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April Smith - S1105142 Final Major Project - PJD322 "Untitled"

Proposal - PJD322 The term ‘subculture’ is something that can be often misinterpreted. A subculture is a group of people within one culture that diverse from the bigger culture in which they belong. Some people believe that the term ‘co-culture’ is a better way of describing it. As an example Chavs would not be a subculture but Boy Racers would be. Nerds are not the subculture, but Cosplayers are. This leads me onto my idea. Because I find pleasure in interacting with people and getting to know them, I would like to photograph a subculture. My reasons behind this are because this is a longer project, I feel I have the time to get to know a group of people which I have not had the opportunity to do before. To successfully photograph a group I feel that you either need to know them very well or become one of them to blend in so you do not give the impression you are using them. In general terms I would like to photograph the Nerd community. There are so many subcultures that I could shoot such as Cosplayers, Gamers, Comic Book Nerds, Live Action Role-players (LARP’ers), Star Warsies, Trekkies etc. The list is endless. My starting point is to get to know some Cosplayers. I have already made contact with a few around university and they are quite open to the idea. I would like to photograph them when they go to conventions, meetings and events as well as photographing them in their normal everyday life. The concept is about the double life that they lead and that they could have the most boring job in the world but in their spare time they like to dress up. You may not associate an office worker with being into Cosplay and the same works the other way around in that you may not associate something as fun and out there as a Cosplayer to be working in an office. Because the project is on subcultures, this could be a never ending project. It can be expanded upon and changed in the future. I plan to conduct interviews in the community to get an inside perspective on why they do what they do. How did they find out about Cosplay? What made them want to pursue this interest? Does anybody else know you do this? So Far, I have signed up to Cosplay Island which is a website for the Cosplay community based in the UK. A Cosplayer (Beth) has said that there has been a negative portrayal of Cosplayers in the past by photographers that are not yet established. Because of this she is going to help me get into the community. The advice given to me was to run it by the people on

the forum and Beth will be my character reference. It will give me vital information of events that are happening. At the end of November Comic-Con is happening in Birmingham. http://www.mcmcomiccon. com/Birmingham/ There is also one in London, the Midlands, Ireland, Manchester, Scotland and Belfast. At the moment I am planning to only go to the one in Birmingham because I do not want the main focus to be on that one event. I want it to be on the build up to it. At this event I would like to be seen as an insider and so I will also attend as a Cosplayer. My starting inspiration was Peter Dench whose Cosplay video I saw last year. The video is accompanied by audio from the people in front of the camera. It is amusing to watch people pose for a few seconds and I get the impression that they think they’re having their photograph taken and not in fact being recorded on video. Or other people may be taking photographs behind the video camera and they are also being videoed. Screenshots of the video he produced can be seen in Fig.1, Fig.2 and Fig.3. I would like to take a mixture and natural and formal portraits of the person in their work environment and at the event. I do not want to photograph them against a plain background because I feel it puts Cosplay out of its context. I would like to try using flash to bring the subject away from the background, but keeping the background evenly exposed. By doing this, it highlights the foreground, but doesn’t make the background disappear. The event is indoors, so the lighting may not be good quality. Because of this, I will definitely be using a flashgun for the indoor event. Because I know what type of shots I am going for, I will use either a 35mm lens or a 24mm. I will use an aperture of approximately F/2.8 – F/3.5. This will give me a shallow depth of field which is what I want to achieve.

“Cosplay is basically a shortened version of the word costume play.” “Cosplay is dressing up as the characters you love and having fun.” “It’s just something fun to do and you get to be someone different for a day. That’s what I like. Don’t have to worry about yourself; don’t have to worry about exams or money. So you get to be a princess for a day or an evil guy for a day.” “It’s expressing yourself by dressing up as your favourite character and meeting people who are into the same stuff as you.” “People come together and just being nerds.”

BUDGET Travel - To Birmingham International Station: Return tickets: £15.30 - Two night stay: £100 (BEING PAID FOR BY SOMEONE ELSE) - Miscellaneous - Comic-Con weekend ticket: £28 (BEING PAID FOR) - Food: £10 Equipment - Camera - Nikon D7000: FREE (already own) - Lenses - Nikon 35mm F/1.8: FREE from university stores. Nikon 24mm F/2.8: FREE from university stores. - Accessories – Flashgun: FREE (already own) - Rechargeable Batteries: FREE (already own) Research - Sketchbook: FREE (already own) - Dictaphone: FREE (already own) Printing - Approximately 10 Large Prints (£15 each): £150 TOTAL: £160


Start Date


End Date

Proposal 26-Sep 14 10-Oct Research Ideas 26-Sep 7 03-Oct Research Photographers 04-Oct 14 18-Oct Research Events 03-Oct 7 10-Oct Make Contact with subjects 04-Oct 7 11-Oct Collect Information on Comic-Con/Cosplay 11-Oct 14 25-Oct Purchase Tickets and Book Accommodation 21-Oct 1 22-Oct First Shoot 28-Oct 7 04-Nov Conduct Interviews with Cosplayers 28-Oct 31 28-Nov Evaluate Shoot One (in their home) 01-Nov 2 03-Nov Shoot Two 08-Nov 7 15-Nov

