Visual Exploration

Producing A Book with Steidl

Steidl are perhaps one of the best known, and most respected publishers of photo books. Gerhard Steidl started working as a designer and printer in 1967. He soon built up a reputable clientele and the first Steidl book was published in 1972. Watching a film about how the company produces these books was fascinating. I didn’t realise just how involved in the process the photographer is, and how much Steidl is able to express his opinion to the photographer; if he doesn’t like an idea or where the photographer wants the book to go, he will say so and sometimes in very crude terms. He is constantly adjusting the colours of the photographs, and flying all over the world to show photographers prototypes of what their books can look like. The most important thing to Gerhard Steidl and the photographer is the quality of the book and this was very evident in the film that we watched today. In the film we saw a lot of Joel Sternfeld making a book – from showing Steidl how many photos he wanted in the book, to saying how he wanted the images to look like they did on his iPhone screen when he was taking them, to adjusting the colours on the test prints.  I recognised this photographer’s name but I had never seen any of his work before so I was interested to see what his photographs would look like once he had decided on how his book would look. To be honest, I found the style of the documentary quite boring but the subject matter was very interesting to me. The production of books is something that we don’t really know much about, unless you work in that industry so it was an insight into something that I didn’t know that I was ignorant about.

More information about Steidl can be found on their website:

The images are the main components of any photo book but words are just as important. In Image Text-Text Image it says “Text and image can complement one another, the text precisely specifying an event depicted in the image by naming it, for example. The text may just as easily work against the message of the image.” I think that this is something important to remember and something that was emphasised a lot in the documentary. The words and images have suit each other, otherwise they work against each other.


Andrew Esiebo

After seeing some of his photographs in Rwanda in Photographs: Death Then, Life Now I decided to research into him a bit. He is a Nigerian photographer who started out photographing his native country, and its rapid urban development. When his work became more well known his practice started to branch out more. and he began to photograph more of a variety of subjects that explored subjects such as migration, sexuality and football.
He has also been fortunate enough to complete a number of artistic residencies including a 5 month residency in Paris and a 3 month residency in South Korea.

One of things that struck me about his work as I was looking through his website was how cleverly he uses light to enhance colours and textures in the photographs that he takes. Africa is a stereotypically sunny and hot country but this could make taking photographs quite difficult because of the lack of shadows sometimes.

Taking Inspiration




 Seeing the exhibition at the Jerwood Space made me think about landscape photography in a new way. Before, when I thought about it, I always thought of images by Ansel Adams, Andreas Gursky and Alex Boyd of grand scenic views.

But seeing this exhibition made me realise that that isn’t all that landscape photography is. I took these photographs on a day out. I had never really photographed the natural environment so it was something different for me. Something that came across in the exhibition was the love the photographers and artists had for nature, and I wanted to try to get this across in my photographs.

Instagram Discussion

‘Instagram has ruined photography as an art form.’

‘The app Instagram which allows everyone to post photographs on the internet for the world to see has ruined the art of photography. Now, everyone is a photographer. There are filters that allow the photograph to be transformed from not very good to mediocre imagery that is now celebrated worldwide.’ 

by Kristianne Drake.
Thursday, 13 February 2014, 12:33 PM.
One of my lecturers posted this in one of our discussion forums. I found it quite thought provoking because in a sense she is correct – anyone who takes photographs and posts them on Instagram could call themselves a photographer.
Just because a photo is taken on a phone/tablet doesn’t mean it’s less meaningful or good than an image captured on a DSLR camera. I don’t think Instagram has ruined photography as an art form – I think that it has increased people’s appreciation of good photographs and good art in general. It gives people the chance to share photographs that they have taken that they think are good, or just that they think other people would be interested in seeing. It’s very unlikely that anyone will become a professional photographer through posting photos on Instagram so I don’t see it as something threatening to professional photographers.

London Trip: Purdy Hicks

We also visited Purdy Hicks which is a gallery that I had never heard of so I didn’t know what to expect from it. On the coach, I did some research on the gallery and found out that they have links to the Helsinki School in Finland, which is very prestigious and produces a lot of award winning photographers. I expected the gallery to be larger from the impressions I got of it from my research but I really liked the size of it. Having two levels allowed the work to be spread out nicely and it felt welcoming. We had a talk from one of the ladies that works there, which was very interesting and I learnt a lot about how exhibitions are put together and what working in a gallery involves. Their website ( has lots of information about artists who have exhibited their work there and each artist biography gives lots of information, as well as examples of their work.

We saw a couple of pieces of work by Susan Derges which I found very exciting as I had never seen her work in person before but had studied it at A Level.  The artist who had the most pieces currently exhibited was Anni Leppala, who is a Finnish photographer. I had never heard of her or seen her work before but I instantly loved it. There’s such a feeling of nostalgia in each piece and you can see that she is influenced by old paintings, from the colours she uses and the style of her photographs.

Untitled (Thread)

This image by Anni Leppala was my favourite. I really like the colours in it and I think that the lighting she used is very clever. It reminds me of pre raphaelite paintings because of the colours used and also the way that light comes into play in the photograph. I also liked it because it links into my Representation project about portraits where the face is hidden from view.

Visual Exploration

I am a first year photography student at Southampton Solent university.

This is my blog for the unit called Visual Exploration.

To me, the title of this unit describes what photography is all about – exploring the world around us, or exploring concepts and presenting whatever we find through photographs, which is obviously a visual art.

I am really excited for this project and can’t wait to find out what I am going to learn!