Exhibition Notes, Final Project, Project Development

Final Major Project: The Exhibition – Visitor Notes

Following feedback on the first day of the exhibition, I created a set of notes that were printed and placed in the gallery for visitors to pick up and peruse during their visit.


Exhibition Notes – Fractured Identities

  1. Self-portrait

Raw and unedited image


  1. The bags under my eyes are Chanel

How I truly am under my glasses


  1. Lash obsession

Mirroring the obsessive nature of selfies. These images are not digitally enhanced but instead are of me wearing many different pairs of false lashes in around 90 minutes. I set out to achieve 9 images but became obsessed with creating a bigger and bigger picture. I only gave up when my eyelids were so stuck together that it hurt to free them.

The image names are created from the makeup reference numbers in the supporting booklet.

  1. Enhancement?

PortraitPro Software was used to enhance each image incrementally


  1. The mask of divine proportion 

(Marquardt Beauty Mask)

The “golden ratio” proportions are found throughout nature. Dr Marquardt carried out research that led him to develop a mask that defined a mathematical beauty code for the human face. In this image, I take the mask, apply it to my face and then edit my face in Photoshop to make it conform to the mask. The resultant image is in the bottom left-hand corner.

  1. The contour tribe

To consider the current trend of contouring and sharing the process and finished product online, I chose to apply different contouring to my face and use the images to create a tribal image

The image names are created from the makeup reference numbers in the supporting booklet.

  1. Make me more appealing for Instagram

I asked photo editors and retouchers around the world to enhance my portrait to make it “more appealing for Instagram”

The edits are from (left to right, top to bottom):






An eyelash obsession image edited to the maximum.

The image name is created from the makeup reference numbers in the supporting booklet.


Exhibition Notes – Fractured Identities

  1. Digital Display 1 – Props, wigs and makeup trials

Images showing how much my appearance can be altered by using makeup, different props, masks, and wigs.


  1. Digital Display 2 – Beauty gadgets

Trialling different facial beauty enhancers from around the world.


  1. Digital Display 3 – Instagram Gallery

Mirroring my Instagram image collection which combines words and images.


  1. Digital Display 4 – Instagram Gallery

Mirroring my Instagram image collection as individual images.


  1. Digital Display 5 – Facial recognition software

Using Microsoft Azure Face Software – Face detection

The software is used to detect one or more human faces in an image and get back face rectangles for where in the image the faces are. This is similar to the software used on Facebook when tagging images.  The software also delivers information about the face –  age, emotion, gender, and whether or not the person is wearing glasses. Uploading my images into the software, my age varies from 20 to 62, and my gender is determined as mostly female, although in some images the software determines that I am male!

  1. Digital Display 6 – Make me more appealing for Instagram

I asked photo editors and retouchers around the world to enhance my portrait to make it “more appealing for Instagram”.

The edits are each compared against the original.  Edits were collected from the following locations:- Canada, India, Mexico, China, California, Hungary, Vietnam, Texas, New York, London, Bangladesh, Australia.

  1. Digital Display 7 – Beauty gadgets and behind the scenes videos

Various videos running on a loop showing behind the scenes and trials of different facial beauty enhancers from around the world.

Exhibition Notes, Final Project, Project Development

Final Major Project: Exhibition Edits – The Instagram Exhibition

Created for online sharing, the Instagram edits evolved from the production of the exhibition booklet / zine. In a 1-1 discussion, Wendy McMurdo commented that the image from the booklet that I showed her was amongst the strongest work of the project in her opinion. After this, I decided to create a complete series.

There are often sayings and phrases on Instagram, so I decided that it would be a good idea to pair sayings with images. I Googled different makeup and selfie sayings (each image contains the reference information underneath the hashtags). Each saying was placed in a different colour box and pasted onto a screenshot of a blank post I placed on Instagram. The Instagram post was copied and then deleted. The hashtags and tag used in the images were chosen to reflect the project – #fractured_identities #mask #portrait #portraits @jo_sutherst_photography #obsession #selfie #selfies.

Each saying was then paired up with a self-portrait taken during the project. The pairs were placed into a template created in Photoshop to ensure the consistent layout. A gap was left between the images because my intention was always to post to Instagram utilising the grid layout (3 images across). Each saying was matched to the most appropriate image to reflect the message.

