Wednesday, 24 February 2010


I have decided to add another photo of used alcohol bottles to try and get my new group of people to get the idea of Elaine's story "The girl found it hard to get up the next morning after having a party at an old abbey in town were she had quite a lot to drink during the fireworks display."

It was a lovely sunny day so the girl decided to go for a walk with her boyfriend around the cathedral ruins. The walk really tired the girl out and she was very sleep when she got home. After a quick nap, the girl decided that she wanted to go on a night out with her friends. They all drank a lot of alcohol and partied into the night. The next morning, the girl woke up to find pictures of fireworks on her camera, she had no idea how they got there.

Lynsey, psychology student, 20

(Here, lynsey is very close to the story I hoped would be told, though it is a lot more descriptive. I think this may be something to do with Lynsey being a Psychology student and so is used to writing a lot of essays and expressing, explaining and describing something that it viewed. As she is a student it is also something that is happening around her; the idea of going out and getting drunk and then feeling hung over.)

the morning after the night before: the church was empty and the people were awakening to the mess that was left behind, the only indication of what the night had brought.....

clo, law student, 19

(Again, this story is similar to Elaines with the idea of having a messy night before, indicating that drunkenness occurred.)

the girl is in bed with a hangover after a new year celebrationary rave at an old ruined abbey

Gordon, architecture student, 23

(I found the shortness of this interesting as it is written by a male. It very simply links each of the pictures without going into any detail, apart from the description of the rave, in which there are no pictures indicating that the party was a rave.)

The spark had gone. It was over. When he had first spoke those longed for words of marriage she thought that life was finally improve. He wanted to commit, surely that mean commiting to changing too. He hadn't always been violent, he hadn't always been this way - that's what she told herself; he could change back, she could change him back. Within weeks of them moving into their new, perfect marrital home he came home drunk again. He shouted and hit out, she cried, he promised it would never happen again. A week later after a works dinner; he shouted and hit out, she cried, he promised it would never happen again. Yet, a third, fourth, fifth.....

What does all that matter now, she had got out - true, it had taken a few weeks in hospital to recover from that final straw - but what does it matter? Safe. Free. That's what matters.

Rachel, medical student, 18

(This is the most descriptive of all the stories. I found this really interesting as I know rachel quite well and know that shes a very chatty person, this is therefore obviously reflected when she writes stories aswell. She takes a different take on the story with the idea of domestic abuse happening, this is similiar to a few of the previous stories when there were only 3 pictures.)


The ideas in Roland Barthes essay gave me a much greater understand of what to look for in the next part of the assignment we have been given. When choosing the random images I tried not to be bias and made sure they were a fully random selection for the initial 3 images. Whilst choosing these I noticed myself starting to think up of a story as soon as I put two images together. When I clicked the next photo randomly it completed my story.

The next part of this assignment was to give the three images to several different people and see what story they came up with.

Jonathan, 20, IED Student

After a late night at the fireworks she had a long lie in before going on an adventure to the church remains that were close by.

Charlotte, 20, IED Student

Katy decided to have a nap after her day of sight seeing, especially as she had had a big night out at the fire display.

Jack, 24, Law Graduate

Suzan, who was a Romanian gypsie couldn't sleep as her father and lots of family members were having a party with lots of fireworks outside. They were camping at the abbey and so she could see the flashes and hear the noise very close by.

Sarah, 20, English Student

We were on holiday and everyday and night was busy. I rested all day before getting dressed up for the huge fireworks display at an old church in town that night.

John, 23, Waiter

A girl was upset as her wedding had hoped was going to happen at the abbey didn't happen as there was fireworks between her and her fiancé.

Elaine, 52, Manager

The girl found it hard to get up the next morning after having a party at an old abbey in town were she had quite a lot to drink during the fireworks display.

Rachel 27, Physiotherapist

The girl just wanted to stay in bed after a long weekend away with her boyfriend. They went exploring the local area, they visited an old church. Whilst they were here they found out there was actually going to be fireworks there that night so they stayed to watch them.

