Assignment 4 – Research – Photograph selection

Whilst reading/viewing Five thousand days: Press photography in a changing word, I’d noted 3 photographs as possible subjects for Assignment 4. The book was chock full of brilliant, thought provoking photographs, but these 3 stood out for reasons mentioned below.

I’m now struggling to pick one on which to base my essay, and so I’m going to try a little experiment. I’m going to ask my fellow students (and anyone else who may read this learning log) which photograph they’d like to read an essay about, and why. Please take the poll and comment directly on this post with your suggestions. Thanks.

Option 1:

Tanks and soldiers of the 7th Armoured Brigade gather in the Kuwaiti desert for an address by US Marine General Tommy Franks. March 2003. Dan Chung The Guardian (p93).


I’m in this photo, somewhere. Operation TELIC was my 3rd operational deployment and my first time in the Middle East. At the tender age of 22, I’d been in Kuwait for 6 weeks. This address happened shortly before the invasion. I remember it vividly and can even remember seeing the gantry suspended from a crane that the photographer would have been stood in. The caption is actually inaccurate. The soldiers in the photograph are from 16 Air Assault Brigade.

Option 2:

Brian Kane is 6 foot tall and weighs just 6st 10lb. He has been in hospital many times to try and cure him but he thinks he is fat when he looks in the mirror. Roger Allen The daily Mirror (p140).


My tutor has recommended that I try and continue my exploration of Body Image issues in men, which I began to look at in Assignment 3. As my tutor stated, the topic has had very little exposure so there is scope for some unique work. But because of this, there are not many photographs in this area to study or write an essay about. For that very reason, this image jumped out at me when I saw it and read the accompanying caption.

Option 3:

Empty weaving shed at Bradford’s biggest mill, Lister’s Manningham Mill. The textile industry in the north of England has collapsed in recent times. There are now fewer than 1000 people employed in textiles in Bradford, once the woollen textiles capital of the world. Tim Smith The Observer (p153).


I grew up in the shadow of Lister’s Mill, living just a stones throw away. It was one of many derelict places where kids with nothing better to do could go exploring/trespassing. What would have once been a been a thriving industrial area had become a very impoverished area, with high unemployment, high crime rate and large amounts of social housing. The mill dominated the Bradford skyline as a symbol of Britishness (the industrial revolution) which is in stark contrast to the perception of Manningham that many have today. With 75% of Manningham’s residents being Muslim¹, the relic of the mill now competes with the countries largest Mosque for domination of the skyline.

So there we are, 3 very different images. Please let me know your thoughts below. Thanks in advance.

Update – 6/4/16

It was really insightful to hear the thoughts of some of my course-mates. Some of their comments can be read in this post’s comments section, and I’ve also ‘cut & paste’ some comments from the OCA Facebook page (below). All said and done, I’ve decided to go with the general consensus and study Image number 2.

Facebook comments:

Patricia Howe

Patricia Howe Option 3 for me.

Rob Townsend
Rob Townsend Done – I voted 2
Karen Gomersal
Karen Gomersal Voted, hope the essay goes well
Anne Bryson
Anne Bryson Voted and commented Adam, 3 for me.
Kathy Norris
Kathy Norris Voted. Tough call tho”
Lynda Kuit
Lynda Kuit Option 3 for me too (voted on your blog post). I think you will find a lot of semiotics there.
Lucy Courtney
Lucy Courtney I like option 3 (I voted for this one) although it came close to option 1. Good luck on your essay Adam
Jayne Arksey
Jayne Arksey Wow, can see why you’re struggling too choose. I think I’d go with 2.
Nuala Mahon
Nuala Mahon Did you ask yur tutor for advice? Mine answered immediatly with his ideas on my three. I took his advice on the basis of his experience
Adam Newsome
Adam Newsome He offered some advice in the feedback for assignment 3.
Andrew Fitzgibbon
Andrew Fitzgibbon I’m not going to vote, but offer some thoughts on the photos. I think the choice must really be yours based on what interests you the most and that could be very different for all of us. 1) I don’t know much about the military, so while it is a great photo, I’d have little interest in analysing it. But you would have a huge access to context. The risk would be that you are too close to the subject to bring fresh perspectives. 2) I know you’ve thought a lot about this topic already. I would be inclined to avoid it, if only to apply your creative thoughts to a fresh subject. I do wonder whether an external assessor might, at least subconsciously, not welcome the similarity in topics. But prefer a breadth of exploration this level. 3) This interests me the most because of the sociological and economic context and you’d have such good access to material in Yorkshire and Lancashire (eg Bradford Industrial Museum, Helmshore Museum are both in old textile mills and full of historical information). An obvious comparative photographer would be Bill Brandt – Hell, Hail, and Halifax – which is incidentally a play on a Yorkshire saying from countryside people forced to look for work in the industrial cities – ‘God keep us from Hull, Hell and Halifax’. Good luck!
Rob Townsend
Rob Townsend Funnily enough, on your second point I got exactly the opposite advice from my tutor! As ever, taking tutor advice does involve a certain amount of second-guessing what the final assessor will think… unsure emoticon
Adam Newsome
Adam Newsome Cheers Andrew. The Essay on Brandt’s ‘A snicket, Halifax’ in Singular Images was, in part, one of the things that drew me to this subject.
Adam Newsome
Adam Newsome Rob Townsend, I would hope that the final assessor would read the tutor feedback, and look favourably on students who acted upon the recommendations. But who knows!
Like · Reply · 3 · 4 April at 09:18
Jayne Arksey
Jayne Arksey I can see why they’d want to keep out of Hull.
As for tutor feedback, I think if you go against it you need to write something explaining why.
I think Andrew and the tutor both have good points for and against, down to you really to think if it’s something you want to explore further.
Jayne Kemp
Jayne Kemp 2 looks a good choice smile emoticon
Kate Aston

Kate Aston That’s a tough choice – I would go for 2 or 3. I think my gut favourite would be 3, I saw some great images by Jonas Bendiksen taken in Bradford textile mills.

Adam Newsome
Adam Newsome Cheers Kate. I saw the Open for Business exhibition at the NMM during a study visit last year. Thanks for the link smile emoticon




British Press Photographers’ Association and Evans, H. (2004) Five Thousand days: Press photography in a changing world. United Kingdom: David & Charles.

3 thoughts on “Assignment 4 – Research – Photograph selection

  1. I voted option 2 for two reasons: first, I agree with your tutor’s suggestion of looking for connections between assignments; second, it’s such a striking image that it’s the one I most want to read 1000 words about.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Adam, 3 very different images all worthy of 1000 words. I wondered if you may have been a little too close to image no 1. 2 intrigued me but 3 really drew me in. Partly the clock talks about the time and I would love to hear about what you got up to as kids there, so it’s 3 for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. They all look interesting. There’s something about the composition of the first one – sinuous, snaking, that makes me wonder about hidden signs and symbols there. It depends how you want to analyse the image I think – different methods suit different images.

    Liked by 1 person

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