Category Archives: ASSIGNMENTS

Assignment 5 – reworked

Following the original feedback from Clive, my tutor I did considerable re-working of this assignment in order to put it into a photobook as suggested.  I had thought of a photobook myself but had thought I was restricted to the 10 photos and word count outlined in the course book.

I did a draft of the re-worked assignment and sent this to Clive for further feedback.  He e-mailed me the following response:

“Hi Joy

I’ll write about it as I look through…

I would use just the image in the top left corner to cover  the whole of the front cover because it includes the then and the now, in the sense that it’s a popular re-enactment and then use a less fancy font.

Something like this…


Don’t put that it’s an assignment in the book, you can say that on the blog or in any accompanying text but not in the book.

It needs to be treated as if it was a book ready for publication and sale to people interested in the subject matter.

As such don’t put references or links in, these can all go on the blog or a separate piece of writing slipped into the book for assessors to read.

Decide on a couple of different double page spread layouts and stick rigorously to them.

Layouts are traditionally divided into columns and the number of columns is kept consistent through the whole book. There are a couple of rules which apply…

Text will start at the top of one column, it doesn’t have to be the first and then run down until it’s filled that column then it will go to the top of the next column to the right and fill down again.

Pictures can only go over a whole number of columns. The opening page, Snaefell Mine, is roughly three columns, the image spread over two and the text running down the third.

That’s one sort of layout, used in a spread the left hand page could mirror the right hand so that the images are in the middle and the text on the edges.

The next layout has two opposing images. This is another sort of layout so that’s two. They should both have a little two or three word caption, just so we and they don’t feel abandoned like the mine.

On the next spread we’ve got a hybrid of what’s gone before. It’s OK but now on the right we’ve got a two column layout but divided two thirds to one third in favour of the text. The photograph always needs to be the star being flattered by the text.

In the next spread we’re kind of going back to the second spread but the two images are different sizes, they should be the same and keep the captioning and titles either beside of below the images.

Colour popping won’t be appreciated by the assessors. Instead I think you could keep the ‘contemporary’ industrial imagery in the cool B&W to play against the sepia ‘heritage’ photography and reserve all colour for the people at Laxey fair.

So I would say reduce the number of different lay out styles which you have to two or three and apply the rules rigorously, foregrounding the images. Don’t use colour popping and it would be a good idea to add a couple more images about the downsides of attracting tourists.

Enjoy your weekend!



I have taken Clive’s advice on board and turned the Laxey Wheel photos into cool black and white images.

I have made some more composite images using the children from the Laxey Fair in the sepia photos.  The one with the railway carriage is also a composite – the railway carriage is in fact a monument in garden in the village.

I have struggled  to find a down side to tourism but have included images of a typical Saturday afternoon in Laxey.

At times of motor sport events there is a vastly increased population and the cafes won’t be quite so empty looking and the parking area will be full of motor bikes.

The photos used in the book are as follows in the order in the book – where a new topic is introduced I have put some text about what the images are about.




The remains of Snaefell Mine are at the furthest point in the valley above the old mining villages of Laxey and Agnesh and it is tucked under the highest
point of the Isle of Man.

Zinc was mined here and it was the sight of the worst mining disaster on the island in 1897. Extraction of the ore began in 1856.
In the area there were the following buildings; the Mine Captain’s house, two cottages, an agent’s office, a smithy, a lead store and a carpenter’s workshop. The ruins of these buildings still stand and are shown in some of the images overleaf.
The mine went through several changes of ownership due to financial difficulties and by 1897 there were also problems with ventilation in the shaft. Disaster occurred when a candle had been left burning which used up the oxygen turning leaving only carbon monoxide in the shaft. This led to breathing difficulties and although many made it back to the surface around 20 miners perished in the mine.
The mine was able to be re-opened but it limped along and closed permanently in 1908.



Throughout the Laxey Valley there are a number of remains of buildings from the mining days. Agneash village which is high above the town of Laxey has a number of these. In Laxey itself the cottages have been renovated with colourful paint. Interestingly the cottages are called Ham and Egg Terrace and Dumbells Row!

This mine lies in the Laxey glen in an almost intact condition although only the small section to the right is open to the general public. It was an important sites of the industrial revolution for Great Britain employing 500 men at its height and produced 1/5th of the total output of zinc as well as copper and lead. Historical records show that it is likely that the first ore was located as early as 1770. Much like the Snaefell mine, there were difficulties in extracting the ore; this time caused by the nearby river. In one incident five men were drowned and there was a further incident in 1901 when the mine flooded. Four men were also killed when a wooden roadway gave way. Mining in the area was at its height in the 1850’s and a new washing floor and the Great Laxey Wheel (known as the Lady Isabella) were put in. The mine pones were put to rest with the introduction of two small steam trains Bee and Ant.

