Isolating Isolation – Part 2 Main Project – Isolation

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Assignment 3/4/5 Major Project - Isolation, Brainstorming and Planning, Experiments in Isolation, Isolation Photographers and Photos

This Post is an extract of findings and photographs from my second submission on Isolation


This paper summarises the journey I have taken on a practical level from when the theme of ‘Isolation’ was selected to when the scope of isolation was distilled (isolated) into areas that would deliver photographs and supporting materials for the Your Own Portfolio main project.

It is the second part of a six part study on isolation and is intended to provide the practical findings that I have discovered when trying to produce images that had an isolation quality about them. The theme of isolation has been a part of my thought process from the start of the module on Your Own portfolio, and a fair degree of effort has been absorbed. In the early days, the concept of isolation was too broad, and it was only by researching widely, and going to exhibitions that the focused narrowed. However it was during Assignment 2 that I was able to develop a clear focus and a personal style – please refer to (Carey, 2014)

The key deliverable for this paper is to provide a high level summary of the journey that I have made and to submit a number of quality images that cover the wider definition of isolation, but failed to meet the chosen ‘portfolio’ definition – isolated with light.

Key finding

Unlike other forms of art, photography very is portable, it produces the finished product in a micro second, and there is an almost infinite number of locations, subjects and viewpoints for the photographer to chose from. The downsize is that the photographer needs to become an expert in being selective about what and how he photographs, and to understand what make a ‘successful’ photographs for those who view it. This process of selection and isolation takes time to learn and deploy, but it’s a very worthwhile exercise.

‘Isolation’ – the subject for my main project –appeared to be quite narrow, but it was a subject that has many tentacles. I found that I had to invest a significant amount of thought, time and effort in order to come up with a precise study area for parts 3-6 of my main project namely ‘Isolated with light.’

This process of refining style and subject, is a common theme amongst professional photographers, and is a technique that can help them push the boundaries of their chosen fields both technically and visually – as is the case with Ralph Gibson.

What also identifies and defines a photographers is their image fingerprint or unique style. However, the development of my personal style took a long time to develop, and it was only by going to exhibitions and seeing works together that I came to appreciate the power of a constant style, and its relationship to the things that are photographed. During assignment 2, I was able to identified and nurtured my personal style, and I found that it provides me with a discipline to get deeper into photography and the psychology that surrounds it. It also made me more selective about what I photograph and submit. My chosen style, (which is high contrast, abstract views of objects and places), was relatively easy to adapt to my chosen themes – isolated with light.


By selecting a major project subject, defining a rough path in 6 parts, and then attempting to deliver against these, helps focus the mind, and helped with planning. I was fortunate that the structure I chose was robust enough to allow ideas and experiments to percolate through to the appropriate ‘part’ of the main project.

Journey roadmap


This section provides a brief overview of the journey I undertook. The diagram below show the main elements involved and the timeframe – not the shortest of journeys but worth it.



I started the main project with a data gathering exercise, and investigating how others had approached the subjects. I then did some early mind map on ‘isolation ideas’ which gave a good indication of how wide I was able to spread the isolation net – see physical log book for mind-map and additional information.

This a brief summary of the subjects that were covered and studies:-

  • Symbols of isolation – bio hazard signs , barriers, bars in window –
  • Places of Isolation such as prisons, isolations wards, divers isolation tank
  • Physical isolation – , solitary confinement, being Kettled’ by the police, hermits
  • Medical isolation – locked in syndrome, SARS and Ebola outbreak,
  • Isolation postures, and facial looks
  • Everyday buildings – churches, monasteries, lighthouses, home alone pensioner or child
  • Natural isolation – desert Island, beaches, mountains
  • Social Exclusion – school, games, friends, ethnic, class, age
  • Isolation in science – chemistry ( elements), biology (DNA), Electrical ( components)
  • Isolation in photography – frame, motion blur, colour, focus
  • Isolation in art – paintings, sculptures, installation art.
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At a practical level, a good photograph is more about being in the right place at the right time and knowing what to take then the type of camera, skill and technique. My ambition is to show how anyone with a camera can produce great photographs when they visit London.

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