Dean Leivers Dean Leivers


Frame 36 - 01/07/18

July 1st, 2018

A very short post this week as I wind down for a family holiday and busy myself with finishing some freelance contracts so I can lay off the emails for a few weeks! I’ve begun shooting new project work and made some progress in terms of getting in touch with new groups and people to photograph. I’ll no doubt include some of this work in progress in future posts. For now a couple of projects for you to browse that caught my eye on Huck magazine’s website.

The first, ‘Remains of a Soviet Utopia’, a project by Piepke and Nolting documents a housing estate that was once a Soviet utopia. The series features a range of portraits of inhabitants of the settlement and also images of the environment that they find themselves in. Interestingly for me at least is the inclusion of the stories of the inhabitants that caption some of the portraits. Is photographing a group of people’s situation and surrounding locations simply enough? This is something I am starting to investigate in my own practice.

The second project, ‘The First Time’ sees photographer Matteo de Mayda capture Icelandic footballers and fans as they prepare for one of the biggest sporting events in their country’s history. 

As I begin to make plans to photograph my own series around local football in my local area it’s strange to see a project that quite literally depicts the sort of imagery that I had in my mind when considering my photographic approach. I think that if I can incorporate personal story telling or interviews from the subjects of my images I can ensure my work is slightly different in its outcome.

So as I mentioned, a short post this week but I’m sure that there is enough in these two fabulous series for you to mull over during your Sunday morning. I’ll be taking a little time off from posting during my aforementioned family holiday but I’ll be back with more projects and articles soon, hopefully with some work in progress material of my own too!

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Frame 36 - 17/06/18

June 17th, 2018

The last two weeks have flown by, not a lot of time to devote to my own personal work but here are a few articles that caught my eye that will go some way to contribute to my research.

My Twitter app buzzed me this week saying that ’Mull it Over’ had uploaded new content.

This blog run by Jonathan Cherry delivers insightful articles with contemporary photographers and is an absolute treasure trove of wonderful projects and responses that give a real insight into the practices of fine art photographers from many backgrounds. It’s well worth looking through the posts, although I’d advise making sure you have time set aside as it’s easy to lose a lot of time reading.

Next a couple of posts over at Lens Culture, the first looks at the importance of portfolio reviews and why they should be a part of a photographers practice. I’m still a little undecided on the whole discussion of portfolio reviews. On the one hand I see the obvious benefit of having someone unconnected to you give opinions on your work. I am however slightly dubious as to how much can be gleamed in such a short space of time and some of the prices for the service are also a lot higher than I would expect for emerging/student photographers to have to pay. I certainly feel that I benefit more from mentor style guidance. The chance to ‘check in’ over a period of time as a project develops, that way I think both parties are more invested in the practice and will have more of an opportunity to reap the rewards of the mentor/mentee relationship.

The second article presents 'Wilted’ a series by photographer Dylan Hausthor. Inspired by the subject of storytelling the images “question and bring to light the frenetic nature of visual memory.”

The images are still and at times feel quite empty allowing for the viewer to piece together the narrative elements of the series. The accompanying essay does give some context to the story being told and the images reflect the events whilst not too explicitly so. 

Storytelling or narrative in photography is the subject of an article on the UN of Photography website. 

Often a difficult approach to work with Grant Scott discusses the pitfalls of making work with a narrative approach and the ways they can be avoided. The overriding message being not to overcomplicate things as this can contribute to a loss of structure and direction. Advice for life too you could say!

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Frame 36 - 03/06/18

June 2nd, 2018

A fairly project heavy series of articles that have caught my eye over the last fortnight. As I start the first steps of actually getting out and shooting my new project work I’ve been drawn more to imagery that I want to absorb and inspire my own practice. The first two projects come via Creative Boom and deal with portraiture and landscape. Charlie Clifts ‘Brixton’ depicts a multitude of people from all walks of life that are connected by a location. I was interested in the use of a mobile backdrop within the images.


Consistent throughout the whole series it frames the sitter whilst we are still allowed a glimpse of the busy environment behind, a moment of stillness amongst the rush of the world around them. Stillness is evident in the landscapes of Brando Ghinzelli.Lost in La Bassa’ traces his childhood memories and the landscapes connected to them. Devoid of people the scenes have an emptiness but still offer us evidence of human involvement in the landscape.


Both of these projects are interesting to me as I intend to capture portraits of various groups of people that are connected by place but it would be interesting to approach the images of those places with the people removed as well as images that see them interacting within the space. That kind of mix, more documentary in approach could be achieved in a similar vein as these portraits taken during Ireland’s recent abortion referendum that were featured over on the Huck Magazine website.


