If truth be told… end (or a new beginning)

As LOOK13 festival came to an end, our exhibition If truth be told closed this weekend.

Thank you everyone who visited and supported the show!

We are taking a short break, but please stay tuned for update on future work by Fabricate Collective!


If truth be told… launch

The 17th – 19th May saw the launch of LOOK/13 International Photography Festival and our inaugural exhibition If truth be told…

The opening took place during Light Night – a city wide evening of cultural events from projections and exhibitions to street music and food. Walking through the city saw hoards of excited people, Light Night catalogue in hand, exploring the streets, following the sounds and smells. Open Culture got it spot on with Light Night – the well organised and promoted event, which attracted thousands of people!

We are pleased to say that our launch night was a great success, with a steady stream of visitors turning into a full house later on. We couldn’t have asked for a better launch pad to the rest of the month!

An artists talk took place on Saturday the 18th, chaired by Dewi Lewis photographic publisher and our mentor over the past year. Each artist spoke in-depth about their experiences and processes of producing the work on display. Each member of the collective have responded the question ‘Who do you think you are?’ – the main theme of LOOK13 festival – in fascinating and variegated ways, from the performance of gender to the notion of photographic truth itself.

Another discussion is scheduled for June 1st (TBC) which is well worth making the trip over for.

Fabricate Collective / If truth be told… runs until June 16th / Fallout Factory, 97 Dale Street, Liverpool

Final Stage: Tina Remiz

This morning, I work up to a daunting realisation – our exhibition opens in two weeks today!

Those are exciting times, when the final bits and pieces fall into places and a bigger picture starts to emerge. With two weeks left to pull everything together, there seems to be so much to do, but I am confident that we will manage and have full trust in my amazing team.

Unlike some other collective photographic projects I had been involved in, Lightbox for me became much more about teamwork than personal practice, and I find myself thinking more about how will we organise the opening weekend than what I personally will display on the wall (I might regret my priorities later). I gained a lot from this collaboration and learned more about working with people than about taking pictures, but this seems to be the right way to go.


As for my personal project Filed Under ‘F’, it still consists of obscure quotes from books on fairies and a lot of shiny butterfly stickers – come and see it at Fallout Factory in two weeks!

Final Stage: Sabrina Fuller

My work is a fictional documentation of my younger self, reconstructed on visits to a place that means a lot to me. I’m working with Susan as my model. We’ve been out and about again after a few weeks break. I’d been getting dispirited: no light, freezing cold, very tired, in a hurry. Result: bad work. After a rest we are back and I’m more relaxed and Susan’s got her poise back.

I’m enjoying the process of choosing her wardrobe – at first I gave her my old clothes to wear but now we swap clothes a lot. That is really weird when it works. We look quite similar from the back and all my clothes fit her perfectly.

Sabrina Fuller

I’ve got a new, better, camera as my old one packed up after our last shoot. It’s slowing me down a lot, which is great. I’m composing my shots much more carefully, questioning whether the shot does make Susan look like a younger me. Also I’m much more alert to distractions in the picture. So I have to act as a stylist as well as photographer: yesterday we were asked whether we were in fashion, which was quite flattering. The only problem yesterday was that in the space of a few minutes the sky had gone from blue to grey and the light went flat.

Sabrina Fuller

I visited a couple of shows in Barcelona that resonate with the work I’m doing. Palestinian photographer’s Ahlam Shibli work is about the concept of home linked to resistance, and one small piece of work in her current show at MACBA is about places that remind you who you are. Self portrait references Guattari’s work on the production of existential territories:

Where do you feel familiar, at home, what paths do you retrace without thinking? This is a realm before or beyond signification, it’s about an animal’s touch with the land, sheer sensibility, where language collapses in to the skin. The territory is your living space, your cruising range, your neighbourhood or worse, your fortress, your bottomless black hole. It’s the experience of pacing, of wandering, like a dog in the back yard, like lovers on a bed or teenagers on the street, like a baby exploring the body of its mother. The territory is the object of an “existential grasping” whereby a inchoate subjectivity tries to hand on to something, to mark off a boundary, to open up a world. But this territory is only virtually real: it opens up the space for an existential choice of materials, it provides the substance of expression [1].

