FMP - Reflections

I can’t believe it’s really the end. I so much enjoyed to be a student again.

I signed up for this course with the hope it will help me to break the impasse in my creative practice through finding my own visual language within photography. I wasn’t sure if it was the right move. For many reasons. One of my biggest concerns was the language as I was never confident in writing and especially talking in English. I was also afraid of balancing the course with permanent job and private life and to be honest I wasn’t really convinced that the photographic medium is really “my thing”.

The language was never a problem. It was a bit intimidating to talk during the recorded webinars but during the second year I found out that I talk to much and I am not really aware of passing time and other students waiting to be heard… It wasn’t easy to balance the study and private life and in fact during the last six months I didn’t have weekends or holidays but I was happy with that as it was a fascinating time. The true is I made it hard for myself but it was worth it.

It took time and a lot of effort but now when I know and understand the photographic medium much better than two years ago, I can say without hesitation that I love it.

What I gained during the two years course is invaluable. I will draw from the knowledge and experience for a long time. It changed me as an artist and I really like that change.

I feel very well equipped for the future and looking forward to turn my room into darkroom again. I have lots of ideas for the new projects which will be a further exploration of the motifs from the On dichotomies project. I have a long list of institutions, organisations, competitions and also individual artists to approach with hope for some sort of collaboration and a opportunity to be present in on photography stage.

FMP - Mayn Creative zine - "Intro" issue 4 will feature my project

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At the beginning of November, I received an email from Lynn Chambers who runs the Mayn Creative agency asking if I’d like my works to be featured in the Intro issue 4 - the quarterly zine promoting works of the Falmouth University students.

It was a massive surprise for me. I agreed without hesitation, and I am delighted and grateful for this distinction.

The zine will feature some works from the “On dichotomies” project selected by the team. The zine is designed by Max Searl with the Robert Oakes foreword.

The printed version should be ready to distribute this week. Very much looking forward to seeing it.

FMP - Exhibition Closing Event

Despite the very sad situation in my personal life I managed to enjoy the Closing Event - the planned last day of my exhibition. At the end of the event it turned that the exhibition will remain on the walls till the beginning of January.

The last day happened to be on the first friday of the month when there is a well known Digbeth First Friday event in Birmingham. Thanks to that, the attendance was much higher than it would be on any other day. It is really hard to say who came because of the exhibition promotion on the social media and who was just a regular DFF visitor. It doesn’t matter really. What matters is the very good feedback which both myself and the gallery staff received. Centrala collected some feedback on their printed templates which is designed as a survey and it relates also to the other exhibition on the first floor so I can’t really use it. It was a little bit of miscommunication in regards to the feedback. In a result I am left just with memories of the very positive verbal comments…

I met some interesting artists who I knew from a little research about Birmingham art scene as well as through friends. I met also one of the founders of the Room Art who encouraged me to contact them to discuss some future collaborative possibilities.

FMP - Expensive lesson

On Wednesday I rehanged the ‘Full stop’ and ‘Slash’ works and they look much better know. I did not replace the image I reprinted due to blue/magenta hue. The new imaged looked exactly the same or even worse. I checked the print in a day light and it was all good which left only one reason for the colour to appear - the light in the gallery.

Luckily there was the other set of lights. I switched on only the halogen spotlights and the print looked correct. The halogens gave much weaker light but apart for fixing the hue on the C-prints, the reflections on the framed works were also less prominent.

It was another very precious but expensive lesson…

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FMP - Reprinting and rehanging

I decided to reprint the large format print which was printed with some colour hue instead of greyscale. I contacted Printspace and after investigation it turned out that I send the file for print in a grayscale which should have been converted to RGB. The greyscale image supposed to be saved in RGB format. It was not and hence the issue. Not knowing it is my fault I asked if Printspace could offer me some discount for the reprint and they did even though it was my fault.

I very much appreciate that as the cost of the print and mount is £130 so the 60% discount they gave me makes a huge difference. I stopped counting how much I spent on the exhibition so far but its getting really uncomfortable to watch how my savings are melting down.

Knowing what is the reason for having slight colour shading on what’s supposed to be black & white print I decided to reprint also the full stop and slash on fabric which are also minimally affected.

I got the prints today and they look now as they should. The one from the Printspace will arrive tomorrow. I hope I’ll be able to drive to the gallery in the afternoon and replace the works so they are looking better for the last couple of days which are in fact most important due to the Closing Event.

I want also attach the Full stop and Slash to the wall using Velcro tape to avoid the little wrinkles which appear now because the fabric is wrapped around the little aluminium tube and hanged on the transparent thread. There are no music events for the next days at Centrala hence I’ll be able to use velcro and hang the images permanenly… Velcro works very well for the other print on fabric which is on the right hand side wall.

FMP - Project website

The website was ready for almost a week before I finally decided to post the info about it. I spent those days on trying to improve the “About project” page where I explain briefly the most significant methods and processes crucial to understand and appreciate the works.

Writing was never easy for me and even though I am getting better (I think) in articulating the vague thoughts, concepts and intentions, writing info on this page took me more than it should considering the so so quality. I will try to improve it post MA, now I am struggling with everything so it must be as it is.

