Blog Posts Weeks 2 – 11

Week 2
  • Organised and created a facebook group for the steering committee to stay in touch with each other
  • Started talking about our strengths, weaknesses, preferences for work
  • I suggested my own strength in graphic design and offering to handle setups and moving physical stuff around
Week 3
  • We settled on my main role as graphics/visual design
  • Started work on a basic poster design, wanted to focus on an image that evoked a feeling of triumph
  • The first being a teaser poster with minimal info and a big logo to establish a visual clue
  • This logo will be used throughout the semester’s media campaigns, and on other groups’ posters to tie them together
  • Worked on the beginnings of a main, informational poster to go up around the Uni
Week 4
  • Made finishing touches to main poster, referred to group multiple times on design and for final tweaks
  • We settled on final design and did test prints in Building 8 specialist printing
  • Began a poster run on weekend for main poster around Uni buildings, mainly 9 and 8
Week 5
Social Media
  • Seminars beginning this week with Social Media
  • Did another poster run for our final poster.
  • Covered cafe in Building 8 and the stairwell and library, swanston street entry to building 10, more in building 9, and building 94
  • These posters were A2 sized and provided much better visual coverage than A3
Week 6
  • Not a whole lot, pretty quiet week
  • Started designing a larger poster for printing to better display the event each Friday
  • Designed a taller, thinner version of the poster to get it printed on an X-Banner stand from Officeworks
  • We plan to print both of these this week
Week 7
Women in Media
  • Printed huge posters in lieu of X-banners, much easier and cheaper
  • These were A0 size and made for a great visual signage to show off the seminar
  • Put them in Building 80 just prior to seminar on main entryway and glass doors
  • Helped Women in Media group bump set pieces in and out
  • Picked up some gear for the group during bump in when they had left it behind
Week 8
  • Another quiet week
  • Considering further poster runs, to confirm availability with others
  • Helping bump in and bump out
  • Checking on remaining groups’ visual designs prior to their own poster runs
  • Advised on these posters to try and ensure a more cohesive visual design was completed
Week 9
  • Couldn’t make it to seminar this week
  • Stayed in touch with group, but not much I could help out with as most upkeep was taken care of
Week 10
  • Not much needed to be done without seminar in the week
Week 11
International Jobs
  • Helped bump in and advised on seating layout
  • Began discussing brief details for Week 12 presentation and what we will speak about to the cohort

Final Reflection

I feel like my approach to space and place has changed somewhat, mainly in regards to how we memorialise and perceive places. This was due largely to the talks we had over the semester from Paul Gough and Martyn Hook. Paul Gough influenced by approach to my individual project a lot, and his speciality in sites of memorialisation helped me develop my ideas surrounding my building of choice. It certainly helped when I as having trouble finding what was interesting about Building 15 originally as a lot of the history of that building had been lost over they ears, or just not very well documented. The updated facade also made it hard to respond to it as a matter of place and history. Paul’s mention of cenotaphs and continuing memorialisation through trans-generational commemoration urged me to changed to Building 20 in the end, as the building seemed to have a stronger foothold in history.

This idea of places as representations of time really interested me and is something I built upon from past hobby work I’ve done with photography. To me Melbourne is defined by it’s anachronistic features with all the different architecture clashing, and Building 20 was a big draw for this, especially as Peter Elliot’s refurbishment work directly responds to the question of place as memory, as it shows a kind of respect to what was, and what continues to be in the form of physical places.

Martyn Hook’s talk did help somewhat with this reasoning too, though not to the extent Paul’s did. Martyn’s theories did help solidify what we mean when we talk about spaces and places, and provided a good foundation on how to treat physical locations when we talk about how they work in different contexts. I saw how this worked in parallel with the idea of history and memorialisation, as places of history are usually activated as places of memory when we treat them with historical significance and reverence.

In terms of the Virtual Tour I liked how we worked with Virtual Reality technology to help illustrate a sense of space in both Building 20 and Building 16. I feel like, for this studio, this was a very appropriate way to depict the two buildings as the panoramic images give a better idea of how each space in the buildings fits together. The fact that it gives a kind of interactive, do it yourself kind of visual adventure is even better I feel, than a simple linear progression through the buildings. While overall the website we picked – YouVisit – wasn’t always cooperative or intuitive, it was interesting to use.