Matteo Rebuffa, in Dos Viajes, currently at the Pati Llimona, is on a rather different journey:

Every journey has two opposite directions: the physical displacement and internal path. Universal and abstract topics such as absence, memory and death are joined in a circle of self consciousness. My grandfather’s volunteer trip to death is the reason that motivates me to start my own imaginary journey into my childhood – adolescence. Through the camera, I find the physical void left by him and find myself (again) with my memories. At the same time, my grandfather wants to fill the emotional void left by his wife, my grandmother, by attempting to rejoin her in death. Journeys meet, intersect and feed off each other.

Sabrina Fuller

As for my own work – I’m enjoying it but still finding elusive the light that will lift the work from the literal to the metaphorical, telling my own story but at the same time constructing a more universal narrative.

See previous post by Sabrina Fuller.

Final Stage: Christopher Bethell

Not much has changed since my last blog. Since my source is the street, there is always fresh material to shoot so problems are rare to encounter.

Christopher Bethell
I found out some great news though – this project has won third place in Fotoura’s International Street Photography (student section) award! This means that it will be a part of their exhibition at the ICN Space in Shoreditch from the 18th – 28th of April! Please check it out if you are in the area.

Christopher Bethell

The book is to accompany the work is coming on well – i am currently in the process of sequencing the images with the work of Alison Vaughan (creative writer) and Tom Poynter (Illustrator). Both of their work is looking incredible, although at this time i can’t share any of it as it’s hush, hush!

Christopher Bethell

To accompany the work, i have also produced a small, interactive book which contains 50 of my photographs to which i want the gallery visitors to tell me the stories they see. The book is laid out so that it has space for people to write next to the photographs their interpretations. In addition to this, i have also started work on a Slideluck style slideshow with which to promote the work. A preview of this can be seen here.

Christopher Bethell

Final Stage: Elina Chauveaux

Since starting this project I have been plagued by doubts as to how to take the project into the most effective metaphorical exploration of the issues I have set to deal with: memories, guilt, secrets,the weight of religion, the past and the identities hidden behind the old veils of secrecy…

Aware that choosing the best location is paramount, I knew my selection of a cramped white walled cellar was valid but I really struggled with what to include in the picture. Things seemed somewhat overstated or totally lacking in composition or actual content.
Elina Chauveaux

Elina Chauveaux
I then had a mental block as to how to further progress- it was a very frustrating time, and it felt rather unproductive but I guess I just needed to step back, reflect and accept it.
So after a while, I went back to the board, and took more pictures in the same cellar; this time, using less symbols, then using different angles

Elina Chauveaux

and then progressively subtracting nearly all of the symbols to only keep the essence of the concept.

Elina Chauveaux
This last picture is the purest visual result I could achieve in that cellar.
The omnipresent white will contrast very strongly with the first image of the red apple in the cemetery (see previous blog post) and the shadow of the cross will link both photographs in terms of content- the overbearing cross reflecting on the sheet that covers God knows what…

See previous post by Elina Chauveaux.

Final Stage: Annie Grove-White

Thoughts on collaboration:

Last Monday, Frazer came over to mine to go through all the materials that we have made over the last few months – two workbooks that contain several hours of interviews and lots of images, as well as research. It’s varied, it’s rich and I presented to Frazer an idea of how it could be exhibited. My idea was to displaying an edited workbook, containing glimpses or moments of the process we have both been through to reach the point we have, alongside a larger image of F’s choice.

He has been my partner in this journey, and it’s true to say the work couldn’t have got to where it did without him! No way!

