Category Archives: Notes

Photographs for Purposes of Identification

Identification photographs have a number of strict rules. For example:

“The photo must be of the applicant: facing forward and looking straight at the camera in close-up of their face, head and shoulders with a recommended head height (the distance between the bottom of the chin and the crown of the head) of between 29 and 34 millimetres with a neutral expression and with the mouth closed (no smiling, frowning or raised eyebrows) with their eyes open and clearly visible […] free from reflection or glare on glasses, and frames must not cover eyes (we recommend that, if possible, glasses are removed for the photo) showing their full head, without any head covering, unless they wear one for religious beliefs or medical reasons with no other objects or people in the photo (this also applies to a photo of a baby or young child and babies should not have toys or a dummy in the photo)” – HM Passport Office – Passport Photograph Guidance

“…the photograph must have been taken within the last six months; the applicant should not look down or to either side [ …] angled views are NOT accepted; the photos must be clear, well defined and taken against a plain white or light-colored background; sunglasses or other wear which detracts from the face are not acceptable unless required for medical reasons (an eye patch, for example)” – Russian Visa Photo Specification

All of this should lead to something that is unequivocally me, but certain bits – in particular the UKPA requirement for me to take off my glasses – seem to make them remarkably unlike the Simon Chirgwin who looks out at me while I shave in the morning.

I find ID pictures suggest different personas – the harrassed middle-aged dad (my old driving licence) – or different fictional circumstances – me, chained to a radiator in Beirut (my pass for work). None of them are really me, but various officials agree to conspire with me that they are…


References:

  • HM Passport Office – Passport Photograph Guidance – https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/303780/Photoguidance_v7.pdf
  • Russian Visa Photo Specifications – http://www.ruscon.org/forms/photospecs.htm

Links accessed, 8/8/16

NFTU # 4 – A Blinding Flash!

Moscow – Hotel Warshawa, Room 518 (2016)

I was reading the chapter of David Bate’s book Art Photography where he considers “Archives, Networks and Narratives” and had reached the section that dealt with Sophie Calle’s Hotel Room photographs (pp 115-119). The work is made up of pictures taken by Calle while she was working as a cleaner in a Venetian hotel. They are a record of the possessions guests had left out, scattered around their rooms. The pictures are supported by Calle’s account of her employment and what she found in the rooms and when.  They allow you to construct a picture of the people staying in the rooms from the objects they have left behind. There is a distinct sense of surveillance and the collection of evidence. Looking at the pictures (I had first become daware of them in 2010 during the big Tate Modern show, Exposed ) you begin to wonder what the cleaner thinks of you as they clean your hotel room. Just what sort of person can be constructed from the things you leave lying around? Continue reading

NFTU # 1 – Joel Sternberg

Joel Sternberg: “A photograph is only a fragment of a shattered pot” (O’Hagan,2017, p.18)

Joel Sternberg: “You take 35 out of 360 degrees and call it a photo” (O’Hagan,2017, p.17)

So, am I taking (finding?) a series of shards that I hope will turn out to be a complete pot one day?

 


Reference:

O’Hagan, A (2017) The drifter. The Guardian (G2). 11th January. p.16

Notes from the underground

I realise that I spend far too much time agonising over hitting ‘publish’ here (by which I mean in the wordpress editor) and as a result, I have at least four huge essays on the stocks that will need finishing off before this module goes for assessment. I also spend a chunk of the week on the Underground reading as I go back and forward between home and work.

And also, I could do with working out how to do the whole Harvard Referencing System thing.

So, I think I’ll try and pick up the publication pace before I start  Identity and Place and get in the way of jotting down markers for stuff that I find interesting or inspirational or just needing a bit more work to figure out properly. And also for quick bursts of thought occasioned by visiting an exhibition.

Oh yes – and I also came up with a nice smart-arse generic title. Always helps… Continue reading

Some thoughts on the display of assignments (and pictures generally) online and off it

What follows is what I jotted down in my physical log at about one in the morning when I couldn’t get back top sleep because of toothache.

I had been thinking about the online presentation of Assignment 1, and was looking through John Berger and Jean Mohr’s Another Way of Telling. I began to muse on  the differences between different forms of presentation for photographs.  I then started to wonder how this related to their meaning, particularly when that meaning relies on the relationship between the individual pictures and their layout.  Continue reading