In conversation with WIRED writer Pete Brook aka Prison Photography.


This was the week back in 2010 where we caught up with the writer and #phonar collaborator Pete Brook .  He shared what he learned when he took his blog “Prison Photography” on the road and  introduces us to Michelle Vignes, the French photographer who was the very first staff member of Magnum.


Prison Photography

Cruel and Unusual exhibition:
Why we made a newspaper and not a traditional exhibition catalogue:
My reflections on my first experience curating and why Noorderlicht has all the right ingredients for a world class gallery:
And why, when Noorderlicht was threatened with cuts from the Dutch government, it was a hard fought battle:

Michelle Vignes

Good gallery of selected works:
Vignes’ photographs of the Summer Of Love:
Gallery and words by Michelle about covering the Indian Occupation of Alcatraz:
An American Vision / French photographer Michelle Vignes shoots from the inside
‘Bay Area Blues’ book:
“Magnum Salad”
Late into her life, Vignes collaborated with social activist artists. In 2011, with RIGO23:
A tribute to Michelle by friend Melanie Light:
Vignes realizes there is still great documentary work being done, but is unsure about where it is all going. “They seem to work on the web,” said Vignes. “To me it is just like spitting in the wind.”
University of California Berkeley Bancroft Library adds photo archives of Michelle Vignes:

Session 8 Alternative #BTF task – Reflection

Session 8 Alternative #BTF task – Reflection

This is the fourth and final of our alternative tasks which have be set by Professor and Author of Bending The Frame, Fred Ritchin. If you missed Fred’s talks then you’ll want to go back to the lectures from the start of the class – they’re well worth it. This iteration of Phonar has been re-written to draw on Fred’s Bending the Frame so if you do these tasks then please use both of the #phonar and #BTF hashtags.



Source an image of the Coventry blitz. Ask yourself “how would this have been presented in today’s social and multi media environment? In what ways would it difffer? Is it better or worse?”.

Blog a 250 word reflective account.


#Phonar session 8 Ian Macdonald by Jamie Macdonald

This week’s Guest Feature builds both on the way we’ve been experiencing the classes so far and on the subject matter. We’ve considered storytelling in various guises , telling our stories and those of other people but this week there are two subjects and two practices but only one film.

The movie is about the Photographer Ian Macdonald but the movie is made by his son, the photographer/curator and now film-maker Jamie Macdonald. So its kind of a pat your head and rub your tummy at the same time exercise – please tweet your thoughts, comments and questions on the movie, which is at the same time the work of both Ian and Jamie – the story of a story-teller.

Tag your tweets #Phonar (Jamie is @jamemac , Francis Hodgeson is @HodgsonF) and do a Phonar search on Twitter to tune into the conversation.

Shooting Time Loop-1 from Jamie Macdonald on Vimeo.


More links than you can shake a stick at:

Ian’s site >
Ian’s Dealer >

Jamie’s site >
Jamie’s Course >


Catching up with Fred Ritchin from ICP in New York

He’s here ! Can you believe it? Here, live, in the room, Fred Ritchin’s in the house, with us, now, in person, by Skype, virtually … from New York.  Yesterday.


Alan Levine and I reared this one for 12 months before setting it  free.  You’re going to have to bring all of your Remix skilz to the table as well as your big brain contextual understanding – you’re going to need to read Cory’s books and find out what the hell is grinding his gears.

A portrait of Cory Doctorow painted by Paul Wright from a photograph by Jonathan Worth.

A portrait of Cory Doctorow painted by Paul Wright from a photograph by Jonathan Worth. 


This week we’ve  heard all about how Photojournalist Marcus Bleasdale’s collaborates in order to re-imagine his work and reach new audiences via new and unexplored channels, well that’s where we’re headed with this task. After you’ve read Cory and read about Cory you’ll use someone else’s images (mine) to hack,remix and transform into something awesome and for this Alan has rustled up a little space all of its own with some house rules and further instruction.

Don’t let me down.  Lets go to work.

