Zemni Illustration

I am a graphic artist, photographer and printmaker based in Cambridge, UK.

Image-making is my way of exploring and experiencing life and discovering new ways of looking at things. Some of my work is political. Some emotionally dark. Other more ‘fun’ work aims to help myself and others ‘look on the bright side of life’.

 I work in a range of media. The basis is generally photography or sketching and painting in natural media or on my iPad. These images may then be combined and further developed in different printmaking media, digital software or collage. Some of my work is more experimental and abstract, exploring the range of intentional and accidental effects that can be achieved in different media.

Much of my work has been around journeys and social and political issues in Africa and Asia connected to my professional work as consultant in participatory development. My current work increasingly focuses on issues nearer to home – the social and environmental challenges we face and my own place within that. Alongside my own artistic practice I hope to support processes for collaborative art, photography, video and web communications as part of peoples’ own documentation of their lives, building on my participatory work overseas.

About this blog

Zemni Illustration blog brings together my work, research and thoughts for Open College of the Arts Visual Communications level 3 module: Advanced Practice. My work on this module has focused on ideas of ‘Place’ and linking subjective and objective narratives of journeys, walks and holidays in UK and overseas. Seeing image-making in photographs and sketchbooks as a process of discovery that can be shared with different audiences in an attempt to understand the world around us, as part of hopefully making it a better place.

Creative process

1: Voice:
Zemni 2019

Assignment 1 starts to looks in more detail at my practice and explore what might be meant by my distinctive ‘Zemni Voice’. How a socio-political approach to reportage, landscape and life sketching might link to or complement the more ‘fun’ aspects of the work I want to do.

2.1 Bridge
2.2.1: Aldeburgh: the Great Escape
2.2.2: Hunstanton: Winter on Sea
2.2.3: St Ives Black and White
2.2.4: Lake Reflections
2.2.5: Dark Peak

2: Edit and Amend: Landscapes of Place

Assignment 2 ‘Landscapes of Place’ revisits earlier work and develops new work around the idea of ‘landscape’ and ‘landscaping’. I focus on developing my skills in digital photographic software, looking at how these can be further development in printmaking media. I start to look documentary narrative as photo books and on-line web galleries and slideshows.

2.1 Edit: Bridge ‘Bridge’ revisits landscape print- making in the context of discussions around psycho-geography and ‘Edgelands’. From existing and new photographs of the A14 Road Bridge developed in Lightroom and SilverFX I creates a series of A3 photoscreen prints.

2.2 Amend: Shutterscapes In ‘Shutterscapes’ the brief given is to focus on technical skills rather than ‘meaning’. Using existing and new images from my photo collection from East Anglia, Cornwall and North of England I explore different styles of landscape photography and how these can be digitally replicated using Adobe Lightroom and different Nik FX (now DxO) components: Viveza, Color FX and Analog Pro. I also experiment with SilverFX to work with low quality jpg images for artistic effects.

3: Text and Image:
Woman Lost

This third part explores different approaches to combining text and image. Based on photographs, collage and sketchbooks of Cornwall, I use natural and digital media to communicate my personal responses to place.

3.1 Visual Dynamics: Lost on the Way to Zennor

3.2 Finding Texts: Cornwall Known and Unknowns

3.3 Developing Content: Love and Other Islands

Assignment 3: TeeTotal Street

4.1 Journey to Cabanatuan

Black and White Photobook

4.2 Luzon in Colour

Colour photobook of the journey through Luzon.

4.3 Journey in the Land of DU30

Collaged photobook of images from journeys in Philippines with a more political documentary focus.

4.4 Land of DU30: the Movie

Adaptation of the book animated in Adobe Premiere and After Effects.

4: Audience: Journey as Beginning

forthcoming December 2020

This project takes inspiration from Dan Eldon’s work ‘the Journey is the Destination’, but sees the journey as the beginning of my ‘journey of arriving at some understanding.’ The project uses a series of spontaneous iPad snapshots taken through windows of cars and planes, from journeys in Philippines in 2017.

Few images are of high enough resolution and technical quality to stand on their own as ‘documentary photographs’. However some of the images are quite powerful in presenting a serendipitous, ‘raw’ outsider impression of everday life and landscapes along roads in Manila and Luzon.

The images provoke many questions about the meaning of what is in the ‘shot. I revisit the images on the basis on on-line research and discussions with people from Philippines. The photobooks and ‘movie’ examine the ways in which different types of photographic processing and presentation can affect/enhance/distort what is being communicated to provoke further questioning both for the author and the viewer.

Journeys revisited
5.2.1 Land of DU30: the Movie

Adaptation of the book animated in Adobe Premiere and After Effects.

5.2.2 Oromia reflected

Collage, iPad and animation.

5.2.3 Kyrgyzstan remembered

printmaking woodcut, collagraph and combination printmaking.

5: Presentation: Zemni 2021

September 2020

This final Assignment will bring together my different bodies of work focusing on ideas of ‘This England’ in the context of re-evaluations of English identity around Brexit.

5.1 Edges Revisited 2

Here I finalise and take forward work from Cambridge, East Anglia and Cornwall from Assignments 2 and 3 that I think might have a potential local or wider audience and market based on feedback.

5.2 Journeys to the Future

Here I revisit my audience-based work from Philippines, assessing further audience responses since Assignment 4 and taking this forward as a ‘movie’ in Adobe Premiere and After Effects. I then apply the reflections and skills developed in this module to revisit journeys in Ethiopia and Kyrgyzstan that I had worked on in earlier OCA degree and personal development modules. I finalise some of the earlier photography outputs to a professional level, develop some new skills in printmaking media and animation and develop collaged sketchbooks of ideas for future exploration.

Other blogs and websites

This Advanced Practice module complements other more political work based on my professional work in international development that is developed in other modules for this degree. This blog complements and links to my other blogs and websites:

  • Zemni Images blog a portfolio site that showcases the best work from my previous and current Visual Communications courses.
  • Visual Communication for Development  looking at issues in my professional work in international development  for the OCA Visual  Research course.
  • Zemni Printmaking being developed and updated from my OCA printmaking courses.
  • Zemni Photography from OCA photography courses I tool as a leisure student
  • Zemni Images professional website that houses high resolution images of my Visual Communications portfolios and my photography portfolios and archives.
  • Gamechange Network consultancy blog that houses and links outputs from the different projects and partners I have worked with.

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