North Collective – Stewart Honeyman

The greatest site in all the land!


In my early work I pretended to speak about my childhood, yet my real childhood had disappeared. I have lied about it so often that I no longer have a real memory of this time, and my childhood has become for me some kind of universal childhood, not a real one. – Christian Boltanski

‘A universal childhood’ is an interesting thought. Take any society and you have the generic ‘everyday’ life of that society and so you have  memories that can be deemed the generic childhood memories; playing out late whilst the sun sets, going to school and especially childhood meals. This means that on the whole the majority will when thinking back about their childhoods talk about such times. Taking this ideology you can also implement that as with everything memory decays over time. Sometimes it fades whilst other times it becomes distorted. Especially due to the influx of external stimulus through the constant exposure to the media. We have a constant window into childhood, be it reality or imagined. And so we create or alter memories without realising it. A story that we see on the TV can easily get imprinted into one of our own childhood memories.

Therefore I wanted to look back at my personal childhood, giving people a glimpse into my world but at the same time portray it in what could be deemed a universal way. So that the viewer themselves can in turn use them as a stimulus to reconnect and remember back to their own childhood.



Memory to me is never as clear as reality. Therefore to portray the often hazy visualisations I wanted to use a mixture of flash, long exposure and colour to give the sense of remembering. I started by experimenting with these techniques.

I first started with experimenting with a longer shutter speed so that the movement either of the subject or the camera created a blurred distorted effect.  I started out with a shutter speed of 1 sec and F/22. This meant that although it was bright there was detail that showed up. For the first image I captured the movement of the subject. I liked how you got the essence of the body rather than the solid shape that you would normally get, as well I liked that without the solid state you can still tell what the image was of.


I then decided to experiment with Intentional Camera Movement. By moving the camera it meant that I could get a more abstract view of a still object.


Although I liked the abstractness of these images I find that they lack something that the first image did. I find that they are too busy and therefore loose the definition which gives the feeling of the essence of something that was once there.

The idea of capturing an image to portray something that either was once there or where a memory was made interests me as photography to me is the ability to capture a moment in time. This enables you to look back on this moment. Therefore trying to capture the essence of a moment in time in the past is something I haven’t tried to do before, and to me is not the ‘norm’.



For me the image above has worked best of the three. although blurry and somewhat abstract there is a solidness to it that the others don’t have meaning that you still can see the shape but there is an unease to the image due to the blurriness. However I think that the method needs to be refined as none of them are what I will want from my actual shoots.



Following this I moved back to capturing the movement more using the movement of the subject. However this time I wanted to experiment with the front of the face as it included more detail. I found that the first photo worked due to the lack of detail, and that this was in a way where the photo’s of the plant fell down (due to their complexity).










Nonetheless I found that again like with the photo’s of the plant they weren’t what I was looking for. The image above lost the definition of the face due to being an exposure of 4secs and more movement. The image below although still at 4secs had less movement and therefore you were able to get more detail. However due to this the darks became very dark. Neither image were what I was looking to achieve as both came out with a nightmarish feel to them.


Following on from this I decided to experiment with using a mixture of flash and long exposure. I thought about the techniques I used in club photography and how I could use them to portray my version of memory.

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Using these as examples they show the use of flash to create certain effects. Above I have used a second curtain flash so that it basically captures two images, almost like a double exposure type technique. This could be used to create a distorted but in focus image. Meanwhile below I have just used a single flash, when the shutter opens. This exposes the image and then any movement of the camera captures movement of light. This could be used to either get a single object in focus and then the rest of the image out of focus, or to use the light to add a dreamy, slightly blurry effect.

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I started with using a single flash and then moving the camera so to create a motion blur effect. This enabled me to capture a solid image but also have a bit of a blur which gives the sense of the distortion of memory. With the below image I started to play around with the colours a bit. I wanted to create a almost dreamily look to the image.


With the below image I used a slower shutter speed and included more movement from the camera this made the image even more distorted.



I decided to try the camera movement with a more complex scene rather than just using a single object/person. I found this had the faded, painterly feel that I was going for. The softness to the image to me gives the feel of the softness of memories. With the fading of the finer detail but the overall picture (memory) is solid.