Evaluate Shoot Two (at their place of work) 15-Nov 2 17-Nov Attend Comic-Con Weekend 22-Nov 2 24-Nov Evaluate the Weekend Shoot 25-Nov 5 29-Nov Evaluate Work-So-Far 30-Nov 13 13-Dec CHRISTMAS BREAK 13-Dec 30 12-Jan Look for other Cosplay Events 13-Dec 31 13-Jan Shoot Four 20-Jan 7 27-Jan Evaluate Shoot Four 28-Jan 3 31-Jan Shoot Five 07-Feb 7 14-Feb Evaluate Shoot Five 15-Feb 2 17-Feb Shoot Six 24-Feb 5 28-Feb Evaluate Shoot Six 01-Mar 2 03-Mar Final Shoot 14-Mar 7 21-Mar Evaluate Final Shoot 22-Mar 2 24-Mar Make an Edit 25-Mar 7 01-Apr EASTER BREAK 04-Apr 23 27-Apr Test Prints 04-Apr 14 18-Apr Final Prints 21-Apr 10 01-May Make a Presentation of the work 03-May 10 13-May

Contact Beth Dooner - She has photographed many cosplayers and is planning on going to Birmingham ComicCon. 07951017854

graphers to o h p h rc a e s e R graphed to o h p e v a h o h w ir homes e th in rs e y la p s o c - Klaus Pichler - Steve Schofield t - Tom Broadben

Adam Patrick Murray

When I first saw Adam Patrick Murrays work, I couldn’t help but think wow, not only because of the quality of the photographs but the effort that had gone into the costumes. It made the characters come to life, but also made the real life people look unreal. This type of photography looks very surreal and this is what I am hoping to achieve in my project. I would like to not only photograph cosplayers at an event that is their own environment, but I want to also place them in an ordinary environment, creating juxtaposition. I feel that this could create some very surreal photography which is a new concept to me. I want to use the final major project as a way of trying out new things to get me out of my comfort zone. The first image is in a studio which could be an interesting thing to try out. What I like about this image is that all the focus is on the person and there is no distracting background. However, having such a plain background does take the character out of context, it seems to take away the passion somehow. What I want to capture is the cosplayers passion and the first image just looks like a model in a ‘costume’ which is not the look I am going for. This has made me realise that the setting is extremely important! I really love the second image because the character looks a if they are in their own world. It looks like a scene from a film because of the detail in the costume. What I like about this subculture is that

so much effort goes into the costume. Most cosplayers make their costumes for certain events and it is a way of letting their creative side out. To me, cosplay seems like a form of escapism, a way to forget the stresses of the current day. It is a way of being able to be somebody else for the day. From people that I have spoken to, this seems to be the idea behind cosplay. They want to forget for a while. Beth Dooner had said to me that: “once I come back from comic-con, I get the after comic-con blues, which is where you have to come back to reality.” This shows that this subculture aren’t just about dressing up but it’s about escaping, a release, that may not seem to be conventional to you and me, but its a stress reliever from their busy lives. There is a misconception that all cosplayers are students and are ‘lazy’ but through my photography, I am aiming to shed light on this fascinating culture! I would like to show the passion, the motivation and why members of the public choose to do this. Many live in fear and lead a double life because they are too afraid that they will be made fun of by the people who just don’t understand. The final image isn’t a full body portrait, but I like the eye contact. The girl has an awkwardness about her, which may show that she is nervous and not everyone may know that she dresses up like this. She is turned away slightly from the camera which again, may reflect her reservations. Her blue costume contrasts with the textured red brick wall behind her. When I photograph cosplayers in an environment, it may be worth while to make sure the colours contrast so that they stand out. I feel that this will influence my own work because it is making me realise what works and what doesn’t such as the costume and the background. I would like to try photographing cosplayers in their bedrooms perhaps which could make the photographs a lot more personal. There are photographers who have done this such as Klaus Pichler. His work is fairly humorous because the people are doing everyday tasks but dressed up. There is also a term known as ‘fuzzies’ which is a specific type of cosplay where people dress up as fuzzy animals. There’s been documentaries on this and Steve Schofield has photographed fuzzies also! I need to look into these people more and see how it’ll influence my work!

Klaus Pichler

J‘ust the two of us’ What I first notice about this work is the humour of it and the juxtaposition. I am usually into quite serious work that has a message, but I like this because it is something different. The mix of ordinary and surreal is captured very effectively in a series of photographs, it mixes the mundane with the unusual. This type of work is exactly what I am wanting to try out in my own photography. It seems to be the people in the costumes that make the photographs because if you took them away and replaced them with ordinary people, the photographs would suddenly become very boring and uninteresting. Image two is one of my favourites just because of the eyes on the costume. the texture of the costume is mimiced in the texture of the lilac flowers. These images remind of the term ‘anthropomorphism’, which is when animals are given features of a human, they’re personified as humans. The term comes from the greek. ‘Anthropos’ meaning ‘human’ and ‘morphe’ meaning ‘shape’ of ‘form.’ Image three seems to be the most mundane activity that every household hates doing. By dressing up it perhaps brings a bit of fun to the mundane. As I said previously, cosplay is a form of escapism, it is when fantasy clashes with reality, so this character may be trying to escape the ordinary. “Who hasn’t had the desire just to be someone else for awhile? Dressing up is a way of creating an alter ego and a second skin which one’s behaviour can be adjusted to. Regardless of the motivating

