Wednesday, November 15, 2017



This practice related research study explores my cognitive response to a biographical snapshot photograph celebrating my first day at school. The experience triggered an exploration of the relationship between snapshot photographs and memory. The finding of a second almost identical snapshot photograph of my son taken twenty years later by me prompted me to question why my father and I should take almost identical snapshots.

I argue that the invention of photography was driven by the desire to capture the images created by the camera obscura by mark-making with the pencil of light as an aid memoir.

I argue that the desire to externalise memory using mnemonic technology is innate with primal origins in parietal art and lithic technologies. The discourse explores the cultural evolution of technology through Jaques Derrida’s theory of originary technicity and Bernard Stiegler’s concept of the cultural evolution of technology by epiphylogenesis and the notion of the externalisation of memory as prosthesis.

I explore the emergence of snapshot photography from the canon of photography through the theories of cultural evolution, technological momentum, and social constructivism, together with psycho-social notions of desire, ritual, performativity and intentionality in the establishment of snapshot photography as a ubiquitous ingrained social practice.

The research is informed by a studio practice element that uses the adventures of Lewis Carroll’s, Alice as a conceptual framework to explore a journey of agency, self and auto didactical knowledge acquisition. I discuss the search for an appropriate methodological framework for art practice based research.

My practice is a catalyst for enquiry; a project usually starts with an artefact that forms the locus of a question, the search for the answer to those questions, often leading epistemically, to unexpected places and relationships. The mode and manner of my enquiry are rhizomatous, pragmatic and serendipitous; the relationship between practice and theory is flexible, one informing the other.

Through practice, I explore the deconstruction and textualisation of the visual metaphor of memory through the rhetorical devices of ekphrasis and memory texts and a visualisation of the nature and originary technicity of snapshot photography and an exploration of self and place.

The thesis for this study is founded on the premise that snapshot photography is a socially constructed, phatic, mnemonic mark-making technology with origins in parietal forms of visual expression.

Thesis Download Links

 UPDATE: 23 August 2020

The former link to my Thesis is no longer available, here are alternative links to the completed Thesis and the Powerpoint Presentation of the exhibition that was part of my practice related research

Link the Lancaster University Research Directory page

Link to the PhD Thesis PDF document file

Link to the  Powerpoint Presentation of the accompanying Exhibition

Friday, April 14, 2017

PhD Thesis - Viva Voce

 Snapshot Photography: A Phatic, Socially Constructed, Mnemonic Technology

I survived my Viva Voce on the 13th March and was awarded a PhD subject to minor amendments and corrections. As soon as these have been completed I shall post a copy of the Thesis on the blog.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Large space before footnotes in MS Word 2010: Quick Fix

Formatting and Style problems are the one of the most time consuming aspects of thesis writing. Finding solutions to problems seems to take forever. Here is another problem that took me ages to sort out. I am using Word 2010, the solution is slightly different in other versions.

The problem is large spaces at the end of pages which are not cured by adjusting Paragraph settings. The problem proved to be associated with Footnote formatting. But finding out how to make the adjustment would try the patience of a saint.

The problem looks like this...

Check out this link for a solution on the Jess Writes Words blog...


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Finishing the P.h.D. - Restructuring

Pat Thompson in her latest blog post hit the nail on the head. I quote:
You’ve done your thesis plan. You’ve written for weeks. And weeks. But now, despite your very best planning,  you find yourself at a point where that carefully thought out thesis road map no longer seems to work. This apparent catastrophe may happen before the first draft of the thesis is finished, it may be at the end of a second or third draft.
This is exactly where I am at, 3 years in 2 months to go to the deadline for my hand-in and here I am shuffling 50+K words. Mine is a practice-based thesis, 60:40 words: practice, hence the word count.

Pats' post came at just the right moment, providing much needed reassurance that I was doing the right thing.

I have joked for some time that I had all the right words, they were just not necessarily in the right order; to misquote UK comedian Eric Morecambe.

Source link

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Improve Your Writing

Check out Bristol Universities excellent Improve Your Writing web pages...


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Poem: Fragments of Memory with Video

Fragments of Memory

Standing still
A special day
The place I know
The path beside the house
The coal shed
The house next door
Me, my face, my hands
My legs, my shoes
My book My cap
The gabardine raincoat
Keeps me warm and dry
Me ready for school
The path, the bricks along the edge
The shadows
Heavy on the wall
Me, my dad, together
I remember the place
But not the day

An element from my PhD Thesis Exhibition of Studio Practice

Grammarly | Instant Grammar Check - Update #2

UPDATE #2 I previously blogged a post about Grammarly - a Grammar Checker plug-in for Word, on 15 February 2015 when I mentioned that I had uninstalled this Grammar Checking app after personal bad experiences and poor reviews elsewhere. link

However, they seem to have updated the previous version and the Word plug-in is now FREE, it does not enjoy as many functions as the paid-for option. I used it to proof my Ph.D. Thesis, 60k words and it nearly made it to the end. There seems to be a limit on how many edits it will allow in the semi-automated mode. I finished the job of manually but I suppose it did about 50K words before that happened. I have not looked into the issue at this stage because I don't have the time. But it did pick up some interesting stuff but it is slightly more dyslexic in some areas than I am. But that was OK because it was consistent and I just ignored the suggestions. Would I pay for it? No, I don't think so but if you can cope with the minor limitations of the free version I would suggest it is worth a try. There is also a free plug-in for Chrome which I am trying.
If you want to check out the reviews I suggest you Google them, there are too many to list here.