Back to basics – experiments with inkjet dyes

Devolution of the image taken to its basics.
Cameraless photography and alternative processes often imply analogue and old chemical-based techniques. I was around in the days that this was ‘normal’ photography. To make a photograph you *had* to use light-sensitive paper and smelly chemicals, so that doesn’t seem alternative enough anymore. These experiments are part of a longer exploration of the alternative as contained in digitally based photography. The idea of digital alternative processes is also not new, but is probably less explored, and less accepted (and some might say less aesthetic).

Much has been made of the differences between analogue and digital photography and the supposed mystique that comes from dabbling in chemical processes. Anyone who has processed film or watched an image appear in the developer bath can attest to that magic.
However, there are analogies between the two as well. Much is made of the electronic nature of digital and an implied inferiority. But where we now have pixel-based sensors and the microdots of inkjet printers, we had film and paper grain. Where we had an enlarger and contrast filters etc, we now have digital renditions of those tools which can replicate and expand on the tonal variations that we were familiar with. We even find the need to digitally ‘spot out’ dust in the form of sensor dust and dead pixels.

Going further into the experimenting that has occurred since almost the beginnings of photography, we can look to early photograms such as Anna Atkins in Cyanotypes of British Algae (1843). Perhaps more interesting to me is the ongoing disruption of images and experiments that push the boundaries of photography, from the experimental processes of Běla Kolářová, various artists who have worked with polariod emulsion manipulations, and direct constructions (Gary Fabian Miller, whose work almost attempts to define light itself) and attacks on the base materials – eg unique chemigrams and the use of natural intervention (Susan Derges) in the analogue area and the inkjet print manipulations of Marco Breuer and the various digital experiments of Thomas Ruff.

All this is to set up a way to ground the following images in a historical continuum. Whether or not they are still photographs is an interesting question in that it interests me after the fact but only tangentially during the making. If you quickly come to the conclusion that they are not, just make sure you have looked at the work shown in a recent Victoria and Albert Museum show Cameraless Photography (link is to the book published by Thames and Hudson), or a previous show they had called Shadow Catchers (link is to a review).

Collapse – Geste Paris

Submission of selected works from Collapse to Geste Paris call for work on the theme of Binary/Non-binary resulted in the shortlisted works being shown on-screen in the space from 10 – 30th of November 2018.
The series couples a playful connection with scientific thought along with the acknowledgement that scientific investigation allows us to look seriously at the environmental problems we currently face. It may offer knowledge that could help us avert the very worst. The title Collapse can refer to classical quantum theory and the notion of wave function collapse, to the possibility of climate tipping points and to current problems with bees and colony collapse disorder.


Collapse – work in progress

Collapse, like much of my work, revolves around uncertainty. It’s an ongoing series of experiments with introducing uncertainty into the apparent certainty of the digital process, involving faulty printers and various non-standard processes and materials. Here is a sample of the work.

Observer phenomenon

This series is a sequence of images, that may be presented in several ways (sequenced wall prints, animated gif, monitor-based slideshow), as an experiment in sequential delivery. It investigates the concept of the seen and the unseen in nature, the unconcerned beauty that is produced by natural phenomena over long and mostly unobserved time-frames. The full project can be found here.


Flickr now owned by SmugMug – new terms seem like a template for good

“FLICKR USERS: As of April 19, 2018, Fantastic Fox, Inc. has acquired Flickr.”

This seems like an enlightened and simple statement of reasonable terms. Something that many organisations could – if desired – learn from, if they want their users to trust them and understand their terms. And of course if they don’t have hidden motivation for unclear terms.
Key for me is this very clear limitation of their use of user generated content: “as is reasonably necessary in order to enable SmugMug to provide the Services”.

As always, I’m not a lawyer and this shouldn’t be taken as any form of advice, legal or otherwise.

The Content section of the new Flickr terms:

6. User Content

The Services may enable you to upload, post and transmit photos and videos to the Site or other portions of the Services (including to your user photo galleries or groups through the Services) and also provide you with access to discussion forums, blogs and other interactive areas in which you or other users may post or transmit photos, videos, text, music, messages, information or other content or materials (collectively, the “User Content”).