This was probably the most challenging part of the course too, working with the website and with the class to create a fully fledged visual tour of both of the buildings. It required quite a lot of work to visually record both buildings with panoramas, as well as coordinating to upload, transfer, process, and finally add media to the tour platform. The final product is unique though, I’m not sure if I’d do it again, perhaps in a smaller team and a project with a smaller scope, but it has produced something that should stand out, especially as we are coupling it with the use of Google Cardboard.

For my piece however I wanted to achieve that sense of ‘out of placeness’. I’ve always admired buildings like Building 20 as architecture, and a structure that stands out as a veteran of it’s time. I found as I took photographs I enjoyed the recording of details that defined the building, and that I really enjoy working with inanimate subjects, particularly architecture, and subjects that deal with memory, space, and time. When it came to processing the images I returned to a style and aesthetic I’ve worked on previously through my own personal photography work, that is, a focus on contrast, shapeliness through lighting, restricted colour palettes, and geometry.

To use Korsakow was a bit of a no brainer, mainly because it was the only platform that would do what I needed, that is, provide an interactive photo gallery that combined sound and abstract links so a user could navigate the space in their own way. It was vital that the user be able to do this, as after some consideration, I despised the idea of creating a basic linear photo gallery. Korsakow eventually turned out to be a fantastic platform to represent the spaces as ones of memory, linked by specific details in the images, rather than just a visual map of the structure. Overall I feel as though the ideas of memory and time came through my personal project, and hopefully for others it creates the kind of mood I aimed to make; something more pensive, slow paced, and visual, rather than direct storytelling and explanation.


Readings –

  • Cresswell (introduction)

  • Hornstein

  • J.E. Malpas

  • Mason

Site Visits –

  • State Library

  • Public Records Office

  • Melbourne Museum

Guests –

  • Professor Martyn Hook (& the reading associated with his visit)

  • Professor Paul Gough

  • Abigail Belfrage

  • Jeremy Bowtell

Briefs –

  • Brief 1

  • Brief 2

  • Brief 3 (with presentation slides)

  • Brief 4

Work in progress posts

  • Individual project

  • Group project

Final Reflection (1000 words) addressing the following criteria.

Read chapter 5 of Tim Creswell’s Place an Introduction and use this to reflect on your journey throughout the semester.

Identify the aspects of the chapter that resonate most with the projects you have completed this semester and discuss how your understanding of PLACE has developed (and possibly shifted) throughout the semester.

As you are writing up this component I suggest you think about it from these perspectives.

  • what have you’ve learned?

  • what have you found most challenging in the course?

  • what have you discovered about your own creative practice?

Hang ups with Korsakow

Returning to Korsakow now, it’s absolutely a more robust program, and doesn’t crash or screw up nearly as much as it did last time I used it last year. The interface could use a lot more work still, but once you get the hang of the input it isn’t too bad at all.

It’s still a very manual program though, particularly with audio and image files, in that once you commit a file to the program, to alter it, you would have to delete the image, re-add it into the database, and then link it to the other media again. This can be an issue if you don’t plan ahead. There’s a lot of clicking too, and navigating the program can be tiresome at times, especially on a trackpad rather than a mouse. With what I’ve worked in it so far though, it’s not been too difficult.

I did have to ask around a bit to learn what each part of the program does (SNUs, Previews etc.), however that didn’t take to long to cover either. I requested an academic licence from the website, but they didn’t get back to me very quickly so I ended up buying a full version licence. Not long after I did though one of the creators of the program Florian contacted me and offered to refund me the extra money I paid for the full licence, which made me extremely happy with how they conduct themselves as a software proprietor.

