Monthly Archives: October 2014

Field Trip: 1

“The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” –

Today has brought to light all the “stuff” that we leave after we are long gone. We as humans have left bits of ourselves behind on the country side for thousands of years- all the hard stuff (such as pottery, cement, tiles etc) that cannot disintegrate, litter the landscape in their own hidden world of history that many of us shall never be aware of. It’s everywhere! Britain is brimming with history, from neolithic sites and roman settlements to war grounds and castles to fragments of pottery and bones, our landscape is scarred with memories and evidence of those who walked this land before us. Without this history our present and future would not be possible, for it has carved our paths into the very life-cycle of the earth itself, by looking back on the landscape we can see the future of it and from this we can live our present. In short, we were looking at how the landscape was formed and more importantly how it bares witness to mans’ activity on its surface in the basic form of ruins and marks. We also saw a landscape in miniature too in the form of detritus and trash left behind many thousands of years previously.

The landscape was there before us and shall be there after us yet it adapts with us as we mould it to suit our current lifestyles, for we cannot remove from it those of our ancestors doing’s, just as our descendants shall not be able to wipe our existence from their version of that very same landscape. Britain has one of the most archival topographies in the world and we are lucky enough to be creating our own individual segments of history this very moment. It is hypocritical of us to lambaste others for their destruction of environments that we deem too important to change when we have been changing our own landscape for centuries – it is the way of life, part of a cycle that we are momentarily leaving our mark on, soon to be part of the environments history and making.

“If any question why they died/ Tell them because their fathers lied…” Rudyard Kipling questioning the Edwardian attitudes to war after losing his only son.


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Work in progress…

I am going to change the front cover to include the traditional marriage vows (to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part- as shown below) and have more people sending in words and photographs constantly which I shall add. I’m pleased with this as a starting point however feel that it needs more images and text to put across the universal feel I am hoping to capture and the more truthful quotes I can get the better. My layout needs a little work (maybe some more images on the right hand side pages and text on left) but that will come with more content. I’m also going to swap the first quote as I feel that it will be more impacting later on in the book, surrounded by blank pages. What’s missing at the moment is more colour images to show a greater time period of people featured, representing that love has been there for many many years and is a reoccurring theme whatever day, month, year we are in. What one person reality of love is can be similar to someone less, or may be completely opposite- there is no one definition and that is why I need more words and photos. I need change some font sizes in the book- I tried to play around with some text larger than others to be more impacting but this has not worked and has made it if anything less impacting, so I’ll go back through and reduce those. I also need to work on the cover of the book and play around with whether or not I just want words or images or symbols to represent what the content shall be about.


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Lesson one notes

  • Aesthetic landscape (a rural idyll)
  • Urban/Ex Urban landscape (cities and demographics) – population/migration
  • Abstracted landscape (beyond the lens)
  • Political landscape (conflict and reality)

Ansel Adams

– Records in perfect, minute details the intricacy of landscapes. White mans migration into West America (national Parks) and the form of the railway etc – the wilderness became an open landscape. Establishment of national parks – images sold to people with pictures (shot f64) areas cleared of indigenous species (humans kicked out) white mans version of the landscape. Modern day reality – home to people v leisure “what are we doing here?”

Darren Almond

– Photos/landscapes lit by the moonlight: night-time landscape – how we don’t see the land. Beauty of landscape over periods of time that we can’t normally see – give people a vision they otherwise can’t access, enlightenment?

Fay Godwin

– Coastal defences on river seven. Political. Documenting change from britain moving from industry country into consumer. Globalisation. Consequences of landscape of Britain – question what is it to be british, industrial unit in forest of dean – we think should be natural, should belong here, but doesn’t.

Jem Southam

– Layers of meaning, documenting time/how we live/where we live. Growth patterns of age.

Gabriele Basilico

– Very precise. Large format cameras, correcting verticals etc art deco, urban landscape – lived world – documents of history.

Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe

– Re-examining the historical, re-photographing back to famous US photos then and now – photo them as exactly were – comparisons.

Robert Adams

– 1970s landscape, man altered landscape – cleared areas – new houses etc early environmentalism.

Raymond Moore

– Same ideas as Robert Adams, strange landscape in Britain, centre on our society, telegraph poles, post war britain, adapted landscape – leaving traces of ourselves on landscape.