Continuing with experimenting with flash I decided to play around with second curtain flash to see what sort of effects I could get. I decided to play with taking a photo of something, covering the lens, then uncovering for the second flash. I chose to do this as I thought it would create an in camera double exposure type effect which would hopefully give the sense of memories blurring together.

At first I decided to use a static object of the white chair. I thought the white would contrast quite well against the red brick. I liked the faded ghostly feel that the image had.



I continued by trying it with a face and the red brick wall. I experimented with different exposure times and how long I exposed the image before covering and moving. Evidently the longer I left the image exposing on the face before moving the stronger it came through. However I liked the more subtle exposures as they had more of a faded memory look about them.


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My favourite of the experiments with flash is the one above. As with some of the earlier experiments I started to play with the colour of the images to produce a sublime aesthetic. Sublime in that it is a heightened reality. I liked how the image of the girl was very subtle whilst the stones created an interesting background.

1st Shoot

Having had sometime to experiment and play around with techniques and processes I wanted to pool these together and take them into places from my childhood. However I wanted to continue the experimentalness of the previous images.

To start I went and found a tree that I used to climb. I found this memory would be something that many could relate to, especially males. I have many memories of climbing trees and as such the memories of which trees rather than the actual climbs or descents are most strong in my mind. Therefore I wanted the tree to be prominent in the photo whilst the background was blurred. I liked the stark contrast between the solidness of the tree and the blurriness of the background. This was added to by the quite harsh light that the tree was lit in.


Next I went to an area I had quite vivid memories of as a child. We had gone to go sledging and a friend had run down a small bank, just behind the foliage shown. He jumped down without realising that it was a bog and got stuck half way up his chest. However this was very personal and so rather than capturing the bog I decided to capture the foliage as it looked like the type of area that as a child you would make a den in and so was more universal than my very personal memory.


Following on from this I wanted to explore more of an abstract look to the photo’s. Inspired by the work of Gerhard Richter I wanted to try and get a sweeping motion as if the image had been painted. I thought this would give quite an extreme distortion similar to memories that we struggle to remember. The vague detail is there but the finer detail is not really visible.

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Out of the two I prefer the second. The movements look less forced, there is more detail and the leaves in the foreground being lit and thus in focus due to the flash.



Next I decided to experiment with colour/saturation of the images. I took a photograph of an old deflated football. The fact the football was old worked better than had I used a new football.

For the first image I used a single flash to illuminate the football before sweeping up towards the sky. This created a image that looks almost like it had been washed out/faded. Again which linked into memory. However I wanted to see how the image would feel if I made it very highly saturated and vibrant whilst playing with the colours. I liked the really strong bright blue which looked exactly like it had been washed with a blue paint. Using highly saturated, non realistic colours gave the image a sense of it being a painting. I liked the painterly feel and wanted to continue to explore this.


Next I decided to use a more ‘real’ to life image of the same ball and this time keep the colours more realistic whilst making them highly saturated. When thinking back on memories I often find the colours to not be true to life so I wanted to portray the sometimes distorted colours. This reminded me of Lomography photography, I liked the flexibility that digital had.


As I was shooting experimentally there was a serendipity to the outcomes of my photos. I wanted to experiment still with the process, both in taking the original image and editing. For the below image I again tried a bit of intentional camera movement. I liked how there was a solid horizon line that formed whilst still having a distorted and painterly feel. I also liked the small details that you can pick out, such as the faint essence of a tree in the foreground and the stronger full tree in the back.


Having looked at Dirty Harry’s quite harsh use of flash meant that things in the foreground were solid whilst the background was blurred. I liked this effect as it gave the sense that if you put something memorable in the foreground the background would have a softness and a blurriness somewhat like how memory works.


The next few I really wanted to push the idea of the painterly abstract view on memory. I chose to do this as I find that some memories are so much of a blur that you can’t pick out any real detail.


I found that the out of these three the stronger contrast ones worked better as you were able to get more of a sense of what the image was on.


I preferred the image above as the smaller movement meant that you can still see the outline of the trees. Where as the image below you are unable to tell what is in it as much.