The posts were placed during July in the run-up to the exhibition.

In the future, the plan may be to print and exhibit them, but the for the time being they are will remain in the digital realm.



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Exhibition Notes, Final Project, Project Development

Final Major Project: The Exhibition – The Installation Process

Installation day!

Having collected the framed prints from the framers and already in the 2 cars, we loaded the additional items – digital photo frames, leaflets etc. (My chosen specification for the work – Prints – C-Type Matt, Frames – Limed Oak, Digital Frames – Black Stained Oak)

The gallery is approximately 40 minutes drive from home. Luckily on arrival, we were able to find 2 spaces relatively close the gallery to unload. We then had to move the cars to a car park at the top of the steep hill in Stroud (good exercise on the way back up every day!)

The Lansdown Hall and Gallery is a Grade 2 listed building, decorated with rustic-cut Cotswold stone turrets and pinnacles, built in the 1880’s as a Temperance Hall. It is owned by Stroud Town Council to be held in perpetuity for the community, and run as a community venue by a small charity.

As part of the booking, it was stipulated that the images would be fixed directly to the wall with mirror plates and self-tapping screws. The historic walls are protected by a layer of plasterboard and faced off with a thick layer of painted marine plywood. This meant that the installation was not too tricky. Thankfully, I had my very handy husband to help with the job.

Each frame was wrapped in a thick clingfilm, which meant the images did not move when layered in the cars. We removed this layer only at the point of installation of each image.

Our first task was to place the images against the wall according to the latest installation plans.

On inspecting the wall, it was decided that 2 of the images needed to be swapped around to give the layout below:-


The installation started with the ‘Lash Obsession’ image placed above the fireplace. Once in position, this gave us the top line for the images. The intention being that the top line would be constant around the room for the framed images.

The distance between the end images was measured so that the gap between images could be evened out.

Using his laser level, my husband was able to project the top line along the wall from the first image. Removeable stickers were placed on the wall to indicate the position of each image to aid the installation. My husband held each image in place whilst I fastened the first screw in place. Then, using a long spirit level to check that each image was level and inline with the previous one, and a short spirit level to check each image itself was level, we were able to finalise the position of each image and fasten both screws in place.

We continued this along the long back wall and used the laser level to project the top line around the corner onto one end wall to maintain the top line.

Once installed, there was a lot of reflection from the bright sunlight streaming through the windows – I had not encountered this on my previous visits to the gallery.

The digital photo frames and PC were installed on the end wall in a more random arrangement to reflect the often chaotic overload of information from the internet.

The installation process took around 5 hours to complete. this was in line with our anticipated amount of time. Due to the sie and weight of the images, it was a definite 2 person job.

Overall, I was very pleased with the outcome.

Final Project, Practice Development

Final Major Project: Raison d’être of a Selfie

“The very raison d’être of a selfie is to be shared in social media, it is not made for maker’s own personal consumption and contemplation . . . By sharing a selfie Instagram users express their belonging to a community, or a wish to belong to one.”

– (Tifentale 2014)


Quote taken from an essay which is part of Selfiecity, a research project led by Dr. Lev Manovich. Link to selfiecity.net



TIFENTALE, A. 2014. “The Selfie: Making sense of the “Masturbation of Self-Image” and the “Virtual Mini-Me””. D25rsf93iwlmgu.cloudfront.net [online]. Available at: http://d25rsf93iwlmgu.cloudfront.net/downloads/Tifentale_Alise_Selfiecity.pdf [accessed 24 July 2018].

Exhibition Notes, Feedback, Final Project, Project Development

Final Major Project: The Exhibition – The QR Codes

To increase engagement with my online profiles and website, I  used a QR code generator (https://www.qrcode-monkey.com) to create unique QR codes for use during the exhibition.

These were printed and placed in the exhibition.


A QR code was also produced specifically to assist in the collection of feedback.



Experimentation, Final Project, Practice Development

Final Major Project: Collaboration

During this project, I have been helped tremendously by Alley Stallard. Alley is a friend, a makeup artist, and studio owner.