John Riddy

– London photos – influx of immigrants from Portugal PIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Spain) close-ups of landscape then pull back landscape. General view then close up shot.

John Davies

– Telling historical document of urban landscape. Photograph strengths lie in its historical rather than current. Immediacy of photography – iPhone now – social commentary 30yrs ago on landscape not exist anymore – historical importance is key. Creates a document of changing Britain within his lifetime. Reality of Britain is a confusing/ugly place – mishmash of things.

Josef Koudelka

– Format. 6×12 camera, linhof camera. Different way of looking at the world (vertical).

David Goldblatt

– SA photographer, influenced Parr. Commenting on post apartheid, social commentary.

Joel Sternfeld

– Pull back from obvious, can make more commentary, tells more about the landscape, put things in context.

Paul Seawright

– Drive by shootings – flash shot out of car crime scene. Sex offenders history and current hidden situations of landscapes.

John Duncan

– Bonfires. Low scale civil war (Ireland) social striking Britain what is the role of the photograph? Omnipresent of european landscape – lidl. Discount store, terraced housing = Britain.

Robert Polidori

– Havana sun, cuba photos before all Havana goes, frozen from US sanctions (bay of pigs) post colonial Cuba, when castro dies will become a holiday destination.

Lynn Silverman

– Day dreaming – tower block in Middlesbrough, moving round documenting 360 degrees movement around tower block. Landscape through glass.

Ori Gersht

– Landscape of Holocaust – liquidation. Woods where people were shot/murder by labour camps, emotive.

Thomas Joshua Cooper

– “The images of water encapsulate both the other worldliness and the vital reality of the sea: the ethereal and frightening power of water – light, shadow, movement, depth, and volume.” – T.J.C

  • How do we live day-to-day – what life entails – why are things there?
  • Everyday landscape
  • The landscape of living.
  • Landscape has a lasting legacy – commercial potential


Ideas stemmed from this:

  • Shoot non indigenous landscapes of Britain (foreign wildlife/trees/shrubs etc killing our native species, looks beautiful but is an imposter – “the enemy”) A rural idyll on the outside but a killing machine on the inside.
  • Commercial landscape changed over time – what was it used for 50 years ago – globalisation – what is it now?
  • Ownership of landscape, one mans land?
  • Tourism – extensive uses of landscape for the social.

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Lou Reed’s New York

From sunrise to sunset.

Lou Reed’s New York is a symphony of light and color, a personal eulogy to the city that has been the fulcrum of Reed’s creative world for decades. Comprising over one hundred of Reed’s photographs of New York, the book is an intimate view of what inspires him and what he sees and encounters on a daily basis.

This is a very unique book, one that I have not seen many comparisons too. I love the electric energy of it and obscurity in its surrealistic honesty. Not being afraid to use macro and wide angle with intense attention on certain elements that attract you as the photographer to focus on. The use of light and colour is also very enticing to me – whilst I’ve always preferred using colour I’ve never thought to use it this fanatically with dramatic juxtapositions with darker/blander images (with regards to colour casts). The layout of the book flows very nicely and I like the chronological notion of turning the pages as a day goes by before your eyes. This has encouraged me not to be scared or feel that I have rules to follow- there are no rules only the barriers I create for myself.

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Disposable Vows

Photographic realism avoids nostalgia, romanticism, or sentimentality in favour of clear-eyed and critical (social) observation.

Save the Date—in-the-same-day/24503-1709.html

“There is hardly a grander spectacle of private emotions and public display than the wedding. Predicated on the unspoken connection of love and devotion between two people, “to have and to hold,” marriage is one of the oldest institutions upon which civilization and government.”

The Museum of Broken Relationships grew from a traveling exhibition revolving around the concept of failed relationships and their ruins. Unlike ‘destructive’ self-help instructions for recovery from failed loves, the Museum offers a chance to overcome an emotional collapse through creation: by contributing to the Museum’s collection.

Whatever the motivation for donating personal belongings – be it sheer exhibitionism, therapeutic relief, or simple curiosity – people embraced the idea of exhibiting their love legacy as a sort of a ritual, a solemn ceremony.  Our societies oblige us with our marriages, funerals, and even graduation farewells, but deny us any formal recognition of the demise of a relationship, despite its strong emotional effect.  In the words of Roland Barthes in A Lover’s Discourse: “Every passion, ultimately, has its spectator… (there is) no amorous oblation without a final theater.”