factors which cause somebody to acquire a costume, the main principle remains the same: the civilian steps behind the mask and turns into somebody else. ’Just the Two of Us’ deals with both: the costumes and the people behind them.” His artist statement makes sense and it shows that he has been effective, because from what he says is what I understand when I look at his work. Cosplay is a way of having an alter ego and the term just the two of us also makes sense of being the person and the character. Image five is interesting because of the reflection in the mirror. The person seems to be looking at their reflection in the mirror which gives the impression of a metaphoric meaning. It appears to me that the photograph is metaphor for the two beings that are in this one photograph, the person and their alter ego. It may also be a reflection of how the real person sees themselves. They may be happpier when dressed like this or they may even be looking in the mirror at themselves because they do not like who they are or have become. It appears that the images have multi-layers of meaning aside from just being funny. The last image is one of my favourites because of just how funny it is. You cannot see the body, only a random unicorns head. The image is also full of white including the costume itself. You almost don’t see the head at first because it blends into the wall, but then when you see it, you cannot help but laugh. You then ask questions such as why is that in the bath? These images have to be read together to be understood. Singularly, you may misintrpret them such as the final image, which wouldn’t work on its own. I feel that Pichler has successfully created a very interesting and thought provoking project.

Steve Schofield ‘Land of the free’

The title of this body of work is a statement. It suggests that these people are free, not free from judements but free to do what they want. They seems happy to dress up and pose for the camera, they aren’t living in secret, they want to be free. Many cosplayers hide their identity because they are too embarassed to show who they really are. They may be afraid of being judged and criticised for something seen as ‘weird’. It seems that judgement seems to happen when there is lack of knowledge. Without knowledge and understanding people will judge and criticise. Just because someone dresses up in a costume in their home, it doesn’t make them any different from the rest of us, if anythig, like the title says, they are free.

What I want to do with my work is show how facinating this lifestyle can be. I want to give people the understanding of this subculture to try and get rid of the preconceived idea that all cosplayers are students or in low paid jobs etc. In an interview by Buzz Feed, they questioned peoples occupation and surprisingly, not all were students. In fact, many had well paid jobs working in an authorative role. The first image contains lots of orange. The orange of the curtains is reflected in the orange of the mans top. This is similar to the unicorn photograph by Klaus Pichler where there were very few amounts of colour.I like how the character is able to stare right into the camera. It makes you connect with the subject more when there is eye contact which is what I intend

to do. I want the subjects in my photographs to be staring at the camera. I feel by doing this, it shows their confidence, you can read the person better and there is no cover, just an honest stare. I also want to photograph them straight on, again for an honest view. The way i work is in a very analytical and methodical way. So in terms of how I want to photograph my subjects, photograph one shows this best. I really like image three because of the costume. I am a fan of star wars and so this may be why. I also like how the cuoboards create a perspective that guides you to the character. The photographer has used leading lines to create depth. The viewpoint seems a little low down which gives the sense of power to the character. Perhaps this was the photographers intention, to make something that seems silly, seem powerfull and make them look as though they are in control. The final image is not from the same series but I put this image in because i terms of how he has used flash, I am wanting to use a similar technique. The tone of the photo is a little cold for me, but the technique is what I would like to do. I want to use flash because I feel it will make the subject stand out from the background. It is also the way I work. I like to use flash to add drama and a sense of surrealism. The viewpoint of this image is again slightly low down, the flash enhances his expression nd creates harsh shadows which makes him look very powerful. It also makes him look very rough, especially with the type of dog he has with him. Those type of dogs are associated with rough gangs, which could just be a stereotype!

Tom Broadbent ‘At home with the furries’

This has to be one of my favourite pieces of cosplay work so far! It’s very similar to Klaus Pichler’s work, but it is a lot more playful. It seems to have something to do with the ‘extreme’ costumes and mixing the combination of fantasy and reality. Tom Broadbent explains how he worked with these people over several years to gain their trust, because this is an extreme form of cosplaying and so a lot of people would have been afraid to have their photograph taken. What is interesting about furries is that their costume hides their identity, so it makes you wonder why they are afraid. But of course it comes down to the location, their home. Having a photograph taken in your own personal environment can be a very daunting prospect. It shows your identity and could give away clues as to who the people are which is what they may be afraid of Even though this is similar to Pichler’s work, I have to say, I prefer this piece of work. It is more fun and the characters really are doing the mundane tasks that we can all relate to such as having lunch, hoovering and taking a shower. Its the combination of mundane and extreme that I love about this work. the second image is of a cat doing household chores. This character looks quite feminine and so

this could indicate that the real person underneath is female, but there is no definite way of knowing this. Also, cleaning is associated with women and the way the character is stood is also a feminine trait. The final image is my favourite from this series because if you were wearing this costume, you couldn’t really shower in it., so it shows that it is staged, but by the way they are acting, it looks like a real situation. Broadbent mentions the term anthropomorphic which is definitely the word that describes this subculture. As previously explained, anthropomorphic is when human traits are portrayed in an animal such as speech, walking like a person and acting as if they were human. What I like about this work is the detail and vibrancy of it. It appears that he has used natural light to not make the scene look artificial. He perhaps wants to make it as real as possible. This is something worth trying out because at the moment I want to use flash. I could experiment with both and see what works.

23rd - 24th November Birmingham Comic-Con!

Interview Beth! Take some photos of her in her home.

Conduct questionnaire 4 cosplayers?