I enjoyed the mixture of portraiture approaches/ compositions and also the establishing shots of the surrounding details of the location. I think I’m starting to realise that if I try a number of approaches in each of my chosen scenarios over an extended period of time I’ll have enough material to start to shape the final output in which ever combination suits the series best.

I’m still busy sourcing potential venues for a pop up gallery to exhibit my recent landscape project (whilst working on the accompanying prints and publication). As a result articles relating to exhibitions continue to interest me lately.


Over on the BJP website there were some ideas relating to exhibition promotion. Whilst largely focussing on the use of social media to promote a show it did also have some interesting ideas on ways to deliver a private view which I may take on board. Finally, and in keeping with the gallery theme an interesting interview with Catherine Edelman was featured on Lensculture giving an insight into what she looks for in art photographers work when selecting for exhibitions.


There’s a wealth of interesting responses but this one really struck a chord with me:

“I look for people who are passionate, who make work because they have to, not because they’re thinking about sales. Sometimes, I think, the sales mentality gets in the way. If you’re too focused on the money, it dilutes the core of what makes your art powerful.”

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Frame 36 - 20/05/18

May 20th, 2018

I’m back! I’ve been away for a while, not fancy holidays or anything like that just a lot of photography/videography commissions that have kept me busy which is not a bad place to be in at all. So I’ve had a few weeks of articles/ posts to look back on and I’ve included here what I considered to be the most interesting.

Firstly an article from the British Journal of Photography’s website which discusses considerations when looking for gallery representation. My landscape project taken in Scotland over the last two years has been my main point of focus over the last few months. I’ve been editing the work and creating book layouts, looking at sequencing and thinking about the ways in which I’d like the work to be seen. An exhibition is my desired output with large scale prints and an accompanying book, that would be my ideal. 


A couple of weeks ago I thought about adding more to the project. There is a lack of people in the images, and I thought about returning one last time to photograph the inhabitants of the peninsula but I think that would be applying my new project ideas to a series that is finished, I have to let the work go now. I’ve considered approaching galleries to get the work exhibited but I’ve saved some money and decided that I’m going to seek out an empty retail unit and rent it for a few weeks and create a pop up gallery, staff it myself and invite people to come and visit.

Speaking of new project ideas, I’m still finding a lot of inspiration in the work of other photographers. I like to look at the way they are structuring their images and series, and see how I could apply those approaches to my own work. Two articles caught my eye on the Guardian website recently. One featured the work of James Bugg who’s work has recently won the Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize.


The other features winners of the Lens Culture Portrait Awards. Both articles contain striking images which are worth your time. The most interesting take away for me when looking and reading the articles was that I should make more time to enter my own work in competitions, exhibition open calls etc. This should be my aim alongside the creation of the current/new project work and I really should make more of an effort to put my work in front of people.

Viewing photographers work, specifically portfolio reviews, was touched on in a new Podcast by Grant Scott founder of United Nations of Photography.


Grant touches on lots of topics and raises interesting discussion points for photographers to consider. The most pleasing aspect of the Podcast though is that it’s not just another photography Podcast that focusses on tech/equipment reviews, techniques, how to use your DSLR etc. Whilst those types of show are undoubtably helpful to a lot of people and rightfully have a place I’ve craved a photography podcast that looks to create a discourse around photographic practice that is intelligent and thought provoking, I really recommend subscribing.

Podcast aside, an article on the United Nations of Photography caught my eye which looks at considerations practicing photographers face when archiving their work in a digital age. As an owner of an increasing collection of external hard drives this definitely gave me some food for thought. Maybe I should devote a bit of energy to looking at ways I can properly safeguard my digital (and analogue) work?…


Thank you for reading, and if you think that others may be interested in the articles that I’ve pointed to in this or past editions feel free to share the archive link with them

Be well,

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Frame 36 - 8/4/18

April 8th, 2018

A fairly short list this week, it’s been a busy week on the freelance front, lots of editing and a little trip out to photograph the BSB over the bank holiday kept me quite busy!

The largest portion of this weeks links come from the British Journal of Photography website. They are useful as are not only helping me to consider the ways I can show work but also the locations I might be able to create it too.


‘Hit the North’ gives a brief account of the early project work of Daniel Meadows. Setting up make shift studios in empty shops in Manchester and photographing people for free seems to me to be a great way to begin making work. With a high proportion of units empty in the UK it would still be a completely viable approach today. I have always loved Meadow’s approach to creating situations to make portrait work. His 'Photobus’ series/project is a particular favourite of mine.