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The more I research creative ways to present marriage and divorce the more I see how much hurt and negativity is out there. Having grown up with two very happily married parents and a set of grandparents soon to celebrating their 56th wedding anniversary, I have been fortunate enough to witness first hand the beauty of marriage and the positivity it radiates. However the reality of the situation is that not all of us are as lucky in love. One willing participant of the project wrote in his reflection on his own divorce (I have changed any names)…

Hi Olivia,


I suppose it speaks volumes to say that I have no wedding photo’s in this house. I thought I knew where one might be that I removed from a frame but no, its with all the other photo’s and albums down at my mothers and I won’t be down there for a few weeks.


I might have kept them with me but downsizing is one of the inevitable financial consequences of a divorce which leaves one with too little space for everything, so I have bit’s here at [new home], in Mum’s attic and garage, some at my cottage in [South England] and some even left at [old home from marriage], my history dispersed to the four winds. But despite the changed circumstances I could not be more relieved to be divorced, I found it difficult to be in the same room as her in the end as my skin crawled from her anger, disorganisation, lack of action, jealousy, verbal bullying, greed, false front, ungratefulness and disloyalty. Having married in 1997 I wrote a diary in 2000 and read back now how miserable I was even then, but the kids were born by that time and we were not finally divorced until twelve years later.


I thought I loved her and certainly chased after her at the outset, she ticked all the right boxes in my head, but she rebuffed me frequently. After a year of being dumped innumerable times I needed closure, so I asked her to marry me. She turned me down and expecting this I gave her a vintage Rolex watch to ‘remember the good times we had together’ (it turned out to be a fake which I thought rather ironic years after !). But most importantly at that time, at that moment, I felt hurt, lonely and closed my heart to her.


It was after that I couldn’t find space from her. I had organised fun and cheer for her and Matthew [step-son] for a while, maybe she noticed I was a ready offer of a better life and Matthew was very keen we got together too. So now she wanted me and finally a few months down the line whilst walking through Bath she said ‘I suppose so’ I said ‘You suppose so what’ to which she replied ‘I suppose I will marry you’. I ignored my gut instinct, my closed heart, the shouting at Matthew, the piles of ironing and incomplete disorganised paperwork, the dirty house, the lack of confidence and direction. I thought I could change it all, make it all right, and fall back in love, but you can’t go back.


She was not a bad woman, neither was I a bad man, we just brought out the worst in each other. But with true English flare we hid it all as best we could for the sake of the kids, who have grown up seemingly quite happy, together and wonderful, maybe because the turmoil was well hidden, maybe because I calmed the waters as best I could, who knows. Of course they could still follow our appalling example and create their own unhappy circumstances, but I will hope to be there to ensure that this mould is well and truly broken.


I was a fool and maybe should have followed my best mans advice who said we could just drive on past the wedding – Tony knew it wasn’t right. But I cannot truly regret it for a moment; for without her and all that pain I would not have my three beautiful children who I love to death.


Now I’m with a girl I first had a crush on when I was 17 and she is in love with me. But I’m not listening to my head this time as in my gut it says it’s just fine and this time I am following my instinct and open heart ! Circumstances will be reduced but we will struggle through together, just be happy with each other, I hope until we are old, grey and toothless. Life is good and I don’t regret a moment of it !


Gosh you had me on a roll here and actually it feels good to write out my feelings – thanks.

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Hoxton Mini Press: collectable books about East London

Sunday ska #shoreditch #bricklane #buskers #bass

A post shared by Olivia Kennaway (@oliviakennaway) on

Today I ventured out to East London and the famous Brick Lane in Shoreditch; surrounded by colour, vibrancy and creativity I came across “Brick Lane Book Shop” and felt compelled to go in. The quaint shop was busting with variety (of customers as well as books!) from Wandsworth’s classics, to learning mandarin, to a whole section solely on London and the east end. It was here that I came across one of my favourite series of photo books to date- East London Photo Stories published by Hoxton Mini Press.