#Phonar session 7

There were a lot of stage nerves this week as we got ready to meet one of our photo-heros and hear about his work being re-imagined as comic books and video games – session VII is all about MARCUS BLEASDALE
winner of the 2014 Photojournalism Media Awards for “Descent into Hell: Bloodshed in the Central African Republic

Usual drill – listen along, tweet your notes and comments using the #phonar hashtag, and storify your own global set of notes afterwards which should be augmented with links, photos and other materials pertinent to your area of interest..

Right, lets go to work.

The Rape of a Nation

Task from Marcus:
oconnell bleasdale unspeakable things 01a


Tips for the aspiring photographer/storyteller/photojournalist.

- Don’t go to news events, find your own story. Cover the unreported and stick with it.

- Think about your style and how you want to represent your work.

- Don’t rush to join an agency, take your time, reflect, work out what is best for you.

- Forge real and sustainable partnerships which synergize with your vision of what you want to create and say about the world and continue to work with them.

- Work out how you represent emotion and relationships and that will create your strongest work


Further reading:



#BTF Creative Task: Framing For The Future

Session 6 Alternative #BTF task – Framing For The Future

This is the third and penultimate of our alternative tasks which have be set by Professor and Author of Bending The Frame, Fred Ritchin. If you missed Fred’s talks then you’ll want to go back to the lectures from the start of the class – they’re well worth it. This iteration of Phonar has been re-written to draw on Fred’s Bending the Frame so if you do these tasks then please use both of the #phonar and #BTF hashtags.


“Framing for the Future”
Make a series of images covering different events / locations / environments over a week for which you record all possible factual data alongside (names/dates/location/weather etc, keep the data clinical – facts only).
At the same time make a separate sets of notes on how you felt personally when making the images (your mood, physical state of being etc), use Chapter 1 of Bending the Frame for inspiration.

Additional: Share the images with other people, once with the facts and once with the your feelings and ask people to describe how this information changes their experience of the work. Reflect and blog your thoughts on their responses.

Combine the two into one final

Alternative Task: From Shahidul Alam

Photographer and founder of the Pathshala Institute in Bangladesh, Shahidul Alam sets an alternative task for #phonar this week, one that turned into a life’s work for him.

You have 7 days. Go.

Use images to identify an inequality within your own space (could be your geographic or your social space – your street or your family album for example), having done so work out a mechanism through which you can transform it.


You can hear Shahidul’s original talk below:



#phonar Session 6

Its another full one so lets go to work –

We are in conversation this week with Photographer Sara Davidmann and Photographer, Educator and Entrepreneur Shahidul Alam of the Pathshala Institute, Bangladesh. Two very different practitioners but both continuing to build on our discussions around the gravity of the role of storyteller and picking up on themes brought up by Fred Ritchin and David Campbell.

Usual drill – as you listen please tweet your notes and comments using the #phonar hashtag and don’t forget to storify the global set of notes/tweets afterwards.


Sarah Davidmann

Images discussed here are at Sara’s website

Shahidul Alam

Links for images and projects mentioned:


Participating in our own representation

I love doing the Phonar class. This Summer I had to talk about “Why?”, why I teach , why I think Phonar is important. The talk is here but in a nutshell Phonar , PhonarNation and other projects that I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with like World Press Reporting Change are about enabling people to participate in their own representation. They’re about taking people who otherwise might feel anonymised by the vastness of the web and using it to empower them. They’re practical and applied workshops in Visual Literacy and Digital Fluency.

And they’re a means, not an ends. Phonar is a photography class but we don’t fawn over photographs. We use Photography as a means to do other things, to speak clearly with images and by making our classes open and connected we increase the likelihood of our speakers being heard. We think about the role of the storyteller, we reflect on how heavy the responsibility of telling other people’s stories would be and halfway through the course we all share a previously untold story (off record) with the group. It can be whimsical or heartfelt, but we do it to feel the vulnerability of the subject. . . . → Read More: Participating in our own representation


Phonar - [fo-'när] is a free and open undergraduate photography class run by Jonathan Worth at Coventry University in the UK

Follow #phonar on Twitter for the latest news, information and posts.


This is a JISC funded project which seeks to give access to networks and communities of subject specialists, professional practitioners and wider learning communities.

Material from this class is open for use and re-use under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License