Key Words used for Korsakow

I thought it would be worth sharing the key words I used in Korsakow to build the database to better illustrate how I worked with the software. To explain it simply, Korsakow is a piece of database software, where media is loaded into it, and links are created in the form of shared defining key words for a file. The key words, in tandem with a custom interface design, generate links to the different media in a dynamic and more random way than conventional gallery software. Here are the ones I used.
Logic Key Words
ACWL – AnteChamber Wide Lower
ACDL – AnteChamber Detail Lower
ACWM – AnteChamber Wide Middle
ACDM – AnteChamber Detail Middle
ACWU – AnteChamber Wide Upper
ACDU – AnteChamber Detail Upper
CPW – Central Pen Wide
CPD – Central Pen Detail
CnrExtWL – Cnr Russell/LaTrobe Exterior Wide Lower
CnrExtDL – Cnr Russell/LaTrobe Exterior Detail Lower
CnrExtWU – Cnr Russell/LaTrobe Exterior Wide Upper
CnrExtDU – Cnr Russell/LaTrobe Exterior Detail Upper
CR2W – Court Room 2 Wide
CR2D – Court Room 2 Detail
CR3W – Court Room 3 Wide
CR3D – Court Room 3 Detail
HLTCR2 – Hallway LaTrobe Court Room 2
HLTCR3 – Hallway LaTrobe Court Room 3
HLTW – Hallway LaTrobe Wide
LTExtFaWL – LaTrobe Exterior Facade Wide Lower
LTExtFaDL – LaTrobe Exterior Facade Detail Lower
LTExtFaWU – LaTrobe Exterior Facade Wide Upper
LTExtFaDU – LaTrobe Exterior Facade Detail Upper
LTExtEntWL – LaTrobe Exterior Entry Wide Lower
LTExtEntDL – LaTrobe Exterior Entry Detail Lower
LTExtEntWU – LaTrobe Exterior Entry Wide Upper
LTExtEntDU – LaTrobe Exterior Entry Detail Upper
RuExtFaWL – Russell Exterior Facade Wide
RuExtFaDL – Russell Exterior Facade Detail
RuExtEntWL – Russell Exterior Entry Wide Lower
RuExtEntDL – Russell Exterior Entry Detail Lower
RuExtEntWU – Russell Exterior Entry Wide Upper
RuExtEntDU – Russell Exterior Entry Detail Upper
Abstract Key Words
Arch – Arches
Ang – Angular
Scra – Scratches
Orn- Ornate Details
Line – Long Straight Lines
WoFa – Wood Facades
Met – Metal
Sto – Stone
WaDe – Wall Details (clocks etc.)
Long – Long/Deep Shots
Tri – Triangles
Cir – Circular
HiLite – Highlighted/Bright Areas
Shad – Shadows
Sky – Blue Sky
I split them up into two categories being the logical progression of space that will be linked together (from one spot, to the spots next to it and so on), and the abstract characteristics of each image that are shared by multiple images. I tried to keep keywords short and simple just to save in typing time and space. I went through the images and noted the most pertinent details that were shared by several images and I would use those to link them.
I decided to keep logical links for two reasons. One is that, when the abstract links fail to maintain a recurring chain of links, the logical ones will keep the program running. Two is that is offers the user the option of progressing through the images logically if they prefer, over the sometimes seemingly random nature of the photograph characteristics.
The tedious part is typing in key words manually for each image. I also found upon completing this that the keyword Arch was for too abundant (as arches are a big feature of this style of architecture) and so I removed that as a key word after the fact.

