Summary of Dreams and Reality Initial Ideas

Unit 2: The Photographic Project – Dreams/Reality

 Learning Outcome 1 (LO1): Understand photographic research.

  • 1.1 Identify a subject for a photographic project.
  • 1.2 Carry out research for a photographic project.

Learning Outcome  2 (LO2) : Be able to produce a photographic project.

  • 2.1 Identify photographic resources to complete a photographic project.
  • 2.2 Produce photographic images to meet identified goals.
  • 2.3 Identify presentational forms for a photographic project.
  • 2.4 Assess the photographic project.

Learning Outcome 3 (LO3): Understand photographic practice and health and safety procedures.

  • 3.1 Identify and use safe working practices in a photographic project.

Some of the ideas and images for the project ‘Dreams and Reality’ drawn from the blogs on this project. – 

I finally settled on the topic of Broken Dreams for my final set of images although I also considered the Missing Girl Mystery sequence.

During the project, I thought if I explored lots of different themes and images a clear concept would emerge but on reflection I might have been better to start with a clear idea of my chosen theme and then set about looking for images and ways to interpret it.

One early idea was looking through windows, partially inspired by Magritte, surrealist painter, and by the relaxation / counselling technique of imagining what you see through the window as a symbol of where you see yourself, where you want to be – your dream. However it was difficult to take pictures through windows due to the general quality of the image beyond the window and the difficulties of getting the frame and the interior clear and lit. So I abandoned this idea for now.

Broken Dreams

I was interested in ideas around unfulfilled dreams, broken dreams and dreams locked away and was attracted by images of bolts, locks, catches, chains and padlocks, windows, doors, buildings and other things in disrepair or having a forgotten air. I finally chose images of windows. ( see other blogs)


I was very interested in the work of Mac Adams and his Mystery Images

‘His  ‘Mystery’ series has a film Noir quality and an extreme narrative compression. Adams recognized that the space between the images can be as important as the image itself. He has come to use the term ‘Narrative Void’ to describe the meaning in the space between images.

An image can simply be narrative without belonging to ‘a’ narrative. Actually photography is perfect for suggesting narrative possibilities when they are set in motion by the most succinct and minimal means. An ambiguous gesture. A stray object. An allusive composition. An enigmatic detail. An action pointing beyond the frame. Mac Adams’s photography is a rich inventory of such things.’

Beach and waves 

I liked these dusk images of the beach for their colour tones and atmospheric qualities.

These images come from both my fascination with waves and their repetitive but ever changing nature. How I can watch them relentlessly rolling, crashing and spilling on to the beach. Also on the rare occasions when I cannot sleep I focus / dream of the waves at this location. I looked at the seascapes of  surrealist painter Max Ernst as part of this theme.


I was keen to explore ideas based on the paintings of Magritte and took pictures of clouds as part of this theme. Magritte is known for challenging the observers’ preconditioned perceptions of reality.  As my Photoshop skills increase I will take the  opportunity to develop this set of ideas.


I took pictures of doors in two locations Ham House and Tate Britain attempting to explore surrealist ideas about doors. Doors, leading the eye into spaces that hid or  revealed, doors left ajar or leading to other doors, doors as  a surrealist symbol – a portal to the unconscious, doors representing choice and possibility, doors used to lock up our most secret fears and desires – or dreams.

Ancient Trees

These ancient tress were impressive and embodied ideas about dreams or stories over centuries, from the conception of the landscape, the stories of the people who worked on the land and to the current reality of their fragility.


My Mum has dementia and lives in a world partly imaginary and partly reality. She has dreamed a whole new family for herself which are very real to her whilst knowing she lives in a Care Home and still recognising her real family. Pictures are labelled to help her remember people. She has memories from far in the past but more recent events, just now, yesterday, last year and the last six decades are lost.

Scotland – a landscape

Eyes – a window to dreams and aspirations and also as a reflection of the reality. I took shots of four generations of one family.


Learning Outcome 3 (LO3): Understand photographic practice and health and safety procedures. 3.1 Identify and use safe working practices in a photographic project.

In all outdoor locations I needed to be aware of my surrounding, for example

  • trip hazards and dangerous materials in derelict sites
  • personal safety in isolated locations
  • water safety and awareness of tides on the beaches
  • caution when clambering over rocks and narrow footpaths
  • keep out where there are signs and not invade privacy
  • be aware of possibility of ‘sudden limb drop’ when working under old trees
  • be considerate in the Care Home environment and respect privacy of residents

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