Next I decided to play with colour again. I had enjoyed the over saturated, colourful experiments earlier in my project and so I decided to try this again. With the image below I wanted to do an almost monochromatic block colour effect. I liked how the background lost near enough all detail and was almost a block of colour.


The next couple I wanted to push the colours even more so that they became even more distant from reality almost dream like.


A key part of growing up, especially as a young lad is sport. Therefore I went to the local football goal. This, to me, is as much of a ‘universal childhood’ memory as you can get. I wanted to try and get the block colour effect that Chris Friel achieved in his work.


I found that a straight down movement kept the structure of the goal posts better than an upward movement. As well the image above looked more ghostly. Meanwhile I liked the darkness of the woods in the background as it has almost a sinister feel to it. This worked well for me due to the fact I used to be afraid of going in the woods therefore it depicts the emotions that I used to feel. I think that this image could be improved by increasing the saturation/vibrance a bit to create a more playful image.


I had seen a documentary of Gerhard Richter showing his process and how he created his painting and I liked his long strokes with the squeegee. Therefore using the movement of the camera again I wanted to create a similar effect to this.


Again I found that the image with the higher contrast (below) worked better. Although the shutter speed was at 1/8th for both the image below to me works better. I think this is also partly due to the movement of the camera being slower. I liked how in both the light yellow of the daffodils meant that they came through strongly but also faded off in the direction of the movement.


I found that when using the flash you were able to get a double exposure esque effect where the darker areas on the ‘second’ exposure showed the detail from when the flash went off whilst the lighter areas captured more detail from after the flash. This created an interesting mix of washed out, unclear areas of the image with detailed areas. Again similar to memory.


I had noticed that due to shooting during the day the light was quite strong and so it would often lead to overexposed areas which were just white. This meant that I was able to get quite a bit of negative space. Again playing to the concept of blank areas in memory.


I found that although I liked the textures on the image above the image below had come out better. I found that the softness to the trees as well as the texture that came out had an aesthetic of remembering. Therefore I decided to mute the colours a bit to further support this idea.


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With the above two images I liked the abstractness of them. In the first one especially you get no detail of what the image is actually of. It looks like a painting of a mountain almost. I liked how it enabled the viewer to place their own perceptions into the image and make of it as they wished. To me it has a subtle elegance through the movements and brush like strokes that are created. It reminded me almost of a Turner painting with the long smooth brush strokes.



For the final image of this shoot I wanted to combine the small almost circular movement of the camera with the extreme vibrant colours of before. I liked how the over exposed blown out background meant that the trees were almost stripped back to their bare minimums. I also enjoyed how the lack of detail made it more universal and again the viewer is able to implement their own memories and experiences.

2nd Shoot

Following on from the previous shoot I decided that although the over saturated colours, although quite fitting with the concept of memory; in that they had a childlikeness to them, the more subdued colours had worked better. As well I thought that more subdued colour gave more of an emotive of a essence of something that was. As if the memory was fading. For the first one I went up to a ‘rapeseed’ field as I thought that the yellow might create a quite nice image. I wanted to try and create a landscape void of detail that people would be able to think back on their memories and put themselves into a similar landscape that they had seen or experienced previously. IMG_8422 I found that out of the two the one below worked best. I liked how the horizon line was practically featureless, with only the faint markings of trees. The contrast between the softness to the majority of the image and the quite harsh, scratchy effect that was seen in the foreground worked well. It was almost as if the image had decayed and become damaged over time. I think that although I like the faded colour scheme that it might be improved if I edited the colours and saturations give it even more of a painterly feel. I wanted to do this as whilst in the tutorial it was said that ‘Analogue is for remembering and digital for forgetting.’  Therefore I wanted to try and push my digital images, to make them look analogue or even like paintings; which have a timelessness to them. IMG_8420 With the below image I used flash to get the foreground in focus  with a overall haze to the image. I really liked the aged ghostly feel to the photo. It had similarities to old sepia photography which again linked in with the past. IMG_8418 I quite liked the below image but I felt it didn’t really capture the idea of the ‘universal childhood memory’. IMG_8413 As with some of the earlier images I what I really liked about the next image is that the shape of the trees is a silhouette and the detail comes from the grass where the camera was pulled down. This gives an interesting texture to the image. As well you can clearly make out that it is a wooded area which I liked. However I felt that the sky was a little too over exposed and was almost too bright white. IMG_8405 I really liked how the image below came out as the contrast between the darkness of the tree line (which in this image doesn’t scream the fact they are trees), the yellowish longer grass and the short green grass. The image to me looks like the edge of a playing field where football would be played which again links in with the idea behind the work. I intend to push the colours a bit more to get more of a painted feel to it. IMG_8403 As with the image a couple above the next two captured the texture of the grass really nicely and created a scratchy aged feel. I altered the colours to play on this feeling to the image. I also enjoy how there is only a subtle difference between where the grass ends and the trees start. IMG_8397 With the below image I was surprised at how film like the image came out. The silhouette of the ground/the small building were very subtle in this one, a bit too subtle. I think that the unless you are looking for it you would be unaware of it. IMG_8331 The next couple of images are that of a small barn type building that I used to be quite fearful of. Although the individual building is very personal to me I find that the idea of a scary abandoned building to be quite a universal childhood memory. Therefore I wanted the blacks to be quite strong in these images. IMG_8333 With the first image of the two I wanted to stick to the very warm colours that I had been using in the earlier photo’s. I liked this warm colouring as I, like many, can remember most vividly the warm sunny evenings with a warm orange light from the sun. And due to it being about remembering I wanted to make the colours that bit more saturated. However I wasn’t too happy with the composition. With the image below I preferred the composition and I preferred the fact that due to being closer the blacks of the empty doorways were more solid, and thus more intimidating. I also liked the texture that has been created across the image. However I would like to revise the colour for this and try and alter the top right of the building and try and remove that streak. IMG_8325 For the rest of the images I wanted to re-visit the abstract, painterly glimpses of nature that I had been playing around with before. The below image to me didn’t look like a photograph which is what I was pushing for but I liked the faint branches that appeared to be in the background. IMG_8310 I found the next two images to have a really tactile feel to them. They, to me had a sense of nostalgia to them due to the scratchy blurriness. IMG_8307 On this image I like how there appears to be light leaks on the image which again gives it the sense of analogue photography. I had been constantly surprised by how flexible digital was. IMG_8306

The next two images I went back to the warm, almost sepia tones for the images. The first one although again I liked how tactile the image looked I wasn’t sure about the detail. I found this to be mundane and lacking of a sense of memory.



With the below image I liked how there was a horizon line which had been manufactured by the camera movement. Making it look like it was an image of a hill when in fact it was of a bush. I also enjoyed how towards the bottom third line there was some of the details of the original bush. However as with above this image had a mundaneness to it.


Childhood Meals

Some of my most vivid memories as a child are that of my meals. Food plays a large role in the development through childhood. Be it the rare ‘naughty’ dinner with chips and beans or the dreaded bad school dinner which (Back in my Day) we used to be made to eat. Therefore I can’t think a better universal childhood memory than what was for dinner. Be it girls or boys there are certain meals that at one point or another the majority of us have been given.

As with a lot of my work I wanted to explore this in a slightly surreal way. Thinking about food and memory I came to the conclusion that they have something in common that they are both inside a container of sorts in the body. Memories get stored in the brain and food obviously into the stomach. Therefore I wanted to photograph the food when placed inside a glass vase. I thought that this could lead to some interesting distortions of the food its self, a bit like the distortion of the images depicting my take on memory before. But this time rather than a manufactured distortion I wanted to make it a physical distortion.

Unfortunately due to leaving this late on I was unable to get in the studio therefore I set up a home studio and got a lighting kit out. This worked but meant that I was unable to keep the camera in the same place due to having to work on the floor and not being able to set a tripod up. I would like to further shoot these in the studio so that I can have further freedom over them and make sure that they are perfectly square etc. Nonetheless I was happy with the outcomes.

The first meal I could remember was spaghetti bolognese. A staple in my household and a meal that I could remember being given at school. Although the quality difference was huge I find this meal to be one that many can relate to. As the vase was quite big I cooked three quarters of a pack of spaghetti and used a whole jar of sauce.


I enjoyed how the sauce made it’s way down through the gaps in between the pasta. As well as how the pasta looked pressed up against the glass. There was something interesting about how being displayed in this way made it look completely different uet so similar.

Following on from the pasta I chose to do the age old classic kid’s meal of Fish Fingers, Chips and Beans. I was unsure how this would turn out as there was a lot of similar coloured ingredients.


I was surprised at how well it turned out. Due the juice from the beans not covering the chips on this side it meant that you were still able to see al of the ingredients whilst getting the running liquid I had enjoyed from the spaghetti. Again though the images were suffering due to the lack of a tripod.

After this I decided to do a Chicken Roast. A staple of the British diet and something that the majority will have devoured at some point in their lives. I wanted to try and produce a feeling of nostalgia whilst creating a slight sense of unease.


Next I decided to go back to the ‘naughty’ treat childhood meals and made chicken dippers, smiley faces and spaghetti hoops. As with the fish fingers I was a bit unsure of how well this would turn out.



I liked how distorted the smiley faces got, however out of them all so far this was my least favourite due to the lack of definition. Furthermore due to not using exact measurements it had only filled up half of the vase which not only looked silly in it’s self it meant that in a series it would look out of place.

Continuing I went for a Hotpot. I chose a hotpot as any sort of stew type homely hearty food I believe to be quite common in British households. Again I was unsure how it would turn out due to the similarity of the colours of the ingredients.


I was surprised at how well it turned out however again I thought it was one of the weaker so far.

Next I chose to do another homely meal of Sausage and mash. I was hoping that due to their being lots of pockets of air when putting the mash in the vase that there would be a similar effect to the spaghetti image.


Out of all of them this was may favourite. It was the most simple yet for me it worked the best. I liked how serendipitously the gravy had splashed onto the glass fogging it up somewhat. This gave a misty almost dreamy sense to the sausages, I oddly preferred this to the glass being clear.

Nonetheless the images due to not having a tripod would not work in a series due to the non-true to life look to them, or the portions not being the same. Therefore I decided to crop the images to include the food only.

This worked really well. With each of these I increased the clarity to really pull out the detail. With the added detail came through the textures of the ingredients, you could now see the silkiness of the gravy. Little thing such as the distorted smiley face in spaghetti hoop juice pulled through and I felt you got a far more complete image.

It became almost grotesque in looking at them but captivating at the same time. I began to loose the thought that these were childhood foods and get lost in the beauty of the shapes, colours and patterns that were formed. It was like portraying them in this way made the humble foods become a higher power; they were no longer photographs of food they had become something more.

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Final Images

I chose to use the food as the final images for the project as I thought that they were the most universal. As well I thought that they would look good framed. I decided to narrow it down to just three therefore I chose the three I found most powerful.

The first one I chose was the sausage and mash image. I chose this one as I found it most interesting. I really liked how the sausages were brought to a higher power due to being on top of the mash and almost back lit.


Next I chose the Fish Fingers. I chose them as I thought they were one of the most common childhood meals that I could think of. As well as this on the close up I really enjoyed how due to the colours being quite similar you got a real feel for the textures. You can see the difference between the roughness of the fish fingers, the smoothness of the chips and the liquidity of the beans.


The final one I chose was the Spaghetti, again this was partly due to this being one of the more common childhood meals. But also due to the interesting look to the spaghetti. I especially enjoy how the spaghetti down the right hand side comes out of the tomato sauce, as if coming out from the depths.  As well it had quite a surreal feel to the image.


Mnemonic – The Exhibition

Having been tasked with creating an exhibition between the eleven of us from the 26th to the 28th of May we set about thinking of possible ways of approaching it. We created an original list of things to do with the exhibition:

– Antwerp Mansion
– Northern Quatre
– 20-22
– Crack garden (two of them)
– Dry bar (downstairs)
– Piccadilly Place
– Exchange Theatre
– Whitworth

Our Fields:
– Landscape
– Portraiture
– Architecture
– Industry
– Film stills
– Narrative
– Documentary

– The northerners
– The North Collective

– Memory
– Northern
– Movement

– Selling drinks
– Cakes
– Swop-shop


– Personal pages
– Portraits of everyone

We decided to call ourselves Northern Collective as we found this to be catchy and fitting. We came to the conclusion that we would like to explore Memory as well.