However, events in Cornwall, England also impacted on the Laxey mine with the miners going on strike in sympathy. This was no short period with the strike lasting 3 years following which time 16 men tried to keep the mine

operating but rising waters and old pumps meant by 1929 the main mine had to be closed although until 1934 there was still some production from loose ore in the upper levels.




The Laxey Wheel today is one of the Isle of Man’s tourist attractions. After the closure of the mine it lay abandoned for many years. It was purchased by the Isle of Man government in 1965 for the princely sum of £5000 and was given an overhaul and the water supply was re-connected before being opened in a ‘grand ceremony’. Further development of the area as a tourist attraction gained impetus in 1984 when the surrounding area was cleared for a tourist trail – this trail runs from the Laxey Wheel area all the way up to the remains of the Snaefell mine. The Wheel is believed to possibly be the largest working wheel of its type in the world.


The front of theWheel has the triskelion on it which is also part of the Manx flag. However, the one on the Wheel is unusual as the feet on the legs are opposite to the usual one that is seen elsewhere on the island – no doubt a mistake too expensive to fix.

The flag with this symbol on it has been used since 1932 and is based on the Manx coat of arms dating from the 13th century. No one is sure why this symbol was adopted on the island.

The Laxey fair is an annual attraction for both residents and tourists alike and is a day where the history of the valley is remembered and celebrated. Apart from the mining history the area was a market town where local farmers could sell their produce. In the 19th century the fair was held on the washing floor of the mines and was held on Good Friday enabling the miners to attend. The fair is still held in the same place but the Lady Evelyn and a park are now in this area.
The modern fair continues to have a component where the local school children replicate the clothing of bygone days and sing old mining songs. I have transported some of the children into the ruined buildings in the first part of this book.
“When Laxey was a mining village many years ago,
There were 600 miners working under Captain Rowe
The bottom of the mineshaft was below the water line
So they had to build a wheel to pump the water from the mine.

(Chorus):And the Laxey Wheel keeps turning, turning, turning,
In Lady Isabella’s memory,
And while the water flows
The Laxey Wheel still goes
And the Laxey river runs down to the sea.

For three quarters of a century there were fortunes lost and found
As miners dug the lead and zinc from underneath the ground,
Then came a great depression in 1929
And the miners drew their wages for the last time at the mine


It’s stood now for a 100 years through wind, snow, rain and drought,
And it will keep on turning till the sands of time run out,
And though the main mine building is no more than a shell
The Wheel still stands majestic in the shadow of Snaefell.



One of the traditions at the fair is the performance of the Manx Folk Dance Society. This society was formed in 1951 and continues to take responsibility for the preservation and teaching of Manx dancing.

The Fair also celebrates more modern times as depicted by the Island Cheer Club which has been in existance since October 2011 and aims at developing the skills of chair leaders while giving the young people opportunities to have fun.

Another tourist attraction in the area is the Mountain Railway which begins it’s journey in Laxey. The railway began operation in 1895 and climbs up the steep gradient of 2000 feet to the top of Snaefell – the island’s only mountain. From the tram you can catch sight of the Laxey Wheel and the old Snaefell mine. The railway runs over the summer and there is a café at the top

The Isle of Man is a small island, 32 miles long by around 10 miles wide with a population of 83,000. Over the winter months it is very quiet with few visitors. The biggest influx of tourists is during the famous TT (Tourist Trophy) motor bike racing which goes over a two week period at the beginning of summer. There are a number of other events over the summer that also attract a level of tourism and the island is now trying to attract cruise ships to stop over here. I began work on this assignment after the TT racing had finished but at that time the area of parking where the bus is in the following photo will be covered in motor bikes as most of the riders use the Mountain Railway to get up to the Mountain Road below Snaefell to watch the racing. This does mean more difficulties for parking for the local residents and extra noise. When the racing is not on, on an ordinary day you might have an extra bus or two in this area. The Mountain Railway does squeal as it goes up and down the mountain.

There could be a concern about the growth of public houses and cafes in the area and whether there would be an increase in issues around intoxication. However, as can be seen on a sunny Saturday afternoon in August the numbers frequenting these establishments is small. Both would be busier during one of the motor sports events but there is a high police presence at these times to manage any issues.

Again one might think that there will be only specialist souvenir shops in a tourist area making it difficult for the locals to shop – this is the one and only gift shop – not a hive of activity! It is difficult to source some goods on the island but not due to tourism but rather the high cost of freighting goods across the Irish Sea by ferry – these days online shopping solves this!

So to answer the question overall in this small town on a small island tourism does not on the whole bring problems and indeed is seen as a positive for the local economy.