The first book I picked up was “I’VE LIVED IN EAST LONDON FOR 86 ½ YEARS (PHOTO BOOK 1)” which documents local resident (sadly now passed away) Joe. Whilst the content of the book is undeniably wonderful, pulling on heart strings in all the right places with fountains of humour throughout, a moment is deserved to comment on the layout of the book. Never have a felt more connected to a photo book on a first viewing than this one. Turning the pages and reading the words together with the visual stimulations was an overall experience- it truly felt magical. I went on a journey with Joe and even shed a tear to learn of his passing less than a year ago. The matt pages felt strong like the character being depicted to us and the textured spine underneath the wrapped cover brought thoughts of blanket safety and warmth to mind, again a key element to the story within. If I could produce a book for this module with this much meaning before anyone even opens the pages then I’d be happy! It truly was a delight to behold.

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EAST LONDON SWIMMERS (PHOTO BOOK 2) is the second book in the series and very clever. A simple idea made beautiful. Portraits and personal profiles of individuals are shown clothed and then again on the next page in their swimming gear. This layout continues until the odd double page spread of an extremely aesthetically pleasing and majestic photo catches the viewer off guard with its movement yet calm stillness. Early morning sun glinting off displaced water drops fogs our minds are we envisage ourselves in the serenity of the scene before us, allowing the photo to wash over us and in this crazy world allow ourselves a moments pause. This charming book highlights the simple pleasures of life and of the beauty within our own world, closer to home than some may believe.

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A PORTRAIT OF HACKNEY (PHOTO BOOK 3) is third (and what I thought to be) final book of the series. Out of the three this has arguably the most conventional style of layout that I am familiar seeing in photo books. This does not take away however from the brilliancy of the images within, it is almost harder without an original layout to shock or compel the viewer than that of a book with something completely new to offer yet A PORTRAIT OF HACKNEY has done just this. My perceptions of hackney (coming from Devon in south west England) have been blown away by the raw honesty and delight this book provides. Some truly breath taking photos that I would never have thought to be captured in east London have ensnared by attention and respect. It was the grand finale to the end of my viewing.

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Individually they are great books but together as a three they are hard to beat- together as a cooperative they bring out the best in each other and visually look fantastic together also. The layouts compliment each other and the symmetry between the designs (introductions, font type, block colours used on inside cover pages, sizes, paper type etc) makes it a truly credible and remarkable body of work that shall have prime place on my book shelf. Since searching online I have learnt that there is a fourth book to the series so I have ordered that from Hoxton Mini Press’ website.


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Seeing these books as a series has made me wonder if my ideas could work well in more than one book, if they would compliment each other as these do. I envisage 3 spins lined up together, the first starting as a pale pink and the third ending on an angry red with the middle book somewhere in between. The colours could represent the demise of the relationship as the first book (Wedding) shows the happy couple on their big day, then the second book (Marriage) shows an image taken throughout their marriage- be it children or first house etc, and then the last book (Reality) is just full of quotes people have written about their ex husband/wife. I could have sequencing numbers used to match the items within each book to their counterparts or just completely jumble the orders so no one knows who’s photo goes with which words etc

3partbook <<< Watch Video

I never knew about this website ( which will be a great way to fund any new projects of mine!

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“I do”

For one of my modules I have to create and produce a book on aspects of reality, so I have decided to do it on the reality of a wedding v reality of marriage and am also currently focusing on divorce. Having done wedding photography I’ve seen first hand the stress from those involved to get “the perfect pictures” and best representation of the wedding possible, yet no marriage is ever perfect. With your involvement I am looking to get photos of married couples specifically on their wedding day of a bride and groom (or same sex marriage)  looking the happiest they’ve been etc then contrasting that to words written by one about the other now that they are divorced or separated.

For example one person has already written quite extensively and an extract from their quote reads “I was a fool and maybe should have followed my best mans advice who said we could just drive on past the wedding” it is completely up to the individual what they deem to be appropriate/they’re willing to share. The more honest the written words could be the better as the idea is to create an impact by having beautiful photos juxtaposed by the written words of a broken marriage. I shall be keeping the names anonymous and won’t be displaying the wedding photo next to that persons text, I shall be swapping words and images around a) to protect any identities but also b) to create a more universal body of work that others may relate to. My final piece shall not be publicly accessible.

If any of you have divorced parents/family/friends or are divorced yourselves then please could you ask them if they’d be willing to take part in this or if you would be willing yourself! Just need a photo from the wedding and the written words, or message me for more info. Thank you, Olivia.

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