Exploration: Combining images and text

Combining images and text

I did the research and writing for most of this item at A1 because I realised that experimenting in this area would be important throughout this module. I picked up the writing again during A4 when I and thinking about how to present images and text for the assignment ‘I had a dream last night.’

The items that I researched are new to me and have the potential for use in this and future modules. I indicate where I have experimented with them. I have yet to work my way through Part Four ‘image and text’  in the OCA notes.

1. Presenting text in relation to the distance an image is from a number

This link was recommended by an OCA student living in Germany. http://www.hfbk-hamburg.de/de/studium/studienschwerpunkte/grafik-typografie-fotografie/ I didn’t fully understand this work even after translating from the German, but it is a concept that sticks in my mind (Fotografie, 2016). Maybe locating images at an emotional or physical distance would work.

I decided to do this in Exercise 2.3 which is ‘same model different backgrounds’ https://drgsiandp.wordpress.com/exercises/2-3-same-model-different-backgrounds/. In my series I have located images of the sitters life on a public (Pu) to private (Pr) persona scale of. My scale goes from -10 to + 10 for each domain, -10 being lowest and + 10 being highest. The model was happy with this analysis, scale and text which I think adds an extra dimension to understanding the person in the image. Two images from the series follow.

Mag t foodbank (1 of 1)

Margaret 1: Pu +7; Pr -6

Mag t open (1 of 1)

Margaret 5: Pu -8; Pr +9

Clive white suggested “This is something I did as an example for one of my students who was enquiring about it… http://clivewhite.com/popup.html13 This is what my student did with it http://www.lightrider.biz/page6.html19 This takes the use of numbers and code a step further on.

2. As a multimedia slide and video show with interviews.

I am not sure where I first saw this presentation but it is an excellent and memorable audio-visual (Henley, 2013). http://www.theguardian.com/world/interactive/2013/may/26/firestorm-bushfire-dunalley-holmes-family.

Screenshot 2017-03-11 14.55.05

Henley, Topham. (2013). Firestorm, , The Guardian on line. http://www.theguardian.com/world/interactive/2013/may/26/firestorm-bushfire-dunalley-holmes-family. Accessed 12th August, 2016

The ‘Firestorm’ presentation in ‘The Guardian on line’ may be  the future of on line presentation of photographic images. From the beginning of this module I had an aspiration to do something similar for the presentation of A4 or A5. We will see how that works out.

It was my tutor that recommended I look at Jim Goldberg’s work combining image and text and I have done a blog entry elsewhere https://drgsiandp.wordpress.com/photographers/jim-goldberg/ (Goldberg, 1992).

His most famous work is ‘Raised by Wolves’ http://www.jimgoldberg.com which “combines ten years of original photographs, text, and other illustrative elements (home movie stills, snapshots, drawings, diary entries, and images of discarded belongings) to document the lives of runaway teenagers in San Francisco and Los Angeles.” ‘Firestorm’ would be the contemporary version of this mixed media presentation (Goldberg, 1992).

As I write  I have just had feedback for a trial slide show of preliminary images done in Adobe Premier Pro – my first one! https://drgsiandp.wordpress.com/assignments-2/a-4-image-and-text/a-4-experiments-shared-with-oca-peers/

Dream trial No 1

Screenshot 2017-03-11 14.56.26

‘I had a dream last night’ A4 trial video for OCA peers

What I notice most is that there is a gap between the quality of the ‘Firestorm’ presentation and mine, but maybe I can close that gap and have my own style too which is probably slightly clinical, cool and detached.

3. As a slide show

A good example of this is Daniel Meadow’s ‘Music Factory’ https://vimeo.com/157846989?from=outro-embed http://www.photobus.co.uk where Meadows talks about the early years of ‘Joy Division’ (Meadows, 2016).

Screenshot 2017-03-11 14.59.01

Meadows, D. (2016). My photography stories, no. 14: Factory Records by Daniel Meadows https://vimeo.com/157846989?from=outro-embed. Vimeo, Vimeo.com.

