April to July: TS Eliot Research Group update

Since the Turner Contemporary TS Eliot Research Group came into being in August 2015, I have been documenting all the meetings and activities.  I have also been part of the Evaluation Team, which has looked at all processes and activities to gather feedback, to enable the group to move forward and progress effectively.

To date although the number of members attending has diminished from the earlier meetings, there is now a strong group who attends and contributes regularly.  The group have collaboratively put forward suggestions for pieces to be included into the final exhibition and is now at the stage of putting these forward to the curators to see whether or not these will be available to exhibit in 2018.  These are some of the suggestions that I put forward for inclusion.

Subway Drawing – Henry Moore 1941

art-museum-moore3 --levagedepoussiere Dust Breeding – Man Ray 1931


Night Hawks – Edward Hopper 1942

The group is now on its summer break until September 2016.

19 Apr: TSE Waste Land Research Group – Evaluation with Michele Gregson

This meeting focussed in the main on the reasons and importance of evaluation and explored creative ways that this could be undertaken.  Michele led the meeting in her capacity as the consultant professional evaluator for the project, and followed on from the initial introduction to the process that Trish and I had introduced at the last meeting on 5 April.

20160419-_L0A0181The meetings are now following the format where a topic is covered in the first part, and then a discussion is held to consider images which the members have submitted online for possible inclusion into the final exhibition.  The images considered at this meeting related to journeys, migration and myth.


5 Apr: TSE Research Group – Women’s’ voices with Lucy Carlyle

This meeting focussed primarily on the influence of women within the Waste Land.

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Lucy talked about Eliot’s attitude to women  as depicted in the poem, and also the role played by women in society at that time.img011



Update to Feb 2016: TSE Waste Land Research Group – Research Feedback


During the winter months much discussion took place over the steps that needed to be taken as the project moves forward, with the emphasis being very much on any actions being approved by the group.




This session on 13 January 2016 considered statements that were felt to epitomise the main facets of the project, through a practical activity of moving to an ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’ area.


At the following meeting held at The Yacht Club on 26 January, the group split into group to cover the main facets of the exhibition such as object research, evaluation and community engagement.

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The next steps that were needed to be taken were discussed further at the meeting on 16 February.







18 Nov: 1st meeting of the TSE Walking Group

Instigated by Elspeth Penfold

Elspeth emailed the group with a view to setting up a regular walking group.  It was a cold blustery day for those of us who turned up and was very much a walk to meet each other and to see how we felt future walks should be organised.

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Keith was a wealth of knowledge of snippets of local information and kept the group entertained.  We followed the route that Eliot would have travelled on his return to the former Albermarle Hotel, unfortunately now demolished.

It was agreed that we would like to continue meeting possibly fortnightly, weather permitting.



6 Oct: A guided walk to The Waste Land with Dr Ian Jones


Ian had suggested setting up a reading group for those people who are unfamiliar with the poem and the first meeting was held at the gallery.  There was a good attendance to this event and the space and lighting enabled me to take some better images than those taken at the Yacht Club.

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It is interesting to note those people who are regularly supporting the group, and also to see what a cross-section of knowledgeable, talented people who are attending.


26 Aug: Turner Contemporary – The Waste Land Research Group Inaugural Meeting


The first meeting of those interested in joining the group was held at The Nayland Rock shelter on the seafront at Margate.  It was an opportunity for the gallery to determine the amount of interest, planning further meetings and look at Part 1 of the poem.  Trish Scott from the gallery will be the overall curator, together with Mike from Cardiff Museum and Art Gallery.

We began by walking from the gallery across Margate Sands following the direction that TS Eliot would have taken when it is alleged that he was in there at the shelter in 1921.



It is certainly true that the skies there in Margate are truly amazing.


Mike talking to the group before we split into smaller groups to look at Part 1.



It will be interesting to see how this develops and where I can best make a positive contribution.





20 August: Corporate Portraits Commission


I am not sure if it is easier working with someone who you have already met, but I felt that in this case the client would be more relaxed and this would be evident hopefully in the end results.  I was asked to take some head and shoulder shots which will be used initially to go on an international website for those working and interested in the Kinesiology.  This is a new area that I was previously unfamiliar with of and is defined as:  Human kinetics – the scientific study of human movement and which addresses physiological, mechanical and psychological mechanisms.  

It was helpful to have someone who knew exactly what they wanted, so there were set guidelines from the start, rather than perhaps my making decisions that may not have been quite what the client had in mind.   I also sent the client an initial questionnaire which was helpful for pre-shoot planning, such as whether she wanted to be appear more approachable by smiling, where she wanted the images to be taken and suggested a couple of changes of coloured tops to see what would work the best.

Although there were aspects of the initial images I took that I liked, it made me very aware of the lighting and colours and where the client was standing.  We agreed that it was important to show evidence of her qualifications etc. rather that just a portrait shot but this created problems, such as  a shelf at just below shoulder height as shown below.

We tried different areas and different changes of coloured tops and it was agreed that the background needed to be simple, so the remainder of the images were taken to the side of her accreditation qualification.

 As she was small we then resorted  to having her stand on some books which gave a more satisfying result as shown in the before and after images below.

On looking at the end results whilst I was concentrating on the most flattering images taking lighting, colours and angles into account, it is easy to over look things such as the effect of what is behind the subject and how these affect the final results.  Very little adjustments have been made in Lightroom and Photoshop apart from some slight adjustments in the contrast, some spot removal and slight cropping in a couple of instances.  The  client will be given with the best results on a USB stick and I have passed the copyright of the images over to her.  She has however in turn agreed for me to use them on my blog / website if I wish to do so.

I found it much more satisfactory to take my laptop together with the USB stick so that I could fully explain what I had done and in turn check that the client was happy and could access what she needed.

Another learning curve – perhaps university is just the starting point and the learning and progress develops from now on!!

12 August : Update and Jewellery commission


After handing in my last assignment for my degree course it has been a time to reflect, together with catching up on some of the things I have rather neglected at home.  My final results came through last month and I was awarded a 2:1, which was very pleasing as I went through a few challenging episodes towards the end of the course.   A friend pointed out that if I had been younger I would have gained a 1st which I’m not sure was helpful or not!

So it now gives me the opportunity to take my studies a stage further and perhaps do an MA.  Karen, my personal tutor gave me the benefit of her words of wisdom but whatever happens I plan to have a ‘Gap Year’ and give this some serious consideration during that time.    So the next main event will be the Graduation Ceremony in Canterbury Cathedral next month.


I was asked to take some images of handmade headdresses to be used to update the website of the person who had created them.  All are completely original with no patterns etc. having been used in their creation.  There were 11 different pieces in total and for each one I produced one main image on a mannequin head and four supplementary images to show the piece from different angles.  It was also important that the images are sharp and clear so that prospective customers can see the items in close up and the work that has gone into each creation.

This was the first time of tackling such an undertaking so the initial test shots took longer, whilst I tried different settings to see what worked well.  By the end of the work I knew what were the best settings to use and what proved to be most successful.  The challenge was to  make the pieces look as beautiful as possible, to show that crystals and pearls had been used in their construction etc. but at the same time to ensure that the images were not over exposed.  The 50mm f/1.4 lens worked well for this together with the use of my home studio lighting kit.

The following are a few images taken from the final submission given to my client.


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