All my portraits were shot in her studio as it is the place I feel at home, creative, and safe to push my own boundaries. Alley is always there to make me a coffee, help me with my makeup (often correcting my mistakes!), put on excessive numbers of false lashes, and she acts as my assistant during the shoot.

I generally use a remote trigger during shoots, but there are times (especially with props involved) that additional help is needed. For each shoot, the Nikon camera is mounted on a tripod and set up at the start with the lighting for that day. Alley will check each time a next makeup look is to be photographed, that I am still central in the image. Alley also presses the shutter on the Fuji XT-2 (also on a tripod) for the start of videos. I have now obtained a remote app on my phone to enable me to do this without help in the future.

I have been very lucky to have Alley’s help and support throughout the MA. Long may our fun-filled shoots continued. Thanks Alley!


Contextual Research, Final Project, Project Development

Final Major Project: Considering Others – Davis – Eleven Years

Jen Davis challenges traditional expectations of how women are represented in portraits. Images in her project, ‘Eleven Years’, are compelling. Beautifully lit with natural light and a deliberate colour palette, the results are rich yet unpretentious portraits. Davis’ work is of particular interest in relation to my own work, as like me she “was never really comfortable […] in front of the camera” (Salter 2017).

Figure 1: Davis. 2005. Untitled No. 11

‘Eleven Years’ represents a series of self-portraits that Davis created over 11 years. She recorded and explored her own relationship with her body and her weight. The images challenge and reconsider ideas around society’s expectations and standards of body image and self-representation.

Producing the work enabled Davis to consider how society’s expectations personally affected her. By being her own subject, Davis is able to connect with the viewer and start a dialogue about personal appearance and expectations.

Figure 2: Davis. 2006. Steve and I

Her deadpan expression in each image leaves the viewer wondering if she is happy or sad. Even her direct gaze reveals no emotion. This lack of expression leads to an interpretation based on the viewer’s own experiences and expectations. Some will relate to the images and feel empowered; others may be repulsed if their ideal is the skinny models that frequent advertisements and other visual media.

Whatever the viewer feels, Davis has produced images that inspire me to further explore my relationship with my body image and online presentation.



Salter, K. 2013. “Jen Davis interview: The skin I was in”. Telegraph.co.uk[online] Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/photography/9930597/Jen-Davis-interview-The-skin-I-was-in.html [accessed 25 April 2017].



Figure 1: Davis, J. 2005. Untitled no. 11. Jen Davis [online]. Available at: https://www.jendavisphoto.com/eleven-years/gggztab28cwambl47lp1ssnglpkcvg [accessed 26 April 2018].

Figure 2: Davis, J. 2006. Steve and I. Jen Davis [online]. Available at: https://www.jendavisphoto.com/eleven-years/up3yecxrjodv9q4rfzebxxfm1g6nfs [accessed 26 April 2018].

Contextual Research, Final Project, Project Development

Final Major Project: Self-Portraiture

“I think that’s why so many portraits work when they’re difficult: we believe we’re presenting ourselves one way, but the camera always reveals something more vulnerable, despite our best efforts.”

– Katy Grannan (Denes, 2005)

A tradition of photographers taking self-portraits is as old as the medium of photography itself.  I, like many, do not like to have my photograph taken.  Yet having your photograph taken in this age of the digital camera and iPhones, is part of everyday life.

I have taken selfies and posted pictures online (more so since I started this current project).  There is so much deliberation before I publish a picture that sometimes it hardly seems worth the effort.  Yet during the creation of Fractured Identities, I have produced and posted many selfies. But even now, I still dislike viewing the images online.

“It’s of me, but it’s not me. Portraiture can be interpreted as a kind of betrayal, but in fact it’s fiction.”

– Katy Grannan (Griffin, 2016)

Each time I step in front of the camera my stomach still leaps. I feel that compulsive need still to play the fool. But this time I have had a plan. Each self-portrait has had a deadpan expression. This has ensured that getting the image right for the project has been more important than my uncomfortable self-consciousness in front of the lens.

I had told a few people I was having the shoot done and was completely aware I would have to show (and publish) an unflattering photograph of myself.  I am a very confident person but know that my impression of myself is not matched by the way I look in a photograph.  I don’t need to see images that show my double chin or chubby cheeks.  I know I have those, years of taking replacement steroids for Addison’s Disease have made sure of that.