Day One

When I did the first shoot, I was really pleased with myself for the amount of people I photographed. But, after stepping away from the work for a while, I can spot a lot of faults with the work. As the photographs reach the end, I notice an orange cast to the images. This can be corrected in photoshop but it is a shame that I didn’t stop and notice this. I feel that this was because not only was the lighting in the room bad, the natural light coming in from the ceiling during the day disappeared in the evening meaning all of the light was then artificial and very orange. I am happy with the first shots, but not the end ones because of the colour cast. I chose to shoot all the subjects in the same way so that they all looked consitent. I could imagine them all sitting together in one big collage, kind of like they are in the contact sheets now. I had no idea I was going to get to photograph this many people. I think as I reached the end, I had the shutter speed on too high also, I should have slowed it down perhaps so that the background wasn’t really dark. I had first intended to get all my contacts from this event, but that proved difficult! People were happy for their photograph to be taken, but didn’t want to give out their details. I had planned to e-mail people their photograph to get them involved and add an incentive to be a part of my project. This however, did not happen. But, with that said I continued to take photographs anyway because I didn’t want to just disregard the whole project because I couldn’t get the contacts that day.

Day Two

Evaluation From looking at both of these shoots I can see that pehaps they weren’t as successful as I had hoped. The shots that seem to work are the ones that are not wearing black. The ones that have bright colours on definitely work better, especially with the use of flash. Black was very hard to photograph as whenever I photographed black with flash it went grey, it just didn’t seem to be working and I still don’t know why. It may have been something with black absorbing light and lighter colour reflect light.

a few favourite shots...

Scientific Photography Microscopy

This is a microscopic image of bacteria known as cyanobacteria endospores. It is a type of bacteria that is found in freshwater environments as well as marine environments. When images are taken this close up, they no longer look like photographs anymore, more like a drawing. Because we cannot see this with our naked eye it is hard to believe that this is even real. I am highly interested in scientific photography because it opens our eyes to a new world, something different which then provides us with new knowledge! The term ‘Microscopy’ is used to describe the viewing of specimens under a microscope. There are several types of microscopes, one which allows you to see through things that are slightly transparent such as insect wings and one that allows you to see the surface of opaque objects such as coins Microscopes also have different focal lengths ranging from 4x all the way to 1000x and above. Deciding on what microscopes to use all depends on what you want to photograph..

I must decide WHAT I want to photograph if I am going to use a microscope. I must also decide WHY I want to pick a particular subject.. What does the subject mean and what is the relevance of it? My FMP needs to be substantial, it needs to have DEPTH and MEANING! I am interested in scientific imagery because my career goal is fairly scientific and so I want to create some work to go into my portfolio. Science is also a major interest of mine and so I feel I will connect with it.

The cosplay idea just wasn’t working because it wasn’t substantial enough for the time scale we have. I was finding it very hard to find people to photograph after going to Birmingham Comic-Con. I was heavily reliant on events and during winter they do not happen very much. This is why I have decided to take my FMP down a different route, something that has more scope!


The images on this page are a mixture of extreme close ups of bacteria and flu viruses and further out images of bugs. The image on the left is of a mosquito which to use is fairly small. When zoomed in this much you can see the detail and features of this creature. It is absolutely fascinating and this is why I want to go ahead with this idea. I want to try something new, something that pushes me to try new equipment. It opens up a new world; a new perspective.

The image on the right is a bed bug which are absolutely tiny so to see it in this much detail, actually makes the bug look quite frightening! To imagine that this could be in your bed! It’s so different to what we see everyday, to me this doesn’t even look real. If we can’t see it how do we know this is real? It opens up questions and we just have to trust whoever took this shot that it’s real.

The Honey Bee At the moment, the honey bee is quite an on topic theme because there is an epidemic. For some reason or another honey bees are apparently dying out. There has been no definitive cause as of yet, but many scientists have made suggestions for the possible reasons. The term being used to describe this decline is Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). What this means is that worker bees are suddenly disappearing from the hive which then causes the colony to collapse. Without the worker bees there is no colony. There have been many suggestions as to why bees are suddenly ‘disappearing’ such as pesticides, infections, mites, malnutrition, genetics, changing beekeeping habits and even types of pollen, but none of these can be confirmed as the definite reason. This may seem quite minor, but honey bees are what pollinate most of our plants, without them, our crops will die. “According to the Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the worth of global crops with honeybee’s pollination was estimated to be close to $200 billion in 2005.” (Food and Agricultural Organisation, 2005). Pollination is a form of free service, but since this decline, farms are having to create pollination services of their own which is costing money, 20% more according to the report. According to scientists, pesticides have long been a problem. They don’t kill the bees as such, but it effects their behaviours and development. This could then cause bees to disappear from their hive, resulting in the colony collapsing. The disappearance of the queen bee is not known as CCD as CCD is when the workforce of bees disappear.

My project idea has many areas of development. I would first like to visit beekeepers in my local area and find out how the production of honey works and how the bees are cared for. I would like to take some portraits of the beekeeper, possibly at sunset so that they are silhouetted. I feel that this would be a good establishing shot because if done right, the viewer will not know what the figure is at first. I would also like to use a macro lens to get close in on the colony (without getting stung of course!) I want to photograph the honeycomb so it is nothing more than a repeating pattern. In terms of microscopy, I can then use a microscope to perhaps look closer at a dead bee and also at its wings. As of yet I am not sure how I would get images from the microscope to my camera or computer. My next area of development is to photograph pollen as honey bees are a major part of ‘free service’ farming. I would like to look at pollen under the microscope of course. At the moment it seems that my images could work well as a series, starting far out and then getting closer and closer until you are at a microscopic view. The close up images may look fairly abstract which would fit with the mysterious silhouette of the beekeeper at the start of the series.

