15_Visual Ideas-v02



On completion of this activity, you will have begun to establish a series of options and also reflect on ideas for your MA Project Proposal through tutorial dialogue.


During this activity, you will consider options for your MA Project Proposal and you will produce a written and visual communication of these for sharing thorough discussion with your tutor.


The suggested time allocation for this activity is 8 hours.


In this important activity, I would like you to begin to establish a series of ideas and options for your Project Proposal. Please ensure that you read the support documents associated with this section as they will provide you with valuable advice to help you guide this task. I would like to to complete the following activities:

  • Establish three to five different potential project ideas
  • Identify research areas linked to your potential ideas
  • Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each idea
  • Request feedback on your ideas from your tutor

You may use a range of methods to explore and communicate your ideas in both written and visual form.


I would like you to upload your work-in-progress at each stage for tutor review and comment. Ensure that you document and incorporate feedback received within the analysis of your ideas.



I apologise for the length of this document, but I’ve been researching elements of this for several years now, and it all adds up, and not all of it is as important as it seems.

Doing the research for this assignment I feel increasingly out of my depth, and yet this is where the research is drawing me, so I’ll put my faith in something I have learnt while doing it:

“You enter the forest

at the darkest point,

where there is no path.

Where there is a way or path,

it is someone else’s path.

You are not on your own path.

If you follow someone else’s way,

you are not going to realize

your potential.”

Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Journey: Joseph Campbell on His Life & Work


Whatever form my main project eventually takes, I would develop the presentation as a cascade, like a layered cake, each layer built on previous layers.

  1. Final images would be prepared for printing on suitable paper using a calibrated monitor.
  2. Develop an online presence, including a website and supportive social media network – this could be regarded as a type of digital calling-card, and work on all levels: local, national and international.
  3. Develop an online gallery on the website  to present and display the final project, providing relevant background information.
  4. Thinking in terms of the COVID crisis, and that many people are now largely confined to their homes, it could be interesting to develop a VR – virtual reality – version of an online gallery, a linked series of 360˚ photo-spheres into which the final project images could be photoshopped, the photo-spheres could also be integral to the story line.
  5. Maybe use the project images and texts as a basis for a book project, which could then be offered on the website and sold on Amazon etc. – Again this would work on all levels: local, national and international.
  6. Use the online presence to help create interest in a real world exhibition.

Main Project 

The project would be in two parts

  1. Develop an online VR gallery experience with comprising of series of interconnected 360˚ photo-spheres.
  2. Develop an exhibition of images as a secondary project, which can be exhibited in the VR Gallery.

Project – A: online VR gallery

The covid-19 pandemic has confined many people to their homes for extended periods of time, depriving many the opportunity to visit real galleries and exhibitions, this project will investigate the online VR possibilities of developing immersive, online cross media exhibition spaces.



YouTube VR Version: 


Use the mouse to navigate around the photo-sphere.


Project – B: Exhibition

IDEA – 1: An Odyssey

This idea would represent some sort of photographic journey, and that the project wouldn’t just be a collection of visually appealing, but largely unrelated images.

I would like the viewer to be left with the sense that there is an intended narrative pinning everything together, and that there is an emotional arc to the story being told.

I am as yet however still undecided upon the best approach, which will probably only become apparent when I know exactly how much time is at my disposal.

  1. A Journey

An episodic journey through a given idea, a three act narrative structure, exploring different aspects of an over-arching theme.

These episodes, at least three, and depending on the scope of the project hopefully more, progressively hung on the framework of Homer’s Odyssey, each episode could have its own distinct style.

The Odyssey is the story of the hero’s journey, a tale of growth, overcoming challenges and adversity, and it’s universally relatable to, because ultimately, we are all on a similar journey, each the hero of our own story.

  1. A Personal journey

Much as I would theoretically like to, I think that such an approach would be emotionally extremely difficult, as it would require me to visits places that repeatedly signify only loss, and there would almost certainly be no closure to be achieved, only a reopening of old wounds. 

  1. A semi-fictionalised journey

This I believe would be a far better approach as it would enable me to explore more universal themes, and yet still draw on personal experience.

  1. A wholly fictional journey

This would almost certainly be the easiest option, but from a creative point of view, probably not quite so important, but depending on the time-frame still an option.


This project is one I have been thinking about for a long time now, and I seem to have found solutions for most of the main problems, and I’m very excited about it.


