Exhibition Notes, Experimentation, Final Project, Practice Development, Project Development

Final Major Project: Zine Version 3

Link to online version

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The font chosen throughout the zine is Proxima Nova (see previous post). This gave the best overall appearance in the quotes.

Each image was placed in an Instagram frame that I made from posting a white square on my account and screenshotted on an iPhone to get the right orientation, before deleting the post.

I created the layout in InDesign and sent a packaged version of this file to the printers. I will evaluate the final product when it arrives in July.

The cover is to be printed on 250gsm silk artboard with matt lamination on the outside. The inner pages are to be printed on 170gsm silk art paper. Full process colour throughout and stapled on the spine during assembly.

The intention is that this publication will be used during the exhibition to navigate through the image names, which will be formed from the individual reference numbers as shown below. (Note: MANIP refers to a digitally manipulated image).


Contextual Research, Final Project, Project Development

Final Major Project: Gallery Website Listing

Link to gallery listing




All images: Fractured Identities – Jo Sutherst | Lansdown Hall & Gallery. 2018. Lansdownhall.org[online]. Available at: http://lansdownhall.org/exhibitions/fractured-identities-jo-sutherst/ [accessed 29 June 2018].





Contextual Research, Final Project, Project Development

Final Major Project: Considering Others – Erving Goffman

“When the individual presents himself before others, his performance will tend to incorporate and exemplify the officially accredited values of the society, more so, in fact, than does his behaviour as a whole.”

– (Goffman, 2007: 45)

Every time you see a friend or acquaintance, they tell you that life is going great. When you look at their profile on social media, you see the same story. And their profile sits amongst a seemingly infinite number of profiles that reflect prosperity and happiness. So, is everyone else living better lives? 

Goffman theorised that human behaviour depends on the personal scenarios and relationships that we are presented with. He described the daily performances that occur in our face-to-face meetings with others suggesting that each of us attempts to control and guide the impression that the other person forms about us. We do this, he proposes, by altering our appearance and mannerisms.  In effect, we are wearing a mask when we meet people.  We then act our way through the interactions, revealing very little about our true authentic selves. Ultimately, we are all immersed in a constant handling of our image before the rest of the world, especially when it comes to our digital representation.


Figure 1: (Erving Goffman and the Social Action Theory – Exploring your mind 2017)


We are actors playing a role that appeals to the audience in front of us. We work hard to reflect those aspects of our identity that we wish to communicate to others. On social media, we seek to create representations of ourselves that reflect a positive and successful image. We create, curate and manipulate photographs and videos that show our successful and happy lives. But these representations are not showing our true identity. Instead, communicating the identity we want or desire.

Goffman also suggests that we behave in a certain way in these situations so that we do not embarrass ourselves or reveal too much about who we are beneath the front we put up. And with this, comes different performances in different settings. We change our masks and our behaviour in each situation.

Behind the mask is like going backstage at the theatre.  Goffman offers that this is a private place where we can be ourselves, removing the masks and revealing our true identity.



Figure 1: Erving Goffman and the Social Action Theory – Exploring your mind. 2017. Exploring your mind [online]. Available at: https://exploringyourmind.com/erving-goffman-and-the-social-action-theory/ [accessed 19 June 2018].



Goffman, E. (2007). The presentation of self in everyday life. London [u.a.]: Penguin Books.

Exhibition Notes, Final Project, Project Development

Final Major Project: Retouching Experiment

Following on from my previous post into Esther Honig’s ‘Before and After’ project, I sent an unaltered image of myself to various retouchers and image editors around the world. Their instruction “Make me more appealing for Instagram”.

Some were carried out as free trials, whilst others I had to pay for. Whether or not an edit has been paid for does not seem to have affected the quality or extent of the edits.

The results are insightful and somewhat intriguing. Each edit offers a glimpse into both the personal and cultural concepts of beauty that their creator has. The edits look as thought thay have been carried out quite crudely in some cases. For example, the editor from Bangladesh has artifically over edited whites of my eyes. They do not look real and it is very obvious that the image has been edited. Others have dramatically changed the shape and size of my face – Canada in particular.