Now that I have had a trial of putting together my own slide show a few new things stand from reviewing this video; he has text scrolling to one side and underneath (mine is static) and limited text at that with speech that continues throughout the piece, variations in slide change, and he keeps the ‘ums’ and stutters in the visible text (which I would never do in transcribing a research interview). It is a modest but effective presentation of black and white photographs but is the florid commentary of Meadows that makes it live; in one place he talks about a musician as “an alchemist of sound.”

‘June Street’ is another documentary slide show by Daniel Meadows a contemporary of Martin Parr https://vimeo.com/57256051 (Meadows, 2013).

Screenshot 2017-03-11 14.59.17

Meadows, D. (2013). June Street https://vimeo.com/57256051. Vimeo, Vimeo.com.

In 1973 he teamed up with fellow student Martin Parr and together they photographed the residents of June Street in Salford, twenty houses awaiting demolition. June Street had been used to film Coronation Street and was due to be demolished. Meadows and Parr were asking if the ‘real’ June Street and the fictional TV street were related. The images are black and white and they fade in and out in simple way. Meadows drives the images along with a commentary but there is also an audio clip, of a couple talking about what might change when they move, which adds another dimension. I may add a video of my subject at the end of the presentation.

4. A fabricated book

Fabricate a paper book as in Julian Germain’s ‘Soccer’ Book with collectable cards (Germain, 1992). In Soccer Wonderland Souvenir Stamp Album he has collectable cards in a beautifully printed book. http://www.juliangermain.com/publications.php.

This reminded me of the Ahlberg’s book ‘The Jolly Postman’ which is packed full of card items to insert and remove from their holding places (Ahlberg, 1986).

Screenshot 2017-03-11 15.22.10

Ahlberg, J+J. (1986). The Jolly Postman and other people’s letters U.K., William Heinmeann.

While I was researching Jim Goldberg I came across a video by him about how to produce a folded paper book (Goldberg, Khemil, 2015).  https://vimeo.com/112883237.

I realise that prints and output matter a great deal and I always print my material once I am happy with it to ensure that the quality is there and as practice for the future. I am not sure if this will be one of my outputs in this module but if not I will keep it up my sleeve as I want to experiment with this options.

One of my peers (after posting my original post on the OCA site for comment) directed me to  Philip Brookman’s ‘Redlands’ which combines words and images into a fictional story (ASX, 2015) http://www.americansuburbx.com/2015/07/a-real-page-turner-in-this-la-fiction-philip-brookman-redlands.html

The most interesting link is to a lecture of Bookman talking about how he made this workBrookman, P. (2105). http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/audio-video/audio/brookman-redlands.html.

In this presentation recorded on June 7, 2015, at the National Gallery of Art, Philip Brookman introduces his cinematic novel Redlands, which weaves together an intimate sequence of words and pictures set in Mexico, California, and New York City during the unsettled decades of the sixties, seventies, and eighties. Brookman mixes a fictional journey with a collage of images from his own photographic diaries and sketchbooks to invent the first-person character of Kip, a young photographer who wanders America—back and forth between the farmworkers and poets of California and New York—trying to find a sense of purpose in the death of his mother, whom he barely knew. When Kip learns that he cannot trust the eyewitness accounts of his sister Addie, he picks up a camera to help verify his own experiences. By juxtaposing the oppositional strategies of fiction and documentary practice to conjure a fabricated narrative, Redlands questions the veracity of logical observation and embraces the poetry of the real world.http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/audio-video/audio/brookman-redlands.html 

I noted;

  • That he collaborated with Goldberg in fabricating ‘Raised by Wolves.’ These are similar books.
  • He invents a story to illustrate images and images inform the  story too
  • Any think can be used such as scraps of postcard to help carry the story – I don’t need to create everything
  • It comes from specific memories and not an autobiographical story: maybe my stories do not need to be literal but can be imagined and fabricated?

5. Text alongside images

This is probably the commonest way to combine text and images, with the text being letters, handwriting or graphics within or outside of the frame. I A1 I experimented with having text within the frame but after seeing Humans of New York I think separating the two was a better decision (HONY, 2016). The story in HONY is what draws you to into this persons life.

