Zemni Illustration

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

Image-making is a necessary part of my own process of making sense of life in our sometimes beautiful, but often insane world. In my ‘parallel life’ as global consultant in participatory development in Africa, Asia and Latin America I meet many wonderful, inspiring people. I see stunningly beautiful scenery – human rural and urban landscapes as well as ‘wild natural’ remote environments. I also see many shocking examples of violence, exploitation, environmental degradation, waste and powerlessness. The more I travel, the more questions I bring back about life at home  – where are our ‘developed’ lives trying to get to, why and at what cost? My image-making is a way of working through the darker side to come out the other end and ‘look on the bright side of life’.

 I work in a range of media combining drawing, printmaking, photography, collage, painting and digital media. Some of my work is experimental, exploring different media and effects in response to a wide range of briefs.

Alongside my own artistic practice I support processes for collaborative art, photography, video and web communications as part of peoples’ own documentation of their lives.

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 for this module focuses on the theme of ‘Documentary: observed and reflected’, focusing on different ways of portraying the world around me ‘at home’ in England. Ranging from expressive subjective responses to politics, economics and environment and more historical and cultural approaches to ‘Place’. It aims to :

  • explore what might be meant by my distinctive ‘Zemni Voice’ with a socio-political approach to reportage, landscape and life sketching.
  • establish professional-standard technical skills in a range of physical (drawing, painting and printmaking) and digital media (photography, Photoshop and NikFX, iPad painting and video animation in Adobe After Effects and Premiere).
  • look at a range of ways of integrating text and image to produce images that further question established ways of seeing and thinking
  • explore a range of different international and home audiences, markets and social networks for my work.
  • present my work in different formats:  cards, large posters and fine art prints, collaged books and on-line animated and interactive experiences.

1: Voice

Assignment 1 looks in more detail at my practice and personal voice underpinning my work in this course.

2: Edit and Amend: Place (April 2019)

Assignment 2 focuses on ‘documentary of place’ in Cornwall and East Anglia.

2.1 Walking St Ives

This project builds on earlier printmaking and illustration assignments in St Ives, Cornwall. Based on a new sketchbook over a week in May 2019, it develops one iPad illustration each day, experimenting with different image-making approaches presented in Project 1.3 Creatively Exploring my Process.

2.2 Suffolk Edges

A new body of work on leisure pursuits in Britain that raises issues of environmental and social responsibility. producing environmentally and sociallOrford Ness in Suffolk focusing on monochrome and limited palette photography styles using photo series taken in October 2018 on a DSLR camera.

A key area identified for further development in my personal statement is photography and digital processing in Lightroom, Photoshop and NikFX. This project uses existing and new landscape photographs of Suffolk landscapes. Drawing on discussions of beauty/sublime, the picturesque and ‘tourist gaze’ in landscape and documentary photography and considers ways in which different styles of digital processing can alter the meanings of the photographic image. It also explores the differing requirements of major stock image libraries and landscape photography libraries, submitting relevant images and starting to get concrete audience feedback on my work.

Selected images are also further developed as figurative and abstract fine art prints, continuing my work in Printmaking 2 Assignments 1 and 2.

3: Text and Image: In Search of Wild Things (August 2019)

A themed body of work around the idea of ‘Edgelands’ based on photographs, prints, illustrations and diary reflections on the beauty and contradictions of the River Cam where I live.

4: Audience: Cambridge (December 2019)

This project looks at different aspects of city life based on photographs and new sketches of the Grand Arcade, Cambridge, revisiting my work for Printmaking 2: Grand Arcade: Memories Revisited.

5: Presenting my work (February 2020)

This final Assignment will finish the earlier assignments on Suffolk, St Ives, Ethiopia and Kyrgyzstan in the light of feedback. It will also:

  • ‘Wish You Were Here’ a set of fine art print series in different printmaking media adapted to ‘spirits of place’ (silkscreen, photo-lithography, woodcut, linocut, collagraph, drypoint and monoprint), also produced as postcards for marketing on-line.

2.1 ‘Edges Revisited’ : Aldeburgh

Explores approaches to visual narrative through revisiting iPhone and iPad photographs, sketches, iPad images and diary from Illustration 2: From the Edge and Aldeburgh Sketchbooks . Drawing on discussions of psychogeography, it explores different conceptual approaches to what might be meant by ‘documentary of place’ and the overlaps between subjective and objective approaches. It demonstrates different techniques and styles in Lightroom, Photoshop and NikFX in processing iPhone and iPad images to produces four contrasting visual narratives in the form of photobooks: One Aldeburgh Morning, Carnival: the Great Aldeburgh Escape, From the Edge and Moot and Other Tales.

Other blogs and websites

This Zemni Illustration blog complements and links to my other blogs and websites:

  • Zemni Images blog a portfolio site which 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 which houses high resolution images of my Visual Communications portfolios and my photography portfolios and archives.
  • Gamechange Network consultancy blog which houses and links outputs from the different projects and partners I have worked with.