The project is relatively complicated, and will require sufficient time to finish to a satisfactory standard, but as of yet I have no idea how much time is at my disposal, or when the final submission date is, as these are curiously not to be found on either the UH or ICI websites in any tangible form.

And experience tells me that that it’s unwise to plan a project until these important details are clear.

And so, although I would prefer to tackle a complete Odyssey, maybe it’s wiser to develop just 3 – 5 episodes first, as a proof of concept, and then depending on time-constraints, only then attempt to complete the project, when everything is clear.

IDEA – 2: Three cubed – 3³

A group of triptychs arranged in a square, each exploring one aspect of an overarching theme.

In total 9 triptychs, or 27 images.


It would be easy


It would be maybe too easy?

IDEA – 3: Missing

Using a variety of techniques including collage, photoshop, multi-media etc including previously shot photographs, scans etc, visually explore the phenomena known as “estrangement” and try to instil in the viewer a sense of what it’s like to be a victim of it, and what it’s like not belonging. 

No one knows more about this subject than I do !!

Due of the nature of breakdown, I have very little material to work with, and so I would have to be very creative in order to express time, event, and significance, and photography offers a far better storytelling solution than documentary film ever could.

Presented as series of images in a linear filmstrip style, some big, some small, most missing, as though burnt out of the negative strip, some under-exposed , some over-exposed, very episodic.

This would not be an investigation into the hows, whys, and wherefores of breakdown, that’s of no interest to anyone, it would just be a visual representation of what it feels like.


I feel unexpectedly positive about this idea, as I feel that I could do it justice, even the lack of any significant material, such as family photos etc, I don’t feel is much of a hindrance, and necessity is often the mother of invention, I will just have to be very creative in plastering over any gaps.

This isn’t supposed to be a documentary photography project anyway, and the lack of any material goes with the territory.


Unfortunately however, after a little research . . .

I would never get the permission to use any family photographs, as firstly I wasn’t the photographer and therefore don’t own the copyright, and secondly I have either no contact, or am in an acrimonious legal dispute with the people who do, and they would never give it to me.





At the moment this is an area that I’m still in deep thought about, deciding on which type of theme to investigate and whether it would be possible to do it justice in the given timeframe, because if not, a rather more unimaginative project would probably be the only other alternative, because it’s extremely important that the project does get finished.

Research Sources

ART INSPIRED (2018). Themes to Explore. [Online] Available at: http://artinspired.pbworks.com/w/page/13819720/Themes%20to%20Explore. [Accessed: 15 November 2020]


On my quest for inspiration, I thought it wise to start with the visual creative process itself, and explore the world of contemporary art.

But on a personal level I have huge problems with it, because listening to most artists, almost every second word is either “art” or “artist”, it’s almost as though they were all part of a huge cult, and this is just a mantra used to self-reaffirm a higher purpose to their mundane endeavours.

. . . that dangerous looking, old, rusty, nail sticking out of that roughly sawn piece of wood, straight out of the timber merchants, is, in my opinion, rarely a true artistic or design decision, if ever, it’s actually incompetence, it only demonstrates a chronic lack of technical knowledge and manual construction skills.

If that is “art”, everything is art, but to paraphrase Syndrome from the 2004 film The Incredibles, “if everything is art, nothing is”.

Art in its true form is therefore incredibly difficult to find, because it is often obfuscated by well-meaning, but self-deluding cult-members themselves.

My search therefore continues . . .

Research Sources

Art21 is a celebrated global leader in presenting thought-provoking and sophisticated content about contemporary art

ART21 (2020). Art in the Twenty-First Century. [Online] Available at: https://art21.org. [Accessed: 13 November 2020]

Documentary video series about art in the 21st century.

ART21 (2020). Art in the Twenty-First Century. [Online] Available at: https://art21.org/series/art-in-the-twenty-first-century/. [Accessed: 13 November 2020]

Documentary video series about art in the 21st century: Series 9 – Berlin.

ART21 (2020). Season 9 of Art in the Twenty-First Century – Berlin. [Online] Available at: https://art21.org/watch/art-in-the-twenty-first-century/s9/berlin/. [Accessed: 13 November 2020]


As I wish to take my photography beyond just the purely documentary form, I think it important to concentrate some of my research on areas with a more contemporary orientation.

 And yet just as with much contemporary art, I am often left wondering if the questions the artist/photographer is attempting to explore, are worth asking in the first place, particularly as confusion on the part of the viewer often seems to be the primary goal.

I however persevere  with my (re) search. . .