Screenshot 2017-03-11 15.29.28

Latest story from HONY, March 11th 2017. www.humansofnewyork.com

I have seen several examples of handwritten text alongside photographs in galleries in the UK and abroad. I have a handwritten diary of my experiences of anticipatory grief for my daughter who died a few months ago that I will use alongside my images in A5 of Identity and Place. There is an immediacy about handwriting which is lost in computer printout. An example I like is from an OCA student Blas Gonzales (Gonzales, 2017).


Screenshot 2017-03-13 10.13.16

I have looked at several people combining cutting, written text and images. Jo Spence is someone, perhaps like Jim Goldberg who successfully combines research and writing (Spence, 2016). http://www.jospence.org/work_index.html.

My blog entry – https://drgsiandp.wordpress.com/photographers/jo-spence/

My question at the end of this post is two fold: what will I experiment with now and in the future and are their other ways or refinements of what is here that I can use? Then there is the question of my style which is tied up with presentation, subject matter and intention.

6. Text as the image

This addition to my blog again comes from and OCA peer where text is the image (Dickinson, 2015). https://standickinson.com/2015/03/12/textbooknew-chapter-addendum-scrap-for-the-bin/.

Braille which is visible as well as tactile is another way to making text the image. https://kateastonoca.wordpress.com/2015/11/22/3-5-photographs-from-text/

I have recently done a photo-book where the words are pictograms. It was shame my pictures illustrating letters were idiosyncratic and sometimes obtuse!


Fotographie (2016). “Studienschwerpunkt Grafik / Typografie / Fotografie.” Retrieved August 27th, 2016, from http://www.hfbk-hamburg.de/de/studium/studienschwerpunkte/grafik-typografie-fotografie/.

Henley, Topham. (2013). Firestorm, , The Guardian on line. http://www.theguardian.com/world/interactive/2013/may/26/firestorm-bushfire-dunalley-holmes-family. Accessed 12th August, 2016

Goldberg, J. (1992). “Raised by Wolves. http://jimgoldberg.com.” Retrieved 18th September, 2016.

Meadows, D. (2016). My photography stories, no. 14: Factory Records by Daniel Meadows https://vimeo.com/157846989?from=outro-embed. Vimeo, Vimeo.com.

Meadows, D. (2013). June Street https://vimeo.com/57256051. Vimeo, Vimeo.com.

Germain, J. (1992). In Soccer Wonderland Souvenir Stamp Album http://www.juliangermain.com/publications.php, Why Not Publishing

Ahlberg, J. (1986). The Jolly Postman and other people’s letters U.K., William Heinmeann.

Jim Goldberg, K Khemil. (2015). How-to fold your single sheet book: from the TATE Modern Exhibition; Conflict, Time, Photography. https://vimeo.com/112883237. Vimeo.

A ‘Real Page Turnter’ in this LA Fiction: Philip Brookman’s ‘Redlands.’ http://www.americansuburbx.com/2015/07/a-real-page-turner-in-this-la-fiction-philip-brookman-redlands.html

Brookman, P. (2105). Making Redlands: A Novel in Words and Pictures  http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/audio-video/audio/brookman-redlands.html. National Gallery of Arts, NGA.gov.

HONY (2016). “Humans of New York. .” Retrieved 12th August, 2016, from http://www.humansofnewyork.com.

Blas Gonzales. (2017). Blas Gonzales – Putting yourself in the picture. https://weareoca.com/photography/blas-gonzales-putting-picture/. Student work. Open College of the Arts: WeAreOCA, OCA.com.

Spence, J. (2016). “Jo Spence: Artists website.” Retrieved 12th January, 2016, from http://www.jospence.org/work_index.html.

Dickinson, S. (2015). Texbook – new chapter; addenum; scrap for the bin? https://standickinson.com/2015/03/12/textbooknew-chapter-addendum-scrap-for-the-bin/. Stan’s creative space – ‘Body of work’. 2017.