Long post – put the kettle on.

Although I’ve recently been working with a particular set of images for testing out potential presentation outcomes (books, online etc), I have not yet finalised the edit itself. I have a longlist of 30 images that I am reasonably happy with, and have been working with different subsets of this 30 for a little while now. I’m edging towards an Assignment 5 edit but decided I should record some of my process and thinking before I finalise it.

Target number

I’ve been working with up to 21 images at a time up to now (based around a potential book layout) but I’m currently minded to get that down to a more manageable number for the Assignment 5 submission.

While I have produced book dummies for earlier assignments, I’m increasingly thinking that my A5 submission should be a more traditional set of decent-sized loose prints. I’ve been re-familiarising myself with the BoW course notes and they do suggest that the appropriate format for most assessment submissions is a portfolio of loose prints rather than jumping straight to a finished ‘publication’ (this can be addressed in much more detail in SYP, of course).

With all this in mind, I’m currently working on getting the A5 version of this down to 15 images. This feels like a manageable amount for assessors to get to grips with in the time available.


Both editing and sequencing are, in my experience, a maddening mix of art and science. There are some criteria that help to whittle down the list but there are often some images that resist rejection and stay in the edit just because I really like them and can’t articulate why.

The course notes talk about editing and sequencing (at the Assignment 4 stage, admittedly – but I am a little behind after a rickety start on BoW and so am only really applying this thinking at this later stage). The suggested questions/prompts are:

  • Is this image strong enough as a visual piece without the rest of the series?
  • Is this image adding anything new or emphasising a point that I want it to?
  • Is it detracting from or contradicting the rest of the series?
  • Am I overlooking any less striking work because of aesthetic concerns that may be secondary to the impact the piece will have on the final reading?

Separate to this I’d already come up with a list of questions I’m asking of the longlisted images, some of which overlap with the above from the course notes:

  • Is this a strong image in its own right?
  • Does it fit in with the overall desired mood? e.g. sense of:
    • Forgetting
    • Abandonment
    • Melancholy
    • Uncanniness
  • Is it ‘simple’?
    • Composition
    • Colour palette
  • Does it contain details that bear repeated or lingering viewing?
  • Does it contain potential connotations to a particular text fragment (from the planned list of ‘forgettances’)?
  • How much is this kind of subject matter already presented in the rest of the set?

Lastly: jumping ahead slightly to presentation and sequencing, I want the final set to have an overall sense, not of a narrative per se, but maybe of a kind of narrativity – I want viewing the final images as a set to somehow evoke a sense that all of these scenes could be from one meandering walk taken through the local environment.

With all of this in mind I have categorised the 30 into three piles: Yes, Maybe and No.

Picture by picture

Presented here in the order taken, not a chosen sequence (that comes later).