Bee hairs and pollen under a microscope

Bee hairs and pollen under closer magnification

Local Beekeeping Associations:


Cheltenham & Gloucestershire (01242) 696434 - Deborah Harding General, The British Beekeepers Association (08718) 112282 or (08718) 112337 E-mail:

‘More Than Honey’ (2012) Directed by Markus Imhoof [Film], Switzerland: Zero One Film.

Bees are vital when it comes to the pollination of plants, fruit and vegetables. such as apricots, cucumbers, pears ad rasberries. The documentary begins with a man talking about his grandfather and how much he loved his bees. His grandfather had 150 bee colonies and even built a special house to accomodate them all. “Plants are rooted to the ground, they cannot run across the fields and hug each other but they can’t have children on their own. What they need is a messenger of love: a bee.” Flowers produces a sweet substance known as nectar and it is this that attracts the bee. The bee then drinks this nectar and flies from one flower to another They carry male pollen which sticks to their fur, which means while they look for food they pollinate each plant they go to. A few years before this documentary was produced, bees started dying, not just inn the United Kingdom, but all over the world. No-one knows as of yet what exactly is causing this to happen. It has been described as a ‘mystery’. Without bees 1/3 of our food would not exist, which many perhaps do not realise. This is why CCD is such a big issue that needs exposing more in the media so that the public are throroughly aware of it. The queen bee lays over 2,000 eggs a day, which is the same as her own body mass. The worker bees are the ones who feed her and clean her. If the queen bee dies then the worker bees must raise a new one which can take up to a month. The queen is able to lay eggs whenever she pleases, all of which start off the same way. If an egg is not fertilised, that becomes a Drone; all of which are male. A fertilised egg will become either a queen or a worker bee. The different between a worker

and a queen is diet. To become a queen, a bee must be fed royal jelly which is more nutritious. The eggs turn into larvae which are fed with both nectar and pollen by the worker bees. After the lid is closed and it pupates, three weeks later, the bee is born. Male bees actually take 3 days longer, but the reason why is not entirely clear. The males that do not find a ‘princess bee’ midflight wiill be killed by the rest of the worker bees when fall comes. The reason being that during winter another mouth to feed is a burden. For beekeepers to control the hive, they need to control the queen bee because it is the queen that is at the center of every colony. There tends to be a sort of ceremony in which the workers decide on their new queen. Before the ‘princess’ bee hatches in her specially made cell, the old queen ‘swarms out with the old bees’. At this point the colony splits into two and it is during this time that the beekeeper steps in to manipulate the colony. The breeder removes the queen which will force the workers bees to raise a new one. But, what happens next is the beekeeper puts eggs into cells which are then placed into the hive and because the hive is then queenless, the bees panick and feed all of the new implanted eggs with royal jelly. At this point it becomes a race because the first queen that hatches will kill off all of the other queens in their cells. Because there can only be one queen in a colony, the other cells must be harvested and placed in another queenless colony before the first hatched queen has had a chance to kill them off. On the queens first flight, a male drone will mate with her, but in doing so it will die. The queen bee will keep all 5 million of her sperm in her sperm bag which can surprisingly stay alive for up to 8 years! To keep track of the queen, the beekeeper will mark her with a dot of a certain colour, depending on the year, and clip one of her wings to ensure she does not leave the colony. Because the colour for marking changes each year, the beekeeper can then know how old a queen is.

The Bee as a Symbol Napoleon Coat of Arms The bee is not just an insect; in some cases it is used as an icon, a symbol. Throughout history, there have been many sayings and meanings associated with the bee. According to, the bee is a “Symbol

of immortality and resurrection, the bee was chosen so as to link the new dynasty to the very origins of France. Golden bees (in fact, cicadas) were discovered in 1653 in Tournai in the tomb of Childeric I, founder in 457 of the Merovingian dynasty and father of Clovis. They were considered as the oldest emblem of the sovereigns of France.” The bee has a very regal status because it was also the ancient symbol of Egyptian Pharohs, the Merovingian Dynasty and Napoleon’s Coat of Arms. The image above shows this coat of arms. The bees are located on the red cloth instead of being in the centre. As the diagram shows, it is made up of not just one symbol but many, such as an Eagle, the Imperial Crown, a Sceptre, the Imperial Mantle, the Hand of Justice and finally the Hand of Justice. All of these icons scream royalty as the coat of arms is decorated with very rich, bold colours such ruby red and royal blue. The objects are hanging from a cloak, which is an item of royalty in which a king or queen would wear. This is unlike more traditional coat of arms’ because quite often, they are presented as a shield. This gives the idea that this cloak provides protection to anyone underneath it. The fact that there is a crown on top of all of this obviously insinuates royalty. This shows that Napoleon was a very important individual indeed. Napoleon was the Emperor of France from 1804 - 1814 and was highly admired because not only did he win most of his battles (14 to be exact), such as the Battle of Toulon in 1793 (his first battle) and the Battle of Ligny in 1815 (his final win), he had a very commanding and leaderesque personality which is why he was so successful. He was also the King of Italy from 1805 - 1814 and is still highly thought of and studied throroughly in Britain today.

‘The Bees Knees’ This saying essentially describes someone as being the best; the highest quality. Bees have pollen sack at their knees in which they pick and store pollen to carry back to the hive. However, back in the 18th Century, the saying actually meant someone very small and insignificant which makes me ask, how has this phrase completely switched meanings? It’s believed that because it sounded similar to other sayings such as ‘the flea’s eyebrows’ or ‘the cats whiskers’, which are positive phrases, the saying switched.