Frazer spent the day going through all the interviews and images, editing them – what did he feel okay about, what he didn’t…

At one point he drew lines through virtually a whole page and a half of one of our interviews and I just looked at him… Gob-smacked!!! My instant reaction was – ‘HELP!’ Am I going to have anything to show? OMG!’.

Annie Grove-White

Part of an interview edited by Frazer

A sense of panic set over me (all panic about me, and how I would look in others’ eyes!) – as it did him (about how he would look in the eyes of others and what would they think). We looked at each other and started justifying our points of view, making the other wrong and being right about our own position. Impasse!

Images edited by Frazer

Images edited by Frazer

A few minutes passed, I calmed down and brought myself back to reality, reminding myself that we have enough communication and trust between us to talk about what was going on for each of us. He felt vulnerable about certain aspects and it wasn’t just about him – it was about other people in his life, those whom he cared for. In a moment, I realised that for me it was about letting go of being attached to a particular outcome and looking for a way forward – the one that would work for both of us. Once we had said what there was to say about how each of us felt and was ‘threatened’ by, we found a way forward, and Frazer continued editing and noting in my workbook, as I took some final images.

Breast implants

Breast implants

Many discussions have focused on where power lies in photography – with the photographer or the subject? Sontag described the camera as a ‘predatory weapon’ and that to ‘photograph people is to violate them…’, while at the other end of the continuum, Nan Goldin has redefined the autobiographical use of photography and camera in her unflinchingly honest and open manner, such that the images of her life and her friends are viewed as a private journal made public. In-between these two views/practices lies the question: can a photograph ever represent the collaboration between its producers? Can a photograph ever be the material realisation of a relationship? How would a viewer of an image ‘know’ that?

In my experience, it is difficult without the use of words (written or oral) to anchor a process or a relationship. I could explore this problematic a lot further with references to the work of other photographers, visual anthropology and the work I have done so far.

Some of what I intend to present at the exhibition is a series of pages from my workbooks that shine light on the process of collaboration, as much as on the process Frazer and I have been on individually over the last few months.

See previous post by Annie Grove-White.

In Progress: Jenn Brookes

My blog post has resulted from a journey of imagery from my recent shoots.

First a snippet of my statement:

I am looking at environments and how they make us who we are today, coinciding with the Look13 festival theme questioning identity.

‘Could something in a previous environment, if removed, have made us a different person? Something from our childhood mental development…

How do we fit in these places we create for ourselves, especially in the context modern living, in cities, rather than towns?’

My journey of inspiration starts with a Pinterest board I created (you can also follow me on instagram with the hashtag  #environments )

Since this initial statement, I have been working on my content, showing how the environment can shape who we are.

It started with ‘outside’ environments:

First digital shoot

Using the medium of film, I began to look at how I can use this in the development process and physically affect the film to represent more so of what I am trying to say…

2-damaged by environment

3 damaged with freezing

4- damaged with freezing

After coming across the work of David Ellison and prompted by an image (below) found by another blogger, I was inspired to bring my strongest elements of taking photographs together, adding a connection to the theme of identity.

Inspired image, not my own work

So began a series of self portraits to coincide with my ‘environmental’ photographs…

Self portrait

Self portrait

I am currently finalising ‘damaging’ films and bringing together self portraits, looking at the home environment as well. I believe that together my images create something of beauty. Presenting them in pairs adds different meanings to those they have when standing alone.

I would  like to know your thoughts – please follow my personal blog DoItForFrancesca.

Thanks for reading!

In Progress: Damian Hughes

Obscure Passages – A beginning

One of the toughest things about photography is focus. I don’t mean sharp images or depth of field, I mean clarity of ideas and discovering the right visual strategy. Perhaps it would be easier if I knew what kind of photographer I’m supposed to be – a street photographer say, a war reporter, or maybe a landscape pictorialist. As it is – and I’m guessing I share this with a lot of photographers – answers don’t come easy to questions like: What do I want to say/show? How should the image look? If it looks likes this in my head, what will it look like in a photograph (pace Garry Winogrand)?