The BJP also featured 'A Guide to Exhibiting Your Work’ in which three prominent curators discuss and offer insights on the process of creating exhibitions and what you may need to consider before putting your work out into the public realm. There are also interesting responses regarding the use of online spaces to exhibit work as well as the importance of physical exhibitions.


One final link this week goes to a Podcast. The 'She Does’ podcast “features creative minds working in media. Each episode centres around an intimate conversation yet digs deeper into each woman’s background, philosophy and process through artful audio documentaries soundtracked by music made by women.” It’s been a varied and interesting listen as I’ve started to make my way through the archive which features creatives from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines.

​That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading, more in a fortnight.

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April 3rd, 2018

A selection of images from Round 1 of the Bennetts British Superbike championship 2018 at Donington Park.

Frame 36 - 25/03/18

March 25th, 2018

Another busy fortnight has seen me seeing out a number of freelance contracts…always time for a bit of reading though! Here are a few articles and projects that caught my eye over the last two weeks.

My current project interests are around documenting people, the groups that they are connected to but also capturing their stories in a way that may compliment the work, so that they are not just simply a series of portraits and documentary images. I was taken by the ’What Does Brexit Mean for Love’ series featured on the British Journal of Photography website. The personal stories featured are engaging and the images, whilst not necessarily the way I’d approach portraiture, are brilliant in concept. 

The BJP featured another two articles that caught my eye that detailed entries to ‘The Portrait of Britain’ and the artists approaches to taking portraits. First up is ’Harry Flook on creating a compelling portrait’ and Josh Adam Jones discussing his Portrait of Britain peoples choice selection. Both feature striking and simple sets of portraits and interesting thoughts on the process of creating a portraiture series.

I mentioned earlier that it’s my intention to document people and their environments during my new project work. Obviously this is all in very early stages but I have occasionally turned my thoughts to the way that I might output the work and the various forms that could take. On the Conscientious website Jörg M. Colberg reviews a new book by Christian van der Kooy that challenges traditional approaches to documentary work “and pushes the boundaries of the documentary form”.

The final post this week was on Huck and featured the work of Pamela Littky who does take a more traditional documentary approach when turning her attention to the ’American Fair’. 

I love the striking colours, and the images that depict moments of calm in what are always vibrant, noisy and crowded spaces.

Thank you as always for reading, more in two weeks and if you want to connect click the links below.

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Frame 36 - 11/03/18

March 11th, 2018

Another busy fortnight at the coal face of freelancing. Amongst my regular contracts I’ve been busy reading and gathering ideas for my self directed projects, whilst working on project editing. Read on for a selection of the articles and series that I’ve found interesting over the last fortnight.

The first work that caught my eye was ‘Invisible Britain: Portraits’ that I saw over on Huck. I was taken by the staging of these portraits that make up a new book. That’s really the theme of this weeks posts, I’m starting to consider the ways that I would like to set up my subjects alongside figuring out which groups or areas of society I’d like to document.

Speaking of documenting society it doesn’t get much better than Joel Meyerowitz.

Two interesting articles this week on the Guardian and Huck websites to coincide with the release of a new retrospective book that coincides with a major exhibition in Berlin. I don’t really need to add anything else!

The British Journal of Photography featured the work of Martin Amis whos upcoming book is due for release. The images featured are wonderful candid shots of groups and a great example of what can be achieved by spending extended time with a group or within an environment.

Also on the BJP is an article sponsored by the University of Sussex detailing their new masters course. Aside from it being essentially an advert for the course it does raise interesting points about the reasons you may want to opt for MA study (something I’m currently looking into and making decisions on) and also the importance of a theoretical interest and element to photographic practice.

Finally, if you fancy listening to some content whilst getting about your day I’ve recently discovered the Being Freelance Podcast. I’ve taken a trip through the archive and listened to all of the episodes featuring photographers but have now started to delve into episodes featuring freelancers from other disciplines. It’s full of ideas and interesting to hear about how other freelance creatives go about navigating the world of self employment. 

Thanks for reading, more from me in two weeks time.

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Frame 36 - 25/02/18

February 25th, 2018

Some more photography related links for Sunday reading after another fortnight ambling around the internet. The last couple of weeks have been spent making work and largely looking at photographers that inspire me. My current project, which is as yet untitled aims to document community, or a community at least and so I’ve been drawn to photographers that make work depicting people and their environments.


First up is Oli Kellet who was featured over at Creative Boom. I love the mix of both staged and incidental approaches to the work. There is a stunning cinematic quality to the city scapes which would be interesting to try and replicate during tests in my own practice.