Mid Semester Presentation Notes

The following notes are taken directly from my Presentation Notes for the Mid Semester Crits. Overall I was happy with how my presentation went, and I got some good feedback from the panel. My pitch of a minimal style project was met with positive feedback, and it was suggested if I want to stick to that aesthetic I must be careful to really only use as few details as possible to really draw out a simple atmosphere. I was told to investigate Melbourne architectural photographer Hin Lim too, to see if he has any techniques or styles that could help influence my final project. 
Otherwise some good feedback on considering what time of day to pick, what angle, perspective and the like when taking the photographs to help contribute to the overall aesthetic. I suggested I may attempt to get an interview with the architect of the refurbishment of Building 20 Peter Elliot, but it was noted that to keep with the minimal aesthetic, interview audio or anything of the like could just impede on the atmosphere.
  • What is the idea?
    • A meditative photo essay studying the visual significance of the Former Magistrates Court, now known as Building 20. Meanwhile, audio pieces will accompany the images to illustrate the timeliness – or rather, timelessness – and historical significance of the building by invoking sounds of last century and the modern city.
    • Interactive elements will allow a user to navigate through the series of images & audio and view them at their own pace.
  • What will it look like?
    • Images will be tightly composed and considered to display the most pertinent features of the building’s exterior and interior.
    • Photography will use a mixture of wide and tight shots, to focus in on architectural details.
    • Emphasis will be put onto processing the images to bring out particular colours and shapeliness of the design, final images will not be so much realistic as embellished to better appreciate the visual presence of the heritage structure.
    • Audio will be minimal, and will aim to primarily create a mood for each image or section of images. For example, aural details such as horses and carriages, and trams will help place the image in time, or perhaps throughout it’s time, by mixing sounds both old and new.
    • Contextual information for each image may be included as a part of the image’s description, or perhaps as a part of each images aesthetic. This textual information would be minimal however as to not draw too much attention away from the visual aspect of the final piece.
  • How will this style be achieved?
    • The equipment being used is simple and nimble: Canon 60D with an 18-55mm & 50mm prime lens. The zoom lens provides wides, while the prime offers excellent frames for detail. A H2n zoom recorder will be used to record available sounds and foley, which will complement public domain and archival recordings in the audio pieces.
    • Software will include Adobe Lightroom for image processing, and Adobe Audition for audio editing and mixing.
    • While sound will be restrained in it’s execution, images will be processed to bring out the colours, textures, and shapeliness of the building’s architecture.
  • What platform will it be hosted?
    • Currently I am considering drawing on a quirky use of YouTube’s annotation system wherein each image can be rendered with the audio as a video, and sections of interest in each image can be highlighted as hyperlinks. By uploading images as these videos a private network of videos can be created so that users can navigate all of the videos like a virtual space.
    • YouTube makes for a lightweight and widely appropriated platform too that can be embedded and shared very easily and hence is very well future proofed as a perk. Embed settings can remove the title and playhead to make for a cleaner experience also.
    • This approach can however be clumsy in it’s execution, so other gallery/audio websites are being considered such as a blog that allows for full screen images and autoplay sound such as the more graphical blogging platform tumblr.
  • What work has been completed so far?
    • One location shoot has happened that yielded 80 photographs to be processed, of which a handful have gone through a first draft so far. Some areas of interest such as the courtrooms were being used during this shoot so a second trip will be organised when these spaces are free to photograph the remaining areas
    • Some sample audio has been looked over using (a very useful website along with for user generated public domain material) to accompany images, but the bulk of the sound will be picked once more photographs have been processed to match them.
  • What research is required?
    • More investigation into the capability and limitations of YouTube, and other blogging platforms, is needed to determine what the final platform will be.
    • Some further research into the Romanesque architecture that the building was designed with in mind is required, to provide myself and users some context of the style and type of architecture being viewed.
    • Details of significant court cases trialled in the courtrooms will be fleshed out to provide further context also.
    • Some research on, and if possible a short interview with, the architect Peter Elliot who carried out the refurbishment of the building to garner more details on how he approached the refurbishment, and how it respects the significance of the original building.
  • How will it address the theme of places and spaces?
    • I want to address the question of “Why do we remember?”. As Paul Gough came and spoke to use he talked about why we build memorials, and I’d like to, with this project, explore the beauty and significance of heritage design and the history that takes place within it. There is a strange timelessness to buildings such as this one, especially in Melbourne, and to consider that it still stands with all of the history that took place in and around it astounds me, and in a way, I hope this project will also in it’s own way memorialise the building.

YouVisit as the Virtual Tour Platform

As I’ve been given the responsibility of uploading most of everyones’ work and the panoramas to the platform of choice, I thought it seemed relevant to note why we picked it, and what features it offers. As I’ve mentioned before YouVisit offers native VR support for VR tech such as the Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard which I think is really neat and should make our project pop. It has a very simple graphical interface (although it does sometimes lack intuition, as we had to email their support team regarding file sizes, ratios etc.) and for the mot part it works well.
It took some fiddling with the panoramas though, to get them to work properly. First I tried stretched the image to fit into the ratio specified by YouVisit for panoramas (6000×3000) which didn’t work, then I tried cropped them to fit, which obviously didn’t work since then the panoramas were not complete, finally I realised that since YouVisit automatically stretches the images into a photosphere (something they also did not specify), the image must be kept at it’s normal height and simply scaled down to fit into the 6000×3000 canvas in photoshop. This means that in YouVisit the panoramas are essentially letter boxed, but for the most part this isn’t too detrimental to the experience, and if you zoom into the image, it can almost entirely hide the black borders.
I feel like this was a good choice as this platform is well suited to modern technology, specifically VR technology, and it’s a clean enough interface that it can be well presented to an audience, something terribly lacking in other virtual tour platforms. I am also compressing all of the images so I don’t have to wait another 8 hours to upload all of the stills material to their website which can, at times, be a bit weird with uploading and processing images. I ma yet to notice any degradation in quality of the images because of this.