Isle of Man Government (2013).  At (accessed 12/8/2017).

Laxey Mines Research Group (Unknown).  At (accessed 14/06/2017).

Laxey Mines Research Group (Unknown).  At (accessed 14/06/2017).

Stuart Slack (unknown),-rhymes-prayers/the-laxey-wheel-song/. (accessed 12/08/2017)

Wikipedia (28/05/2017) At (accessed 14/06/2017).

Wikipedia (15/07/2017) At (accessed 12/08/2017)

Wikipedia (09/08/2017) At (accessed 12/08/2017).





I have made some amendments to Assignment 4 based on Clive’s feedback.  Again I have tried to lighten all photos for printing.

I have moved the distorted taxi image – the link for me to the overall theme was that ghosts are illusions and the distorted taxi is also an illusion caused by the Camera Obscura’s mirror.

I wasn’t sure how Clive enhanced the ghost of the human in the shop window (original #3) but have tried to enhance it more.

In the original #2 photo with the light trails at the bottom I had been trying to include the cherry blossom at the top of the frame but I take Clive’s point that the light trails needed to be further up.

I do need to be more mindful of looking for the punctum or something to make the picture out of the ordinary rather than the pictoralist approach and understand where I went wrong with my comments about the roadworks and then with the  image of St Giles cathedral.

Original #6 – I have done further editing in Photoshop to try and address Clive’s comments.

Original #7 – I have tried to further enhance the huddle of ‘ghosts’.

Original #8 – I have tried to further enhance and lighten.

No changes to original #9 other than lightening for printing.II have gone back to my original set of photos and re-selected the one of the cathedral.  This one does have a couple of ghostly figures to the left which I have tried to enhance by using the burn tool:

Assignment 3 – Reworked

Again I have not done much more than tweak the original set and also print a colour set.  I have tried to lighten the images for printing and have taken off the captions.

I note Clive’s comments about Black & White can have a nostalgic element to it – I am at the stage of my life where looking back at childhood and having grandchildren the other side of the world can seem a bit nostalgic!  However, in this day and age children also can be very colourful – there was more of a story with the little girl splashing in the puddle – she had on what appeared to be brand new pink wellie boots – prior to splashing she had stopped and stared at her feet as if to say I don’t want to muck up my new boots – the lure of water however was irresistible!

B&W set tweaked as suggested:


And in colour …

Assignment 2 – Reworked

ASSIGNMENT 2 – reworked

I have not done a lot of reworking of this assignment.

I appreciate Clive’s comments regarding Ansel Adams was a pioneer in raising green consciousness.  Clive goes on to say that the whole of the countryside has been husbanded as ultimately an economic resource.  I believe this could be the case in the United Kingdom.  However, Ballaglass Glen is on the Isle of Man.  The whole of the Isle of Man has been given UNESCO biosphere status due to the efforts to conserve nature and wildlife on the island and is the only country to have the whole region defined in this way.  It is perhaps easier on the island to allow it’s natural beauty to prevail as the economy is centred on the financial and more latterly e-gaming sectors.  There is some small scale farming.

Therefore my conceptual creativity could be seen to be displaying the outcome of what can happen in a country where green consciousness has already been recognised.  This glen has been given National Manx glen status and is thus being preserved in its current state for prosperity.  I understand however, Clive was trying to get me to think about how to undertake the assignment in a way that would produce images with that bit ‘extra’ from the norm – he suggested maybe punctum could be added by the use of Black and White.  I have turned the set into black and white as shown below:

However for me I didn’t feel that this really added anything to the original set and that actually the autumn colours were the punctum.  I think this shows that in fact what works for one viewer may not for another.  I have lightened the images and added a white border for printing on the colour set as follows:

Assignment 1 -REWORKED

Assignment 1 – reworked

Having received my tutor’s feedback, I read Barthes (2000) book Camera Lucida in order to get an understanding of punctum and studium.  I wrote this up on my blog:

I have made Photoshop adjustments to the images as suggested although was unclear on how to do the soft masking suggested by Clive.

I re-took the photo of the barnacles and believe this second attempt is sharper – I used the camera on Manual mode which gave more control than the original shot on auto.

I went to try his idea of getting some punctum near the Secret Garden door.  I discovered that the path is currently blocked off as they are rebuilding the seawall.  There is a big roadworks bulldozer in front of that area – does that count as punctum?  I have included a photo in the new set but was unable to get people on the path due to it being fenced off.

In terms of the tram photo I have not managed to have the time to try and follow up the idea as I am no longer living in that area – however in Assignment 5 there is a photo of a similar tram and I believe the little boy looking out of the window gives some punctum to the shot.

I have lightened the photos for printing and added a white border.

And why I was unable to re-take this photo: