Dean Leivers Dean Leivers


Frame 36 - 3/5/20

May 3rd, 2020

It’s been a remarkably long time since I last posted anything relating to research and project ideas…posted anything at all really! Given the current worldwide situation, specifically my current situation in lockdown in the UK I’m finding I have more time to reflect, read and type. Obviously, my commissions for photographic work have dropped off as we all stick to government guidelines and a lot of us stay at home and away from workplaces. However as I said this has afforded me some more time to be able to focus on other activities that have been neglected in favour of commissioned work over the last year or so.

I like thousands of freelance artists have applied to receive emergency funding from the Arts Council. I’d been working on and had submitted a large bid for a project grant before Covid-19 put a halt to all applications. This was to bolster work on my current work in progress project ‘Dependent Origination’ which i had hoped to widen out into workshops based in both school and community settings.

If I receive the emergency funding it’s the plan to continue that work with the Cyanotype process but formulate new ways of getting an audience to engage with the work. More updates on that will follow.

I have also been working on the development of a Podcast series. I’ve long considered the ways of creating audio to compliment more editorial style practice and I now feel confident that the Podcast format is the right route for me. I recently completed a short course with Future Learn that gave me some fantastic information and guidance on producing engaging audio content. Visually I’ll be aiming to create series that follow a similar visual style to this project by Alphabet.

I’ll be updating with more research and work in progress soon. I really want to make sure that I use this opportunity to continue to strive and progress.

Be well,


March 31st, 2019

Exhibition Visit 11/04/19

Anthony Prothero’s latest body of work “Ipseity” is a “visual investigation into memory, imagination and the family album”. The exhibition and accompanying book were a product of the artists masters study at Falmouth University. The exhibition comprised of a series of large scale images from various sections of the book alongside a video piece and an audio installation. Imagery ranged from still life set ups of the artists grandmothers belongings, collected and curated images of family trips abroad, scanned and distorted family portraits. The video installation detailed silent super 8 footage of a family wedding and my personal highlight of the exhibition an audio piece which presented a discussion between the artist and his grandmother about a particular image in the exhibition.

Much has been said on the use of personal/ family archives for project material, during my own undergraduate degree I too delved into my own family archive and I still find it an interesting topic, even when I have no relation to those depicted. I think this is due to work of this nature forcing me to consider the relationship I have with my own family archive, so those images that exist from my own childhood and before. Also following the birth of my daughter and my imminent second child I consider the ways I might continue building  my own personal collection. How should I record family life? Which means are most effective in the modern technological age? Do I even record enough of family activity?

Most would argue that it’s never been easier for us to capture our experiences with the advent of smart phone technology, with most of the worlds population having access to a camera in their pocket but I feel that it’s what we do with those images that is most important. Is uploading our lives to countless digital social media albums any different to stocking photo albums on shelves in our homes only for both to be ignored for most of the time that follows the event. During this exhibition I pondered the question “I wonder how many times this wedding video had been viewed before being put on a loop in a gallery context?”

A record of our lives is important and interesting even if only in our own family circles, what Anthony has done here is succeeding in making his own personal family artefacts interesting whilst allowing us as viewers to question the importance of our own. The other elements of the exhibition, namely the sound and video pieces have made me question photography’s effectiveness as a tool to record our personal memories. Is it just one of many tools that when used together can create a more meaningful reflection of our lives? Ultimately we all crave to be remembered when our lives are over. Looking at the strangers actions, appearances, belongings here brings to mind the transient nature of our experiences and lives, as soon as they have happened they are gone much like the capturing of an image. Can photographs or possessions really tell us anything about those pictured or are they merely vessels for those left looking to reflect on a life once known? In the end it is really all just “stuff”, providing a more public context would surely strike chords for those with a personal connection to the images on show. For the rest of us it highlights an urgency to ensure that our own collections are of interest to our own family after we are gone and not just adding to an already huge pile of belongings to sort through.

All images courtesy of the artist.

February 26th, 2019

Detail from a work in progress print. Part of the series ‘Dependent Origination’. A project that utilises the cyanotype process to investigate the universal landscape. for more work in progress images.

#cyanotype #cyanotypes #print #analogue #analogphotography #history #historical #birth #celestial #humancondition #thewaythingsare

Frame 36 - 02/12/18

December 2nd, 2018

In my last entry I mentioned moving on to new projects. So whilst I continue to share my ‘Peninsula’ series on my website and also using Instagram for regular updates I’ve been researching and creating ideas for my new work. I’ve slightly moved away from digital processes lately, mainly due to my commercial work relying heavily on digital practice, however I say slightly as there is at present still the use of scanners and editing software to tidy up images and create the final result. I’m currently using the cyanotype process to create abstract visuals that investigate the notion of the universal landscape, our connectedness to the world around us and contemplating our place in the universe. Whilst beginning to delve into books about psychology and spiritual practice I’ve also been gathering and seeking out visual inspiration to inform the project. The following posts link to projects and articles I’ve found interesting over the last fortnight:

Anna Atkins via The New York Times

A couple of projects more abstract in approach:

Kate Pollard Hoffman via Lenscratch

Jill Booker via Lensculture

Barbara Bosworth via Lenscratch

Finally an advertorial piece on the British Journal of Photography website which details newspaper print as a means of sharing work offline in a relatively affordable way. 

Given my discoveries of the costs involved creating the print on demand book for my last project this could be a future avenue worth bearing in mind.

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Frame 36 - 18/11/18

November 18th, 2018

A very quick update this week to tell you that here it is…the finished series, ’Peninsula’ is now available to view on my website


It’s been a long time since I started creating and editing this work and I’m really proud of the end result. I think I’m most proud of the lessons learned along the way and the challenges to the way that I operate as an art photographer. A lot of these insights I intend to take into my next project which is currently in progress and which I plan to post updates about soon.

I’ve also put together a book of the series which is available via Blurb or by clicking the book sales link at the bottom of my website

If you’ve been following this little journey over the last few months then thank you very much for reading and if you like the work and you think that others might like it too please feel free to share the links around.

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Frame 36 - 4/11/18

November 4th, 2018

More of a project update this week as some work comes to it’s end and new work begins to take shape. My landscape series ‘Peninsula’ is almost ready for release. The book layout is complete and the edit selected. I will be officially putting the work out online next week along with details on where to purchase a copy of the self published book.


It’s been a long time coming and at times I’ve struggled to get this series to a place where I’m truly happy with the final selection. On reflection a lot of this was linked to a lack of confidence in my work and also a need to focus on more commercial pursuits in order to put food on the table. I am however pleased with the resulting series and it’s been an enjoyable experience reflecting on the reasons behind the creation of the work and including these musings within the project.

The renewed sense of enthusiasm that working on 'Peninsula’ has contributed to the beginning of new work. I’ve started to really get into the thick of creating images for an as yet untitled project that utilises the cyanotype process alongside digital processes. 


Although abstract in their aesthetic the images are, in my mind still linked to landscape. I’m considering the universal landscape, our connection to the creation of the entire universe and our place within it. The connections that we all have with the natural world and with each other and considering the importance of this interconnectivity through the creation of imagery that can invoke thoughts and responses from viewers that are personal to them. I’m also currently exploring suitable accompanying text/poetry that can compliment the images. As a result a lot of my research of late has been focused on 'camera-less’ images. Some of which I’ve included below:


Dominique Teufen via Lensculture


Glen Scheffer 'Record Scapes, The Water is Cold Here, Performance of Space’ via Lenscratch

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October 21st, 2018

Frame 36 - 21/10/18

Time of late has been filled with lots of freelance commission activity, workshop delivery and some design work for regular clients. Still I’ve made time for personal work. In terms of the ‘Peninsula’ project the layout for my self published book is complete aside from adding the finishing touches to the layout of the text. I plan to sell these on a print to order basis online through a site such as Blurb.

Alongside this I’ve also been keeping one eye on future projects. I’ve been considering wider and more abstract aspects of landscapes and I’ve considered our surroundings more universally of late. I’ve started to express these thoughts visually and have begun to experiment with the Cyanotype process to try and capture these musings without the use of a camera.

I’m enjoying experimenting with the medium, mixing traditional and digital techniques whilst allowing objects and materials to react with each other.

Whilst researching as I formulate new ideas for project work I’ve come across a few articles and projects I’ve found interesting:

Alec Soth on his influential photobook 'Niagra’ via the British Journal of Photography

Niagra was a huge influence on me both during and after my degree study. I looked at this work many times whilst creating my series 'Ways to Begin’ and I still return to Soth’s work often.

What next for photography in the age of Instagram? via the Guardian

A hugely interesting article discussing the role Instagram has to play in the landscape of contemporary photography. As someone who makes a lot of use of the platform this was well worth time and attention.

Finally a stunning series, 'Love Bites’ by Tim Richmond via the Guardian

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Frame 36 - 07/10/18

October 7th, 2018

I made a promise to myself that this year I would put my work out into the world more, and whilst I think I did this with my commercial work it’s time my self directed projects took centre stage. After some help and guidance from someone I now consider a mentor I am close to officially releasing my latest series.