Similar approaches are abound in ‘Sea Change’ by Lee Brodhurst-Hooper which I saw on the British Journal of Photography website. The project examines the challenges facing Britains coastal towns due to years of falling tourist numbers in the wake of cheaper holidays abroad and the people in the local communities that this affects.

Over the last year or so I’ve followed closely the research portfolio and website of Anthony Prothero. Anthony and I studied together at Falmouth University and is a very close friend. He is now in the midst of studying for his MA in Photography at Falmouth and we spend a fair amount of time discussing ideas and commenting on each others practice.


An entry on Anthony's Critical Reflective Journal detailed the work of John Spinks an editorial photographer who’s personal project 'The New Village’ Anthony picked out. He raises an interesting point about the work in that the images are of an unnamed village but somehow they remain familiar as a viewer citing the “Fractured Sense of Belonging”.


Once again I’ve been drawn to looking at the way that Niall McDiarmid approaches and photographs his portrait subjects. To coincide with his current exhibition at The Martin Parr Foundation in Bristol, a short video has been produced to demonstrate the techniques he uses to create his portraits. An interesting watch for people wishing to create portraits on the street or just to get an idea of the type of process that might be involved when approaching this style of work.

On the subject of work, whilst putting the finishing touches to my landscape project and researching my current project ideas I decided to release a new series which is now featured on my website.


'Findings’ is a continuing series of images that are not part of what I would consider a traditional “series”. These are images that are connected by my visual interests at the time of taking the photograph. They are to be exhibited solely online on my website and as part of an ongoing Instagram series. It’s an attempt to use images that were not necessarily part of an overarching project as a way of reengaging with social media in a meaningful way. After reading this article on the BJP I had been thinking about the ways in which I engage audiences of my work and felt that a project existing online could be a compliment to any future work that I showcase through more traditional methods.

Thank you for reading, as always please feel free to share with people that you think may be interested. More in a fortnight.

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Frame 36 - 11/02/18

February 11th, 2018

Hello! So, I’m still trying to figure out the format for this newsletter (and also the name). I’ve switched to using TinyLetter for the time being, cheers to JoeRipcord for pointing out the platform for me.

It’s been a busy two weeks, carrying out shoots and editing but as always I’ve found a bit of time for reading and the following links are snippets of what I’ve found most interesting.

More in a fortnight,

Often, like most artists I struggle to get ideas off the ground, or just struggle with the process of figuring out how to get things in gear. ‘The Start’ Podcast via The Guardian features interviews with artists about their creative process and how they found the inspiration to start a work or the journey that they took to create a piece that was their defining moment. Listen at the website via the following link or by downloading to your Podcast player of choice.

Whilst seeing out the final edit and output of a landscape project, I’ve also had an eye on a future project that I hope to soon get off the ground. At the moment it is likely going to be a portrait project based around groups of people in various settings, I’d also like to create some kind of audio element to go alongside the visuals…It’s very early days though. As a result I’ve been keeping an eye out for other photographers work that involves the documenting of groups of people or the environment that they find themselves in.

First up is 'The Space Between Us’ by Evan Blaise Walsh, who was featured on Lenscratch. Whilst the scenarios of the portrait series are staged and use repeat sitters, the style, set up and use of the space within the images is of particular interest to me.

I’ve also been considering the starting points for my new project may well be my own immediate environment and the people and characters that I come across, also how to document scenarios and people that are already familiar to me. The British Journal of Photography featured the work of Manny Melotra who’s series 'The Broadway’ depicts his current surroundings in Southall, West London.

The work highlights scenarios that may go unnoticed to those that don’t live in the area and give a truer representation of the daily live and experiences of the residents of the culturally rich area of the capital.

My project will also involve working with people I’ve never met in unfamiliar situations, in an effort to push me outside of my comfort zone and present a set of fresh photographic challenges for myself. I came across some early work of photographer Philippe Chancel on the Guardian website, who’s work detailing life inside French gangs goes on show as part of the 'Another Kind of Life: Photography on the Margins’ exhibition at The Barbican at the end of February.

In the article Chancel states the difficulties faced when working from the viewpoint of an outsider, especially in what, at times, was a dangerous environment. The images, from very early on in Chancel’s career, have a raw exploratory feel. As a photographer he was finding his way and place in the world, much like his subjects.

And finally…

Over at LensCulture was an interesting interview with Kaycee Olsen, director of the Von Lintel Gallery in Los Angeles. In the article she talks about the potential ways to approach galleries in order to get work seen by the public. Whilst here we’re considering incredibly high end galleries I found some of the thoughts would  definitely apply to any type of exhibition space and would be worth considering in the future.

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