Task 5: The Process

  1. 1. Read your Playbook assignment very thoroughly. Think about how you could summarise it to someone who hasn’t read it. Then tweet a synopsis that focuses on the key elements guiding the assignment–be creative with your words, and keep your synopsis under three tweets.

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2. Conduct an investigation into the author of your task. Be thorough. Immerse yourself in learning as much as you can about their life and career. This investigation will be realised with an Instagram post that shares a visual portrait of the author, with some key statements that will enable a reading audience to get some sense of who they are, and what you have discovered about them.

Research on Rein Jelle Terpstra:

  • Retracting: working with people that are about to lose their eye sight- links into task as they cant see the images/ know what is in the image without a description or other support- brail? Evoke the images in their heads through language years later, this will retrace their visual memory for them
  • Living in a culture of high-speed production- including distribution and presentation of photographic images, Terpstra aims for a different relationship with the photograph. Doesn’t want people to look through the photograph towards the scene but to think further- the possibilities of making this ‘transparent’ medium receivable itself
  • Public space
  • With and about photography
  • Themes: memory, the absence of photographic images, seeing, reflection on seeing (what do we physically need to present to provide a memory?) deeper thought than just looking at the image
  • Photography has a very immediate relationship with memory, ways of experimenting with this other than just presenting an image is interesting
  • After images- invited friends and colleagues who were engaged with memory, language or photography to write a story
  • Collaborations- making people think more into it
  • Tutor and promoter fine arts and photography- Minerva academy of fine arts

I found creating a portrait of Terpstra hard, I think this was mainly because his photographic practice often didn’t involve images. This is something that i found hard to get my head around and understand. In the end I decided to focus on the point of absence that a lot of his work revolved around. See my Instagram post with the portrait below.

Instagram post

3. Conduct a critical analysis of the author’s work––focus on attaining a sense of how their work may relate to the assignment they have contributed to The Photographer’s Playbook. This critical analysis will be presented in a second Instagram post, with an image you have made in the author’s “style,” that may help illustrate the key points you are making about the work.

This step also needed to be posted on Instagram. Once again I struggled to know what to do for the in the style for Terpstra. This is hard when the author doesn’t really create images as part of his work. For this reason I decided to concentrate on one project ‘Dark Dunes.’ I was really drawn to this work.

In the style images:

See my in the style Instagram post below.

Instagram Post

4. Complete the task assigned to you from the playbook.

Receiving this task was the biggest shock over the module. After research I realised that the content and the author suited me perfectly. However it was the fact that I didn’t need to physically make any images for the task that surprised me. See my research for this task below:

  • Bindi Vora- images that have failed ‘in the blue light we failed’
  • Expose some film and see what images are made to accompany my story?
  • Or think of images that have failed for me in the past, could this create the story/ be used within it?
  • Film ends- the discarded parts of film that didn’t capture the whole image, a light trace normally- colour, describes the sensory experience standing before the landscape
  • Family archives- old film- blurred images, what are these and where? A more personal touch
  • Audio record my story?
  • Book form?
  • Describe the scenes and why I was unable or unwilling to take the images, why is this moment important but not recorded- ethics? Technical difficulties?
  • Does this missed opportunity influence thinking or imagination? Does it impact our memory?
  • Can this inspire new thoughts and stories?
  • Relationship between the image and the photographer- language, image culture and the absence of images
  • About photography without photos
  • Social media- everyone feels the need to document everything, whilst doing this they lose the feel of actual being their- people try too hard to show that they are having a good time when really you just need the memories, not images to do this. What do people have to prove?
  • ‘the one that got away’ – did it though?
  • What could have been if I was able to take the pictures and why I didn’t, was this out of choice?
  • Unable or unwilling to take the image
  • Bringing a camera in causes a fake moment, a posed memory- chances are without the presence of an image the moment would be very different- better
  • Spontaneity
  • Always have my phone that has a sufficient camera, but does that mean it needs to be used for that purpose on a daily purpose?
  • Moments are easily remembered and if you need and image to prompt this maybe it isn’t worth it?
  • Social media sites- facebook, flickr (erik Kessels), snapchat, instagram, twitter- all revolve around images, moments, memories- is this just our generations way of bragging, boasting and showing off about their life? Is this really a true representation?
  • Photos boost memory however they do not recall the history
  • John billiard- cropping
  • Photos can be manipulated to represent different things, to make you think something has happened when reality it never did.
  • ‘Memories are unrelenting whereas photographs can be forgiving’- change your opinion on a moment or a memory- for the better or worse
  • Images cute out context- frozen in that time, and that specific frame, anything could be going on in the wider image
  • Seeking attention through images and social media
  • Does recording every moment take away from those special moments worthy of being recorded?
  • Has how we use photography been blurred in our generation? Should it be used for everything?

The story I have written:

The Digital Native

Being part of the generation that I am, the digital native, I do not believe that it is images that I haven’t taken due to a lack of equipment is a main focus of this story. But more the images I have chosen not to take. Sure, there are moments that seem unethical to capture but what I want to focus on are the times I have decided to just live in the moment and not worry about documenting each and every time I go out and do something fun. I have a perfectly good camera on my phone, which is charged 99% of the time, however that doesn’t mean it needs to be used for that purpose on a day-to-day basis.