You retain all intellectual property rights in and to any User Content you post, upload or otherwise make available through the Services, including the copyright in and to your photos and videos. SmugMug does not claim any ownership, right, title or interest in and to your User Content.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, by uploading and/or posting any User Content to the Services, you grant SmugMug a perpetual, nonexclusive and royalty-free right to use the User Content (and the user name that is submitted in connection with such User Content) as is reasonably necessary in order to enable SmugMug to provide the Services, including to display the User Content on the Services.

You represent and warrant that (i) you own or otherwise control all of the rights to the User Content that you post or transmit, or you otherwise have the right to post, use, display, distribute and reproduce such User Content and to grant the rights granted herein; (ii) the User Content you supply is accurate and not misleading; and (iii) the use and posting of the User Content you supply does not violate these Terms of Use and will not violate any rights of or cause injury to any person or entity.

ether – sections 8 – 11

Four new sections of ether. These all come from several days of work in Sandy Bay, Northland. They continue the themes of the first seven sections but experiment with both more abstract and more realist directions.

Each image links directly to its gallery on and opens a new window.

ether – first seven sections

The first sections of ether explore the beginnings of the project, at various locations in the North Island of New Zealand over 2015 and 2016. These are places I frequent and immerse myself in – although many are spectacular beaches, I see them as homeground (and sometimes they are around my home).

I’m interested in the tension between beauty in the environment and the damage that humans are causing it. Many of us, individually, hold a sense of guilt and a desire to find better ways to live, yet as an over-populous species we remain unwilling or unable to confront the effects of overconsumption.

Now, when we see beauty in the environment, it is tinged with the knowledge of our potential to undermine it.

Each of these images links directly to the gallery on and opens a new window.

[robo-gallery id=”34″]

Experimental outtakes from the ether series

Copyright in the terms pages of sites: instagram, flickr, imgur, facebook, twitter pinterest etc 18-5-2017

Copyright policies from some of the major image sharing sites (as at the date 18-5-2017). Interesting to compare how the different sites either limit their potential use and control over your content or leave the space wide open for interpretation.

In my laymans reading of these contracts for instance, Yahoo (which covers Flickr and Tumblr etc), while giving themselves a worldwide license to reproduce images, adds this statement: “or, in the case of photos or graphics, solely for the purpose for which such photo or graphic was submitted to the Service. ”

All of the contracts appear to keep copyright with the originator, but all also give the site wide-ranging rights, which are likely needed to operate the services they provide, and allow social sharing, tagging etc. But some contracts appear to be needlessly open-ended and potentially give rights to all manner of unspecified publication (and without compensation, attribution or even notification).

I guess we’ll have to wait and see what if anything results from the sites that don’t appear to protect their users as well, but for now, I’m wary of posting high-res images and without watermarking, on some of the sites…

Flickr and Tumblr (Yahoo)

    1. For purposes of the TOS, “publicly accessible areas of the Service” are those accessible by the general public. By way of example, a publicly accessible area of the Service would include public Message Boards Yahoo New Zealand Message Boards, but would not include private Yahoo New Zealand communication services such as Yahoo New Zealand Mail or Yahoo New Zealand Messenger.
    2. With respect to Content you elect to post for inclusion in publicly accessible areas of Yahoo New Zealand Message Boards or that consists of photos or other graphics you elect to post to any other publicly accessible area of the Service, you grant Yahoo New Zealand the world-wide, royalty free and non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt and publish such Content on the Service solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting the specific Yahoo New Zealand Message Boards to which such Content was submitted, or, in the case of photos or graphics, solely for the purpose for which such photo or graphic was submitted to the Service. This license exists only for as long as you elect to continue to include such Content on the Service and shall be terminated at the time you delete such Content from the Service.
    3. With respect to all other Content you elect to post to other publicly accessible areas of the Service, you grant Yahoo New Zealand the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive and fully sublicensable right and license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such Content (in whole or part) worldwide and/or to incorporate it in other works in any form, media, or technology now known or later developed.


Instagram does not claim ownership of any Content that you post on or through the Service. Instead, you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service, subject to the Service’s Privacy Policy, available here, including but not limited to sections 3 (“Sharing of Your Information”), 4 (“How We Store Your Information”), and 5 (“Your Choices About Your Information”). You can choose who can view your Content and activities, including your photos, as described in the Privacy Policy.