I have however been entering images from my upcoming series ‘Peninsula’ into relevant competitions. I’m grateful for opportunities to submit my work. I’m incredibly grateful that currently I am in a position to be able to afford the cost of entry and I’m proud to be alongside some amazing photographers in the Peoples Choice Category of Feature Shoots Emerging Photographer competition. This stage of the competition is based around an online vote, the images gathering the most 'likes’ winning a prize, before the official competition judges start the task of selecting grand prize winners. You can vote for me if you wish to at this link 


I’m pleased at my current progress with the 'Peninsula’ project, especially that the end is in sight and the work will soon be seen and out in the open. Currently I’m fine tuning a book layout which will no doubt be self published and also making plans for exhibitions.

So as one project draws to a near plans begin for new work. I’ve been busy enquiring about spaces and generating budgets and promotional material for a small portraiture project which will take place in the village in which I live. As a result a lot of the work I’ve been reading about or seeking has been portraiture based. Two of my favourites are featured below.


'Fish Wives’ by Craig Easton via The Guardian


'Touching Strangers’ by Richard Renaldi via The British Journal of Photography

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Frame 36 - 26/08/18

August 26th, 2018

Another busy two weeks has been and gone, soaked up largely by delivering workshops and documenting workshop activity taking place. As a result documentary photography has been on my mind of late. I’m busy planning approaches to take during my new project whilst documenting the communities/groups I’m interested in. Speaking of which I’ve made contact with a local football club and made test shots. I’m just in the throws of organising days to go and shoot…thankfully gaps in my diary are starting to appear. 

Also I’ve made contact with a local artist (after working on a contract together) who will hopefully act as a mentor as I move forward. This is hugely exciting as I had told myself to network more this year as I begin to build up to a masters application for the 2019/2020 academic year. I’m interested to see how we may benefit each other’s practice going forward and I’m also looking forward to being pushed a little more!

So to projects, as I mentioned earlier documentary styles have dominated my interest over the last two weeks and the following articles have provided some good visual research material. I’m building a catalogue of approaches and hoping to incorporate these types of styles in my own work until the series begins to find its own voice.

‘Documentary photography stars in the Distinctly show’ found at BJP Online.

'One Season at the Emirates’ found on the Guardian website.

'Bill Stephenson’s photographs of Hyde Park, Sheffield’ featured on Huck.

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Frame 36 - 12/08/18

August 12th, 2018

I’ve had a long break from newsletters/blogging/journal writing (call it what you will), largely due to a family holiday away in France, a holiday that turned out to feel long overdue. I’m creaking the researching part of my brain back into life in between freelance work. My interest has been pulled in the direction of articles detailing more project work by other photographers. Mainly this is an attempt to gather a catalogue of approaches and styles to experiment with during my new body of work.

The first project was featured on the Huck Magazine website and is concerned with people and their personal passions.

The passion in the case of Robin Mellor’s project is Cliff Richard, and the series of portraits details the clothing and fans found awaiting a concert in the UK. I’m drawn here mainly to the repeated way of capturing the subjects, a cataloguing of both the person and their garments (hand made in some cases).

I saw another portrait project on the Guardian website which whilst photographed beautifully struck a chord with me in that it also details testimony from its sitters. 

“What is Love?” is a simple (or not) question posed by photojournalist Stefania Rousselle and the resulting images and responses are a fascinating insight into the lives and thoughts of strangers on the subject of love and the part it has played in their lives. I’m very interested in the ways I can supplement images with text or sound in order to deepen the connection that a viewer has to an image. This is something I intend to experiment with during the creation of my new series.

The final body of work I wanted to include is ‘Black Dots’ by Nicholas White I came across this project on the British Journal of Photography website.

I’d rather not say too much about the work, I really feel though that through the interview and looking at the images the approach, style and standard of Nicholas’ work is where I am aiming to get to. I love this work, I can not praise it enough.

The final word goes to Lenscratch who for the month of August have begun a series 'Photographers on Photographers’. It features biographies, images and interviews by photographers with “photographers–image makers who have inspired them, who they are curious about, whose work has impacted them in some way.” It’s definitely worth a glance as I’m sure there is and will be something for everybody’s tastes.

That’s all for this week, in a fortnight I’ll hopefully be using this as a space to share some work in progress from the new project and invite some feedback. For now if you want to connect please feel free to get in touch.

Be well,

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Twitter - @deanleivers
Instagram - @dleivers

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