In overall I am very happy with he website. I like the flow of images in the Gallery section and the minimal style. I used the Squarespace template which is quite popular but the uniqueness of the layout is not important really.

The website is, together with the exhibition, a main channel of dissemination of my project and I think it will do a great job for supporting the exhibition but also as a standalone publication.

FMP - Installing the exhibition

As I expected there was a couple “surprises” during the installation but somehow we’ve managed to install the works during one day. The walls are very tricky at Centrala - one very hard were there was no other choice but drill the holes and the other very soft and week. I had everything planned and prepared well, the hanging solutions for every single piece and the alternatives but it is impossible to predict everything. It took much longer to install and it was all rather stresfull so in a result I did not managed to take a good photographs of the display and will have to planned some time to have a proper session to produce a better quality shots for the documentation.

I am happy with the overall effect of the final display as it is really close to what I designed in Photoshop however there are a couple of disappointing details which I will try to fix asap. One is about the tints of colour on the large format prints which supposed to be in the greyscale, the second about the little wrinkles on the large images printed on fabric.

Perhaps none of them is very prominent and doesn’t affect the overall experience too much but I am a bit frustrated. I have not seen the colour shades in the light at home but on the wall next to other black&white prints one work could look much better if printed correctly. I sent it for print in greyscale but for some reason the grey is not really pure monochrome colour. Perhaps it is something characteristic to C-type prints? Need to read about it…



FMP - Final preparations for the exhibition

I am exhaused and nervous. I underestimated the scale of effort required to make the works ready for the exhibition. I’ll have roughly twenty five works on display. Some are framed, three of them are printed on large format fabric, two are large C-type prints are mounted on Foamex board and one work will be in a backlit frame. All these forms of display challenged me in one way or another.

I had to find the solution how to hang the images on fabric so they can be easliy taken off the walls as they’ll be hang on the projection wall needed for the music event in the gallery. The images on Foamex came without any fixing so I ordered and mounted the hanging plates. I thought it will be easy with the custom made aluminium frames but I had to unscrew one side of each frame to be able to insert the image, and additionally peel of the film from both sides of the the acrylic glass and then fight with the pieces of dust which the surface was attracting like a magnet.

The frame for lightbox which I mentioned in the previous post works great but I am concern with the weight of the whole piece. It will require the solid mount on the wall and drilling will be necessary. But I like it so it was worth the effort.

I like all of the works actually in their new physical embodiment. I am happy I decided to give up the photobook in favour of the exhibition even thought it’s such a hard work to make it happen.

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FMP - Lightbox

I really enjoyed designing the exhibition layout and in the end had a lot of ideas about how to make the installation of works more interesting and engaging.

I thought about the small laser printed paper glyphs I could scatter on the floor of the gallery or a large vinyl self-adhesive slash or tilde shapes. In the end I dropped those ideas as I don’t want the glyphs motif completely dominate the exhibition.

I also returned to the idea with the element of light which I have primarily seen as a LED Matrix panels which I really like visually but which require the basic programming skills to make them work. It is something I’ll look into after the course as it seems doable with many tutorials available online. I just wanted to have one panel on and one off but it would take too much time to work out how to do it and how to display it in the gallery.

I liked the idea of the element of light on the exhibition and I decided to search for the classic light boxes. I thought it is straightforward to find suppliers, but it wasn’t. Perhaps my research skills are not great or I am too impatient. There are many companies which offer various backlit frames, but most of them are for commercial purposes and are not available to buy online straight away. I contacted two companies and got a reply from one of them. As a result I did something completely crazy, but I think it was worth it. I am sure I could buy the lightbox frame much cheaper and the effect would be similar but because of the time constraints, I thought I have to decide as soon as possible. So I bought the super slim and mega expensive acrylic LED panel from the Litehouse which gives the evenly distributed light thanks to the unique technology of the laser cut grid on the acrylic sheet. I ordered it without the frame as the producer offers an extremely expensive frame for it. I had to order the frame anyway as it turned out that there is no other way to hang it on the wall…

Long story short - I have the lightbox and the printed on fabric scaled up ‘Algorithmic tree’ to display in it and it looks beautiful. The frame will arrive tomorrow so that’s not the end of the adventures with the lightbox. Really hope it will work in the end.

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FMP - Guest critique sessions with Stella Baraklianou

Very helpful session this week with Stella Baraklianou - the tutor on the previous modules.

I shared with Stella the website flow, exhibition layout and the text on “About project” section which I just begun writing. Thanks to the feedback I got rid of some confusing sentences and made it more concise.

The subject of selling works, limited editions and certificates of authenticity raised by other student was very helpful too. Stella shared with us her experience in regards to selling, editions and certificates. This stopped me from signing the works on the back, luckily I signed just a couple of them. I will create the certificate of authenticity template and print a few copies in case someone would be interested in buying some works.

There is still a lot to add to the “About project’ page on the website but apart from that it’s finished and it will be ready to launch soon.

I like the format of the Guest Critique sessions. It is one of the very little opportunities to meet other students and also keep in touch with tutors from the previous cohorts.