Barberini Coat of Arms This is an extremely simple design and the main focus, unlike Napoleons, is the bees. The Barberini were an Italian family who were of great importance in Rome during the 17th Century. In 1623, Maffeo Barberini became Pope Urban VIII. The family were not always of great importance. In fact, in the 11th Century, the family had settled in Florence, Italy. in 1530, Carlo Barbberini’s brother Antonio Barberini took part in the defence of the Florentine Republic. These brothers were successful Florentine grain and textile merchant.s. After Antonio left to oversea his business in Rome, his nephew, named Francesco, followed him there. It was at this point that the business flourished and his nephew became very rich indeed. He used his money wisely and purchased several important offces in the Catholic Church. Essentially their status was bought.

Bee Mythology The bee is considered to be a sacred insect which, according to the Egyptian legend, was born from the tears of Ra, an ancient Egyptian sun god. The lower ruler of Egypt was referred to as ‘He who belongs to the bee’. If they are the lower ruler and in terms of status, beneath the sun god, then belonging to the bee would mean, belonging to the sun god. In Egypt, the bee was a symbol of royality and power. Surprisingly, the bee is also a symbol of love, closely related to Cupid because of its sting. This is shown in renaissance paintings where the bee is stinging Cupid, the god of love. “The artistic symbolism

deals with the blindness of love, and leaping into passion without regard to consequence. Apparently, Cupid is often shown dipping into honey, without thought to potential danger of protective bees.” This representation could be seen as a visual which depicts the saying: “Beware of love’s sting.” In Chinese culture, there are several interepretations. Apprently, a bee that sits on a flower is the symbol of love, courtship and marriage. A bee that pollinates the flowers is meant to represent conception and birth after marriage: the purity of maidens. In terms of worship, the bee was said to be an emblem of Potnia, which is an ancient Greek word for ‘Mistress’ . In Ancient Greece, there lived a civilisation known as Minoan-Mycenaean. Their mistress was referred to as ‘The Pure Mother Bee’ and her priestesses were given the name ‘Melissa’ which means

‘Bee’. It is evident that no matter what the bee represented throughout history, it was mostly a symbol of authority and power and still, to this day, phrases such as ‘the bees knees’ and ‘the queen bee’ are still used, which shows just how impacting the bee really is and why it is suited for being a symbol of authority,

The Anatomy

The Queen, the Worker, the Drone & their Lifecycle

There are several types of hives, but the most common and the one shown in the diagram is a Modified Commercial Hive..

Ted Hooper

(2010) ‘Guide To Bees & Honey’, 5th ed, Mytholmroyd: Northern Bee Books. The Hive

If bees are given enough internal space, whether it be in a pipe, a box, or any other cavity, they will be able to produce honey fairly successfully. Hives are used for the benefit of the beekeeper and not the bees. In keeping a hive, the beekeeper is able to manipulate the colony in pretty much any way they please. Even though the structure of hives vary, they’re all made up of several boxes stacked one on top of the other. There is a floor at the bottom and on the top of the hive sits a roof. The entrance is beneath the brood chamber which is the very bottom box where the queen is kept. A queen excluder sits on top of this chamber, seperating it from the above super. The excluder has many holes which are just big enough to allow workers through but are too small for the queen to get through. From the outside, the hives appear as miniature houses without any windows, but it is inside these four walls where the bees do their work. Inside the hive are individual frames that hang parallel to one another and in these frames is a wax foundation that the beekeeper inserts. This encourages bees to begin making their comb. The supers are used for the storage of honey rather than the brood chamber. Bees are fed a syrup mixture which is made up of white granulated sugar and water. It is stored in a container that has a hole in the top and when inverted and placed into the hive, it allows the bees to drink from the feeder. When most of it is empty, the bees can then enter the feeder and completely clean the container of syrup. The bucket can actually be filled half with water and then filled with sugar without the need for mixing.

The Beekeepers Tools A beekeeper has many tools to aid him in looking after his bees successfully and he must ensure that he has these before handling the bees. There are a few essentials that a beekeeper will need such as a veil and overalls to protect the face and body, gloves to protect the hands, hive tools to release the wooden frames that stick to the walls of the hive and a smoker. Even though bees can in fact sting through overalls, the pale colours can be calming to bees and our everyday clothes may have a scen that the bees do not like. If you have overalls specifically for beekeeping then they are less likely to smell of perfume, deodorant or any other artificial scent. It is important not to wear anything with a strong scent when handling the bees. A veil is the most important because a good veil is set away from the face and has a good join between it and the suit, meaning the bees will not be able to sting your face. There is simply no point in being stung when it could have been avoided. The best veils tend to have a wire in them so that they do not blow against the face in the wind. Gloves, even though not essential, can protect beginners from nasty stings at the start because beginners will move their hands more confidently if they know they’re protected. After handling the bees and the waxy substance that stick the frames to the hive, gloves will stop the hands becoming sticky.

The Bees Behaviour Round & Wagtail Dance

Honey bees have two kinda of dances known as the round dance and the wagtail dance. They are performed to let other bees know that there pollen or nectar nearby. There is the idea that the dance tells other bees exactly how far it is from the hive, but this is in fact not entirely true. The dance gives and indication, but by no means gives a definitive distance. What actually happens is if the nectar and pollen are fairly nearby, then the bee will do the round dance, but if it is far from the hive then the bee will do the wagtail dance. The dance will be more vigerous depending on the quality of the pollen and nectar. While the bee is performing the dance, other bees will get a smell or taste of the said pollen and nectar which the bees legs will be covered in. The dance works in a certain way. In terms of the wagtail dance, if the line in the middle points vertically up the honeycomb then this lets the other bees know that they need to fly towards the soon and if the line points vertically down the honeycomb then the bees know to fly away from the sun.