Building 16 Panoramic Capture

So this may be a little off topic on my particular project, but I went with George Downing to photograph Building 16 for the Virtual Tour. The idea is that by photographing the building using sets of panoramas we can utilise the platform we decided to use (YouVisit) and it’s native integration with Virtual Reality technology, and more specifically, Google Cardboard. Hopefully it will make the tour of the buildings more interesting than simply a linear click through of flat images.
I’ve never done panoramas before so it was a fun challenge, especially considering the highly varied lighting in parts of the building. For example windows are incredibly bright in a photograph of an otherwise well exposed room. We decided that since the windows aren’t really of interest, we could have them as overexposed and white.
I hadn’t spent much time in Building 16 apart from then though, so it was interesting to see the starkly different architecture that looked like something out a time machine gone horribly wrong. Overall it wasn’t particularly difficult, but really only took a bit of time for each panorama as we had to ensure we had full 360 degree coverage from each spot. Unfortunately we couldn’t get to the Level 1 Lecture Hall due to lectures being held in there every hour, and we had to wait for the main Auditorium on Level 5 to be clear of high school kids before we could fully photograph it.
The images came out really well though, and the 5D worked a treat, especially it being a full frame which made the wide angle a lot more pleasing than what I am used to with my cropped frame 60D. The real hard part is uploading the photographs as we shot in both RAW and a high quality JPEG, so that’s going to take about 8 hours to complete.


As my piece is increasingly a minimal one the title needs to help contribute to the overall mood and meaning. I’ve spent some time considering a title, but haven’t tried too had to create one before I feel comfortable with one. I’ve come to think about perhaps White Gold due to the abundance of yellows and golds in and on the building. As I toyed around with the photographs I also ended up altering the white balance in otherwise white walled rooms to give them a shiny, light gold finish. I don’t feel this best encompasses my intentions of memory and time though.
What I’ve come up with now is to reference what Paul Gough came and talked to use about, and include the word ‘Cenotaph’ in the title, to illustrate the building as not simply an old structure, but as architecture and building materials that were used decades ago, as a building of history, of time, and of anachronisms. I thought maybe so far Golden Cenotaph or Time Indeterminate.

Post Processing Images

I decided immediately that Adobe Lightroom would achieve the aesthetic I want from the images, and considering I have about 200 photographs to sort through, it makes for an incredibly fluid workflow. In the past with my photography or architecture I’ve developed a soft spot for playing around with the Luminance and Sharpening settings. In tandem, they can create some strange effects. My go-to preset for these is to push the sharpening to a medium-high amount, and change the Radius setting to 3 – the maximum – which forces dots and tiny lines in the image to create tiny fragments if you look very closely. It also helps assimilate some of the noise intrinsically present in the images.
Now adding Luminance to this sharpened image almost complete hides the noise, softens flat surfaces, and softens the sharpening effects just enough to make them less jagged. This final product is something that resembles an impressionist style painting as the image now almsot looks as if it is made up of many tiny strokes of colour and shapes. Overall the image becomes sharper and cleaner.
For lighting I try to push highlights and shadows as far as I can before they clip. I don’t worry too much about small areas of clipping, provided they aren’t obscuring areas of details, and overall I aim to create a higher contrast. This is especially important for the sandstone exterior of the building, as pushing the shadows accentuates all of the tiny grooves and pits in the exterior facade. This ends up creating a more three dimensional image.
Finally I play with the colours and white balance, but not as much as the other settings previously. As I noted an abundance of yellows and golds, I’ve focused on bringing those out in each image and altering the white balance accordingly also. Where other colours clash, like the green window panes, I’ve also pushed those colours up which ultimately contribute to the high contrast lighting and colour effect.

Photographic Aesthetic, and Working Title

I’ve always enjoyed looking at architecture, and Building 20 is just as interesting as a lot of contemporary design in Melbourne. When approaching it in a photographic sense I considered how I want to capture the images. For the exterior I first considered the weather.
I am a big fan of high contrasts, and sunlight, so I didn’t want to take photographs of the building during a cloudy day. I tried my best to photograph all of the exterior while the sun was high and bright because the dying leaves on the trees surrounding the building create this gorgeous dappled effect over the already dappled sandstone. What you get is this heavily textured, very strong looking exterior dominated by yellows, blacks, browns, oranges, and the greens and blues that pop out of the window panes and glass.
For the most part I used an 18mm focal length to illustrate the imposing stature of the building, but I also used a 50mm prime lens to capture close up details – scratches, chips, windows, ornate sections of stone – which does well as a crisp and clear lens for detail photography. Internally I took a similar approach, and the windows that are all high up in the high ceiling rooms are bursting with light during midday. The Antechamber and Courtroom 3 in particular showed sublime lighting as the sunlight flows along the walls, over, and around all of the details on the walls.
I’ve noted a prominence of yellows (which could possibly be from the sunlight, but pretty nonetheless) and deep reds and browns in the gorgeous woodwork found all around the interior. There are lots of sharp and soft angles to work with, and I look forward to processing them.