Intellectual Property

By uploading a file or other content or by making a comment, you represent and warrant to us that (1) doing so does not violate or infringe anyone else’s rights; and (2) you created the file or other content you are uploading, or otherwise have sufficient intellectual property rights to upload the material consistent with these terms. With regard to any file or content you upload to the public portions of our site, you grant Imgur a non-exclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable worldwide license (with sublicense and assignment rights) to use, to display online and in any present or future media, to create derivative works of, to allow downloads of, and/or distribute any such file or content. To the extent that you delete any such file or content from the public portions of our site, the license you grant to Imgur pursuant to the preceding sentence will automatically terminate, but will not be revoked with respect to any file or content Imgur has already copied and sublicensed or designated for sublicense. Also, of course, anything you post to a public portion of our site may be used by the public pursuant to the following paragraph even after you delete it.


Your Rights

You retain your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Services. What’s yours is yours — you own your Content (and your photos and videos are part of the Content).

By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed). This license authorizes us to make your Content available to the rest of the world and to let others do the same. You agree that this license includes the right for Twitter to provide, promote, and improve the Services and to make Content submitted to or through the Services available to other companies, organizations or individuals for the syndication, broadcast, distribution, promotion or publication of such Content on other media and services, subject to our terms and conditions for such Content use. Such additional uses by Twitter, or other companies, organizations or individuals, may be made with no compensation paid to you with respect to the Content that you submit, post, transmit or otherwise make available through the Services.

Twitter has an evolving set of rules for how ecosystem partners can interact with your Content on the Services. These rules exist to enable an open ecosystem with your rights in mind. You understand that we may modify or adapt your Content as it is distributed, syndicated, published, or broadcast by us and our partners and/or make changes to your Content in order to adapt the Content to different media. You represent and warrant that you have all the rights, power and authority necessary to grant the rights granted herein to any Content that you submit.


Sharing Your Content and Information

You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings. In addition:

  1. For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.
  2. When you delete IP content, it is deleted in a manner similar to emptying the recycle bin on a computer. However, you understand that removed content may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time (but will not be available to others).
  3. When you use an application, the application may ask for your permission to access your content and information as well as content and information that others have shared with you.  We require applications to respect your privacy, and your agreement with that application will control how the application can use, store, and transfer that content and information.  (To learn more about Platform, including how you can control what information other people may share with applications, read our Data Policy and Platform Page.)
  4. When you publish content or information using the Public setting, it means that you are allowing everyone, including people off of Facebook, to access and use that information, and to associate it with you (i.e., your name and profile picture).
  5. We always appreciate your feedback or other suggestions about Facebook, but you understand that we may use your feedback or suggestions without any obligation to compensate you for them (just as you have no obligation to offer them).


Posting content

  • Pinterest allows you to post content, including photos, comments, links, and other materials. Anything that you post or otherwise make available on our Products is referred to as “User Content.” You retain all rights in, and are solely responsible for, the User Content you post to Pinterest.

    More simply put

    If you post your content on Pinterest, it still belongs to you but we can show it to people and others can save it.

  • b. How Pinterest and other users can use your content

    You grant Pinterest and our users a non-exclusive, royalty-free, transferable, sublicensable, worldwide license to use, store, display, reproduce, save, modify, create derivative works, perform, and distribute your User Content on Pinterest solely for the purposes of operating, developing, providing, and using the Pinterest Products. Nothing in these Terms shall restrict other legal rights Pinterest may have to User Content, for example under other licenses. We reserve the right to remove or modify User Content for any reason, including User Content that we believe violates these Terms or our policies.

    More simply put

    Copies of content shared with others may remain even after you delete the content from your account.

  • c. How long we keep your content

    Following termination or deactivation of your account, or if you remove any User Content from Pinterest, we may retain your User Content for a commercially reasonable period of time for backup, archival, or audit purposes. Furthermore, Pinterest and its users may retain and continue to use, store, display, reproduce, re-pin, modify, create derivative works, perform, and distribute any of your User Content that other users have stored or shared through Pinterest.


ether – online project now live

I’ve just made the ‘ether’ project live, at

ether is an exploration of my/ our relationship with the environment, acknowledging that it is a one-sided relationship – we need the environment but it can get along fine with or without us. This becomes more poignant with the cloud of climate change hanging over us. How do we live with the knowledge that our species has profound effects on the planet we depend on?

poster for the series ‘ether’