The Voice

I’ve been promising this for a couple of posts now so it is about time I got around to addressing the voice. Pre taking on the challenge of making a documentary, this was a concept I’d never consciously been aware of and certainly never given it any thought. I was aware that some documentaries felt different to others, but I didn’t know why.


The simple answer is that the voice is the drive of the documentary. It is often the documentary maker or the main subject but there are nuanced ways of achieving this.

We can have the documentary maker on screen clearly leading the action and doing most of the talking a la Michael Moore.

Or we can have the documentary maker on screen acting as an interviewer who directs the action with well placed questions, this time Louis Theroux is a good example.

Then there are documentaries like Sync or Swim, which is a BBC Storyville documentary featuring Dylan Williams but does not feel like it is driven by him.

Finally, there are documentaries where you hear a collection of voices talking about one person or topic, sometimes including the voice of that topic, with no central narrator except the occasional bit of text. This can be seen in another Storyville story about the amazing Randi Exposed: Magicians, Psychics and Frauds


What will I choose? This is something that I have been asked repeatedly by my tutors and something that I have had to put a lot of thought into. I can imagine myself making a Louis Theroux style documentary around this topic as I am very comfortable in the martial arts world, but I wan’t this to be about women in the arts and if I include myself too much it will become about me and my experiences of women in the arts and interactions with female martial artists. I’m not sure that’s what I want.

What I do want is to be lead by Gemma’s voice with as little of me on screen as possible and I don’t want my voice intruding (I mean my actual voice, who doesn’t hate their own voice on camera?). But I am cogent of the need for there to be evidence of me in the film as I don’t feel it is right to hide that I am a man talking about women and their experiences.


So yes, all going well the documentary will be Gemma’s voice, even if it is me putting it together.

Orangebox Brief

We’ve started a new module for the MA and this one is all about entrepreneurship, which is what I spent my entire placement year doing during my degree. So whilst I may be well prepped for the process, I didn’t start out massively enthused at the duplication of work when I’d rather be getting on with my main project. That said, the team I am working with are ace and the more I look into biophilic design, the more interested I am getting. Our “client” is Orangebox and the brief is to design a biophilic environment such as a workspace, airport lounge or study area.

Our initial thoughts were with a workspace so that will be the start of our research. To get us motivated we visited Orangebox’s offices and as usual, I had a camera with me:

Tim Peake

This was the most exciting job I’ve had for a long time: the opportunity to film and photograph astronaut Tim Peake for his talk at MOSI.

The event itself certainly did not disappoint, Tim was a fascinating speaker and the talk itself was well put together and guided by the interviewers whose questions were on point and considering the talk was aimed at children they were not needlessly simple or silly. One of the things I particularly enjoyed was Tim sharing his photographs taken from the ISS. To see the world as so small was humbling and to see the thin layer of atmosphere protecting us all was humbling. But more than that, they were beautiful. Please, take the time to look through his images on Flickr.

Once again I was working for Nathan Rae Productions and I feel I should say a special thanks to Nathan for letting me bring my camera along so I could get a few shots of the event.



Here you can see Nathan and James fixing an issue with the white balance.

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and right at the end, Nathan was able to grab Tim for a quick question about checklists.


Here is Tim’s talk that we live streamed.

Andre Geim

Sometimes a job just lands in your lap and you have to pinch yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming, and I’ve had two of those recently. The one I want to talk about today was the opportunity to be part of the team, Nathan Rae Productions, that was brought in to live-stream an evening with Noble Prize and Ignoble Prize winning scientist Andre Geim at the Museum of Science and Industry.

Happily this was a rather relaxed talk with Andre and none of the science was above my head, which I’m sure it would have been if it had been just a lecture on graphene. Prior to the job I had read up on both graphene and levitating frogs:

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Vogue 100

I know I haven’t blogged over the summer so I suppose I should share a bit of what I have been doing. One exhibition I visited was the Vogue 100 show at Manchester Art Gallery. Of all the exhibitions I’ve been to I think this is one of my favourites due to the sheer quality of the work. There wasn’t a single image that wasn’t exquisite!

I actually ended up going twice, the first time was with my family and the 2nd time with RedEye to hear the curator’s talk and have a chance to view the images child free.


My daughter was captivated by the video instalment.

Overall I was so impressed I even bought the book:




For my final major project at university I decided to focus on LGBT+ rights, from the perspective of an atheist humanist ally. I decided to focus on this after talking to the photographer Seba Curtis who suggested that my work was not reflecting issues that are in the public consciousness.

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Presentably Presented

Tuesday the 17th saw me presenting and defending all the work I’ve done to finish my degree, and I have to say it felt like it went really well. All the feedback was positive and there were only a couple of things they mentioned that could have improved things. The first was that I could have mentioned the extra reading I did to support my final major project, particularly Barthes’ The Great Family of Man (well worth a read). The other was that I could have printed some of my work that I did for jobs outside of my major work. Fair comments and I look forward to seeing the results… I think.

Here are some of the extra prints I’m getting done for my portfolio:


All done bar the grade

Tuesday this week was the final academic thing I had to do for my degree, present and defend my work. I must have covered things pretty thoroughly though as there was very little defending that needed doing once I’d presented and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Dare I hope for a First? Fingers are crossed.

But before that we have an graduate show (Mrs Robinson?) to prepare for. We’re doing that the week beginning the 6th and the show opens on the 10th. Time for me to get a new outfit! Then after that all I have left is the graduation ceremony and I’m a free man, ready to spread my wings and enter the world afresh with…. oh no, wait. September will see me back at uni to start my masters degree. Ah well, freedom can wait.

Professional Practice Reflective

This is the end, beautiful friend, the end…

And now I have to look back on all that I have done this year to promote myself professionally. Do we go blow by blow? Nah, the martial arts was last year. Maybe the highlights would be a better approach.

I mean, I started the year coming off an entrepreneurial placement year so the idea of just posting business related blogs could be a bit old, but that wasn’t the drive of the blog. No, the drive of the blog was cataloguing my progress, sharing what I am up to and who I am looking at and working with. Right from the start of my blogging I’ve been clear that I’m not one for creative writing, I leave that to my father – a man of quick wit and even quicker pen. All I can hope is that this blog has been slightly useful, informative and at least a little amusing.

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Penultimate Post


This is the second to last post I will do about my Bachelor’s Degree, an it was a good last day of shooting. The variety to the day kept things really interesting for me with the day starting off with shooting my friend’s textile work which she has made for her final pieces. I met Becca last year on my EPY and so was happy to shoot her wonderful creations:


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