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The term ‘sketchbook’ refers not only to artists’ sketchbooks in the traditional sense – though some photographers, … do use paper sketchbooks extensively – but encompasses all the diverse preparatory work that goes into the finished ‘work’ (McLaren and Formhals, 2014: 6)

Previous posts in this blog were an overall consideration of this Assignment: to photograph ‘need’; ‘need’ also implies dissatisfaction, and shades into greed (see’Reflection #2 — Photographing the unseen’ at:  https://cormac513273.wordpress.com/2014/10/21/reflection-2-photographing-the-unseen/ and ‘Reflection #3 — Photographing the unseen’ at: https://cormac513273.wordpress.com/2014/11/04/reflection-3-photographing-the-unseen/) .

Initially the idea for the Assignment was to concentrate on city outdoor advertising (‘graphic display’) and its unceasing efforts to generate need (conscious or subconscious) in those who inhabit today’s city (included here also are amateur advertisements or small business ads such as bill posters or flyers found attached to lamp posts or hoardings).

Gallery 1 ‘city ads’ shows some initial photographs to test this ideas as the main focus of the Assignment. The photographs were taken at night in an effort to make the adverts dominant but nevertheless to allow people to be present as a crowd — in an unindividuate or anonymous form.

Gallery 2 ‘eating’ shows photographs on the theme of generated need – the consumption of fast or junk food on the street. Similar images (particularly for example images 11141822 and 11141824) show the ambiguities that surround ‘need’ in modern society.

Gallery 3 ‘addiction’ is an example of another ‘need’ (nicotine, alcohol) – the more respectable the consumption the more thought provoking the image.


These initial tests show that it is necessary to decide to either focus on a single visual strategy (e.g. one of the Galleries above) or attempt a series of diverse images all strongly on the theme of ‘need’.

This post continues with ‘Sketches #2 — Photographing the unseen’ at: https://cormac513273.wordpress.com/2014/11/23/sketches-2-photographing-the-unseen/


McLaren, Stephen and Formhals, Bryan (2014) Photographers’ Sketchbooks. London: Thames & Hudson