Now social media is expanding I feel like a big worry is how we come across online, this often a fake representation. Almost everyone that I know is on social media, including myself, and quite frankly if you aren’t it is a little strange. But does this newfound way of connecting with people encourage people to stop enjoying the time when they are out and making memories? In my opinion people have started trying too hard to impress people, prove that they have been here and there. The time spent trying to get a good picture rather than just having a good time seems ridiculous to me. Why tarnish the memory with constant poses and documenting when you could just remember it for what it was.

Erik Kessels installation ’24 hrs in photos’ shows several rooms flooded with photos, these are just off Flickr in 24 hours. This is a tiny representation of the amount of images that have been taken on social media, other sites to consider include: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and more! All of these revolve around image making, moments and memories.

But is this attention seeking worth it? The false representation causes confusion when people meet or reconnect in person. In my opinion it’s less of ‘the one that got away’ and more like ‘the one that was unnecessary’. Although it is true a photo can boost a memory it does not recall history. Bringing a camera into a situation causes posed memories, without this moment I believe that the memory would be much different. If we just stopped worrying about what other people thought and enjoyed the moments we are in the world would be a lot less of a judgemental place.

Another thing to consider is how we are choosing to frame our images; this cuts out a lot of the memory, effecting what is seen. This allows us to curate our own life and edit out the parts that we don’t want people to see. Cropping an image in a certain way is very deceiving; John Hilliard’s series ‘cause of death’ is enough proof of this. In this series the same image is cropped in 4 different ways, each suggesting a different cause of death. But should we be able to mislead people like this?

In my practise I like to focus on the things people miss in everyday life due to looking at the endless posts on social media, yet another negative to the creation. Don’t let the use of photography continue to be blurred into the future, not every single moment of your life needs to be documented. I encourage you all to put your phone down and appreciate what is around you, create memories and live in the moment, not in the camera.

5. 250 word critical rationale

When first receiving my final task it was a shock that I didn’t have to create any images to complete it. I originally tried to find a way around this; this is seen in my research, with artists such as Bindi Vora. However I realised that this is something that shouldn’t be fought. Although I as a photographer like to be active in creating images in whatever I do I realised that the author for this task and the thought process behind it was perfectly suited to me so by embracing this I was able to look at what I consider to be my style in a completely different light.

Overall I have really enjoyed this task, it has allowed me to think a lot about photography and what I consider to be the pros and cons. Thinking deeper into the absence within the genre has made me see a lot of work in a different light, by having this new focus I think I will be able to critically evaluate work more successfully.As well I have been able to practice my writing, which is something that I always consider to be one of my weaknesses. This is something that I have been trying to work on, as writing articles and stories in relation to photography is also one of my interests. Completing this this task has not only given me the confidence to step outside my comfort zone and start writing more often but also inspired me to create a new body of work with similar connotations.

6. Letter to the author

Dear Rien Jelle Terpstra,

I am currently in my second year of studying photography at Coventry University. For our final module of second year, as a class, we are responding to as many of the assignments in the Photographer’s Playbook as we can. With these responses we aim to make a publication in response to the book. For my final task I had to respond to your assignment.

I will admit when I first read the assignment I was a little disappointed and shocked that I didn’t have to take any pictures. This is completely different to anything else that I have done. Originally I tried to get around this, and think of ways to incorporate images. However the more I researched the more I realised how perfectly suited your task was for my style and me! I really love how your task has made me think about photography in a completely different and totally relevant way. When photography first came about this viewpoint may not of been as applicable, due to the turn around time. However with the technology today I wonder if photography is a little too throw away- your task made me consider this and also how I could represent this, inspiring me to start new projects!

Since completing your task I have become more open minded to many things, and often things I would normally be hesitant about. Writing is certainly not my strong point so I was dreading writing the story, however once I got into it I thoroughly enjoyed writing it. I now realise that I was wrong to think more negatively, especially without having given it a go! I am grateful to you for writing this task and allowing me broaden my practice and develop my interests further.

I have decided to send you a letter, as apposed to an email, as I think this suits your style. By doing so I am slowing down the turn around time of the communication. I hope you have enjoyed hearing from me and reading my story (please see below). I hope to hear back from you.

Kind Regards,

Bethany Crisp




(Story will also be sent)



Anon. (2016) Black And White [online] available from <http://www.kevinnovales.com/239l5mlqgdwoik4g8dbb368jyyb5tg&gt; [19 May 2016]

Anon. (2016) Home : Bindi Vora [online] available from <http://www.bindivora.co.uk&gt; [16 May 2016]

Anon. (2016) Introduction | Nabeelden (Stories Of Photographs Not Taken) [online] available from <http://www.thephotographnottaken.org&gt; [17 May 2016]

Anon. (2016) KK : 24 HRS IN PHOTOS [online] available from <http://www.kesselskramer.com/exhibitions/24-hrs-of-photos&gt; [17 May 2016]

Anon. (2016) Rein Jelle Terpstra – Retracing – Idea Books [online] available from <http://www.ideabooks.nl/9789460830761-rein-jelle-terpstra-retracing&gt; [14 May 2016]

Anon. (2016) Reinjelle Terpstra [online] available from <http://www.reinjelleterpstra.nl&gt; [14 May 2016]

Anon. (2016) The American Experience | The Wizard Of Photography | People & Events | The Kodak Camera Starts A Craze [online] available from <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/eastman/peopleevents/pande13.html&gt; [19 May 2016]

Anon. (2016) The Netherlands Photography Museum In Rotterdam [online] available from <http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/stuart-forster/netherlands-photography-museum-in-rotterdam_b_2875849.html&gt; [16 May 2016]