The editing of some images is subtle, whilst others look doll-like and artificial. The skin has been over smoothed and edited a lot (on close inspection, the skin can have the texture of orange peel due to the extensive editing)

I have found this exercise quite amusing. Initially I was concerned by what would be sent back, but now that I have the images I am fascinated by the differences.

Photoshop and phone apps allow us to achieve unobtainable standards of beauty in our selfies. However, if we look at the global standards for beauty and compare ourselves to those, achieving the ideal remains all the more elusive.

The resultant images are below:


color experts production
Colorspit 1
Colorspit 2
Essential Edit
Fix the photo
Portrait 101


Contextual Research, Final Project, Project Development

Final Major Project: Considering Others – Trevor Paglen

Further to my post about Facial Recognition Software, I have considered the work of Trevor Paglen.

Paglen’s work “Machine-Readable Hito” uses a face-analysing algorithm on hundreds of images of fellow artist Hito Steyerl. In each image, she has a different facial expression or angle of her face relative to the camera.  The software then analysed each face. Paglen presented the images with an annotation underneath of the software’s prediction for age, gender, and emotional state.

In one of the images, she is estimated to be 74% female.

“It’s an absurd but simple way to raise a complicated question: Should computers even attempt to measure existentially indivisible characteristics like sex, gender, and personality—and without asking their subject? (Secondarily, what does 100% female even look like?)”

– (Hu 2018)

Figure 1: Trevor Paglen. 2017. Machine Readable Hito “A Study of Invisible Images.” 
Figure 2: Trevor Paglen. 2017. Machine Readable Hito, adhesive wall material.

Paglen’s work is very similar to that of Clément Lambelet (previous post). I viewed Lambelet’s work at Unseen in 2017.




Hu, C. 2017. “The secret images that AI use to make sense of humans”. Quartz [online]. Available at: https://qz.com/1103545/macarthur-genius-trevor-paglen-reveals-what-ai-sees-in-the-human-world/ [accessed 25 June 2018].



Figure 1: Hu, C. 2017. “The secret images that AI use to make sense of humans”. Quartz [online]. Available at: https://qz.com/1103545/macarthur-genius-trevor-paglen-reveals-what-ai-sees-in-the-human-world/ [accessed 25 June 2018].

Figure 2: machine readable – new york art tours. 2017. Newyorkarttours.com[online]. Available at: http://newyorkarttours.com/blog/?tag=machine-readable [accessed 25 June 2018].

Exhibition Notes, Experimentation, Final Project, Project Development

Final Major Project: Zine Version 2

Online Zine – Version 2

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This zine has been developed as an addition and support to the exhibition. The reference number given to each item will form the name of each image. The intention is that visitors to the exhibition will use the zine whilst viewing the work.

Each image has been placed on a blank Instagram post that I created. Quotes have been added as this reflects current Instagram feeds. Posting quote images on Instagram adds diversification to the content of an Instagram feed and humanises my content further. I intend to use these quotes on my feed in the run-up to the exhibition. Quotes encourage engagement and will slow down the viewer.  I will pair them with the planned QR codes to further increase engagement and time spent looking at my feed.

The fonts used need changing to one that is more recognisable as an Instagram font. This will strengthen the link to social media. The quotes need referencing in the final version.

Contextual Research, Final Project, Project Development

Final Major Project: Distortion

“Selfies are typically shot at arm’s length, leading to visible distortions similar to the fisheye effect but with their own characteristics, most notably an enlarged nose.”

– (Fried et al 2016)

An article published today on Vox.com, has highlighted a growing trend for cosmetic nose surgery caused by our noses appearing 30% larger in a selfie (Selfie face distortion is driving people to get nose jobs 2018).

The reason for the apparent growth in our nose size is caused by selfies being taken at such close range.  The camera lens distorts our features, so a larger nose is seen.  This is simply a misrepresentation of our true face. Yet, there are people who readily accept the distortion as reality.

The distortion is a result of perspective.  In a selfie, the nose is the closest part of your face to the camera. The rest of the face is relatively further away. The nose becomes the dominant feature of the selfie in this case. If the image was taken from a further distance (setting the camera to self-timer), the face becomes flattened and the nose appears more in proportion to the rest of the face.

