Phonar// Assignment One// Gerry Badger


Task One- Initial thoughts and Tweets

My initial reactions to receiving Gerry Badger as my assignment author was pleased because he is a writer and I too enjoy his essays, but I had know clue about his photography. When reading into his assignment and his photography, its completely different and it doesn’t perhaps initially interest me. However, I love a challenge, and this will perhaps bring out a way of thought that I’ve never had before.

Step One- Tweets

Here are my three tweets that I think are the bases to Badgers assignment:Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 18.26.33


Step Two- a portrait of my artist

 Brief research:

Who is Gerry Badger?

-Born 1948- Northampton

-English writer, curator, photographer, architect, and critic

-His usual subject matter is ‘landscapes and accretions of history’

-“I write text”


-Written for a huge range of press

-Deals with public and private collections

-Written for Stephen Shore, Martin Parr, Jem Southam, John Gossage

-‘I am very suspicious about any kind of art that is simply about art and not the world’

-‘Photographers voices’

-The photobook interest- allows the photographer to explore a narrative

-He doesn’t want to force his opinions- but he does have strong opinions

-Authenticity, being real and honest

-‘I want to see photographers as authors

-Tries to get history within his images

-Uses a large format camera for historical photography series and a digital for personal and more diary approached work

-‘What kind of layers goes into the photographs’?

His most iconic books include:

-The pleasure of good photographs

-The Photobook: A history Vol II

-The Genius of Photography

Interesting Interviews:


-Two visits to the city

-Stuck in a time machine

-Scars of the war haven’t been fixed

-‘The history was still there, more hidden but still there’

-His uncle had a bad experience when captured by the English

-He said it’s his ancestry that has brought him to this place

One Day

-Ten photographers all taking images on the same day

-We get a range of work, a different approach to how people live their lives

Breakfast at Mario’s- 2008 to 2001

-Focuses on the lack of people, yet there’s a clear sense of life

-Influenced by Lee Friedlander

-Very Martin Parr looking

-When asked if it’s relevant that where the image had been taken, he said yes because the image would have never been simply taken

-You can’t take an image if you’re not in front of the thing your photographing

-You only think you have seen something that you’ve looked at repeatedly

-Only one limitation- takes images vertically

-He wants to capture the flavour of the place


Instagram caption:

A portrait of Gerry Badger.

Considered as a photography writer and critic, Gerry Badger has also delved into architecture, photography and curating. He has produced numerous, well renowned books including ‘The Genius of Photography’. His narratives are often inspired by other artists, which included Martin Parr and Lee Friedlander. I decided to put his own photography in his book with the aid of Photoshop. His own photography work often gets overlooked; his writing taking the spotlight.

I used the same font, layout and style to recreate the book. I placed numerous pens, notes and other photographers photo books around, reveling in writing and photography. The cup of tea is important as I feel he is a true middle class English man who loves a cup of tea. With no social media, his only distractions are finding more and more photographers and great work to show the rest of the world.

Here is his website to see more of Gerry’s work:

#PhotographersPlaybook #Phonar2016 #GerryBadger

Screen Shot 2016-05-22 at 15.29.39

Task Three- Photographing in the style of Gerry Badger

Critical Analysis:

-Uses multiple images to create a larger narrative and insight into the location

-Only takes images vertically

-Doesn’t edit/ try to manipulate

-Uses inspiration from others including Martin Parr and Lee Friedlander

-Soft colours and hues

-Always has something standing out in the image- there’s a reason he’s focused on it even though it’s only a small detail

-Has a side ways approach

-Tends to take imagery slanted sideways

-Doesn’t include people in the image yet there are tell tale signs there is life

-Photographs front onwards

-Digital camera- mostly colour

-Location/ Documentary

-Doesn’t include writing with the image, (unless you’re looking at his photo book) its up to the viewer more than anything to discover the meaning with the work

Why would he set this assignment?

-His presence of people doesn’t mean that people aren’t in the image- he focuses indirectly

-He investigates a place with no need to tell us where it e.c.t.

-He makes us question how important the body of work really is

-There’s an air of mystery within his work e.g. the shadows of people, we want to know more as viewers


Instagram Post:

Gerry badger has one limitation; Take the images vertically. He’s selective in his images, yet doesn’t choose to edit images after. Lee Friedlander and Martin Parr influences Badger heavily. The series ‘Breakfast at Mario’s’ is taken in 2008-11. This series is all about how Badger sets himself in the small, Italian café in the middle of London. His images are colour, digital and vertical.

Badger never shows people, however we get traces of their existence. Additionally, he doesn’t tend to photograph the chosen place, for example we never see the café, we see streets surrounding it, we see tables and chairs and we see shadows from the people passing by; its all about focusing indirectly. By using multiple images, we have a bigger understanding of a narrative of the place and different senses and approaches.

Task Four- Completing the assignment

To begin this assignment, I had to once again put myself in Badger’s shoes and ask myself what is he wanting and why would he create this assignment. ‘Identity, memories, relationships… feelings’, this got me thinking about what these things actually are, where can we see them and most importantly how can we represent them? I thought about a range of things from looking at my Grandma and the changes she’s encountered, the effects of politics with the recent immigration crisis and this underlying fear of Donald trump and also how scientists have come up with a way to move all the humans on Mars to live there forever. However, my main thought was about the photograph and photography itself.