But of course, each photograph does not tell the whole story of me.  They are mere snapshots in time. They are nothing more than a 2D flat image of me, and just a representation of me at that.  You cannot determine my personality completely from the image.

There is an honesty and vulnerability about my images that I like.  Surprising eh?  I can view the images objectively in terms of my body of work.  Doesn’t mean I have to like what I see.  The lighting is deliberate to create a 3-dimensional view of myself.  I don’t have much of an expression; I am thinking about how much I am disliking the process.

This image sums up and underpins what my body of work is about.  Being in front of the camera is a performance.  I was having to perform for the camera in order to get the shot.  I am totally aware that I need each shot for part of the project. Exploring the impact of online expectations can only happen on my own images.  Technically the image is strong; the choice of the mask for the prop, the plain t-shirt, and dark backdrop ensure that the visual weight of the image is on the subject.  I don’t need to like the image to appreciate the place it has in my practice.

Figure 1: Sutherst. 2018. Images from the project ‘Fractured Identities’

Technically the images are strong; the choice of the makeup and props as a mask in some of the images, the dark t-shirts, and plain backdrop ensure that the visual weight of the image is on the subject.  I don’t need to like the images to appreciate the place they have in my practice.

Moving forwards, I will keep taking images of myself and I will keep using them in my bodies of work. I already have plans for more self-portraiture work – who would have foreseen that?




Denes, M. (2005). Interview: Melissa Denes meets photographer Katy Grannan. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2005/nov/05/photography [Accessed 22 July 2018].

Griffin, J. (2016). View from the edge: Katy Grannan’s photographs at Somerset House, London. [online] Available at: https://www.ft.com/content/7ed7800a-1185-11e6-839f-2922947098f0 [Accessed 22 July 2018].


Final Project, Practice Development

Final Major Project: Publication via BJP Online

In early June 2018, I was thrilled to be contacted by Gemma Padley, a photography writer and editor. She explained that she was writing a native editorial article about Falmouth Flexible for bjp-online. She asked me if I would answer a few questions based on my experiences. She also asked for some images that could be used in the article.

The finished article:

Link to article webpage




The Interview Questions and My Answers

Why did you want to do a course like this?

For a few years, I had been considering a masters degree. Most of the courses I found that were suitable would have involved me giving up work and relocating. This was not an option. When the Falmouth Flexible course started, it offered the course I wanted with the flexibility to be able to study when and where I chose to.


What are the advantages of learning in this way?

Being able to choose when and where you study enables you to continue to work (which helps fund the course and the project work you choose). I have also been able to access resources and professionals around the globe. The online environment has opened up opportunities and experiences that may not have been available to me in a site based course.

I have been able to develop relationships and work collaboratively with others regardless of their geographical location. This experience is, I feel, invaluable in the today’s online world and has prepared me for future projects. I recently received a collaboration request from a photographer in the USA! I am sure that that would not have happened before I started the course.


Favourite aspects of the course/ what have you enjoyed most or got the most out of?

There have been challenges in returning to education after a long break, but I have loved every minute so far! The face to face events have been good for meeting up with peers and tutors alike. I have been to Paris, Krakow, Amsterdam, and Falmouth for events. Each of these has enabled development of working relationships with people and allowed me to appreciate photography to a greater degree. Some of us in my cohort have arranged other face to face events during the course and I imagine that this will continue after we have finished.

I am appreciative of the input of the Falmouth staff. As a photographer, I have developed my practice tremendously since starting the course in September 2016. I am due to finish in August 2018, and now know who I am as a photographer. I am confident now in my practice and I never thought when I started the course that I would be currently preparing for a 2-week solo show that involved self-portraiture work.


Would you recommend others follow suit, and if so, why?

Absolutely. I have not once regretted my decision to join the course. I was a bit lost before starting the course; I produced ‘nice’ images, but always thought there was more to it than that. I now know that I was right to think that. The course content and feedback given to me have facilitated my development and allowed me to become who I am meant to be as a photographer. Being able to achieve this without relocating and still working has given me the best of all worlds.


The images I sent:-