whether we've met
  • Strong image, clear simple composition and colour palette
  • Had a couple of comments thus far that it looks very ‘placed’ (even though it isn’t!)
  • Tutor has commented positively on it the last two times I included it in earlier versions of the project
  • I still feel that the lost glove is a good metaphor for a lost memory, and this is one of the better glove photos in my own opinion
  • Could work well early on, nice and clean, before things get more complex/grungy
  • YES
can't remember
  • Strong image, clear simple composition and colour palette
  • As per last image, I still feel that the lost glove is a good metaphor for a lost memory, and this is one of the better glove photos in my own opinion
  • Has more of a sense of abandonment/melancholy than the previous one, could work better towards the end of the set
  • YES
the surname of the girlfriend I travelled around America with
  • Strong image, clear simple composition and colour palette
  • Quirkier than some of the others, perhaps implies more of a back-story
  • Fits with the text fragment of forgetting my ex-girlfriends’s name
  • YES
  • A deliberately murky image with a limited colour palette
  • Continues with the glove motif but aiming to allude more to more deeply ‘lost’ memories
  • One reviewer so far has commented that it doesn’t fit with the rest of the set (not sure whether this bothers me though…)
  • Only really works if used as last image (paired with text fragment ‘cant remember’)
the address we lived at in Morley
  • Strong image, clear simple composition and colour palette
  • Bricked up wall carries connotations of inaccessible memories
  • Mixture of textures and colours provides some visual interest
  • Fits with the text fragment of forgetting my old address
  • YES
what shop I'm meant to be going to next
  • Relatively strong image, though busier than many of the others
  • Mixture of textures and colours provides some visual interest
  • Chair as recurring motif – implies absent person(s)
  • Had positive feedback on this one from other students
  • YES
  • Taken at same time as last one but much busier
  • Now thinking it looks too messy
  • NO
  • A new glove pic (i.e. taken since Assignment 4)
  • Comment from another student that the fence makes this come across more about incarceration than forgetting
  • Though I am minded to keep the intermittent glove motif, this one is not strong enough to keep in
  • NO
  • Simple composition and colour palette, though a subtle rather than a particularly strong image
  • Earlier bricked up building is stronger, but could keep this in if I deliberately wanted a counterpart/repetition
  • Window lends itself to pairing with the text fragment about the cashpoint
  • Nice leading lines and simple colour palette
  • No longer sure it works as an allusion to forgetting, though
  • Too many rural scenes so some need to be chopped
  • NO
what I was going to say
  • Strong image in terms of composition and subject matter; simple colour palette
  • The bird is an ancient Greek metaphor for a memory (I appreciate this is an obscure reference, and don’t expect viewers to ‘get it’, but it’s my reason for including it…)
to turn up for the first tutorial for the memory project
  • Relatively strong image from composition and colour palette points of view
  • Sense of abandonment in the grungy exterior
  • Recurrence of the chair motif, representing absent people
  • Fits with the text fragment about forgetting to turn up for my first BoW tutorial
  • The ‘1’ on the edge of the frame is a nice touch
  • YES
  • I had liked the collapsed fence with the grass growing though it…
  • … but the more I look at it, it’s too busy and not visually interesting
  • NO
  • Relatively simple composition and colour pallette, not too busy
  • I was drawn to the metaphorical aspect of the blocked entrance / overgrown gate
  • But the gate is too subtle to make out, and I have better ‘overgrown’ images
  • NO
where my glasses are
  • Simple composition and colour palette
  • Good use of shadow
  • Allusion to eyes means it could fit with the text fragment about losing glasses
  • YES
  • Simple composition and limited colour palette
  • I was attracted to the allusion of a muddled mind by the word ‘head’ being obscured
  • Close-up framing is too different to the rest of the images, I find it sticks out too much
  • And I have other, better ‘overgrown’ images
  • NO
to take the £200 out of the cashpoint
  • Very simple composition, subtle colour palette
  • Diagonal lends it self to the overarching idea that this series of images is from a ‘fictionalised walk’ around my environment
  • Feather fits with the bird=memory metaphor
  • This fits into the category of ‘I just really like it, so it’s in’…!
  • YES
to close the car door before leaving it parked up
  • Again, the diagonal lends it self to the overarching idea of the ‘fictionalised walk’
  • Combines shadows and overgrowing, two of the motifs
  • Erasure of some of the lettering alludes to fading of memory
the sausages in the frying pan
  • Similar to above regarding diagonal and combination of shadows and overgrowing
  • And adds in gloves as a third motif
  • I was drawn to the hole in the wall as it could allude to both forgetting generally and a cashpoint specifically (one of the potential text fragments)
  • The downward angle also appealed for some reason
  • But there are already a lot of rural shots in the set and this isn’t as strong
  • NO
to finish making Ann a cup of tea
  • Simple composition and colour palette
  • Although it doesn’t imply ‘forgetting’ as much as some of the others, I’m drawn to it for some reason I can’t put my finger on
what I went upstairs for
  • Very simple composition and palette
  • Back to the bird-as-memory metaphor
  • Direction of birds lends itself to text fragment about going upstairs
  • I’ve used this as a book dummy cover and think it works well
  • YES
  • Simple composition and palette
  • I was attracted by the repetition of removed notices, thought this was a strong forgetting metaphor
  • But the blue sky is a bit too blue, if that makes sense
  • NO
all former schoolmates who haven't found me on Facebook
  • Simple composition and palette
  • Abandoned building fits in with metaphorical intent
  • But may already have enough, better images of this kind
  • Still quite like this, but…
  • … too many leafy shots to pick from already
  • NO
where I parked
  • Simple composition and colour palette
  • Seat and overgrowing motifs represented
  • Sense of abandonment quite strong
  • If I’m keeping a few leafy ones in, this is one of them
  • YES
to take Henry with me to my mum's
  • Nice geometry and simple palette
  • Sense of descending into oblivion
  • Another overgrown one though
to lock the back door
  • Another building but abandoned in a different sense
  • Like a relic from another age
  • Not sure how well it fits with the others
  • Drawn to simple colour palette and negative space of sky
  • Seats as recurring motif
  • However – the blue sky feels like the wrong aesthetic, a bit too ‘chocolate box’
  • NO
dad's birthday
  • I was drawn by the slightly odd sight of a dried out / filled in pond with abandoned lifebuoy stand
  • But the light is very flat – if I continue with this scene as a potential image I will need to reshoot it


So that makes 10x ‘Yes’: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 12, 15, 17, 22, 26


10x ‘Maybe’: 4, 9, 11, 18, 19, 21, 24, 27, 28, 30


And 10x ‘No’: 7, 8, 10, 13, 14, 16, 20, 23, 25, 29


Next steps

What I plan to do from here is:

  • Print copies of the Yeses and Maybes
  • Mock up a few different sequences of 15 comprising the 10x Yeses and 5x selected Maybes
  • Pair images with text fragments
  • Think about potential sequences: pacing, groupings, themes/motifs
  • Go on holiday for a couple of weeks (including a few days at the Rencontres d’Arles photography festival)
  • Come back refreshed/inspired and make some decisions!