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A few years ago I was invited to participate in an exhibition and open studio. The title of the show was Fidget (and I still don’t know why that was its title). I decided to make a piece that related to or, at least, stemmed from the word. The piece evolved during the making from a thirty-second durational shot in the corridor outside my studio with me moving about as if waiting, to a considerably processed monochrome print. I was happy with the result and enjoyed the process of, in effect, working to a brief but with considerable scope to deviate.

Some time later I decided to produce a series of photographs based on randomly selected words. How could I gain words to work from? Could I ask other people to make suggestions? I decided that they should be selected from ‘almost’ arbitrarily chosen books, by opening at an unplanned page and—without looking at the page—placing my finger on the text. Whatever word chosen, that would be the impetus for the next photograph.

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Word No. 1: Creature

Contextual sentence: 

Intelligent, stunning women, but intelligence and beauty in one and the same creature seemed to cause a deep inner disunity.

Source: A Beautiful Young Wife 

Author: Tommy Wieringa 

English translation 

Page 11, line 23

Published by: Scribe. 2016.

Word selected: 2 April 2017

Photographed: 5 July 2010, 

Completed: 11 April 2017

Photo: Tiger in my small back garden.

Word No. 2: Comme

Contextual sentence: 

Pendant mon premier séjour, une journaliste avait évoque devant moi un article qui présentait “les gens qui n’avaient jamais vu la mer” comme un catégorie sociale.


During my first stay, a journalist had evoked before me an article which presented “people who had never seen the sea” as a social category.

Source: Ainsi de Suite

Author: Sophie Calle 

Page 25, line 30

Published by: Éditions Xavier Barreal

Word selected: 11 April 2017

Photographed: 4 August 2017

Completed: 17 August 2017

Photo: Macro photograph of the word ‘As’ as the title of the song As as it appears on the sleeve, inner sleeve and disc label for the Stevie Wonder record Songs in the Key of Life and as the word Comme as ‘as’ in a translation into English.

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Word No. 3: Café

Contextual sentence: 

In the spring of 1887 he [Van Gogh] organised an exhibition of his Japanese prints in the Café du Tambourin.

Source: Van Gogh Museum Guide 

Page 57, line 20.

Published by: Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. 1996.

Word selected: 18 April 2017

Photographed: 24 February 2010

Completed: 27 April 2017

Photo: Morocco’s Cafe and Ice Cream Parlour, Hove seafront. An earlier photograph which was later included in the series Looking Up.

Word No. 4: Partly

Contextual sentence: 

The mouth of this gold head is open, and spread over the teeth of the lower jaw at well-judged intervals, partly hanging out of the mouth, are various pieces of jewellery.

Source: One Way Street

Author: Walter Benjamin 

Page 83, line 13.

Published by: Penguin Modern 

Classics. 2009.

Word selected: 31 July 2017

Photographed: 9 November 2017

Completed: 10 November 2017

Photo: Partly optimistic, partly pessimistic?

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Word No. 5: Dangerous

Contextual sentence: 

Man Ray set down casual instruction to anyone who might have been thinking of a convenient way to travel with such a cumbersome (and potentially dangerous) device. 

Source: Man Ray

Author: Neil Baldwin 

Page 326, line 14

Published by: Da CapoPress 1988

Word selected: 25 April 2017

Photographed: 5 July 2017

Completed: 11 July 2017

Photo: Man Ray was, of course, referring to Cadeau of 1921 and I have chosen, on this occasion, to relate my photograph to the original.

Word No. 6: Elsewhere

Contextual sentence: 

…we’re in women artist groups 

in Birmingham, Nottingham, Leeds and Sheffield

and elsewhere 

at a distance from the centre of the art world

but not from cultural, economic and political debate and action.

Source: Monica Ross Ethical Actions A Critical Fine Art Practice

Edited: Suzanne Treister and Susan Hiller 

Page 68, line 24. 

Extract from History or Not.

Published by: Sternberg Press. 2016.

Word selected: 1 May 2017

Photographed: August 1993

Completed: 2 May 2017

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Photo: A road junction 4.2 kilometres from Blévy on the D1386. Another time, another place.

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Word No. 7: Purposes

Contextual sentence:

Article 14.2 This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Source: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights 

Brighton Festival 2011. Special Edition.