I think that at this point most people seem to start the story with the image of the girl being the main subject. It is interesting how some give her a name making it personal while others just refer to her as "the girl." The expression on her face is very important as it is sad and emotional looking, everyone seems to pick up on this although some describe her as being hungover or ill while others decide that she is sad. The image of the fireworks and the old castle are often linked in that the fireworks were let off at the castle. The castle is also described as somewhere that's not a familiar place to the girl as they all describe her going to visit this place.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

assignment 2.a

Barthes uses this essay to look further into the idea of an image and what it portrays. It is interesting to look at an image and see what the visual language is that is given off. Each person can view an image and it will give them a different story or tell them something different. Some images are more obvious as to what the underlying meaning is, these often contain text or a clear message. When looking at an image, Barthes describes as there being three different types of messages that can se seen.

  1. Linguistic Message
  2. Coded Iconic Message
  3. Non-coded Iconic Message

The Lingusitc Message is described as the main image. If there are a series of images that make up a story, or the main feature of an image, this is the one that when taken away the message or story that is being portrayed will be lost. Within the series of images a chain can be seen that links all together, this is known as the connector. There is always the main image that relates to all the others, and therefore making a story.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

reduce reuse recycle

This morning we met with our client for our new project. This is a real life client based renovation of a house in Dundee on seafield road. Our client is a bookmaker and restorer. The brief is to redevelop and renovate the house so that it is sustainable and environmentally friendly. We have to create a living space, sleeping space etc. as well as a working studio space specifically designed for her bookmaking and restoration occupation. This requires a clean and dirty space, lots of space to work and move around. Special consideration also need to be taken in regards to the light and heat conditions as book restoration is a very specific in this case.
Over the next few weeks research and site visits will be the main point of interest. Getting to know the conditions of the site at different times of the day is very important, especially when this space is going to be used for both living and working, both of which happen at different times of day. Looking into the large amount of environmental and ecofreindly materials available at the minute will play a very important part in my design, as well as seeing how other designers and architects have used these in housing.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

watching you...

During our seminar, we were discussing our thoughts about the photo experiment. This brought a few more thoughts to my mind. We were discussing how the photos gave others a view of out lifestyle, but I felt that this may not have been a totally true representation as I know that I chose photos that I wanted people to see, or ones that I thought would give someone an insight into my life. What would have happened if Charles had been able to see a much larger selection of photos, or the ones that I wouldn’t want him to see? Would that then be the true representation of my personality and lifestyle? We were also discussing how photos may not always show a true picture as we so often pose for photos, put on a smiley face and seem happy when that might not have been how we were actually feeling.
This then lead me to think about video footage that I have seen of me both from when I was young but also recently. Over the past 6 or 7 years there has always been a video taken on Christmas day and holidays. Watching these back always makes me cringe. This is due to me actually seeing my mannerisms and actions on camera, what I’m saying and what I sound like. These are all factors that photos cannot always show. This is shown even more when I have been unaware that the camera has been “watching” me. This year at Christmas my Dad brought out old cine films from when my mum and him where young and going out, our christenings etc. As soon as I saw these I realised how alike my mum and I actually are. I have always been aware of this visually, as in we both look very like each other and have done in the past. But seeing how she acted on video camera is so similar to how I did as well.
I thought this is an interesting point that could be used to take the investigation of a personality further. Even if we know a person reasonably well it may be interesting to see how they act when I video camera is put in front of their face!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

photographic evidence

assignment 1 C&D

Many people say that a picture can tell a thousand words. Through the analysis of photos this has proven very true. Our reaction when a camera is snapped in our faces can tell a lot about our personalities and values, even from a very young age.