We set about trying to create a logo as we thought that making a visual representation of our name would make the name that bit more memorable. Penny got her friend to come up with some great potential logo designs.

Emailing North Collective Logo-1

Emailing North Collective Logo 2-1 (1)

However after much discussion we decided that these looked too clothes brand esque and so we asked Penny’s friend to redesign them. She came back with some designs and we settled on one.


But again we had the sense that this looked a bit too polished and clothing line like so we decided to try and make it more stamp like to fit in with the idea of memory and the memory of Manchester’s Industry. The final logo design is below.

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We then decided to look into where we could hold the event. Charlie, May, Nathalie and Myself went round Manchester asking people about potentially using various venues and in the start we had some good leads. We found a space in the Northern Quarter however this soon fell through as it was too pricey. Next we had the potential of 2022NQ however we would only be allowed it for two of the three days which we didn’t want. Others in the group got shown round Kraak but in the beginning people were unsure about the size of the venue. We talked to the Castlefield Gallery about Piccadilly Place but this was already booked. I got in touch with many property owners, of which some where very helpful, and some showed me round, however they seemed to get turned off by the fact that we were a group of students. I also got in touch with a part of the Council called City Co who seemed very keen to help however they never got back to me. Therefore we decided to go to Kraak and on a recent visit realised that the space was bigger and better than previously thought due to the removal of studio equipment.

Having settled on Kraak and having had a website made by Charlie’s friend, of which we all offered our suggestions on how to improve it, we created a group to make some poster designs. They came up with the below design:


However I pointed out that although the design was very nice and simple, a white poster would get lost on the wall. Therefore we are planning on revising this design.

Whilst this was going on Myself, Charlie and a few others have been looking for sponsorship and drinks sponsorship. However this didn’t come to much. We contacted:

Sketch260 – Fine Art Printing Service in Manchester
HelloCreative – Creative Consultancy

Manchester Craft and Design Centre

Northern Flower – Flower shop
Teacup – Cafe
North Tea Power – Cafe
Soup Kitchen – Bar/Club

Fred Aldous – Art Shop

Future Everything – Creative Business

Ram and Shackle – Pub

Wahlbar – Bar
Pieminister  – NQ pie shop

Trof – Bars, clubs etc.

Turners art supplies


J.W Lees


Marble Beers



Joseph Holts

Elbow Beer


Brightside Brewing
Dunscar Bridge
Irwell Works
Problem Child
Urban Hop
Timothy Taylors
Copper Dragon
Liverpool One

Meanwhile I was keeping a Social Media presence constant. I have been trying to post twice a day. This means that (according to our Facebook) we have been ‘reaching’ around 1000 people a week. It also means that people are getting exposure of their work and has lead to a charitable festival getting in touch and asking us to document their festival.
Once we had worked out where and when we were having our exhibition I created a ‘Facebook Event’ and we invited people to join it. This meant we needed a manifesto. During a tutorial we had created a list of things to include. (See additional Exhibition Items Page) Me and Keziah worked to produce a manifesto that we thought suited not only our work but us as creatives.Manifesto

Mnemonic – Aiding or designed to aid the memory.

Photography for us is just that; a platform for us not only to aid memories but to share memories. We as photographers have a curiosity about the past, which enables us to make the future. The work considers the importance of memory as well as introducing a discussion of why, how and when do we choose to remember.Likewise there is a choice between photographic tools. Do we keep or destroy, human or machine, analogue or digital. We will fuse these together and create a journey for you.

For the actual exhibition due to having not been to Kraak yet I am unsure of exactly how I want to display my images. I originally wanted to display them by projecting them through a sheet of dripping water which creates a beautiful calm sound, as well as linking in with the idea of memory due to the very regular occurrence of rain. Furthermore it further distorts the image which links in with the idea of the distortion of memory.
Therefore for the exhibition I either want to print big so that you can almost walk into the image, project the images or print them off and put them in beautiful frames so to add to the sense of a painting. However I am unable to make a decision un till I have been to the venue and worked out the size of it.