Contextual Project Related Research and Reflections

Updated: Jun 13, 2021

The look into other photographers styles was extremely interesting, especially as much of the primary photography industry, as far as I can see, do not greatly interest me, for example, fashion photography and marketing based photography for example. As I am now 36 years ago, the idea of becoming a professional photographer, whilst in a world-changing life, is certainly alluring for me in how to press forward and make my career. It may have been a little beyond me at the start of my university life, but this thought process is not relevant no more and nothing but research and exploring others styles and success makes me more determined to succeed.

Examples of research from other Pandemic / major events of change. From projects online and currently in progress to photographers who have documented change via non and violent protest and political change, that relates to the theme I am pursuing.


Diary of a Pandemic: May 8, 2020 | Magnum Photos


Coronavirus Recovery: Photographers Share Their Experience During Isolation: The Picture Show: NPR

The theme used in this Photo Diary links to the theme I wouldn't use as it includes staged shots and text and description on each image.

This research of "Covid Pandemic images" showed me that the theme I wish to pursue is reached.

However, I wish to use no text and information per image.

I aim to make my viewers make their own story whilst viewing my final selections for the degree show and after.

It also ensures my images are viewed more, as people tend to look at images more without text, those with text tell a narrative and story to the observer and thus makes the viewing of the image over and then the next image or artist is observed.

Nicola Muirhead’s obscured polaroids attempt to reveal the invisible threat of Covid-19

Another example of a theme that relates to a pandemic and yet again, it seems in a staged manner.

It seems that from researching other pandemic online galleries, for me to be able to see if this theme has a public attraction it led me to research and see if any other creative companies and or freelancers have thought of or created the idea wish to pursue.

This general research led me to see that the theme I wish to uptake, documentary street photography and candid based, does not have many creating this creative episode within the photography world.

I can confidently say the theme I want to partake in, most definitely falls under the bespoke catorgory.


Inspirational research that can help towards my project:


David Hoffman has worked as an independent photojournalist since the 70s.

David mentions in his biography on his website:

“It didn’t take long for me to discover that documenting the increasingly overt control of the state over our lives was what motivated me. I soon decided to run my own photo library, giving me the freedom to choose my own subject matter. My work sheds what some might see as an unforgiving light across racial and social conflict, policing, drug use, poverty and social exclusion.”

This is exactly what has happened with my views of how I see Mainstream Media (MsM) and politics after experiencing an extreme amount of lack of public knowledge of major protests in London.

Basically put, the public only sees what is shown from a broadcast (roughly speaking) and that is then taken as reality.

However, when you have been at the forefront of an intercity war or said in another way, police vs non-protestors blending in with protestors to cause civil unrest for MsM to report, you see the control the state potentially has over a nation and the invisible script no one see’s unless you are in the right place at the right time.

“Protest, and the violence that sometimes accompanies it, is a thread that has run throughout my career, and at one point gained me a reputation as ‘the riot photographer’s riot photographer'. Determination and a willingness to look uncomfortable realities in the eye underpin all of my work, from the metamorphosis of London’s East End to the documenting of homelessness, protest and oppressive policing. Some find the pictures raw and uncomfortable, but my intention is to document dispassionately and let the images stand as a social challenge. By engaging with the image, we are forced to recognise the world as others live it and to consider our own position. Documenting the reality of injustice, frequent state oppression and the all too often tragic consequences, my work has underpinned legal challenges, brought racist perpetrators to justice, and most importantly, reached wide audiences through mass media publication for more than 40 years.”

The above statement from Hoffman gives me more confidence that my future works and career and also my current project has massive potentials to become key recorded archival history, especially when the United Kingdom is going through the injustice of blocked media reality to the current New Normal of chaos within Psychological media broadcast in regards to a Pandemic (personal view) which millions are being forced to be silent from MsM targeted media broadcasts.

I was invited by Jenny Nash, to attend a London Independent Photography talk with David Hoffman. I was inspired instantly.

Davids images are a reflection of what I am doing now, within the current project.

The protests David covered go back to the East end riots to the Rise and Fall of thatcher, which are very similar in description to what I have tasted, like the EDL protests VS BLM or the Student Fees protest where violence engulfs the situation you are covering and you don't have the time to respond and you have to use a do or die attitude to get through particular incident yo have managed to walk into as a phographer.

Key Pieces of Advice – David Hoffman

· Dress quietly, don’t wear badges or slogans. Maintain a polite and cooperative demeanour, especially when badly treated. The police will try to provoke in order to arrest.

· Remain clearly separate from participants and from police.

· Look after your kit. The most important item is your body. Take a helmet, good boots, shinpads, water, cereal bars and barely sugar. Wear cotton. Synthetics will melt and stick to your skin if burned.

· Know the area or at least have a copy of a local map. Try to always have at least two ways to get out.

· Study police tactics understand how they move crowds and form kettles. Get to know the rank badges.

· When things get rough, your fellow photographers are your protection. Stay in sight of them and watch out for each other.

· Carry a small, amateur looking camera. If it really kicks off put your pro gear away, or better get it out of the area. Don’t use flash.

· Learn basic first aid, carry a small kit.

· Join a professional organization such as EPUK or NUJ



An Evening With Tom Hunter MARCH 25TH 2021 London Independent Photography LIP VIA Zoom. Hosted by Jenny Nash

Tom Hunter inspires me with his candid actions shots and the use of colourful pictures and stories alike within his works.

Tom Hunter is an artist best known for creating elaborately staged photographic works– in terms of composition, subject matter and colour – to paintings, from Vermeer to the Pre-Raphaelites, that hang in public galleries. He is closely associated with Hackney in London. Its buildings, streets, post-industrial waterways and landscapes, and its people have inspired and driven his work since he arrived there in the mid-1990s. While Hackney has been and continues to be an incredibly rich source for him, his latest body of work also takes him well beyond London and extends his engagement with painting to other strands of visual culture.

Hunter has never tied himself to one style or format, and many of his works offered several distinct modes of picture-making. His approach to art and life grew directly from his personal history. Because he was unfairly considered as being poor academic material when he was young, he left school and worked at several physical jobs, including building work and planting trees, which I resonate with 110 per cent as I have experience within this type of upbringing also.

He was 25 when his then-girlfriend won a place at the London School of Furniture Making, and he moved to London with her. He found himself living in a community of alternative artistic types squatting in houses on Ellingfort Road in Hackney. He worked selling finds at a street market stall (while photographing his customers), and pruning trees in Regent’s Park, but in time he enrolled to do a photography degree at the London College of Printing.

The works from the Ghetto that tom created, has inspired me to create a more similar style within my works, to show reality in an image yet creating and keeping that story ethic in the shot.

From a poor background which I grew up in, I didn't have the advantage of expensive items, and this was I presume the same with Tom, and look what happened to him. It's all about the skill one has with observing a great image before shooting, and I resonate wholeheartedly with Tom Hartley all day with this and the future of my photography career, which I know will be great, just like tom!.

I had the great pleasure to join a live Zoom call hosted by London Independent Photographers (LIP) which I was invited to by Jenny Nash and the confidence I got alone from hearing tom speak about how he did his works was amazing and motivated me to create more and don't give up when anxiety and depression hit me some times.