In addition to this, a selfie taken on a smartphone will also be the reverse of what you would see in a mirror. The mirror view is one that we are used to, so this reverse image appears unattractive to us. The focal length of an iPhone is 24mm and this adds to the unflattering appearance of the selfie. In figure 1, the selfie image on the right has a significantly larger nose than in the image taken with the 80mm lens mounted on my Nikon camera.

Figure 1: 80mm Nikon camera lens vs 24mm iPhone lens


Video 1: (Why selfies can make your nose look bigger 2018)


Photography has long been considered to represent reality in an objective manner. In the translation of Ludwig Wittengenstein’s book the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (first published in 1921), Wittgenstein et al (2001: 9) note that ‘we picture facts to ourselves’ and that ‘a picture is a model of reality’. Wittgenstein was referring to how we use language to help us access reality. These statements could also be used to describe how we view a photograph (or selfie) of ourselves. Photography has long been considered as a window to the world. But there is often a disparity between how our face appears in a photograph (or selfie) and how it appears in real life. Lenses and the construction of the camera can distort the image of our face so that we see a representation (or misrepresentation) of ourselves. This viewed image may differ from what we perceive to be socially acceptable and it can lead to us wanting to surgically change our appearance.

Using the RePose software created by Princeton as part of their study into “Perspective-aware Manipulation of Portrait Photos”, I was able to alter the perspective of my face by varying the distance from the camera. I uploaded a self-portrait of myself and adjusted the different settings in order to observe the distortions.


Print 3 - 594 x 841
Figure 2: Original Photograph
Figure 3: Manipulated Images (RePose: Edit (Beta) 2018)


Screenshots below:-

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The software modifies the pose and distance between the camera and subject using just a  single image. The result is that large noses seen in selfies can be ‘corrected’ so that appear in proportion to the rest of the face.


Software running:-


So the camera never lies but just distorts the truth.



Fried, O., Shechtman, E., Goldman, D.B. and Finkelstein, A. 2016. “Perspective-aware Manipulation of Portrait Photos”. Ohadf.com [online]. Available at: http://www.ohadf.com/papers/FriedShechtmanGoldmanFinkelstein_SIGGRAPH2016.pdf [accessed 21 June 2018].

Perspective-aware Manipulation of Portrait Photos. 2018. Faces.cs.princeton.edu[online]. Available at: http://faces.cs.princeton.edu [accessed 21 June 2018].

RePose: Edit (Beta). 2018. Faces.cs.princeton.edu [online]. Available at: http://faces.cs.princeton.edu/live/demo.html?id=9a286bdfa2e8c07e0fa0080f1418e33f&type=jpg [accessed 21 June 2018].

Selfie face distortion is driving people to get nose jobs. 2018. Vox [online]. Available at: https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/3/1/17059566/plastic-surgery-selfie-distortion [accessed 21 Jun 2018].

Wittgenstein, L., Pears, D.F., McGuinness, B.F. and Russell, B. (2001) Tractatus logico-philosophicus. London: Routledge.



Why selfies can make your nose look bigger. 2018. YouTube [online]. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&time_continue=13&v=9zumV39nm60 [accessed 21 June 2018].



Figure 3: RePose: Edit (Beta). 2018. Faces.cs.princeton.edu [online]. Available at: http://faces.cs.princeton.edu/live/demo.html?id=9a286bdfa2e8c07e0fa0080f1418e33f&type=jpg [accessed 21 June 2018].

Feedback, Final Project, Project Development

Final Major Project: Group Critique Summary Notes – 20th June 2018

Notes from my recent group critique with Krishna Sheth – recorded here for reference and action.

I presented my work to date and planned installation.

Key points for consideration:-

  • Action points:-
    • Love the work – great insight into using self as the canvas
    • Consider having visitors to exhibition use props – allow them to play around and take selfies. Print images and display as part of exhibition
    • Contact makeup companies about work – may need to happen after the exhibition
    • very strong work – new layout ideas work well
    • Using self as the subject removes ethical issues about mental health – dissecting self – powerful
Exhibition Notes, Final Project, Project Development

Final Major Project: Current Installation Plans

My current thoughts on the planned installation are shown in the image below.

One end wall is planned to be a digital wall with tablets and digital photo frames displaying other images and videos that are part of this project.

There are still some considerations to be made about the long wall installation – this version is less linear than the first version, but still needs some work.

installation v2