“The rate at which the bee dances, the number of complete figures-of-eight covered in a unit of time, the length of time spent on the straight wagtail run, and the duration of buzz produced during the straight wagtail part of the run are all correlated to the distance to the food source being indicated.�

There is a saying that people tend to use quite often which is ‘as busy as a bee’. It is used when one is very busy, but it has actually been misunderstood because bees in fact lack concentration and do not do as much as humans making this phrase redundant. The way honeybees tend to work is in short bursts and they spend as much time resting as they do working. In terms of how this technique works in the hive, it actually works very well because there are so many individual bees in a colony. There is always bees working when others are taking a rest because of course they don’t all rest at the same time. Also, new bees are constantly bursting out of their cells bringing new members into the workforce. This photograph shows a worker bee fanning the air with its wings. They do this to release the Nasonov Pheromone which is meant to attract swarming to an unoccupied hive.


Nasonov includes geraniol, nerolic acid, citral and geranic acid which are all types of terpenoids. These not only help bees find the entrance to their hive, but when released on flowers, lets other bees know nectar is present. The way the bees release this pheromone is by raising their abdomens and fanning their wings vigerously. The glands which release the Nasonov Pheromone are situated under the abdomen hence why the honey bee lifts this in the air.

Guard Bees

If the hive is in danger, bees guard the entrance of the hive. When all is quiet, there is no need for guard bees. According to Ted Hooper, if you tap the hive several times you will see bees come to the entrance to protect their colony. If no danger can be seen of any sort, then either one or several bees will have a quick fly around in search of the cause of disturbance. If nothing can be found the guard bees will go back into the hive until the next disturbance or sign of danger. Whilst bees are guarding the entrance, foreign bees will not be allowed to pass. Forager bees (bees that have been out looking for food) from the same colony will have the colony scent attached to them, so they will be able to pass the guard bees freely without being challanged.

Andrew Newey ‘Honey Hunters’

Andrew Newey has managed to photograph a very unique event that happens in Nepal twice a year over the space of two days. The Gurung Tribe trek to a specific location and gather honey, but it isn’t as simple as it sounds. The honey can be hard to reach and requires a lot of manmade rigs and ladders to get to it. It can be very dangerous as their traditional hunting technique means that they do not have any safety gear. Traditionally, beekepers would use a smoker to calm the bees down while the beekeeper does their duties. However, because the bees in the hunted area are not in a hive, a small smoker would not be remotely efficiant. The tribe instead burns foliage to make bigger fires and when the smoke begins to spread and sedate the bees, the hunters will get to work. The smoke and angle of this shot makes it appear as if it was set up. It looks so atmospheric because of each element within the image.

The lighting in this shot is beautiful because it has fallen perfectly on the back of the hunter and the honeycomb itself. I like this close up because it is a different kind of portrait in that there isn’t a face. A lot of the time people believe that a good portrait has to have a face in it, but this shot shows that other parts of the party can prove just as interesting. It shows the hardship that they go through from collecting the honey. They all have rope burns on their hands and feet.

I do like the fact the photographer has tried close ups but I am not too keen on this image. It is a bit too absract for my liking because all there is to look at is the colour but not much more. I feel that this shot would work better if it was a bit further out.

These images are incredible because not only do they show exactly what the hunters do, the images are atmospheric and show a different culture to what we are used to seeing. I tend to enjoy looking at photography that opens our eyes and shows us something new. For my own beekeeping project, I am aware that the beekeeping that I am documenting is more traditional, but I feel that not a lot of people actually know much about it. The occupation or hobby may seem like a typical British thing to do and it conures up images of the countryside and the elderly, but perhaps the work can show just how facinating it actually is. Similar to this series of work, I can shoot through the smoke to capture interesting shapes and shadows. The work may come out just like you would imagine, but I don’t know until I start shooting. Unlike the images here I would also like to get really close in to ensure all viewpoints are covered. I love this shot because of the eye contact and it doesn’t seem posed either. He is biting into the honeycomb without caring who is looking at him. The depth of field also seperates him from a potentially distracting background. The contrast between the red and yellow makes the image very striking.

Shoot One Evaluation This was my very first shoot and at the beginning I had absolutely no idea what to expect because I had never been to a hive let alone gone up to bees. Before this I actually had a fear of bees just because I have never been stung so I was kind of facing my fear and I got to see that it wasn’t so bad at all. I had been told that maybe this wasn’t the best project to do if I was afraid of bees. But I was determined to face it anyway and I am so glad I did because now I am over it. The aim of this shoot was to photograph the beekeeper (Mike) interacting with the hive using a 50mm lens as well as photographing the frames of the hive. I also ha the intention of taking a full length portrait of Mike. I managed to achieve all this, but I feel that the portrait could have been shot in a better quality of light. For example, the portrait on the opposite page would have worked better had I asked Mike to step forward a few steps so that the ray of light fell on his face instead of his overalls. What I have learnt from this shoot is to recognise how a photograph may work better. in terms of composition. I need to learn to review the shots on location so that I can be aware of any shots that can be recomposed. I feel this shoot was a good start but I still have a long way to go. The image of the frames shows a bit of who he is because his postcode has been burned into the wood. The feedback I received from a tutor was that it gives the viewer a sense of where Mike is from and the location of the hives. Mike told me that he did this because he had had thefts in the past and if they happen to get lost then they can be returned to the right place. The next step would be to try getting in closer with a macro lens and also experimenting with audio because I can imagine the body of work being accompanied by the sounds of birds, bees and the outdoors.

