viewer might try and read into it
  • The captions I have proposed to use and the artist statement would reference that the images are portraits enough
  • Aluminium/dibond mounting would give the print a strong physical presence, wooden baton fixings on the back to give the impression the print is just floating on the wall
  • Although mounting on aluminium wouldn’t give any protection like a frame would – a seal on the image could provide that bit of extra resilience to damage



This tutorial was extremely useful, I went into the session without any real questions but left it with an entirely new direction in relation to my presentation methodology. Instead of black aluminium frames I will be getting my prints mounted on aluminium with wooden baton fixings, this solved the dilemma I was having with getting my work framed as I didn’t want to have glass in the frames but then this would go against the conventional notion of a framed portrait. By having the image out of the frame, it means the viewer will only be presented with the visual content, which is exactly what I am referring to conceptually. I am making the statement that in the digital world the individual is being increasingly defined by information and code, we are moving towards a society where the information will be the only representation. Therefore my images will only be relying on the visual content to try and connect with the viewer, a frame will only make the viewer search for relevance in the frame in terms of the identity in the image. We agreed that the artist statement and the captions would be enough to indicate that the images were portraits and the viewer would have to rely on those to be able to make an interpretation from the visual content. This tutorial has taken my work into a different direction, one that I am much more confident in than I was previously. I believe that this alteration to my presentation strategy compliment my images and the concept behind them more than the original idea of the frames would do. Overall I am very pleased I did make this second tutorial with Emma Critchley, without it I wouldn’t have been able to make this progression in my creative process.


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