It’s been a while…

It’s been a while…

I can’t type (or say) that phrase without hearing that song in my head… well anyway, it’s been a while huh?

I apologise for my absence, which I will now explain away with a reason containing two parts:

  1. My health; it’s been shite. My insides hate me. The doctors aren’t sure why, but I have excruciating abdominal pain, and until they find the reason I’m on pain meds that make me feel like the green fairy navigating the fog. I’ve already had one round of investigative keyhole surgery, which proved to be unproductive. I’ve also had an endoscopy, a colonoscopy and a CT scan in the last month. It’s been pretty brutal. Still waiting for the results for the latter two tests. So whilst that’s all going on my energy is lacking and I have felt lack lustre about blogging. Not to mention my scanner has been very temperamental.
  2. YouTube. Yup YouTube. I am now making gaming videos! Why? Because I love Zelda and I want you all to love Zelda. It also gives my week a schedule; record, edit, upload. It helps keep me going. It’s also a brilliant distraction from the pain also, and I hope it takes off.


So there, my apologies for my absence. Please check out my channel, and if you feel inclined, like and sub, I’d really love that. I am still making work, albeit slowly, and you can see that on my newly revamped site: Jemma

I do plan to finish my archive series, I just need to get the scanner settled. There’s some really awesome display of skills coming up that I don’t want you to miss out on. Think bleach, drawn on flowers and letraset’d super emo lyrics!

Take care, I do miss you.


The Archives: Photograms

The Archives: Photograms

The very first thing we (the class) learnt to in the darkroom were photograms.

For those unfamiliar with the term, a photogram is essentially a shadow print, or silhouette, that’s been created by placing an object on photographic paper and then exposed to light.

It was the first time I had ever been in a darkroom (except for the college tour) and the smell of the chemicals was overwhelming, but I soon got fond of it.




These three photograms are the only ones that made it into my workbook, the rest were put in the “scraps” folder. There are a few others, but they are similar and slight variations on the above.

For a long time I thought these, and photograms in general, were trivial and didn’t have much in terms of artistic merit and only served the orientation/introduction purpose. But now I know they can be so much more.

The image made is the object. It is the object’s essence, like an imprint or scar. For the photogram to exist the object it shows had to exist, and had to be there, blocking and obscuring the light. They are the object. They are like ghosts, there, but not there.

This is what I suddenly realised, many years later, after I saw the Shadow Catchers exhibition at the V&A. The photographers there were capturing the “souls”, the essence of what makes up the subject, be it a person, or inanimate object.

My goal is to get the space for a darkroom and go back and revisit this simple, but very honest process.

The Archive of Jemma B

The Archive of Jemma B

This September marks my tenth year of practicing and studying photography. So to mark the occasion I will be sharing, deep from within the archives (my closet), the wins, the fails, the notes and the ideas that have spanned those ten years.

Whilst this seems a very self indulgent celebratory retrospective it also serves a purpose; to rekindle my love for photography.

Over the last few years my passion for the art form has diminished; not only because I’m emotionally drained from raising a child but also the “state” that photography is in at the moment feels somewhat soulless and saturated with the “Instagram photographer”. It’s kitsch.

But I also must admit that I’ve become lazy and have lost touch with Contemporary Photography, only skimming the occasional BJP Magazine and Love. I haven’t even been to an exhibition since my daughter was born. For that, the artist in me, is ashamed.

Preparing my old work, just quickly giving it a timeline, has already been emotional.
I remember making every print, processing every negative and all the sociology (personal: family, friends, romances etc) that surrounded me. It’s all bought back some happy and very unhappy memories, some of which I will expand upon as we go.

But to begin, let me explain how this all started.

I had finished my GCSE’s and had chosen As Photography to “supplement” my As Art. I also chose English and Textiles, but I viewed them as formalities, something to get through; I wanted to be an Artist. Something I had decided at 14 after a visit to The Tate.

I wanted to create paintings that would bring grown men to their knees! Beautiful images full of emotion and tension that would question reality. I wanted to win the Turner Prize!

I was also 16, terribly in love and obviously a “grown up”. This was also the dawn of Emoism. Whilst I wasn’t archetypal, I was definitely full of angst (though in all fairness it was justified*) and dramatic.

Despite the romantic imagery of the tortured artist that I created, I was determined. I was constantly drawing or painting. My workbooks from school were covered in doodles. Art was all consuming and a wonderful escapism and a way coping*. There was no career alternative.

In fact it wasn’t until the 2nd year of collage that I thought photography could be “my thing”. But really it wasn’t until I failed to get onto any Art degree courses after my Foundation, went through UCAS Extra and got a place to study at Kingston that I truly realised that I wanted to be a Photographer.

So, as I previously explained, these blog posts are an exploration (somewhat therapeutic) into the why, and to reunite myself with that determination and need to create. And if nothing else, you’ll laugh at some of my super cool “design” choices!

I hope you enjoy.

*My father has Aplastic Anemia and 2 years previous to starting college had his spleen removed, and one year previous to starting college my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. Both are now in remission.