Photograph the surrounding location!

Tr y experimenting with audio at some point!

The Best of

Shoot Two Evaluation This shoot was a lot more successful especially in terms of the portraits. I learned to utilise the lighting to my advantage from the previous shoot. The portrait on the opposite page was exactly what I had pictured in my head and I am very proud of it. The lighting could not have been more perfect. On this trip, I decided to take a wide angle lens and photograph the surrounding location. However, I used my own lens and for some reason or another it tended to focus in the wrong place so a lot of the wider shots were out of focus. Next time I will get a lens out from the university stores instead because it is not the first time my own lens has done this. Each visit is in a different location because Mike has bee hives all over the Cheltenham area. I had intended to use a macro lens on this shoot but I had been out of the area and when I returned at the weekend the university stores was closed. On the next shoot I will be recording the sounds of the outdoors as well as the bees in the hive. I will also be photographing the bees up close. Even though the full length portrait was my favourite, my tutor felt that it was too literal and he actually really liked the other one which shows mainly the back of him. Yes the lighting is perfect, but I was always taught that a portrait of the back of someone was a no no! My interpretation may be very literal but this had been my intention and something I wanted to try. In terms of how I plan to shoot the rest of my work, I plan to photograph things straight on in a kind of methodical way. For example I will photograph the beekeeper front on and I can photograph the hive front on and the queen excluder. This is the way I tend to work and yes it may be very literal, but that is my style. However, this doesn’t mean I will only be shooting in this way, it just means I will be doing this along the way. It is another avenue to explore and I must embrace every direction that this project goes in because as I said a successful project is one which is thorough.

Research th e use of audi o in photograp hy.

o Use a macr lens and r o o d t u o d r reco sounds!

A Few Favourites


Macro Photography

Shoot Three


A Small Selection

Nick Knight ‘Flora’

This body of work is what inspired me to begin looking at flowers as well as bees as flowers and bees go hand in hand because bees pollinate a lot of flora. I also believe that a successful project is one where no stones have been left unturned and so I feel that this is an avenue worth exploring. Even though these flowers are pressed, I would first like to photograph upressed flowers in the studio on a white background. I am still not entirely sure what flowers bees pollinate so until I find out I will experiment with the styling of flowers in the studio and then I will be thoroughly prepared for when I photograph the true flowers. It may seem pointless to do this, but I’d rather experiment with styling first so then I can get it right. It also gives me a chance to get used to the equipment, as I will be using ring flash and a lighting table, which I have never used. Essentially it will be a trial run in the studio. I like this work because the flowers look more like illustrations, painted in watercolours or ink. They are very artistic and styled in a certain way. The photography is very feminine and minimal in shadows because the flowers are so flat. ‘Flora’ reminds me of many things, tissue paper being one of them. What is unusual is that Nick Knight is a fashion photographer so this type of photography seems very different to his other work. The aim of the series is to show people not only how beautiful flowers can be, but to also make people more aware of the unappreciated art of pressing flowers.

Shoot Four Evaluation

Pressing Flowers

Edvard Koinberg

Shoot Five


S e l e c t i o n o f I m a g e s

Pressed Flowers (Shoot Six)

Pressed Flowers (Shoot Six)


Photo Books

Photo Books

Photo Books

Shot Sketches

Shot Sketches

Shot Tests

Shoot Seven Evaluation

F a v o u r i t e S h o t s

Eric Tourneret (The Bee Photographer)

This photographer is my favourite bee photographers because of the sheer amount he has shot and especially his style. His images are very sharp and vibrant because of the use of flash. I had first not intended to use flash in my photography because I thought it might irritate the bees, but I can see that Tournerets work has been a success, so I think I will give it a try. The above images are very striking becuse the flash has made the colours very saturated. The colours in honeycomb are so bold and almost look like the center of a sunflower. You can also see so much on this one frame such as the bees at work, the brood, the food, the pollen and the honeycomb. The close up is facinating to look at because you see pollen inside each hexagon. It looks like patterned wallpaper or mosaic rather than a photograph. The photographer grew up in the mountains and a varied background which is perhaps why he documents this culture so obsessively. The image on the bottom left looks a lot different to the other images because of the blue sky. It almost looks fake, but this is because of how it has been shot. Perhaps shooting in this way would make my series look less stereotypical.

I have purchased a ring flash so that I can experiment with photographing the bees. I have used flash in previous shoot to create a dramatic sky against the crops, but that was a flashgun and so now I would like to try another form of flash to see what results I achieve. By trying this technique I believe that it will give the series a more contemporary feel. My favourite shot is the image that has been taken from inside the hive. It is such an unusual perspective and I have not seen images like this before. I would love to try this out, but I am not sure

how I would get my camera into a hive without being stung or without taking frames out of the hive to fit the camera inside. This may be very disruptive to the colony and because it isn’t my colony then it would almost be rude of me to insist I try this. I am intrigued how he has managed to get the focus spot on especially when the camera is inside the hive and he wouldn’t have been able to look through the viewfinder. Even if you prefocused the camera, you cannot judge where the bees are going to be, unless he has used an external screen.

Photo Books

Photo Books

Photo Books

Part of sketchbook