So, when we started the Fabricate Collective, to work towards a joint exhibition on ‘fact and fiction’ or ‘fictional narrative’, I really was at sea. This kind of work was usually of marginal interest to me; I was more interested in exploring how things are, not make-believe. So I started thinking about the ‘fact’ side of the equation, about the disparity between differing perspectives, the stories we tell ourselves about how the world really is. Not making up stories, but raising questions about what kinds of truth stories tell.

Even so, where to begin? This could mean almost anything. Worse still, I had no sense of how such a vague idea could be turned into something visual. Begin with what you know may be the soundest strategy when charting unfamiliar terrain. So, history, landscape, human presence, human traces.

I had been working in a small valley in Derbyshire’s Peak District, trying to document the connections between these facets of the experience of place. I had also been reading about perception and ‘attention.’

Attention, 2012

Attention, 2012

It is of the essence of attention that it is selective. We can focus on something in our field of vision, but never on everything. All attention must take place against a background of inattention. A heightened awareness of reality as such is something mystics may dream about, but cannot realise … To see at all, we must isolate and select.

– Ernst Gombrich Meditations on a Hobby Horse, 1963.

It is very hard to see something that has no shape or name.

– James Elkins


We understand place in many ways, but visual impressions often dominate our experience and memory of places, and permeate our ways of understanding. We pay attention to some things and not to others; we see things through the filter of what we already know. I wanted to bring together the ideas expressed in this obscure passage about perception with a visual exploration of my own. With the help of my good friend and fellow photographer (and model) Kevin Percival, this is where the project began to take shape.

Phase 1 Habitat Survey Map (with Key), 1980s. OS Square SK25NE (Extract).Courtesy: Derbyshire Wildlife Trust

Phase 1 Habitat Survey Map (with Key), 1980s. OS Square SK25NE (Extract).
Courtesy: Derbyshire Wildlife Trust

This wooded valley has been a place of industry since at least the 18th century; in the 19th century, it became a popular tourist destination for city-dwelling ‘country-goers’ and is now prized for its nature conservation value.

Postcard: Via Gellia, nr. Matlock Bath, Derbyshire. c.1906.

Postcard: Via Gellia, nr. Matlock Bath, Derbyshire. c.1906.

From this point on, the project felt like a strong one and, ever since, I have been scouring my book-shelves for obscure passages to distil an idea that relates, for me at least, to some particular place, and discovering other visual and textual materials that might offer alternative perspectives on place, and the ideas places generate.

In Progress: Francesco Loporchio

We press our shape into the surfaces of the World but they push back, rejecting coalescence as if the very notion were absurd; perhaps we were never meant to fit at all, never destined to touch the ground.

I’ve long been fascinated by the night, it’s always made more sense to me than the day. I remember first seeing the work of Gregory Crewdson and being amazed at the all the possibilities pouring out from the photograph, a sense of understanding that goes beyond artifice. I was interested in the stories they had to tell, like a pass into a secret world where the things that matter were finally revealed. I really want this body of work to mean something and Crewdson has provided ample inspiration.

Gregory Crewdson

Gregory Crewdson

Later I discovered the work of Astrid Kruse Jensen and again felt that surge of excitement at what photography can offer. The work of both these artists has always influenced the work I produce at night and it is the same here. I wanted each image to be a rabbit hole of nuances and paths all waiting to be unravelled by the viewer.

Astrid Kruse Jensen

Astrid Kruse Jensen

Going out into the early hours of the morning taking photographs is a surreal experience. The streets that were once familiar are imbued with a sense of magic and possibility, a new beauty in silence.

The photographs that result are marked with this ephemeral slice in time and I think they’re all the better for it.

I’m working with fragmentation whilst at the same time trying to coerce images to coagulate and to form some sort of body; this is proving to be a challenging point and where I’m going at the moment; still wandering in the night.. trying to make the pieces fit.

Francesco Loporchio

Francesco Loporchio