From looking at Charles’ photos a lot can be learned about his personality, childhood, upbringing and hobbies. Through looking at the photos I would say that Charles has a very strong relationship with his brother, they both seem to be quite a similar age. His brother is someone he seems to look up to a lot – this is seen quite literally in a few of the photos. There has also been a feeling of mischievousness between the two brothers aswell. This continues through to when they are grown up and this turn into what seems to be a very close friendship but also a fun one. The photos show the two brothers together on a variety of sun and ski holidays, I think that this shows that they are happy to spend time together, proving that they get on well. A little sister then arrives in which Charles seems to take great pride in. Photos of him holding her hand when she is young, right up to a photo of them still looking very close as teenagers.

Charles also seems to take a strong interest in hobbies, his photos show him skiing, sailing and on scout camps. These photos all show him on his own, something that I believe shows his independence developing as he grows up through his teenage years. The scout camps would probably have helped this process in learning a lot about himself. A photo of him looking thoughtful resembles this idea where he is standing in a very assure way which I feel shows strength and assurance in himself. The variety of hobbies that he has would also give me the impression that he is well travelled and therefore possibly verging into upper class in society.

There are also photos of Charles along with some female friends. I think that this shows that it is an important part of his life. I think that he seems to be a gentleman, one of the photos shows him holding an umbrella over a girls head. He also has a very assured and strong pose in this photo which I feel shows he is a strong character. His masculinity and dominance in the relationship with a girl is shown again in another photo. This time fancy dress is used to make this even clearer. He is dressed as some form of army or warrior with facepaint, a headband etc while the girl is dressed as little bo peep. The choice of costume gives the idea that he wants to appear to be the stronger character of the two.

Through looking at the photos and then speaking to Charles about them I think that I came up with a pretty accurate idea of his personality. He likes to think that he is a gentleman and he does indeed have a strong bond with both his brother and sister. Family means a lot to him and although there are no photos with his parents he is close to them aswell. He is a very keen sailor and skier and often goes on holidays a couple of times a year. These are always family events although while there he said that he enjoys meeting new people.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010


What makes us choose something? Why do we decide one thing over another? What makes us like something? It could be anything, a piece of art, an artist, a band, a pair of shoes… anything…but why?

What is taste? Were does it come from? How does it develop?

These are all questions I have been asking myself and others for their opinion on. As designers we constantly have to create something for a person or a purpose. Often for someone who we don’t know inside out or back to front. Knowing if the person is going to like it or view it in the same way as we do is a challenge. We all have completely different tastes from each other – making everyone unique. This of course isn’t a bad thing. It just makes designs have to think more carefully about what we are designing and how others may view it.

Guy Julier explains how consumption is something that can have several factors that influence a person to choose one thing over another. This can be from our culture, our time in life to the demand for a certain thing that is “cool” at that time. We all want to have our own identity, our own sense of belonging to something or having objects that show that we are who we are.

When designing we need to appreciate that design is susceptible and work on this as being a positive thing. We should want to enjoy that one person may view our work and take something completely different from it from another person. This is something that is a practice, something that takes time and understanding to develop.
I am currently doing an investigation into how people develop due to their backgrounds and influences through childhood. More blogging to come about that to come very soon...

Monday, 1 February 2010

hello again...

Its been a while, I'm going to admit that! January is always a crazy month, after all that's Christmas crazyness and the super relaxation mode that hits in January - well lets just say its now February so its all over. My moto for the day was to get my life in order! A bit extreme really - but it did involve me getting out the diary and getting everything back in business. in other words - let the blogging commence!

In the studio:
We have been given our brief of REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE. This semester is mainly build around the environmental side of the interiors! Sustainability being a key word. So far we have to do research on different forms of sustainable design. This was a group work based project in which our topic was ECO DESIGN. We looked into materials that are used inside and out of buildings that are purely ecofreindly. It is now possible to build a house completely from ecofriendly/sustainable materials - right down recycled steel nails. This was incredibly interesting to delve deeper into and find out how many materials there is actually out there! This is something i found really interesting and will hopefully be learning lots more about in the weeks to come. A little trip to London to an ecobuild event is planned for march so watch this space!

just a few of the findings from the research project....

Felix Jerusalem’s Stroh Haus in Switzerland

ecoshake roof - made from 100% recycled materials and comes with a 50 year warranty!