Published by: Brighton Festival, 2011.

Word selected: 5 May 2017

Photographed: 2 October 2017

Completed: 5 October 2017

Photo: A Device with Many Purposes

Word No. 8: Disarticulated

Contextual sentence: 

In a post-Westphalian setting, this tendency unfolds strong decision-making public authorities shift from being situated within formal institutionsof global governance to being functionally of these same institutions, and thus wholly or partially disarticulated from the transnational public sphere.


Transnationalizing the Public Sphere

Author: Nancy Fraser et al. 

Page 86, line 14.

Published by: Polity

Word selected: 12 May 2017

Photographed: 8 October 2017

Completed: 12 October 2017

Photo: Parked outside Lydia’s house in Brighton.

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Word No. 9: He

Contextual sentence: 

He contrasts the intellect formed through visual recognition with the secretive inner world of emotion.


Marianne Breslauer—Photographs

Edited by: Kathrin Beer & Christina Feilchenfeldy 

Page 27, line 9.

Published by: Parvenu. 2010.

Word selected: 13 May 2017

Photographed: 8 July 2017

Completed: 10 July 2017

Photo: At first, I thought of just photographing the cover of The Man Who Sold the World album cover which has a title which would qualify the perpetrator (the man who sold the world) as a significant ‘he’ plus the fact that Bowie is wearing a frock (a man’s dress—as

he reputedly explained to an American policeman). Then, I thought of Bowie himself, being recognised as a relatively exceptional ‘he’ in the pantheon of the all-time greats so I built a little assemblage with some of the equipment that I once used to play his music.

Word No. 9: Greatest

Contextual sentence: 

Here, in exquisitely organised parts, the elementary colours present themselves in their greatest purity and beauty.

Source: Theory of Colours

Author: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 

Page 257, line 11.

Published by: MIT Press. 1970.

Word selected: 14 May 2017

Photographed: 1966

Completed: 18 May 2017

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Photo: In 1966, I went to see the show Funny Girl at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London which starred Barbra Streisand as Fanny Brice. In the musical, Barbra Streisand (the actress) is just 24 years old and one of the numbers that she performed (ironically) as Fanny

Brice was a song entitled I’m the Greatest Star. I include this photograph as The Greatest Star That I Have Ever Photographed although, at the time, she was, very much, still in the process of becoming ‘established’.

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Word No. 11: Gear

Contextual sentence: 

The most popular video features Mrs Eaves (real name Gemma O’Brien) in gym gear, which leaves a lot of room to inscribe ‘Write Here, Right Now’ in different letter styles on her flesh, to the accompaniment of the Fat Boy Slim song of almost the same name.

Source: Just My Type

Author: Simon Garfield 

Page 113, line 12.

Published by: Profile Books. 2010.

Word selected: 17 May 2017

Photographed: 28 September 2017

Completed: 28 September 2017

Photo: I built the MGM (Meccano Gear Mechanism) to propel a camera dolly with on-board lights, a distance of four metres over a two-hour period in order to video the whole of Title Roll—a self-portrait as exposed by a record collection. It was electrically driven by an old Copyproof photo-mechanical transfer processor motor, the drive spindle of which rotated at approximately eighteen revolutions-per-minute so had to be slowed down to a ‘snail’s pace’ and the only way I could find to do that was to a few bits of Meccano.

Word No. 12: Option

Contextual sentence: 

As is so typical of the maternal melodrama, sacrifice is the only option left to Fanny, one which despite its negativity can be seen at least to validate women’s experience, but more fundamentally to point to the fact that this sacrifice is itself also ‘a problem’7; she sacrifices her love for Marius to his greater love for ‘the sea’ in Marius, sacrifices all for her child in Fanny, and, arguably, sacrifices her newfound freedom after Panisse’s death for the 

(re)formation of her couple with Marius and César.

Source: French Film      Texts and Contexts

Edited by: Susan Hayward and 

Ginette Vincendeau 

Page 79, line 20.

Published by: Routledge. 1990.

Word selected: 19 May 2017

Photographed: 17 June 2017

Completed: 17 June 2017

Photo: A selection of aids—possibly considered useful in decision making.

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