After much thought about how precious the photograph is, I then went on to my social media account and was then exposed to hundreds of images. This made me think, how actually important are these images? If we didn’t have a picture of the latest Kardashian lipstick, an adorable dog or a tattoo fail, how would it affect us? I then kept an open mind to this concept and began to have thoughts about all the images that weren’t taken. Do I have any regrets, or as a photographer was there anything key encounters that I missed? This could be a really interesting way to go, but I’ve become fascinated with how many images are taken by the western world and if we really need them.

I began my work by asking my sitters to take part. I gave my grandma, my mother and myself a disposable camera, a pen and a piece of paper. I set it out in the similar manner to how ‘One Day’ was created with Gerry Badger and nine other photographers. I asked them to take images though out the day and write anything to go along with it. It could be a description, a time, an emotion or an inspired quote. My main reason for this is to see what we think when we are taking the image. The difference in generations was really interesting. My grandma took images that were calming and were nature related, my mother took images of the things she does throughout the day and I took images that I would have put on my snap chat story. The images were irrelevant to my project; it was the description that was the important part. Can we understand an image through our writing, and if so does one out weigh the other?

For my final piece I wanted to create something that had some debate to it. I feel like Badger wanted me to create a concept that is challenging yet simplistic. I began by experimenting with the back of the image, and going on to experimented with the idea of an invisible image. I was inspired by a range of artists, particularly Barber Kruger as I wanted to produce a critical thinking piece, something that can be shared on social media and create a stir. I explored symbolism by using the colour black, I used my metaphor of empty images and I used writing to amplify my image.

What’s more invisible and “unphotographable” than images that aren’t there. We cannot begin to forget the importance of freezing time forever. Memories and photographs go hand in hand, yet create conflict with ideas that one maybe unnecessary to the other. I aim to produce a piece that my audience will be affected by and realise the importance of photography and the value it has. I hope because we take and are exposed to hundreds and hundreds of images each day, that we do not take photography for granted.

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My final image:

Chloe Parker- T1 S4

Task Five- 250 Word Critical Rational

 This assignment was a challenge and it’s something that has pushed my way of thinking and was less focused on the photography side of things. Gerry Badgers’ assignment was instructional, but he wanted me to think and to experiment.

I decided to use the idea of photography and the mass amount of photographs we see and take hourly. I used Barbra Kruger as my main inspiration to create a debate/ protest piece. I feel like this will spark conversation and will catch people’s attention on their social media accounts; Instagram is a perfect place for this piece. I used black to symbolise where these images are kept after their two seconds of fame, I use empty images to represent the questioning of how important are they, and I used my own words to amplify my message. This has a very specific audience: young, social media people. I want them to think about and feel whether or not the next image they are thinking about is worth posting, or maybe its not or maybe it deserves to be printed and become part of a more substantial archive. The amount of images being made and uploaded adds to the debate over the importance of the 21st century imagery being made, do we really need to put these up and do they have a real importance? The way I have constructed it makes it stand out, almost like information/ political piece. This has been a new way of taking and thinking about photographs, something different to my usual styles, but it has definitely been inspiring and interesting.

Instagram Post:





This assignment was inspired by ‘The Photographer’s Playbook’, from Gerry Badger’s task, ‘The Invisiable’.

#phonar2016 #photographersplaybook #gerrybadger

Screen Shot 2016-05-22 at 15.48.18

Task Six- Communication to my Author

I decided to write a letter to Gerry Badger as I felt this was the most appropriate. He is, himself, a writer, and I feel like he would sit down and read it. Also, the fact he doesn’t have any social media tells me he’s perhaps not an admirer of being digital, so something physical, I feel, he will appreciate a lot more.



-OstLicht. Galerie für Fotografie. (2015) Talk: Star photographer William Klein & Gerry Badger – VPBF 2015. Available at []

-Icontent | Douglas Sloan. (2012) Gerry Badger. Available at []

– SI Fest Savignano Immagini. (2011) Interview Gerry Badger. Available at []


-Badger, G. (2007) The Genius of Photography: How Photography Has Changed Our Lives. Quadrille: Great Britain

-Badger, G. (2010) The Pleasures of Good Photographs: Essays. Aperture: London

-Fulford, J., Halpern, G. (2014) The photographer’s playbook; 307 assignments and ideas. New York: Aperture.


-Badger, G. (2016) Official Website. Available at []

-Phaidon. (2014) Ten questions for Martin Parr and Gerry Badger. Available at []

-Bjp. (2015) Paul Graham and Gerry Badger – in conversation. Available at []

-Banff, A. (2013) Humanity takes millions of photos every day. Why are most so forgettable? Available online

-Woollaston, V. (2013) Revealed, what happens in just ONE minute on the internet: 216,000 photos posted, 278,000 Tweets and 1.8m Facebook likes. Available online




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