Research Sources

Source publishes emerging photographic work and engages with the latest in contemporary photography through news, thoughtful features and reviews of the latest exhibitions and books from Ireland and the UK.

SOURCE – THINKING THROUGH PHOTOGRAPHY (2020). What is conceptual photography. [Online] Available at: https://www.source.ie/feature/what_is_conceptual.php. [Accessed: 15 November 2020]

Narrated tour around the San Diego Museum of Art

ARTSTOP (2012). Identity in Contemporary Photography. [Online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRZD-IjjD2M. [Accessed: 13 November 2020]

Online lecture by Eileen Rafferty about contemporary photography

B&H PHOTO VIDEO (2014). Contemporary Trends in Photography – Eileen Rafferty. [Online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tL4ZHSMqWqQ. [Accessed: 13 November 2020]


Life is a journey, and nothing symbolises this more than Homer’s Odyssey, an ancient text whose origins date back to the late bronze age, a story which still resonates today because of the way it deals with much the same issues we still confront.

It’s the classic hero’s journey, a tale of self-discovery and growth, whose structure has often been adapted and retold, and even subverted, as with James Joyce’s Ulysses, a 10 year voyage home condensed down to one day in Dublin, the protagonist an anti-hero, the retelling itself now a classic of modern literature.

Research Sources

Understanding Homer’s Odyssey

TED-ED (2017). Everything you need to know to read Homer’s “Odyssey” – Jill Dash. [Online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Z9FQxcCAZ0. [Accessed: 13 November 2020]

Understanding Homer’s Odyssey – Themes

COURSE HERO (2017). The Odyssey by Homer | Themes. [Online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BaBdVSDSrSE. [Accessed: 13 November 2020]

Rewriting Homer’s Odyssey – James Joyce’s Ulysses

TED-ED (2017). Why should you read James Joyce’s “Ulysses”? – Sam Slote. [Online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7FobPxu27M. [Accessed: 13 November 2020]

Novels inspired or influenced by Homer’s Odyssey


    • Ulysses – James Joyce
    • Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes
    • The Penelopiad – Margaret Atwood
    • The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
    • As I Lay Dying – William Faulkner
    • Cold Mountain – Charles Frazier
    • Big Fish – Daniel Wallace
    • The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien

Films inspired or influenced by Homer’s Odyssey

    • O Brother, Where Art Thou?
    • Cold Mountain
    • Apocalypse Now
    • Paris, Texas
    • The 7th voyage of Sinbad
    • Pirates of the Caribbean, At World’s End
    • The Wizard of Oz

Or even the Pink Floyd version, “The Dark Side of the Rainbow”:



Storytelling is a key feature of any photograph, and only becomes more important as the number of images involved in a series increases. 

Known in the world of photography as sequencing, knowledge of the principles of storytelling is fundamental for the creation of any visual narration.

In it’s most basic form, every story is hung on the  framework of a three act structure: 

Act I: Setup

Act II: Confrontation

Act III: Resolution

Although it is possible to successfully break with convention, a good working knowledge of what is being broken and why is always essential.

Research Sources


B&H (2020). Tips for Editing and Sequencing Photos. [Online] Available at: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/photography/tips-and-solutions/tips-for-editing-and-sequencing-photos. [Accessed: 13 November 2020]

Understanding storytelling

PROGRESSIVE AD COUNCIL (2019). Freytag’s Pyramid and Story Structure ~ Jessica Blank. [Online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiRoZ6fZx5w. [Accessed: 13 November 2020]

Understanding Freytag’s pyramid and the 3 act structure

VIDEOMAKER (2020). Freytag’s pyramid and the 3 act structure. [Online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REma28Zg7r8. [Accessed: 13 November 2020]


The art of storytelling is about far more than just stringing exciting scenes together. 

A story is always working on several layers at once, deeper themes such as greed, jealousy, religion are explored, often with the use of symbolism, the universal hero’s journey frequently deals with the fundamental questions of life itself, of growth, of death.

As does much art too.

Art is often just as much about the created, as it is the creator, and the journey.

Research Sources

Online documentary by Béa Gonzalez analysing the psychological meaning and themes found in Homer’s Odyssey

SOFIACYCLES (2018). The Odyssey — Homer [via Joseph Campbell and Star Wars. [Online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFrQVVNA7iA&t=103s. [Accessed: 13 November 2020]

More from Sofia Cycles aka. Béa Gonzalez

SOFIACYCLES (2018). Sophia Cycles Video Essays. [Online] Available at: https://www.sophiacycles.com/sophia-in-action. [Accessed: 13 November 2020]

Understanding the hero’s myth

TED-ED (2012). What makes a hero? – Matthew Winkler. [Online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hhk4N9A0oCA. [Accessed: 13 November 2020]

MANOFCREATION (2018). Jordan Peterson – The Hero’s Myth. [Online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMwNUqBYn3M. [Accessed: 13 November 2020]

ACADAMY OF IDEAS (2016). Joseph Campbell and the Myth of the Hero’s Journey. [Online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4288NRq1vVc. [Accessed: 13 November 2020]

RAW SPIRITUALITY (2017). The HERO’S JOURNEY – Joseph Campbell. [Online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNPcefZKmZ0. [Accessed: 13 November 2020]


Of great importance to me is the visual styling of the project, and what can be achieved with it.

Most of the following is taken from my original project proposal, which was more researched based, and which quickly became clear was totally unsuitable for this, a more visually based project.

Certain elements of it are however still of great interest to me, and will almost certainly find there way into whatever project I finally decide upon.

Research Sources – YouTube

THE LOYALTY LOOP (2018). How to Earn Attention in a Noisy Online World | Marketing Using the Curiosity Gap. [Online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEyQ4N-EpAU. [Accessed: 06 October 2020]

TECHNOLOGY CONNECTIONS (2020). Brown; Color is weird. [Online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wh4aWZRtTwU. [Accessed: 02 November 2020]

Research Sources – Internet 

THE AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION (2016). Curiosity Has the Power to Change Behavior for the Better. [Online] Available at: https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2016/08/curiosity-behavior. [Accessed: 06 October 2020]

CASSANDRA TANG (2019). The Curiosity Gap. [Online] Available at: https://cassandra-tang.com/the-curiosity-gap/. [Accessed: 22 January 2020]

SKYWORD (2018). The Curiosity Gap: How Consumer Psychology Is Driven by What’s Missing. [Online] Available at: https://www.skyword.com/contentstandard/the-curiosity-gap-how-consumer-psychology-is-driven-by-whats-missing/. [Accessed: 06 October 2020]

DEMAND GEN REPORT (2018). Minding The Curiosity Gap: Brightcove PLAY 2019 Shares Insights To Engage, Retain Buyers With Video Content. [Online] Available at: https://www.demandgenreport.com/features/industry-insights/minding-the-curiosity-gap-brightcove-play-2019-shares-insights-to-engage-retain-buyers-with-video-content. [Accessed: 06 October 2020]

Research Sources – Books 

R.L.GREGORY (1966). Eye and Brain, The psychology of seeing. New York: World University Press

Research Sources – Photographers 

JOSHUA K. JACKSON (2020). Homepage – www.joshkjack.com. [Online] Available at: https://www.joshkjack.com. [Accessed: 15 November 2020]

CHRIS FRIEL (2020). Homepage – www.cfriel.com/home. [Online] Available at: https://www.cfriel.com/home. [Accessed: 15 November 2020]

Research Sources – Other

Has no ending, but does reference a very good IKEA TV advertisement

CONTENT MARKETING INSTITUTE (2018). The Curiosity Factor – Andrew Davis. [Online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KfiTqVoxdI&t=5s. [Accessed: 11 October 2020]

This is very good and informative, several very good ideas.

TEDx TALKS (2012). The Case for Curiosity: Mario Livio at TEDxMidAtlantic 2012. [Online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_ojyXVVFKA. [Accessed: 11 October 2020]

Some very good ideas.

BRAINCRAFT (2018). The Power of Curiosity. [Online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wc5IFNpi43A. [Accessed: 11 October 2020]

The usual blurb.

INTERNET MARKETING KICKSTART (2019). how to use the curiosity gap to drive your readers into a click frenzy. [Online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_dLaqDmKYE. [Accessed: 11 October 2020]

Very good !!

TEDx TALKS (2015). After watching this, your brain will not be the same | Lara Boyd | TEDxVancouver. [Online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNHBMFCzznE. [Accessed: 11 October 2020]

Interesting talk, also regarding Hitchcock.

42COURSES (2020). The Curiosity Gap – Rory Sutherland. [Online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrnKSu9gUso. [Accessed: 11 October 2020]

JOE SCOTT (2020). 3 Ways Your Mind Lies To You | Answers With Joe. [Online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pyu7HAjjmJ0. [Accessed: 11 October 2020]

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